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Research

CISAC's work is organized around formal research projects as well as broader themes involving collaboration among individual scholars.

Research Topics

The Center's research and track-two diplomacy address the following areas of concern, which often share interdisciplinary connections: Nuclear Security and Risk; Cybersecurity Threats and the Future of the Internet; Terrorism, Insurgency, and Homeland Security; Governance, Organizations, and Security; and Health and the Environment

    Research Projects
  • Research Projects
  • Critical Infrastructure Resilience
  • Empirical Studies Of Conflict
  • Initiative On International Conflict And Negotiation
  • Lab-To-Lab Cooperation
  • Mapping Militant Organizations
  • Nuclear Risk Reduction
  • Preventive Defense Project
  • Project On Peace And Cooperation In The Asian-Pacific Region
  • Reset Nuclear Waste Policy
  • Older projects

Research Projects

The research of CISAC experts is rooted in open-minded inquiry, reflecting interdisciplinary pathways and diverse perspectives.

Critical Infrastructure Resilience

The Critical Infrastructure Initiative aims to address the growing threat that cyber-incidents pose to the functioning of the basic infrastructure that societies depend upon. Stanford has partnered with 11 other organizations to found the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute (CIRI), an institute focused on research and education designed to enhance the resiliency of the nation’s critical infrastructures. The Critical Infrastructure Initiative involves two projects designed to foster critical-infrastructure cyber resilience:  Cybersecurity Assurance for Critical Infrastructure and Regulation and Power Grid Resilience.

Empirical Studies Of Conflict

The Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC) addresses critical challenges to international security through methodologically rigorous, evidence-based analyses of insurgency, civil war and other sources of politically motivated violence. ESOC aims to empower high quality of conflict analysis by creating and maintaining a repository of micro-level data across multiple conflict cases and making these data available to a broader community of scholars and policy analysts.

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Initiative On International Conflict And Negotiation

The Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation (SCICN) and CISAC are collaborating to support a special initiative on international conflict resolution. The two centers share a concern with the pressing issues of peacebuilding today: the resolution of international and intergroup conflict; war-to-peace transitions, and the strengthening of institutions and communities to prevent future conflict.

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Lab-To-Lab Cooperation

Senior Fellow Siegfried Hecker was the director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory when the Soviet Union broke apart in 1991. The economy of the post-Soviet states was in severe crisis; the state borders were redrawn, the security environment changed completely; and tens of thousands of nuclear weapons and more than 1,000 tons of fissile materials across the former Soviet states were inadequately protected.

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Mapping Militant Organizations

This research project launched in 2009 traces the evolution of militant organizations and the interactions that develop among them over time. Findings have been presented in interactive maps on a separate website.  These maps – which are visual representations of the architecture of terrorist groups in a series of conflicts – show how relationships among militant organizations change over time, as well as presenting in-depth profiles of individual groups and comprehensive lists of their activities.

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Nuclear Risk Reduction

The Nuclear Risk Reduction initiative engages technical and policy experts to reduce nuclear risks by promoting collaboration between the United States and Russia, China and Pakistan. To achieve this, NRR conducts academic research on issues such as the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and hosts events to encourage expanding scientific collaboration around nuclear materials security and accountability, diversion scenarios of nuclear materials and emergency response to nuclear terrorism.

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Preventive Defense Project

The Preventive Defense Project (PDP) is a research effort directed by former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry. Preventive Defense is a concept for U.S. defense strategy in the post-Cold War era, premised on the belief that the absence of an imminent, major, traditional military threat to American security presents today's leaders with an unaccustomed challenge and opportunity to prevent future Cold War-scale threats to international security from emerging.

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Project On Peace And Cooperation In The Asian-Pacific Region

The Project on Peace and Cooperation in the Asian-Pacific Region has been a cornerstone of research at the Center for International Security and Cooperation for three decades. It supports initiatives on security cooperation and tension reduction in the Asia-Pacific region with special emphasis on China and Korea. Currently, it focuses on Asian nuclear issues and Northeast Asia regional peace issues.

Lewis_Hecker_DPRK
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Reset Nuclear Waste Policy

The “Reset” initiative engages technical experts, government officials and members of the public in a series of focused discussions on the U.S. Waste Management Strategy and Policy.  The meetings are organized by an international Steering Committee. The project is funded by the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford.  The meetings are hosted by the Center for International Security and Cooperation.

Nuclear Waste Management Panel
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Faculty and Researchers

Scott Sagan and Amy Zegart

Publications

Jesse Sowell, Joseph Torigian, Megan Palmer

Research Fellowship Program