Security

Members of NATO sit around table in conference

Security

FSI's scholars tackle a range of issues, from longstanding concerns like nuclear nonproliferation and military defense to new challenges such as cybersecurity, biosecurity and emerging regional conflicts.

Research Spotlight

Overlapping atoms combine in the shape of a flower

Particulate Plutonium Released from the Fukushima Daiichi Meltdowns

A new study reveals particles that were released from nuclear plants damaged in the devastating 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami contained small amounts of radioactive plutonium.
Potemkin Papers

Potemkin Pages & Personas: Assessing GRU Online Operations, 2014-2019

Upon request by the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), researchers reviewed a data set of social media posts that Facebook provided to SSCI.
A woman in Mexico grieves

Living in Fear: The Dynamics of Extortion in Mexico’s Drug War

Using new survey data from Mexico, including list experiments to elicit responses about potentially illegal behavior, this article measures the prevalence of extortion and assistance among drug trafficking organizations.

Featured Scholars

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Megan Palmer

CISAC Affiliated Researcher
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Megan Palmer

CISAC Affiliated Researcher
Executive Director, Bio Policy & Leadership Initiatives, Department of Bioengineering
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Scott Sagan

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
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Scott Sagan

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science
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Alex Stamos

Director, Stanford Internet Observatory
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Alex Stamos

Director, Stanford Internet Observatory
Visiting Scholar at the Hoover Institution
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Amy Zegart

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
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Amy Zegart

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Davies Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution

Upcoming Events

See all upcoming events related to our research on international security.

Publications

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Working Paper

A Research Agenda for Cyber Risk and Cyber Insurance

Gregory Falco, Martin Eling, Danielle Jablanski, Virginia Miller, Lawrence A. Gordon, Shaun Shuxun Wang, Joan Schmit, Russell Thomas, Mauro Elvedi, Thomas Maillart, Emy Donavan, Simon Dejung, Matthias Weber, Eric Durand, Franklin Nutter, Uzi Scheffer, Gil Arazi, Gilbert Ohana, Herbert Lin
The 2019 Workshop on the Economics of Information Security (WEIS) , 2020

A Research Agenda for Cyber Risk and Cyber Insurance

By: Gregory Falco, Stanford University

Martin Eling, University of St. Gallen

Danielle Jablanski, Stanford University

Virginia Miller, Stanford University

Lawrence A. Gordon, University of Maryland

Shaun Shuxun Wang, Nanyang Technological University

Joan Schmit, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Russell Thomas, RMS and George Mason University

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White Paper

How to Report Responsibly on Hacks and Disinformation

Andrew Grotto, Janine Zacharia
2020

The run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election illustrated how vulnerable our most venerated journalistic outlets are to a new kind of information warfare. Reporters are a targeted adversary of foreign and domestic actors who want to harm our democracy. And to cope with this threat, especially in an election year, news organizations need to prepare for another wave of false, misleading, and hacked information. Often, the information will be newsworthy.

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Journal Article

China’s Challenges: Now It Gets Much Harder

Thomas Fingar, Jean C. Oi
The Washington Quarterly , 2020

The easy phases of China’s quest for wealth and power are over. After forty years, every one of a set of favorable conditions has diminished or vanished, and China’s future, neither inevitable nor immutable, will be shaped by the policy choices of party leaders facing at least eleven difficult challenges, including the novel coronavirus. 

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Journal Article

On the role of anthropogenic climate change in the emerging food crisis in southern Africa in the 2019–2020 growing season

David Lobell
Global Change Biology , 2020

Researchers including David Lobell analyze how human-caused climate change has impacted a water defecit in Southern Africa and might contribute to a rising food security crisis in the region.

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Commentary

CNN Perspective with Andy Grotto: Why unlocking Apple iPhones for law enforcement isn't the answer

Andrew Grotto, Andrew Grotto
2020

Despite pressure from President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr, Apple continues to stand its ground and refuses to re-engineer iPhones so law enforcement can unlock the devices. Apple has maintained that it has done everything required by law and that creating a "backdoor" would undermine cybersecurity and privacy for iPhone users everywhere.

Apple is right to stand firm in its position that building a "backdoor" could put user data at risk.

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Journal Article

The Internet’s Challenge to Democracy: Framing the Problem and Assessing Reforms

Nathaniel Persily, Nathaniel Persily
2019

The Program on Democracy and the Internet runs the work of the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age which will produce guidelines to support democracies, particularly those of the global south. 

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Conference Memos

The Future of Food from the Sea

Rosamond L. Naylor
High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy , 2019

As the global population and people’s incomes rise, the demand for ocean-derived food will continue to grow. At the same time, hunger and malnutrition continues to be a challenge in many countries, particularly in rural or developing areas. Looking to the ocean as a source of protein produced using low-carbon methodologies will be critical for food security, nutrition and economic stability, especially in coastal countries where hunger and malnutrition are a challenge.

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White Paper

Evidence of Russia-Linked Influence Operations in Africa

Shelby Grossman, Daniel Bush, Renee DiResta
2019

Russia’s global strategy for reasserting itself as a geopolitical superpower has led to an increased presence in Africa, where it has broadened efforts to shape the continent’s politics and pursue new economic opportunities to allay the effects of sanctions.

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Journal Article

Eyes in the Sky, Boots on the Ground: Assessing Satellite- and Ground-Based Approaches to Crop Yield Measurement and Analysis

David Lobell, Marshall Burke, George Azzari, Sydney Gourlay, Zhenong Jin, Talip Kilic, Siobhan Murray
American Journal of Agricultural Economics , 2019

Understanding the determinants of agricultural productivity requires accurate measurement of crop output and yield. In smallholder production systems across low- and middle-income countries, crop yields have traditionally been assessed based on farmer-reported production and land areas in household/farm surveys, occasionally by objective crop cuts for a sub-section of a farmer’s plot, and rarely using full-plot harvests. In parallel, satellite data continue to improve in terms of spatial, temporal, and spectral resolution needed to discern performance on smallholder plots.

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Working Paper

Semiconductors and a Strategic National Technology Policy

Mark Long
2019

The current regulatory and legislative infrastructure is poorly suited to address the new challenges to U.S. leadership and innovation in key technology sectors. This paper uses the semiconductor industry as a case study to advance a proposal for a strategic approach to technology policy capable of enabling long-term leadership. This proposal, rooted in structural changes to the federal technology policymaking process, would allow the United States to respond more effectively to strategic technology policymaking of China and other rising economic competitors.

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Working Paper

Compete, Contest and Collaborate: How to Win the Technology Race with China

Anja Manuel, Pavneet Singh, Thompson Paine
2019

Bios: Anja ManuelPavneet Singh, Thompson Paine

China systematically extracts advanced technology from the West. It does so legally, by mining open source databases, investing in our most advanced companies, and compelling technology transfer as a condition for doing business in China, as well as illicitly, through cybertheft and industrial espionage.

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Book

Stalin and the Fate of Europe: The Postwar Struggle for Sovereignty

Norman M. Naimark
Belknap/Harvard , 2019

The Cold War division of Europe was not inevitable―the acclaimed author of Stalin’s Genocides shows how postwar Europeans fought to determine their own destinies.

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Journal Article

U.S. Policy Toolkit for Kaspersky Labs

Andrew Grotto, Andrew Grotto
2019

In February, the White House attributed “the most destructive and costly cyberattack in history,” a summer 2017 attack affecting critical infrastructure and other victims around the world, to Russian intelligence services.

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Commentary

The Great Anti-China Tech Alliance

Andrew Grotto, Martin Schallbruch, Andrew Grotto
2019

In these early days of the regulatory renaissance for digital technologies, China, Europe, and the United States are competing over whose image will be most reflected in market-defining rules and norms. Despite new lows in the trans-Atlantic relationship in the era of Trump, Europe and the United States still have far more in common with each other about how technology should be developed, deployed, and regulated than they do with China.

 

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Journal Article

How Relevant is the Turing Test in the Age of Sophisbots?

Dan Boneh, Andrew Grotto, Dan Boneh, Nicolas Papernot, Patrick McDaniel
2019

Popular culture has contemplated societies of thinking machines for generations, envisioning futures from utopian to dystopian. These futures are, arguably, here now-we find ourselves at the doorstep of technology that can at least simulate the appearance of thinking, acting, and feeling. The real question is: now what?

 

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Commentary

The west needs a positive response to China’s technology challenge

Anja Manuel, Anja Manuel
2019

Silicon Valley is belatedly waking up to the fact that China systematically extracts the most advanced technology from the west, using both legal and nefarious means.

Read more at The Financial Times

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Book

Behavioral Economics and Nuclear Weapons

Jeffrey Knopf, Jeffrey Knopf, Anne I. Harrington
Athens : The University of Georgia Press, [2019] , 2019

Recent discoveries in psychology and neuroscience have improved our understanding of why our decision making processes fail to match standard social science assumptions about rationality.

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Commentary

The Next Director of National Intelligence: A Thankless Job Is Getting Even Harder

Amy Zegart
Foreign Affairs , 2019

At the end of July, Dan Coats, the U.S. director of national intelligence (DNI), announced his resignation. When he leaves office on August 15, the U.S. intelligence community will be left with two crises to confront. One is obvious and immediate: how to protect the objectivity and professionalism of the intelligence agencies against the rising tide of politicization by the White House.

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Commentary

CNN Perspective: Our lax cybersecurity policies put our elections and our data at risk

Andrew Grotto
2019

Our national discussions about cybersecurity and privacy follow a frustrating pattern: a headline-grabbing incident like the recent Capital One breach occurs, Congress wrings its hands and policymakers more or less move on. So it is no surprise cybersecurity hasn't been much of a focus as the race to the 2020 presidential election heats up.

The issue is here to stay, and it should be debated by the candidates. Here are some concrete ideas that would significantly improve the safety and security of the nation — but require presidential leadership if they are to come to fruition.

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Journal Article

The containment of the Islamic State: A realist case to engage a hybrid actor

Jodok Troy
Contemporary Security Policy , 2019

Next to military means, causing disruption and interdiction, Western and local powers also relied on policies of containment to halt the expansion of the Islamic State’s territorial strongholds. Yet, a Cold War state-based strategy of containment seems not apt to counter a transformed Islamic State. This article, first, examines why containing the Islamic State was successful in the past.

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