Compared to their predecessors of three or four decades ago, U.S. national security officials are thinking in new terms, about new categories of threats. To an unprecedented degree, they must monitor the social, political, economic and psychological trends and processes that will determine the security environment in the years ahead. The kinds of things they are likely to worry about include the factors that will encourage Pakistan to take more aggressive action against militants or impede it from doing so; the conditions under which narco-violence could threaten the stability of Mexico; the likely lifespan of Tehran’s theocracy; the causes and […]

The U.S. government is making significant progress in its understanding of the cyber threat to U.S. national security, as demonstrated by a recent article in Foreign Affairs magazine by the deputy secretary of defense, William J. Lynn. The article also provides useful insights into government programs and capabilities to counter this threat, as well as the role of U.S. intelligence in helping the public and private sectors step up to this emerging national security challenge. More is needed, however, in terms of understanding what’s at stake in cybersecurity, improving intelligence regarding adversaries’ capabilities, intentions and activities, and creating the mechanisms […]

The changes to the U.S. intelligence community (IC) effected after the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States were the most comprehensive in decades. Intelligence reformers sought to restructure the IC to make it more flexible and integrated, to improve the sharing of information both horizontally between federal agencies and vertically between Washington and state and local bodies, and to expand the capabilities at the IC’s disposal. The reforms have achieved important progress in some areas. But a series of high-profile incidents and revelations — including repeated turnover in the position of director of national intelligence, media exposés by […]

The main external influence on a state’s foreign and security policies is the structure of the international system. Prudent states act within the constraints determined by both the distribution of power in the system and their own position in it. As the international system changes, so, too, do its systemic constraints, with national foreign and security policies also likely to undergo changes as a result. Other factors determining the type of security policies a state adopts include national security culture as well as state capacity. In line with this theoretical approach, this review will discuss how the changing systemic constraints […]

China’s remarkable weathering of the global recession has accelerated the expansion of its power relative to that of the West. American observers of China have already noted an increasingly assertive approach by Beijing, and attribute this shift in behavior to an expectation among China’s leaders of a greater degree of deference and influence in international affairs. Nowhere is this dynamic more apparent than in regional maritime issues, where Beijing’s interests in maintaining access to foreign resources and enforcing its claims of sovereignty mix with foreign perceptions of Chinese intentions and external reactions to China’s decades-long military modernization program. Fueled by […]

In June of this year, the United States Navy published the 2010 Naval Operations Concept (.pdf) (NOC), designed as the operational fulfillment of the Cooperative Maritime Strategy (.pdf) (CS-21) released in 2007. The 112-page NOC is an elaboration of the concepts set forth in the 20-page Cooperative Strategy, with detailed discussion of how the missions laid forth in the earlier document can be accomplished with the forces available to the United States Navy. CS-21 itself is a curious document. Deceptively modest, it was developed as the Navy’s strategic answer to the post-Cold War environment. But whether intentionally, as some have […]

Maritime issues have risen to the forefront of current regional security concerns in Asia. Indeed, many emerging non-traditional security concerns such as proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), maritime terrorism, piracy, safety and security of sea lines of communication, smuggling (of arms, drugs and humans), illegal fishing and marine pollution are all essentially maritime issues. Some of them provide opportunities for multilateral maritime security cooperation when supporting factors coincide and are mutually reinforcing. The cooperative anti-piracy effort off the coast of Somalia, the loose and fragile 2002 ASEAN Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, […]