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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Books

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 Articles

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 Articles

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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Books

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 Articles

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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Books

"New Missions, New Challenges, 2005-2008" (chapter in the book Truth to Power)

Thomas Fingar
2019

Truth to Power, the first-ever history of the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC), is told through the reflections of its eight Chairs in the period from the end of the Cold War until 2017. Co-editors Robert Hutchings and Gregory Treverton add a substantial introduction placing the NIC in its historical context going all the way back to the Board of National Estimates in the 1940s, as well as a concluding chapter that highlights key themes and judgments.

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White Papers

Securing American Elections: Prescriptions for Enhancing the Integrity and Independence of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election and Beyond

Michael A. McFaul, Herbert Lin, Alex Stamos, Nathaniel Persily, Andrew Grotto, Allison Berke, Eileen Donahoe, Larry Diamond, Megan Metzger, Sergey Sanovich, Toomas Ilves, Zachary Krowitz, Christopher Painter
2019

This report urges policymakers, in both government and the private sector, to act immediately in order to protect the integrity and independence of U.S. elections, particularly in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, and recommends a number of actions in order to do so. This report was distributed at the launch of the new Cyber Policy Center on June 6th, 2019.

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Working Papers

A Research Agenda for Cyber Risk and Cyber Insurance

Gregory Falco
2019

A Research Agenda for Cyber Risk and Cyber Insurance | June 2019

Lead Author: Gregory Falco, Program on Geopolitics, Technology, and Governance at the Cyber Policy Center

Presented at the the 2019 Workshop on the Economics of Information Security (Boston, June 3-4, 2019)

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Journal Articles

International Intervention and the Rule of Law after Civil War: Evidence from Liberia

Robert Blair,
International Organization , 2019

What are the effects of international intervention on the rule of law after civil war? Rule of law requires not only that state authorities abide by legal limits on their power, but also that citizens rely on state laws and institutions to adjudicate disputes.

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Journal Articles

Genetically Modified Organisms: A Precautionary Tale for AI Governance

Andrew Grotto
2019

The fruits of a long anticipated technology finally hit the market, with promise to extend human life, revolutionize production, improve consumer welfare, reduce poverty, and inspire countless yet-imagined innovations. A marvel of science and engineering, it reflects the cumulative efforts of a generation of researchers backed by research funding from the U.S. government and private sector investments in (predominantly American) technology companies. 

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Journal Articles

On the Organization of the U.S. Government for Responding to Adversarial Information Warfare and Influence Operations

Herbert Lin, Herbert Lin
I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society , 2019
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Books

State of Repression Iraq under Saddam Hussein

Lisa Blaydes,
2019

A new account of modern Iraqi politics that overturns the conventional wisdom about its sectarian divisions

How did Iraq become one of the most repressive dictatorships of the late twentieth century? The conventional wisdom about Iraq's modern political history is that the country was doomed by its diverse social fabric. But in State of Repression, Lisa Blaydes challenges this belief by showing that the country's breakdown was far from inevitable. At the same time, she offers a new way of understanding the behavior of other authoritarian regimes and their populations.

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Books

Bytes, Bombs, and Spies - The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations

Herbert Lin, Herbert Lin, Amy Zegart
Brookings Institution Press , 2019

Offensive cyber operations have become increasingly important elements of U.S. national security policy. From the deployment of Stuxnet to disrupt Iranian centrifuges to the possible use of cyber methods against North Korean ballistic missile launches, the prominence of offensive cyber capabilities as instruments of national power continues to grow. Yet conceptual thinking lags behind the technical development of these new weapons. How might offensive cyber operations be used in coercion or conflict? What strategic considerations should guide their development and use?

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Journal Articles

Knowledge Management for Democratic Governance of Socio-Technical Systems (Chapter in The Future of Digital Democracy. Lecture Notes in Computer Science.)

Jeremy Pitt, Ada Diaconescu, Josiah Ober
Springer, Cham , 2018

The Digital Transformation (DX) is a broad term describing the changes and innovations brought about by the introduction of information and communication technologies into all aspects of society. One such innovation is to empower bottom-up, self-governing socio-technical systems for a range of applications. Such systems can be based on Ostrom’s design principles for self-governing institutions for sustainable common-pool resource management.

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Policy Briefs

Editing Biosecurity: Needs and Strategies for Governing Genome Editing

Megan Palmer, Megan Palmer, David Relman
2018

This study’s purpose was to highlight the changing safety and security landscape engendered by the emergence of new genome editing technologies, help policy-makers and other stakeholders navigate this space, and illuminate broader trends in the life sciences that may impact the biosecurity landscape.

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Journal Articles

Chinese Influence & American Interests: Promoting Constructive Vigilance

Larry Diamond,
2018

For three and a half decades following the end of the Maoist era, China adhered to Deng Xiaoping’s policies of “reform and opening to the outside world” and “peaceful development.” After Deng retired as paramount leader, these principles continued to guide China’s international behavior in the leadership eras of Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.

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Commentary

Cyber Security Derailed? Recommendations for Smarter Investments in Infrastructure

Andrew Grotto
2018

Excerpt from: "Cyber Security Derailed? Recommendations for Smarter Investments in Infrastructure." War on the Rocks. November, 2018. Online.

A state-owned Chinese company receives a contract to build and maintain the next generation of railcars that service Metro stations at the Pentagon, near the White House and Capitol Hill, and throughout the Washington, D.C., metro area. What could possibly go wrong? 

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Policy Briefs

Agricultural Policies in the Caribbean: A Regional Analysis

Timothy E. Josling, Carmine Paolo De Salvo, Olga Shik, Rachel Boyce, William Foster, Christian Derlagen, Gonzalo Muñoz, Jesús De los Santos, Sybille Nuenninghoff, Budry Bayard, Sebastien Gachot, Cleeford Pavilus
Inter-American Development Bank , 2018

This publication summarizes the agricultural policy analyses conducted in nine Caribbean countries (Suriname, Guyana, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Belize, Barbados, The Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago) in the framework of the IDB’s Agrimonitor initiative. The document discusses how agricultural policies affect producers and consumers as well as how the limited funding for agricultural services, such as research and infrastructure, could limit the ability of Caribbean farmers to compete effectively in global markets.

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Journal Articles

Civil Wars & Global Disorder: Threats & Opportunities

Karl Eikenberry, Stephen D. Krasner
Dædalus , 2018

There are some thirty ongoing civil wars – Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq among the high-profile case

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Journal Articles

Chronic long-term risk of low-level radiation exposure: Bridging the lay/expert divide

François Diaz-Maurin, François Diaz-Maurin
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , 2018

Abstract: The failure of experts and lay people to understand each other has been fueling conflict around the environmental clean-up of the many sites in the United States that are contaminated by the nuclear weapons program. This mutual distrust was exacerbated by the culture of secrecy surrounding the atomic weapons program during World War II, and later by the innate culture of bureaucracy in the federal agencies that have sprung up since then.

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Journal Articles

Armed conflict and child mortality in Africa: a geospatial analysis

Zachary Wagner, Sam Heft-Neal, Zulfiqar A Bhutta,Robert E Black, Marshall Burke, Eran Bendavid
The Lancet , 2018

The extent to which armed conflicts—events such as civil wars, rebellions, and interstate conflicts—are an important driver of child mortality is unclear. While young children are rarely direct combatants in armed conflict, the violent and destructive nature of such events might harm vulnerable populations residing in conflict-affected areas. A 2017 review estimated that deaths of individuals not involved in combat outnumber deaths of those directly involved in the conflict, often more than five to one.

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