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  • Author: Bilal Y. Saab, Barry Pavel
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama's summit meeting with Gulf leaders at Camp David on May 14 will end in failure if the administration does not propose a substantial upgrade in US-Gulf security relations that is as bold and strategically significant as the nuclear agreement–and likely formal deal–with Iran. While the summit will not suddenly eliminate mistrust and resolve all differences, it presents an historic opportunity to put back on track a decades-old US-Gulf partnership that has served both sides and the region well, yet lately has experienced deep turbulence. Failure to strengthen these ties will have consequences, the most dramatic of which could be the acceleration of the regional order's collapse. In a March 2015 Atlantic Council report entitled Artful Balance: Future US Defense Strategy and Force Posture in the Gulf, we made the case for a mutual defense treaty between the United States and willing Arab Gulf partners. In this issue in focus, we offer a more comprehensive and detailed assessment of the risks, concerns, benefits, and opportunities that would be inherent in such a treaty. We recommend a gradualist approach for significantly upgrading US-Gulf security relations that effectively reduces the risks and maximizes the benefits of more formal US security commitments to willing Arab Gulf states.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Iran, Persian Gulf
  • Author: Franklin D. Kramer, Melanie J. Teplinsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Cyber has become the new conflict arena. It ranks as one of the greatest national security challenges facing the United States for three reasons. First, as the revelations about the National Security Agency's (NSA's) activities suggest, cyber offense has far outpaced cyber defense. Second, cyber capabilities are prevalent worldwide and increasingly are being used to achieve the strategic goals of nations and actors adverse to the United States. Third, it is highly unlikely that cyber espionage and other cyber intrusions will soon cease. While the NSA disclosures focus on the United States and the United Kingdom, there is little doubt that China, Russia, Iran, North Korea and others are engaged in significant cyber activities. The fundamental question is whether the cyber realm can, consistent with the national interest, be made more stable and secure.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, United Kingdom, Iran, North Korea
  • Author: Patrick O'Reilly
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: NATO leaders have cited missile defense as an example of applying the principles of the Smart Defense initiative endorsed at the 2012 NATO Summit to enhance collective defense at minimum cost. As ballistic missiles continue to proliferate and become more accessible to both state and nonstate actors, it is important to foster global partnerships to pursue NATO's missile defense mission and protect North American and European interests. NATO should consider opportunities to further apply the principles of Smart Defense now to reduce future costs of deterring and countering missile proliferation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Asia, North America
  • Author: James Hasik, Byron Callan
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Just what makes a military technology disruptive? How does one know who will disrupt, and who will be disrupted? How can we aim to develop disruptive technologies, and how can we spot them before others use them to disrupt our security? Recent studies suggest that five factors matter most in developing those technologies into real military capabilities: financial resources, industrial readiness, systems integration, cultural receptivity, and organizational capacity. Prototyping and field experimentation leverage all these factors, and help make the potentially disruptive ultimately decisive in war.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Governance
  • Author: Walter B. Slocombe, Matthew Kroenig
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: NATO's Strategic Concept (SC), adopted at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010, includes a number of propositions that define NATO's nuclear policy. Most fundamentally, NATO's most important strategy document declares that "[d]eterrence, based on an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional capabilities, remains a core element of" the Alliance's "overall strategy."
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, International Security
  • Author: Guillaume Lasconjarias, Jean-loup Samaan
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In recent years, the issue of missile defense has become one of the most prominent features of Israel's military debate. During Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip on November 2012, air defense systems such as Iron Dome proved crucial against rockets targeting Israeli territory. As a result, they have attracted increasing political attention. Against this backdrop, international media and policy circles now focus on Israel as the most advanced case to test the validity of missile defense. NATO, in particular, has dedicated a lot of attention to the Israeli experience in missile defense and the lessons to be drawn from it.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Karl-Heinz Kamp
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: While the withdrawal of all combat forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 will be welcomed in most NATO capitals, it raises stark questions for the future of the Atlantic Alliance. Can it justify its existence without a direct threat to the security of its members? Is it enough for NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to state that the Alliance has to evolve from “deployed NATO to prepared NATO,” without answering the question: prepared for what? Or will NATO have to accept that it is now less relevant, placing itself in standby mode to hibernate until it is reawakened by a new mission inside or outside Europe?
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, North America
  • Author: Barry Pavel, Magnus Nordenman
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The current turbulent global landscape recalls past key transition points in history such as 1815, 1919, 1945, and 1989, when the path forward was not so clear-cut and the world faced the possibility of very different global futures. As the US National Intelligence Council suggested in its landmark 2012 report, Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, the transatlantic community is entering a new era in history that will pose a very different set of challenges and offer unprecedented opportunities. If it is to survive, the NATO Alliance must navigate this crucial period by fundamentally reconsidering its place in the global landscape as well as its future roles, missions, and functions from a strategic, long-term perspective. The world is changing rapidly, and if NATO does not adapt with foresight for this new era, then it will very likely disintegrate.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, Demographics, Economics, Politics, Military Strategy, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jason Healey
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: For more than two decades, cyber defenders, intelligence analysts, and policymakers have struggled to determine the source of the most damaging attacks. This "attribution problem" will only become more critical as we move into a new era of cyber conflict with even more attacks ignored, encouraged, supported, or conducted by national governments.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Terrorism, International Security, Reform
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Jason Healey, Leendert van Bochoven
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: NATO's central missions of collective defense and cooperative security must be as effective in cyberspace as in the other domains of air, land, sea, and space.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Cooperation, Science and Technology, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Barry Pavel, Jeffrey Lightfoot
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The "tough love" farewell speech of former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates last June was more than a major policy speech on the state of NATO. His remarks were also highly symbolic, coming from a legendary Cold Warrior whose forty-year career had been oriented around the transatlantic relationship. Secretary Gates used his final appearance at the bully pulpit not only to warn Europeans that declining defense budgets risked undermining the credibility of the Alliance among US policymakers, but also that a new wave of American decision-makers would not necessarily share his generation's knowledge of, concern for, or sentimental attachment to the transatlantic alliance.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, International Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Middle East, North America
  • Author: Jeffrey Lightfoot, Simona Kordosova
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Imagine for a moment if in the autumn of 1945 the great leaders of the transatlantic community had let the ravages and cynicism of war strip them of their vision, ambition, and hope for a better future for mankind. Who could have blamed Jean Monnet, Harry Truman, Robert Schumann, George Marshall, and others if they had decided that the idea of forging an enduring Atlantic community of shared security, prosperity, and values was just too difficult to achieve and too hard to explain to their embittered and weary citizens? Yet without their sheer will to overcome Europe's history of chauvinistic bloodshed and America's instincts for insularity, the world would be far less safe and free.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Democratization, Globalization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jason Healey
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Over the course of 2011, the United States government released a coordinated set of policies that represents the most energetic cyber statecraft in nearly a decade.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Jason Healey
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Since the Internet makes us all neighbors, more nations are likely to be affected by conflicts in cyberspace than in the air, land, or sea. Nations are increasingly looking to limit potential cyber conflicts using the same devices that have limited more traditional wars: treaties, conventions, and norms.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Cooperation, Science and Technology, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jason Healey
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Experts have warned about a massive surprise cyber attack since at least 1991, when Winn Schwartau testified to Congress about the dangers of an "electronic Pearl Harbor." More recently, the analogy has changed to a "cyber 9/11" but the fear is generally the same: the dependence of modern economies and societies on cyberspace means a digital attack could fundamentally disrupt our way of life and be remembered for decades as the day everything changed.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Science and Technology, Terrorism
  • Author: Jason Healey, Leendert van Bochoven
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The perfect is the enemy of the good in both military alliances and cyber security. The dream cyber warning network would detect most attacks before they occur and quickly detect and stop the rest, preferably automatically. Unfortunately, this is currently feasible only for extremely small and heterogeneous organizations willing to commit significant resources, such as financial institutions. The challenges for a military alliance of twenty-eight nations with widely varying budgets and needs are much harder to meet.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Science and Technology
  • Author: Harlan Ullman
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Regardless of how the conflict in Afghanistan (along with NATO's role, presence, and draw down) is resolved, one consequence will be to increase the importance of U.S. European Command (EUCOM) both in Europe and for the entire transatlantic community. Whether Operation Enduring Freedom and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) produce a stunning victory in which Afghanistan emerges as a stable state under the rule of law with a viable government or a rocky withdrawal in the midst of continuing violence with no clear solution in sight, NATO nations will have long tired of that war. Fortunately, the Lisbon Summit with a 2014 end date has eased domestic political pressures over Afghanistan. However, that relief is by no means permanent.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Europe
  • Author: Walt Slocombe
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: What Does the 2010 Strategic Concept Say (and Not Say) About Nuclear Weapons Issues? The Strategic Concept (SC) adopted at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010 includes a number of propositions that define NATO's future nuclear policy which, explicitly or otherwise, serve to highlight the questions that remain to be resolved. Most fundamentally, the SC, having enumerated NATO's "core tasks" as collective defense against attack, management of crises "that have the potential to affect Alliance security," and cooperation with others "to enhance international security," declares that "[d]eterrence, based on an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional capabilities, remains a core element of our overall strategy."
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, International Security
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, Lisbon
  • Author: Les Bloom, John Savage
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The best deterrence to cyber conflict is to aggressively pursue national and international risk mitigation at the same time that we explore a full-spectrum of cyber capabilities. Nations should strive to reduce the emerging cyber arms race by developing a basis for trust. The international community has already taken useful steps in this direction with, for example, the European Convention on Cybercrime and the UN report on cyber security which calls for a set of actions that would make information infrastructures more secure.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Terrorism, War, International Security
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Damon M. Wilson
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As Qaddafi's regime crumbles and Libyan rebels assume the mantle of governance, many are bemoaning rather than celebrating the role of NATO in the Libyan revolution. As the Alliance winds down its military campaign and contemplates next steps, now is the time to draw lessons from what worked and what did not, and to prepare to act on these lessons in time for NATO's next summit in Chicago in May 2012.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, North Africa, Chicago
  • Author: Jason Healey
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: If you pull a knife on a gunslinger, don't be surprised if you get shot. This is one of the messages of the president's International Strategy for Cyberspace. Some media outlets have taken to extreme headlines, such as OBAMA RESERVES RIGHT TO NUKE HACKERS, or HACK US AND WE'LL BOMB YOU. These headlines, although perhaps intended as hyperbole, highlight the routine misunderstandings that take place when applying national security concepts to the technical domain of cyberspace. This issue brief will analyze the relevant part of the Strategy, especially focusing on whether, and how, the United States might respond to cyber attacks, and under what circumstances, if any, such responses would be nuclear.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kurt Volker, Kevin P. Green
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The topic of reforming NATO—and in particular cutting costs and improving efficiencies—has been with the Alliance for decades. Throw-away lines such as "Why does NATO have 400 committees?" or "Cut the International Staff by 10 percent" have often been used to signal a rough determination to streamline NATO and make it more efficient.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, International Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jason Healey
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The word cyberspace is nearly thirty years old, and during that time, academics, theorists, and strategists have been considering how conflict will unfold in this new domain .As yet, though, little has been published on what kinds of different futures may await us .For example, many writers seem to imply that cyberspace itself is relatively static, when it is in fact constantly transformed through changes in usage and technology. Indeed, today's generation of digital natives has never known a world without the Internet, and their experience of cyberspace—especially in terms of security, privacy, and collaboration—will be very different from that of previous generations weaned on mainframes, modems, desktop computers, and AOL. If cyberspace is different and younger generations use it differently, then future conflict and cooperation in cyberspace may be unlike anything experienced or even envisioned by Cold War-era thinkers and strategists.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: North America
  • Author: Martin Murphy, Lee Willett
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In 2005 US Navy ship numbers fell lower than at any point since 1916 and little has changed since then. The Royal Navy now has fewer ships and sailors than Nelson had at Trafalgar. It is of course true that counting hulls is no longer a reliable way of assessing naval power yet numbers matter.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Cooperation, International Security, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Julian Lindley-French, Harlan Ullman
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: NATO must do more with less. The only way this can work is to exercise our intellects and brainpower. That leads to the absolute need for a continuous learning process in which knowledge and understanding are the goals. The complexity of the strategic environment demands no less. This applies to all ranks and services.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America
  • Author: Damon Wilson, Jonathan Ruemelin, Jeff Lightfoot
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This week, David Cameron will visit Washington for the first time as Prime Minister to reaffirm Great Britain's 'special relationship' with the United States. Cameron will look to build on his June meeting with President Obama in Toronto as well as the recent visit of UK defense secretary Liam Fox by returning to Great Britain with concrete deliverables in exchange for London's long-standing staunch support of U.S. foreign policy goals. Despite his criticism of former PMs Blair and Brown's handling of the relationship with Washington, Cameron has vowed early in his tenure as prime minister to continue the UK's strong engagement in Afghanistan and to put a priority on relations with Washington. His ministers have nonetheless cautioned that London would not "slavishly" follow Washington's lead. A successful visit, as judged by the British public and media, will help end the unhelpful debate in the UK on the health of the 'special relationship.'
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, North America
  • Author: Franklin D. Kramer
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Cyber security has emerged as a critical challenge in an era defined by global interconnectedness and digital information. While there are multiple ongoing efforts that seek to enhance cyber security, an integrated governmental strategy to meet that challenge has only begun and has yet fully to take shape. All strategies demand recognition of risk and prioritization of resources, and cyber strategy will be no different.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Intelligence, Science and Technology, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Chris Demchak
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: A spate of attacks from both state and nonstate actors have provoked other Western nations to join the United States in emphasizing cyber security as a national security priority. As noted by Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn last July, any peer state, proxy organization, or skilled group of close friends anywhere in the world with unfettered internet access is able to attack in milliseconds due to the global, open, and easy nature of the world's now huge telecommunications systems. The world of "cybered conflict" is one in which even the part-time foreign attacker can to an unprecedented degree flexibly choose the scale, proximity, and precision of any attempted attack. They can at their leisure aim at any state's military, government or commercial networks, or those of any of our allies, or associates.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Sarwar A. Kashmeri
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: General Brent Scowcroft, dean of the American foreign policy establishment, has proposed a deceptively simple test to determine whether NATO is still relevant. His test is a question: "What is NATO for? "
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Bruno Gruselle
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In France, missile defense comes with a long and complicated history. When the U.S. Congress passed the "National Missile Defense Act of 1999," which called for the development and deployment of a U.S. national missile defense system, Paris reacted negatively. At that time, France still considered missile defense to be both unnecessary and destabilizing. French policy makers still considered the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction to be the cornerstones of strategic stability. French thinkers viewed missile defense as jeopardizing both the doctrine and the Treaty, as well as risking a new arms race with Russia.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, France, North America
  • Author: Edgar Buckley
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: No wonder everyone looks forward to a positive decision on making territorial missile defense a NATO task at the upcoming Lisbon Summit. Allies will breathe a collective sigh of relief for two reasons. First, proliferation of missile technology has exposed Europe to real future risks and threats, which can only be countered defensively through early preparation and deployments. Second, absent such a decision, the United States' Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) – to be deployed in Europe whatever the summit decides – is a fundamental challenge to NATO, detracting from its overall responsibility for collective defense and raising acutely uncomfortable issues, such as the prospect of U.S.-commanded defenses operating in parallel with Article 5 defense of NATO.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Europe