Search

You searched for: Publishing Institution Center for Strategic and International Studies Remove constraint Publishing Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies Topic Security Remove constraint Topic: Security
Number of results to display per page

Search Results

  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Recent legislative changes call for enhanced scrutiny on potential transfers of “emerging and foundational technologies.” These are broadly defined as technologies essential to U.S. national security. The Congressional intent is for agencies to develop a more specific list, with robotics and artificial intelligence as primary concerns. Developing this list raises several issues. These include how to determine the military utility of an emerging technology, how to control the diffusion of the technology, and how to manage the risks of increased control for American innovation. Enhancing controls on the transfer of emerging technologies is necessary for several reasons. First, the U.S. finds itself in a contest with China. China intends to eventually displace the U.S as a global leader in technology, part of its larger effort to expands its influence and power. China is a technological rival of a kind the U.S. has never had before, given the deep interconnections between the two economies. China is still dependent on the West for advanced technology and uses a combination of techniques to acquire it. The 2015 Obama-Xi agreement on commercial cyber espionage attempted to address the problem, but China now ignores that agreement. In this environment, strengthening oversight of technology transfers from the U.S. and its allies to China is essential. In particular, new rules are needed to review technology transfers through co-production, joint ventures, or intangible exports, as these have been a major source of China’s access to technology. Second, current controls on technology transfers do not adequately protect emerging and foundational technologies. The current technology transfer control system is too close to its Cold War roots. Thresholds were set by asking what was the state of the art, how close our Soviet competitor was to this, and whether a technology was “controllable” or if it had become a commodity or was widely available from foreign sources. These are no longer the right questions to ask. The approach needed now is whether we want to transfer a technology to China and whether an effort to prevent this would do more harm than good to America’s own technological capabilities. This calls the whole complex structure of precise control thresholds into question. Modernizing export controls will be difficult, but the proposed rulemaking offers an opportunity to begin the process of revision. Export controls have their background in the 20th Century, when two bifurcated economic blocs were in competition and where thresholds for controls could be set with a degree of precision. This is no longer the case. Attempting to layer a 20th century export control regime over the new dynamics of global trade and innovation will not adequately protect emerging technologies. Reform will necessarily be an iterative process, part of a larger restructuring of export controls for a new international environment. A key point to bear in mind is that since China is still dependent on advanced Western technology (and this is an unlikely change in the near future), access to western technology should be used to gain leverage in talks to change China’s aggressively mercantilist policies. This will be difficult, and it will take time, but a failure to confront China and bring about change will lead to the outcomes that technology controls seek to avoid. The goal is not to defeat or contain China, but to bring its practices in line with international expectations in ways that allow commercial relationships to continue without risk to national security.
  • Topic: Security, Industry, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States has now been continuously at war for more than seventeen years. It is still fighting an active war in Afghanistan, has yet to fully defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq – much less establish a state of lasting security in either country – and is playing a role in low level conflicts against extremist and terrorists in many other parts of the world. The U.S. government, however, has never developed a convincing method of reporting on the cost of the wars, and its estimates are a confusing morass of different and conflicting Departmental, Agency, and other government reporting that leave major gaps in key areas during FY2001-FY2019. It has never provided useful forecasts of future cost, instead providing empty "placeholder" numbers or none. It has failed to find any useful way to tie the cost estimates it does release to its level of military and civil activity in each conflict or found any way to measure the effectiveness of its expenditures or tie them to a credible strategy to achieve some form of victory. The result is a national embarrassment and a fundamental failure by the Executive Branch and Congress to produce the transparency and public debate and review that are key elements of a responsible government and democracy.
  • Topic: Security, Military Strategy, Budget, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: James Andrew Lewis, William Crumpler
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As cyber threats continue to grow in sophistication, organizations face a persistent challenge in recruiting skilled cybersecurity professionals capable of protecting their systems against the threat of malicious actors. With cybercriminals now responsible for billions in losses per year and state-sponsored hacking groups posing an ever-greater threat, the need for individuals capable of securing networks against attackers has never been greater. However, education and training institutions in the United States have so far found it difficult to keep pace with the growing need for cyber talent. This paper highlights the gaps that exist in the nation’s current cybersecurity education and training landscape and identifies several examples of successful programs that hold promise as models for addressing the skills gap. It then highlights recommendations for policymakers, educators, and employers. A recent CSIS survey of IT decisionmakers across eight countries found that 82 percent of employers report a shortage of cybersecurity skills, and 71 percent believe this talent gap causes direct and measurable damage to their organizations.1 According to CyberSeek, an initiative funded by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), the United States faced a shortfall of almost 314,000 cybersecurity professionals as of January 2019.2 To put this in context, the country’s total employed cybersecurity workforce is just 716,000. According to data derived from job postings, the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs has grown by more than 50 percent since 2015.3 By 2022, the global cybersecurity workforce shortage has been projected to reach upwards of 1.8 million unfilled positions.4 Workforce shortages exist for almost every position within cybersecurity, but the most acute needs are for highly-skilled technical staff. In 2010, the CSIS report A Human Capital Crisis in Cybersecurity found that the United States “not only [has] a shortage of the highly technically skilled people required to operate and support systems already deployed, but also an even more desperate shortage of people who can design secure systems, write safe computer code, and create the ever more sophisticated tools needed to prevent, detect, mitigate and reconstitute from damage due to system failures and malicious acts.”5 At the time, interviews indicated that the United States only had about 1,000 security specialists with skills and abilities to take on these roles, compared to a need for 10,000 to 30,000 personnel. In the nine years since that report, these challenges have persisted. In 2016, CSIS found that IT professionals still considered technical skills like intrusion detection, secure software development, and attack mitigation to be the most difficult to find skills among cybersecurity operators.6 A 2018 survey of California businesses revealed that a lack of required technology skills was one of the greatest challenges facing organizations when hiring cybersecurity candidates.7 These challenges were particularly acute for mission critical job roles, with over a third of organizations reporting a lack of technology skills in candidates for vulnerability assessment analyst positions and half of employers reporting deficiencies for cyber defense infrastructure support candidates. Employers today are in critical need for more cybersecurity professionals, but they do not want more compliance officers or cybersecurity policy planners. What organizations are truly desperate for are graduates who can design secure systems, create new tools for defense, and hunt down hidden vulnerabilities in software and networks.8
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Information Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sarah Minot Asrar
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Meeting the security challenges of the future will require a sustained effort over the long-term by a multidisciplinary cadre of nuclear experts who are equipped with critical knowledge and skills. The Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) runs two signature programs – the Nuclear Scholars Initiative and the Annual Conference Series – to engage emerging nuclear experts in thoughtful and informed debate over how to best address the nuclear community’s most pressing problems. The papers included in this volume comprise research from participants in the 2018 Nuclear Scholars Initiative and the PONI Conference Series. These papers explore such topics as the impacts of emerging technologies and capabilities, deep-diving on nuclear strategy and national policies, proposing paths forward for addressing proliferation challenges, and enhancing arms control in contentious environments.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Energy Policy, Environment, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The economic consequences of large-scale disease outbreaks can be enormous: pandemics could cause $570 billion per year in average economic losses over the coming decades. Health security threats have an especially destructive impact on development investments and GDP in low-income and lower-middle-income countries (LICs and LMICs): the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa wiped out nearly five years of existing investments in the region, gravely setting back the region’s future development prospects. By contrast, upgrading countries’ preparedness is relatively inexpensive and affordable; recent data demonstrates most countries would need to spend approximately $0.50-$1.50 per person per year to get an acceptable level of epidemic preparedness. The financing gap for preparedness is one of the starkest problems in health security, especially among LICs and LMICs. That gap is estimated at $4.5 billion per year. Investments in preparedness are cost-effective and affordable, but low-income and lower-middle-income country governments continue to underinvest at dangerously low levels. These governments bear lead responsibility for addressing financing gaps, but external funding can be catalytic. At present, there is no financing mechanism and no adequate incentive structure to motivate governments in high-risk countries to invest in preparedness, particularly when those investments compete with more visible priorities such as education, housing, transport infrastructure, and other pressing health needs. As a consequence, countries remain ill-prepared and vulnerable to the persistent threat of pandemics and large-scale disease outbreaks. The World Bank Group’s International Development Association (IDA) replenishment takes place every three years and presents a choice opportunity to make adjustments that reflect important emerging priorities. In the current IDA19 replenishment, stakeholders can take a major step towards closing the preparedness financing gap by incentivizing $1 billion or more per year in preparedness investments in LICs and LMICs.
  • Topic: Security, Health, Multilateralism, Public Health
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Todd Harrison, Kaitlyn Johnson, Thomas G. Roberts
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: While the vulnerabilities of U.S. national security space systems are often discussed publicly, the progress other nations are making in counterspace systems is not as readily accessible. Space Threat Assessment 2019 reviews the open-source information available on the counterspace capabilities that can threaten U.S. space systems. The report is intended to raise awareness and understanding of the threats, debunk myths and misinformation, and highlight areas in which senior leaders and policymakers should focus their attention. Space Threat Assessment 2019 focuses on four specific countries that pose the greatest risk for the United States: China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. A fifth section analyzes the counterspace capabilities of select other countries, including some allies and partners of the United States, and some non-state actors. This report is not a comprehensive assessment of all known threats to U.S. space systems because much of the information on what other countries are doing to advance their counterspace systems is not publicly available. Instead, it serves as an unclassified assessment that aggregates and highlights open-source information on counterspace capabilities for policymakers and the general public.
  • Topic: Security, Military Strategy, Space
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Melissa Dalton
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States increasingly relies on allies and partners to accomplish shared security objectives around the globe. In recent years, a greater emphasis has been placed from burden sharing to burden shifting—enabling allies and partners to assume responsibility for their own security challenges through security sector assistance. Burden shifting responsibly to allies and partners requires the United States to integrate oversight and accountability measures into the implementation of security sector assistance. Oversight and accountability mechanisms for security sector assistance allow the United States to better direct, track, and calibrate its assistance to partners to ensure the full scope of U.S. policy goals are met. However, amid reforms being undertaken by the U.S. government to adapt security sector assistance policy and processes, greater clarity is needed on how to connect policy goals of oversight and accountability to planning, operations, doctrine, and training across the security assistance enterprise. This study conducted by the CSIS Cooperative Defense Project builds upon its previous initiative, entitled Oversight and Accountability in Security Sector Assistance: Seeking Return on Investment, to assess the levels of progress on implementing reforms throughout the security sector assistance enterprise and developing an action plan that addresses specific issues along planning, operations, policy and doctrine, and training lines of effort.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: William A. Carter, William Crumpler
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As the threat of cyberattacks has risen in recent years, financial institutions (FIs) and regulators have taken a range of steps to strengthen the security and resilience of the financial system to cyber threats. In the Asia-Pacific region (APAC), regulators have introduced a raft of new regulations and controls to bolster the resilience of FIs in their jurisdictions. While greater attention to—and engagement on—these issues is important, the development of new regulatory regimes across APAC has created challenges for multinational FIs and regulators, and could hinder the growth of the financial services and fintech industries within the region. We reviewed the cybersecurity requirements impacting the financial industry in five key jurisdictions, including the largest regional financial centers and consumer markets in APAC: Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, China, and India. Through a combination of open-source research and on-the-ground interviews—with regulators; local, regional, and global FIs; policymakers; technology experts; and academics—we sought to understand the range of requirements and approaches from different regulators across the APAC region, and the ways in which they impact cyber risks to the regional financial system. Harmonizing regulators’ approaches to cybersecurity regulation in the region could help reduce systemic risks, improve regulatory efficiency, and make it easier for FIs across APAC to grow. This will not be easy and will require sustained engagement on multiple levels. Cyber threats are a transnational issue and will require a transnational response, particularly in highly integrated regions like APAC. Strengthening the security and resiliency of financial networks across the region will require looking at FIs from an enterprise perspective and understanding the cyber risks they face from the perspective of defenders, not the narrow lens of national borders. This will require principles-based approaches that allow for the wide range of business models and capacities of FIs and regulators across the region, and consolidated auditing, examination, and testing procedures to ensure that regulators have an accurate picture of the risks and controls at institutions under their care. Ultimately, regulators’ goals must be to ensure that strong security and resilience, not redundant compliance, is the focus for FIs.
  • Topic: Security, Cybersecurity, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Heather A Conley, Matthew Melino
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States’ strategic position near Russia and neighboring Canada allows the U.S. access to the Beaufort Sea, the Chukchi Sea, and the Bering Sea and requires the United States to manage a lengthy maritime border with Russia that extends through the Bering Strait and Chukchi Sea into the Arctic Ocean as far as permitted under international law. The U.S. government has articulated its fundamental interest in the Arctic for more than 40 years in a series of government strategies: beginning with President Nixon’s 1971 National Security Decision Memorandum (NSDM-144), to Ronald Reagan’s 1983 National Security Decision Directive (NSDD-90), to President George W. Bush’s National Security Presidential Directive 66 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 25, signed in 2009, and the 2016 Report to Congress from the Department of Defense on Strategy to Protect United States National Security Interests in the Arctic Region.1 Each document established broad guidelines for U.S. policy in the region that aligned with the geostrategic realities at the time.2
  • Topic: Security, Military Strategy, Territorial Disputes, Maritime, Strategic Interests
  • Political Geography: Arctic
  • Author: Tom Cullison, J. Stephen Morrison
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Protecting the homeland against biological threats begins with preventing those threats from reaching our shores. The Department of Defense (DOD) contributes to overall U.S. health security through programs specifically aimed at countering biological threats from all sources—through public health activities coordinated with civilian counterparts at home and abroad and through research and development of medical countermeasures aimed at protecting U.S. Forces against health risks throughout the world. Civilian and military scientists, public health experts, and disaster planners are somewhat familiar with DOD’s health security capabilities, yet most lack a clear understanding of the breadth, depth, and limitations of DOD’s capacities. A solid and consistent U.S. policy framework has steadily evolved over the past few decades that identifies health as a national security issue and calls for a broad-based, inclusive national response to addressing the issue of health security. Now is the time to more fully integrate DOD’s unique expertise and capabilities in a more cohesive and efficient manner. This paper provides a broad overview of DOD health security activities and capabilities and also offers select concrete recommendations for strengthening the coherence and integration of DOD activities, with a special emphasis on leadership, novel diseases and new dangerous forms of resistance, surveillance, building host country capacities, and expanded exercises.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Health, Civil-Military Relations
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Seth G. Jones, Nicholas Harrington, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr.
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As tensions escalate between the United States and Iran in the Middle East, Russia is engaged in covert and overt cooperation with Iran in ways that undermine U.S. national security interests. This analysis of commercial satellite imagery at Tiyas Airbase in Syria indicates the scope and proximity of Russian and Iranian military ties. If Washington wants to contain Tehran and prevent further Iranian expansion, U.S. policymakers will need to increase pressure on Moscow to curb Tehran’s activities in countries like Syria.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Intelligence, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Stephanie Segal, Dylan Gerstel
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There is a growing concern in Washington that certain aspects of international scientific collaboration pose a risk to U.S. economic and national security, making it the latest front in rising U.S.-China competition. At the same time, the U.S. innovation ecosystem depends greatly on foreign scientists and partnerships with foreign research institutions. A well-calibrated strategy to manage these risks will maximize openness while protecting intellectual property, research integrity, and national security. These efforts should preserve the ability of the United States to attract top talent, including by maintaining a welcoming environment for foreign researchers, while improving domestic investment in science, technology, engineering, and math outcomes. This report outlines the vulnerabilities arising from foreign research collaboration, the risks of policy overreach, and recommendations to manage risks while maintaining scientific openness.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Innovation, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Principled humanitarian action is under attack around the world. Globally, 70.8 million people are considered forcibly displaced by armed conflict and nearly 132 million people need emergency humanitarian assistance. At the same time, there has been a steep escalation in the deliberate, willful obstruction of humanitarian access, impeding the ability of humanitarian aid to reach the most vulnerable people and vice versa. As humanitarian emergencies become increasingly complex and protracted, blocked humanitarian access will only increase without urgent action. To ensure the ability of aid to reach those who need it most and to uphold the principles of international humanitarian law, the United States should elevate humanitarian access as a foreign policy priority and work to reconcile tensions between critical national security measures and the growing needs of vulnerable populations in fragile, conflict-affected states. This report is the result of the CSIS Task Force on Humanitarian Access.
  • Topic: Security, Displacement, Humanitarian Crisis, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel F. Runde
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) will merge the staff, assets, and liabilities of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Development Credit Authority (DCA). It will seek to catalyze vitally needed private sector investments in low- and lower-middle-income countries through new development finance tools such as local currency loans, first-loss guarantees, and equity investments. However, the DFC is not designed to be simply another development finance institution—in addition to a greater proposed focus on development impact, it is an agency also embedded in the U.S. foreign policy and national security architecture. This report offers concrete and independent ideas on how the DFC can better support U.S. national security interests while also examining the new agency’s limitations. Within this context, the three key U.S. national security challenges that CSIS highlights include a) China’s rising influence in the developing world, b) actions the United States and others can do to further mitigate violent extremism, and c) addressing the root causes of migration.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Finance
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States, its allies, and international organizations are just beginning to come to grips with the civil dimensions of "failed state" wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, the Sudans, Syria, and Yemen. In each case, it is clear that the civil dimension of the war will ultimately be as important as the military one. Any meaningful form of "victory" requires far more than defeating the current extremist threat in military terms, and reaching some temporary compromise between the major factions that divide the country. The current insurgent and other security threats exist largely because of the deep divisions within the state, the past and current failures of the government to deal with such internal divisions, and the chronic failure to meet the economic, security, and social needs of much of the nation's population. In practical terms, these failures make a given host government, other contending factions, and competing outside powers as much of a threat to each nation’s stability and future as Islamic extremists and other hostile forces. Regardless of the scale of any defeat of extremists, the other internal tensions and divisions with each country also threaten to make any such “victory” a prelude to new forms of civil war, and/or an enduring failure to cope with security, stability, recovery, and development. Any real form of victory requires a different approach to stability operations and civil-military affairs. In each case, the country the U.S. is seeking to aid failed to make the necessary economic progress and reforms to meet the needs of its people – and sharply growing population – long before the fighting began. The growth of these problems over a period of decades helped trigger the sectarian, ethnic, and other divisions that made such states vulnerable to extremism and civil conflict, and made it impossible for the government to respond effectively to crises and wars.
  • Topic: Security, War, Fragile/Failed State, ISIS, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sundan
  • Author: Tom Karako, Wes Rumbaugh
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the rising salience of missile threats, current air and missile defense forces are far too susceptible to suppression. Today’s U.S. air and missile defense (AMD) force lacks the depth, capacity, and operational flexibility to simultaneously perform both missions. Discussions about improving AMD usually revolve around improvements to the capability and capacity of interceptors or sensors. Rather than simply doing more of the same, the joint integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) efforts might be well served by new or reinvigorated operational concepts, here discussed collectively as “Distributed Defense.” By leveraging networked integration, Distributed Defense envisions a more flexible and more dispersible air and missile defense force capable of imposing costs and dilemmas on an adversary, complicating the suppression of U.S. air and missile defenses. Although capability and capacity improvements remain essential to the high-end threats, the Distributed Defense concept focuses on creating a new architecture for today’s fielded or soon-to-be fielded IAMD force to boost flexibility and resilience.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Missile Defense
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Seth G. Jones
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Trump administration’s National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy outline a U.S. shift from counterterrorism to inter-state competition with China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. However, U.S. policymakers need to be prepared for much of this competition to occur at the unconventional level, since the costs of conventional and nuclear war would likely be catastrophic. U.S. strategy is evolving from a post-9/11 focus on counterterrorism against groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State to competition between state adversaries. As the National Defense Strategy notes, “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.”1 This shift has significant implications for the U.S. military, since it indicates a need to improve U.S. capabilities to fight—and win—possible wars against China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea if deterrence fails. Though it is prudent to prepare for conventional—and even nuclear—war, the risks of conflict are likely to be staggering. Numerous war games and analyses of U.S. conflicts with Russia in the Baltics, China in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea, and North Korea on the Korean peninsula suggest the possibility of at least tens of thousands of dead and billions of dollars in economic damages. In addition, these conflicts could escalate to nuclear war, which might raise the number of dead to hundreds of thousands or even millions. According to one analysis, for example, a U.S. war with China could reduce China’s gross domestic product (GDP) by between 25 and 35 percent and the United States’ GDP by between 5 and 10 percent. The study also assessed that both countries could suffer substantial military losses to bases, air forces, surface naval forces, and submarines; significant political upheaval at home and abroad; and huge numbers of civilian deaths.2 These costs and risks will likely give Washington, Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, and even Pyongyang pause, raising several questions. Will these high costs deter the possibility of conventional and nuclear war? If so, what are the implications for the United States as it plans for a rise in inter-state competition? The Cold War offers a useful historical lens. NATO planners prepared for a possible Soviet and Warsaw Pact invasion of Western Europe. The U.S. military, for example, deployed forces to the Fulda Gap, roughly 60 miles outside of Frankfurt, Germany, as one of several possible invasion routes by Soviet and other Warsaw Pact forces. NATO also planned for nuclear war. The United States built up its nuclear arsenal and adopted strategies like mutually assured destruction (MAD). The concept of MAD assumed that a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two or more opposing sides would cause the annihilation of both the attacker and the defender. The threat of such heavy costs deterred conflict, despite some close calls. During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the two superpowers nearly went to war after a U.S. U-2 aircraft took pictures of Soviet medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic nuclear missiles (MRBMs and IRBMs) under construction in Cuba. But Washington and Moscow ultimately assessed that direct conflict was too costly. Deterrence held. Instead, the United States and Soviet Union engaged in intense security competition at the unconventional level across Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Both countries backed substate groups and states to expand their power and influence. Under the Reagan Doctrine, for example, the United States provided overt and covert assistance to anticommunist governments and resistance movements to roll back communist supporters. The Soviets did the same and supported states and substate actors across the globe. In addition, the Soviets adopted an aggressive, unconventional approach best captured in the phrase “active measures” or aktivnyye meropriatia. As used by the KGB, active measures included a wide range of activities designed to influence populations across the globe. The KGB established front groups, covertly broadcast radio and other programs, orchestrated disinformation campaigns, and conducted targeted assassinations. The Soviets used active measures as an offensive instrument of Soviet foreign policy to extend Moscow’s influence and power throughout the world, including in Europe. Unlike the Cold War, the United States confronts multiple state adversaries today—not one. As the National Defense Strategy argues, the United States is situated in “a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory” where “the central challenges to U.S. prosperity and security is the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition by what the National Security Strategy classifies as revisionist powers.” But based on the likely costs and risks of conventional and nuclear war with China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, much of the competition will likely be unconventional—and include what former U.S. State Department diplomat George Kennan referred to as “political warfare.” The term political warfare refers to the employment of military, intelligence, diplomatic, financial, and other means—short of conventional war—to achieve national objectives. It can include overt operations like public broadcasting and covert operations like psychological warfare and support to underground resistance groups.3 The United States’ adversaries today are already engaged in political warfare. Russia, for instance, utilizes a range of means to pursue its interests, such as technologically sophisticated offensive cyber programs, covert action, and psychological operations. Moscow has conducted overt operations like the use of RT and Sputnik, as well as semitransparent and covert efforts. It has also become increasingly active in supporting state and substate actors in countries like Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, and Libya to expand its influence in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and even North Africa. Finally, Russia is attempting to exploit European and transatlantic fissures and support populist movements to undermine European Union and NATO cohesion, thwart economic sanctions, justify or obscure Russian actions, and weaken the attraction of Western institutions for countries on Russia’s periphery. Iran is using political warfare tools like propaganda, cyber attacks, and aid to substate proxies to support its security priorities, influence events and foreign perceptions, and counter threats. Tehran is also assisting state and substate actors in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, and Afghanistan. Iran supports Shia militia groups in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, and Houthi rebels in Yemen. In the South China Sea, China is pouring millions of tons of sand and concrete onto reefs, creating artificial islands. It is also conducting a sophisticated propaganda campaign, utilizing economic coercion, and using fleets of fishing vessels to solidify its assertion of territorial and resource rights throughout the Pacific. Finally, Beijing is targeting the U.S. government, its allies, and U.S. companies as part of a cyber-espionage campaign. With political warfare already alive and well with the United States’ state adversaries, there are several implications for U.S. defense strategy. First, U.S. policymakers need to be prepared for significant inter-state competition to occur at the unconventional level, since the costs and risks of conventional and nuclear war may be prohibitively high. This should involve thinking through trade-offs regarding force posture, procurement, acquisition, and modernization. A U.S. military that predominantly focuses on preparing for conventional or nuclear war with state competitors—by modernizing the nuclear triad, building more resilient space capabilities, acquiring more effective counter-space systems, equipping U.S. forces with high-technology weapons, and emphasizing professional military education (PME) to fight conventional wars—may undermine U.S. unconventional readiness and capabilities. Second, even organizations that already engage in some types of political warfare—such as U.S. Special Operations Command and the U.S. intelligence community—will need to continue shifting some of their focus from counterterrorism to political warfare against state adversaries. This might include, for example, providing more aid to the Baltic States to conduct an effective resistance campaign against unconventional action by Moscow. Or it might involve aiding proxies in countries like Syria and Yemen to counter Iranian-backed organizations. It could also include improving the border security capabilities and effectiveness of Ukrainian military and police units against Russian-backed rebels. Third, the United States should invest in resources and capabilities that allow the military and other U.S. government agencies to more effectively engage in political warfare—and to provide agencies with sufficient authorities to conduct political warfare. One example is improving capabilities to conduct aggressive, offensive cyber operations. Other examples might include advanced electronic attack capabilities, psychological warfare units, security force assistance brigades, and precision munitions. Recognizing that other powers routinely conduct political warfare, George Kennan encouraged U.S. leaders to disabuse themselves of the “handicap” of the “concept of a basic difference between peace and war” and to wake up to “the realities of international relations—the perpetual rhythm of struggle, in and out of war.” Kennan’s advice may be even more relevant today in such a competitive world.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Heather A Conley
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Twenty-five years of relative calm and predictability in relations between Russia and the West enabled European governments largely to neglect their military capabilities for territorial defense and dramatically redraw Northern Europe’s multilateral, regional, and bilateral boundaries, stimulating new institutional and cooperative developments and arrangements. These cooperative patterns of behavior occurred amid a benign security environment, a situation that no longer obtains. Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, its military incursion into eastern Ukraine, its substantial military modernization efforts, heightened undersea activity in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea, and its repeated air violations, the region’s security environment has dramatically worsened. The Baltic Sea and North Atlantic region have returned as a geostrategic focal point. It is vital, therefore, that the United States rethink its security approach to the region—what the authors describe as Enhanced Deterrence in the North.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Modernization
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North Atlantic, Northern Europe, Crimea, Baltic Sea
  • Author: Melissa Dalton, Hijab Shah
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: With the range of security challenges confronting the United States in the 21st century, characterized by competition by both state and nonstate actors, the importance of working with allies and partners to address common challenges is paramount. Deeper examination of the relative effectiveness of U.S. security sector assistance and how it must nest in a broader foreign policy strategy, including good governance, human rights, and rule of law principles, is required. Improving oversight and accountability in U.S. security sector assistance with partners are at the core of ongoing security assistance reform efforts to ensure that U.S. foreign policy objectives are met and in accordance with U.S. interests and values. This report examines key areas in security sector programming and oversight where the U.S. Departments of Defense and State employ accountability mechanisms, with the goal of identifying ways to sharpen and knit together mechanisms for improving accountability and professionalism into a coherent approach for partner countries.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Mark F. Cancian
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The role that nuclear weapons play in international security has changed since the end of the Cold War, but the need to maintain and replenish the human infrastructure for supporting nuclear capabilities and dealing with the multitude of nuclear challenges remains essential. Recognizing this challenge, CSIS launched the Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) in 2003 to develop the next generation of policy, technical, and operational nuclear professionals through outreach, mentorship, research, and debate. PONI runs two signature programs—the Nuclear Scholars Initiative and the Annual Conference Series—to engage emerging nuclear experts in debate and research over how to best address the nuclear community’s most pressing problems. The papers in this volume include research from participants in the 2017 Nuclear Scholars Initiative and PONI Conference Series. PONI sponsors this research to provide a forum for facilitating new and innovative thinking and a platform for emerging thought leaders across the nuclear enterprise. Spanning a wide range of technical and policy issues, these selected papers further discussion in their respective areas.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus