• ARGUMENT: Think smallThink Small: Why the Intelligence Community Should Do Less about New Threats

    A week into his administration, President Joe Biden announced that he was “putting the climate crisis at the center of United States foreign policy and national security. Joshua Rovner writes that, in so doing, the president injected new urgency into an old question: What counts as a national security threat?

  • ARGUMENT: Rare Earths rivalryRare Earth Metals at the Heart of China’s Rivalry with U.S., Europe

    What if China were to cut off the United States and Europe from access to Rare Earth Elements (REEs), 17 minerals with unique characteristics which are essential to electric vehicles, wind turbines, drones, batteries, sophisticated military gear, and much more? This is a time of growing geopolitical friction among these three, and the United States and Europe want to change the current dependence on China, where, today, these minerals are largely extracted and refined.

  • Rare Earth elements (REEs)The Geopolitics of Rare Earth Elements

    The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed fragility in the global supply chains for not only pharmaceuticals and crucial medical supplies but also some critical minerals. Chief among them are rare Earth elements (REEs), which are necessary for clean energy equipment, advanced military gear, and consumer goods. About 80 percent of the world’s REEs are produced and refined in China.

  • Solar geoengineeringExploring the Possible Risks, Benefits of Geoengineering

    Climate change is creating impacts that are widespread and severe — and in many cases irreversible — for individuals, communities, economies, and ecosystems around the world. 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record, bringing with it a number of costly climate disasters, including the worst wildfire season ever recorded in the Western U.S., historic flooding in China and other parts of Asia, and severe droughts in South America. One of the approaches to avoid the most serious, possibly catastrophic impacts, of climate change is solar geoengineering.

  • ExtremismAdministration Strategy Seeks to Confront Domestic Terrorism

    By Masood Farivar

    The administration on Tuesday released its long-awaited strategy for countering domestic terrorism, a comprehensive plan that calls for both short- and long-term measures to confront the growing threat of attacks from militant violent extremists. The strategy focuses on enhancing and sharing information about domestic terrorism, preventing terror recruitment, disrupting and thwarting attacks, and confronting the long-term drivers of domestic terrorism.

  • ARGUMENT: 6 January & prosecutorial discretionDrop the Charges Against Minor Capitol Hill Defendants

    Rioter who assaulted police or vandalized the Capitol should be prosecuted. But the majority of those who came to the Capitol on 6 January were “gawkers” who just wanted to see the spectacle, or to non-violently express their political opinion, and merely walked through a public office building, The charges against them should be dropped.

  • Pandemic & extremismCOVID Gives Rise to Extremism and Violence

    By Ben Knight

    Both right- and left-wing extremism flourished during the pandemic year, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said in its latest report. Most alarmingly, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that 40 percent of the 33,300 far-right extremists in the country were categorized as “violence-oriented,” the highest proportion ever. And Germany’s security forces have themselves come under new scrutiny.

  • Risky bioresearchFifty-Nine Labs around World Handle the Deadliest Pathogens – Only a Quarter Score High on Safety

    By Filippa Lentzos and Gregory Koblentz

    The focal point of this lab-leak discussion is the Wuhan Institute of Virology, nestled in the hilly outskirts of Wuhan. It is just one of 59 maximum containment labs in operation, under construction or planned around the world. Known as biosafety level 4 (BSL4) labs, these are designed and built so that researchers can safely work with the most dangerous pathogens on the planet – ones that can cause serious disease and for which no treatment or vaccines exist. Far from all of these labs score well on safety and security.

  • GunsRising Trends in Suicide by Firearms in Young Americans

    Deaths from suicide are rising in the United States. These rising trends are especially alarming because global trends in suicide are on a downward trajectory. Moreover, in the U.S., the major mode of suicide among young Americans is by firearms.

  • Nuclear powerSmall Modular Reactors Competitive in Washington’s Clean Energy Future

    As the Clean Energy Transformation Act drives Washington state toward carbon-free electricity, a new energy landscape is taking shape. Alongside renewable energy sources, a new report finds small modular reactors are poised to play an integral role in the state’s emerging clean energy future.

  • Radiological threatsUse of Radioactive Materials in Commercial Applications Has Increased

    The use of high-risk radioactive materials in medical, research, and commercial applications has increased by about 30 percent in the U.S. in the last 12 years, and the government should improve security, tracking, and accountability to reduce health and security risks — while also supporting the development of nonradioactive alternatives to replace them — says a new report.

  • Electric gridResearchers Study Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Grid-Tied System in Texas

    By Deana Totzke

    Scientists are continuously looking for alternatives to fossil fuel-based power plants to diminish the adverse effects of fossil energy sources on the environment and build reliability. Researchers are studying the viability of solar photovoltaic (PV) grid-tied systems on rooftops to fill that need.

  • Our picksThe Critical in Critical Infrastructure | What If the Threat Comes from Within? | Reporting Foreign Cyberattacks, and more

    ·  Protecting the Critical of Critical: What Is Systemically Important Critical Infrastructure?

    ·  US Intel Report Warns of More Violence by QAnon Followers

    ·  New Pentagon Watchdog Facing ‘Significant Challenges’ in Internal Anti-Extremism Effort

    ·  Trump, Allies Pressured DOJ to Back Election Claims, Documents Show

    ·  Police Issue Warning over Terrorist Use of 3D-Printed Guns as UK Neo-Nazi Jailed

    ·  Congress Has Already Authorized the President to Require Reporting of Foreign Cyberattacks

    ·  A Pandemic Isn’t the Only Kind of “Catastrophic Risk.” It’s Time to Prepare More Seriously for the Next.

    ·  Recent Cyberattacks Reveal US Utilities’ Extreme Vulnerability

    ·  What If the Threat Comes from Within? Federal Agencies Must Address the Risk

  • Nuclear weaponsGlobal Nuclear Arsenals Grow as States Continue to Modernize

    A new report finds that despite an overall decrease in the number of nuclear warheads in 2020, more have been deployed with operational forces. The nine nuclear-armed states together possessed an estimated 13 080 nuclear weapons at the start of 2021, a decrease from the 13 400 at the beginning of 2020, but the estimated number of nuclear weapons currently deployed with operational forces increased to 3825, an increase from 3720 last year.

  • BiolabsHere’s What Scientists Learn from Studying Dangerous Pathogens in Secure Labs

    By Jerry Malayer

    There are about 1,400 known human pathogens – viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and helminths that can cause a person’s injury or death. But in a world with a trillion individual species of microorganisms, where scientists have counted only one one-thousandth of one percent, how likely is it researchers have discovered and characterized everything that might threaten people? Not very likely at all. And there’s a lot to be gained from knowing these microscopic enemies better.

  • Mass shootingsUnmedicated, Untreated Brain Illness is Likely in Mass Shooters: Study

    The first analysis of medical evidence on domestic mass shooters in the U.S. finds that a large majority of perpetrators have psychiatric disorders for which they have received no medication or other treatment.

  • Mass shootingsThe Many Ways Domestic Violence Foreshadows Mass Shootings

    By Jennifer Mascia

    The San Jose transit shooting is the latest to illustrate the deadly connection between intimate partner violence and mass murder. How are these seemingly separate issues intertwined, and what can be done to save lives?

  • ARGUMENT: Countering domestic terroristsA Sea Change in Counterterrorism

    Even before the attempted insurrection at the Capitol on 6 January, the threat of domestic extremism was clear, with terrorist attacks by racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVEs) eclipsing the threat posed by jihadist groups such as the Islamic State. The Biden administration will soon release a new strategy document for fighting domestic terrorism.

  • CybersecurityDefending against Smudge Attacks

    Many modern devices that hold our personal and business information are touchscreen and hackers and thieves are always resourceful. The smudges left by your fingertips remain on the screen, marking out the likely numbers from the virtual keypad on your phone that you used to tap in your PIN. Soon after, the phone is lost or stolen and that malicious third party carries out a “smudge attack” – they look at the screen and can have a good guess at the digits in your PIN.

  • First respondersDrone with 3D Mapping Tech Gives First Responders Near Real-Time Data

    ResponDrone’s new precision mapping abilities enable rescue teams to better understand their working environment in emergency situations such as fire, flood or any other natural disaster.

  • Our picksThe Legal Stakes of a Lab Leak | Power, Water Seen as Targets | Curbing the Rise of Digital Destabilization

    ·  The Legal Stakes of a Lab Leak

    ·  What We Owe to Ransomware Gangs

    ·  Power, Water Seen as Targets

    ·  Lawmakers Press Biden to Give Putin Ultimatum on Ransomware Gangs

    ·  QAnon Follower Tim Stewart’s an Old Friend of Australia’s PM Scott Morrison. His Family Reported Him to the National Security Hotline

    ·  No Easy Way Out for Biden Administration on Migrant Surge, Experts Say

    ·  DHS, DoD Release Plans on What to Do with Border Wall Contracts, Future Projects

    ·  As Ransomware Demands Boom, Insurance Companies Keep Paying Out

    ·  Age of the Cyber-Attack: US Struggles to Curb Rise of Digital Destabilization

    ·  Russia Agrees to Cyber Rules and Violates Them at the Same Time

  • CybersecurityCyber Regulation Could Be Coming Following Spate of Hacks, Ransomware Attacks

    By Jeff Seldin

    The United States may soon look to regulate private companies, mandating higher standards for cybersecurity following a series of damaging hacks and ransomware attacks against key firms and critical infrastructure. Cybersecurity experts say that malign actors are currently operating with impunity and that too many private sector organizations have, so far, failed to take the necessary precautions. “Enlightened self-interest, that’s apparently not working,” Chris Inglis, tapped to be the country’s first national cyber director, told members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “Market forces, that’s apparently not working.”