“Had the program been in place more than a decade ago, it would likely have prevented 9/11. And it has the potential to prevent the next 9/11.”So wrote Mike Morrell, the CIA’s former acting director, about section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorizes the National Security Agency to search telephone “metadata” (i.e., connections between telephone numbers not the content of calls) to ferret out terrorists. Now section 215 is no more.
This legislation was introduced to Congress on April 28, 2015, as H.R. 2048 Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2015. President Obama signed it into law on June 2, 2015. The act is an overhaul of the National Security Council's intelligence gathering program, the largest reform of the program since the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter spoke on May 30, at the 2015 International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue. He discussed the United States' interest in economic development and security infrastructures in the Asia and Pacific region.
Chinese Admiral Sun Jianguo spoke on May 30, at the 2015 International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue. He discussed "China’s policies, concepts, practices and proposals on safeguarding peace and security," including China's construction and navigation projects in the South China Sea and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Did you know that private contractors in Afghanistan outnumber U.S. troops three to one? Micah Zenko examines the extensive role of private contractors in military operations abroad that U.S. policymakers fail to acknowledge.
On May 22, 2015, the Department of Justice released its guidance on the use of drones in the United States "to support kidnapping investigations, search and rescue operations, drug interdictions, and fugitive investigations" and outlines requirements for their use in regards to civil liberties, accountability, and protection of privacy.
As the deadline for an Iran nuclear deal approaches, the Obama administration’s security reassurances to Arab Gulf partners have fallen short of the mutual-defense treaty they seek, says expert Vali Nasr.
On May 14, 2015, President Obama met at Camp David with delegations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain. They discussed the security relationship between the the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), particularly in addressing terrorist threats from the self-proclaimed Islamic State and al-Qaeda, transferring defense technologies, and negotating with Iran.
Ambiguity in cyberspace—in terms of who is responsible for and the intent of a cyberattack—poses a growing risk of unnecessary military escalation in and outside the cyber domain. Benjamin Brake details how the Obama administration can strengthen its ability to correctly and efficiently attribute an ambiguous attack, reduce the likelihood of its escalation, and mitigate the consequences.
Mandated by the FY2000 National Defense Authorization Act, the Department of Defense's annual report to Congress discusses China's military and security strategies, technological advancements in its capabilities, military doctrine, and security issues in the Taiwan Strait.
The U.S. and Gulf Arab leaders gathering in Camp David are pursuing divergent courses in the Middle East, with differences over Iran nuclear talks likely to drive them further apart, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh.
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.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
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.
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 »