ISP Brief November 2017

International Security Program

It's our pleasure to send you the November Edition of the ISP Brief, the monthly newsletter of the CSIS International Security Program. ISP Brief features articles and commentary written by our scholars, their 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.


Global Security Forum 2017

November 7, 2017
We convened our annual, day-long conference at CSIS on all things international security. Topics this year included Global Forecast 2030 -- an interactive multimedia presentation on the most critical challenges facing the world now and into the next decade -- countering Russia, addressing biological threats, consequences of a trade war, governance of artificial intelligence, nuclear modernization, and new avenues for strategy.

The Role of Women in Global Poverty Reduction: A Conversation with Dr. Kristalina Georgieva

November 28, 2017
This Smart Women, Smart Power event featured a discussion with Dr. Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank. Dr. Georgieva spoke about women's financial inclusion and entrepreneurship and the role women play in reducing global poverty.

Preparing Military Leadership for the Future

November 13, 2017
This discussion focused on the urgency of developing fluency and competency with science and technology in the military officer corps. The conversation also examined the importance of preparing military leadership for the future and how to implement it in the systems for professional military education and military career development, assignments, and promotions.

Check out the Latest on Defense360

READ "Assessing Navy Readiness Funding" by Seamus Daniels
READ "U.S. Military Forces in FY 2018" by Mark Cancian


READ "CBO’s Nuclear Weapons Cost Estimate Is Way Too High; Hint — Bombers" by Todd Harrison, Breaking Defense.

READ "DoD’s International Armaments Cooperation: A Unique Opportunity for Transformative Change" by Tommy Ross, CSIS.

READ "A lesson for America from Zimbabwe's military coup" by Alice Hunt Friend, The Hill.

READ "US Forces Won’t Grow Much Despite Hill & Trump Rhetoric" by Mark Cancian, Breaking Defense.

READ "Is Congress Creating a Military Space Corps?" by Todd Harrison, CSIS.

READ "Niger ambush proves need for transparency in US security assistance" by Tommy Ross, The Hill.

READ "To Better Serve Personnel and Readiness, the Pentagon Should Shutter its Personnel and Readiness Shop" by Todd Harrison, and Mackenzie Eaglen, War on the Rocks.

READ "DoD is Losing the Budget Endgame" by John Conger, Defense One.

READ "Don't Overlook the Kremlin's Threats to our Courts" by Suzanne Spaulding, The Washington Post.


WATCH - Tom Karako: "Pentagon: North Korea launches missile" on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer .

LISTEN - Alex Gallo: "Defense Authorization and Appropriations, how do they work?" onWarcast from War on the Rocks (behind paywall).

LISTEN - Dr. Amy Searight and Beverly Kirk discuss the president’s Asia trip, the Trans-Pacific Partnership without U.S. involvement, U.S. leadership in Southeast Asia, and the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar in this Smart Women, Smart Power podcast.

LISTEN - Sarah Ladislaw, Amy Harder, and Lisa Friedman discuss the political dynamics of the energy and climate change conversation with Beverly Kirk in this Smart Women, Smart Power podcast.

LISTEN - Alice Hunt Friend: "The Fallout's Gonna Kill You" on Bombshell.

LISTEN - Alice Hunt Friend: "An update on the United States’ foreign policy on Africa" on The Loopcast.

Upcoming Events

Winning the Third World: The Sino-American Rivalry
December 4, 2017
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW

PONI 2017 Winter Conference
December 5 - 6, 2017
CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW

U.S. - Korea Defense Acquisition and Security Cooperation
December 11, 2017
9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW

Ballistic Missile Defense: Evolving Threats and New Priorities with Rear Admiral Jon Hill

December 13, 2017
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW

In Case You Missed It

Lost Kingdom: The Quest for Empire and the Making of the Russian Nation
November 17, 2017
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW

Building the 350-Ship Navy: Prospects and Challenges

November 15, 2017
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW

The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won
November 13, 2017
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW

Destination Casablanca: Exiles, Espionage, and the Battle for North Africa in World War II
November 9, 2017
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW

America's Forgotten Allies: The Soldiers of the Republic of Vietnam
November 8. 2017
4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW

Media Highlights

“I think we talk much too little on the civilian side about how our fates as women in national security are ultimately tied to the women in uniform and their ability to advance... [b]ecause when they are at the top, when they are respected for their warrior capabilities, I think that’s when we can really be respected as civilian women. I think we’re always going to be hampered until we reach that point.” - Kathleen Hicks in Just Security on November 29, 2017.

“We’ve seen this train coming for the last 20 years, but now this train is accelerating. What you’re going to see is that missile defense is no longer an ideological issue.” - Tom Karako in Washington Post on November 29, 2017.

"They're being provocative, they're testing us and they're running a kind of brinkmanship game." -Tom Karako in ABC News on November 29, 2017.

"In terms of this test taking place at night, they [North Korea] might be trying to obscure the final launch prep from overhead surveillance to maximize surprise." - Ian Williams in The Washington Post on November 29, 2017

“The [missile defense] system has demonstrated a lot of capability. … You’ve seen the Patriot being put to good use on a weekly and monthly basis in the ongoing Yemen missile war.” - Tom Karako on PBS, November 28, 2017.

“The special operations community has been given a lot of authorities to go overseas and conduct operations in small groups with very little oversight. You can reduce these kinds of incidents but nothing will ever be 100 percent effective.” - Mark Cancian in Vox on November 27, 2017.

“Basically, the CR will fall into one of two options: It’ll either be a short-term of two or three weeks up until around Christmas if they think they can get [a deal] done by then. If they don’t think they are going to get it done by then, they probably go for about a two-month CR and kick it into February. If it extends past the New Year, that starts to become a long-term CR and that is when it does start to create problems in planning and execution.” - Todd Harrison in The Washington Examiner on November 21, 2017.

"While a $16 billion order would be a plum achievement for any of the companies, neither Boeing nor Lockheed is depending on [the T-X Award]." - Todd Harrison in Air and Space Magazine on November 22, 2017.

“Some of the initial headlines said they killed Space Corps, but I think it’s more accurate to say they deferred it... And of course, they slapped the Air Force over this. All these things the Air Force had been doing, that the Air Force had responsibility for, they took away.” - Todd Harrison in Air Force Times on November 22, 2017.

“I think it’s going to be very hard for them to work [47 new ships] into the budget in any sort of realistic way.” - Todd Harrison in Foreign Policy on November 17, 2017.

"Analysts scrutinize what information they can. North Korea has traditionally fired fewer missiles in the last three months of the year. We don’t know why that is.” - Tom Karako in USA Today on November 16, 2017.

“It’s important to have faith in American institutions and the office. And it’s also important that our adversaries have complete faith in the credibility of U.S. deterrence... [t]here should be no question about it.” - Tom Karako in Foreign Policy on November 14, 2017.

“I think we’re in a different place now than we were in 2001. All of these factors did not exist then and now start to conspire to depress defense spending. They very well may weigh on the defense budget in the 2020s…Then when you combine that with tax cuts which are also going to make the deficit higher, it’s all putting downward pressure on defense budgets.” - Todd Harrison in Digital Journal on November 13, 2017.

“This would be a very easy, and relatively inexpensive area to increase, in terms of providing more funding.” - Todd Harrison in USNI News on November 13, 2017.

"If you look at it, [the Pentagon employs] like 2.2 million people full time and another 800,000 part time. It's a big organization with a lot of bases and office space, so there's there's a lot of these mundane purchases of pencils and whatever." - Todd Harrison on CNBC, November 13, 2017.

"Perhaps the most notable implication of this bill is that it lays the groundwork for the potential creation of a Space Corps in the future... [m]oreover, the requirement to have an independent organization develop a road map for further reorganization is an indication that Congress may be considering larger changes." - Todd Harrison in USA Today on November 13, 2017.

"Strike missile capability and missile defenses are ramping up in terms of interest, both with the United States and our partners and allies, and also among our adversaries... [t]here's a lot of air defenses, a lot of missile defenses out there and you see a lot of really big buys measured not in the millions but in the billions of dollars." - Tom Karako on CNBC, November 11, 2017.

“There’s definitely been a push in the administration to ‘buy America’ and bring more jobs to the US... I think that’s translated in [defense] acquisition to push US companies to do more sales overseas and the government taking more active role.” - Todd Harrison in Flight Global on November 11, 2017.

“The Iran deal just kind of adds to that. It may be the impetus behind why some of these nations feel they need to be more aggressive in the region... [b]ut I think there’s multiple factors including they’ve been building capacity for decades and they now they have an opportunity to do something they wouldn’t have been able to do 20 years ago.” - Andrew Hunter in Flight Global on November 11, 2017.

"The bill is a clear rebuke of the current space organization within DoD... and the language and tone of the summary accompanying the bill suggests a lack of confidence in the Air Force leadership." - Todd Harrison in Inside GNSS on November 10, 2017.

"[the NDAA] doesn’t simply reject the space corps. It slaps the Air Force pretty hard and appears to lay the groundwork for creating a separate department for national security space in the future.” - Todd Harrison in Space News on November 10, 2017.

“Israel is arguably under the greatest threat of rockets and missiles in the world with the exception of South Korea and Japan.” - Ian Williams in AL Monitor on November 9, 2017.

“Legislation is an inflexible tool, and in ethics, a lot of subtlety can be required... [t]here is definitely a role for something more flexible, like a code of conduct that can be amended.” - Andrew Hunter in Quartz on November 8, 2017.

"I suspect when you see high-ranking Iranian officials at a military parade in Pyongyang, or at missile test exercises, they're not there for the Korean food." - Tom Karako on CNBC, November 8, 2017.

“It’s going to vary a lot from country to country—the Europeans, the US, I would expect, are going to call for controls or not doing this kind of thing, not breaking the norms [against militarizing space]." - Andrew Hunter in Interesting Engineering on November 7, 2017.

"We don’t have the oversight in place yet to manage a massively growing space industry... [t]he US government could be caught flat-footed in a lot of this, create a big space traffic management issue that could affect the military." - Todd Harrison in Interesting Engineering on November 7, 2017.

“There are limits to how much Republicans, particularly the more fiscally conservative wing of the party, are willing to increase the overall deficit. And making offsetting cuts in other parts of the budget to balance out tax cuts and higher defense spending is politically difficult because most of the remainder of the federal budget goes to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans benefits and other services.” - Todd Harrison in McKeon Group on November 7, 2017.

"We have to have stealthy platforms that can penetrate those systems, but if you're looking at something larger like a B-52 or transport aircraft bringing in troops ... they would need extra protection beyond the traditional kind of countermeasures." - Ian Williams on CNBC, November 6, 2017.

"My bet would be they come up with a compromise somewhere in between and is different than those two ideas." - Todd Harrison on CNBC, November 3, 2017.

“You’re not going to touch [SLBMs] [with a budgetary ax] because that is the most survivable leg of the triad.” - Todd Harrison in National Defense on November 3, 2017.

“Doing so would not only improve the quality of life for servicemembers by rationalizing the personnel system, but would also enable the Pentagon to more easily diagnose and treat the readiness problems plaguing the force.” - Todd Harrison and Mackenzie Eaglen in Marine Corps Times on November 2, 2017.