May 15, 2018

Nuclear Terrorism: Did We Beat the Odds or Change Them?

Preventive actions taken since 2004, both in counterterrorism and in counterproliferation, have been extraordinary. From the decimation of al-Qaeda to the Iran Deal and the Nuclear Security Summits, difficult actions taken by courageous and hard-working Americans and others have prevented the future we feared. For all of these successes, however, there have been a matching number of failures and structural shifts that are increasing the risk of successful mega-terrorist attacks. To put it metaphorically, while there can be no doubt that we have been running faster, we have also been falling further behind. I still believe that the chance of an attack during the next decade is slightly greater than even. But there is a lengthy agenda of actions that the United States and other nations could take today to reduce this risk and even reverse trend lines moving in the wrong direction.

May 14, 2018

Dirty War: Rhodesia and Chemical Biological Warfare 1975-1980 (Book Review)

Glenn Cross’s Dirty War: Rhodesia and Chemical Biological Warfare 1975–1980 is a welcome addition to the small, but growing scholarly literature on the history of chemical and biological warfare. In 1965, the minority white community in the British territory of Rhodesia (officially Southern Rhodesia) rejected demands that it transfer political power to the majority black population. By the mid-1970s, white Rhodesians found it increasingly difficult to counter the growing power of native African nationalists fighting the government. As with many insurgencies, the guerrillas lacked the resources to defeat government security forces in direct combat, but Rhodesian forces were stretched too thin to suppress the insurgents, especially once they had established base camps in neighboring countries. Amidst the conflict, Rhodesian military and intelligence services employed what would now be considered chemical and biological agents against the guerillas with unknown results.

May 14, 2018

The Age of Lone Wolf Terrorism (Book Review)

The Age of Lone Wolf Terrorism by Mark S. Hamm and Ramon Spaaij provides the national security professional with an exceptional overview and appreciation of this growing problem facing the United States and its partners. Detailed in their compilation of the 123 incidents of lone wolf terrorism from 1940–2016, the authors examine the incidents against 20 variables to help identify trends in backgrounds, modus operandi, and motivations. Hamm and Spaaij, a professor of criminology and a sociologist respectfully, then devise a radicalization model that provides an evidence-based explanation for select case studies of lone wolf terror incidents.

May 9, 2018

Perils of the Gray Zone: Paradigms Lost, Paradoxes Regained

There is a world war under way, waged in hot, cold, and cool modes. The aggressors see no gray zone “between war and peace.” They see all as war. So must we.

Dec. 21, 2017

Battlefield Geometry in our Digital Age: From Flash to Bang in 22 Milliseconds

This year has been tough for cybersecurity programs. Every month in the first six months of 2017, the world experienced a major cyber event. Open-source attacks included attacks on critical infrastructure, banks, intelligence services, and significant commercial and government entities. Indeed, reflecting on the scope and depth of most publically acknowledged compromises, uncovers the reality of the tremendous and growing risks the country faces nearly two decades into the 21st century. Everything seems to have changed. Virtually every organization within the Department of Defense (DOD) has, sometimes reluctantly, come to embrace digital age technology, to the point that they are completely dependent on it. The result is a shocking degree of paralysis when our access to the services we now rely upon is disrupted.

Dec. 21, 2017

Power Projection in the Digital Age

Logistics is the lifeblood of the Joint Force. It requires an effective distribution network as its heart, moving and sustaining the force at the right place and at the right time—all the time. U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) delivers that decisive force, projecting American power globally through the robust Joint Deployment and Distribution Enterprise (JDDE) and leveraging the expertise of more than 140,000 professionals. No other nation in the world can compete with the United States in conventional warfare because we plan, secure, and distribute combat capability so well. As a result, many military planners are now value-programmed to believe that a soldier or bullet will always be where it needs to be, when it needs to be there—on demand.

Dec. 21, 2017

How is NATO Meeting the Challenge of Cyberspace

Historians of international relations are familiar with the hinge-year concept when trends that previously had been largely subterranean suddenly crystallize into a clear and immediate danger, forcing policymakers to wake up and take action. When it comes to cyberspace, the past year has certainly smashed any complacency about our ability to anticipate and counter the growing sophistication of cyberattacks. As fast as we have tried to catch up, the speed and global impact of these attacks continue to outrun us. 2016 witnessed the first major attack via the Internet of Things when a DynCorp server in the United States was hacked through video surveillance cameras. We also saw the first attacks driven by artificial intelligence, and increasing evidence of collusion between state intelligence services and organized crime networks.

Dec. 21, 2017

A Cyber Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: Achieving Enhanced National Security

Of the emerging man-made risks affecting U.S. national security, cyber threats have enjoyed the most attention and resources from national security leaders and policymakers. And yet, cyber threats remain one of the most complex risks to address given their amorphous, highly fluid, and extra-territorial nature. This makes it difficult if not impossible to quantify the national state of readiness and, in these fiscally constrained times, the return on investment from the billions spent each year on cybersecurity. Five gaps conspire to make achieving a state of enhanced cyber resilience complex if not impossible. These include a yawning talent gap to the tune of millions of people; a technological gap predicated on managing a risk that evolves according to Moore’s law; a financial and economic gap leaving trillions in value at risk with no generally accepted way to measure this value; an alignment gap in terms of policy harmonization and cooperation inside the United States and around the world; and, finally, a gap in patience and the speed of markets. This article delves into the evolving cyber threat landscape and outlines ways of understanding and bridging these critical gaps.

Dec. 21, 2017

A National Security Enterprise Response - Digital Dimension Disruption

The digital dimension is simultaneously enhancing and disrupting the fabric of life in every society where modern, informatized technology is present. The slow-motion collapse of parts of the 20th century’s legacy is now accelerating in ways that likely will usher in a monumental realignment of societal institutions, methods of business, and fundamental ideas about national security. This realignment will, of necessity, change the frameworks within which America provides for its security, including how it acquires the goods and services it uses in that effort.

Dec. 21, 2017

Cyber Gray Space Deterrence

During the past few years, adversaries of the United States have begun to use their militaries to test U.S. resolve through innovative methods designed to bypass deterrent threats and avoid direct challenges. These “gray space campaigns” are specifically designed to allow adversaries to achieve their goals without triggering escalation by making retaliation difficult. China demonstrated this with its attempt to seize control of the South China Sea through its island building program, as did Russia with its effort to foment insurgency in eastern Ukraine through the use of “little green men.”


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