ISP Brief March 2020
April 1, 2020
It's our pleasure to send you the March Edition of the ISP Brief, the monthly newsletter of the CSIS International Security Program. The ISP Brief features articles and commentary written by our scholars including analysis as published in various media sources (including video and audio highlights) and links to recent events. We hope the newsletter provides you, our readers, a snapshot of the excellent work underway in ISP and the engaging thoughts of our experts. As always, your feedback is welcome.
The analysis of ISP experts is consistently ahead of the game. In an increasingly uncertain world, our scholars have been able to recognize the most important international issues and offer strategic insights into their impacts on the global community.
In part one of the series, ISP's Shaan Shaikh, Lindsey Sheppard, and Todd Harrison explain how their prescient research on technology predicted real-world events, and what could be coming next.
In part two, Sam Brannen and Rebecca Hersman discuss how their simulation of an infectious disease outbreak involving a type of coronavirus predicted a scenario chillingly similar to today's COVID-19 pandemic.
We are living in an age of global mass protests that are historically unprecedented in frequency, scope, and size. A new analysis from the Risk and Foresight Group finds that the mass political protests that have captured media attention over the past year, such as those in Hong Kong and Santiago, are in fact part of a decade-long trend line affecting every major populated region of the world, the frequency of which have increased by an annual average of 11.5 percent between 2009 and 2019.
Photo: Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images
As the United States grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, discussion of the military's potential contributions to a more robust federal response have taken center stage. In the absence of effective federal action, hopes of containing the virus have given way to an increased focus on slowing its transmission through measures like social distancing and belatedly filling critical health care gaps. Kathleen Hicks and Joseph Federici discuss how the Defense Department can still provide valuable support to whole of nation coronavirus efforts.
Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
While the vulnerabilities of U.S. national security space systems are often discussed publicly, the progress other nations are making in counterspace systems is not as readily accessible. The Aerospace Security Project's Space Threat Assessment 2020 is intended to raise awareness and understanding of the threats, debunk myths and misinformation, and highlight areas in which senior leaders and policymakers should focus more attention.
Analysis of a CSIS data set of more than 2,200 terrorist incidents in Europe between 2009 and 2020 found that 69.3 percent of fatalities were from jihadists, compared to only 21.8 percent from right-wing individuals or networks, 6.9 percent from ethno-nationalists, and 2.0 percent from left-wing actors. A new report from the Transnational Threats Project suggests that despite a notable increase in the number of right-wing terrorist incidents during the past five years, jihadist terrorism continues to be the most lethal threat to Europe.
Photo: BALINT PORNECZI/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
Informed by research and eight tabletop exercises conducted with nearly 150 participants overall, this two-year study by the Project on Nuclear Issues examines implications of the emerging strategic situational awareness ecosystem and its impact on crisis decisionmaking.
ISP Spotlight: Combating COVID-19
Defense360's Combating COVID-19 series serves as the hub for analysis on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic from the CSIS International Security Program. The series assesses the effect of COVID-19 on the defense sector and the role of the military in containing it with weekly updates and other commentaries from CSIS experts. With so much happening so quickly, we've made it easier to track everything that has taken place.
Read the first COVID-19 Response Update: March 16-27 now.
READ - "Inflection Point: Missile Defense and Defeat in the 2021 Budget'" by Thomas Karako and Wes Rumbaugh
READ - "COVID-19 is Attacking our Defense Supply Chains and Our Nation's Security" by Andrew Hunter
READ - "The Marine Corps' Radical Shift toward China" by Mark Cancian
READ - "Lessons From Singapore on COVID-19 For the United States" by
Sam Brannen and Shashi Jayakumar
READ - "Bandwidth is the New Water" by Devi Nair
READ - "COVID-19 Response: Pentagon Gets a Real $8.3B Slush Fund" by Mark Cancian
READ - "Did America Learn the Wrong Lessons in Its Clash With Iran?" by Eric Brewer and Henry Rome
READ - "Sino-Russian Military-Technical Cooperation: A Primer" by Alec Blivas
READ - "Use of Military Forces in the COVID-19 Emergency" by Mark Cancian
READ - "Special Obfuscations: The Strategic Uses of Special Operations Forces" by Alice Hunt Friend and Shannon Culbertson
READ - "How Coronavirus Could Hurt U.S. Military Readiness" by Mark Cancian
READ - "We Predicted a Coronavirus Pandemic. Here's What Policymakers Could Have Seen Coming." by Kathleen Hicks and Sam Brannen
READ - "Making the Most of the Air Force's Investment in Joint All Domain Command and Control" by Morgan Dwyer
READ - "Colombia at a Stabilization Crossroads" by Melissa Dalton, Erol Yayboke, and Janina Staguhn
READ - "Enough Finger-Pointing on Russian Interference. Here's How to Prepare for 2020" by Suzanne Spaulding
READ - "Actual Obligation Rates versus Comptroller Projected Obligation Rates" by Seamus Daniels and Todd Harrison
LISTEN - On the Defense 2020 podcast, host Kathleen Hicks moderates a discussion on defense innovation with her colleague Andrew Hunter (CSIS), Chris Brose (Anduril Industries), and Rachel Hoff (Ronald Reagan Institute). Listen to Part 1 and Part 2 on iTunes, Spotify, and Megaphone.
WATCH - Suzanne Spaulding spoke on a panel at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on "Resiliency Against Large-scale Cyberattacks: Recommendations from the Cyberspace Solarium Commission." Read the Commission's report here.
LISTEN - A new Smart Women, Smart Power podcast featured a conversation with host Beverly Kirk and CSIS Global Health Policy Center's Katherine Bliss. They discussed her self-isolation after exposure to COVID-19 and her work on the GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. Listen on iTunes and Spotify.
WATCH - Kathleen Hicks joined a Foreign Affairs panel to discuss the March/April Issue which focuses on U.S. foreign policy and asks the question, should the U.S. retrench? Read Dr. Hicks's piece in the Foreign Affairs March/April issue "Getting to Less: The Truth About Defense Spending" now.
WATCH - Mark Cancian spoke with VOA about the Defense Production Act and what President Trump can do with its enactment.
LISTEN - Seth Jones, director of the Transnational Threats Project, joined NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday to discuss the ongoing violence in Afghanistan after the U.S.-Taliban peace deal.
WATCH - Rebecca Hersman explains her team's two-year long project "On the Radar" that examined the implications of the emerging strategic situational awareness ecosystem and its impact on crisis decisionmaking. Learn more at ontheradar.csis.org .
WATCH - Sam Brannen spoke with CBS Chicago to explain how his scenario at the Global Security Forum predicted the possibility of a coronavirus similar to COVID-19 and what that would mean for the world.
LISTEN - Kathleen Hicks joined an episode of the Bombshell Podcast to discuss how DOD can contribute to address the COVID-19 crisis.
LISTEN - Mark Cancian joined a Military Support Town Hall discussion with the Association of Defense Communities on understanding the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. military.
LISTEN - On CSIS's Truth of the Matter podcast, Bob Schieffer and Andrew Schwartz sat down with Sam Brannen to discuss decade-long trends of mass political protests around the world.
LISTEN - Lindsey Sheppard and Melissa Dalton joined the Training_Data podcast to discuss ISP's Gray Zone Project on current challenges facing the U.S. and its allies and how emerging technologies could be leveraged to help resolve or mitigate some of the analytic tasks facing national security organizations.
LISTEN - Host of the Smart Women, Smart Power podcast Beverly Kirk sat down with Grete Faremo, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Office of Project Services to discuss how gender-blind decisions around the world can hinder women and what UNOPS is doing to change that. Listen on iTunes and Spotify .
Unpacking the Defense Enterprise : A CSIS Executive Education Course
The Unpacking the Defense Enterprise virtual course gives participants a competitive advantage in analyzing the defense domain, the evolution of defense strategy, budgetary and technical issues, and future challenges and opportunities in the U.S. defense enterprise. The course is led by an accomplished cadre of defense and security experts, including practitioners, scholars, and former U.S. government leaders. Applications are due by May 29, 2020. Click here to learn more.
Hosted by Todd Harrison
Featuring a keynote by Dr. Chris Ford, Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation
Monday, April 6, 2020
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
This event will be hosted on Zoom. You must register at this link before the event to receive the invitation to join.
In Case You Missed It
Hosted by CSIS External Relations
Featured: Dr. Kathleen Hicks, Dr. J. Stephen Morrison, Heather Conley, and Stephanie Segal
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Hosted by CSIS Americas Program
Featured: Beverly Kirk
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Hacking Democracy: A Super Tuesday Kickoff with the Cyberspace Solarium Commission
Hosted by Suzanne Spaulding
Featured: Beverly Kirk
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Hosted by Beverly Kirk
Monday, March 2, 2020
"Even in the best of times, boot camps and other group training sites are known for routinely having problems with controlling infections," said Kathleen Hicks in the Los Angeles Time s on March 28, 2020. "Yet boot camps continue, as does mission-essential training, even as cases of infection come to light."
"There's a lot more interest in space. There's a lot more interest in countering missile threats of various kinds, and in the putting together of our various missile defeat and active missile defenses," said Thomas Karako in Breaking Defense on March 27, 2020. "There's a lot of questions there in terms of how you then go about organizing what I like to call the missile defense enterprise."
In a discussion about the military's role and the factors of what nonessential means for them during COVID-19, Kathleen Hicks said, "It is at the end of the day a political and soul-of-the-nation issue when it comes to how much to pull in the military, and in what ways," in the Washington Post on March 22, 2020.
On the Marine Corps pivot to focusing on Chinese island chains, Mark Cancian said "It is very easy when developing concepts on paper to underestimate the challenges of logistics. With this concept, the Marines need to figure out what in fact is viable and hedge for the possibility that they got it wrong," in the Wall Street Journal on March 22, 2020.
"What's happening now is much worse in the sense that the U.S. response has been more ineffective than we would have assumed," said Sam Brannen on the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Bloomberg on March 18, 2020.
Russian agents are pushing disinformation in the U.S. to "get Americans to give up," said Suzanne Spaulding in The Hill on March 3, 2020. "The way we fight back is to stay engaged and to vote."