July 1, 2011

The Evolving Threat of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

The United States faces an important strategic question in northwest Africa: what level of activity by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) would constitute a sufficient threat to U.S. national security interests to warrant a more aggressive political, intelligence, military, and law enforcement response? AQIM already poses the greatest immediate threat of transnational terrorism in the region, and its operational range and sophistication continue to expand. Since 2007, the group has professed its loyalty to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda’s senior leadership and claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks in the subregion. These attacks have included the use of suicide bombers, improvised explosive devices, kidnapping operations, and assassinations.

June 1, 2011

Joint Interagency Task Force–South: The Best Known, Least Understood Interagency Success

Joint Interagency Task Force–South (JIATF–South) is well known within the U.S. Government as the “gold standard” for interagency cooperation and intelligence fusion, despite its preference for keeping a low profile and giving other agencies the credit for its successes. It is often cited as a model for whole-of-government problem-solving in the literature on interagency collaboration, and other national security organizations have tried to copy its approach and successes. Despite the plaudits and attention, the way that JIATF–South actually operates has only received superficial analysis. In fact, few people actually understand why JIATF–South works as well as it does or how its success might be replicated.

May 1, 2011

DTP-082: Analysis of the Threat of Genetically Modified Organisms for Biological Warfare

This study seeks to better understand the evaluation of the potential threats posed by advances in biotechnology, especially genetically modified organisms and synthetic biology. It narrows the scope of consideration into two parts: defining a catastrophic biological attack focused on bioterrorism and that this attack would be restricted to the United States.

April 1, 2011

Iran’s Islamic Revolution: Lessons for the Arab Spring of 2011?

The Islamic Revolution surprised senior U.S. policymakers as well as the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. On the eve of revolution, Iran—a key U.S. ally—seemed relatively stable despite bouts of urban terrorism in the early and mid-1970s. At the first signs of escalating unrest in early 1978, neither Iranian nor U.S. officials considered the possibility that Iran’s armed forces, the largest and most modern in the region (next to those of Israel), would prove unable to deal with whatever trouble lay ahead. The fall of the Shah a year later, therefore, raised searching questions regarding the role of the armed forces during the crisis and its failure to quash the revolution. The recent emergence of popular protest movements that have overthrown authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt—and that are challenging similar regimes in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria—has revived memories of the Shah and his fall. These developments have again raised questions regarding the role of armed forces during revolutions and whether Iran’s experience during the Islamic Revolution and after holds relevant lessons for current developments in the Middle East.

March 1, 2011

Secret Weapon: High-value Target Teams as an Organizational Innovation

This study argues that interagency teams were a major catalyst in turning around the Iraq War, and that they will disappear from America’s arsenal unless the knowledge base supporting the innovation can be secured. Most explanations credit the dramatic reduction in violence in Iraq between 2007 and 2008 to new U.S. leadership, the surge in U.S. forces, and/or U.S. financial support to Sunni tribal leaders. In contrast, we argue that the United States employed an underappreciated organizational innovation—interagency teams—to put insurgent clandestine organizations on the defensive and give population security measures a chance to take effect.

March 1, 2011

DTP-081: Assessing Army Power and Energy for the Warfighter

This paper reviews some of the landscape of research and development on power and energy as it pertains to the needs of the Army warfighter. It focuses on the battlefield and considers questions related to vehicles, dismounted soldiers, and forward operating bases. The context of the study is twofold: the National need to reduce the use of petroleum-based fuels and the Army’s need to reduce the logistical burden and hazards moving said fuels on the battlefield.

March 1, 2011

DTP-081: Assessing Army Power and Energy for the Warfighter

This paper reviews some of the landscape of research and development on power and energy as it pertains to the needs of the Army warfighter. It focuses on the battlefield and considers questions related to vehicles, dismounted soldiers, and forward operating bases. The context of the study is twofold: the National need to reduce the use of petroleum-based fuels and the Army’s need to reduce the logistical burden and hazards moving said fuels on the battlefield.

March 1, 2011

Brazil and the United States: The Need for Strategic Engagement

Washington’s identification of Brazil with Latin America and the Third World hampers its appreciation of Brazil’s power and importance to the United States. It is true that Brazil is geographically part of Latin America, and it is also true that Brazil, a founder of the Group of 77, was, with India, among the original leaders of the “Third World.”

Feb. 1, 2011

Finland, Sweden, and NATO: From “Virtual” to Formal Allies?

The “Open Door” policy of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been an article of faith for Allies and aspirants alike for more than a decade. Its most recent formulation, approved at the November 2010 Lisbon Summit, states: “The door to NATO membership remains fully open to all European democracies which share the values of our Alliance, which are willing and able to assume the responsibilities and obligations of membership, and whose inclusion can contribute to common security and stability.”

Feb. 1, 2011

European Energy Security: Reducing Volatility of Ukraine-Russia Natural Gas Pricing Disputes

On January 7, 2009, the existing energy relationship among Europe, Russia, and Ukraine broke down over a natural gas dispute, just as it had done 3 years earlier. Amid subzero temperatures in many parts of Europe, Russia turned off its gas supply to Ukraine, causing shortages in more than 20 European countries. Thousands across the continent were left in the dark, and government services were closed.1 While the flow of gas was eventually restored, Russian gas disputes with Ukraine continue, and the prospect of another Gazprom shutoff has become an annual event for European consumers. Despite earlier indications that another breakdown in negotiations would lead to blackouts in Europe early in 2010, the potential crisis was averted via a Russia-Ukraine deal that restructured earlier payment and pricing arrangements.2 However, it is doubtful that Ukraine can continue timely payments for its domestic gas consumption and maintain its own pipeline infrastructure. Fundamental changes to Russia-Ukraine energy transport agreements are coming.