Topical Alert: Security Affairs
(Updated May 3, 2013)
ARMS CONTROL & DISARMAMENT
NEXT STEPS IN NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL WITH RUSSIA: ISSUES FOR CONGRESS. Amy F. Woolf, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, April 10, 2013.
Full Text [PDF format; 36 pages, 385 Kb]
“In his 2013 State of the Union Address, President Obama stated that the United States would ‘engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals.’ These reductions could include limits on strategic, nonstrategic and nondeployed nuclear weapons. Yet, arms control negotiations between the United States and Russia have stalled, leading many observers to suggest that the United States reduce its nuclear forces unilaterally, or in parallel with Russia, without negotiating a new treaty. Many in Congress have expressed concerns about this possibility, both because they question the need to reduce nuclear forces below New START levels and because they do not want the President to agree to further reductions without seeking the approval of Congress.”
RED LINES, DEADLINES, AND THINKING THE UNTHINKABLE: INDIA, PAKISTAN, IRAN, NORTH KOREA, AND CHINA. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Anthony H. Cordesman. April 16, 2013.
Full Text [PDF format, 17 pages, 456.71 KB]
Early in the thermonuclear age, Herman Kahn warned the world that it had to "think about the unthinkable": The consequences of an actual nuclear war, and consider which side, if any, might "win." While the story may be apocryphal, Khan is also said to have told Curtis Lemay, then head of the Strategic Air Command, that Lemay did not have a war plan because he focused too heavily on strikes and inflicting maximum damage, while ignoring the consequences of nuclear weapons. The end of the Cold War seemed to put an end to the need for such thinking, but recent developments in North Korea and Iran make it all too clear that there is still a need for such horrifying yet "realist" analysis. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]
NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS: EFFORTS TO ADDRESS THE MEDICAL NEEDS OF CHILDREN IN A CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL, RADIOLOGICAL, OR NUCLEAR INCIDENT. U.S. Government Accountability Office. April 30, 2013.
Highlights [PDF format, 1 page, 96.22 KB]
Full Text [PDF format, 44 pages, 1 MB]
According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), about 60 percent of the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) medical countermeasures in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) have been approved for children, but in many instances approval is limited to specific age groups. In addition, about 40 percent of the CBRN countermeasures have not been approved for any pediatric use. Furthermore, some of the countermeasures have not been approved to treat individuals for the specific indications for which they have been stockpiled. In commenting on a draft of this report, HHS concurred with our findings. HHS emphasized that the needs of the pediatric population have been a priority for HHS and that the department is continuously progressing in this area.
SEA POWER AND AMERICAN INTERESTS IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC. RAND Corporation. David C. Gompert. April 26, 2013.
Full Text [PDF format, 220 pages, 1.3 MB]
The book examines the strategic choices that American and Chinese decisionmakers face regarding sea power in the Western Pacific, shaped by geography, history, technology, and politics. In particular, the author explores the potential for cooperation on maritime security in the Western Pacific, and how the United States might pursue such cooperation as part of a broader strategy to advance its interests in the region. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]
SHARING POWER? PROSPECTS FOR A U.S. CONCERT-BALANCE STRATEGY. Strategic Studies Institute. Patrick Porter. April 26, 2013.
Summary with link to Full Text [HTML format]
Sharing Power examines alternative U.S. grand strategies. It argues that, while retrenchment is prudent, new strategies will also have to cope with dilemmas that can be mitigated but cannot be avoided.
MILITARY & DEFENSE
TRENDS IN MILITANCY ACROSS SOUTH ASIA. CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES. Thomas M. Sanderson et al. April 15, 2013.
Full Text [PDF format, 56 pages, 2.17 MB]
The bulk of international counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and related efforts over the last decade have focused on targeting a select few extremist organizations such as al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban. Yet looming security transitions, international fiscal strictures, demographic trends, religious and ethnic tensions, popular dissatisfaction, and weak governance are likely having significant and worrying effects on a wide array of militant actors around the world. A narrow focus on those groups perceived to be the most immediate threats has, at times, come at the cost of a broader understanding of militancy and how it may manifest in a given region. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]
WIDESPREAD MIDDLE EAST FEARS THAT SYRIAN VIOLENCE WILL SPREAD. Pew Research Global Attitudes Project. May 1, 2013.
Full Text [PDF format, 13 pages, 414.90 KB]
As concern mounts about the Syrian government's possible use of chemical weapons against its own people, publics in the Middle East, especially the Lebanese, are extremely worried about violence spreading to neighboring countries. Nonetheless, the survey, conducted before news emerged of alleged use of chemical agents by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, found little regional support for Western or Arab countries sending arms and military supplies to anti-government groups in Syria. And there is even greater opposition among American and European publics to such indirect Syrian involvement by their governments. Meanwhile, Assad is very unpopular throughout the region, except among Shia Muslims in Lebanon. In turn, Lebanese Muslims are divided over aid to the rebels. Most Sunnis back such assistance, while Shia overwhelmingly oppose it. [Note: contains copyighted material].
REGIONAL POLITICS AND THE PROSPECTS FOR STABILITY IN AFGHANISTAN. U.S. Institute of Peace. Sunil Dasgupta. April 2013.
Full Text [PDF format, 28 pages, 312.33 KB]
The United States is planning its withdrawal from Afghanistan as the country faces three interrelated challenges: a weak national state, rising Islamic radicalism based in Pakistan's tribal belt, and zero-sum regional politics. According to Dasgupta, the stage is set for a balance-of-power contest between India and Pakistan played out in Afghanistan that could fuel another civil war in the country. The report details the nature of the tension between India and Pakistan over Afghanistan and outlines steps that the U.S. government can take to avoid another conflict there. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]
TERRORISTS & TERRORISM
DIVISION, UNCERTAINTY OVER NEW IMMIGRATION BILL: MOST VIEW BOSTON ATTACK AS SEPARATE ISSUE. Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. May 1, 2013.
Full Text [PDF format, 13 pages, 511.08 KB]
As Congress debates a bill to overhaul the nation's immigration policy, much of the public has yet to form an opinion about the legislation. About as many say they favor (33%) as oppose (28%) the immigration bill before Congress, but fully 38% say they don't know what they think of the legislation. At this early stage of debate, the public does not think the bill would have a major impact on the nation's economy or security. About half say either that the immigration bill would not make much of a difference for the economy (35%) or that they don't know how the bill would affect the economy (17%). An even greater percentage says the bill would have no impact on the country's safety from terrorism (57%) or that they don't know how the country's security would be affected (16%). [Note: contains copyrighted material.]
LONE WOLF TERRORISTS - NO EASY CATCH: IMPULSIVE TERRORISM BY A FEW IS A COUNTERTERRORISM CHALLENGE. YaleGlobal. Bruce Riedel. April 30, 2013.
Full Text [HTML format, various paging]
Vigilance and a global crackdown on terrorism have so far deterred those trying to plot attacks on a grand scale in the U.S. A bigger challenge may be impromptu attacks by disgruntled young men, like the bombing at the Boston Marathon by two brothers, young adults whose Chechen immigrant parents had largely deserted them in the U.S., says Riedel. Homegrown terrorism is a fact of life in a modern democracy that values broad freedoms. An alert public, unbiased and calmly reporting irrational behavior, may be the best defense against the lone wolves of terrorism. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]
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