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  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: On the occasion of the April 2015 Global Conference on Cyberspace meeting in The Hague, the Global Commission on Internet Governance calls on the global community to build a new social compact between citizens and their elected representatives, the judiciary, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, business, civil society and the Internet technical community, with the goal of restoring trust and enhancing confidence in the Internet. It is now essential that governments, collaborating with all other stakeholders, take steps to build confidence that the right to privacy of all people is respected on the Internet. This statement provides the Commission’s view of the issues at stake and describes in greater detail the core elements that are essential to achieving a social compact for digital privacy and security.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Communications, Mass Media, Governance, Digital Economy, Internet
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Henry D. Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: With the world focused on the nuclear crisis in Iran, it is tempting to think that addressing this case, North Korea, and the problem of nuclear terrorism is all that matters and is what matters most. Perhaps, but if states become more willing to use their nuclear weapons to achieve military advantage, the problem of proliferation will become much more unwieldy. In this case, U.S. security will be hostage not just to North Korea, Iran, or terrorists, but to nuclear proliferation more generally, diplomatic miscalculations, and wars between a much larger number of possible players. This, in a nutshell, is the premise of Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future, which explores what nuclear futures we may face over the next 3 decades and how we currently think about this future. Will nuclear weapons spread in the next 20 years to more nations than just North Korea and possibly Iran? How great will the consequences be? What can be done?
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, International Security, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Ariel Cohen, Ivan Benovic
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, a number of gas disputes between Russia and Central and Eastern European countries have unveiled the strategic dependence of Europe on Russian piped gas. The recent Ukrainian crisis demonstrated that Europe has a desperate need to improve the security of its gas supply. The United States is interested in the economic stability and growth of Europe, because the European Union (EU) is its principal and largest economic partner. The United States and the EU enjoy the largest trade and investment relationship in the world, which should not be jeopardized by disruptive, anti-status-quo powers. Europe’s energy independence is not only an economic interest of America, but also a political and security one. Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas undermines European unity and weakens the primary U.S. allies in their relations with Russia. U.S. Armed Forces in Europe and the U.S. Army in particular can and should play an important role in promoting energy security. This involvement includes: increased situational awareness; deployment to the sensitive areas; and enhanced training activities, including with the allies of the U.S. military in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Military Affairs, Gas
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Soviet Union
  • Author: Professor John F. Troxell
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: A recent editorial in The New York Times asked the question, “Who threatens America most?” It proceeded to compare recent pronouncements by incoming senior military leaders, the President, the FBI director, and finally the Director of National Intelligence. The major candidates included the usual nation states (Russia, North Korea, and China), a few nonstate terrorist organizations (ISIS and al-Qaeda), and a couple of unattributed capabilities (weapons of mass destruction and cyberattacks). The editorial concluded with the lament: “If officials cannot agree on what the most pressing threats are, how can they develop the right strategies and properly allocate resources?”1 Given the confusion and uncertainty generated by the current strategic environment, compounded by America’s resource-driven retrenchment, it is a fair question. However, I contend that we could pursue a more focused national strategy and do a better job of allocating resources if we focus on the opportunities as opposed to this wide array of threats. The opportunity that beckons is the increasingly interconnected global economy and the integral role played by the United States in both its institutional design and future evolution. A functioning, interconnected global economy will mitigate most, if not all, of the previously mentioned threats, whereas a fractured and disconnected global economy will exacerbate them.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Economics, Governance, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Dr. James Igoe Walsh, Marcus Dr. Schulze
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Armed unmanned aerial vehicles—combat drones—have fundamentally altered the ways the United States conducts military operations aimed at countering insurgent and terrorist organizations. Drone technology is on track to become an increasingly important part of the country’s arsenal, as numerous unmanned systems are in development and will likely enter service in the future. Concerned citizens, academics, journalists, nongovernmental organizations, and policymakers have raised questions about the ethical consequences of drones and issued calls for their military use to be strictly regulated. This level of concern is evidence that the future of drone warfare not only hinges on technical innovations, but also on careful analysis of the moral and political dimensions of war. Regardless of whether drones are effective weapons, it would be difficult to sanction their use if they undermine the legitimacy of U.S. military forces or compromise the foundations of democratic government.
  • Topic: Security, Human Welfare, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Counter-terrorism, Ethics, Drones
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Professor John F. Troxell
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The recently published National Military Strategy emphasizes the unpredictability of the global security environment. According to General Dempsey, “global disorder has significantly increased while some of our comparative military advantage has begun to erode. We now face multiple, simultaneous security challenges…” General Odierno echoes this concern by pointing to the “increased velocity of instability,” and emboldened potential adversaries that have “magnified the risk to U.S. interests around the world.” Responding to this period of geopolitical uncertainty demands thoughtful and careful analysis of a wide array of strategic issues. The Strategic Studies Institutes’ (SSI) annual Key Strategic Issues List (KSIL) addresses this need by providing a list of high-priority topics organized to support the Army's most important strategic objectives, issues that must be addressed to ensure the Army of 2025 and beyond will continue to meet the needs of the nation. Part I of the KSIL lists the Chief of Staff of the Army’s top five topics, all five of which will be addressed as integrative research projects by the US Army War College. Part II, “Priority Research Areas,” is a compilation of critical topics developed by the Army War College and Commands and organizations throughout the Army. Part III consists of the Army Warfighting Challenges. Students and researchers are encouraged to get in touch with the topic sponsors listed in the document, tackle one of these issues, and contribute to the knowledge base needed to support the future direction of the Army
  • Topic: Security, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Robert D. Lamb
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The problem with the way the international community thinks about and responds to fragile states is not that we do not understand “fragility,” its causes, and its cures, but that we think of them as “states,” as coherent units of analysis. As a result of this strategic level mistake, efforts to build state capacity to contain violence and reduce poverty are at least as likely to destabilize the country as they are to help. The U.S. military should consider the destabilizing potential of its efforts to build capacity, train and equip security forces, and provide support to diplomacy and development when its partners and beneficiaries are officials of fragile states. State formation has always been an exceedingly bloody endeavor. Most stable countries worthy of the term “state” that are stable, including wealthy, Western, liberal, or democratic nation-states, came into being through complicated social processes, including war, ethnic cleansing, or genocide. That violence was followed by an institutionalization of the values and social priorities of the victors, combined with some degree of accommodation for the vanquished across and within the new state’s borders. State formation, in other words, has always been a matter of violent exclusion followed by pragmatic inclusion. In all successful states today, those processes have resulted in stable formal political systems, with a significant degree of internal consensus over how those systems should be governed. Today, a quarter of the world’s population, and half of the world’s poor people by some estimates, live in places commonly referred to as “fragile states,” beset by conflict, poverty traps, low social cohesion and, in many cases, cycles of violence and terror. These pathologies are not contained within the borders of fragile states, however. As it is ritually noted in most articles on state fragility, these are places that often generate dangerous spillovers: regional tensions, international terrorism, transnational organized crime, an inability to contain outbreaks of disease, and other problems generally associated with the term “instability.” But fragile states are not “states” in the same sense as those that are stable. They developed differently. They went through periods of tribal governance and warfare and, in some cases, territorial consolidation, as European states did, but then most were subjected to colonization by distant powers or severe domination by regional hegemons, in both cases with foreigners imposing borders and manipulating local politics, elevating one set of elites at the expense of populations with whom they did not share a tribal, ethnic, or national identity. When those foreign powers left (or reduced their footprint), the empowered elites either held on to power or were removed from power by their former subjects. In both cases, the internal fragmentation of views about governance—who should govern and how—remained and in all fragile states continues to be one of the most important determinants of fragility. The most common international responses to these pathologies tend to be exploitation by regional powers, containment by developed countries concerned about spillovers of violence, and capacity building of national institutions by international development agencies attempting to address the “root causes” of fragility by building state structures capable of governing the way “states” are supposed to govern. Looking at these two sets of countries—well governed, legitimate, and stable on one side, with poorly governed, illegitimate, and unstable on the other—it is understandable to conclude that, if only fragile states were more legitimate and better governed, they would also be more stable, peaceful, and prosperous. Post-conflict reconstruction, stabilization, poverty reduction, and other efforts to improve the quality of life for people living in fragile and conflict environments tend, therefore, to focus on building the legitimacy and capacity of state institutions, both military and civilian. Efforts to reduce the spillover of violence and terrorism likewise have key elements of state-building. When, however, has state-building ever worked? That is, when has foreign assistance to formal state institutions and civil society over an extended period of time, in places whose borders were drawn by, and whose elites were elevated by, foreign powers but where local populations do not agree with each other over basic questions of legitimate governance, ever resulted in the establishment of a stable state, one that is no longer “fragile” (in the usual definitions) or at significant risk of a return to violent politics? Consider the places often cited as state-building success stories. When I have asked proponents of state-building to name unambiguous successes, the responses most commonly include Germany and Japan after World War II, East Timor, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and sometimes Rwanda. But Germany and Japan were already states with highly developed bureaucracies that were largely left in place after their military forces were defeated. These were not cases of state-building but of state recovery and, in truth, they have little to teach us about how to stabilize fragile states. The borders of East Timor and Kosovo came into being as a result of wars; they are clear examples of state formation still in progress, and it is difficult to call Kosovo a success story when that country’s stability continues to depend so much on an international presence. Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Rwanda have made progress, but they have not been stable long enough to be considered stabilized, and certainly they continue to appear on lists of fragile states. Moreover, some post-conflict countries that have done things “right” according to the typical state-building script have dramatically regressed into violence—El Salvador is an excellent example—whereas some that have done things “wrong,” such as Laos, have managed to remain stable for more than 40 years. As a thought experiment, consider the following two possibilities. A fragile state is territorially fragmented along ethnic and sectarian lines, there are frequent civilian attacks between identity groups, the parliament and ministries are dominated by one group at the expense of the others and, as a consequence, there is constant low-level violence punctuated by periods of intense internal war and repression by the majority ethnic group, which nevertheless enjoys international recognition and assistance as “the” government and the “partner” whose “capacity” is to be built. Years of pouring resources into that government and its security forces serve only to strengthen one group at the expense of the others, providing counsel (and few incentives) to treat the other groups better while giving them the capacity to treat the other groups worse, thereby increasing the potential for conflict. Yet, even in such places, there are some stable, reasonably well-governed territories and communities that maintain a great degree of independence from the central government, with consensus on how they want to be governed, capable of collecting the resources they need to do so (in some cases democratically), and able to defend themselves against external aggression. Somaliland is an excellent example, but most fragile states have similar communities (large percentages of Afghans, for example, have reported that the conflict this past decade simply never affected their community). Such places look suspiciously like they are engaging in classic state formation, and doing so with neither support from their national governments nor recognition from the international community—whose support of their national governments often undermines local, successful state formation. I am not arguing that the international community should try to break up fragile states into more stable territories. Outsiders are not likely to be any more effective at redrawing the borders of fragile states today than the outsiders who drew the modern borders of those counties in the first place. But when a country falls apart in a civil war such that the state can no longer be said to be relevant in some areas of the country, or when the elites in control of national governing institutions fail to support or recognize the legitimacy of large segments of their own populations, due consideration should be given to those areas of the country that manage to stabilize on their own and govern the areas they control in ways that are more consistent with international norms than the central government is or had been. State-building is ineffective, and breaking up states is dangerous. International support to (if not recognition of) subnational state formation in fragile states is, therefore, among the more promising ways to think about how best to respond to fragile states. ***** The views expressed in this Strategic Insights article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. This article is cleared for public release; distribution is unlimited. ***** Organizations interested in reprinting this or other SSI and USAWC Press articles should contact the Editor for Production via e-mail at SSI_Publishing@conus.army.mil. All organizations granted this right must include the following statement: “Reprinted with permission of the Strategic Studies Institute and U.S. Army War College Press, U.S. Army War College.”
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Development, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: El Salvador, United States of America
  • Author: Dr. M. Chris Mason
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan were lost before they began, not on the battlefields, where the United States won every tactical engagement, but at the strategic level of war. In each case, the U.S. Government attempted to create a Western-style democracy in countries which were decades at least away from being nations with the sociopolitical capital necessary to sustain democracy and, most importantly, accept it as a legitimate source of governance. The expensive indigenous armies created in the image of the U.S. Army lacked both the motivation to fight for illegitimate governments in Saigon, Baghdad, and Kabul and a cause that they believed was worth dying for, while their enemies in the field clearly did not. This book examines the Afghan National Security Forces in historical and political contexts, explains why they will fail at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war, why they cannot and will not succeed in holding the southern half of the country, and what will happen in Afghanistan year-by-year from 2015 to 2019. Finally, it examines what the critical lessons unlearned of these conflicts are for U.S. military leaders, why these fundamental political lessons seem to remain unlearned, and how the strategic mistakes of the past can be avoided in the future.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Politics, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam
  • Author: Richard Dr. Weitz
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: China and Russia have engaged in an increasing number of joint exercises in recent years. These drills aim to help them deter and, if necessary, defeat potential threats, such as Islamist terrorists trying to destabilize a Central Asian government, while at the same time reassuring their allies that Russia and China would protect them from such challenges. Furthermore, the exercises and other joint Russia-China military activities have a mutual reassurance function, informing Moscow and Beijing about the other’s military potential and building mutual confidence about their friendly intentions toward one another. Finally, the joint exercises try to communicate to third parties, especially the United States, that Russia and China have a genuine security partnership and that it extends to cover Central Asia, a region of high priority concern for Moscow and Beijing, and possibly other areas, such as northeast Asia. Although the Sino-Russian partnership is limited in key respects, the United States should continue to monitor their defense relationship since it has the potential to become a more significant international security development.
  • Topic: Security, War, Governance, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • Author: Keir Giles, Major General Aleksandr V Rogovoy
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Russia’s seizure of Crimea, and ongoing operations in eastern Ukraine, have refocused attention on the Russian military as a potential cause for concern in Europe. This Letort Paper, by an influential Russian general and military academic, lays out specifically Russian views on the essential nature of strong conventional land forces, and how they may be used. With an expert commentary providing essential context and interpretation, the Paper presents a valuable insight into Russian military thinking, at a potentially critical juncture for European security.
  • Topic: Security, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Crimea