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  • Author: Andre LeSage
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Despite its reputation for peace and stability in a troubled region, the East African country of Tanzania is experiencing a rising number of militant Islamist attacks that have targeted local Christian leaders and foreign tourists, as well as popular bars and restaurants. These attacks, which began in 2012, rarely make the headlines of international media. However, they should serve as a wake-up call for U.S. policymakers to increase short-term engagement with Tanzanian officials and support for Tanzanian security agencies to preempt the emergence of a more significant threat to U.S. and international interests in East Africa.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Tanzania
  • Author: Phillip C. Saunders
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Upon taking office in January 2009, Obama administration officials proclaimed a U.S. “return to Asia.” This pronouncement was backed with more frequent travel to the region by senior officials (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's first trip was to Asia) and increased U.S. participation in regional multilateral meetings, culminating in the decision to sign the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Treaty of Amity and Cooperation and to participate in the East Asia Summit (EAS) at the head-of-state level. The strategic “rebalance to Asia” announced in November 2011 builds on these earlier actions to deepen and institutionalize U.S. commitment to the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Asia
  • Author: John W. Parker, Michael Kofman
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Russia's institution of a ban on American adoptions of Russian orphans, an appalling response by the Duma to U.S. sanctions against officials involved in the Sergei Magnitsky case,1 was a clear indicator that bilateral relations will assume a lower priority in the next 4 years for both capitals. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the measure despite open misgivings by some of his own key aides and against the opposition of most of Russia's civil society. The Russian Internet response was scathing, producing an instant winner for best sick joke of 2012: “An educated American family has decided to adopt a developmentally disabled Duma deputy.”.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: David C. Gompert, Michael Kofman
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The United States and Russia have sought to reduce the danger of nuclear war by limiting offensive strategic capabilities through negotiated agreements, relying on mutual deterrence based on reciprocal threats and the corresponding fear of retaliation. Although nuclear arsenals have been pared, this is fundamentally the same way the United States and Soviet Union sought to reduce the danger of nuclear war during the Cold War, when both were impelled to do so because they were adversaries and able to do so despite being adversaries. It is ironic—not to say unimaginative—that although the two are no longer adversaries, they stick to a path chosen when they were. This current approach is inadequate given new strategic vulnerabilities brought on by technological change. Both the opportunity and the need now exist for a different, more ambitious approach to avoiding strategic conflict—one designed for new possibilities as well as new vulnerabilities. The United States and Russia can and should raise their sights from linear numerical progress to qualitative transformation of their strategic relationship.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Science and Technology, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Isabelle François
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In 2012, the U.S. Department of Defense published Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense. In this strategy document, the Defense Department outlines the new focus of U.S. efforts on threats emanating primarily from South Asia and the Middle East, spelling out the U.S. commitment to address them by working with allies and partners, acknowledging Europe as the “home to some of America's most stalwart allies and partners.” It clearly states that the United States “has enduring interests in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe as well as bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization], which is critical to the security of Europe and beyond.” Moreover, the document characterizes engagement with Russia as important and reiterates U.S. commitment to continue efforts toward building a closer relationship in areas of mutual interest, encouraging Russia to be a contributor across a broad range of issues. The strategic environment will therefore remain one of partnership with Europe and Russia as nations work out the consequences of a rebalancing of forces in the near future.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, International Cooperation, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: U.S. policy toward the continued rule of Syrian President Bashar al- Asad is partly based on the impact his rule has had in Syria. Asad's fall might not bring improvement for the Syrian people. But the argument that Asad, odious as he may be, provides stability now looks less and less convincing. Whether Asad stays or falls, the current Syrian unrest could have profound implications on the Middle East in at least four ways: the impact on Iran, Asad's closest strategic partner; the perception of the power of the United States and its allies; the stability of neighboring states; and the impact on Israel. The more Asad falls on hard times, the more Tehran has to scramble to prevent damage to its image with the “Arab street” and to its close ally, Lebanese Hizballah. Asad's overthrow is by no means assured, and U.S. instruments to advance that objective are limited. The U.S. Government decision to call for his overthrow seems to have rested on a judgment that the prospects for success were good and the payoff in the event of success would be high.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Civil War, Government, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Evan Munsing, Christopher Lamb
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-South) is well known within the U.S. Government as the "gold standard" for interagency cooperation and intelligence fusion, despite its preference for keeping a low profile and giving other agencies the credit for its successes. It is often cited as a model for whole-of-government problem-solving in the literature on interagency collaboration, and other national security organizations have tried to copy its approach and successes. Despite the plaudits and attention, the way that JIATF-South actually operates has only received superficial analysis. In fact, few people actually understand why JIATF-South works as well as it does or how its success might be replicated.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, War on Drugs, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jerry Warner, James Ramsbotham, Ewelina Tunia, James J. Valdes
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Evaluating the potential threats posed by advances in biotechnology, especially genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and synthetic biology remains a contentious issue. Some believe that, inevitably, these advances will lead to a catastrophic biological attack. Others believe that, despite these advances, the scientific and technical requirements, as well as the fundamental laws of natural selection will prevent such an attack.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Terrorism, Biosecurity
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mark Fields, Ramsha Ahmed
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Ten years ago in Bonn, Germany, the United Nations Envoy to Afghanistan, Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, and U.S. Envoy to the Afghan Opposition, Ambassador James Dobbins, led a diverse group of international diplomats and warriors to consensus and charted the political course for Afghanistan well into the decade. The process that led to the Bonn Agreement (Bonn 2001, or Bonn I) reflects the best of U.S. and United Nations statesmanship and was the result of the effective application of military and diplomatic power.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, NATO, United Nations, War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Germany
  • Author: David C. Gompert, Phillip C. Saunders
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The United States and China each have or will soon have the ability to inflict grave harm upon the other by nuclear attack, attacks on satellites, or attacks on computer networks. Paradoxically, despite each country's power, its strategic vulnerability is growing. Particularly since September 11, 2001, Americans have sensed this vulnerability. The extent to which the Chinese sense it is unclear. Vulnerability to nuclear attack is familiar to both countries. But the United States and China are also becoming exposed to damage in space and cyberspace because of their growing reliance on those domains for their prosperity and security, as well as each side's increasing antisatellite (ASAT) and cyber war capabilities. For China, economic integration, production, and commerce-and thus, sustained growth and perhaps political stability-depend vitally on data sharing, making networks and satellites as strategic as they are for the United States. All three strategic domains are "offense dominant"-technologically, economically, and operationally. Defenses against nuclear, ASAT, and cyber weapons are difficult and yield diminishing results against the offensive capabilities of large, advanced, and determined states such as the United States and China. Nuclear weapons are patently offense dominant because a single explosion can destroy a city. Moreover, it is easier and cheaper for China to improve the survivability of its strategic missile launchers, to multiply deliverable weapons, and to penetrate U.S. missile defenses than it is for the United States to maintain a nuclear first-strike capability. Though it has yet to admit it, the United States cannot deny the Chinese the second-strike nuclear deterrent they are determined to have. Satellites are inherently vulnerable: conspicuous, easy to track, and fragile. Destroying them or degrading their performance is easier than protecting them. ASAT interceptors are much cheaper than satellites. Likewise, defending computer networks becomes harder and more expensive as the scale and sophistication of the attacker increase. The woes of the cyber defender are compounded by integrated global markets and supply chains for digital components and equipment-in which U.S. and state-affiliated Chinese corporations are leading competitors-increasing the potential for strategic degradation of network infrastructure and disruption of services. In general, strategic offense dominance gives each country an incentive to invest in offense, which in turn spurs the other to keep pace. Apart from offense dominance, the advance of technology has slashed the costs in lives and treasure of strategic attack, as capabilities have graduated from mass invasion to heavy bombing to nuclear weapons to ASAT and cyber war. If one ignores possible deaths resulting from disruption of public services, ASAT and cyber war might even be considered "nonviolent." As the number of expected casualties from strategic attack options drops, so could international opprobrium and the inhibitions of decisionmakers. Absent deterrence, thresholds for war in space and cyberspace could become perilously low as offenses improve.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Foreign Policy, Communism, Intelligence, Nuclear Weapons, Science and Technology, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia