• The Effect of Imports of Neodymium Magnets on U.S. National Security

    The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has initiated an investigation to determine the effects on U.S. national security from imports of Neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) permanent magnets.

  • Why It Matters That North Korea Tested a Hypersonic Missile

    By William Gallo

    Like most ballistic missiles, hypersonic glide vehicle (HGVs) fly at hypersonic speeds, or faster than five times the speed of sound. But HGVs are in theory more difficult to detect and intercept, since they can fly at relatively low altitudes and be maneuvered in flight.

  • Harnessing Drones, Geophysics and Artificial Intelligence to Remove Land Mines

    By Kevin Krajick

    Mines and other unexploded ordinance are a worldwide menace; about 100 million devices are thought to be currently scattered across dozens of countries. Aside from putting both wartime and postwar areas off limits to travel, agriculture or anything else, they caused at least 5,500 recorded casualties in 2019; totals in many previous years have been much higher. Some 80 percent of the victims are civilians, and of those, nearly half are children.

  • Directed Energy Weapons Shoot Painful but Non-Lethal Beams – Are Similar Weapons Behind the Havana Syndrome?

    By Iain Boyd

    The latest episodes of so-called Havana syndrome, a series of unexplained ailments afflicting U.S. and Canadian diplomats and spies, span the globe. The cause of these incidents is unknown, but speculation in the U.S. centers on electromagnetic beams.

  • Detecting, Identifying Small Drones in Urban Environment

    DHS has awarded $750K to a Texas company to develop a detection and tracking sensor system that can identify nefarious small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in an urban environment.

  • New Armed Robot to Patrol Battlefield, Border

    An Israeli defense contractor on Monday unveiled a remote-controlled armed robot which can patrol battle zones, borders, track infiltrators, and open fire. The robot can also be programmed to make decisions on its own, without human intervention, about opening fire.

  • How the Taliban Exploited Afghanistan’s Human Geography

    The Taliban managed to seize power so quickly because it used Afghanistan’s human geography to exploit that state’s fragility: The country’s low population density empowers fast-moving and cohesive attackers, for which the poorly trained, disorganized, corrupt, and unmotivated Afghani army was no match. Alec Worsnop writes that, still, the evacuation could have been made safer and more orderly if a small Western contingent with air support would have been left behind to hold the Taliban at bay for a few more weeks — but this would only have delayed the inevitable: “Leaving a limited outside force in place, without significant reinforcement, could not have prevented an inevitable Taliban takeover within a matter of months,” he writes. “There were few prospects for long-term stability without a notably larger foreign troop presence.”

  • Liberalism’s Graveyard: Afghanistan Is Where Ideologies Go to Die

    It used to be said the Afghanistan is the “graveyard of empires.” Sumantra Maitra writes that the U.S. failed 20-year war in Afghanistan will go down as one of the more consequential wars –a “paradigm-shifting event” — because Afghanistan proved to be the graveyard of ideologies as well: “Evangelical Marxism failed in Afghanistan, as did evangelical liberalism.”

  • The Taliban May Have Captured the Biometric Data of Civilians Who Helped the U.S.

    By Lucia Nalbandian

    In 2007, the United States military began using a small, handheld device – calledHandheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment (HIIDE) — to collect and match the iris, fingerprints, and facial scans of over 1.5 million Afghans against a database of biometric data.HIDE was initially developed by the U.S. government as a means to locate insurgents and other wanted individuals.HIDE, andits collected data,  are speculated to have been captured by the Taliban.There is a lesson here: If security and privacy cannot be ensured, then biometric data collection and use should not be deployed in conflict zones and crisis response.

  • Afghanistan, Policy Choices, and Claims of Intelligence Failure

    Was the chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan the result of an intelligence failure? David Priess, who served as a CIA analyst in the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, writes that to make this judgment, we need answers to many questions. But even if the written records, such as the PDBs, are declassified, “unless and until Joe Biden opens his mind and soul, we are unlikely to understand if he internalized the core judgments in any intelligence documents or briefings.”

  • Learning the Right Lessons from Afghanistan

    Gregory Treverton, former Chair of U.S. National Intelligence Council, writes that “The main lesson of Afghanistan should be an easy one by now, after the sweep of events from Vietnam to Iraq: nation-building requires a nation, or at least a competent, committed government. America’s signal successes at nation-building were nation-rebuilding, in the instances of Germany and Japan. It is not just that nation-building is hard, and we don’t do it very well. In Afghanistan there was never any nation to rebuild, only a collection of warring tribes, clans, and sects.”

  • Afghan troops sought safety in numbers – igniting a cascade of surrender

    By Todd Lehmann

    Throughout the conflict, the perennial emphasis on a U.S.“exit strategy” meant U.S. politicians always focused on whether it was time to leave yet. For 20 years, U.S. efforts focused on short-term thinking and problem-solving that shifted both military and political goals over time, rather than investing the time and effort to develop a comprehensive long-term strategy for the war.

  • Collapse in Afghanistan: Early Insights from Experts

    The sudden end to America’s longest war came Sunday as the Taliban rolled into the capital of Afghanistan and the national government collapsed. Thousands of U.S. citizens and Afghans who worked for Americans are waiting to be evacuated. U.S. troops are at the Kabul airport to keep flights going. RAND experts offer explanations.

  • Why Did a Military Superpower Fail in Afghanistan?

    By Arie Perliger

    The criticisms of President Joe Biden’s decision to end U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and of the withdrawal’s logistics, while valid, may be beside the point. There are more fundamental problems with the United States’ strategy in the 20-year war, of which the current chaos is only the latest manifestation. They stem from an approach in which military seizures of territory are intended to fight international extremist movements and ideologies, in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The clear conclusion from all the evidence is that military intervention should be focused on military objectives, and should not diverge into political or social engineering.

  • How the Afghan Army Collapsed Under the Taliban’s Pressure

    By Max Boot

    Despite having larger numbers and better equipment than the Taliban, Afghan forces were never strong enough to sustain government control in the absence of U.S. firepower.