The International Security Program aims to provide evidence-based analysis of some of the thorniest questions facing American policymakers and the public. We are largely focused on South Asia and the Middle East, al-Qaeda and allied groups, the rise of political Islam, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), homeland security, and the activities of U.S. Special Forces and the CIA.

A GRIPPING GLIMPSE INTO BIN LADEN'S DECLINE AND FALL

International Security

Bin Laden was killed four months before the 10th anniversary of 9/11. As the new al Qaeda documents make clear he died knowing that his dream of another terrorism spectacular in the West was just that: a dream. And the organization that he had founded was in deep trouble because of the CIA drone program.

Upcoming Events

Contested Terrain: The Future of Afghan Women

EVENT May 28, 2015 12:15 PM– 01:45 PM

Thursday May 28, 2015

12:15 PM – 01:45 PM


[u'1899 L Street NW, Suite 400', u'Washington, DC 20036']

With the U.S. withdrawing from Afghanistan and a new Afghan government having assumed power, where does the future of Afghan women lie? In her new book, "Contested Terrain: Reflections with Afghan Women Leaders," Sally L. Kitch explores the crisis in contemporary Afghan women's lives by focusing on the stories of Judge Marzia Basel and Ms. Jamila Afghani from 2005 through 2014, providing an oft-ignored perspective on the personal and professional lives of Afghanistan's women.

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in the news | May 03, 2015 | International Security

ILF: More news and views

Keeping alive the tradition of holding a number of sessions on politics, the ILF hosted the session ‘Full of Sound and Fury: Elections in Pakistan’ on the first day. Moderated by Rashed Rehman, the panel included Anatol Lieven, the Orwell Prize-winning journalist and author of Pakistan: A Hard Country, the politician Syeda Abida Hussain, and Sahar Shafqat, an Associate Professor of Political Science at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, USA. Lieven concluded the discussion stating that there is no chance for the Taliban to take over Afghanistan again. However, he was concerned that Taliban have the capacity to keep the insurgency alive.

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in the news | May 01, 2015 | International Security

Pakistan Condemns Afghan Taliban; Ghani: Let Taliban Be Part of Peace Talks; India Rejects U.S. Religious Freedom Report

Courtney Schuster Neeli Shah

On Thursday, Pakistani foreign ministry spokeswoman, Tasneem Aslam, in her weekly press conference in Islamabad condemned the Taliban’s “spike in violence” in its annual spring offensive in Afghanistan (VOA, ET). Aslam said: “[Pakistan] would like to see a national reconciliation process in Afghanistan.” Voice of America reports that Pakistani officials have been in secret contact with Taliban leaders urging them to participate in peace talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Pakistan, which has been accused of providing support for the Taliban’s past spring offensives, is considered a wild-card factor in any potential Afghan peace talks with the Taliban.

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press release | April 29, 2015 | International Security

New America - GPPi Report on Computer Security Incident Response Teams Provides a Baseline Understanding of CSIRTs for Policy-Makers

Today New America and the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) released the first paper in a series of publications examining the role of CSIRTs in cybersecurity. The first paper, “CSIRT Basics for Policy-Makers” examines the history, the culture, and the different types of Computer Security Incident Response Teams, also known as CSIRTs or CERTs. The report is designed to help provide policy-makers with a baseline understanding of what CSIRTs are and why they are important to cybersecurity.

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policy paper | April 29, 2015 | International Security
CSIRT Basics for Policy-Makers

CSIRT Basics for Policy-Makers

The History, Types & Culture of Computer Security Incident Response Teams

Isabel Skierka Mirko Hohmann Robert Morgus Tim Maurer

In this paper, we examine the history, types, and culture of Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs). Some CSIRT practitioners and policy-makers have differing views of what a national CSIRT should be, how it should operate, where it should be situated, and how it should relate to the rest of the computer security incident response network within its country. This brief is intended to provide a short history and overview of the culture of CSIRTs in order to help build a common understanding before examining some of the critical issues in greater depth in subsequent publications.

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in the news | April 26, 2015 | International Security

Could Warren Weinstein have been saved?

According to New America, which tracks drone strikes in Pakistan, CIA drone attacks happened in Shawal, North Waziristan, on January 19 in which at least four militants were killed; also on January 15 in Tehsil Ladha, South Waziristan, in which at least five militants were killed; and on January 4 in Datta Khel, South Waziristan, in which at least eight militants were killed. It is in one of these strikes that Weinstein was almost certainly killed.

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in the news | April 26, 2015 | International Security

‘Taliban can’t regain power in Afghanistan’

The session was moderated by the experienced journalist Nasim Zehra. The other panelists included Anatol Lieven author of ‘Pakistan: A Hard Country’ and Shahid Hussain, a former foreign secretary and ambassador. “There is no likelihood of the Taliban coming back to power,” said Dr Lieven, supported by other speakers. He explained that the Taliban may gain influence in rural areas but not major towns and cities. “A repeat of the 1990s position of the Taliban is impossible,” he added.

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in the news | April 24, 2015 | International Security

An American Mom and Her Baby Are Being Held Hostage by The Taliban

Hunter blamed the failure to rescue Weinstein on conflicting missions at the FBI, which is in charge of cases of Americans held hostages overseas, and the CIA, whose “focus in this case and others is not on the successful recovery of Americans held captive. Above all, this incident reaffirms the necessity to install an interagency coordinator in order to ensure there’s effective and constructive engagement at all levels.”

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article | April 22, 2015 | International Security

Beyond the Jihadi Bride: Our Distorted Understanding of Women’s Motivations

New America

to Join Extremist Organizations SourceUrl: http://satsa.syr.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/JTSA_Spring_2015.pdf Slug: beyond-the-jihadi-bride-our-distorted-understanding-of-womens-motivations-to-join-extremist-organizations Source: The Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis Template: in-the-news Authors: Emily Schneider, Elizabeth Weingarten Summary: This article aims to first, examine the growing phenomenon of female foreign fightersfrom the West to Iraq ...

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in the news | April 22, 2015 | International Security

Fallout reaches the ivory tower

The students protesting Mr Koh are right to try to hold him to account for the government's actions during his time of government service. The revolving door between elite academia and the higher levels of government is defensible only insofar as the inside knowledge of former bureaucrats is used to better educate students. Mr Koh ought to be judged by more than the single issue of American drone strikes. However, that issue is an important one. A fuller public accounting of his own role would go a long way towards making the case that the compromises necessitated by government service left him not only more eminent, but also wiser.

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in the news | April 20, 2015 | International Security

Ghani: ISIS Behind Jalalabad Bombing; India’s Budget Session Resumes; Saudi Arabia Continues to Expect Pakistani Role in Yemen

On Saturday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that ISIS was behind the bombing of the Kabul Bank branch in Jalalabad earlier in the day that killed 35 people and injured 125 more (NYT, WSJ, Reuters). Ghani stated: “Taliban did not claim responsibility, but Daesh claimed responsibility.” Daesh is a pejorative name some use to describe ISIS. Indeed, Zabiullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, wrote on Twitter: “We condemn/deny involvement,” and in 2011 the Taliban did claim responsibility for an attack on the same bank branch with similar casualties. In a cellphone interview with the New York Times, Zabiullah Mujahid reiterated his denial and refused to comment on ISIS’s role. On the other hand, ISIS’ Afghan group, which calls itself the Province of Khorasan claimed the attack releasing the bomber’s photo and stating: “Many congratulations to all on the first…attack by the Province of Khorasan.”

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in the news | April 18, 2015 | International Security

Maybe We Should Negotiate With Terrorists

If he were making recommendations to the President about how to change government policy, Noesner said, he would suggest tamping down the rhetoric of “no negotiation with terrorists” and supporting (with information and resources) the efforts of families and companies to negotiate. Debra Tice, the mother of Austin Tice, an American journalist who has been missing in Syria since 2012, agreed with Noesner’s assessment. “We should not let our desire to punish terrorist kidnappers cloud our judgment and restrict our options,” Tice declared.

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in the news | April 16, 2015 | International Security

BLUE SHIFT: WHY THE US MILITARY MUST APPEAL TO SILICON VALLEY – OPED

Tom Ricks

I recently attended a panel discussion with Tom Ricks, a journalist who has covered the U.S. military for over 20 years, and he made an observation that gets at the heart of the matter. He said that the military we have today – that massive entity which receives so much funding – is essentially a project of the red states; its tenets of loyalty, obedience, patriotism, conservatism, in Ricks’s assessment, are traditional red state values. But fiscally speaking, that is exactly the problem. When it comes to GDP (or even their ratio of federal contributions v. benefits), Ricks said, red states have “basically gotten a free ride.” Their wealth generation is nothing compared to Silicon Valley, and their professional gravitation – the U.S. military – is an artifact of an industrial age that is economically antiquated.

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in the news | April 15, 2015 | International Security

Flying a drone can be an act of civil disobedience

The new technology, the police robot, was there to minimize risk to the operator, while the gyrocopter, the anachronistic flying contraption, had just been used to deliberately put its operator at risk in order to make a political statement. The pilot apparently wished to trade his freedom temporarily, in a non-violent way, in order that his voice might be heard; landing on the Capitol grounds was how he chose to make that trade. The landing will be the news story of the day, but the story shouldn’t be one about the safety or inviolability of airspace near the Capitol. Yes, the Capitol building is vulnerable. So is the White House, as was seen after a small drone accidentally crashed on the White House grounds in January. Such vulnerability ought to be a hallmark of America. The pilot may be punished (though one hopes he will be charged as the peaceful protester he appears to be and not as an ostensible terrorist.) But it is essential to democracy that such acts of civil disobedience be possible.

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in the news | April 15, 2015 | International Security

Is Hillary a robot?: Rosa Brooks ponders

This is just fun writing: Okay, Hillary. I was going to write this week about autonomous killer robots, but then you (finally!) announced that you’re running for president, so I decided instead to write about you. Some might say that this is not, in fact, a switch in topics. Somehow I don’t think Rosa is gonna wind up working in the H. Clinton White House.