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Iran Strategy Brief No. 8: Iranian Ideology after the Nuclear Deal
By James S. Robbins , January 11, 2017
 
The Obama administration’s Iran policy has been driven by the conviction that reaching a deal with Iran over its nuclear weapons program would constitute a historic diplomatic breakthrough, lead to a fundamental transformation in U.S.-Iranian relations, and prompt significant changes in the Islamic Republic’s international behavior. This view was apparently based on a belief that American opposition to Iran’s policies played a critical role in perpetuating Tehran’s destabilizing activities, and that pursuing a rapprochement with the Islamic Republic could consequently lead to more moderate policies.
 
High Energy Lasers: Applications for Ballistic Missile Defense
By Dr. William Schneider, Jr. , December 20, 2016
 

For decades, ballistic missile defense (BMD) has been among the most controversial dimensions of national defense. Since the termination of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, the extensive proliferation of ballistic missiles on the world stage has prompted the gradual emergence of an international consensus supporting the acquisition of ballistic missile defense capabilities. The proliferation of ballistic missiles is abetted by the present, low cost of creating a formidable offensive ballistic missile capability—a feature which has provided aspiring weapons states with new opportunities to acquire strategic capabilities...

 
Strategic Primer - Drones
By Richard M. Harrison , June 20, 2016
 

Remotely Piloted Aircrafts (RPAs, or drones) are playing an increasingly important role in modern warfare, and performing a growing nunmber of surveillance and reconnaissance missions at home and abroad. This Primer describe how the United States, as well as our allies and our enemies, are using drones, discusses challenges posed by RPAs, and offers recommendations for future defense planning. 

 
 
Strategic Primer - Cybersecurity
By Richard M. 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...

 
A Nuclear Deal with Iran: Managing the Consequences
By AFPC Iran Task Force , October 7, 2015
 

The announcement of a nuclear deal in July 2015 brought to a close nearly two years of intensive negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 powers (the U.S., UK, France, Russia, China and Germany). It also ushered in a new — and arguably more challenging — phase of American policy in the Middle East...


 
Understanding Cybersecurity - Part 4 | Internet Security Governance
By Trey Herr and Heather West , October 2, 2015
 

Internet Security Governance covers the policy challenges that arise from building and governing security in the Internet’s architecture and key protocols. It is not a description of security for computers and networks (Information Assurance),  how to manage the negotiated structure and key functions of the Internet (Internet Governance), or the pursuit of criminal groups and other threat actors (Cyber Crime). Internet Security Governance is the discussion of defensively oriented technical and legal topics that cross national boundaries and/or involve security of the underlying protocols and hardware which make up the Internet...

 
Strategic Primer - Missile Defense
By Richard M. Harrison , October 1, 2015
 

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 1 of the series focuses on Missile Defense.

 
The War Against ISIS Through Social Media
By Dr. Abraham Wagner, Dr. Rand Waltzman, and Amb. Alberto Fernandez , July 7, 2015
 

On July 7, the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC) held the fourth installment of its Defense Technology Program’s Understanding Cybersecurity lunch briefing series for Congressional Staffers. This event, entitled, “How the Caliphate is Communicating:” Understanding and Countering the Islamic State’s Messaging outlined how and why the Islamic State has been winning the “war of ideas” through the use of social media, and how the group is using social media to further its operations...

 
 
Understanding Cybersecurity - Part 3 | Cyber Crime
By Trey Herr and Sasha Romanosky , June 30, 2015
 

Cyber crime covers a wide range of activities that includes theft, fraud and harassment; stealing valuable intellectual property as part of industrial espionage; committing financial fraud and credit card theft; and disrupting internet services for ideological goals (“hacktivism”). The crimes target both firms and consumers, and while they rarely result in physical harm or property damage, there can still be severe consequences...

 
Iran Strategy Brief No. 7: Iran's Various Voices
By Ilan Berman , June 17, 2015
 

Is the Islamic Republic of Iran a country or a cause? For decades, the question is one that has bedeviled Western observers. Foreign politicians and diplomats long have struggled to reconcile the Iranian regime’s radical rhetoric and destructive international behavior with its pragmatic participation in numerous treaty arrangements, and its prominent role in various multilateral forums.

 
Understanding Cybersecurity - Part 2 | Information Assurance
By Trey Herr and Eric Ormes , April 15, 2015
 

Information Assurance is the art and science of securing computer systems and networks against efforts by third parties to disable, intrude, or otherwise impede operations. It is the focus of most “cybersecurity” professionals in the technical community. The principal goals are to maintain an information system’s Confidentiality (the secrecy of information as it is used and stored), Integrity, reliability of data and equipment, and Availability, that a computer system is ready and able to function as needed. Information Assurance includes writing secure software, deploying it safely, and managing it to minimize the risk of compromise.

 
Asia for the Asians
By Scott Harold, Ph.D , January 29, 2015
 

In recent months, Xi Jinping’s China has rolled out a large number of new foreign policy initiatives. Some of these have been economic proposals such as the BRICS Bank; the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; the China-Korea and China-Australia free trade agreements; the land and maritime silk road proposals; a massive, albeit not entirely transparent, energy deal with Russia; an increasingly effective effort to promote international trade denominated in the yuan or Renminbi; and an attempt to push ahead with either the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement or the Free Trade Agreement of the Asia-Pacific.

 
Understanding Cybersecurity - Part 1 | Redefining Cybersecurity
By Trey Herr and Allan Friedman , January 22, 2015
 

Cybersecurity is an often abused and much misused term that was once intended to describe and now serves better to confuse. While originally intended to cover security related issues associated with “cyberspace,” a phrase coined by author William Gibson in the short story “Burning Chrome,” it has become the byword for a staggeringly diverse array of topics. While this is frustrating, the term is popular as shorthand, so we offer this paper to identify and explain four clusters of related topics under the larger umbrella of “cybersecurity.”  Each is a distinct issue area with unique technical and policy challenges, while retaining some association to the others...

 
American Deterrence and Future Conflicts
By Dr. Jacquelyn K. Davis , December 22, 2014
 

On the centennial of the start of World War I—a war that began largely as a result of crisis miscalculations

and escalations—we are entering a new era with important implications for deterrence, escalation control, and coalition management. Today, like at the time of World War I, we confront a large number of actors who have the potential to misread cues and red lines while relying on treaty relationships if they miscalculate. Then, as now, military technologies were widely diffused. Prevailing assumptions about how an adversary (or potential adversary) would react in a crisis or confrontation were based on imperfect intelligence and inadequate understanding of red lines...
 
U. S. & European Perspectives of Current and Evolving Security Challenges
By John P. Rose, Ph.D , October 31, 2014
 

As we think through the role that the United States might play in addressing future security challenges in the European and Eurasian arenas in coming years, it would seem appropriate to have some indication of the thinking, thoughts, and ideas of our partners and allies—especially those in NATO. Americans may feel strongly about issues such as missile defense, countering terrorism and stopping Iran from developing a nuclear capability, but do European and Eurasian allies feel the same?...

 
Protecting the Warfighter in an Austere Budget Environment
By David J. Trachtenberg , September 24, 2014
 

Winston Churchill is often quoted as saying, “Gentlemen, we have run out of money. Now we have to think.” A similar statement is attributed to Ernest Rutherford, a New Zealand physicist often cited as the “father” of nuclear physics. Regardless of who uttered this quote, many believe it appropriately summarizes the state of America’s defense establishment today. “Fiscal austerity” is the environment in which national security decisions are made...

 
Security and Defense Dimensions of the Asia Pivot
By Dr. Peter Brookes , May 14, 2014
 

There is no question that the United States faces significant and increasing security challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, including the growing threat posed by ballistic missiles and their payloads. It is fair to argue that China is increasingly confident and assertive in addressing its perceived national interests, supported by its expanding military might and power projection capabilities. From appearances, it is also reasonable to assert that North Korea is not on a path to openness, reform, and reconciliation with its neighbors. As such, it is critical that the United States provide for its national defense in the Pacific...