Center for Preventive Action Publications

Contingency Planning Memorandum No. 24 Strategic Risks of Ambiguity in Cyberspace

Strategic Risks of Ambiguity in Cyberspace

Author: Benjamin Brake

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

Op-Ed

Kill > Capture

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

The Obama administration's stated policy since 2011 has been to capture suspected terrorists—such as U.S. citizen Mohanad Mahmoud Al Farekh in Pakistan—rather than target them with drone strikes. However,  as Micah Zenko points out, Al Farekh’s case is the rare exception and, since 2011,  the United States has conducted an estimated 215 drone strikes, killing 1,271 individuals.

See more in United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State; Drones

Other Report Conflict in the South China Sea

Conflict in the South China Sea

Author: Bonnie S. Glaser

Territorial disputes in the South China Sea continue to be a source of tension and potential conflict between China and other countries in the region. Bonnie S. Glaser argues that the United States should help lower the risk of conflict in the region, including the potential for dangerous military incidents involving U.S. and Chinese military forces.

See more in Asia and Pacific; Conflict Prevention

Op-Ed

Make No Mistake â the United States Is at War in Yemen

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

The United States is now engaged in yet another military intervention in the Middle East—this time in Yemen. Micah Zenko argues that what has become the standard operating procedure for how the United States goes to war should be alarming, particularly when the latest intervention “lacks clear courses of action, coherent objectives, or an intended end state.”

See more in Yemen; United States; Conflict Assessment

Op-Ed

Obama's Bay of Pigs

Author: Micah Zenko
Foreign Policy

The U.S. plan to arm Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria looks eerily similar to the infamous 1961 failed Bay of Pigs operation. Micah Zenko argues that a clarification of phase two—how the United States will support the armed rebels once they are trained and equipped—is needed before the United States proceeds.

See more in Syria; Defense Strategy; Conflict Assessment

Op-Ed

The Great Drone Contradiction

Author: Micah Zenko
Foreign Policy

The State Department released a new policy on military drone exports, opening the door to possible sales to countries other than close U.S. allies. Micah Zenko discusses implications of the policy for drone proliferation.

See more in United States; Drones

Other Report Mitigating the Risks of Synthetic Biology

Mitigating the Risks of Synthetic Biology

Author: Gigi K. Gronvall

Gigi Kwik Gronvall examines the increased use of synthetic biology—a nascent field that engineers biology to improve manufacturing and the development of medicines—in order to highlight the need for oversight and better regulation.

See more in Global; Health

Article

The A Word:An Accomodationist Strategy for US-China Relations

Author: Micah Zenko
Australian National University, Strategic & Defence Studies Centre

Many predictions have been made that the United States and China will find themselves in competition or even direct conflict. Yet this is not preordained and both sides need to be careful not to talk themselves into a hostile relationship. In this bold new paper, Micah Zenko argues that by identifying clear ideas about acceptable conduct in the key domains (maritime, space, and cyber) the United States and China can avoid conflict without presuming away differences of interest or opinion.

See more in United States; China; Conflict Prevention

Op-Ed

The Myth of the Terrorist Safe Haven

Authors: Micah Zenko and Amelia Wolf
ForeignPolicy.com

Counterterrorism strategies of the past thirteen years have relied upon a myth of 9/11: terrorists require safe havens to conduct international terrorist attacks. Micah Zenko and Amelia M. Wolf argue that there is no evidence to support this assumption, which most recently served as the basis for launching a war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

See more in United States; Havens for Terrorism

Op-Ed

The Best Worst Quotes of 2014

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

The rise of purported threats such as Ebola and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, military intervention in Syria, and shifting military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2014 resulted in numerous notable quotes—whether puzzling, hypocritical, factually incorrect, or revealing—from U.S. officials and policymakers. In his annual article, Micah highlighted the top twenty foreign policy quotes of the year.

See more in United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State; Congresses, Parliaments, National Legislatures