Offensive cyber operations have become increasingly important elements of U.S. national security policy. From the deployment of Stuxnet to disrupt Iranian centrifuges to the possible use of cyber methods against North Korean ballistic missile launches, the prominence of offensive cyber capabilities as instruments of national power continues to grow. Yet conceptual thinking lags behind the technical development of these new weapons. How might offensive cyber operations be used in coercion or conflict? What strategic considerations should guide their development and use?
The “safety case” approach has been developed to address the issue of evaluating the performance of a geologic repository in the face of the large uncertainty that results for evaluations that extend over hundreds of thousands of years. This paper reviews the concept of the safety case as it has been defined by the international community. We contrast the safety case approach with that presently used in the U.S. repository program. Especially, we focus on the role of uncertainty quantification.
The final disposal of nuclear waste is at the interface between the technologies of the nuclear fuel cycle that produce the waste and the natural hydrologic and geochemical cycles of geologic repositories. Despite this broad interdisciplinary scope, nuclear waste management, as practiced, remains “balkanized” among the relevant disciplines.
Abstract: We present a new perspective on geological disposal systems for nuclear waste. Geological disposal systems encompass all the processes required for the permanent isolation of highly-radioactive materials from humans and the biosphere. Radioactive materials requiring geological disposal are created by commercial nuclear power plants, research reactors, and defense-related nuclear activities, such as spent nuclear fuel from commercial reactors and high-level waste from reprocessing to reclaim fissile material for weapons.
This article argues that China’s rise and its growing military power have intensified the Sino-Indian security dilemma. For a long time after the 1962 war, India’s military posture along the India–China border was mostly defensive in nature and could be characterized as imposing “deterrence by denial.” However, over the last decade, China’s growth trajectory coupled with rapid modernization of its military called into question the efficacy of this approach.
For years, the U.S. government has been waging counterterrorism campaigns against al-Qaida and other armed groups in safe havens and weak states. What explains the effectiveness of such campaigns? The variation in effectiveness may result from differences in select tactical, organizational, and technological capabilities of the counterterrorism state and its local partner, captured by the concept of the Legibility and Speed-of-Exploitation System (L&S).
This article assesses American public attitudes toward the just war principles of proportionality, due care and distinction. Consistent with the logic of proportionality, the authors find that Americans are less willing to inflict collateral deaths on foreign civilians when the military advantage of destroying a target is lower. Most Americans also are willing to risk the deaths of American soldiers to avert a larger number of collateral foreign civilian deaths, which accords with the due care principle.
Abstract: Could offensive cyber operations provide strategic value? If so, how and under what conditions? While a growing number of states are said to be interested in developing offensive cyber capabilities, there is a sense that state leaders and policy makers still do not have a strong conception of its strategic advantages and limitations. This article finds that offensive cyber operations could provide significant strategic value to state-actors. The availability of offensive cyber capabilities expands the options available to state leaders across a wide range of situations.
Abstrac: The failure of experts and lay people to understand each other has been fueling conflict around the environmental clean-up of the many sites in the United States that are contaminated by the nuclear weapons program. This mutual distrust was exacerbated by the culture of secrecy surrounding the atomic weapons program during World War II, and later by the innate culture of bureaucracy in the federal agencies that have sprung up since then.
Abstract: The failure of experts and lay people to understand each other has been fueling conflict around the environmental clean-up of the many sites in the United States that are contaminated by the nuclear weapons program. This mutual distrust was exacerbated by the culture of secrecy surrounding the atomic weapons program during World War II, and later by the innate culture of bureaucracy in the federal agencies that have sprung up since then.
Abstract: Across the world, states are establishing military cyber commands or similar units to develop offensive cyber capabilities. One of the key dilemmas faced by these states is whether (and how) to integrate their intelligence and military capabilities to develop a meaningful offensive cyber capacity. This topic, however, has received little theoretical treatment. The purpose of this paper is therefore to address the following question: What are the benefits and risks of organizational integration of offensive cyber capabilities (OIOCC)?
Political scientists have found that early life experiences powerfully affect future leaders. Drawing on a variety of sources, this article investigates the formative role of Xi Jinping’s youth during a tumultuous time period in Chinese history. Xi’s life before and during the Cultural Revolution help explain his toughness, idealism, pragmatism, and caution. However, the evidence on how Xi’s childhood and young adulthood shaped his view on how to best handle political contradictions is ambiguous.
Highly radioactive cesium-rich microparticles (CsMPs) were released from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (FDNPP) to the surrounding environment at an early stage of the nuclear disaster in March of 2011; however, the quantity of released CsMPs remains undetermined.
From New York Times bestselling author and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and Stanford University professor Amy B. Zegart comes an examination of the rapidly evolving state of political risk, and how to navigate it.
The world is changing fast.
Drones are considered poor coercion tools: They cannot operate in contested airspace and they offer low-cost fights instead of more credible, costly signals. However, this article finds that technological advances will soon enable drones to function in hostile environments. Moreover, drones offer three unique coercion advantages that theorists did not foresee: sustainability in long duration conflicts, certainty of precision punishment which can change the psychology of adversaries, and changes in the relative costs of war.
The sovereign state is frequently held up as the legitimate source of domestic order and an important provider of public goods in any society, regardless of regime type. But Hezbollah and the Islamic State in the Middle East, pirate clans in Africa, criminal gangs in South America, and militias in Southeast Asia are examples where nonstate actors have controlled local territory and have delivered public goods that the state cannot or will not provide. This book takes the reader to territories where state governance has broken down—or never really existed.
Complex industries such as petroleum production, civil aviation, and nuclear power produce “public risks” that are widely distributed and temporally remote, and thus tend to be ignored by the risk producers. Regulation is perhaps the most common policy tool for governing such risks, but requires expert knowledge that often resides solely within the industries.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has formulated an encompassing working definition of global catastrophic biological risks (GCBRs) that reflects diverse sources of risk and mechanisms of damage. The authors draw on their definition to highlight some important considerations for understanding and addressing GCBRs.
Fifteen years after September 11, the United States still faces terror threats—both domestic and foreign. After years of wars, ever more intensive and pervasive surveillance, enhanced security measures at major transportation centers, and many attempts to explain who we are fighting and why and how to fight them, the threats continue to multiply.
So, too, do our attempts to understand just what terrorism is and how to counter it.
Overconfidence in the controllability of nuclear weapons creates danger. The passing of the last elite witness of the most dangerous nuclear crisis, i.e. the “Cuban Missile Crisis”, and the Trump administration only make this more salient. In this context, this article reviews the scholarly literature about the limits of predictability and controllability of nuclear crises and investigates three failures of learning from them.