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Center for Strategic & International Studies

Reforming and Reorganizing U.S. Foreign Assistance: Increased Efficiency and Effectiveness

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, July 24, 2017
Abstract in English: 
CSIS convened a bipartisan Task Force on Reforming and Reorganizing U.S. Foreign Assistance in response to the March 1, 2017, executive order asking all federal departments and agencies to submit reorganization plans that will “improve efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability” and to the president’s FY2018 budget request.1 The Trump administration is right to question whether the current foreign assistance system is optimized to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Although many Americans believe that foreign assistance makes up 25 percent or more the federal budget, it is no more than 1 percent. However small a percentage, it is important to note that these funds do not represent pure altruism; they are smart investments that contribute to the national security and prosperity of the United States.

Though it intends to align priorities, strategy, budget, and work force, the Trump administration’s first budget proposal includes significant cuts to foreign assistance funding and runs the risk of having budgeted amounts—rather than U.S. national interests—drive creation of strategy and organization. This would produce suboptimal outcomes, particularly if the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) were to be subsumed into the Department of State as some have suggested. It is not in the national interest to remove the development leg from the U.S. national security stool.
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54
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Meeting Security Challenges in a Disordered World

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Abstract in English: 
Today the world faces a volatile convergence of instability, state weakness, and conflict. Lethal civil conflicts rage in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, and South Sudan, stoking regional rivalries, offering safe havens to violent extremist groups, and triggering immense and unprecedented humanitarian crises. Even in regions and states where overt conflict is absent, such as West Africa or Central America, institutional and economic weakness creates unstable conditions that may enflame low level shocks or simmering criminal activity. At times resolution of these conditions may prove elusive and intervention fruitless; however, sometimes security challenges emerging in these environments require immediate and direct response.

The United States must be prepared to operate in a range of complex environments to meet a range of security challenges and threats, such as humanitarian emergencies, terrorism and violent extremism, great power aggression, health security crises, and international criminal violence. This study focuses on these five functional security imperatives and illustrates each imperative through regionally or subnationally defined operating environments. In each case, the selected security imperative must be addressed in the near term to help meet other U.S. objectives. The goal of the case studies is to characterize the operating environment, identify key tasks and responsibilities to address the security imperative, and develop a set of tools and policy recommendations for operating in those specific environments.
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130
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Missile Defense 2020: Next Steps for Defending the Homeland

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Abstract in English: 
In policy pronouncements over the last two administrations, the protection of the American homeland was regularly identified as the first priority of U.S. missile defense efforts. Homeland missile defense today is provided by the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program and other elements of the larger Ballistic Missile Defense System. The limited defenses fielded today have advanced considerably since defensive operations began in late 2004, but nevertheless they remain too limited and too modest relative to emerging threats. The Missile Defense Agency’s path to improve the system may require additional effort to stay ahead of even limited missile threats. This report explains how the current system works, as well as current and potential plans to modernize the system, and the authors offer recommendations for future evolution of the system.
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160
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The Uncertain Trends and Metrics of Terrorism in 2016

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, November 7, 2016
Abstract in English: 
There are no simple or reliable ways to estimate the trends in terrorism, and the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) no longer provides any declassified estimate of global trends. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) does, however, provide a useful database for tracking media reporting. In addition to the START database, graphical analyses by key media sources provide additional information that is current, and helps illustrate the sharp contrasts in given sources and estimates. Several NGOs have also made useful estimates that provide additional perspective.
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298
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Estimates of Chinese Military Spending

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Abstract in English: 
There is no clear way to determine how much Chinese strategy shapes military spending versus how Chinese resources shape strategy; the two are always interdependent. An assessment of China’s defense spending does indicate, however, that Chinese economic growth has allowed it to finance a massive modernization program, and radically improve every aspect of its conventional and asymmetric warfare capabilities, including sea-air-missile-nuclear capabilities.
Although estimates of Chinese defense spending vary sharply, there is little controversy that China now dominates Asian military spending and is becoming the premier military power in Asia. This is partly driven by China’s perception of the potential threat from the U.S. and other Asian powers, but is also driven by the fact that China can now afford such efforts, support them largely with its own technology base, and cannot forget its recent past.
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47
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Korean Peninsula Military Modernization Trends

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Abstract in English: 
Military modernization efforts are a key variable when assessing the Korean Peninsula, and one where the shifting strategies and military efforts of the United States and China play an increasingly important role. The modernization trends of all the countries involved in the region have great significance in determining the types of engagement that could be fought. Modernization affects deterrence and assessments of the potential course of any engagement, as well as estimate of types of forces the United States needs to commit to the region, both in times of peace and in times of tension.
There are serious limits to the unclassified data available for comparisons of Northeast Asian military modernization—especially for China and the DPRK. Unclassified sources do not include many smart munitions, they only cover a limited amount of other weaponry, and they do not reflect investments in logistics and transport. They also often do not include battle management, ISR, or Command, Control, Communications, and Computer (C4) assets. These are becoming steadily more critical aspects of military modernization.
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55
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Chinese Space Strategy and Developments

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, August 19, 2016
Abstract in English: 
Competition in space is not a new phenomenon. The Space Race between the Soviet Union and United States was one of the defining aspects of the Cold War era. While astronauts are no longer national celebrities and media coverage has greatly diminished, competition in space remains fierce. The United States, China, Russia, Europe, and numerous others all seek to use outer space in a way that best forwards national interest.

China, in particular, has substantially increased its outer space efforts and capabilities in the post-Cold War era. China’s 2015 Defense White Paper refers to space as the “commanding height in international strategic competition”, and its commitment to active programs further underlines this strategic development. China already possesses advanced space-based C4ISR capabilities, a growing fleet of modern launch vehicles, the BeiDou satellite navigation program comparable to U.S. GPS, an array of counterspace and ASAT weapons (kinetic-kill, directed-energy, co-orbital, and cyber), and an advanced manned space program.
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33
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Undersea Warfare in Northern Europe

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Abstract in English: 
Russia is expanding its use of undersea warfare in a broader strategy of coercion aimed at its neighbors, NATO, and the United States. Suspected territorial incursions in the Baltic Sea and provocative patrols in the North Atlantic have not only caused alarm among NATO and partner nations, but have underscored the extent to which U.S. and European antisubmarine warfare capabilities have atrophied since the end of the Cold War.

In this report, the CSIS International Security Program analyzes Russian intentions and capabilities in the near to mid-term and the ability of NATO and partner nations to respond effectively to Russian activities in the undersea domain. The assessment identifies gaps in current Western organizations, capabilities, and posture and offers recommendations as to how NATO and partner nations can meet the Russian challenge in the undersea domain.
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62
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Evaluating Future U.S. Army Force Posture in Europe

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Abstract in English: 
This report focuses on recalibrating U.S. Army forces in Europe in light of the security challenges posed by a resurgent Russia and offers 37 recommendations for building and a credible and sustainable deterrence posture in Europe over the next decade. This report opens with a broad overview of the challenges posed by Russia and reviews past and current U.S. Army force posture in Europe. It then identifies and offers recommendations to address sustainment challenges for ongoing U.S. deterrence and reassurance efforts; tackling key military capability areas and gaps; realigning U.S. force posture in Europe; and strengthening civilian efforts and civil-military cooperation.

This report is the second phase of a two-phase study conducted by CSIS reviewing U.S. Army force posture in Europe in light of the recent changes to the regional security environment. The Phase I report (available here) was released in February 2016 and focuses on immediate steps to bolster deterrence and the implications for the Defense Department’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget request.
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93
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An Arctic Redesign: Recommendations to Rejuvenate the Arctic Council

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, March 14, 2016
Abstract in English: 
The Arctic Council was launched in 1996 as an informal, consensual, and cooperative mechanism without either legal personality or operational mandate. It was designed to enhance measures to collectively protect the Arctic’s environment and to explore sustainable development opportunities. The Arctic Council turns 20 years old in 2016, and it has grown larger and more complex - welcoming new observer states such as China and India, initiating two legally binding agreements on search and rescue and oil spill response, and creating a permanent Secretariat. As the increasingly dynamic Arctic environment undergoes vast physical and geopolitical transformations, is the 20-year old Arctic Council’s organizational structure adequate and fit for its purpose? Can the Council remain at the center of Arctic-related activities under its current mandate? Is a substantial rethink of the Council’s governance structure necessary to ensure its productivity and longevity for the next 20 years? This report considers these questions and outlines four possible scenarios and strategies for Arctic Council reform and repair, as well as the implications for the Arctic Council in the future.
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28
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