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  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Gulf has become a flashpoint for cyber conflict. Cyberspace has become an arena for covert struggle, with the United States, Israel and other nations on one side, and Iran and Russia on the other. Iran has far outpaced the GCC states in developing its cyber capabilities, both for monitoring internal dissent and deploying hackers to disrupt or attack foreign targets. Several such attacks over the past two years were likely either directed or permitted by Iranian state authorities. Even if Iran holds back from offensive actions as nuclear talks progress, the growth in Iranian capabilities remains a potential security threat for other Gulf states. The GCC countries have begun to develop their defensive capabilities, but they will need to expand their defenses and collaborate more effectively to deter future threats.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert M. Shelala II
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Concepts are not a strategy. Broad outlines do not set real priorities. A strategy requires a plan with concrete goals numbers schedules and costs for procurement, allocation, manpower, force structure, and detailed operational capabilities. For all the talk of 10 years of planned spending levels and cuts, the President and Congress can only shape the actual budget and defense program one year at a time. Unpredicted events and realities will intervene. There is a near zero real world probability that the coming plan and budget will shape the future in spite of changes in the economy, politics, entitlements, and threats to the US.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, International Cooperation, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas M. Sanderson, Rick "Ozzie" Nelson, Stephanie Sanok Kostro, Zachary I. Fellman, Rob Wise
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The bulk of international counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and related efforts over the last decade have focused on targeting a select few extremist organizations such as al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban. Yet looming security transitions, international fiscal strictures, demographic trends, religious and ethnic tensions, popular dissatisfaction, and weak governance are likely having significant and worrying effects on a wide array of militant actors around the world. A narrow focus on those groups perceived to be the most immediate threats has, at times, come at the cost of a broader understanding of militancy and how it may manifest in a given region.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Perhaps the worst part of the debate that has led to the shut down of the federal government is its almost total irrelevance. It threaten both the US economy and US national security, but it does even begin to touch upon the forces that shape the rise in entitlements spending or their underlying causes.The Congressional debate does not address the forces that have led to a form of sequestration that focuses on defense as if it were the key cause of the deficit and pressures on the debt ceiling. It does not address the irony that much of defense spending has direct benefits to the US economy and that the spending on foreign wars–the so-called OCO account–dropped from $158.8 billion in FY2011 to some $88.5 billion in FY2013, and is projected to drop to around $37 billion in FY2015. Much of the debate focuses on the Affordable Care Act or "Obama Care"–a program whose balance between federal expenditures and revenues is sufficiently uncertain so the Congressional Budget office can only make limited forecasts, but whose net impact cannot come close to the cost pressures that an aging America and rising national medical costs have put on Federal entitlements in the worst case NDS May actually have a positive impact in the best case.The following briefing provides a range of estimates that addresses the real issues that are shaping the overall pressures that poverty, an aging America, and rising medical costs are putting on the US economy and federal spending. It draws on a range of sources to show how different estimates affect key trends, but focuses on data provide by a neutral arm of the same Congress that has paralyzed the US government and whose action threaten the funding on a viable national security strategy.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Nicholas S. Yarosh, Ashley Hess
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States and the People's Republic of China (PRC) face a critical need to improve their understanding of how each is developing its military power and how to avoid forms of military competition that could lead to rising tension or conflict between the two states. This report utilizes the unclassified data available in the West on the trends in Chinese military forces. It relies heavily on the data in the US Department of Defense (DoD) Report to Congress on Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China, particularly the 2013 edition.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Far too much of the analysis of Iran's search for nuclear weapons treats it in terms of arms control or focuses on the potential threat to Israel. In reality, Iran's mix of asymmetric warfare, conventional warfare, and conventionally armed missile forces have critical weaknesses that make Iran anything but the hegemon of the Gulf. Iran's public focus on Israel also disguises the reality that its primary strategic focus is to deter and intimidate its Gulf neighbors and the United States – not Israel. It has made major progress in creating naval forces for asymmetric warfare and developing naval missiles, but it has very limited air-sea and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (IS) capabilities. It lacks modern conventional land, air, air defense and sea power, has fallen far behind the Arab Gulf states in modern aircraft and ships, and its land forces are filled with obsolete and mediocre weapons that lack maneuver capability and sustainability outside Iran. Iran needs nuclear weapons to offset these facts.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: More than a decade into the “war on terrorism,” much of the political debate in the US is still fixated on the legacy of 9/11. US politics has a partisan fixation on Benghazi, the Boston Marathon bombing, intelligence intercepts, and Guantanamo. Far too much US attention still focuses on “terrorism” at a time the US faces a much broader range of threats from the instability in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) and Islamic world. Moreover, much of the US debate ignores the fact that the US has not actually fought a “war on terrorism” over the last decade, and the US failures in using military force and civil aid in Afghanistan and Iraq. The US has not fought wars as such, but rather became involved in exercises in armed nation building where stability operations escalated into national building as a result of US occupation and where the failures in stability operations and nation building led to insurgencies that forced the US into major counterinsurgency campaigns that had little to do with counterterrorism. An analysis of the trends in the Iraq and Afghan conflicts shows that the US has not been fighting a war on terrorism since Bin Laden and Al Qaida Central were driven into Pakistan in December 2001. The US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and then made stability operations and armed nation building its key goals. It was US mishandling of these exercises in armed nation building that led to major counterinsurgency campaigns although – at least in the case of Afghanistan --the US continued to label its military operations as a struggle against “terrorism.” By 2013, the US had committed well over $1.4 trillion to these exercises in Afghanistan and Iraq. At the same time, the US made massive increases in its domestic spending on homeland defense that it rationalized as part of the fight against terrorism but often had little or nothing to do with any aspect of counterterrorism. At the same time, the US failed to develop consistent or useful unclassified statistics on the patterns in terrorism and its counterterrorism activities. The US government has never provided a meaningful break out of federal activities and spending at home or abroad which actually focus on terrorism, or any unclassified measures of effectiveness. The OMB has lumped a wide range of activities that have no relation to terrorism it its reporting on the President's budget request – activities whose total cost now approach $60 billion a year. The Department of Defense has never provided a meaningful estimate of the total cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or a break out of the small portion of total overseas contingency operations (OCO) spending actually spent on counterterrorism versus counter insurgency. The State Department and US intelligence community provide no meaningful unclassified data on the cost of their counterterrorism effort and it is unclear that they have developed any metrics at any level that show the cost-benefits of their activities. The annual US State Department country reports on terrorism come as close to an unclassified report on the status of terrorism as the US government provides. While many portions are useful, the designation of terrorist movements is often political and shows the US designation of terrorist movements conflates terrorism and insurgency. The closest the US has come to developing any metrics on terrorism has been to develop an unclassified database in the National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) that never distinguished terrorism from insurgency. This database formed the core of the statistical annex to State Department reporting, but has since been withdrawn without explanation. As this analysis shows in detail, it now has been replaced by a contractor effort that makes all of the previous mistakes made by the NCTC. The end result is a set of official reporting and statistics in the annex to the State Department report where “terrorism” remains remained poorly defined, badly structured, ignored in parts of the world, and conflates terrorism with counterinsurgency, instability, and civil war. A review of the Afghan, Iraq conflicts, and other recent conflicts in the MENA region shows just how serious these problems are in distorting the true nature of the wars the US is fighting and the threats it faces. The same is true of the unclassified reporting the US government provides on terrorism. A detailed review of the most recent State Department report on terrorism provides important insights into key terrorist movements, but the narratives generally ignore their ties to insurgent movements, their statistical data include some major insurgent movements and exclude others, and many of the data seem to include violence that is not truly terroristic in character.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Maren Leed
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: At present, the defense policy landscape is replete with arguments, many of which are ultimately based in the lack of a common vision among both elites and within the broader population about the role of the U.S. military in the future. Cyber operations are one element of these debates, although much of the discussion has centered around how best to defend against a growing cyber threat, the role of the Defense Department in that defense, and tensions between civil liberties and security interests. Occasionally, greater attention is paid to questions about the U.S. use of cyber offensively, which brings with it questions of precedent, deterrence, international norms, and a host of other challenges. But it is also apparent that U.S. leaders have already approved the use of offensive cyber capabilities, though under tight restrictions. While not ignoring this larger context, the specific question this report examines is whether the Defense Department should make a more deliberate effort to explore the potential of offensive cyber tools at levels below that of a combatant command.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Intelligence, Science and Technology, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Rick "Ozzie" Nelson, Ally Pregulman, Rob Wise, Briana Fitch, Melissa Hersh
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Given India's rapid development, the nation has become an increasingly vital world actor. India has the 11th largest economy in the world, and with its annual economic growth rate averaging 7 percent per year since 1997, it could surpass the United States and China to become the world's largest economy by 2050. This economic capacity facilitated billions of dollars in investments since 2006 to expand and upgrade India's defense and security capabilities, including the launch of its first nuclear- powered submarine and the ongoing acquisition of a fleet of aircraft carriers. The growth of India's economic and military sectors increases its strategic importance to the United States and other partners interested in ensuring stability and security in Asia.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Terrorism, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, South Asia, India
  • Author: David J. Berteau, Gregory Sanders, Jesse Ellman, Rhys McCormick
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has been analyzing and reporting on contract spending for national security and across the federal government. This report analyzes contracting for products, services, and research and development (R) by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and its key components. It provides an in-depth look at the trends currently driving nearly 70 percent of all federal contract dollars throughout the growth and subsequent inflection of defense spending of the 2000–2012 study period. This third edition of the DoD report updates reports from previous years and provides greater depth of analysis. Rather than primarily reporting the changes across dozens of graphs, the analysis lists key factors behind growth or decline. However, the ability to dive deeply into raw data is as important to many CSIS readers. To meet that need, CSIS has significantly upgraded the project website (http://www.csis.org/NSPIR/DoD ) to include the graphs and table contained within this report as well as variants by defense component and by product/service area. This web site will be a living repository. Throughout the year, the study team will publish and update the data underlying shorter publications on key issues relevant to the defense- industrial base.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: United States