Reports & Papers

505 Items

A 10 Squadron AP-3C awaits its crew as the sun rises over RAAF Base Edinburgh, Australia.

Wade Roberts

Paper

Winning Strategic Competition in the Indo-Pacific

| September 2020

The strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific involving the United States, Australia and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is arguably the most significant contemporary international relations issue. It spans all aspects of state power: hard, sharp and soft; diplomatic, information, military and economic; and all domains: air, sea, land, space, cyber, technology and innovation. But in their rush to recover ground perceived to be already lost to the CCP, neither the U.S. nor Australia have paused to devote sufficient attention to understanding the nature of strategic competition, to comprehend what winning it actually means, and therefore to grasp how best to approach it. As a result, they both continue to cede the initiative to the CCP, while it continues to compete on the terms most favorable to it.

A staff member in the Kweisi Mfume campaign uses gloves while holding a cell phone during an election night news conference at his campaign headquarters after Mfume, a Democrat, won Maryland’s 7th Congressional District special election, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Baltimore.

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Report

The Election Influence Operations Playbook, Part 1

September 2020

Influence Operations (IO), also known as Information Operations, are a series of warfare tactics historically used to collect information, influence, or disrupt the decision making of an adversary. IO strategies intentionally disseminate information to manipulate public opinion and/or influence behavior. IO can involve a number of tactics, including spreading false information intentionally. This is known as “disinformation.”   

Skilled influence operations often deliberately spread disinformation in highly public places like social media. This is done in the hope that people who have no connection to the operation will mistakenly share this disinformation. Inaccurate information spread in error without malicious intent is known as “misinformation.” 

This playbook explores mis- and disinformation incidents that specifically focus on elections operations and infrastructure. Election officials may not often see or know what the motivation is behind the incidents encountered or whether they are mis- or disinformation. Throughout these guides we refer to mis/disinformation incidents together, as the strategies for countering or responding to them are the same.  

Voters wait in a line outside Broad Ripple High School to vote in the Indiana primary in Indianapolis, Tuesday, June 2, 2020 after coronavirus concerns prompted officials to delay the primary from its original May 5 date.

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Report

The Election Influence Operations Playbook, Part 2

September 2020

This section of the Playbook includes recommendations and materials focused on the response process. It will help election officials respond to election-related mis and disinformation incidents quickly and in a coordinated fashion. 

In this playbook, we refer to mis/disinformation throughout as one concept. Instances of both misinformation and disinformation in the elections process provide incorrect information to voters. Incorrect information can be conveyed intentionally or unintentionally. For election officials, any incorrect information, regardless of source or intention, presented to voters can pose a threat to elections, because it can undermine voters’ understanding of and trust in the election.

Donald Trump and Anthony Fauci

AP/Alex Brandon

Paper - Centre for International Governance Innovation

US Intelligence, the Coronavirus and the Age of Globalized Challenges

| Aug. 24, 2020

This essay makes three arguments. First, the US government will need to establish a coronavirus commission, similar to the 9/11 commission, to determine why, since April 2020, the United States has suffered more coronavirus fatalities than any other country in the world. Second, the COVID-19 pandemic represents a watershed for what will be a major national security theme this century: biological threats, both from naturally occurring pathogens and from synthesized biology. Third, intelligence about globalized challenges, such as pandemics, needs to be dramatically reconceptualized, stripping away outmoded levels of secrecy.

A Watrix employee works at his desk in their company’s offices in Beijing, October 31, 2018. Watrix, a Chinese technology startup hopes to begin selling software that recognizes people by their body shape and how they walk, enabling identification when faces are hidden from cameras.

AP Photo / Mark Schiefelbein

Paper - Project Syndicate

Is China Beating the U.S. to AI Supremacy?

| August 2020

Combining decades of experience advancing frontier technologies, on the one hand, and analyzing national security decisionmaking, on the other, we have been collaborating over the past year in an effort to understand the national security implications of China’s great leap forward in artificial intelligence (AI). Our purpose in this essay is to sound an alarm over China’s rapid progress and the current prospect of it overtaking the United States in applying AI in the decade ahead; to explain why AI is for the autocracy led by the Chinese Communist Party (hereafter, the “Party”) an existential priority; to identify key unanswered questions about the dangers of an unconstrained AI arms race between the two digital superpowers; and to point to the reasons why we believe that this is a race the United States can and must win.

Green Berets familiarizing themselves with foreign weapons systems such as the Rocket-propelled Grenade (RPG-7).

US Army Photo / 5th Special Forces Group

Paper

Modern Warfare Destroys Brains

| July 2020

This paper has two primary objectives. First, it will support the argument that blast related TBI is uniquely different from the more recognized brain injury known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) injury associated with impact trauma and therefore requires a different approach to both diagnosis and treatment. Second, it will provide recommendations for mitigating the effects of bTBI on the readiness and long-term health of special operators. 

Key recommendations will include identifying blast pressure thresholds, developing imaging technology, and blood markers to diagnose bTBI. It calls for the DoD to institute and sustain “baseline” health surveillance to detect patterns of injury and health distress early, promote awareness for the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine Brain Donation Awareness Program, and to establish an active Cross-Functional Brain Consortium. An additional recommendation will include changes to training plans that continue to prepare operators for combat but reduce their exposure to blast trauma. 

Tractors on Westminster bridge

AP/Matt Dunham

Paper - Institut für Sicherheitspolitik

The Global Order After COVID-19

| 2020

Despite the far-reaching effects of the current pandemic,  the essential nature of world politics will not be transformed. The territorial state will remain the basic building-block of international affairs, nationalism will remain a powerful political force, and the major powers will continue to compete for influence in myriad ways. Global institutions, transnational networks, and assorted non-state actors will still play important roles, of course, but the present crisis will not produce a dramatic and enduring increase in global governance or significantly higher levels of international cooperation. In short, the post-COVID-19 world will be less open, less free, less prosperous, and more competitive than the world many people expected to emerge only a few years ago.

A traveler on a train from Kaohsiung to Taipei watches the news about Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s re-election on Sunday, January 12, 2020.

AP

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Combatting and Defeating Chinese Propaganda and Disinformation: A Case Study of Taiwan’s 2020 Elections

| July 2020

Using Taiwan’s most recent elections as an example to elucidate the nature of Chinese propaganda and disinformation, this report identifies China’s motives, tactics, and actors in its foreign information warfare.

A nuclear advanced designated marksman assists in a launch facility exercise.

Beau Wade, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

A Sense of Purpose: The Bedrock of the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent

| June 2020

"The paradox of war is, the adversary will always move against your perceived weakness.  So a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent is there to ensure a war that can never be won, is never fought." Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis went on to say, "I am absolutely convinced that having this safe, secure, and effective deterrent is critical—the most critical piece of our nation's defense."  “At the end of the day, deterrence comes down to the men and women in uniform.” The question this paper addresses is: how do we motivate Airmen to give their best to perform this unsung duty, day after day, for years at a time?

 

Report - Atlantic Council

The Reverse Cascade: Enforcing Security on the Global IoT Supply Chain

| June 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the increasing convergence of the physical and digital worlds and it affects us all. Hundreds of "things" are being connected to the Internet and each other, with more than fifty billion devices expected to be connected by 2030. Many IoT devices are manufactured abroad at low cost with little consideration for security. How can we secure these devices, especially those manufactured outside the United States?