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Latest Articles

Beyond Super Soldiers and Battle Suits
By Richard Harrison, AFPC Defense Dossier, December 5, 2017

Science fiction is always fascinating to follow, because at least some of the ideas presented in the genre do become reality over time. The concept of "super soldiers" is a case in point. Although the protagonists in Marvel's iconic Avengers comic books (and now movies) are still a long way from being realistic, we are unquestionably trending in that direction. Thus, the character of Captain America is a soldier enhanced by the government using a special serum to make him stronger, faster and more resilient, while Iron Man is an operator encased in full body armor that affords him super human strength, advanced weapons, and extrasensory systems. Even though such enhancements are still a stretch, performance drugs, exoskeletons, and other new technologies are increasingly augmenting - and expanding - the capabilities of today's warfighters.

US Would Be Wise To Prepare For EMP Attacks On Its Cities
By Ilan Berman, The Hill, November 29, 2017

Imagine that a hostile nation - say, North Korea - fires a nuclear-tipped missile at the United States. The missile detonates in the upper atmosphere above a major American city such as Los Angeles, releasing a cascade of charged electrons that damages and destroys all technology and electrical systems within line-of-sight of the explosion. Vital infrastructure on the country's Western seaboard is incapacitated. Large swathes of California and parts of Nevada lose power. Stores, social services and emergency functions that rely on electricity begin to break down, as disorder spreads and the death toll climbs.

Toward A New Uzbekistan
By Ilan Berman, U.S. News & World Report, November 22, 2017

You could call it "Extreme Makeover: Central Asian Edition." Today, among the five post-Soviet republics that make up the region, there are heartening signs of political dynamism and a newfound drive for integration.

At the center of these changes is the Republic of Uzbekistan, which has launched a far-reaching program to reform and modernize the state.

Iran's Imperial Project
By Ilan Berman, The Washington Times, November 21, 2017

Iran is on the march in the Middle East.

Over the past year, a steady drumbeat of news reports from the Persian Gulf, intelligence assessments regarding Syria's civil war, and firsthand accounts out of Iraq, Lebanon and beyond has pointed to an inescapable conclusion: Iran is erecting a new empire in the region.

Iraqi Kurdistan: Post-Independence Referendum
By Christine Balling, Small Wars Journal, November 17, 2017

On September 25th, against the urging of the United States and other allies, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) held an independence referendum within the boundaries of its autonomous region and provocatively, without, in the city of Kirkuk. While the regional response was fast and furious, the United States did nothing, leaving the Iraqi Kurds at the mercy of a revengeful Baghdad: Erbil and Sulaimaniyah airports were closed to international commercial traffic. Turkey threatened to close borders and the Iranian and Iraqi militaries conducted joint exercises on the Iraqi Kurdish border.  Baghdad sent the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shia Popular Mobilization Front (PMF) militias to retake the disputed territories back from the Kurdish peshmerga. Then, on October 29th, KRG president Masoud Barzani stepped down and suspended the post of presidency, distributing control of the KRG to other branches.


Latest In-House Bulletins

Russia Reform Monitor - No. 2169
December 5, 2017

Shaping Syria's political future;
Kremlin outrage over Twitter ban

Russia Reform Monitor - No. 2168
December 4, 2017

Securing the Kerch Strait;
More freedom of action against "undesirable" organizations

Russia Reform Monitor - No. 2167
December 1, 2017

Syria's plight, Russia's profit;
Sobchak makes a splash

Defense Technology Monitor - No. 22
December 1, 2017

Wirelessly charging drone subs;
The Pentagon's new EW strategy;
Reconsidering "Rods from Gods";
The hazards of hacked robots;
New military applications for AI

Resource Security Watch - No. 9
November 28, 2017

The problem of food security in Pakistan;
A crackdown on illegal mining in Brazil;
A spike in atmospheric carbon dioxide;
Russia's expanding global nuclear presence


Latest Policy Papers

Iran Strategy Brief No. 9: Targeting Iran's Revolutionary Guards
By Ilan Berman , October 19, 2017

The passage this summer of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a wide-ranging legislative package that imposed new economic pressure on Russia, Iran and North Korea, reignited the debate over U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic. The relevant provisions of the Act require the White House, pursuant to Executive Order No. 13224, to formally designate the totality of Iran’s clerical army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), as a terrorist organization by no later than October 31st of this year. In his October 13th speech on Iran policy, President Trump confirmed that he will do so...