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.
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.
See more in Global; Cybersecurity
The United States should position itself to take advantage of a post-Mugabe transition by working with other countries of the southern African region to limit the risk of civil violence in Zimbabwe and lay the groundwork for a better future.
See more in Zimbabwe; Diplomacy and Statecraft; Presidents and Chiefs of State
This memo assesses the impact of spillover from the ongoing civil war in Syria on Lebanon's security and proposes several steps the United States should take to lessen the likelihood of sectarian violence and instability in Lebanon.
See more in Lebanon; Conflict Prevention; Regional Security
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
CFR Senior Fellow Steven A. Cook outlines the risk factors and warning signs of a solvency crisis in Egypt in this Contingency Planning Memorandum and offers policy options to prevent such a crisis or mitigate its consequences.
See more in Egypt; Financial Crises; Budget, Debt, and Deficits
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
Sheila A. Smith argues that tensions between Japan and China over disputed islands in the East China Sea could seriously harm U.S. interests. She discusses steps the United States could take to de-escalate the crisis.
See more in China; Japan; Oceans
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
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
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
Bonnie Glaser of the Center for Strategic and International Studies discusses the significant risk of conflict in the South China Sea and how the United States can prevent becoming involved in an armed clash.
See more in Conflict Prevention; Asia and Pacific
The repercussions of a terrorist attack on the United States originating in Pakistan could be catastrophic. Professor Stephen Tankel outlines policy tools that U.S. decision-makers can employ to prevent an attack and to mitigate the consequences if one occurs.
See more in United States; Pakistan; Terrorism
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
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
Further provocations by North Korea as well as other dangerous military interactions on or around the Korean peninsula remain a serious risk and carry the danger of unintended escalation.
See more in North Korea; South Korea; Conflict Prevention
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
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
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
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
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