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

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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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Book

"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 Paper

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 Paper

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 Article

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 Article

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 Article

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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Book

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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Book

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 Article

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 Brief

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 Article

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 Brief

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 Article

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 Article

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 Article

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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Journal Article

Integrating Offensive Cyber Capabilities: Meaning, dilemmas, and assessment

Max Smeets, Max Smeets
Defence Studies , 2018

Abstract: Across the world, states are establishing military cyber commands or similar units to develop offensive cyber capabilities. One of the key dilemmas faced by these states is whether (and how) to integrate their intelligence and military capabilities to develop a meaningful offensive cyber capacity. This topic, however, has received little theoretical treatment. The purpose of this paper is therefore to address the following question: What are the benefits and risks of organizational integration of offensive cyber capabilities (OIOCC)?

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Policy Brief

Taiwan's Place in the Evolving Security Environment of East Asia

Kharis Templeman, Ph.D., (with the support of U.S.-Asia Security Initiative: Karl Eikenberry , and Belinda A. Yeomans)
2018

In March 2018 the Taiwan Democracy and Security Project, a part of the U.S.-Asia Security Initiative at Stanford University’s Shorenstein Asia- Pacific Research Center, convened a workshop that examined Taiwan’s place in the evolving security environment of East Asia. Participants from the United States, Taiwan, and elsewhere in Asia were experts on a wide array of economic, diplomatic, and security topics.

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Policy Brief

Assessing the Effectiveness of Alliance Responses to Regional and Global Threats

Michael M. Bosack and Marcus A. Morgan (with Karl W. Eikenberry, Belinda A. Yeomans, and Daniel C. Sneider)
2018

From 31 January through 1 February 2018, Stanford University’s U.S.-Asia Security Initiative (USASI) and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF), gathered in Tokyo representatives from the government, defense, and academic sectors of the United States and Japan for the second workshop of the U.S.-Japan Security and Defense Dialogue Series.

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Commentary

Atomic Homefront: a film about struggling to live with Manhattan Project radioactive waste

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

Abstract: This commentary reviews and discusses HBO’s new documentary, Atomic Homefront, which shows how communities are still struggling to live with radiation from radioactive waste generated more than 70 years ago during the race to build the atomic bomb—part of a secret government effort during World War II known as the Manhattan Project.

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Journal Article

Future warming increases probability of globally synchronized maize production shocks

Michelle Tigchelaar, David S. Battisti, Rosamond L. Naylor, Deepak K. Ray
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , 2018

Climate-induced shocks in grain production are a major contributor to global market volatility, which creates uncertainty for cereal farmers and agribusiness and reduces food access for poor consumers when production falls and prices spike.

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Journal Article

Robust relationship between air quality and infant mortality in Africa

Eran Bendavid, Jennifer Burney, Marshall Burke
Nature , 2018

Poor air quality is thought to be an important mortality risk factor globally, but there is little direct evidence from the developing world on how mortality risk varies with changing exposure to ambient particulate matter. Current global estimates apply exposure-response relationships that have been derived mostly from wealthy, mid-latitude countries to spatial population data, and these estimates remain unvalidated across large portions of the globe.

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Book

Japan Decides 2017: The Japanese General Election (Book Chapter)

Kenji E. Kushida, Kenji Kushida, Robert J. Pekkanen, Steven R. Reed, Ethan Scheiner, Daniel M. Smith, Et al.
2018

This third volume in the Japan Decides series remains the premier venue for scholarly research on Japanese elections. Spotlighting the 2017 general election, the contributors discuss the election results, party politics, coalition politics with Komeito, the cabinet, constitutional revision, new opposition parties, and Abenomics. Additionally, the volume looks at campaigning, public opinion, media, gender issues and representation, North Korea and security issues, inequality, immigration and cabinet scandals.

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Journal Article

Xi Jinping Stresses Cooperation and Power – Enduring Contradiction?

Robert G Stutter, Chin-Hao Huang
Comparative Connections , 2018

Supported by Chinese officials and authoritative commentary, President Xi Jinping continued a moderate and cooperative posture toward Southeast Asia in early 2018, reaching a highpoint in Xi’s keynote address on April 10 at the annual Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan Province. Then, the posture switched dramatically to the surprise of many at home and abroad. On April 12, Xi appeared in military uniform addressing troops in the South China Sea participating in the largest naval review in China’s history.

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Journal Article

American Foreign Policy in Transition: From Cold War Consensus to Controversy and Confusion

Thomas Fingar
2018

In a new article for Contemporary American Review, Shorenstein APARC Distinguished Fellow Thomas Fingar examines how, twenty-five years after the demise of the Soviet Union, Americans are still struggling to understand and adjust to the costs and consequences of success. Since 1991, diplomats, military professionals, and others showed an inclination towards the same approach to international affairs that brought success in the Cold War. The result was a foreign policy both stable and predictable. Under the Trump administration, however, this no longer appears to be the case.
 

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