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Putin Consolidates Domestic Power
By Ilan Berman, World Affairs Journal, April 20, 2016

Largely unnoticed by the West, Vladimir Putin has just launched a radical overhaul of power in Russia. On April 5th, the Russian President formally announced the creation of a new National Guard intended to serve as an umbrella organization and coordinating body for the country's numerous "force ministries." 

Don't Apologize For Hiroshima
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, April 19, 2016

"I think the president would like to do it," John Roos, President Barack Obama's former ambassador to Tokyo, said the other day about a possible Obama visit to Hiroshima when he attends the Group of Seven Summit next month in Japan. "He is a person who bends over backwards to show respect to history, and it does advance his agenda." 

That a visit to Hiroshima, on which President Harry Truman dropped the world's first deployed atomic bomb, would advance Obama's agenda is clear. He has long envisioned a world without nuclear weapons, announced steps to pursue it in a high-profile speech in Prague in April of 2009, and continues to push for U.S.-Russian cuts in nuclear arsenals and global efforts to secure loose nuclear materials. 

Making a Bad Iran Deal Worse
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, April 14, 2016

We're witnessing a strange spectacle in U.S. foreign policy, one with no obvious precedent: President Barack Obama is trying desperately to protect his cherished nuclear deal with Iran, making one concession after another in response to Iran's post-deal demands to ensure that Tehran doesn't walk away from it.

Russia's Cease-Fire Fiction
By Stephen Blank, U.S. News & World Report, April 5, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin's March 14 announcement of a partial withdrawal of forces from Syria predictably surprised the Obama administration, which is habitually surprised by the current occupant of the Kremlin. In doing so, it became part of a larger pattern. Recent Russian-American ties demonstrate all too clearly that President Barack Obama still fails to grasp what it is, exactly, that Russia wants - and why it is successfully achieving these objectives despite the country's growing domestic crises.

Obama's Iran Sanctions Bait-and-Switch
By Ilan Berman, National Review Online, April 5, 2016

Last week, a fresh political scandal erupted on Capitol Hill over Iran. At issue was a new plan being considered by the Obama administration to provide Iran's ayatollahs with limited access to the U.S. financial system as a sweetener for their continued compliance with their government's 2015 nuclear deal with the nations of the P5+1. 

Latest In-House Bulletins

Russia Reform Monitor - No. 2056
April 25, 2016

Paranoia in the Kremlin as elections approach;
Russia's sly nuclear build-up

Russia Reform Monitor - No. 2055
April 19, 2016

Kadyrov gets a stay of political execution;
The dollars and cents of Russia's Syria intervention

Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 163
April 18, 2016

Green movement leader still languishes;
The JCPOA's energy dividend;
Europe becomes the Islamic Republic's lobbyist;
Iran sets its sights on India;
An Iranian General in Moscow


Global Islamism Monitor - No. 20
April 18, 2016

Jordan moves against the Brotherhood;
ISIS broadens its reach in Libya;
Rethinking the Sinai;
The West's vulnerable nuclear sector

Russia Reform Monitor - No. 2054
April 16, 2016

Duma backpedals on press restrictions;
Militarizing the Kurils

Latest Policy Papers

Strategic Primer - Cybersecurity
By Rich Harrison , April 1, 2016

The goal of the new Strategic Primer initiative is to provide a concise, comprehensive overview of specific defense technology issues presented in a clear, direct, and graphical manner that serves as an accessible reference to policymakers. Volume 2 of the series focuses on Cybersecurity.


Cyber Threats in the Space Domain
By Eric Sterner and Jennifer McArdle , March 31, 2016

The ability to access and exploit space has long been woven into the fabric of American national power. It is a critical component of global political leadership, the economy, and military power. Unfortunately, those pillars are increasingly at risk. The spread of space technology to new international actors and the increasing sophistication of those capabilities have made it possible to threaten American space systems directly. The national security community is accustomed to analyzing these threats and vulnerabilities and is pursuing a reasonable mix of policies and programs to address them. (Whether those actions are sufficient is subject to debate). However, over the last decade space and cyberspace have grown increasingly integrated. This opens up new vulnerabilities in American space systems, and gives a greater number of actors the potential to exploit those vulnerabilities...

Shale 3.0 The Revolution Reshaping America and the World
By Jeff M. Smith , March 9, 2016

The world has long known of the existence of a virtual ocean of underground oil and gas deposits imprisoned in “tight,” low-permeable shale rock formations. Until recently, however, it was convinced there was no profitable extract them. Through the stubborn, decades-long persistence of a Texas oilman, and a committed effort by the U.S. government to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into “unconventional” oil and gas research, in 1998 Mitchell Energy CEO George Mitchell discovered the right combination of water, sand, and chemicals to extract natural gas from a shale formation using a hydraulically-fractured horizontal well...

Understanding Cybersecurity - Part 5 | Military Cyber Operations
By Trey Herr, Drew Herrick, and Peter W. Singer , November 10, 2015

 What is the role of cybersecurity in the conduct of war and ongoing security operations? Policymakers, academics, and journalists often think of cybersecurity as a single domain problem. That is to say, they view cyber operations as taking place solely within its own domain—one that is separate from land, sea, air or space. This perspective, however, overlooks the fact that computer systems and networks pervade society and the physical environment, and are present to some degree in all physical environs and across the three levels of war (strategic, operational, and tactical). Modern militaries employ forces in a “joint” manner, combining the specific platforms and technologies of different services to achieve a more effective force. National security policymakers should similarly see both kinetic and cyber capabilities as part of a broad set of tools available to achieve their objectives. Thinking of cybersecurity as a limited or separate space, wholly distinct from the other domains of conflict, limits the potential for understanding its strategic utility...