Oct. 16, 2017

Module 4: Capacity Building, Institutional Development, and Accountability

Module 4 focuses on capacity building, to include security sector reform and security sector governance, and look at the enduring lessons from both US and international security assistance efforts around the world. Discussions should cover overlooked challenges in effective monitoring and evaluation of capacity, and include consideration of enduring insights from both pre-and post-conflict stabilization; capacity building issues and planning for accountability and anti-corruption.

Oct. 11, 2017

Module 5: Countering Illicit Power in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations

Module 5 is not a traditional teaching module in the sense that the others are but it can easily be adapted to become one. It consists of an e-guide to countering illicit power in HADR operations and its utility as a planning and implementation template. The e-guide was developed as a distance learning tool that can be converted to a platform lecture, panel presentation, or used as a checklist in scenario based, HADR tabletop exercises.

Oct. 10, 2017

Module 6: Planning and Prioritization

The purpose of Module 6 is to provide students with additional readings and perspectives that knit together the themes and lessons from the previous five modules. This is not a structured lecture, but rather an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned and their implications for future operations.

Oct. 9, 2017

Module 7: Applied Learning

During the test and evaluation process, all formats, except for the one-day seminar, concluded with an applied learning exercise that reinforced the concepts and learning that had taken place. Ultimately, two options proved to be the most effective.

Sept. 15, 2017

21st Century Intelligence - The Need for a One-Team-One-Fight Approach

We’ve been through this before. Now we’re just waiting to see how soon it fails.” As I put down the phone, the dismissive words about integration from one of the Iran watchers within the Intelligence Community (IC) resonated in my ears. In November 2005, less than two months into my role as the first Iran Mission Manager for the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), I was face-to-face with the unfolding skepticism the IC felt about the implementation of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevent Act (IRTPA) of 2004 that reorganized the Community and created the DNI position.1 In retrospect, I am thankful for those words. They braced me for the challenges that lay ahead and helped shape my approach to integrating IC efforts on Iran. They were not far from the truth. I had been part of a number of “tiger” or “hard target” teams assembled to tackle particular intelligence challenges. They saw success in discreet areas that tapered off after the team was disbanded or new concerns siphoned off resources. The challenge for integration now was how to make it sustainable and enduring beyond changes in leadership. I am also thankful for the person who spoke those words. By the end of my three-year tenure, they were a champion for integration and a big supporter of the mission management concept.

Sept. 15, 2017

The Curse of the Shiny Object

Human beings have a strong tendency to fight problems where they are visible. This intuitive and usually well-intended response to visible cues often produces inefficiencies and can result in spreading greater harm. This is the curse of the “shiny object”—when the attention-grabbing aspect of a problem distracts from identifying and countering the core drivers. The curse impacts many aspects of life. It can cause the U.S. Government (USG) and other organizations to overcommit resources to fight visible symptoms of security problems, while initiatives to counter the structural or systemic drivers of those problems are under-resourced if not entirely ignored. In the worst cases, initiatives to restore order have ended up spreading greater harm by targeting people or entire communities that are victims, not drivers, of the original security problem.

Sept. 14, 2017

How to Prepare for State-Building

The question of how stable democratic states are established is one of the fundamental questions of social science. But it is also a question of practical importance for great nations whose power to deter international threats may depend, not only on an ability to defeat adversaries in battle, but also on an ability to make tactical victories serve larger goals of political development. This article considers questions about what America could do to be better prepared for future challenges of post–conflict political reconstruction or state-building, with hope of stimulating further discussion of these questions. Even if state-building preparedness is not a salient issue in current political debates, these fundamental problems of political development and international relations deserve careful consideration by experts in government and academia.

Sept. 14, 2017

Is There a Path Out of the Yemen Conflict? Why it Matters

Among the countries affected by the Arab Spring, only Yemen was able to negotiate a peaceful political transition. In November 2011 Yemen’s major political parties, with the support of the United States and the international community, signed the Gulf initiative that included provisions for the: replacement of the government of former President Ali Abdallah Salih; election of a new interim president; and establishment of a two-year roadmap for new presidential and parliamentary elections to include the creation of a National Dialogue as a forum to address Yemen’s problems.

Sept. 14, 2017

Leading the National Security Enterprise

Today’s complex, chaotic, and interconnected world has forced us to rethink some of our fundamental assumptions about the nature of leadership, especially when it comes to leading whole-of-government or even whole-of-nation efforts. This is especially the case in the U.S. national security enterprise (hereafter referred to as the NSE or enterprise) where a complex, diverse constellation of military and civilian agencies must wield both hard and soft power on behalf of the United States. For various reasons, that enterprise has become our nation’s “first responder” when it comes to almost any challenge, from traditional military operations to a myriad of nonmilitary ones, to include disaster and pandemic relief and humanitarian assistance (the Ebola crisis comes to mind), post–conflict reconstruction, and even nation-building. Irrespective of the challenge, our nation’s political leaders look to senior officers—particularly but not exclusively those in uniform—who are in, and/or who have been developed by our NSE to lead the way.

Sept. 14, 2017

The Evolution of MS 13 in El Salvador and Honduras

Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13) is rapidly evolving into a criminal-economic-military-political power that poses an existential threat to the states of El Salvador and Honduras.1 In Guatemala, the gang remains a tier two threat—dangerous, but with far less influence and fewer capabilities than in the other two nations of the Northern Triangle. With growing ties to Mexican drug cartels, while assuming an ever-greater role in the transportation of cocaine transportista networks across the Isthmus, the gang is acquiring financial resources, advanced weaponry, and the ability and sophistication to wield increasing political power. Factions that once relied exclusively on violence and threats for control are now trying to win the hearts and minds of the communities in which they operate; taking concrete steps to consolidate themselves in the cocaine trade; and becoming credible alternatives to the state. MS 13 in many ways now better resembles a criminal business enterprise rooted in brutal violence than a traditional gang.