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Lessons from Abroad for the U.S. Entitlement Debate

March 27, 2014 Comments off

Lessons from Abroad for the U.S. Entitlement Debate
Source: Center for Strategic & International Studies

The unsustainable federal budget outlook will inevitably push entitlement reform to the forefront of the national policy debate. As America’s leaders consider reform options, they will have much to learn from the experience of other developed countries, several of which have recently enacted far-reaching overhauls of their state pension systems that greatly reduce the long-term fiscal burden of their aging populations. Lessons from Abroad for the U.S. Entitlement Debate places America’s aging challenge in international perspective, examines the most promising reform initiatives in nine other developed countries, and draws practical lessons for U.S. policymakers.

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Safety of Crude Oil by Rail

March 14, 2014 Comments off

Safety of Crude Oil by Rail
Source: Center for Strategic & International Studies

In the last several years, rail has come to play an important role in the transportation of growing U.S. crude oil production. Over the last seven months, a number of serious accidents have resulted in intense review of the safety of shipping large quantities of oil by rail. The focus has been on classification of the oil, the integrity of tank cars, and rail operations. Regulatory processes have been initiated to attempt to deal with these issues in a timely manner. This analysis provides facts that illuminate the players, concerns, current status of regulatory action, as well as the potential issues going forward.

Further regulation of crude by rail is a near certainty, but the ultimate scope and pace remains unclear. Whether regulatory action actually slows down what has become a burgeoning transportation option for crude oil producers and refiners is an open question. It is increasingly unlikely that regulatory action—unless truly drastic—will stop shipment of crude by rail. However, moving forward, regulatory action such as phasing out older tank cars, rerouting trains, or imposing stringent requirements for testing, could impact the economics of crude by rail.

Sustaining the U.S. Lead in Unmanned Systems: Military and Homeland Considerations through 2025

March 12, 2014 Comments off

Sustaining the U.S. Lead in Unmanned Systems: Military and Homeland Considerations through 2025
Source: Center for Strategic and International Studies

Over the past decade, the United States has established a lead in the military use of unmanned systems technology. Yet, the U.S. lead is at risk in the decades ahead, as U.S. strategists and policymakers have not taken sufficient steps to shore up success in the military-technical revolution at hand. With the effective 2014 end of the Afghanistan War, commitment to explore the broader possibilities of unmanned systems is retreating within the Department of Defense (DoD). Meanwhile, the rest of the world is rapidly increasing its attention and investment in unmanned systems. Additionally, unmanned systems will have domestic prominence and importance for the United States as they are increasingly adopted for homeland and law enforcement missions, for private commercial use, and by individuals. This report offers analysis of the key risks and opportunities of the technology and provides specific recommendations for policymakers to sustain the U.S. lead out to 2025 and beyond.

Liberty, Equality, Connectivity

February 28, 2014 Comments off

Liberty, Equality, Connectivity
Source: Center for Strategic and International Studies

Europe and the United States have a collective interest in the promotion of a stable international order based on the rule of law, open and equitable arrangements for trade, and a commitment to democratic government and individual rights. These interests face renewed challenges in a complex global political environment.

Cybersecurity is among the most salient of these challenges. The fundamental issues in cybersecurity are to protect information (both intellectual property and personal information) and reduce the danger of disruption in the cyber environment and the critical infrastructures that depend upon it without damage to human rights or innovation. While many nations understand the risks they face in cyberspace, significant political differences create obstacles to collective action. Cybersecurity requires international cooperation to make the cyber environment stable and more secure. This essay’s premise is that given their close and shared political and cultural values, Europe and the United States can work together to shape this foundation to reinforce both security and democratic values.

U.S. Department of Defense Contract Spending and the Supporting Industrial Base, 2000-2012

January 3, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Department of Defense Contract Spending and the Supporting Industrial Base, 2000-2012
Source: Center for Strategic & International Studies

In a time of austerity, the U.S. Department of Defense has drawn budgetary savings primarily from reductions in private-sector contracting. The 2000-2012 edition of this report by National Security Program for Industry and Resources (NSPIR) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) examines this trend as well as its broader implications for defense industrial policy. The report analyzes contracting for products, services, and research and development by the U.S. Department of Defense overall and by key components. The 2000-2012 report investigates seven key facets of the defense industrial base and provides detailed answers to pressing acquisition policy questions.

Global Forecast 2014 — U.S. Security Policy at a Crossroads

November 20, 2013 Comments off

Global Forecast 2014 — U.S. Security Policy at a Crossroads
Source: Center for Strategic & International Studies

After a dozen years of war, the 2008 financial crisis, budgetary contraction inside government, and growing political polarization, U.S. security policy stands at a crossroads as America finds itself lacking a durable political consensus on the nation’s role in the world. In Global Forecast 2014, CSIS scholars answer the questions that will determine the future trajectory of American power in 2014 and beyond. The report looks overseas at America’s ability to sustain its rebalance to Asia and adapt to the changing order in the Middle East. At the same time, the authors examine America’s ability to get its own house in order—to develop a sustainable resource strategy for defense and to rebuild a national security consensus to meet the challenges the United States will face in the years ahead.

Pathways to Productivity: The Role of GMOs for Food Security in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda

October 30, 2013 Comments off

Pathways to Productivity: The Role of GMOs for Food Security in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda
Source: Center for Strategic and International Studies

This report provides an overview of the debate in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda over genetically modified (GM) crops and their potential role in improving food security among smallholder farmers. Specifically, in each country, it examines regulatory structures, science and research capacity, communication and public opinion, the views of smallholder farmers, and the forecast for adoption of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Additionally, it examines regional regulatory efforts and potential trade impacts. Finally, the report provides a set of policy recommendations targeted toward the U.S. government, focus country governments, the donor community, and nongovernmental organizations.

Islam, Islamism and Politics in Eurasia Report

October 17, 2013 Comments off

Islam, Islamism and Politics in Eurasia Report
Source: Center for Strategic and International Studies

The conclusion of Afghanistan’s ‘Kabul process’ or ‘Afghanization’ will be pivotal both for the national security and economic interests of the People’s Republic of China. With the withdrawal of Western forces from Afghanistan and the West’s likely declining political and economic involvement in the region will almost certainly mean declining stability in Afghanistan and perhaps even the Taliban’s return to power if all else remains as it is. Either outcome, but especially the latter, will result in greater Islamist and/or jihadist activity and political instability in Central Asia. In turn, greater instability in Central Asia could drastically impinge on key Chinese national security and economic interests in its troubled, western Muslim-dominated province, the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Republic (XUAR). Therefore, China is likely to play a more active role in Afghanistan and Central (and South) Asia in support of its security and economic interests. This report addresses the implications of the Western withdrawal for Chinese security and economic interests as they relate to Central Asia.

Structure and Dynamics of the U.S. Federal Services Industrial Base, 2000–2012

September 12, 2013 Comments off

Structure and Dynamics of the U.S. Federal Services Industrial Base, 2000–2012
Source: Center for Strategic & International Studies

In a time of austerity, the U.S. government’s reliance on the private sector for a range of services has declined for two consecutive years. Even so, real services contract spending in 2012 remains more than 80 percent above the level in 2000. The CSIS Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group brings eight years of experience to the task of understanding this industry in flux. This report examines contract factors, like competition, funding mechanism, and vehicle, while also looking at industrial base factors like vendor market share by size and top contractors by total services revenue. The study team then applies this analysis to individual government customers and service areas. The 2000–2012 iteration of the report also significantly updates the policy implications chapter. This section examines the controversial topics of contract size and multi-award contracts to determine what the data say about their ramifications.

Defense Department PAS Positions

September 11, 2013 Comments off

Defense Department PAS Positions
Source: Center for Strategic & International Studies

This is the current list of Presidential appointments in the Department of Defense which require Senate confirmation. In the event that no one has been nominated, the individual “performing the duties of” or Acting is listed.

The Economic Impact of Cybercrime and Cyber Espionage

July 26, 2013 Comments off

The Economic Impact of Cybercrime and Cyber Espionage
Source: Center for Strategic and International Studies

Is cybercrime, cyber espionage, and other malicious cyber activities what some call “the greatest transfer of wealth in human history,” or is it what others say is a “rounding error in a fourteen trillion dollar economy?” In their interim report, CSIS Technology and Public Policy Program Director James Lewis and coauthor Stewart Baker put the costs in the context of the global economy, and lay out their next steps for accurately estimating the full costs of these types of cyber activities.

Nuclear Notes (Vol. 2, Issue 1)

June 11, 2012 Comments off

Nuclear Notes (Vol. 2, Issue 1)
Source: Center for Strategic and International Studies

Nuclear Notesis a biannual publication of the CSIS Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) featuring innovative thinking by rising experts. Its goal is to advance the public debate about nuclear weapons strategy and policy. PONI welcomes submissions of 1,500–2,000 words on contemporary topics pertaining to nuclear weapons strategy or policy. See the Nuclear Notes page for more information on the publication and submitting an article for future editions.

In this issue, Jonah Friedman reviews Russia’s military modernization. Eli Jacobs considers the paradox of de-escalation. Henry Philippens analyzes the future prospects of de-alerting. Yogesh Joshi and Alankrita Sinha investigate India and ballistic missile interception. Stephanie Spies makes the case for (rhetorically) taking the military option off the table with Iran. And Heather Williams looks at the crises of arms control.

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