Contingency Planning Memoranda

Contingency Planning Memoranda, from CFR's Center for Preventive Action, identify plausible scenarios that could have serious consequences for U.S. interests and propose measures to both prevent and mitigate them.

Dangerous Space Incidents

Author: Micah Zenko

Dangerous incidents in outer space pose an increasing threat to U.S. assets and risk escalating into militarized crises. Douglas Dillon Fellow Micah Zenko details how the Obama administration could reduce the likelihood of such crises, or mitigate their consequences should they occur.

See more in Global; Space

Political Instability in Jordan

Authors: Robert Satloff and David Schenker

Robert Satloff and David Schenker of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy describe conceivable contingencies that pose serious threats to Jordan's stability and provide recommendations on how U.S. policymakers can help manage potentially destabilizing economic and political change in the country.

See more in Conflict Prevention; Jordan; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Electoral Violence in Kenya

Author: Joel D. Barkan

In the run-up to Kenya's March 2013 elections, the United States can take measures to prevent a repeat of the electoral violence that broke out across the country in 2007.

See more in Kenya; Elections

Political Unrest in Venezuela

Author: Patrick D. Duddy

In Venezuela's upcoming elections, President Hugo Chavez—suffering from poor health—faces his strongest challenger yet. Former ambassador Patrick D. Duddy argues that the United States should prepare for political unrest.

See more in Elections; Venezuela

Renewed Violence in Iraq

Author: Douglas A. Ollivant

Though violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since 2003, internal and regional dynamics threaten its stability. Douglas Ollivant, senior fellow at the New America Foundation, , argues that despite the U.S. military withdrawal, the United States has a significant stake in helping Iraq overcome threats of ethnosectarian violence and a breakdown of constitutional order.

See more in Iraq; Nation Building; Defense and Security

Post-Qaddafi Instability in Libya

Author: Daniel Serwer

Public disorder and instability in Libya could emerge if the Qaddafi regime falls. The United States should support a stabilization effort to prevent the potential consequences of regime failure.

See more in Libya; Conflict Prevention

Crisis in the Congo

Author: Joshua Marks

Electoral instability and insurrectionary violence may once again afflict the Democratic Republic of Congo. Joshua Marks of the National Endowment for Democracy proposes steps the United States can take to prevent these scenarios from occurring and, if they occur, mitigate their potential consequences.

See more in Elections; Congo, Democratic Republic of

Electoral Violence in Nigeria

Author: John Campbell

This Contingency Planning Memorandum describes the events and trends that indicate Nigerian elections are following a violent trajectory and recommends U.S. policy options for preventing and containing fragmentation of Nigerian society.

See more in Elections; Nigeria

A Third Lebanon War

Author: Daniel C. Kurtzer

This Contingency Planning Memorandum assesses scenarios and warning signs of renewed Israel-Hezbollah conflict and recommends U.S. action to prevent a "Third Lebanon War."

See more in Conflict Prevention; Lebanon

Renewed Conflict in Sudan

Author: Katherine Almquist Knopf

Sudan faces the prospect of renewed violence between north and south over the next twelve to eighteen months. Overwhelmingly in favor of independence, the south will either secede peacefully through a credible referendum process as agreed to in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) or pursue this by force if the CPA should collapse. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum presents the likely triggers of renewed civil war and discusses the U.S. policy options for preventing it from happening and mitigating its consequences in the event that it does.

See more in Conflict Prevention; Sudan

Terrorism and Indo-Pakistani Escalation

Author: Daniel S. Markey

India faces the real prospect of another major terrorist attack by Pakistan-based terrorist organizations in the near future, an event that would jeopardize important U.S. security interests in South Asia. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum examines the factors that would condition India's response; the consequences of Indian military retaliation and Pakistani counterretaliation for the United States; and Washington's policy options for preventing and containing the crisis.

See more in India; Terrorist Attacks

An Israeli Strike on Iran

Author: Steven Simon

Israel would regard any expansion of nuclear weapons capability within its region as an intolerable threat to its survival, and as such regards Iran's developing nuclear program with concern, in turn causing speculation that the Israeli government may choose to attack Iran's nuclear installations. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum assesses the likelihood of an Israeli strike on Iran, the policy options available to diminish that likelihood, the implications should it take place, and measures that can be taken to mitigate the consequences should it occur.

See more in Iran; Israel; Wars and Warfare

Political Instability in Egypt

Author: Steven A. Cook

Egypt is now entering a period of political transition with the expectation that President Hosni Mubarak's almost twenty-eight-year tenure will shortly come to an end. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum assesses the possibility of a troubled leadership succession or an Islamist push for political power, the implications for the United States, and policy steps the U.S. government might take depending on what it determines as its broader policy objectives in Egypt.

See more in Egypt

Reversal in Iraq

Author: Stephen Biddle

Iraq is currently in the early stages of a negotiated end to an intense ethnosectarian war. As such, there are several contingencies in which recent, mostly positive trends in Iraq could be reversed, threatening U.S. national interests. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum by Stephen Biddle assesses four interrelated scenarios in Iraq that could derail the prospects for peace and stability in the short to medium term and posits concrete policy options to limit U.S. vulnerability to the possibility of such reversals.

See more in Iraq; Wars and Warfare