Defense and Security

Foreign Affairs Article

Putin’s Power Play in Syria

Author: Angela E. Stent

At the end of September, Russia began conducting air strikes in Syria, ostensibly to combat terrorist groups. The strikes constitute Russia’s biggest intervention in the Middle East in decades. Its unanticipated military foray into Syria has transformed the civil war there into a proxy U.S.-Russian conflict and has raised the stakes in the ongoing standoff between Moscow and Washington.

See more in Russia and Central Asia; Wars and Warfare

Foreign Affairs Article

The Transatlantic Data War

Authors: Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman

Last October, the European Court of Justice struck down the Safe Harbor agreement, a 15-year-old transatlantic arrangement that permitted U.S. companies to transfer data, such as people’s Google-search histories, outside the EU. In invalidating the agreement, the ECJ found that the blurry relationship between private-sector data collection and national security in the United States violates the privacy rights of EU citizens whose data travel overseas.

See more in United States; Europe; Intelligence

Event

Preventing Violent Extremism: A Conversation with Amy Pope

Presider: Jamille Bigio
Speaker: Amy Pope

Amy Pope, U.S. deputy homeland security advisor and deputy assistant to the president at the White House National Security Council, joined CFR for a discussion on how the networks, talents, and perspectives of diverse populations help the United States to ensure the safety and security of its homeland against 21st century threats. Pope reflected on how women and civil society help to strengthen community resilience and combat radicalization, and what policies, strategies, and tactics the U.S. government can employ to best partner with them and address the risks that they face. 

See more in Global; Defense and Security

Event

A Conversation with Tom Vilsack

Speaker: Tom Vilsack
Presider: Richard N. Haass

Tom Vilsack, the longest serving member of the Obama administration cabinet and former governor of Iowa, discusses his department’s role in U.S. national security strategy, including its work in protecting U.S. food supplies, conserving U.S. natural resources and forests, securing a clean water supply, and aiding developing nations.

See more in United States; Defense and Security

Policy Innovation Memorandum No. 56

Reforming the U.S. International Military Education and Training Program

Author: Joshua Kurlantzick

The International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, which provides U.S. government funds to members of foreign militaries to take classes at U.S. military facilities, has the potential to be a powerful tool of U.S. influence. Joshua Kurlantzick explains how the program can be reformed to more effectively promote U.S. interests.

See more in Asia and Pacific; United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft; Military Leadership

Article

China-Korea Relations: New Sanctions, Old Dilemmas

Authors: Scott A. Snyder and See-won Byun
Comparative Connections

North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch in February drew global opposition in the form of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2270 and condemnation by regional leaders. Pyongyang promptly dismissed such calls with a series of short- and mid-range missile launches in March and April. 

See more in China; North Korea; Sanctions; Regional Security

Article

Government's Role in Vulnerability Disclosure: Creating a Permanent and Accountable Vulnerability Equities Process

Authors: Ari Schwartz and Robert K. Knake
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs John F. Kennedy School of Government Harvard University

In this June 2016 discussion paper, Knake and his coauthor examine the Obama administration’s Vulnerability Equities Process guidelines. They argue that the administration ought to formalize and publicize these guidelines and offer policy recommendations to improve the VEP while maintaining a bias toward public disclosure of zero day vulnerabilities.

See more in Global; Cybersecurity

Article

Why Donald Trump's Plan for Japan Would Be a Nightmare for Asia

Author: Sheila A. Smith
Vox

Republican Party’s Presumptive Nominee for President Donald Trump stated that he would consider ending the U.S. commitment to Japan’s defense and encouraging it to develop its own nuclear arsenal. Sheila A. Smith, senior fellow for Japan studies, argues that such an act would not only be a nightmare scenario for Japan, but would profoundly alter the strategic dynamics that have maintained peace in the Asia-Pacific for generations

See more in Asia and Pacific; Elections; Regional Security