Johan Bergenas

Johan Bergenäs is the deputy director of the Managing Across Boundaries program (MAB) at the Stimson Center. At MAB he spearheads The Hybrid World Initiative. Bergenäs' expertise includes illicit networks, transnational crime and proliferation, with emphasis on the nexus between security and development as well as technology innovation as a force multiplier for human security and economic development in emerging regions. Prior to joining the Stimson Center he worked at the Monterey Institute and Oxfam America. Bergenäs has been a reporter and freelance journalist for numerous publications covering a wide range of international and U.S. domestic issues. He holds a master's degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a bachelor's degree in political science and journalism from the University of Iowa. Originally from Sweden, he currently lives in Washington, D.C.


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Articles written by Johan Bergenas

Putting Environmental Crimes on the Defense and Security Agenda

Environmental crimes, such as illegal fishing, logging and poaching, are no longer just a conservation and biodiversity problem. They have significant consequences for countries’ development aspirations, in addition to global security implications. With growing awareness of this dynamic, governments around the world are taking action. But they need to sharpen their approach to fighting environmental criminals. more

Public-Private Mapping Database Needed to Shed Light on Globalization’s Dark Side

By Johan Bergenas, Brian Finlay
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Globalization has developed a dark side, exploited by malicious actors and creating an entirely new breed of crime, where illicit activities converge and the drug trafficker may also be the terrorist or the WMD proliferator, or both. A cooperative effort to map the undercurrents of globalization would illuminate the global routes that illicit materials travel and facilitate cooperation between diverse actors. more

Public-Private Partnerships Essential to Combat Poaching

By Johan Bergenas
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Every year hundreds of rhinos and thousands of elephants are slaughtered and their parts sold on the black market. For decades, a lack of political attention has made it difficult to confront this ongoing carnage. Now, with a wider range of stakeholders from across the security, development and conservation communities motivated to tackle the problem, innovative partnerships could emerge to counter poaching. more

Crime-Terror Nexus Requires Integrated Security Approaches

By Johan Bergenas, Esha Mufti
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Governments are beginning to acknowledge the symbiotic nature of terrorism and organized crime, and to recognize that today’s security challenges are too interconnected, transnational and vast for states to confront one at a time. Institutional integration will be needed to combat these threats, and while change will not come easily, there are signs that key stakeholders are moving in the right direction. more

Defense, Security and Development in a Hybrid World

By Johan Bergenas
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After three decades of unprecedented global interdependence and technological innovation, the state-based global security architecture inherited in the aftermath of the Cold War has become increasingly obsolete. The current world order is increasingly hybrid. What is needed is a hybrid framework on which the next generation of political, security and economic structures can be built. more

Japan Takes the Lead in Coordinating Security and Development Aid

A common theme in international relations debates today centers on the need to move beyond stovepiped policy solutions to more effectively respond to the interconnected challenges of a world defined by the forces of globalization. Recent efforts by the Japanese government offer a good example of combining efforts that build defense and security capacity with projects to further development needs. more

To Counter Nuclear Smuggling, Target All Smuggling

Unlike the Cold War era, today’s global threat horizon is not defined by a single or a few large threats. Rather, our common security is challenged by a horizontal portfolio of problems that transcends borders, including everything from the trafficking of small arms and drugs to the smuggling of cigarettes. All of these scourges have a disproportionately negative impact upon developing economies. more

Data vs. Borders: Information-Sharing in Transnational Security

The process of globalization has revolutionized international affairs, resulting in soaring economic growth and development that has benefitted almost all countries. But the undercurrents of globalization include challenges such as drug, arms and human trafficking on the national, regional and international levels. A crucial part of any strategy to combat these ills is the expansion and improvement of information-sharing among governments and private-sector actors in the international arena. more

Fighting Budget Deficits by Leveraging the Private Sector

By Johan Bergenas
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The U.S. government’s efforts to reduce its budget deficit has put funding for development aid and even defense spending on the chopping block. With advocacy groups and lobbyists in Washington now fighting to minimize the damage to their interests, little attention has been given to an innovative way to achieve security and development objectives amid financial austerity: leveraging the private sector. more

Bridging the Security-Development Divide in Southeast Asia

By Johan Bergenas, Brian Finlay
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Thirty years of globalization has propelled widespread economic growth across Southeast Asia. Yet, these positive development trends are accompanied by a darker side of globalization, which threatens to undercut the remarkable gains of the past quarter-century. Preserving those gains at a time of global financial austerity will require dual-benefit development assistance and engagement with the private sector.

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Beyond Boundaries in East Africa: Part V

By Johan Bergenas, Brian Finlay
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The case for leveraging foreign assistance with a dual-benefit approach has never been stronger. Traditional security-related assistance can be tapped to help meet internal development goals and human security priorities while addressing counterterrorism and nonproliferation obligations. The net result is a sustainable relationship for governments working toward similar goals. more

Beyond Boundaries in East Africa: Part IV

By Johan Bergenas, Brian Finlay
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The concept of linking responses to terrorism with development objectives in order to reduce radicalization is not new. For decades, international security analysts and governments made the case for enhanced cooperation, even while development specialists have warned against the "securitization" of development assistance. But to date, little has been done to practically link the two. more

Beyond Boundaries in East Africa: Part III

By Johan Bergenas, Brian Finlay
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The impact of small arms and light weapons in East Africa goes far beyond their immediate capacity to kill and maim. Arms trafficking undermines all aspects of human security and diminishes prospects for economic development. With domestic and international funding increasingly scarce, it is essential to leverage existing sources of foreign assistance to address the problem. more

Beyond Boundaries in East Africa: Part II

By Johan Bergenas, Brian Finlay
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Urbanization and changing lifestyles in Africa, coupled with inadequate public health infrastructure, threaten to deepen a longstanding public health crisis. With OECD projections indicating significant reductions in traditional development assistance on the horizon, the international community needs to seize additional opportunities to reach beyond the standard sources of funding.
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Beyond Boundaries in East Africa: Part I

By Johan Bergenas, Brian Finlay
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A toxic mix of development and security challenges is preventing East Africa from participating in the positive progress other parts of the world have been enjoying for decades. Opportunities exist to leverage existing sources of aid funding in ways that can bridge the gap in priorities between North and South, but they remain untapped because the discourse on better linking security with development remains vague. more

The Case for Smart Assistance to the Middle East

By Johan Bergenas
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In the coming months, numerous governments in the Middle East will likely need resources to rebuild and reform their countries in accordance with popular demands to expand freedoms and implement democratic rule. The West should actively help by using dual-benefit security assistance to further its goals, while simultaneously providing opportunities for Middle Eastern countries to build free societies. more

Fighting Security Challenges With Regional Cooperation

By Johan Bergenas
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This weekend, Saudi Arabia will gather Gulf Cooperation Council countries and other Middle Eastern states to collaborate on fighting the spread of weapons of mass destruction to terrorist organizations. The initiative reaffirms that regional cooperation is an emerging and powerful facet of international politics. This is not just hyperbole; there is ample evidence worldwide to back it up. more

The West Must Expend Resources Wisely in Yemen

By Johan Bergenas, Brian Finlay
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The United States isproposing to allocate $1.2 billion of military equipment and training over the next six years to combat al-Qaida in Yemen. In response, critics are calling for a more holistic approach. Presently lacking in this debate is the understanding that security and development are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, both interests can be advanced simultaneously using a dual-track approach.
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Ashton Seeks to Revive EU Role in Iran Nuclear Talks

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and Iran's top nuclear negotiator are currently involved in a diplomatic dance over resuming talks on Tehran's nuclear program. If the talks take place, Ashton could assume the negotiating role previously played by her predecessor, Javier Solana. While Solana's efforts did not bear fruit, the circumstances that hampered his attempts have since improved. more

START Follow-On Treaty: Advancing Nuclear Disarmament Beyond U.S., Russia

The recent conclusion of a new bilateral strategic arms treaty between the United States and Russia is important for both countries' security. Yet seen through the prism of nuclear disarmament, it is but a baby step. More substantial progress toward the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons will only come to fruition if credible middle powers help defuse tensions between the nuclear haves and the have-nots. more