Posts Tagged ‘Cybersecurity’

Security Challenges Over the Horizon and Close to Home: Africa and Cook County, IL

March 22, 2013

Winter 2013 Edition: Now Available Online 

This issue contains two themes: U.S. security interests and challenges in Africa; and Cook County, Illinois security issues.

Part I: U.S. Security Interests in Africa

Africa is undergoing a period of both economic and political transition, and the consequences of uprising, insurgency, and terrorism, partially relating to the aftershocks of the Arab Spring.  For example, in North Africa, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco have been on the front lines of rapid turnover and change emanating from the Arab Spring.  In other countries, such as Mali and Somalia, Islamic insurgency has sparked regional and international military responses to stem this security threat.

Africa is generally considered low priority for U.S. national security.  However, recent trends suggest its ascent on the list of strategic priorities.  The central theme of this section is the calculus and consequences of increased U.S. attention on African security issues.  Articles include:

  • AFRICOM: A New National Security Approach for the 21st Century?
  • How the Dragon of Prosperity Uses State Power and Resources in Africa to Displace Western Influence
  • The Arab Spring, Moroccan Exceptionalism, and U.S. Strategic Interests
  • Turmoil in the Middle East: How Has Morocco Fared?
  • Operation Serval in Mali: The Fight Against Terrorism and the Strengthening of States

Part II: Cook County Urban Security

In Spring of 2012, the NSF argued that national security began at the local level, using the City of Chicago’s security strategy as a point of departure for discussing local level security issues facing other large municipalities across the U.S.  This theme is amplified with a closer look at urban security issues facing Cook County, Illinois.  The policies and strategies put in place by Cook County officials are a single component of the national security patchwork.  Without security at the local level, as in Cook County, Illinois, the national security structure is weakened.  Articles include:

  • Chicago’s Gang Problem
  • Cybersecurity and the Private Sector
  • Chicago’s FInancial Cybersecurity
  • Tackling Student Gun Violence in Chicago
  • Cyber Threats to the Power Grid
  • Climate Change and Nuclear Power
  • Risk and the Chicago Infrastructure Trust
  • Solutions for Hurricane Sandy-like Flooding
  • Illinois’ Pension Problem
  • Viewpoints on Gun Laws
  • Addressing Violence in Chicago

The National Strategy Forum Review is available online at

A Maritime Model for Cyberspace Governance

September 15, 2011

Cyberspace is a unique realm where traditional concepts of law, governance, and international relations are difficult to define and more difficult to put into practice.  Meanwhile, cyber threats and cyber crime are on the rise and governments are scrambling to find legal ways to detect, apprehend, and prosecute perpetrators.  How can governments agree on acceptable legal norms?  What is the incentive to cooperate in apprehending cyber criminals? How can states form multilateral legal institutions and practices that address this challenges of cyberspace?

Mark Frazzetto’s article, A Maritime Model for Cyberspace Legal Governance, offers one view on this issue.  He argues that cyberspace be defined as an international common area and that legal arguments for governing such a space could gain insight from traditional laws of the sea.

A Maritime Model for Cyberspace Legal Governance

By Mark Frazzetto

No More Secrets: Adapting to a World Where Everything is Out in the Open

February 28, 2011

The WikiLeaks incident suggests a provocative question: Is the world rapidly approaching a time when secrets no longer exist?  The U.S. government has traditionally depended on secrecy to gain a competitive advantage in counterintelligence.  However, the difficulty of keeping information secret is rising exponentially.  Technology has outraced the country’s defensive posture and is forcing greater transparency upon individuals, organizations, and governments who are more interconnected than ever before.  With the proliferation of sophisticated cyber-security threats, corporate espionage, and social media networking, the world may be approaching a time when there are no more enduring precious secrets.

Adapting to this new reality is challenging.  The government and private sector will need to develop strategies and reform current policies to limit the amount of secrets held if they are to survive in such a transparent environment.  Failure to adjust could present a dangerous vulnerability to national security.  A proactive shift in strategy may allow the U.S. to prevail over its adversaries.

The July 2010 conference titled “No More Secrets: National Security Strategies for a Transparent World” was sponsored jointly by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security, Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, and the National Strategy Forum.

The conference examined the likelihood of a world with no secrets.  It defined the concept of secrets, identified current inadequacies in managing critical information, and offered solutions to these problems.

The general consensus was that the government, private sector, and individuals must learn to address these new threats and challenges.  The government should engage with the private sector in developing new ways of doing business to enhance innovation and seek processes that require maintaining fewer secrets.  Ultimately, those who figure out how to operate with fewer secrets will gain an advantage over those who cling to traditional notions of indefinite information monopoly.

The conference report can be found here: No More Secrets: National Security Strategies for a Transparent World

Winter 2011 National Strategy Forum Review

February 21, 2011


The Winter 2011 issue of the National Strategy Forum Review is now available online.  This issue titled “Thinking About National Security: An NSF Guidebook for 2011” serves as a concise overview of the emerging trends in national security and national strategy.

There are a number of emerging national security threats that will define this decade.  How should the US think about economic security?  What are the trends in homeland security?  How can the DoD respond to budget cuts while preparing the military for the future?  Is US foreign policy focusing enough attention on emerging regions?  Given the challenges in Afghanistan, what should be our strategy with Pakistan?

Crafting a national security strategy requires: 1) an understanding of the issues; and 2) developing possible policy solutions.  The Winter 2011 NSFR puts these emerging trends in context and suggests ways of thinking about policy solutions.  Articles are available for download as PDFs.

Winter 2011 National Strategy Forum Review: “Thinking About National Security: An NSF Guidebook for 2011”

Research Report-Will Goodman on Cyber Deterrence

September 17, 2010

The NSFR Blog is launching a new bit of regular content: Research Reports.  Every month, important articles and reports will be summarized and then analyzed for strategic content.

The first Research Report analyzes Will Goodman’s article on cyber deterrence theory, which was featured in the Fall 2010 issue of Strategic Studies Quarterly.  Mr. Goodman provides an informative primer on deterrence theory and argues that there are important elements that must be present for international cyber deterrence to work.  Three sets of cyber attack events are discussed.  The Research Report applies complementary strategy to these cyber deterrence elements.

Research Report: Will Goodman’s “Cyber Deterrence: Tougher in Theory than in Practice?”
By Eric S. Morse

Cyber Deterrence Strategy

June 10, 2010

Cybersecurity issues are heating up on the national stage.  Following the unveiling of U.S. Cyber Command on May 21, Cyber Czar Keith Alexander has warned that cyber attacks on the U.S. defense networks may be imminent, see news link below.

The NSF has long been a voice for promoting cyber security strategy and discussing privacy legislation alternatives.  We have written a summary of a comprehensive cyber security strategy, posted below.  In addition, we have posted our 2009 cyber security conference report that discusses, in great detail, the challenges of developing national cyber deterrence policy.

The last link is an article by Mark Bowden, published in The Atlantic, about the Conficker worm.  Conficker was a frightening computer virus that many people thought was eliminated in 2009.  News flash: it wasn’t, and the culprits may be planning even more threatening viruses in the future.  If you ever wanted to know how cyber warriors fight computer viruses and hackers, we can highly recommend this riveting article.

A Strategy for Deterring Cyber Attacks

By Richard E. Friedman and Eric S. Morse

Conference Report: National Security Threats in Cyberspace

Washington Post: Cyber Command Chief Warns of Possible Attacks
By Ellen Nakashima

The Atlantic: “The Enemy Within”

By Mark Bowden

U.S. Cyber Command Launched

May 25, 2010

One may have missed this important bit of news over the weekend: the Department of Defense officially launched the U.S. Cyber Command, under the leadership of NSA Chief Keith B. Alexander.

The national security implications of this are huge.  It is the government’s first institutional step to take a leadership role in securing cyberspace.  Granted, much still needs to be done, including cooperating with the private sector to improve cybersecurity.  Nevertheless, this is a monumental step forward in the pursuit of securing America’s virtual world.

Direct links to the announcement and news articles are below:

Department of Defense: Official Cyber Command Announcement

Army Times Article: DoD Cyber Command is Officially Online

Stars and Stripes Article: Army Planning Cyber Command at Fort Belvoir