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  • Author: Victor Esin
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: The stabilizing role of the INF Treaty is still relevant. Its importance has even increased against the background of the sharp deterioration of relations between Russia and the West in recent years due to the well-known events in Ukraine, aggravated by mutual sanctions and NATO’s military build-up near Russian borders. Preserving the INF Treaty, which has now become the subject of controversy and mutual non-compliance accusations between Russia and the United States, is therefore doubly important.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nonproliferation, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Charles Harry, Nancy Gallagher
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: Faced with rapidly growing cyber threats, organizational leaders, and government officials cannot reliably secure all data and digital devices for which they are responsible. The best they can do is conduct strategic risk management. That requires a systematic way to categorize potential attacks and estimate consequences in order to set priorities, allocate resources, and mitigate losses. The 2018 U.S. National Cyber Strategy holds government officials accountable for doing cyber risk management based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework and recommendations from not-for-profit organizations such as the Center for Internet Security (CIS) and ISACA. Yet, none of these policy documents and best practice guides actually provide the necessary analytical tools. As a result, public agencies, private companies, and non-profit groups that try to do risk assessment often feel overwhelmed rather than empowered to make strategic cybersecurity decisions. The Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) has developed an analytical framework that provides four essential building blocks needed to satisfy the principles in the NIST Standard Framework and other best practice guides: 1. A standardized system for classifying cyber threats and events by their effects. 2. Tools to associate organizational functions with IT topologies. 3. Algorithms to assess the severity of disruptive and exploitative cyber events. 4. A method to understand the integrated nature of risk across different parts of a simple organization, major divisions of a complex organization, or interconnected organizations in a complex system. These building blocks can be combined in different ways to answer critical questions, such as: • What is the range of cyber risks to different types of organizations? • Which threats pose the greatest risk to a specific department or organization? • How could an attack on one part of an IT network affect other organizational functions? • What is the accumulated risk across a critical infrastructure sector or geography? Using a comprehensive, consistent, and repeatable method to categorize and measure risk can enhance communication and decision-making among executives who make strategic decisions for organizations and their IT staff with day-to-day responsibility for cybersecurity. It can facilitate cooperation between public officials and private industry who share responsibility for different components of national critical infrastructure. It can inform media coverage and public debate about important policy questions, such as which decisions about cybersecurity should be purely private decisions, whether government should incentivize or mandate certain cybersecurity choices, and when a cyber attack warrants some type of military response.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Cybersecurity, Media
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Poorti Sapatnekar
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: While nation-states remain primary protagonists in global governance processes, it is increasingly recognized that non-state actors (NSAs) are key players in areas ranging from human rights and civil conflict to infectious disease and nuclear non-proliferation. The area of climate change is an illustrative example. NSAs have been active participants in the margins of the Conference of Parties (COP), the annual meeting of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), since its inception in 1995 by holding side-events and protests, raising awareness, lobbying, etc. NSAs have also contributed to the development of a “regime complex” in climate governance at the same time. Yet, the determinants and effects of that participation are not well understood. The COP offers a unique opportunity to examine one piece of this puzzle; namely, the factors that enable and motivate NSAs to participate in the design and implementation of international agreements. We use an original dataset of NSA participants at the COP from 1995 to 2016, to examine whether NSAs are well positioned to help states overcome key barriers to cooperation. As NSAs ramp up their participation in climate governance and elsewhere, this study offers insight into their motivations and potential impact on governance outcomes.
  • Topic: Climate Change, United Nations, Non State Actors, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Naoko Aoki
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: After conducting a record number of missile and nuclear tests in 2016 and 2017, North Korea dramatically changed its policy approach and embarked on a diplomatic initiative in 2018. It announced a self-imposed halt on missile and nuclear tests and held summit meetings with the United States, China, and South Korea from spring of that year. Why did North Korea shift its policy approach? This paper evaluates four alternative explanations. The first is that the change was driven by North Korea’s security calculus. In other words, North Korea planned to achieve its security goals first before turning to diplomacy and successfully followed through with this plan. The second is that U.S. military threats forced North Korea to change its course. The third is that U.S.-led sanctions caused North Korea to shift its policy by increasing economic pain on the country. The fourth is that diplomatic initiatives by South Korea and others prompted North Korea to change its position. This paper examines the actions and statements of the United States, North Korea, China, South Korea, and Russia leading up to and during this period to assess these four explanations. It concludes that military threats and economic pain did not dissuade North Korea from obtaining what it considered an adequate level of nuclear deterrence against the United States and that North Korea turned to diplomacy only after achieving its security goals. External pressure may have encouraged North Korea to speed up its efforts to develop the capacity to strike the United States with a nuclear-armed missile, the opposite of its intended effect. Diplomatic and economic pressure may have compelled Kim Jong Un to declare that North Korea had achieved its “state nuclear force” before conducting all the nuclear and ballistic missile tests needed to be fully confident that it could hit targets in the continental United States. These findings suggest that if a pressure campaign against North Korea is to achieve its intended impact, the United States has to more carefully consider how pressure would interact with North Korean policy priorities. Pressure should be applied only to pursue specific achievable goals and should be frequently assessed for its impact.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nonproliferation, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Nancy Gallagher
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: China and the United States view each other as potential adversaries with mixed motives and divergent value systems, yet both can benefit from cooperation to reduce the risk of war, avert arms races, and prevent proliferation or terrorist access to weapons of mass destruction. The two countries have more common interests, fewer ideological differences, and greater economic interdependence than the United States and the Soviet Union had during the Cold War. In principle, arms control broadly defined, i.e., cooperation to reduce the likelihood of war, the level of destruction should war occur, the cost of military preparations, and the role of threats and use of force in international relations, could be at least as important in this century as it was in the last. In practice, though, China’s rise as a strategic power has not been matched by a corresponding increase in the kinds of cooperative agreements that helped keep the costs and risks of superpower competition from spiraling out of control. Why not? This paper argues that because China’s strategy rests on different assumptions about security and nuclear deterrence than U.S. strategy does, its ideas about arms control are different, too. China has historically put more value on broad declarations of intent, behavioral rules, and self-control, while the United States has prioritized specific quantitative limits on capabilities, detailed verification and compliance mechanisms, and operational transparency. When progress has occurred, it has not been because China finally matched the United States in some military capability, or because Chinese officials and experts “learned” to think about arms control like their American counterparts do. Rather, it has happened when Chinese leaders believed that the United States and other countries with nuclear weapons were moving toward its ideas about security cooperation--hopes that have repeatedly been disappointed. Understanding Chinese attitudes toward security cooperation has gained added importance under the Trump administration for two reasons. Trump’s national security strategy depicts China and Russia as equally capable antagonists facing the United States in a “new era of great power competition,” so the feasibility and desirability of mutually beneficial cooperation with China have become more urgent questions. The costs and risks of coercive competition will keep growing until both sides accept that they outweigh whatever benefits might accrue from trying to maximize power and freedom of action in a tightly interconnected world.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Xu Chunyang
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: The Chinese nuclear industry is actively pursuing international trade under China’s new “Go Global” policy. This development could strain Chinese nuclear export control systems in the coming decades. This paper investigates the evolution of the Chinese nuclear export control regime from the late 1970s to the present, describes the current state of the Chinese export control system, and investigates recent Chinese efforts to build a more robust system. It finds that although the Chinese strategic export control systems have grown tremendously since they first took shape and the capacity of the government to implement these controls has grown as well, significant improvements in both the legal basis for the controls and the capacity of institutions involved are still needed, including in how current laws define exports, in how government bodies are equipped to investigate violations, and in how violations are prosecuted. The Ministry of the Commerce is preparing a new “Export Control Law” that is expected to come into effect soon and to provide the basis for more robust controls that address many of the deficiencies identified above. The Chinese government’s growing commitment to undertaking its international obligations and safeguarding the peaceful use of nuclear energy provides reason for optimism, but in the near term, the effectiveness of these corrective efforts will depend on the completion, implementation, and enforcement of the new law.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Sara Z. Kutchesfahani
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes China’s words and actions regarding the Nuclear Security Summits to better understand what Chinese leadership on nuclear security could look like in the future. It finds that China accomplished the many things it said it would do during the summit process. The paper also explores how China’s policy and actions in other nuclear arenas could be paired with Chinese nuclear security policy to form a coherent agenda for nuclear risk reduction writ large. Consequently, the paper addresses how China doing as it says and does – per nuclear security – may be used as a way in which to inform its future nuclear security roles and responsibilities. In particular, it assesses China’s opportunities to assume a leadership role within this crucial international security issue area, especially at a time where U.S. leadership has waned.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Nilsu Gören
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: Turkey and NATO are experiencing a mutual crisis of confidence. Turkish policy makers lack confidence in NATO guarantees and fear abandonment—both prominent historical concerns. At the same time, policy makers within the alliance have begun to question Turkey’s intentions and future strategic orientation, and how well they align with NATO’s. One important factor contributing to this mistrust is Turkey’s recent dealings with Russia. Turkey is trying to contain Russian military expansion in the Black Sea and Syria by calling for a stronger NATO presence at the same time that is seeking to diversify its security strategy by improving ties with Russia and reducing its dependence on the United States and NATO. Turkey’s contradictory stance is no more apparent than in its evolving policy regarding the Syrian civil war. The threat topography of NATO’s southern flank reflects a complex web of state and non-state actors involved in asymmetric warfare. The Turkish shoot down of a Russian jet in 2015 highlighted the complexity and helped to precipitate military dialogue between NATO and Russia in Syria. Since then, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan seem to have overcome their strategic differences in their preferred outcome for Syria and have de-escalated the tensions following several rounds of peace talks headed by Russia, Turkey, and Iran and involving some, but not all, factions involved in the Syrian conflict. Yet several important questions about Turkish security policy and its impact on Turkish-U.S./NATO relations remain. What are the security implications of Turkey’s military actions on the southern flank? How is the continued fight against extremism in the region, including ISIS, likely to affect relations? And how should the West respond to Turkey’s security ties with Russia, including the Russian sale of advance military equipment to Ankara? The answers to all of these questions depend in part on whether Turkey’s behavior with Russia in Syria is a tactical move or a strategic shift away from NATO. Understanding these dynamics is key to devising policies and actions to minimize security risks between the U.S., NATO, and Russia. This paper argues that Turkey has economic and political interests in developing closer relations with Russia, but that these interests are not as strong as Turkey’s strategic alliance with the West, and NATO in particular. Turkish policymakers, who lack confidence in NATO, are pursuing short-term security interests in Syria as a way to leverage Western acquiescence to their interests regarding the Kurdish populations in Syria and Iraq. These objectives, however, are not aligned with Russia’s security objectives and do not add up to a sustainable long-term regional security strategy. In the short term, Turkey’s contradictory approaches to relations with NATO and Russia are likely to lead to ambiguity and confusion in the regional security architecture, with Syria being the most visible example of this disarray. To combat this approach, U.S. leadership and NATO should work to convince Turkey that the alliance takes Turkish security concerns in Syria seriously and to minimize the risks of Turkey’s acts as a spoiler in the region. For instance, addressing Turkish concerns over Washington’s arming of the Kurdish rebel group, the YPG, in northern Syria, will go a long way to resolving the key issue motivating Turkey’s decision to partner with Russia.
  • Topic: NATO, National Security, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Ari Kattan
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: After Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets at northern Israel during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War, the Israeli government began a crash program to find a technological solution to the rocket threat. The result was Iron Dome, which shot down its first rocket on April 7, 2011, and saw large-scale combat during wars in 2012 and 2014. The system has been hailed in Israel and worldwide as a success, with the Israeli military claiming a 90 percent interception rate. Some American defense commentators have even touted Iron Dome as evidence in favor of ballistic missile defense. However, serious questions remain about Iron Dome’s true technical efficacy, both in terms of its past performance and how it is likely to perform in the future under different conditions. Because so much about Iron Dome is classified, information provided by the Israeli military cannot be independently verified. Analyses performed by outside experts—both those questioning Iron Dome’s efficacy and those defending the Israeli government’s claims—are inconclusive. Assuming for the sake of argument that Iron Dome did, in fact, perform as advertised during its previous engagements, it is far from certain that it will be as successful in future engagements, where the volume of rocket fire will be higher and the rockets more accurate. This paper argues that Israel may have already reached “peak Iron Dome,” and the system’s military and political benefits will decrease in future wars until another technological breakthrough is made on rocket defense. This is not to say that Iron Dome was not worth the cost and should not have been procured. But expectations about Iron Dome from the Israeli military, Israeli civilians, and interested parties abroad should be tempered. If they are not, Iron Dome’s decreased success rate in future wars may pose political problems for Israel domestically and give Israel’s adversaries a decisive propaganda victory.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Missile Defense, Hezbollah, Propaganda, Anti-Semitism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Charles Harry, Nancy Gallagher
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: Publicity surrounding the threat of cyber-attacks continues to grow, yet immature classification methods for these events prevent technical staff, organizational leaders, and policy makers from engaging in meaningful and nuanced conversations about the risk to their organizations or critical infrastructure. This paper provides a taxonomy of cyber events that is used to analyze over 2,431 publicized cyber events from 2014-2016 by industrial sector. Industrial sectors vary in the scale of events they are subjected to, the distribution between exploitive and disruptive event types, and the method by which data is stolen or organizational operations are disrupted. The number, distribution, and mix of cyber event types highlight significant differences by sector, demonstrating that strategies may vary based on deeper understandings of the threat environment faced across industries. EXPLORE:
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, D.C.