• China syndromeChinese Nuke Arsenal Next on Beijing’s “To-Do” List, U.S. Commander Warns

    By Carla Babb

    The commander in charge of the U.S. military’s nuclear arsenal has warned that increasing China’s nuclear stockpile is “next” on Beijing’s “to-do list.” Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, U.S. Strategic Command chief Adm. Charles Richard said that while the United States has “no margin” of error left to start recapitalizing its nuclear force, China has a proven record of steadily building its military.

  • Civil unrestDOJ: 3 Cities Could Lose Federal Funding for Allowing Violence

    The U.S. Department of Justice said Monday that three U.S. cities have “permitted violence and destruction of property” to persist and threatened to cut federal funding if they don’t take measures to restore law and order. According to a news release, New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, risk the loss of funding. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan responded to the DOJ statement. “This is thoroughly political and unconstitutional. The president is playing cheap political games with the congressionally directed funds,” the three said in a joint statement.

  • WildfiresWildfire in Northern California's Coastal Ranges on the Rise Since 1984

    High-severity wildfires in northern coastal California have been increasing by about 10 percent per decade since 1984, according to a new study. From Berryessa to Klamath Mountains, High-Severity Burns Quadrupled During Warm Drought.

  • Money launderingTrillions of Dollars Laundered Through U.S., European Banks after Russian Sanctions

    Documents leaked to BuzzFeed News show that in almost two decades, between 1999 to 2017, major European and U.S. financial entities processed more than $2 trillion worth of suspicious transactions. Kremlin insiders and friends were the beneficiaries. Three names stand out: Arkady Rotenberg, a childhood friend of Vladimir Putin who has gone from an obscure businessman in the 1990s to a billionaire during Putin’s 20 years in power, and who was sanctioned, along with his brother and son, after the Russian annexation of Crimea; Semion Mogilevich, a Russian organized crime boss who is named on the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list; and Paul Manafort, a political strategist who led Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign from early June until mid-August 2016.

  • Argument: Chemical weaponsHow Putin Borrowed a Page from Assad’s Chemical Weapon Playbook

    Russia use of Novichock to poison opposition leader Alexei Navalny highlights a problem against which Western countries have not yet been able to devise an effective policy: the use of chemical weapons by authoritarian regimes against domestic regime critics. Preventing Russia, or any other autocratic ruler, from using poisons against domestic opponents is a tall order, Gregory D. Koblentz writes, but “Understanding the motivations of authoritarian leaders, and the intensity of their concerns about regime security, however, is the first step towards devising an effective strategy for deterring their use of chemical, and possibly someday biological, weapons against their own people.”

  • WildfiresInsurance Markets Face Challenges in Higher Fire-Risk Areas

    Wildfires in California destroy thousands of structures each year, and in 2017 that number jumped to 10,800. In 2018, wildfires wrought even greater destruction, with more than 22,000 structures destroyed. Those conflagrations can devastate homeowners and bring heavy costs for the insurance industry. In a new study, RAND researchers found that while the insurance market in lower-fire-risk areas was working relatively well as of 2017, higher-fire-risk areas faced challenges.

  • Radiation detectionRadiation Detection System to Protect Major U.S. Metropolitan Region

    An exercise last December at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was the culmination of a five-year effort to develop and deploy an automated, high-performance, networked radiation detection capability for counterterrorism and continuous city-to-region scale radiological and nuclear threat monitoring.

  • PERSPECTIVE: Threats to the HomelandHow Serious Are Threats to the U.S. Homeland?

    The 17 September hearing on “Worldwide Threats to the Homeland,” as its title suggests, does not make for happy watching. Daniel Byman and Seamus Hughes write that, indeed, statements by FBI Director Christopher Wray and National Counterterrorism Center Director Christopher Miller duly assess an array of dangers related to national security, including election interference, a more aggressive Russia and China, and emergent technologies. Most of their remarks, however, focused on terrorist groups and networks and the threats they pose. “The biggest danger the directors warned about is from lone actors who self-radicalize and act on their own.” Byman and Hughes write. “Wray warned that the most recent uptick is from anti-government violent extremists, some of whom have white supremacist views but many of whom, like the Three Percenters and boogaloos, see themselves as patriots fighting government ‘tyranny’.”

  • ExtremismAnarchist Groups Tied to Riots in 4 U.S. Cities

    By Masood Farivar

    Far-right groups in America such as the anti-government Boogaloo Boys have long used a host of tactics and platforms to incite violence, including dehumanizing memes, online forums and organized militias. Now, left-wing groups are employing many of the same tactics against police and other targets during the social justice protests since the death of George Floyd, according to a new report.

  • ExtremismPortland and Kenosha Violence Was Predictable – and Preventable

    By Cynthia Miller-Idriss

    The U.S. reached a deadly moment in protests over racial injustice, as back-to-back shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Portland, Oregon, on 25 August and 29 took the lives of three people and seriously injured another. It was tragic – but not surprising. The shooters and victims in Kenosha and Portland reflect an escalating risk of spontaneous violence as heavily armed citizen vigilantes and individuals mobilize at demonstrations and protests.

  • Brief Takes // By Ben FrankelWords and Deeds: Increasingly Militant Social Media Discourse by Far-Left Extremists

    The increasingly militant social media discourse by anarcho-socialist extremists is worrisome, even if far-left extremists are not viewed by security experts inside and outside government as posing as much of a domestic terrorism threat as do far-right extremists and Islamist jihadists — at least not yet. A new report by the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) – a sequel to an earlier report on Boogaloo Bois — analyzes the increasingly militant languages of social media postings by anarcho-socialists, noting that on the far-right violent words preceded violent actions. It may be the case on the far-left as well.

  • Disaster evacuationImproving Wildfires Evacuation Planning

    As global temperatures continue to rise, cities and towns not historically prone to large wildfires may begin to face greater threats. An unsuspecting Tennessee community found itself in this position during the 2016 Chimney Tops 2 Fire, which led to 14 deaths and nearly 200 injuries — many related to last-minute evacuations. A new NIST study could help communities, especially those without robust wildfire response plans in place, devise and improve strategies for getting people to head for safer ground.

  • WildfiresClimate Change Making Western Wildfires in U.S. Worse

    By Steve Baragona

    Wildfires have burned a record-breaking 1.25 million hectares in California as of Saturday. Washington state is enduring its second-largest area burned. A half-million people are under a fire evacuation warning or order in Oregon, one-tenth of the state’s population. The devastation is not unexpected. Climate experts have been sounding the alarm for a long time. Wildfires need dry plants to burn, and climate change is helping increase the supply.

  • WildfiresGlobal Fire Outlook Not Good News, but Mitigation Is Possible

    Wildfire is a natural process necessary to many ecosystems. But wildfires are getting worse and more damaging, and it is our fault, according to new research. The global economic and environmental damage caused by wildfire will only increase because of human-caused climate change, but we are also able to save ourselves, the researchers said.

  • Arson terrorismCaptivating Conflagration: Arson as a Terrorist Tactic

    By Stevie Kiesel

    The 2018 Camp Fire in California and the 2019 bushfires in Australia killed dozens of people, destroyed thousands of homes, and scorched millions of acres, inflicting widespread pain and steep economic costs. The most extreme terrorist groups aspire to achieve this level of death and destruction. It therefore comes as no surprise that the use of arson for terrorist purposes is not a new phenomenon. Jihadists; extremists on the far right and the far left; as well as special interest extremists, have used arson to send political messages for years.