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.
This is a chapter in the second edition of The National Security Enterprise, a book edited by Roger Z. George and Harvey Rishikof that provides practitioners' insights into the operation, missions, and organizational cultures of the principal national security agencies and other institutions that shape the U.S. national security decision-making process.
Under the sponsorship of Stanford University, we designed a massive open online course (MOOC) to raise public consciousness about the past, present, and future dangers of nuclear weapons. Most individuals—and many policymakers—remain blissfully unaware that risks such as nuclear terrorism, a regional nuclear war, or a nuclear conflict started by accident are higher today than during the Cold War. Our course, Living at the Nuclear Brink: Yesterday and Today, successfully appealed to a broad audience and increased discourse about this existential threat facing humankind.
Sayuri Romei, a political scientist and predoctoral fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), has a new working paper that shows Japan is an increasingly divided country between elites and the public as it grapples with whether it should acquire nuclear weapons itself and not rely on America’s protection.
CISAC's Herbet Lin and Jackie Kerr from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory write in this draft working paper that the United States has no peer competitors in conventional military power. But its adversaries are increasingly turning to asymmetric methods in cyberspace for engaging in conflict -- and free and democratic societies are especially vulernable. Development of new tactics and responses is therefore needed.
CISAC's Siegfried Hecker, Larry Brandt and Jason Reinhardt worked with Chinese nuclear organizations on issues involving radiological and nuclear terrorism. The objective was to identify joint research initiatives to reduce the global dangers of such threats and to pursue initial technical collaborations in several high priority areas.
Uneasy Partnerships presents the analysis and insights of practitioners and scholars who have shaped and examined China's interactions with key Northeast Asian partners. Using the same empirical approach employed in the companion volume, The New Great Game (Stanford University Press, 2016), this new text analyzes the perceptions, priorities, and policies of China and its partners to explain why dyadic relationships evolved as they have during China's "rise."
Siegfried Hecker describes the scientific collaboration that took place between Russian and American nuclear weapons laboratories following the end of the Cold War. Their shared pursuit of fundamental scientific discoveries built trust between the nuclear weapons scientists and resulted in important scientific progress.
Safety-critical system domains such as critical infrastructures, aerospace, automotive, and industrial manufacturing and control are becoming increasingly dependent on the use of distributed systems to achieve their functionality. These distributed systems can contain many complex interactions among their constituent components.
Latin America experienced recurring episodes of populism, and of military reaction against populists, during the twentieth century, frequently ending in coups d’état. In the twenty-first century, military coups appear to have died out even as populist regimes returned during the third wave of democracy. This paper examines military contestation in populist regimes, both left and right, and how it has changed in the contemporary period.
Disaster risk is the product of a complex set of networked processes. Development professionals often use participatory tools to help understand disasters. However, such tools are not designed to capture the interconnections that shape risk. Using flooding in the slums of Freetown, Sierra Leone, as a case study, this article demonstrates how the tools of network analysis can be employed to develop network maps using participatory datasets and discusses the utility of such displays in designing interventions to reduce risk.
Nations around the world recognize cybersecurity as a critical issue for public policy. They are concerned that their adversaries could conduct cyberattacks against their interests—damaging their military forces, their economies, and their political processes. Thus, their cybersecurity efforts have been devoted largely to protecting important information technology systems and networks against such attacks.
High-security organizations around the world face devastating threats from insiders—trusted employees with access to sensitive information, facilities, and materials. From Edward Snowden to the Fort Hood shooter to the theft of nuclear materials, the threat from insiders is on the front page and at the top of the policy agenda. Insider Threats offers detailed case studies of insider disasters across a range of different types of institutions, from biological research laboratories, to nuclear power plants, to the U.S. Army. Matthew Bunn and Scott D.
Abstract: This article examines the transitory nature of cyberweapons. Shedding light on this highly understudied facet is important both for grasping how cyberspace affects international security and policymakers’ efforts to make accurate decisions regarding the deployment of cyberweapons. First, laying out the life cycle of a cyberweapon, I argue that these offensive capabilities are both different in ‘degree’ and in ‘kind’ compared with other regarding their temporary ability to cause harm or damage.
Are nuclear weapons useful for coercive diplomacy? Since 1945, most strategic thinking about nuclear weapons has focused on deterrence - using nuclear threats to prevent attacks against the nation's territory and interests. But an often overlooked question is whether nuclear threats can also coerce adversaries to relinquish possessions or change their behavior. Can nuclear weapons be used to blackmail other countries? The prevailing wisdom is that nuclear weapons are useful for coercion, but this book shows that this view is badly misguided.
The Summary and Briefings from the Stanford-China Workshop on Reducing Risks of Nuclear Terrorism is the result of a collaborative project engaging researchers from the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and several Chinese nuclear organizations focused on the response to nuclear terrorism threats. A goal of the research was to identify prospective joint research initiatives that might reduce the global and regional dangers of such threats.
Modern distributed systems and networks, like those found in cyber-physical system domains such as critical infrastructures, contain many complex interactions among their constituent software and/or hardware components. Despite extensive testing of individual components, security vulnerabilities resulting from unintended and unforeseen component interactions (so-called implicit interactions) often remain undetected.
What are the consequences of drone proliferation for international security? Despite extensive discussions in the policy world concerning drone strikes for counterterrorism purposes, myths about the capabilities and implications of current-generation drones often outstrip reality. Understanding the impact of drones requires separating fact from fiction by examining their effects in six different contexts—counterterrorism, interstate conflict, crisis onset and deterrence, coercive diplomacy, domestic control and repression, and use by nonstate actors for the purposes of terrorism.
"Ungoverned spaces" are often cited as key threats to national and international security and are increasingly targeted by the international community for external interventions—both armed and otherwise. This book examines exactly when and how these spaces contribute to global insecurity, and it incorporates the many spaces where state authority is contested—from tribal, sectarian, or clan-based governance in such places as Pakistani Waziristan, to areas ruled by persistent insurgencies, such as Colombia, to nonphysical spaces, such as the internet and global finance.
In American Crossings, nine scholars consider the complicated modern history of borders in the Western Hemisphere, examining borders as geopolitical boundaries, key locations for internal security, spaces for international trade, and areas where national and community identities are defined.
Aspirational Power examines Brazil as an emerging power. It explains Brazil’s present emphasis on using soft power through a historical analysis of Brazil’s three past attempts to achieve major power status. Though these efforts have fallen short, this book suggests that Brazil will continue to try to emerge, but that it will only succeed when its domestic institutions provide a solid and attractive foundation for the deployment of its soft power abroad.