The Evening CSIS April 13 2015
April 13, 2015
Welcome to The Evening CSIS—my daily guide to key insights CSIS brings to the events of the day plus HIGHLY RECOMMENDED content from around the world. To subscribe, please click here and if you want to view this in your browser, click here.
Thousands Could Launch Sony-Style Cyber Attack
Considering the current electronic security protections most private companies maintain, 90 percent of them would be vulnerable to such an attack as Sony suffered in late 2014, CNET reports today.
The CNET article is based on information gleaned from a 60 Minutes segment by Steve Kroft that aired last night. “The Attack on Sony” featured CSIS’s James Andrew Lewis, one of the world’s top cybersecurity specialists.
Dive Deeper: A new CSIS Critical Questions (CSIS’s signature Asked & Answered series of short papers) by Andrew Miller and Denise Zheng, “Better Buying Power 3.0: DOD's New Plan for Technical Excellence and Innovation,” focuses on advancing US technological superiority.
And, the CSIS Strategic Technologies Program has created an interactive “Cyber Incident Timeline” that details the successful attacks on government agencies, defense and high-tech companies, or economic crimes with losses of more than a million dollars since 2006.
On the eve of his first official visit to Washington, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq said more support is needed from the international coalition to “finish” ISIS, the Associated Press reports.
And, AFP reports that Abadi will ask the US for increased air support and arms deliveries to fight ISIS.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Anthony Cordesman wrote in mid-March about “The Real Strategic Goal in Iraq and Syria: How Do You Bring Lasting Stability?”
And, Jon Alterman’s excellent multimedia presentation “Iraq in the Balance” looks at how history, geography, power, and people have shaped Iraq’s past and its potential future trajectories.
The Institute for the Study of War’s ongoing “Iraq Situation Update” series is a useful resource.
In that Number
The number of children that have been forced to flee their homes as a result of Boko Haram, according to a report released today by UNICEF.
Source : UNICEF.
A daily shortened sampling of our signature "Asked & Answered" series.
Asked: What does Russia’s decree lifting the ban on the sale of S-300 air defense systems to Iran mean for Iran’s military capability?
Answered: Paul N. Schwartz, senior associate CSIS Russia & Eurasia Program: The decree essentially eliminates restrictions that have been in place since 2010, when Russia cancelled a contract to sell such systems to Iran, citing the desire to support the international sanctions regime against Iran’s nuclear program. By eliminating such restrictions, the decree paves the way for future sales of the S-300, although the two states would presumably still have to reach agreement on a new contract.
Putin’s actions were not a total surprise: in January of this year, Russia and Iran jointly announced a new agreement for expanding their military relationship. The announcement was accompanied by statements that the two were also working to settle disputes arising out of cancellation of the original S-300 contract. In February, Sergei Chemezov, the head of ROSTEC, who is responsible for overseeing Russian arms transfers, said that Russia was now willing to supply Tehran with the Antey-2500 air defense system, an improved variant of the S-300 system that was originally offered. The system offers a number of improvements, including a better engagement radar and upgraded surface-to-air missiles, as well as better range, greater survivability, superior performance, and enhanced protection for Iran’s territory.
By moving ahead with the sale at this time, Putin is likely seeking to cement Russia’s position as Iran’s preferred arms supplier before Western arms embargoes are lifted, in which case it would likely face stiffer competition.
Clearly, the S-300 would significantly enhance Iran’s air defense capabilities, as such systems are deemed to be effective even against advanced US or Israeli strike aircraft. Still, the sale of a small number of S-300 systems will not be sufficient in and of itself to alter the overall balance. Advanced US aircraft, especially stealthy aircraft like the F-22, will remain capable of penetrating Iran’s airspace, and the US retains the ability to suppress or destroy the new air defense systems over time. Nevertheless, if the sale goes through, newly deployed S-300 systems would make any effort to strike Iran’s nuclear infrastructure significantly more challenging.
One to Watch
John Dickerson (@jdickerson ), political director at CBS News, has been named the new host of Face the Nation on Bob Schieffer’s retirement from the broadcast later this summer. John has appeared on Face the Nation 83 times. See the announcement here. And, we’ll soon be watching John every Sunday.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter, left, tours the central intelligence center aboard the USS John Paul Jones in Pearl Harbor on Saturday. DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Hurt, U.S. Navy.
To dive deeper into Sunday’s 60 Minutes segment on the Sony hack, watch “60 Minutes Overtime: Why the Sony Hack Is Important.”
Watch video of today’s events at our HQ.
Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, chair of the African Union Commission, joined CSIS for a Statesmen’s Forum on the AU’s vision for women’s empowerment and major priorities for African women.
What’s in store at CSIS HQ tomorrow.
CSIS will host an event on “Energy Sector and Climate Reforms in China,” focusing on changes to China’s energy sector from the perspective of both energy market reform and climate policy. Join us at 9:30 a.m.
The CSIS International Security Program will host a panel discussion on the future of vertical lift platforms in operations integrating both air and marine elements. Join us at 10:00 a.m.
Adam Sieminski, administrator of the US Energy Information Administration, will be at CSIS to present the EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2015. Join us at 1:00 p.m.
This Town Tomorrow
So many important things in this town—so little time. Of note:
At 9:00 a.m., CSIS’s Michael Green will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on “U.S. Defense Policy Issues Pertaining to the Asia-Pacific Theater.” Click here for the full lineup.
CSIS on Demand
Last month, CSIS hosted Dr. Munqith Dagher of IIACSS, an Iraqi public opinion organization, for a fascinating presentation on the findings of a major public opinion project on Arab attitudes in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, and Libya toward terrorism and terrorist organizations.
Dive Deeper: The full presentation includes interesting trends and key findings such as “by and large, Muslims do not believe or support Dai’sh [ISIS].”
CSIS’s own Mira Rapp-Hooper discusses the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative images of China’s island-building activity on NPR’s All Things Considered.
I Like It Like That
Eye catching things in CSIS’s orbit
Interesting piece posted on Time.com today, “How a Marvel Comic Hero Became the Icon of the Fight Against ISIS.”
This is my favorite smile of all time. Saturday, during the NHL Phoenix Coyotes’ last game of the season, US Army Sgt. Dan Urman surprised his parents, Eitan and Ronit, during the ceremonial puck drop, appearing as a “special guest” after returning home from Afghanistan. Sgt. Urman’s dad Eitan was so excited he tackled his son with such a hug that they went tumbling to the ice. I’m so moved by this because (1) Our men and women in uniform are all of our heroes; and (2) I’m lucky enough to have the kind of relationship Sgt. Urman has with his dad with both my own father Joseph Schwartz and my father-in-law Jerry Goldberg—they are my personal heroes. Watch this.
I always welcome and benefit from your feedback. Please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.