• 2020 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.

  • Was 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.

  • U.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.

  • U.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.

  • GOP 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.

  • Can '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.

  • What the Washington Post Gets Wrong About the United States and Afghanistan

    To accuse U.S. officials of deceit and duplicity in their dealings with the American people is a serious charge. Michael O’Hanlon writes that this is arguably what happened in Vietnam, to a large. Now, the Washington Post has accused U.S. officials of both parties and several recent administrations of a similar pattern of untruthfulness and deceit with regard to the American-led mission in Afghanistan since 2001. “Does this charge hold up?” O’Hanlom asks. His answer: “The short answer is no.”

  • DARPA Wants Smart Suits to Protect Against Biological Attacks

    DARPA, the Pentagon’s research arm, wants to accelerate the development of innovative textiles and smart materials to better and more comfortably protect humans from chemical and biological threats.

  • Intelligent Camera Detects Roadside Bombs Automatically

    Roadside bombs are sneaky and effective killers. They are easy to manufacture and hide, making it the weapon of choice for insurgents and terrorists across the world. Finding and disabling these lethal devices is difficult. Dutch engineers have developed a real-time early-warning system. When mounted on a military vehicle, it can automatically detect the presence of those bombs by registering suspicious changes in the environment.

  • Global Arms Sales Up 4.6 Percent Worldwide; U.S. Companies Dominate

    Sales of arms and military services by the sector’s largest 100 companies (excluding those in China) totalled $420 billion in 2018, marking an increase of 4.6 percent compared with the previous year. The new data from SIPRI’s Arms Industry Database shows that sales of arms and military services by companies listed in the Top 100 arms-manufacturing companies have increased by 47 percent since 2002. The database excludes Chinese companies due to the lack of data to make a reliable estimate.

  • Paper-Based Sensor Detects Potent Nerve Toxins

    Chemist developed a new, paper-based sensor that can detect two potent nerve toxins that have reportedly been used in chemical warfare. The toxin, paraoxon, is thought to have been used in chemical warfare during the 1970s in what is now Zimbabwe, and later by the apartheid regime in South Africa as part of its chemical weapons program.

  • The New Kind of Warfare Reshaping Global Politics

    The list is long: Russian internet trolls interfering in the 2016 U.S. election; Russian operatives murdering Putin’s opponents abroad; Chinese spies manipulating Australian politics while the country’s coast guard ships harass Japanese fishing fleets, and much more. Simon Clark writes that these are not random acts of autocratic aggression. Rather, they are examples of a new form of warfare which is becoming a bigger challenge for the United States and its western allies: gray-zone conflict.

  • Robotics Researchers Have a Duty to Prevent Autonomous Weapons

    Robotics is rapidly being transformed by advances in artificial intelligence, and the benefits are widespread. But our ever-growing appetite for intelligent, autonomous machines poses a host of ethical challenges.

  • The Icebreaker Gap Doesn’t Mean America is Losing in the Arctic

    A warming Arctic is potentially creating a colder regional security environment. Exchanges of whiskey and schnapps may have been sufficient for the Canadians and Danes, as they have done over the disputed Hans Island — but may not be enough as new contentious issues emerge. Paul C. Avey writes that there are growing worries that a region long characterized by international cooperation will no longer enjoy that exceptional status.

  • Cryptocurrency and National Insecurity

    A recent exercise at Harvard’s Kennedy School explored the dangers of large sums of money being secretly sent to hostile nations. The exercise brought together administration veterans, career diplomats, and academics to dramatize a very real prospect — the rise of an encrypted digital currency that would upend the U.S. dollar’s dominance and effectively render ineffective economic sanctions, like those currently applied to North Korea.