CISAC - News Page
As biological research and its applications rapidly evolve, new attempts at the governance of biology are emerging, challenging traditional assumptions about how science works and who is responsible for governing. However, these governance approaches often are not evaluated, analyzed, or compared. This hinders the building of a cumulative base of experience and opportunities for learning. Consider “biosecurity governance,” a term with no internationally agreed definition, here defined as the processes that influence behavior to prevent or deter misuse of biological science and technology.
In the midst of the damage to public health and the global economy, the COVID-19 crisis could present an unexpected opportunity both to resolve the only hot war in Europe and to address Russian President Vladimir Putin's assault on international norms of behavior.
Ukrainians rode a wild roller coaster in March. President Volodymyr Zelensky began the month by firing the prime minister and reshuffling the cabinet, prompting concern that oligarchs were reasserting their influence. COVID-19 and its dire economic implications, however, refocused attention. At the end of the month, the Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) passed on first reading legislation key to securing low-interest credits from the International Monetary Fund.
NATO Foreign Ministers are meeting this week at a time when global institutions are struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Some institutions are even fighting for their lives, uncertain whether their missions and functions can emerge intact from this crisis. NATO does not have that problem—its focus as a military alliance is squarely on deterrence and defense against external threats, whether they flow from terrorists or state actors. Its job is to defend its member states, and it will stay ready to do so.
In a Lawfare post earlier this year, I questioned the wisdom of referring to cyber operations as psychological operations. These campaigns are the bread and butter of U.S. Cyber Command’s operational activities.
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, good news often goes missing. It’s worth highlighting that today, March 27, NATO has a new member, the Republic of North Macedonia. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted the news from NATO HQ in Brussels, and Skopje, the capital, was ecstatic: "The Republic of North Macedonia is officially the new, 30th NATO member," the government said in a statement. "We have fulfilled the dream of generations."
In the budding days of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump idled his days away, launching random tweets about unrelated issues. One such issue was nuclear waste disposal: “Nevada, I hear you on Yucca Mountain…my Administration is committed to exploring innovative approaches – I’m confident we can get it done!”
On Feb. 12, White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien announced that the U.S. government has “evidence that Huawei has the capability secretly to access sensitive and personal information in systems it maintains and sells around the world.” This represents the latest attempt by the Trump administration to support an argument that allied governments—and the businesses they oversee—should purge certain telecommunications networks of Huawei equipment.
We are turning the world inside-out. Massive mining operations rip into rock, unearthing lithium, coltan and hundreds of other minerals to feed our gargantuan appetite for electronic stuff. Sand dredged from riverbeds and ocean floors becomes concrete; so far, there’s enough to cover the globe in a 2mm-thick shell. Oil sucked up from the seabed powers locomotion and manufacturing, and serves as the chemical base for our plasticised lives. We could easily wrap our concrete replica in plastic wrap.
The Trump administration’s proposal for trilateral arms control negotiations appears to be gaining little traction in Moscow and Beijing, and the era of traditional nuclear arms control may be coming to an end just as new challenges emerge. This is not to say that arms control should be an end in it itself. It provides a tool that, along with the right combination of deterrence and defense forces and proper doctrine, can enhance U.S. and allied security and promote stability.