• Climate & securityA Military Perspective on Climate Change Could Bridge the Gap Between Believers and Doubters

    By Michael Klare

    As experts warn that the world is running out of time to head off severe climate change, discussions of what the U.S. should do about it are split into opposing camps. The scientific-environmental perspective says global warming will cause the planet severe harm without action to slow fossil fuel burning. Those who reject mainstream climate science insist either that warming is not occurring or that it’s not clear human actions are driving it. With these two extremes polarizing the American political arena, climate policy has come to a near standstill. But as I argue in my new book, All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change, the U.S. armed forces offer a third perspective that could help bridge the gap.

  • African securityOut of Africa: U.S. Pulling Out Combat Troops Operating on Continent

    By Jeff Seldin

    The United States is starting to change its force posture in Africa, announcing it is bringing home part of an infantry brigade and replacing them with specialized military trainers. Pentagon officials described the move as “the first of many” that will impact the way the U.S. military operates on the continent, as it shifts its focus from counterterrorism to the great power competition. The shift comes as a new U.S. report warns the danger from terrorist groups in Africa is spreading and that many African forces are not ready to take on the terror threat alone.

  • Costs of warThe Iraq War Has Cost the U.S. Nearly $2 Trillion

    By Neta C. Crawford

    Even if the U.S. administration decided to leave — or was evicted from — Iraq immediately, the bill of war to the U.S. to date would be an estimated $1,922 billion in current dollars. This figure includes not only funding appropriated to the Pentagon explicitly for the war, but spending on Iraq by the State Department, the care of Iraq War veterans and interest on debt incurred to fund 16 years of U.S. military involvement in the country.

  • Stability“Insider” Knowledge to Enhance Stability Operations in Remote Regions

    U.S. forces operating in remote, under-governed regions around the world often find that an area’s distinct cultural and societal practices are opaque to outsiders, but are obvious to locals. Commanders can be hindered from making optimal decisions because they lack knowledge of how local socio-economic, political, religious, health, and infrastructure factors interact to shape a specific community. DARPA’s Habitus program seeks to provide commanders with “insider” knowledge of local environments.

  • Twitter & warHow Russia May have Used Twitter to Seize Crimea

    Online discourse by users of social media can provide important clues about the political dispositions of communities. New research suggests it can even be used by governments as a source of military intelligence to estimate prospective casualties and costs incurred from occupying foreign territories. New research shows real-time social media data may have been a source of military intelligence for the Kremlin and potentially other governments.

  • ArgumentThe Drone Beats of War: The U.S. Vulnerability to Targeted Killings

    The explosions from the recent U.S. drone attack that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani have sent shock waves reverberating across the Middle East. David Baron and Nora Bensahel write that those same shocks should now be rippling through the American national security establishment too. “Regardless of what happens next, one thing is certain: The United States has now made it even more likely that American military and civilian leaders will be targeted by future U.S. foes,” they write.

  • CyberwarsU.S. Monitoring Cyberspace for Signs of Iranian Aggression

    By Jeff Seldin

    U.S. government officials are watching and waiting, with many believing it is only a matter of time before Iran lashes out in cyberspace for the U.S. drone strike that killed Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani last week. According to the latest advisory from the Department of Homeland Security, there are still “no specific, credible threats” to the United States. But officials say Iran’s public assurances that it is done retaliating mean little.

  • CyberwarsHow Real Is the Threat of Cyberwar Between Iran and the U.S.?

    By Vasileios Karagiannopoulos

    There are widespread concerns that rising tensions between the United States and Iran might fuel further conflict between the two countries. Considering the importance of information networks and cyberspace for our everyday lives, there is also concern that this conflict might not only take place in the physical world but could take the form of cyber-attacks. These could have serious consequences, particularly since Iran has demonstrated an increase in its cyber-capability in the past decade.

  • PerspectiveIran and Hezbollah’s Presence Around the World

    In the days since the U.S. strike that killed Quds Force commander Qassim Soleimani, Americans have heard dire warnings about potential retaliation by Iran. Eric Halliday writes that in addition to Quds Force, Iran’s ability to retaliate is enhanced by Iran’s extensive network of proxy forces, most notably Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran and Hezbollah have spent the last three decades creating international bases of operation, which means they already have resources in place which would allow them to strike U.S. interests far outside of the Middle East.

  • 2020 conflicts2020 Conflicts: The Most Likely, and Most Damaging to U.S.

    The Council on Foreign Relations has asked policy experts to rank thirty ongoing or potential conflicts based on how likely they are to occur or escalate in the next year, and their possible impact on U.S. interests. For the second year in a row, a highly disruptive cyberattack on critical infrastructure, including electoral systems, was the top-ranked homeland security–related concern. A mass-casualty terrorist attack was a close second. A confrontation between the United States and Iran, North Korea, or with China in the South China Sea remain the biggest concerns overseas.

  • ArgumentWas America’s Assassination of Qassem Suleimani Justified?

    David Petraeus, the former American army general who served as the commander of the Central Command and later as director of the CIA, said that the killing of Qassem Suleimani was “more consequential” than the killing of Osama bin Laden or of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The Economist writes that while few bemoaned the demise of the jihadist leaders of al-Qaeda and Islamic State, the killing of Suleimani on 3 January has sparked a debate over the legality, effectiveness, and impact of his assassination.

  • IranU.S. Strike Kills Commander of Iran’s Elite Quds Force

    The Pentagon confirmed the killing of Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani in an elaborate missile strike in Baghdad. Soleimani, a cunning and ruthless military commander, was the mastermind behind Iran’s relentless drive to achieve a regional hegemony in the Middle East. His major achievements include securing Bashar al-Assad’s victory in the Syrian civil war; turning Iraq into an Iranian satellite; making Hezbollah into a potent and well-equipped military force; igniting the Houthi rebellion in Yemen; overseeing the development of sophisticated drones and cruise missiles which, in a massive September 2019 attack on Saudi oil facilities, showed they can evade U.S. dense air-defenses; and accelerating Iran’s march to the bomb since the U.S. withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal.

  • Perspective: Climate threatsU.S. Military Precariously Unprepared for Climate Threats, War College & Retired Brass Warn

    A series of climate-related disasters has paralyzed the strategic capabilities of several U.S military bases in recent years. David Hasemyer writes that it has exposed the military’s vulnerability to extreme weather, shining light on its failure to prepare adequately and on the consequences this lack of preparation could have for U.S. national security.

  • China syndromeGOP Senators: Chinese Drones Pose National Security Threat

    A group of GOP senators called on the administration to restrict the use of Chinese drones by U.S. government agencies. “American taxpayer dollars should not fund state-controlled or state-owned firms that seek to undermine American national security and economic competitiveness,” they write.

  • PerspectiveCan 'Cyber Moonshot' save America?

    It took Pearl Harbor to convince a majority of Americans that the United States that it should enter World War II. It took the Soviets launching its Sputnik satellite into orbit to convince Americans of the need to be in space. It took the bombings of 9/11 to anger and energize the nation into a war on terror. “But can the United States avoid a cyber Pearl Harbor?” Troy Turner asks. “The nation must not wait to find out, and it shouldn’t take such a life-changing event to get the country to understand the need for fast action on cybersecurity,” he writes.