This Congressional Research Servicereport details the background and issues surrounding Special Operations Forces (SOF), elite military units with special training and equipment that can infiltrate into hostile territory through land, sea, or air to conduct a variety of operations, many of them classified.
Authors: Peter Lampert Bergen and Jennifer Rowland
The CIA's drone program, while successful, has been largely unpopular in Pakistan. But drone strikes are decreasing since they peaked in 2010. Peter Bergen and Jennifer Rowland of CNNask: Is it because of politics or because we're running out of real targets?
The Washington Post profiles the head of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, who for six years has been architect of the agency's drone campaign, and has led its pursuit of Osama bin Laden. Surly and profane, he has outlasted three CIA directors and served two presidents.
In the New York media, fighting and personalities in the FBI and NYPD are frequently covered like a dysfunctional celebrity marriage, with perceived betrayal and reconciliation spilling into the news, writes Adam Goldman of the Associated Press.
Authors: John McCain, Joseph Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham
John McCain, Joseph I. Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, believe President Obama should "resist the short-sighted calls for additional troop reductions" in Afghanistan.
Obama's targeted drone strikes--even on Americans--aren't illegal, writes Jack Goldsmith for Foreign Policy. In fact, he writes, there's a solid legal foundation and a number of checks and balances upholding his right to take out terrorists.
Targeted killings have become a central component of U.S. counterterrorism operations around the globe. Despite pointed criticism over transparency and accountability issues, analysts say the controversial practice seems likely to expand in the future.
Pakistani journalist Najam Sethi discusses the factors behind anti-Americanism in Pakistan. He says the two countries have failed to develop a strategic relationship because of their differences in Afghanistan.
The White House released this strategy document in December 2011. The introduction states, "The SIP details how we are implementing the National Strategy for Empowering Local Partners. ...The SIP provides a blueprint for how we will build community resilience against violent extremism. It does not address our overseas CVE efforts, other than ensuring we coordinate domestic and international activities."
Detainee policy that would mandate military custody for al-Qaeda suspects captured in the United States could have a detrimental impact on U.S. counterterrorism operations, say CFR legal experts Matthew C. Waxman and John B. Bellinger III.
Interviewer: Isobel Coleman Interviewee: Robin Wright
Expert Robin Wright discusses the unfolding developments of the Arab Spring with CFR's Isobel Coleman. Wright argues that a "counter-jihad" is happening, which is "challenging the political status quo."
Authors: Stuart Levey and Christy Clark Foreign Policy
Stuart Levey and Christy Clark argue that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the world's premier standard-setting body for combating terrorist financing and money laundering, and it should develop and enforce standards for sanctions implementation.
Following the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 and the six-year anniversary of the London subway bombings, Theresa May discusses counterterrorism strategy in the United Kingdom. The meeting focused on the nature of the threat, its evolution, the impact of events like the Arab Spring, and the United Kingdom's response, particularly as it prepares for the 2012 Olympics.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »