Category: PRISM Journal

Jan. 9, 2020

The Worst Possible Day: U.S. Telecommunications and Huawei

As a global power, the United States must be able to sustain military forces and project power anywhere in the world, even in the face of resistance from a sophisticated adversary with the ability to infiltrate or disrupt telecommunications and other critical infrastructure within the United States, in space, under the ocean, and in other regions of the world. Policy must consider the worst possible day, not the routine day.

Jan. 9, 2020

Cyber Physical Systems: The Coming Singularity

At this moment, a subtle but fundamental technological shift is occurring that is uniting our digital and physical worlds at the deepest architectural and operational levels. This technological shift will alter the global business, government, military and intelligence ecosystems. It is nothing less than a technological singularity and this technology will forever change our world—it is called Cyber Physical Systems (CPS).

May 14, 2019

Diplomatic Security: A Comparative Analysis

In In this new book, two adept editors, Eugenio Cusumano and Christopher Kinsey, combine and edit the work of eleven authors’ different looks at diplomatic security as practiced in nine countries—China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Russia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States—as well as some overall themes on the subject. The result is perhaps the most comprehensive public study of the topic released to date, and the work stands as a reminder of the high price nations have paid in pursuit of diplomacy, as well as the difficulties and tradeoffs of balancing diplomatic efforts and the security operations meant to protect them.

Nov. 8, 2018

The Fight So Far

Achieving significantly greater strategic success against terrorism remains within America’s grasp, but only if we are willing to be as adaptive and flexible—indeed more so—than our terrorist adversaries have proven to be. Achieving this will require us to make investments, adopt practices, and make choices we previously have not. Although the U.S. Government (USG) has frequently claimed to take a whole-of-government approach in utilizing all elements of national power to fight terrorism, our struggle against the Islamist State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has demonstrated that we must strengthen our emphasis and resourcing of non-kinetic counterterrorism (CT) efforts to match the strengths that we and our allies have developed since 9/11 in kinetic efforts.

Nov. 8, 2018

NATO's Adaptation in an Age of Complexity

Successful and lasting organizations must adapt quickly, and militaries are not exempt from that requirement—even less so than their civilian counterparts, because preparing for past wars generally has dire consequences for them, and for their countries. NATO, as the hub for transatlantic and European security it has strived to be for the past 70 years, is undergoing a significant structural upheaval, as it wishes to stay relevant to contemporary threats and challenges, while putting itself in a position to keep an edge on any potential opponent in the foreseeable future.

Nov. 8, 2018

Examining Complex Forms of Conflict: Gray Zone and Hybrid Challenges

The Joint Force, and the national security community as a whole, must be ready and able to respond to numerous challenges across the full spectrum of conflict including complex operations during peacetime and war. However, this presupposes a general acceptance of a well understood taxonomy describing the elements that constitute the “continuum of conflict.” The U.S. security community lacks this taxonomy, despite its engagement in a spate of diverse conflicts around the globe from the South China Sea, to Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, and beyond. Partially as a result of this conceptual challenge, we are falling behind in our readiness for the future. Understanding our future security challenges demands that we reflect and interpret the past, understand the present, and think rigorously about what lies over the horizon in order to adapt to the changing character of conflict. This requires keeping an open and informed mind about the breadth of the various modes of conflict that exist. The wars of the 21st century may take many forms. As conflict reflects a greater degree of convergence and complexity, so must our mental models and frameworks.

Nov. 8, 2018

The Mandate to Innovate

Delivering decision advantage to a policymaker or situational awareness to a warfighter is becoming a more competitive challenge. As geospatial and AAA technologies increase in capability and availability—both within the United States and allied GEOINT enterprise as well as for our adversaries—the complexity of that mission increases. Empowering rapid experimentation and innovation, adapting new business models (particularly those that have proven successful to the business world), and applying the breadth of the means availability to us to acquire new capabilities are ways for us to continuously replenish the nation's GEOINT advantage.

Nov. 8, 2018

Economic and Financial Sanctions in U.S. National Security Strategy

The U.S. Government (USG) has increased the use of economic and financial sanctions against other states and non-state actors in the post–Cold War era, refining their design to improve precision. Achieving desired effects with sanctions, however, requires careful assessment of target vulnerabilities, available U.S. leverage, orchestration with other policy tools, and potential obstacles and risks.

Nov. 8, 2018

Learning and Innovation: Jordan at the "Crossroads of Armageddon"

A recurring feature of the past few decades is the presence of the nation’s three principal national security institutions (the 3Ds)—Department of State (DOS), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Department of Defense (DOD)—operating in complex environments abroad marked by conflict, crisis, and state fragility. This paradigm, dubbed the “new normal” by many, begs a few questions. What are we learning from these critical missions undertaken in pursuit of national security? Are we adjusting our strategies to maximize the prospects for prevention of conflict based on that learning? Is innovation occurring that enables us to work better together to address challenges in these environments? Of keen interest is what the 3D did to address the unique challenges in Jordan, and how. Understanding both the “what” and the “how” might reveal if we are learning and innovating.

Nov. 8, 2018

Post–Conflict Stabilization: What Can We Learn from Syria?

Trying to draw lessons, even initial ones, from the U.S. experience in Syria is daunting, but the bottom line is that any conflict setting—and any effort to design a program of stabilization—brings a unique set of peculiarities that may not resemble conflicts in which we have been involved in the past. The Syria experience, where there is no central government with which the United States and others in the international community can partner with and empower, is an excellent example, and suggests a need for careful analysis of the specific circumstances of settings in which the United States may find itself operating in order to develop stabilization doctrine and tools that are suited not only to the last conflict, but to the next one.