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  • Publication Date: 01-2022
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: First, a lack of effective internal control prevents external oversight bodies, such as parliamentary committees, from fulfilling their role effectively. Intelligence service managers play a crucial role in facilitating scrutiny by oversight bodies not only by ensuring that major infractions are reported to the appropriate authority, but also by creating an environment that encourages cooperation with oversight bodies. Second, while transparency is essential to maintaining democratic control of government, intelligence services require a significant degree of secrecy to be effective. Consequently, intelligence services are subject to highly restricted oversight, unlike other public institutions. Effective internal control is therefore essential to rectify this inherent (and unavoidable) imbalance by ensuring that the day-to-day work of intelligence services is carried out in accordance with the law and with respect for human rights. Third, to avoid undue influence and ensure independent, objective analysis, intelligence services must retain a degree of autonomy from the executive. Executive control over intelligence services is therefore sometimes less pronounced, meaning that effective internal control is vital to ensuring intelligence services act within the rule of law. For the above reasons, intelligence services should be subject to both effective oversight and internal control. This Thematic Brief addresses the latter by examining internal control systems used in Euro-Atlantic countries.
  • Topic: Security, Intelligence, Military Strategy, Governance, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Josh Rudolph
  • Publication Date: 01-2022
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMFUS)
  • Abstract: Kleptocracies do not stop at their own borders. The same actors, networks, tactics, and resources that they wield to prevent democracy and rule of law from sprouting at home are also repurposed for foreign aggression. While cronies, oligarchs, and lesser operatives do get rich in the process, “strategic corruption” is chiefly a geopolitical weapon directed by autocratic regimes to secretly undermine the sovereignty of other countries. The three most common manifestations of strategic corruption vary on a spectrum of how directly and boldly they violate sovereignty and subvert democratic processes. Starting with the most indirect and chronic form of strategic corruption, Russia and China invest “corrosive capital” throughout Eastern Europe and the Belt and Road Initiative, respectively. They use corrupt patronage networks and opaque business dealings to spread their kleptocratic model of authoritarian governance. Those corrupt investments are usually also supported by tactics of “malign influence,” like when a minister or politician receives bribes or economic threats until they censor their political speech, advance a foreign policy initiative, or otherwise subordinate the legitimate sovereign interests entrusted to them by their own people in favor of the interests of a foreign power. Finally, the most direct and acute form of strategic corruption involves financial methods of election interference and other tactics of corrupting democratic processes. Often funded with the proceeds of kleptocracy, election interference through covert political financing has become the bailiwick of Kremlin-directed oligarchs. Separate from those three manifestations of strategic corruption—corrosive capital, malign influence, and election interference—China and Russia try to hide their dirty money and malign activities by pressuring foreign journalists into silence through surveillance, thuggery, and lawsuits. Western foreign assistance has not yet offered a coherent response to kleptocracy and strategic corruption, but that is starting to change under the Biden administration. Building resilience to this transnational threat through foreign aid will require four new approaches that are more political and coordinated than traditional development assistance. First, aid should be informed by local political analysis. More important and less used than technical reviews of laws and institutions, political analysis should center anti-corruption efforts around known corrupt activity. That starts by asking sensitive questions about which individuals, institutions, and sectors are the most corrupt, how extensively their networks of wealth and power span, and which corrupt figures must be held accountable to thoroughly purge grand corruption. Second, aid should be responsive to political shifts, scaling up and down, respectively, in response to windows of opportunity for anti-corruption reform and times of backsliding toward kleptocracy. Third, aid responses to kleptocracy should be coordinated at the regional and global levels, similarly to how grand corruption operates across borders through transnational networks of actors and tools. Fourth, anti-corruption programming should be deeply integrated across the traditional sectors of assistance, particularly health, infrastructure, energy, climate, and security. Some of these new approaches are already being prioritized under the Biden administration’s new strategy to combat corruption, particularly coordinating across tools and sectors to fight transnational corruption. But operationalizing this mission will be no small endeavor, given that anti-corruption assistance is delivered through a notoriously technocratic and apolitical bureaucracy built during the Cold War to aid socioeconomic development in individual countries steadily over decades. But getting this right offers the key to defending democracies from autocratic aggression, showing how democracy can deliver, and even helping bring foreign policy and domestic politics into alignment for the first time in a generation.
  • Topic: Corruption, Development, Finance, Kleptocracy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eastern Europe, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This brief presents some of the key effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on India’s public school education, focussing specifically on children. It begins with a discussion of the pre-pandemic status of school education and key policy shifts over the past few years, and provides an overview of the principal issues arising from the pandemic and the resulting school closures. It then offers potential policy suggestions to address these challenges, and thereby ensuring quality education to all children.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Children, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Mukta Naik
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Resilience and adaptation have become buzzwords as governments, corporations and society find ways to survive the Covid-19 pandemic and, where possible, seek to develop processes and outcomes that improve on the pre-crisis status quo. Members of the Women, Work, and the Gig Economy research consortium have also thought deeply about strategies to continue research under these challenging conditions, while considering the ethics that must underpin research at a time of great distress for people across the world. This brief summarizes the conceptual and practical approaches that consortium members have taken to address ethical concerns as well as strategic and tactical shifts in research methods within the broader, geographically diverse and evertransforming context of Covid-19. These insights draw on the deliberations of an internal workshop held in September 2020 where consortium members presented and debated their respective approaches and perspectives. In particular, the team at LIRNEasia provided substantive takeaways from their colloquium on “Research methods in a pandemic.”
  • Topic: Women, Ethics, Work Culture, COVID-19, Gig Economy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Willy Wo-Lap Lam
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Under Xi Jinping, the leadership of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has initiated multi-pronged measures to ensure the success of celebrations marking the centenary of the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in July this year and planning for the 20th CCP Congress, scheduled for the second half of 2022. The accent is on preserving political stability and further consolidating the apparently unassailable authority of President Xi, who is also CCP General Secretary and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC).
  • Topic: Media, Political Parties, Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Elizabeth Chen
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Amid the coldest winter recorded since 1966, provinces across the People’s Republic of China (PRC) struggled with the worst electrical blackouts seen in nearly a decade (OilPrice, January 8). More than a dozen cities across Zhejiang, Hunan, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Inner Mongolia, and Guangdong provinces imposed limits on off-peak electricity usage in early December, affecting city infrastructure and factory production. Analysts expect power shortages to persist through at least mid-February (SCMP, December 23, 2020). Officials have repeatedly assured the public that residential heating would not be affected and that China’s electrical supply remained “stable” and “sufficient,” even as energy spot prices continued to rise into the new year.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Services, Electricity, Coal
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Ryan D. Martinson
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In the past decade, the China Coast Guard (CCG, 中国海警, zhongguo haijing) has experienced two major reforms. The first, which began in 2013, uprooted the service from the Ministry of Public Security—where it was organized as an element of the People’s Armed Police (PAP)—and placed it under the control of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), a civilian agency. In the process, the CCG was combined with three other maritime law enforcement forces: China Marine Surveillance (CMS), China Fisheries Law Enforcement (CFLE), and the maritime anti-smuggling units of the General Administration of Customs. The resulting conglomerate was colloquially called the “new” CCG, differentiating it from the “old” CCG of the Ministry of Public Security years. The second reform began in 2018, when the “new” CCG, now swollen with the ranks of four different forces, was stripped from the SOA and transferred to the PAP, which itself had just been reorganized and placed under the Central Military Commission (CMC) (China Brief, April 24, 2018). While much research has been done on the first reform, little is known about the second, at least in the English-speaking world. This article seeks to answer basic questions about the “new, new” CCG. What are its roles/missions, organization, and force structure? How does it differ from the CCG of the SOA years? How is it similar? What progress has been made two years after the second reform began?
  • Topic: Law Enforcement, Armed Forces, Reform, Borders
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Michael C. Davis
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: After the Hong Kong protest movement exploded in 2019, the world looked on with both hope and trepidation. Protestors made five demands: that a proposed extradition law be withdrawn; that there be an independent investigation of police behavior; that the protests stop being characterized as riots; that any charges against arrested protesters be dropped and that promised universal suffrage be implemented (HKPF, December 25, 2019). After months of protest, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam publicly withdrew the extradition bill, fulfilling the first of the protestors’ demands (SCMP, September 4, 2019). But this temporary victory was too little too late and overshadowed by the ongoing and often violent crackdown on the protesters, and then in 2020, with Beijing’s imposition of the new National Security Law (NSL) (China Brief, July 29, 2020).
  • Topic: Human Rights, Law, Rule of Law, Protests, Repression
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Hong Kong
  • Author: Elizabeth Chen
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: On January 28, members of an international team led by the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded fourteen days of quarantine and began field work in Wuhan, China for a mission aimed at investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of the time of writing, the team had made visits to the Hubei Center for Disease Control and Prevention; the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. State media also reported that the WHO team visited “an exhibition featuring Chinese people fighting the epidemic,” raising concerns that the trip could prove to be little more than a public relations move even as the origins of the coronavirus remain heavily politicized and uncertain (Global Times, January 31). Foreign experts have worried about whether the WHO investigation will be sufficiently transparent or if investigators will be allowed adequate access to key locations and scientific data (SCMP, January 27). Apart from a “terms of reference” report and a list of WHO members released in November, further details on the WHO team’s trip have not been released.
  • Topic: World Health Organization, COVID-19, Misinformation , Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Zachary Haver
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In recent years, the maritime law enforcement (MLE) forces of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have dominated the contested waters of the South China Sea (AMTI, December 4, 2020). While the exponential growth and increasing assertiveness of the China Coast Guard (CCG) have captured headlines, the evolving role of technology in China’s MLE operations has received less attention. New communications infrastructure and monitoring systems, for example, help Chinese MLE forces monitor and control contested maritime space in the South China Sea (CMSI, January 2021). These investments align with China’s broader pursuit of information superiority in the South China Sea, which involves building up electronic intelligence, counter-stealth radar, and other capabilities (JHU APL, July 2020).
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Communications, Armed Forces, Satellite
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, United States of America, South China Sea