Central and Eastern Europe have experienced a steady decline in democratic standards and governance practices at the same time that Russia’s economic engagement with the region has expanded significantly over the past decade. Regional political movements and figures have increasingly sought to align themselves with the Kremlin and with illiberalism. In 2016, the CSIS Europe Program completed a 16-month study to understand the nature of Russian influence in five case countries: Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Latvia, and Serbia. This research determined that Russia has cultivated an opaque web of economic and political patronage across the region that the Kremlin uses to influence and direct decisionmaking, with significant implications for the United States, members of NATO, and the European Union. The study’s final report is the widely read Kremlin Playbook.
Countering Violent Extremism
The surge in recruitment by the so-called Islamic State (IS) dramatically changed the landscape of violent extremist ideology and created a new sense of urgency in confronting the menace of violent extremism. Yet the threat is far more encompassing than just IS and has the potential to reshape borders, define the identity of Muslim millennials around the world, and undermine international values and human rights norms. The CSIS Human Rights Initiative organized a high-level Commission on Countering Violent Extremism, cochaired by Tony Blair and Leon Panetta, to develop innovative ideas to better counter this ideology and reduce its appeal around the world. The Commission released an interactive report in 2016 providing recommendations to mobilize communities to speak out and take action against the ideology and atrocities committed by violent extremists.
Cyber Policy Task Force
Prior to the 2008 election, CSIS convened a commission of government and industry leaders to examine issues relating to cybersecurity. The ensuing report, Securing Cyberspace for the 44th Presidency, served as a roadmap for Obama administration policy and congressional legislative reform. Building on this successful effort, the CSIS Technology Policy Program launched a new Cyber Policy Task Force to look at the current state of cybersecurity and address U.S. action in this realm. The two-year project was chaired by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX). In January 2017, the Task Force issued “plug-and-play” recommendations—drafted and presented in a way that allow for rapid implementation under the new administration—in the report From Awareness to Action.
Asia Economic Strategy Commission
The Asia Economic Strategy Commission was launched in late 2015 by the Simon Chair in Political Economy, the Scholl Chair in International Business, and the Southeast Asia Program, with the goal of developing a comprehensive, bipartisan, U.S. economic strategy to pursue vital interests in the Asia Pacific. U.S. leadership in this critical region requires a comprehensive economic strategy built on a strong domestic, political, and economic foundation, tied to clearly defined U.S. interests and effectively deploying all the tools and strengths of the U.S. government, private sector, and American people. The Commission was chaired by Governor Jon Huntsman, Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky, and Evan Greenberg. CSIS released the commission’s findings in the report Reinvigorating U.S. Economic Strategy in the Asia Pacific in January 2017.
In 2016, the CSIS International Security Program (ISP) continued efforts to support the Beyond Goldwater-Nichols project, created to examine the most important national security reforms required in the post-9/11 environment. ISP hosted a series of briefings on Capitol Hill for Senate Armed Services Committee staff to outline the context in which the historic Goldwater-Nichols legislation was passed, assess its major reforms after 30 years, highlight key considerations for new reorganization efforts, and provide recommendations for future legislation.
For the past 400 years, the geopolitical focus in Asia centered on the littoral. Today, the Eurasian supercontinent could be reconnecting internally. Ambitious infrastructure investments by China under its Belt and Road Initiative, as well as initiatives by Japan, Russia, and other regional players, are reshaping the continent. In 2016, the Brzezinski Institute on Geostrategy and the Simon Chair in Political Economy launched Reconnecting Asia, CSIS’s most advanced research platform to-date. Through a state-of-the-art interactive website, the project tracks new infrastructure investments and linkages across the great Eurasian landmass and explores their economic and strategic implications.
Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative
The maritime environment in East Asia contains both promise and peril—home to the world’s most important shipping lanes and abundant natural resources, but also competing territorial claims and increased militarization, where an isolated incident could become a geopolitical disaster. AMTI promotes maritime transparency in the Indo-Pacific and unpacks the region’s complex disputes, especially those in the South and East China Seas, in order to raise awareness among policymakers and stakeholders. Rich with original satellite imagery and analysis, online mapping tools, podcasts, and infographics, amti.csis.org provides an engaging and regularly updated source for information, analysis, and policy regarding maritime security issues in Asia.Visit AMTI
In 2016, the Korea Chair launched Beyond Parallel, an authoritative analytic vehicle for delivering greater clarity and understanding about Korean unification. Using cutting-edge methodology and data visualization, Beyond Parallel is preparing the international public for the implications of Korean unification with new evidence, analytic tools, and data. Since its launch, Beyond Parallel has released a unique opinion poll of North Koreans conducted inside North Korea; an original data set studying patterns of North Korean provocations around U.S. elections; and satellite images of cross-border activity between China and North Korea.Visit Beyond Parallel
Task Force on Women’s and Family Health
The CSIS Task Force on Women’s and Family Health, a major project of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, worked to devise a concrete vision for the new administration and Congress on how the United States can best contribute to the health of adolescent girls and young women in 10 to 15 countries through major efforts in family planning, cervical cancer, maternal and newborn health, and nutrition. The Task Force was cochaired by CSIS trustees Helene Gayle and John Hammergren and was composed of a bipartisan group of 26 diverse and notable thought leaders, including seven current and former Congress and experts drawn from industry, foundations, universities, implementers, and advocacy. Over the course of 2016, the Task Force generated foundational content and conducted overseas research missions to Kenya, Honduras, Nicaragua, Senegal, Zambia, Ghana, and Ethiopia. The Task Force’s final report launched at CSIS in March 2017.Visit Vision2017
International Security Program
The International Security Program tackles one of the most robust and ambitious research agendas in the study of security policy. The program covers conventional political-military issues, including defense strategy and policy, acquisition and industry, counterterrorism and homeland security, U.S. nuclear policy, defense budget analysis, missile defense, strategic futures, and security cooperation.
ISP is also committed to addressing a growing range of nonmilitary issues that are defining U.S. foreign and security policy, including proliferation prevention, stabilization, and security cooperation. Nonpartisan analysis of the ongoing defense and security challenges facing the nation provides Congress, the executive branch, and industry with useful information to address tough policy decisions. The program assembles top-level leaders and provides a platform to define critical issues and explain the national and global impact of strategic policy choices.
In October 2016, ISP convened a full day public conference on the U.S. Department of Defense’s Third Offset Strategy, featuring remarks by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work, and other senior defense officials. The conference examined the future global security environment and the department’s approach to identifying the next generation of concepts and capabilities necessary to guarantee U.S. military superiority in the coming decades.
In January 2016, ISP launched a new platform, defense360.csis.org, for defense analysis. Defense 360 features defense analysis from CSIS and affiliated experts through a variety of reports, commentaries, and multimedia. As part of the Defense 360 initiative, ISP created a new series of annual publications examining strategy, budget, forces and acquisition, called “Defense Outlook.” The Defense Outlook initiative is led by Kathleen Hicks, Todd Harrison, Mark Cancian, and Andrew Hunter.
These and other CSIS scholars have contributed articles to Defense 360, focusing on such salient topics as defense reform, the U.S. purchase of Russian RD-180 rockets, costs associated with the U.S. nuclear triad, military personnel compensation, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), and more.
The Transition45 series provides insights and recommendations to the new administration on where change in U.S. defense strategy, forces, operations, and institutions would be most valuable to the nation. Released during the six weeks prior to the inauguration, the Transition45 essays also offer an overview of some of the key national security challenges that lie ahead as Donald Trump takes office as the nation’s 45th president.Visit Defense360
Defense Industrial Base (DIIG)
The Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group (DIIG) performs data-driven analyses and provides insight on issues affecting the defense acquisition system and the global defense and security industrial base. Under the leadership of Andrew P. Hunter, DIIG addresses critical concerns relating to providing innovation and advanced capabilities to warfighters at a time when the diminishing defense budget and the demands of global competition pose serious challenges for industry, the military, and the nation. In 2016, DIIG began a series on Implementing Innovation, featuring discussions with former secretary of defense Harold Brown, among others, to explore the various ways in which innovations in both technology and business processes can help the military face a rapidly evolving global security environment.
Additionally, DIIG has been tackling several key issues related to improvement of the defense acquisition system and the future of the Department of Defense and its relations with industry through high-profile events featuring defense and industry experts, including a discussion with Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Frank Kendall on The State of Defense Acquisition and the Future Vertical Lift series. The role of U.S. partners and allies in providing innovative capabilities and as customers of U.S. defense exports is another major area of focus, and was featured at a joint conference with the Republic of Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration hosted at CSIS on U.S.-Korea Defense Acquisition Policy and the International Security Environment.
DIIG has also released several insightful defense analyses on defense acquisition issues including The Army Modernization Challenge, Back to the Future: Devolving Acquisition to the Services and , and the first in an annual series addressing trends in U.S. defense acquisition entitled Defense Acquisition Trends, 2015. In the coming year, DIIG will continue to analyze the global industrial base supporting defense and security focusing specifically on defense budgets, the financial health of the defense-industrial base, the evolving international defense market, and the effects of ongoing weapons and services acquisition reforms.
Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI)
Under the leadership of Rebecca Hersman, the Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) focuses on developing the next generation of policy, technical, and operational nuclear experts through outreach, mentorship, research, and debate. Throughout 2016, PONI continued to host flagship initiatives and also expanded outreach, broadened research to cover the full range of nuclear issues, and initiated innovative and collaborative research projects.
PONI hosted four conferences that featured presentations from next generation experts. PONI convened the 11th class of the Nuclear Scholars Initiative, composed of 25 young professionals who attended workshops with senior officials, participated in simulations, and conducted research projects. PONI also hosted public events featuring New York Times journalist C.J. Chivers providing insight into ISIS’s hunt for weapons of mass destruction; Dr. Siegfried Hecker discussing U.S.-Russia lab collaboration; and several panelists presenting at an all-day conference on U.S. nuclear policy post-2016.
PONI also released a report, The Evolving U.S. Nuclear Narrative: Communicating the Rationale for the Role and Value of U.S. Nuclear Weapons, 1989 to Today. The report tracks the role that the nuclear arsenal has played in U.S. national security strategy and articulates a compelling rationale for why the U.S. nuclear arsenal remains essential today. Alongside the report, U.S. Nuclear Narrative is a new micro-website that provides a summary of the study’s main takeaways, a database with primary sources utilized in the research, and an interactive timeline tracking shifts in the U.S. nuclear narrative.
PONI officially launched the Mid-Career Cadre in 2016, a select group of nuclear professionals beyond the nascent stages of their careers. The group will participate in advanced simulations, international exchanges, and networking sessions to build interdisciplinary connections, stimulate debate, and advise and support young professionals in other programs. Through this new program, PONI partnered with UK PONI for a unique international exchange of 30 mid-career nuclear professionals to tour the UK nuclear deterrent, including a visit to the Faslane naval base; meetings with the Foreign Office, Ministry of Defense, and Parliament; and a dinner with members of the Scottish National Party.
PONI also launched a pilot collaborative research project, led by members of the Nuclear Scholars Initiative, to build an interactive web-based escalation crisis war game.
Proliferation Prevention Program (PPP)
The Proliferation Prevention Program (PPP), directed by Sharon Squassoni, researches, analyzes, and creates policy solutions to reduce nuclear risks, whether from nuclear energy, nuclear weapons proliferation, or nuclear arsenals. In 2016, PPP wrapped up two major projects for the MacArthur Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York that aimed to reduce risks from nuclear terrorism by limiting nuclear material and enhancing nuclear security training, particularly in East Asia. PPP has been engaged in public outreach regarding the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), publishing an interactive timeline of JCPOA developments, essays (JCPOA: One Year Later), a series of video interviews (Iran Nuclear Deal), and media appearances.
PPP is a leading source of expertise for U.S. and international policymakers on nuclear energy, nuclear nonproliferation, and arms control. In July 2015, Ms. Squassoni testified before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs on nuclear cooperation with China. In April 2016, top State Department and Department of Energy officials appeared at CSIS for a discussion about U.S. policy directions in limiting the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technologies. In September 2016, PPP also hosted White House and State Department officials and civil society leaders for a discussion about nuclear issues at the United Nations.
Aerospace Security Project
In late 2016, CSIS created the Aerospace Security Project to explore the technological, budgetary, and policy issues related to the air and space domains and innovative operational concepts for air and space forces. Part of the International Security Program at CSIS, the Aerospace Security Project is led by Todd Harrison and will focus on three areas: space security, air dominance and long-range strike, and commercial and civil space.
Space security examines the evolving military uses of space and how the lack of norms of behavior affects escalation and deterrence. Air dominance and long-range strike looks at the future of air and missile forces in a more contested operating environment, including the role of stealth, unmanned systems, and autonomous systems; the sensor-shooter competition; and the air and ground-based legs of the nuclear triad. Commercial and civil space analyzes how U.S. civil and commercial space programs can be used to promote norms of behavior in space and enhance U.S. national security in the space domain. It explores international partnerships in space, efforts to reduce the costs of launch, new commercial space technologies, and policy issues that affect civil and commercial space programs.
Defense Budget Analysis
The Defense Budget Analysis Program rethinks defense strategy and policy issues in light of responsible and realistic fiscal constraints; provides independent and objective quantitative analysis of defense budget issues; and proposes innovative, sensible reforms that ensure the best return for taxpayer dollars. Led by Todd Harrison, the program had several milestones in 2016. In January, the report, Defense Modernization Plans through the 2020s, focused on the Defense Department’s long-term modernization plans to quantify the modernization “bow wave” the department faces in the early 2020s.
The project released a second major report, Analysis of the FY 2017 Defense Budget. Part of the Defense 360 annual series, this report looked at trends in the defense budget, changes from the last request, and the major budget issues that will remain for the next administration. The budget program also hosted an event shortly after the release of the FY 2017 budget request with Comptroller Mike McCord, Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation Jamie Morin, and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities Robert Scher to discuss the strategy and major program decisions behind the budget. The program also produced several op-eds and short articles throughout the year on topics ranging from military compensation to the cost of nuclear weapons. In August, the program produced a video and critical questions article, “What Has the Budget Control Act of 2011 Meant for Defense,” to mark the fifth anniversary of the Budget Control Act (BCA). The video explains what the BCA has meant for defense since it was enacted in 2011 and what it means for the new administration.
Missile Defense Project
The Missile Defense Project focuses on a wide range of policy, programmatic, and strategic issues related to missile defense. Technological and geopolitical factors have driven increased global supply and demand for high-velocity, unmanned, missile-based weapons and their corresponding counters. In addition to more recognized cruise and ballistic missile threats, global missile proliferation now consists of a spectrum, including precision-guided rockets, antiship missiles, air defenses, hypersonic delivery systems, and counter-space weapons.
Directed by Thomas Karako, the project’s research considers the most pressing missile defense problems of the day, such as homeland missile defense, integrated air and missile defenses for U.S. forces and allies abroad, offensive strike capabilities, and investments in high technology to defeat missile threats through new and innovative means. The project also hosts a variety of events to shape the debate about policy, budgets, legislation, and both current and future programs. Since October 2015, the project’s analysis has been cited in the media over 95 times.
The Missile Defense Project released its groundbreaking report, The Missile Defense Agency and the Color of Money, highlighting alarming trends within U.S. missile defense budgets that could undermine the development of next generation missile defense technology.
The project also created Missile Threat, missilethreat.csis.org, an in-depth resource for information on missile defense systems and missile proliferation. The project’s speaker series in 2016 included US STRATCOM commander Admiral Cecil Haney, Missile Defense Agency director Vice Admiral James D. Syring, and Missile Defense Agency deputy director Brigadier General Ole Knudson.Visit Missile Threat
Global Threats and Regional Security
ISP provides reliable analysis and policy recommendations for mitigating and responding to global threats and instability, in collaboration with CSIS regional programs. ISP and the Asia Program partnered on Asia-Pacific Rebalance 2025, an independent study for the U.S. Congress assessing the U.S. rebalance to the Asia Pacific. ISP and the Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies coauthored a study funded by the MacArthur Foundation, U.S.-India Security Cooperation: Progress and Promise for the Next Administration. ISP and the Asia Program currently are concluding a report funded by the Smith Richardson Foundation on countering Chinese maritime coercion.
With the challenge of a revanchist Russia, ISP undertook a number of studies in 2016 to examine various angles of this problem set, in collaboration with the Europe and Russia Programs. These studies include two reports funded by U.S. Army Europe, Evaluating Future U.S. Army Posture in Europe: Phase I and Phase II; a report funded by Saab, Undersea Warfare in Europe; a report funded by the Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering WMD, Perspectives on Security and Strategic Stability, and a current study funded by the Smith Richardson Foundation on deterring Russian hybrid warfare and aggression.
ISP is tackling several projects to unpack the dynamics of deepening Middle East instability. These include a project on deterring Iran after the nuclear deal, a project examining how to conduct stabilization operations across a range of Syrian futures, and a dinner series on the future of U.S. counterterrorism policy.
Finally, with the fraying of state authority across the globe, ISP is examining the implications of a “disordered world” for U.S. national security. Through general support to CSIS, this research project builds a framework based on case study analysis that the United States may apply in navigating future fragmented state environments.
Strategic Futures is a collection of efforts at CSIS to examine global trends as important opportunities and challenges for the planet. The Seven Revolutions initiative enters its 24th year, scanning the horizon to build a better framework for discussing the future. The findings and insights of the changing world to 2035 requires audiences to think outside of the normal strategic planning cycle to events that may not happen within a particular presidential term. Beyond this initiative, these efforts have included a series of deeper analyses on topics including emerging technologies, biometrics and identity management, long-term prospects for allies and partners, and the future of food security. Ultimately, Strategic Futures has been successful in engaging influencers inside and outside the beltway to think critically about how the future may shape their governments, corporations, institutions, and nongovernmental organizations.
Technology Policy Program
The Technology Policy Program provides analysis and recommendations on technology, innovation, and public policy. Under the leadership of Dr. James Lewis and Denise Zheng, the program undertook projects and publications on encryption policy, international agreements on cybersecurity, deterrence, espionage, and the Internet of things.
In 2016, the program hosted three workshops at UN facilities in Geneva in cooperation with the UN Institute for Disarmament Research. The workshops focused on international norms, the application of international law, and the control of malicious software in preparation for the fifth round of UN Group of Government Experts meetings. The program also leads a long-running Track II dialogue on cybersecurity policies with Chinese and U.S. officials.
In 2017, the program focus will expand to cover future technologies such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence. The program plans to study technological innovation and economic growth, strategic competition and foreign investment, and the future of international negotiations for cyberspace. The program has also begun a fellowship initiative focused on training the next generation of cybersecurity experts.
Alliances and American Leadership Project
At a time of great uncertainty for the United States and its allies around the world, the new CSIS Alliances and American Leadership Project seeks to answer vitally important questions about the future of the U.S.-led alliance system. For more than half a century, the United States’ global network of alliances has been a central pillar of the liberal international system, contributing significantly to stability and prosperity. Today, however, longstanding assumptions about U.S. foreign policy are up in the air. The United States and its allies face rising threats in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Yet the alliances are not keeping pace, and Americans and their allies are uncertain about how to respond.
The CSIS Alliances and American Leadership Project aims to address these uncertainties by going back to first principles and reexamining the role and relevance of America’s post–World War II alliances and the growing role of informal security partnerships. The project will assess whether the benefits of alliances still offset their costs, and how alliances can adapt to the challenges we face in the twenty-first century—including coercion and “hybrid” warfare by revisionist powers; terrorism; cyberattacks; and the spread of nuclear weapons.
Human Rights Initiative
The Human Rights Initiative (HRI), under the leadership of Shannon Green, is the only program of its kind in the Washington think tank community. HRI has a global focus, addressing twenty-first-century challenges and opportunities for advancing human rights and dignity and broadening constituencies for justice and human security worldwide. HRI focuses its work on four pillars: closing space around civil society, countering violent extremism with a human rights-centered approach, transitional justice and the fight against impunity, and the human rights and security nexus. In 2016, HRI completed work with its high-level Commission on Countering Violent Extremism, highlighted above, which was cochaired by Tony Blair and Leon Panetta.
Burke Chair in Strategy
Held by Anthony H. Cordesman, the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy focuses on U.S. defense strategy. During the last year, the Burke Chair has carried out major studies of the changing military balances in Northeast Asia, Chinese military modernization, the strategic situation in the Indian Ocean region, instability in the Middle East and North Africa, trends in global terrorism, and the changing military balance in the Gulf.
The Burke Chair has published shorter reports and studies on the civil wars in Iraq and Syria, fighting in Afghanistan, the outcome of negotiations between the P5 + 1 countries and Iran on its nuclear program, defense spending and budgetary concerns, Saudi Arabia’s security and reform programs, and Russia’s evolving role in dealing with the Middle East, Syria, and “color revolutions.” Other activities include studies and commentaries on U.S. management of civil-military operations, the budgeting and programming of Overseas Contingency Operations, the FY2017 strategy guidance, and annual budget documents.
The chair has consulted on and provided in-depth analysis of both the Afghan and Iraq Wars and provided lessons of modern war to defense planners. It has also provided net assessments of U.S. strategic, military, and counterterrorism needs in the Middle East and Asia by way of reports and briefs on U.S. military and strategic requirements in the Middle East, Asia, and Indian Ocean region.
The Burke Chair also prepared several CSIS books on developments in the Gulf region, Chinese military modernization, the military balance in Northeast Asia, and energy and the “OPEC disease.” Dr. Cordesman has briefed, consulted with, and lectured to policymakers and war planners, as well as provided readings to the National Defense University and service war and staff colleges.
Transnational Threats Project
Terrorism, insurgency, and criminality continue to imperil many regions, nations and communities. The Transnational Threats Project (TNT) conducts fieldwork where these problems play out and, through its unique sources, enhances policymaker understanding of the dimensions of these challenges.
TNT director and senior fellow Thomas Sanderson conducted research trips in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Sahel, interviewing refugees, government officials, and members of ISIS and al Qaeda–affiliated groups. TNT delivered insights from this fieldwork through media interviews, congressional testimony, opinion pieces, CSIS events and publications, and via briefings to key policymakers and counterterrorism practitioners.
TNT is completing a project on jihadi-salafi “foreign fighters” operating between Turkey and Syria and in the year ahead will investigate the ongoing activities and movement of such fighters across the Middle East and North Africa, Eurasia, and Southeast Asia
Europe Programand Stuart Center for Euro-Atlantic and Northern European Studies
The Europe Program, under the leadership of Heather Conley, is a leader in strategic thinking from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. The program’s research portfolio covers transatlantic security and issues related to NATO, European migration, trade and economics, the impact of Brexit, and the changing dynamics of the Eastern Mediterranean. The program also analyzes the growing Russian military and nonmilitary pressure on the region, providing recommendations on how the United States, NATO, the European Union, and other partners can deter conflict, resist malign influences, and promote democratic stability and prosperity. The Europe Program concluded a 16-month study on the nature of Russian influence and published the widely read Kremlin Playbook, highlighted above.
In 2016, CSIS launched the Lillan and Robert D. Stuart Jr. Center for Euro-Atlantic and Northern European Studies. The Stuart Center advances understanding of Northern Europe’s political, security, economic, environmental, and energy developments, with particular attention to the implications of a rapidly changing Arctic. Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway spoke at the Center’s launch, reflecting its vital contribution to strengthening U.S. engagement in the region.
The Europe Program, with the International Security Program, is at the forefront in Washington on how the United States should address Russia’s military challenge to the transatlantic security system. This year, cornerstones for the program’s security work were a major report on the future U.S. Army force posture in Europe and a high-profile public dialogue on transatlantic security at the NATO Warsaw Summit.
In 2016, the program partnered with the Senate Arctic Caucus to host Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Angus King (I-ME), along with Coast Guard commandant Admiral Paul F. Zukunft and NATO commander Admiral Mark Ferguson, to highlight national security challenges and icebreaking operations in the Arctic. The Europe Program has made innovative recommendations on Arctic governance, the role of science in the region, and the future of Arctic shipping.
In the past year, the Europe Program has hosted international leaders, including French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault; U.S. deputy secretary of state Antony Blinken; Finnish foreign minister Timo Soini; Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics; and Dr. Liam Fox, UK secretary of state for international trade.
Russia and Eurasia Program
The Russia and Eurasia Program, led by Olga Oliker, provides expert analysis relating to Russia and its post-Soviet neighbors. The program’s work covers issues that span the Eurasian region from Lisbon to Vladivostok and from the Arctic to the Indian Ocean.
With tension between the United States and Russia at historic highs, including over the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, CSIS is considering policy options for a range of possible scenarios as the relationship with Russia evolves under the new U.S. administration. Among them is an ongoing collaboration with Russian partners to craft a realistic and carefully elaborated road map for the years ahead, aimed at understanding where cooperation is crucial to both countries’ interests and can be effectively pursued. The program is also examining the evolution of Russia’s military capabilities, keeping a close watch on Russian domestic politics, and working to understand the role of religion in Russia’s evolving polity. Scholars are also closely following events in Ukraine, the Caucasus, and Central Asia and have undertaken a historical study of empire in the Central Asian region.
The program is also producing cutting-edge multimedia products. In addition to successful iTunes U courses including The Crisis in Ukraine and the innovative Ukraine Crisis Timeline, the program produces the Russian Roulette podcast, which explores the politics, economics, and culture of Russia and Eurasia through both interviews and discussions with experts from CSIS and around the world.
Under the direction of Dr. Bulent Aliriza, the Turkey Project analyzes Turkish domestic politics, foreign policy, and economic trends. Through public meetings, private briefings, its periodic Turkey Update, and other commentaries, the Turkey Project is a unique source of information and analysis during some of the most critical periods in recent U.S.-Turkey relations and makes significant contributions to the Washington policy debate.
In 2016, the Turkey Project continued to monitor developments in Turkey, including the July 15 coup attempt and its aftermath, the political and economic outlook, and the implications for Turkish security policies of the ongoing civil war and military campaign against ISIS in Syria.
Middle East Program
As multiple crises intensify across the Middle East and North Africa, the Middle East Program has examined a range of underexplored issues to help the policy community better understand the drivers of conflict and change in the region. These include the evolution of radicalism, political and social trends in North Africa, U.S.-Egypt relations, Gulf Cooperation Council policies in the Levant and domestic nation-building efforts, and U.S. engagement in the Gulf. Directed by Dr. Jon Alterman, the program leads an effort to help clarify an increasingly complex Middle East landscape, anticipate future challenges, and frame practical policy options.
The program convened several discussion series aimed at helping policymakers navigate an increasingly confusing security, political, and diplomatic landscape in the Middle East. A series on “The Middle East at an Inflection Point” analyzed changes underway in the region from military, academic, and foreign diplomatic perspectives. Another series explored the complexity of data flows for government officials and how governments can more efficiently manage large amounts of information. The program also convened its signature Gulf Roundtable series, highlighting critical security, political, and social trends, and hosted a range of discussions on topics including the evolution of the Islamic State, U.S. counterterrorism and counterinsurgency strategy, state religious policies in North Africa, Israel’s strategic environment, and the implications of the nuclear deal with Iran.
The CSIS Middle East Program produced original research and analysis on a range of topics including workforce development in the Gulf and North Africa, and an interactive report examining radicalization in Tunisia as a microcosm for the global challenge of jihadism. Many of the program’s publications were translated into Arabic and widely disseminated. A report by the Brzezinski Institute on Geostrategy and the Middle East Program exploring U.S. and Chinese policies toward the Middle East and Asia has been released in Arabic and Chinese translations.
In 2016, the Middle East Program released a new report, Making Choices: The Future of the U.S.-Egyptian Relationship. The report examines the interests that a close bilateral relationship serves and also highlights the consequences of a different kind of U.S.-Egypt relationship. No policy is without costs or drawbacks, but U.S. policymakers need to understand both the likely results of maintaining close ties with Egypt and the likely results of alternatives.
Program scholars testified in Congress on the regional implications of the Iran nuclear deal and U.S. policy in North Africa and provided analysis and commentary for government, the private sector, and the media.
Covering every corner and aspect of the world’s most populous region, the CSIS Asia Team provides insightful analysis and develops innovative policy solutions for the Asian century. The Asia portfolio combines functional and regional expertise to ensure that CSIS remains at the forefront of scholarship and discourse on the broad range of policy challenges in the region. The Asia team hosts Asia Forecast, an annual conference where CSIS experts forecast political, security, and economic developments across Asia, and leads the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, featured above. In 2016, the team contributed to Asia-Pacific Rebalance 2025, an independent assessment of U.S. defense strategy in the Asia-Pacific, commissioned by the Department of Defense at Congress’s direction.
Freeman Chair in China Studies
As China’s global footprint continues to grow, a critical point of U.S. engagement in Asia will be the management of this important bilateral relationship. The Freeman Chair in China Studies, led by Christopher K. Johnson, has been a leading voice on what President Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power and the implementation of his political, economic, and social reform initiatives mean for the U.S.-China relationship. Dr. Scott Kennedy serves as deputy director of the program and director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy.
In 2016, the Freeman Chair released two influential reports. President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road” Initiative, highlights the influences shaping the genesis of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, examines the balance China is seeking to strike between geostrategic ambitions and practical economic aims, and explores the mechanisms the Xi administration is establishing to manage its implementation. Perfecting China, Inc.: The 13th Five Year Plan, focuses on the dynamics of China’s economic policy process, the trajectory of Chinese industrial policy, and the implications of the plan for the business community. Additionally, the program launched a two-year study that analyzes the substance and prospects of Chinese innovation policy by focusing on several priority areas of high technology.
In 2017, the program will expand its monitoring of China’s new leadership and military restructuring efforts as it seeks to manage the many challenges facing the country and region, while charting an uncertain course toward accelerated economic reform and strengthening its regional security architecture. More broadly, the Freeman Chair will continue to closely follow domestic Chinese politics, military and security policy, the economy and industrial policy, China’s relations with its neighbors and major powers, and China’s growing role in global institutions. Taiwan’s trade agenda, domestic politics, and security dynamics also remain top priorities.
China Power Project
China’s growing role in global affairs presents both opportunities and challenges to the international community. The China Power Project, led by Bonnie S. Glaser, lays the groundwork for effective U.S. policy in the Asia-Pacific region by critically assessing the implications of China’s rise for international security. In 2016, the project spearheaded ChinaPower, an interactive website that uses data visualization and expert analysis to unpack the complexities of Chinese power relative to other countries. Chinapower.csis.org provides vital, data-driven analysis to policymakers, academics, and the general public on the pressing issue of China’s rise. In the fall of 2016, ChinaPower brought together leading experts from around the world for its first annual conference to assess trends in Chinese power.
The China Power Project holds crisis simulations with foreign participants to reduce the potential for miscalculation and enhance crisis management capabilities in the East China Sea, the South China Sea, and the Korean peninsula. The Project has hosted leading government officials, including Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, and China’s ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai. To strengthen relations with key U.S. dialogue partners, the Project conducts executive training programs for national defense and foreign affairs ministries from the Asia-Pacific region. Additionally, the China Power Project conducts research and briefs U.S. and foreign governments on developments in Chinese foreign and security policy, U.S.-China relations, maritime security, and cross-Strait relations.Visit ChinaPower
Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies
India is the world’s fastest growing large economy and an increasingly important defense partner of the United States. Under the leadership of Rick Rossow, CSIS’s Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies focuses on unlocking the full potential of the U.S.-India relationship across all sectors. The chair has a unique focus on India’s economy at the state and national level, with a first-of-its-kind program of research on India’s states. The chair also acts as organizer of the U.S.-India Innovation Forum, a joint initiative of the U.S. and Indian governments to create bilateral innovation partnerships among companies, entrepreneurs, universities, and nongovernmental organizations from both countries.
In 2016, the chair received a significant grant from the U.S. State Department to serve as the Secretariat of a new Indian State and Urban Initiative focused on helping India’s states to choose clean energy sources; launched the Innovation Forum with a major event in Delhi; and released a wide-ranging report on U.S.-India security ties. The chair’s priority is providing policymakers, business leaders, and the public with the analysis needed to navigate the changing political and economic landscape in India and bring together partners in the United States and India to deepen the bilateral relationship.
As Japan’s role in Asian and global affairs continues to grow, the Japan Chair leverages converging values and interests between Japan and the United States to define a strategic agenda for the U.S.-Japan alliance and develop human capital that will sustain the relationship into the future. Under the leadership of Dr. Michael J. Green, the chair is undertaking a range of research projects on U.S.-Japan relations and issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region.
The chair’s agenda includes Strategic Japan, a short-term fellowship program for Japanese scholars focused on developing joint strategies for the U.S.-Japan alliance; an annual public forum on Asia-Pacific economic integration in collaboration with the Japan External Trade Organization; a trilateral strategic dialogue on U.S.-Japan-India relations; and the U.S.-Japan Strategic Leadership Program, a seminar for Japanese parliamentarians to facilitate dialogue and generate strategic thinking as a foundation for U.S.-Japan policy coordination in the long term.
The Japan Chair has hosted leading Japanese government officials, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. In 2016, the chair hosted a Global Leaders Forum with Defense Minister Tomomi Inada; a conference on human rights in North Korea with senior envoys from Japan, South Korea, and the United States; and the annual U.S.-Japan Security Seminar, focused on advancing defense cooperation between the two countries.
The Korea Chair, led by Dr. Victor Cha, closely researches bilateral topics of importance between the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), issues of North Korean aggression, long-term Korean unification, and regional security. Building on President Park Geun-hye’s second summit with President Obama in 2015, the Korea Chair led a series of discussions with senior experts and policymakers from both countries to solicit informed insights and build mutual trust on security, diplomacy, and trade. In October 2016, the chair launched a new five-year collaborative research lab with nine universities and think tanks, “Inside the Black Box of North Korea: State and Society,” with the objective to offer a more complete picture of North Korea than exists today in scholarly and policy circles.
In 2016, the chair launched Beyond Parallel, highlighted above, an authoritative analytic vehicle for delivering greater clarity and understanding about Korean unification.
Southeast Asia Program
Strengthening the bonds with the nations in the Indo-Pacific region is a crucial part of U.S. engagement in Asia. The Southeast Asia Program, led by Dr. Amy E. Searight, provides high-level dialogue and policy focus on U.S. interests in the region, including economic and political developments in the countries of Southeast Asia, evolving regional security dynamics, and progress in ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. The program has hosted major policy conferences, including the Sixth Annual South China Sea Conference, held on July 12, 2016, just hours after the Permanent Court of Arbitration released its verdict on China’s claims in the South China Sea.
Since 2015, the program has hosted public policy speeches by Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, Vietnamese Communist Party general secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Philippine foreign secretary Perfecto Yasay, Singaporean foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan, and Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop.
Under its U.S.-Philippines Strategic Initiative, the program continues its efforts to strengthen the alliance through high-level policy dialogue and analyzing strategic trends. The program has also continued its sustained focus on the democratic transition in Myanmar since its first democratically elected government assumed power in April 2016.
Founded in 1975 and based in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Pacific Forum CSIS is an independent, foreign policy research institute that operates as an arm of CSIS in the Asia-Pacific region. Led by CSIS trustee Ralph Cossa, the Pacific Forum is widely recognized for its expertise and understanding of Asian regional dynamics, as well as its work to strengthen bilateral and multilateral relationships in the Asia Pacific on a broad range of hard security issues.
Recently, it held the 10th round of the U.S.-China Strategic Dialogue and the fourth U.S.-Japan-ROK Trilateral Extended Deterrence dialogue. The Pacific Forum’s Young Leaders Program is also recognized as a “cohort of choice” among foreign policy and security studies experts, with 921 members from 60 countries around the world. As of August 2016, YLs attended 15 conferences in 10 cities.
The Americas Program is engaging members of the government, multilateral institutions, private-sector companies, and foreign policy officials to help define a strategic agenda for U.S. relations in the Americas. Under the direction of Michael Matera, the program focuses specifically on four key pillars: Latin American states in transition; trade and investment; governance and transparency, and key U.S. bilateral and regional relationships. Kimberly Breier is the program’s deputy director and director of the U.S.-Mexico Futures Initiative.
The Americas Program has held a series of public and private events, including roundtable discussions regarding the future of the Venezuelan post-crisis transition, health care reform in Argentina, and agricultural trade relations with Mexico. The program has hosted former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo and former Bolivian president Jorge Quiroga to comment on the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Democratic Charter to the challenging situation in Venezuela.
Publications include “Moving Forward: Brazil After Rousseff,” which comments on the post-impeachment social, political, and economic environment in Brazil. “An Opportunity for a New Bilateral Strategy with Mexico” emphasizes the significance of U.S. relations with Mexico and showcases the principles and objectives of the program’s U.S.-Mexico Futures Initiative. “Venezuela’s Lessons for Transition” identifies lessons from previous political transitions and analyzes their applicability to the Venezuelan crisis.
In the upcoming year, the program will focus on the political and economic transformation in Argentina, technological innovation in Brazil’s agricultural sector, the developing relationship between Mexico and the United States, and the post-crisis restructuring of Venezuela.
The Africa Program led by Jennifer Cooke, provided informed analysis and discussion on many of the major political, economic, and security trends that shaped U.S. policy engagement in sub-Saharan Africa in 2016: the enduring threat of terrorist organizations, troubling rollbacks in democratic practice, and a commodity price drop that has left some African economies reeling. The program also highlighted a range of dynamic African opinion leaders from civil society, the private sector, and government and conducted on-the-ground research in a dozen African countries—from Mozambique to northern Mali, Senegal to Ethiopia.
In September 2016, the program launched Spotlight on Africa, a quarterly conference series examining key political and economic trends in some of Africa’s leading economies. The inaugural session, Spotlight on South Africa, brought together South African analysts and business leaders to engage with their U.S. counterparts in a comprehensive discussion about the many challenges and opportunities ahead for Africa’s largest economy and began with a keynote address from the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, Patrick Gaspard. Upcoming countries in the Spotlight series include Angola, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In late 2015, the program completed a two-year project on the intersection of religion and politics in Africa with the publication of Religious Authority and the State in Africa, an in-depth study of six countries with varying religious compositions that illustrate in different ways how religious and state institutions interact and shape each other over time. The program’s extensive research on instability and governance in West Africa resulted in February 2016 congressional testimony on Boko Haram, a number of commentaries and media interviews on the subject, and a report with a regional focus, Militancy and the Arc of Instability: Violent Extremism in the Sahel.
The past year has been a disastrous one for food security in Africa, a recent area of focus for the program. A major conference on El Niño’s impact across Africa in March 2016 was followed by Improving Relief and Development Responses to Climate Variability, an October 2016 report on the scale of the El Niño crisis in Southern Africa. In 2017, the program will focus on related reports on U.S. agricultural development and food assistance in Nigeria and Senegal.
Energy and National Security Program
The Energy and National Security Program, under the leadership of Sarah Ladislaw, continues to be the leading source for insights into the changing energy landscape. The program illuminates the opportunities and challenges of diverse, interconnected topics, such as sustainability and climate change, innovation and energy technology, oil and gas markets, and the electric power sector. This work helps decision leaders craft smart energy policies and actions that balance economic, environmental, and security priorities.
Adam Sieminski joined CSIS as the new Schlesinger Chair in Energy and Geopolitics. Before coming to CSIS, Sieminski served as administrator of the Energy Information Administration and previously had served as Deutsche Bank’s chief energy economist. He is one of the most notable energy thought-leaders in Washington and around the world.
In the last year, the Energy program released more than 25 publications that analyze the essential questions posed by energy markets and geopolitical events. In addition, the program hosted more than 85 public and private events with senior government officials, industry executives, and thought leaders from civil society and academia, providing insight and perspective on key U.S. and global energy developments. In May 2016, the program held an all-day conference to provide context on the how U.S. elections factor in energy policy and energy markets. The program further led all-day workshops on major energy trends for the next decade and on low-carbon pathway developments.
In Paris, in December 2015, the international community successfully negotiated a new global framework to help prevent and address climate change. In May 2016, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program held a day-long workshop to provide policymakers, climate modelers, industry stakeholders, and members of the environmental community with a better sense of what gaps and tensions might exist between the work that needs to be done to realize the promises set forth in Paris and the work of putting the world on a long-term trajectory of achieving the 2-degree target.
The program will continue to examine the pressing issues defining the global energy landscape in 2017, with two major initiatives underway. The program will focus on the next steps for low-carbon pathways, both nationally and internationally, with a focus on innovation. The program will also assess how the unconventional oil and gas development has altered the U.S. energy policy landscape.
Scholl Chair in International Business
The Scholl Chair in International Business is held by Scott Miller with a mission to elevate discourse on international trade, investment, governance, and competitiveness. International economic policy directly influences growth and opportunity at home and abroad and remains a central element in achieving national security and development objectives.
In 2016, the Scholl Chair launched TradeVistas, a new website intended to provide context and clarity on trade issues for a general audience. The Scholl Chair also hosted former U.S. trade representatives William Brock, Carla Hills, Susan Schwab, and Ron Kirk for a discussion on American interests and the U.S. trade agenda, and the chair continued its public engagement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade policy matters.
The Scholl Chair continues to explore the effects and changing dynamics of trade and investment policy along with the challenges the United States faces in maintaining and improving competitiveness. The chair plans to highlight the importance of global value chains, deep-integration trade agreements, and policies that promote innovation.
Simon Chair in Political Economy
Under the direction of Matthew P. Goodman, the Simon Chair leads CSIS’s work on global economics and economic statecraft, exploring the role of economics as a strategic tool of foreign policy with an emphasis on the dynamic Asia-Pacific region. Covering traditional topics, such as trade and investment, as well as frontier issues in the field, the chair explores the variety of ways that governments use economic tools to manage the opportunities and challenges of an increasingly competitive and globalized world.
2016 marked the second year of the Simon Chair’s Economic Statecraft Speaker Series, which brings together leading scholars on economic statecraft from the United States and abroad for a series of public and private events. Building on its earlier work on Chinese economic policymaking, the chair is also continuing its U.S.-China Dialogue on the Global Economic Order, a semiannual Track 1.5 gathering co-led by CSIS and the Shanghai Institute for International Studies.
Global Health Policy Center
Advancing U.S. leadership on critical global health issues, such as infectious diseases, women’s and family health, and global health security, is the mission of the Global Health Policy Center (GHPC), led by Dr. J. Stephen Morrison. Infectious diseases and their political, social, and economic impact were a dominant focus in 2016. The GHPC led congressional staff delegations to South Africa, Ethiopia, India, and Myanmar to study the health challenges in each, with a special focus on HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria. These resulted in several published analyses, video narratives, and ongoing engagement with the administration and Congress.
In October 2015, the GHPC launched the CSIS Task Force on Women's and Family Health, highlighted above, which released its final report in March 2017. In addition, numerous sectoral studies and supporting analyses were published throughout 2016, which informed the Task Force’s recommendations.
In April 2016, the GHPC led a delegation to Zambia to examine the implementation of the DREAMS initiative, which aims to reduce HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women. At the International AIDS Conference in Durban, the GHPC convened a public session and high-level dinner with U.S. ambassador Deborah Birx and South African minister of health Aaron Motsoaledi on the South Africa-U.S. partnership in battling HIV/AIDS. The GHPC is also developing options to strengthen U.S. leadership in global tuberculosis for the next administration and Congress. Simultaneously, the GHPC has advanced its work on how to successfully conclude the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and transition public health assets and capabilities developed for polio eradication to other health activities.
Health security is also a priority issue for CSIS. In April 2016, the GHPC released the documentary "Ebola in America: Epidemic of Fear” in which leaders of the response describe how they experienced Ebola in 2014. Subsequently, the evolving Zika crisis has been an active priority. In partnership with the CSIS International Security Program, a high-level Forum on Health and Security has examined the world’s proliferating crises, their health implications, and how to adapt future U.S. approaches. The humanitarian crises in Syria and Yemen have been a special focus. The trailer for a new major documentary, “The New Barbarianism,” on attacks on health care workers was released at the end of 2016; the full documentary is expected to be released in May 2017.
In December, the GHPC launched Take As Directed, a podcast series highlighting important news, events, issues, and perspectives in global health policy, particularly in infectious disease, health security, and maternal, newborn, and child health.
Global Food Security Project
The Global Food Security Project sparks new dialogues on food insecurity, poverty alleviation, and political instability. Under the leadership of Kimberly Flowers, the team provides strategic guidance to policymakers on how U.S. foreign assistance programs that aim to increase agricultural productivity and improve nutrition can be most efficient and sustainable.
In 2016, the project published several reports, launched a documentary, and hosted nearly 20 public and private events to examine the impact of global food security on critical U.S. strategic interests. Most notable were the Tracking Promises country studies, which examined the effectiveness of Feed the Future programs in Tanzania and Bangladesh, focusing on the current administration’s leadership in addressing global hunger and poverty through agricultural and nutrition interventions.
In 2017, the project will produce a major report and several multimedia products that provide the new administration with a global food security policy roadmap. The roadmap will detail food security trend lines and provide a clear set of recommendations to strengthen the effectiveness of current foreign assistance programs, especially in light of the Global Food Security Act.
Project on Prosperity and Development
The Project on Prosperity and Development (PPD) examines the relationship between the public and private sectors in international development policy. Under the leadership of Daniel Runde, PPD has concluded several projects on the changing makeup of the international development finance architecture, role of trade facilitation, investment, and procurement in unlocking economic growth, as well as embedding democratic governance and anticorruption in the post-2015 development agenda. To advance this agenda, PPD partnered with a number of bilateral supporters and multilateral organizations such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Association of European Development Finance Institutions, World Bank, African Development Bank, and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
In 2016, PPD built on its earlier work on taxes and development by working with USAID to further the discussion, following the 2015 Financing for Development conference. This included producing four policy memos that highlighted various issues important to improving tax systems in developing countries. In addition, PPD published a major report (in partnership with the UK-based Overseas Development Institute) on the evolving role of development finance institutions in supporting private-sector led growth in the developing world. Finally, PPD conducted a research project in partnership with JICA that examined how donors could use technology and innovation to scale up solutions to development challenges, specifically around the issues of manufacturing and urbanization.
PPD has launched the “Building the Future” podcast, exploring topics at the intersection of global development, foreign policy, and national security. In each episode, program director Dan Runde sits down for a discussion with a leading expert from government, the private sector, or international organization to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the world today. Recent guests have included former CIA director Michael Hayden and USAID chief innovation officer Ann Mei Chang.
Project on U.S. Leadership in Development
The Project on U.S. Leadership in Development (USLD) is focused on leveraging all U.S. assets to promote economic development, improve livelihoods, and reduce poverty worldwide. In 2016, USLD continued to highlight innovative development strategies and the growing importance of private-sector involvement in international development.
In 2016, USLD renewed its partnership with Chevron for an additional three years. This will help the project to build on its earlier work examining the central role the private sector plays in development that began with the release of the CSIS Executive Council on Development’s 2013 report, Our Shared Opportunity: A Vision for Global Prosperity. The project will continue to explore new thinking on development and focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, and market-driven economic growth in the years ahead.