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In “Trump’s 2019 Missile Defense Budget: Choosing Capacity over Capability,” a February 28, 2018, installment of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ CSIS Briefs series, Tom Karako, PhD, director of CSIS’ Missile Defense Project and a senior fellow in its International Security Program, and Wes Rumbaugh, an research assistant with the ISP, analyze the missile-defense side of the Trump administration’s FY19 budget request, identify its priorities and shortfalls, lend historical context and deem the proposed budget “inadequate” to combat “the threat for both ballistic and nonballistic missile attack.”

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“The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation,” a February 2018 joint report from the Center for a New American Security, the Future of Humanity Institute, the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, the University of Cambridge, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and OpenAI, looks at the potential for artificial intelligence to be weaponized in the digital, physical and political security domains, predicts the future AI threat landscape and offers preventative recommendations for policymakers to combat the risk of misused AI. “This report surveys the landscape of potential security threats from malicious uses of artificial intelligence technologies, and proposes ways to better forecast, prevent, and mitigate these threats,” the report reads. “We analyze, but do not conclusively resolve, the question of what the long-term equilibrium between attackers and defenders will be. We focus instead on what sorts of attacks we are likely to see soon if adequate defenses are not developed.

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In “Overview of the 2019 President’s Budget Request for Defense,” a Feb. 15, 2018, report from the Center for a New American Security, authors Susanna Blume, a CNAS Defense Strategies and Assessment Program fellow, and Lauren Fish, a research associate with the program, provide a bird’s-eye look at what the White House’s FY19 defense-budget request means for readiness, procurement, research, development, test and evaluation, the Missile Defense Agency, US Army, US Navy, US Marine Corps and US Air Force, and the US Defense Department, as a whole. “Even in these times of increasing budgets, DoD must still make tough decisions about what to prioritize and where to accept risk,” they write.

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In “Power and Influence in a Globalized World,” a February 2018 joint report from the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, the University of Denver’s Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures and the Hague Center for Strategic Studies, authors Jonathon Moyer, PhD, Pardee Center director, Tim Sweijs, HCSS research director, Mathew Burrows, PhD, director of Scowcroft’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative, and Hugo Van Manen, a junior consultant at Ecorys, present “the Foreign Bilateral Influence Capacity (FBIC) Index,” which looks to take an intersectional approach to evaluating the power and influence of global states. “The FBIC is tasked with identifying the key influencers in the international community, and analyzing those that register above or below their weight in the world, altogether clarifying where the United States and others stand in the international system,” the Atlantic Council writes. “The FBIC Index is based on the interaction between states, as well as the relative dependence of one state on another.

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In his February 2018 report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ International Security Program, Col. Mark Cancian, USMC Ret., a senior adviser at CSIS, argues that “the return of great power competition” after a seven-decade-plus hiatus makes dealing with strategic surprise an urgent matter. “This study, therefore, examines potential surprises in a great power conflict, particularly in a conflict’s initial stages when the interaction of adversaries’ technologies, prewar plans, and military doctrines first becomes manifest,” he writes. “It is not an attempt to project the future. Rather, it seeks to do the opposite: explore the range of possible future conflicts to see where surprises might lurk.”

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In “Reforming the U.S. Approach to Data Protection and Privacy,” a February 2018 report from the Council on Foreign Relations, author Nuala O’Connor, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology, argues that the US is lagging behind other Western nations when it comes to personal-data protection, since the existing data rules are lackluster and differ between different sectors. “U.S. citizens and companies suffer from this uneven approach—citizens because their data is not adequately protected, and companies because they are saddled with contradictory and sometimes competing requirements,” the report reads.  “It is past time for Congress to create a single legislative data-protection mandate to protect individuals’ privacy and reconcile the differences between state and federal requirements.”

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“With Great Power: Modifying US Arms Sales to Reduce Civilian Harm,” a January 2018 joint report from the Center for Civilians in Conflict and the Stimson Center, highlights the “legal, moral, repetitional, and strategic risks” posed by the illicit acquisition or use of weapons built or sold by the US,  “describes major gaps and risks in the US arms sales process” that make negative consequences more likely “especially for civilians in conflict” and presents “recommendations for the State and Defense Departments and the US Congress.” 

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“Can the United Nations Unite Ukraine?” a February 2018 report from the Hudson Institute, written by Richard Gowan, non-resident fellow and research director at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, and a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, proposes ways in which NATO could intervene in Ukraine without launching a formal NATO or EU mission in the country — which the author calls “politically inconceivable” at this point in time. “More credible alternative options include: an operation under U.N. command involving military, police and civilian components; a mission involving an independent military Multinational Force (MNF); and U.N.-led police and civilian elements,” he writes. He adds that the chosen option will have to ensure “a stable and secure environment throughout the Donbas,” enable “elections for representatives to the Ukrainian Rada in eastern Ukraine”   and supervise “public order and the civilian dimensions of reintegration.” 

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“Defense Planning in a Time of Conflict: A Comparative Analysis of the 2001-2014 Quadrennial Defense Reviews, and Implications for the Army,” a Jan. 31, 2018, report from the RAND Corporation, analyzes the aforementioned years’  QDRs through the lenses of “organization and process, strategy development, force planning, modernization and transformation, resources, defense reform and infrastructure, risk assessment, and reception” and “identifies trends, implications, and recommendations for the Army and U.S. Department of Defense, in order to shape the conduct of and improve future reviews,” according to RAND’s website. “Most QDRs did not adequately address either the growing portfolio of demands on the force or risks associated with different end strengths and mixes of active- and reserve-component forces,” the site reads. “To avoid a similar outcome, future defense reviews should focus on assessing the adequacy of U.S. forces to support the chosen strategy at an acceptable level of risk and on characterizing the budgets needed to support those forces in the near, mid-, and long terms.” Learn more about the report here.”Most QDRs did not adequately address either the growing portfolio of demands on the force or risks associated with different end strengths and mixes of active- and reserve-component forces,” the site reads. “To avoid a similar outcome, future defense reviews should focus on assessing the adequacy of U.S. forces to support the chosen strategy at an acceptable level of risk and on characterizing the budgets needed to support those forces in the near, mid-, and long terms.”

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“Navigating Dangerous Pathways: A Pragmatic Approach to U.S.-Russian Relations and Strategic Stability,” a January 2018 report published by the Center for a New American Security and co-authored by James Miller Jr., PhD, president of Adaptive Strategies and a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, and Richard Fontaine, CNAS president, offers “concrete recommendations for managing each of the three pathways” that their September 2017 report “A New Era in U.S.-Russian Strategic Stability: How Changing Geopolitics and Emerging Technologies are Reshaping Pathways to Crisis and Conflict” identified as having the potential to lead “to crisis or conflict” between the United States and Russia. “The aim is to help shape the ongoing debate regarding U.S.-Russian relations and guide actions affecting U.S. nuclear posture, ballistic missile defenses, cyber deterrence, and space resilience,” they write. “The recommendations also address the American role in NATO and NATO-Russian relations, both of which are of critical importance to all three pathways.”

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