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Improving Strategic Competence Lessons from 13 Years of War

November 10, 2014 Comments off

Improving Strategic Competence: Lessons from 13 Years of War
Source: RAND Corporation

This report contributes to the ongoing debate about the lessons from the past 13 years of war and the requirements for addressing future conflicts. It addresses a particular disconnect in the current debate on the future of national security strategy and the role of landpower caused by an inadequate examination of the national level of strategy made by the U.S. government. The disconnect exists because there has been no systematic effort to collect and analyze insights from those who have been actively engaged in making policy and strategy from 2001 to 2014. A RAND Arroyo Center workshop provided a mechanism for eliciting insights from policymakers and academic experts involved in the formation of national-level strategy and its implementation over the past 13 years. This study analyzes and develops those insights in the context of the debate on future national security strategy. It applies those insights to the future operating environment, which will include irregular and hybrid threats, and identifies critical requirements for land forces and special operations forces to operate successfully in conjunction with other joint, interagency, and multinational partners.

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Joblessness, Inequality the New Normal as Geopolitical Trends Climb Global Agenda

November 10, 2014 Comments off

Joblessness, Inequality the New Normal as Geopolitical Trends Climb Global Agenda
Source: World Economic Forum

Deepening income inequality and jobless growth head the Top 10 trends for 2015, according to the Outlook on the Global Agenda, which is published today. These long-standing economic challenges are joined in this year’s survey by growing political and environmental concerns.

The trends are based on a survey of almost 1,800 experts from the Forum’s Network of Global Agenda Councils as well as other communities within the World Economic Forum on what they believe will preoccupy leaders over the coming 12-18 months.

The Top 10 Trends for 2015 are:

  1. Deepening income inequality
  2. Persistent jobless growth
  3. Lack of leadership
  4. Rising geostrategic competition
  5. Weakening of representative democracy
  6. Rising pollution in the developing world
  7. Increasing occurrence of severe weather events
  8. Intensifying nationalism
  9. Increasing water stress
  10. Growing importance of health in the economy

The prominence of inequality and unemployment at the top of the list signifies that they are viewed even more severely than in previous years, with stagnating wages contributing to a vicious cycle of entrenched inequality through suppressed growth and employment prospects.

International Trade Statistics 2014

November 10, 2014 Comments off

International Trade Statistics 2014
Source: World Trade Organization

International Trade Statistics 2014 provides a detailed overview of the latest developments in world trade, covering both merchandise and services trade as well as trade measured in value-added terms.

A key developments section at the start of each chapter uses charts and maps to illustrate the most important trends. More detailed data are provided in a variety of tables covering specific aspects of world trade up to the end of 2013. A chapter on methodology explains how the data are compiled.

The U.S.-Turkey-Israel Triangle

November 7, 2014 Comments off

The U.S.-Turkey-Israel Triangle
Source: Brookings Institution

The confrontation between Israel and Hamas during the summer of 2014 deepened tensions between Israel and Turkey. Now, in the fall of 2014, U.S.-Turkish relations are strained over Turkey’s role in the fight against ISIS, while gaps between the United States and Israel over policies on Iran and Palestine serve as points of friction in the relationship. Clearly the U.S.-Turkey-Israel triangle has suffered many setbacks in recent years on all sides, but the Turkish-Israeli relationship has suffered the most, as it has been in a state of semi-paralysis for the last four years.

CRS — U.S. Citizens Kidnapped by the Islamic State, CRS Insights (October 17, 2014)

November 6, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Citizens Kidnapped by the Islamic State, CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

On October 3, 2014, the terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS, or alternatively, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, or Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS) threatened to kill a third U.S. citizen whom it had kidnapped, Abdul-Rahman Kassig (previously Peter Kassig). While releasing some Western hostages for ransom, the Islamic State has beheaded others, including two U.S. citizens, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and two British citizens, David Haines and Alan Henning. The group posted videos of the murders online, generating debate about the U.S. government’s role and capabilities for freeing hostages.

In light of these beheadings, some policy makers have called for a reevaluation of U.S. policy on international kidnapping responses. Questions include whether it is effective and properly coordinated and implemented, should be abandoned or modified to allow for exceptions and flexibility, or could benefit from enhancements to improve global adherence.

CRS — U.S. and International Health Responses to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (October 29, 2014)

November 6, 2014 Comments off

U.S. and International Health Responses to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

In March 2014, an Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak was reported in Guinea, West Africa. The outbreak is the first in West Africa and has caused an unprecedented number of cases and deaths. The outbreak is continuing to spread in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia (the “affected countries”); it has been contained in Nigeria and Senegal, and has been detected in Mali. As of October 22, 2014, more than 10,000 people have contracted EVD, more than half of whom have died.

In the aggregate, between 1976, when Ebola was first identified, through 2012, there were 2,387 cases, including 1,590 deaths, all in Central and East Africa. The number of Ebola cases in this outbreak is four times higher than the combined total of all prior outbreaks, and the number of cases is doubling monthly. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have projected an exponential increase in cases. WHO estimated that by the end of November, some 20,000 people may contract Ebola; CDC estimated that “without additional interventions or changes in community behavior,” up to 1.4 million could contract EVD in Liberia and Sierra Leone by January 2015. CDC indicates, however, that the outbreak may not reach such proportions since responses are intensifying. In Liberia, for example, improvements in burial practices have resulted in roughly 85% of all bodies being collected within 24 hours of being reported to national officials.

See also: Increased Department of Defense Role in U.S. Ebola Response – CRS Insights (October 10, 2014) (PDF; via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

Economic and competiveness gains from the adoption of best practices in intermodal maritime and road transport in the Americas

November 5, 2014 Comments off

Economic and competiveness gains from the adoption of best practices in intermodal maritime and road transport in the Americas
Source: Oxford Economics

Broad-based preliminary estimates suggest implementation of TIR could boost exports in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico by $1-$5 billion per annum, depending on the country, for a total of $9 billion per annum for all three countries. This report, produced by Oxford Economics, explores the maritime and road transport systems in international transport, focusing on trade facilitation and the potential for improvements in trade systems in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico with implementation of the TIR system, as well as potential challenges.

Free registration required.

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