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  • Author: Carrie Cordero
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Congressional oversight is essential for providing accountability for the activities of the intelligence services.1 Effective oversight by the congressional intelligence committees – by an independent branch of government – is needed in order to monitor the adequacy of legal authorities, the lawfulness of activities carried out under those authorities, and the responsible application of public funds for intelligence activities. As elected representatives entrusted with providing an outside check on activities that are conducted out of the public eye, members of the committees serve a critical function in facilitating accountability, transparency, and confidence in intelligence activities conducted under law.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Eric M. Brewer, Elisa Catalano Ewers
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The Trump administration has adopted an aggressive Iran strategy. The United States seeks to achieve—via the application of maximum pressure—nothing short of a fundamental change to policies that have defined the Islamic Republic for decades, if not since its founding, and have been a constant source of tension with the United States. Although the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and re-impose sanctions on Iran has garnered most of the attention, the administration also is leveraging diplomatic, law enforcement, informational, and other tools to apply pressure across a range of issues: Iran’s missile program, support for terrorism, regional influence, and human rights record
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Julia M. Santucci
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The Obama administration made efforts to advance gender equality around the world one of its core national security and foreign policy priorities, based on the premise that countries are more stable, secure, and prosperous when women enjoy the same rights as men, participate fully in their countries’ political systems and economies, and live free from violence. A growing body of research makes a compelling case about these links. Former Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Cathy Russell and former National Security Advisor Tom Donilon sum up much of the evidence in this Medium piece, noting that advancing gender equality around the world helps grow global gross domestic product, decreases hunger, strengthens the prospects for peace agreements to succeed, and counters violent extremism.1
  • Topic: International Relations, Gender Issues, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alexander Velez-Green
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The United States has long looked to Egypt as a key partner in the Middle East. Egypt’s adherence to the Camp David Accords is fundamental to Israeli security. Cairo has also been a key player in the Israeli–Palestinian peace process for many years. In addition, the Egyptian state has played an essential role in supporting the U.S. fight against global jihadism. Its provision of reliable access to the Suez Canal, Egyptian airspace, and intelligence sharing directly enables U.S. operations against al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) across the Middle East. That is not to mention the blood and treasure that Egypt itself has spent to defeat terrorist groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula and elsewhere.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Adam Klein, Madeline Christian, Matt Olsen, Tristan Campos
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is an important intelligence tool that will expire on December 31, 2017, unless Congress re-authorizes it. Here’s what it is, and how it works. First, a bit of background: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 requires the government to get a court order to intercept the electronic messages of a suspected spy or terrorist on U.S. soil. By contrast, overseas spying took place with no court oversight. That made sense for 20th century technology, because international communications rarely transited the United States. The internet made things far more complicated: now, foreigners’ communications often travel through the United States, or are stored on servers here. That produced an anomaly: FISA was forcing the government to apply Fourth Amendment safeguards when a foreign terrorist or spy’s internet messages passed through the U.S.—even though non-Americans overseas do not have Fourth Amendment rights. This overtaxed the Justice Department and made counterterrorism more difficult. To remedy this, Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which included Section 702. Section 702 creates a middle ground between U.S.-based surveillance under FISA and overseas surveillance by the NSA.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Elizabeth Rosenberg, ​Neil Bhatiya, Edorado Saravalle
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Congress adopted new sanctions in late July to codify and significantly expand U.S. financial restrictions on Russia and tightly constrain the president’s exercise of policy in this domain. The sanctions bill was driven by concerns over Russia’s interference in U.S. elections and destabilizing aggression abroad, as well as a broadly held belief by legislators that the president is mishandling critical national security issues. With these new sanctions authorities, Congress is taking an unprecedented step to assume greater control over a domain of foreign policy
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Edward Fishman, Peter Harrell, Elizabeth Rosenberg
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: North Korea has emerged as one of the most significant national security threats facing the United States and its allies today. Since leader Kim Jong Un came to power in 2011, North Korea has accelerated the pace of its nuclear tests, and appears to have made substantial progress in developing operational medium-, long-range, and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Many experts assess that if left unchecked, Pyongyang could develop the capability to strike the contiguous United States with a nuclear warhead within 5–10 years. Because of that, in June 2017 U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis characterized North Korea as “the most urgent and dangerous threat” to U.S. peace and security.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: North Korea, Global Focus
  • Author: Nicholas Heras
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and trans-Sahara regions are undergoing a period of instability and state collapse, with active civil wars raging in four of the most important countries in the region: Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya. As witnessed during the Arab uprisings of 2010–2011, the MENA region has begun to grapple with the once and future challenges of instability as the regional population grows and skews younger, economies stagnate and start to collapse, and resources become scarcer. U.S. national security policy toward the MENA and trans-Sahara regions is at a point of high uncertainty, with a new administration developing strategies to address the security threats to the United States and its partner nations being caused by the region’s civil wars.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East