ICTS Reports

roleof Diplo3 18From the dawn of history “diplomacy” has been utilized as a permanent mode of statecraft in the struggle for power within and among nations during peace and war. 

The purpose of this March 2018 report on “The Role of Diplomacy in Combating Terrorism: Selected International Perspectives” is to highlight insights from foreign diplomats on threats and challenges to officials and their missions, analysis of statecraft, and “best practices” responses to radicalization and violence.

Download the report here.

BiologicalTerrorismCoverRecent epidemics, such as Ebola and Zika, and the potential dangers of biological terrorism from both state and non-state actors highlight the urgent need to address these challenges through international partnerships and comprehensive biosecurity strategies to reduce the gravest health risks at home and abroad.

This January 2018 report on “Combating Biological Terrorism: Roadmaps for Global Strategies” follows several earlier related publications, such as “Biological Terrorism: Past Lessons and Future Outlook” (June 2017) and “Preventing WMD Terrorism: Ten Perspectives” (August 2017).

Download the report here.

 

 

Role of Diplomacy Nov 2017 Cover lgIn view of the multiple security challenges to international peace and order posed by the intensification of terrorist attacks for over the past half-century, governmental, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental bodies have developed tactical and strategic responses on national, regional, and global levels. The role of diplomacy is, indeed, a critical element in the evolving process.

The purpose of this report on “The Role of Diplomacy in Combating Terrorism: Selected U.S. Perspectives” to focus specifically on the role of diplomacy in combating terrorism relevant to experiences of the United States and their implications internationally. The key question is whether the U.S. and the international community is capable of crafting adequate responses to terrorism, diffusing expanding conflicts regionally and inter-regionally, engaging in constructive peace processes, and striking a delicate balance between security measures and democratic value systems.

Download the report here.

RuleofLaw1Ensuring the safety and interests of citizens at home and abroad continues to be every government’s paramount responsibility. The purpose of this report is to focus on the interface between terrorism and the rule of law. The key question is whether nations can strike a balance between security concerns and protecting civil liberties and constitutional order.

“Terrorism and the Rule of Law: Selected Perspectives” features presentations by experts with extensive academic and government experience. Some of the topics covered include the “War on Terror,” the role of intelligence, law enforcement, detention, civil and military trials, punishment of terrorists, hostage-taking, and other relevant issues.

Download the report here.

WMD8 17a

Preventing the proliferation of biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear weapons has been a major priority for many nation states in the post-World War II era. Additionally, in the aftermath of 9/11, there has been a growing awareness globally of the potential dangers posed by terrorist groups who may resort to WMD capabilities.

The purpose of this report on “Preventing WMD Terrorism: Ten Perspectives” is to provide some recent insights from experts on lessons learned, assessments of future challenges, and offer recommendations on response strategies to reduce the risk on national and international levels.

Download the report here.

Biological Terrorism cover june

Biological security concerns are permanent fixtures of history, ranging from Mother Nature’s infectious diseases to man-made threats by state and non-state actors. Thus, as the international community is currently approaching the 100 year anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed an estimated 50-100 million people, it is assessing the implications of the recent epidemics of Ebola and Zika, considering potential dangers of biological terrorism, and beginning to offer recommendations on response strategies to reduce the risk on national, regional, and global levels.

This June 2017 report on “Biological Terrorism: Past Lessons and Future Outlook” serves as an academic effort to provide insights from former U.S. officials, members of Congress, and other experts on these looming security challenges.

Download the report here.

LatinAmerica1aLatin America continues to face multiple security challenges including natural disasters, infectious diseases, organized crime, terrorism, migration, economic development, and threats to democratic governance.

This April 2017 report on “Latin America’s Strategic Outlook: Populist Politics, Health Concerns, and Other Security Challenges” deals with recent security-related developments such as the Rio Olympics, the Zika epidemic, and post-Castro-era assessments.

Download the report here.

Tehran's Bomb ChallengeIntroduction
Professor Yonah Alexander
Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies

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     The rise of power in Iran of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the November 1979 seizure of the United States Embassy in Tehran and of some 60 American hostages by “revolutionary students” triggered a flurry of introspection in Washington concerning the policies which successive Administrations had followed with a country of enormous strategic and economic importance in the Middle East.

     Among the questions that have been raised during that historical period were the following: What had gone wrong? Why had the United States failed to assess correctly the strength of the elements that brought down the Shah [Shahanshah, King of Kings, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in January 1979, after a 37-year rule]? Why had the United States linked its fortunes so closely to those of the Shah in the first place? What did the national interests of the United States consist of as applied to Iran? What were the full implications of the transformation of Iran from a friendly ally to a hostile adversary of the United States?

 

     These and related issues were analyzed in a study on The United States and Iran: A Documentary History, co-edited by Yonah Alexander and Allan Nanes and published by the University Publications of America in 1980. This work was prepared in association with the World Power Studies Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown University.

     During the next 34 years, other research efforts have been undertaken, focusing on Iran’s strategic and tactical intentions, capabilities, and actions. For instance, Tehran’s expanding terrorism role was discussed within the framework of the study, Terrorism: As State-Sponsored of Covert Warfare, co-authored by Ray S. Cline and Yonah Alexander and published by Hero Books in 1986. This work was undertaken in cooperation with the Center of Strategic and International Studies of Georgetown University and prepared at the request of the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate. This publication underscored the fact that the goal of psychological terror and physical violence employed by totalitarian dictatorships, like the Iranian regime, is to maintain control of their own people and to expand this kind of control over other regions and nations. In the face of Iran’s terrorism challenge, the United States, its friends and allies, particularly Israel, have developed a wide range of countermeasures. They consisted inter alia of intelligence, economic and security assistance, political and diplomatic pressures, economic sanctions, clandestine counter-terrorism infiltrations, and overt military operations.

 

 Despite these activities, Tehran continued to resort to terrorism at home and abroad. Additionally, Iran’s apparent vision of a country becoming the dominant power in the Middle East had led its leadership to develop a nuclear program in open defiance of United Nations resolutions. In this connection, the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies (IUCTS, a consortium of universities and think tanks operating in over 40 countries) had conducted a major research project resulting in the release of a study on The New Iranian Leadership: Ahmadinejad, Nuclear Ambition, and the Middle East. This book, co-authored by Yonah Alexander and Milton Hoenig, was published by Praeger Security International in 2007. It documents Ahmadinejad’s background and rise to power and explains the structure of the Iranian Revolutionary government—the competing centers of power and the major players. The study then details the terrorist groups funded and armed by Iran, primarily Hizballah and Hamas. It also provides a comprehensive picture of Iran’s apparent aspirations to acquire nuclear weapons, as well as the related implications for regional and global security concerns.

     Moreover, numerous seminars and conferences related to the multiple Iranian security challenges to the international community were held in the United States and abroad. For example, on December 6, 2011, a seminar was co-sponsored by the IUCTS, International Center for Terrorism Studies (ICTS) at Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, and the Inter-University Center for Legal Studies (IUCLS) at the International Law Institute. The topic was “Iran’s Nuclear Program: A Final Warning?” and held at Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Arlington, VA. The event highlighted Tehran’s nuclear weapon program amidst the backdrop of an uncertain political reality in the Middle East. Moderated by Professor Yonah Alexander, a panel of experts included Dr. Leonard S. Spector (Executive Director, Washington, DC, Office, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterrey Institute of International Studies); Dr. Christopher A. Ford (Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Technology and Global Security, Hudson Institute); Michael Eisenstadt (Director, Military and Security Studies Program, Washington Institute for Near East Policy); Guy Roberts (Former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Policy and Director, Nuclear Policy, Emerging Security Challenges Division, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); and Professor Don Wallace, Jr. (Chairman, International Law Institute). Because of the relevance of this topic, a summary of this event follows.

     Dr. Spector offered four main points: First, he warned that the West had only one to three years to counter Iran before it gained the ability to rapidly produce a small arsenal of nuclear warheads. Second, he stressed that although current measures to stop Iran from achieving this goal are often innovative and are being pressed aggressively by the United States and like- minded governments, they have not yet proven effective, and Iran continues to make progress toward acquiring a nuclear-weapon capability.

     Third, he said, this apparent reality makes it necessary to escalate U.S. and international efforts both to pressure Iran to halt its sensitive nuclear activities and to prevent its further progress. Such escalation is likely to entail tougher sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran and, in all probability, an intensification of covert operations against Iran’s nuclear program. Citing comments by the then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Dr. Spector noted that overt military action, while “on the table” in theory, appears to be “off the table,” as a practical matter, at least for now. But Panetta left the door open for covert actions. Some, such as “accidental” explosions at sensitive sites, Dr. Spector argued, might be as destructive as an air strike. He also noted that sanctions originally directed at the Iranian nuclear program had become so broad that they appear to be aimed increasingly at weakening the Iranian regime.
   

     That brought Dr. Spector to his fourth point, which he referred to as “Operation Arab Spring.” Noting that the regime of Bashar Assad appears to be crumbling in Syria, he stressed that when it falls, possibly within the next six months, Iran will lose its only national ally in the region. This would not only reduce the risk of Iran fomenting a wider war in the Middle East in response to interventions to curb its nuclear program, but would also force the Iranian Revolutionary Government to focus its energies on what will certainly be growing domestic challenges to its survival – challenges that will take strength from the Syrian precedent. Indeed, Dr. Spector concluded, if one looks at the combination of what is happening in Syria and the broader sanctions being imposed to undermine the legitimacy of the current Iranian regime, overall U.S. “grand strategy” may well be to promote the overthrow of the mullahs once the Syrian domino has fallen.

     The next speaker, Dr. Christopher A. Ford, discussed three distinct arguments against clandestine warfare and how he expected that U.S. officials might respond to those arguments in pondering the prospect of such a campaign. The first argument he addressed discussed the notion that clandestine warfare is illegal. Dr. Ford set the grounds for his argument acknowledging that both the United States and Israel have left overt military action on the table for addressing Iran’s nuclear program, which implies that a military offensive would be deemed legal by both actors. (Indeed, both nations have set a precedent of preemptive military strikes on rogue states’ nuclear weapon facilities as demonstrated in Iraq and Syria.) Dr. Ford argued that if preemptive action against an offensive weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program is an act of self defense and is a “legally available” option, then so also must be the “lesser-included” policy of covert war.

     He also discussed the implications of a covert war, as compared to an overt military strike, through the prism of international humanitarian law. Traditional military strikes might be more effective than most covert means in damaging a nuclear program, but they might also produce more collateral damage and come at a higher geopolitical cost than covert strikes. Covert methods might thus be depicted as morally superior to “legal” military action, and certainly not inconsistent with law-of-war principles stressing the minimization of suffering.

     Dr. Ford then discussed the “Caroline Case” of 1837, which provides a frequently-cited articulation of the legal precedent for preemptive warfare. The British viewpoint expressed in that episode – coupled with the parties’ difficulty in arriving at a common understanding of how to operationalize the agreed legal standard, which suggests the flexibility of the concept – arguably supports the idea that it is justifiable to engage in anticipatory self-defense against an assailant in the more modern context of emerging WMD threats. Dr. Ford then suggested that U.S. officials might find a further ground for a campaign against Iran because Tehran is passively and directly supporting terrorism, going so far as aiding and abetting al-Qa’ida and the Taliban in their war against the United States. The United States has demonstrated that it believes itself to have legal authority for using force against al-Qa’ida and all its supporters, grounded in self-defense and the Authorization for Use of Military Force enacted on September 18, 2001, and this might be felt now to apply against Iran.

     The next argument against covert action Dr. Ford addressed is the idea that covert warfare would provoke a bloodbath and that Iran is on a much more level playing field in this type of warfare. He agreed that Iran is adept at covert war, but noted that Iran already considers itself to be in such a conflict, and has been actively engaged in a covert war against the United States for the past three decades. Iran has supported and directed terror operations against the United States ranging from the Beirut bombing to the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. From Iran’s perspective, no covert war taboo remains to be broken; the main question is what the United States will do on its side of the campaign.

     The last idea that Dr. Ford discusses is that counter-proliferation is unlikely to stop Iran’s program. He acknowledges that this notion does indeed have some legitimacy, suggesting that disruptive tactics will not end the program but merely delay it. Though these tactics by themselves may prove to be unsuccessful, however, if coupled with other strategies to address the Iranian problem, they might provide enough time to stop the program by other means (e.g., regime change). Finally, Dr. Ford stresses the importance of making Iran policy with an eye not merely to counter-proliferation in Iran but also to the international nuclear nonproliferation regime as a whole. Even if Iran ultimately succeeds in developing nuclear weapons, U.S. officials might find it very important to make the cost of such a program to be as high as possible in order to serve as an example to other would-be nuclear proliferator states. This systemic rationale might provide a reason to justify a covert campaign against Iran for years to come.

     Michael Eisenstadt then discussed the larger consequences of Iranian nuclear proliferation, comparing it to Pakistan, China, Russia, and North Korea and their practice of sharing weapon technology. In response to the threat posed by Iran, regional powers have significantly increased their conventional military forces as well as expressed interest in pursuing their own “civilian” nuclear programs. This regional militarization is inherently dangerous for stability and could have massive international implications. Iran wants to create the perception that its development of nuclear power is inevitable with the creation of covert facilities, the use of mixed messages and double entendres, and symbolic demonstrations, such as showing their missiles instead of nuclear weapons. Thus, the Iranians are already using their program as a deterrent against the United States and other regional opponents. Eisenstadt suggests that Iran’s other option is to create all of the necessary infrastructure for an atomic weapon without making the bomb itself. He suggests that at the moment Iran might not have the capability to create a weapon, but if they stockpile enriched uranium and delivery systems, then years down the road they can make one rapidly if need be. Ultimately, Iran would not have invested this much energy and capital as well as such faced harsh sanctions if they were not bent on creating nuclear weapons at some point. Eisenstadt believes that U.S. policy towards Iran needs to be reset in order for the United States to rebuild its credibility and force Iran to believe our threats. The recent attempt to engage in terrorism on American soil is an indication that Iran no longer fears U.S. military retribution.

     Guy Roberts, the next speaker, explained that the United States is already at war with Iran, from Iran’s involvement with Hizballah to the Quds Force activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, covert war should continue, but overt war is also a perfectly viable option. Iran is moving deeper into South America, specifically Venezuela and Bolivia. Thus, the United States needs to be more assertive to stop Iran’s global spread. The United States needs to address every facet of any potential Iranian offense and show Iran the true cost of its nuclear program. If the United States and NATO become more assertive and aggressive, then Iran would be forced to see the west’s threats as credible and possibly end their program. The European Union and NATO also need to present Iran with incentives to stop their nuclear weapons program. The carrot and stick approach must be fully utilized to ensure the security of NATO members, especially Turkey which is vulnerable to Iranian hostility. Roberts suggests that the United States and NATO may have to demonstrate the “teeth to our bite” if Iran continues to develop its weapons program. He believes the region needs a strong military commitment to ensure stability and act as a deterrent to other nations who may attempt to proliferate. Ultimately, this commitment could lead to a potential WMD free zone in the Middle East, which Roberts believes to be the best scenario for future stability and security.

     Professor Don Wallace, Jr., closed the individual presentation portion of the seminar. He agreed with many of the speakers that, apart from the specific challenge of Iran, the viability of the Nonproliferation Treaty must be ensured. He believes the Iranians to be an extremely proud and ambitious people, so even if there were regime change, a new regime may not stop their attempts to build a nuclear weapon. In his view, co-existing with a nuclear-armed Iran is a scenario that is completely unacceptable.

     Indeed, the foregoing insights discussed three years ago do provide a useful context to the latest seminar on “Tehran’s Bomb Challenge: Crossroads, Roadblocks, and Roadmaps to Rapproachment?” held on December 5, 2013, at Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. This event, moderated by Professor Yonah Alexander, consisted of a panel with Bijan R. Kian (highest ranking Iranian-American to serve two U.S. presidents, held other careers in both business and a former Senior Fellow, Naval Postgraduate School); Ambassador Noam Katz (former
Dr. Anthony Fainberg (former Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Director of Office of Policy and Planning for Aviation Security and
currently consultant for the Institute for Defense Analyses), and Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi (Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the author of The Pasdaran: Inside Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.).
As this report goes to press, several developments related to Iran during January-March 2014 are noteworthy:

     First, Saudi Arabia provided the Lebanese army a 3 billion dollar grant to counter Hizballah, Iran’s proxy.

     Second, the al-Qa’ida-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings targeting the Iranian Cultural Center in Beirut in retaliation to Hizballah and Tehran’s role in the Syrian war.

     Third, Iran reported that it perfected multiple-warhead, medium-range ballistic missiles designed specifically to attack American targets. It also declared that the West “cannot entertain illusions” of Tehran completely ending its enrichment program.

     Fourth, the Israeli Navy seized the Klos-C, sailing under a Panamanian flag, in the Red Sea, off the coast of Sudan. The ship was carrying dozens of M-302 rockets intended for the Islamic Jihad in Gaza. This “arms export” operation was coordinated by Iran.
Ambassador of Israel to Nigeria and Ghana and currently Minister of Public Diplomacy at the
Israeli Embassy in Washington);

     And fifth, the U.S. Congress in bipartisan letters to President Obama asserted that in whatever a final agreement with Iran, the Islamic Republic must not retain any capability to pursue a nuclear weapon.

     Finally, an appreciation is due to Michael S. Swetnam (Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies) and Professor Don Wallace, Jr. (Chairman, International Law Institute) who participated actively at the December 5, 2013, seminar. Additionally, the research background for this report was provided by the Winter 2013 and Spring 2014 team of graduate and undergraduate interns coordinated by Sharon Layani (University of Michigan). The team included James Nusse (The George Washington University), Michael Klement (University of Denver), Sheila Davis (Duquense University), William Docimo (London School of Economics), Stephanie Rieger (University of Wisconsin), David Wiese (University of Exeter), Kai Huntamer (University of California, Los Angeles), Courtney Van Wagner (University of Georgia), Garth Keffer (University of California, Davis), Roxanne Oroxom (University of Maryland), John Jermyn (University at Albany, the State University of New York), and G. Genghis Hallsby (University of Iowa). Mary Ann Culver prepared the manuscript for publication. All these individuals deserve special gratitude for their efficient support.

 

Cover IUCTS 2017On April 13,2017,the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies (IUCTS) published its eighth annual report, "Terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel in 2016," authored by Prof. Yonah Alexander, Director--IUCTS. The report finds the region & global community facing the most serious security challenges since 9/11, from natural and man-made threats. The rise of the Islamic State and the resilience of al-Qa’ida and their affiliates in Africa in 2016 have resulted in continued instability on the continent with a costly strategic impact inter-regionally. The study recommends the U.S. & allies engage more effectively to slow a security crisis that is erupting across Africa’s “arc of instability.”

Download the report here.

loneWbThe latest terrorist incidents in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere, are once again a grim reminder of the expanding operational roles of "lone wolves." Whether they are self-radicalized or linked to home-grown or foreign groups, their involvement reflects a worrisome weakness in the security chain of modern society.

This February 2017 report on “The Lone Wolf Terrorist: Past Lessons, Future Outlook, and Response Strategies” focuses on some of the “lone wolf” challenges. These include security threats to the safety, welfare, and rights of ordinary people; the stability of the state system; the impact on national, regional, and global economic development; the expansion of democratic societies; and the prevention of the destruction of civilization by biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.

Download the report here.

NatoNATO, as it marked its 68th anniversary, is still facing a broad range of old and new challenges, including piracy, terrorism, regional and global conflicts, humanitarian crises, proliferation of WMD, and cyber threats.

In light of these and other strategic concerns, the latest NATO Warsaw Summit in 2016 focused inter alia on strengthening and modernizing the Alliance’s deterrence and defense posture and projecting stability beyond its Eastern borders. The question arises whether the 28 nations’ partnership will continue to play its essential political and military role in the coming years.

This January 2017 report on “NATO’s Strategy: Continuity or Change?” provides a recent academic effort to analyze whether NATO, at this stage of its evolution, is capable of completing its transformation from an earlier static defense alliance into a more effective regional and global security provider.

Download the PDF here.

JerusalemCover2

As the new administration of President Donald J. Trump is beginning to develop its Middle East foreign policy strategy, the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict still persists. In addition to the multiple outstanding issues to be resolved by the parties, such as the need for mutual recognition and the settling of boundary disputes, questions remain regarding the future of Jerusalem, the Holy City, which is considered by Israel as its eternal capital—and which the Palestinians also see as their own capital in a future state.

This current report on "The Holy Jerusalem: A Key to Middle East War or Peace?" provides a recent academic effort focusing on two questions. First, can religion in general serve as an effective bridge to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East and elsewhere? And second, will the antagonists and their partisan Jewish, Muslim, and Christian co-religionists be capable of a peaceful resolution on the final status of the Holy City?

Download the PDF here.

Search All ICTS Events

Purpose and Scope

There exists the need to educate policy-makers, and the public in general, on the nature and intensity of the terrorism threat in the twenty-first century.  As a member of the academic and research community, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies has an intellectual obligation, as well as a moral and practical responsibility, to participate in the international effort to arrest the virus of terrorism.  The purpose of the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies (IUCTS) is four-fold:

1. To monitor current and future threats of terrorism;

2. To develop response strategies on governmental and non-governmental levels;

3. To effect continual communication with policy-makers, academic institutions, business, media, and civic organizations;

4. To sponsor research programs on critical issues, particularly those relating enabling technologies with policy, and share findings nationally and internationally.

ICTS Events

  • Czech Republic-U.S. Strategic Partnership

    INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR TERRORISM STUDIES AT POTOMAC INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES "Czech Republic-U.S. Strategic Partnership" November 13, 2017 Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the Czech Republic in 1993, both countries have created common approaches to address multiple challenges nationally, regionally, and globally. Ambassador Hynek Kmonicek provided a unique assessment of the nature of this strategic partnership, including a discussion on security concerns (e.g., NATO, Syria) as well as promoting economic…

  • Combating Terrorism: National, Regional, and Global Lessons for the Next Decade and Beyond

    INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR TERRORISM STUDIES AT POTOMAC INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES   20th Annual Event on "Combating Terrorism: National, Regional, and Global Lessons for the Next Decade and Beyond" April 30, 2018   Terrorism by state and non-state actors poses threats to individuals, communities, nations and perhaps even to the very survival of civilization itself. The potential political, social, economic, and strategic costs are likely to grow if we do not learn the historical lessons…

  • Balkan Security Challenges: Past Lessons and Future Outlook

    INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR TERRORISM STUDIES AT POTOMAC INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES "Balkan Security Challenges: Past Lessons and Future Outlook" March 1, 2018   The Balkans remain vulnerable to several security concerns, including organized crime, terrorism, the refugee crisis, political turmoil as well as social and economic instability. The purpose of this seminar was to present an updated assessment of the current and future security challenges and to offer response strategies from within and without the region.…

The first volume in the autobiography of Gen. Al Gray, 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps, is significant because it chronicles the early life and career of a renowned leader.  Now, “Al Gray, Marine” is being honored by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.

The MCHF selected "Al Gray, Marine, The Early Years" for the Foundation's 2014 Colonel Joseph Alexander Award, created to recognize a distinguished book, either biographical or autobiographical, about a Marine. The award recognition includes placement of an engraved brick in Semper Fidelis Park adjacent to the National Museum of the Marine Corps. An awards dinner in April will honor book author Scott Laidig and Gen. Gray.

Gen. Gray is the Chairman of Potomac Institute’s Board of Regents and a Senior Fellow. Book Author and Marine Vietnam Veteran Scott Laidig is also a Senior Fellow at the Potomac Institute.  Proceeds from the sale of “Al Gray, Marine,” which is published by Potomac Institute, go to the Semper Fi Fund, which since 2004, has provided immediate financial assistance and lifetime support for injured and critically ill members of the post 9/11 U.S. Armed Forces and their families. The Semper Fi Fund has given more than 67,000 grants totaling more than $85 million to over 11,000 service members and their families.

Discussion Will Focus on Understanding Challenges and Potential of Data Sharing

Data sharing is increasingly critical in this time of shrinking research budgets and increasing public demand for breakthroughs, especially given the interest generated by the BRAIN Initiative.

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and AAAS are co-sponsoring a one-day symposium March 21 on “Neuroscience and Data Sharing,” which provides an opportunity for attendees to discuss and understand the challenges and potential of data sharing and discuss potential policies that could encourage and facilitate data sharing.

The President announced the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies on April 2, 2013, a new research effort to revolutionize understanding of the human mind and uncover new ways to treat, prevent and cure brain disorders and traumatic brain injury.

Translating Scientific Understanding into Effective Policy is Program's Goal

PIPS Research Fellow and OSD Minerva Research Initiative director Erin Fitzgerald is working with the DoD Strategic Multilayer Assessment team to organize a teleconference-based lecture series on the African continent, including at least nine talks featuring Minerva scholars.

As the director of the Minerva program, Ms. Fitzgerald works with SMA to help identify appropriate subject matter experts who can help inform the final assessment. 

The Potomac Institute, like Minerva, aims to bring the best scientific understanding of DoD-relevant phenomena to light and then help translate it into effective national policy to secure the Nation, according to Fitzgerald. The four PIPS academic centers – looking at neuroscience, terrorism, cyber security, and future revolutionary breakthroughs – all share goals with the Minerva program.

A panel of experts with experience in legal, military, diplomatic and academic experience recently reviewed security challenges resulting from the most recent Winter Olympics in Sochi, as well as from Olympics dating back to Munich.

Video of the event is available on C-Span and can be viewed here.

The Potomac Institute co-hosted the event that reviewed cyber and physical challenges, as well as the unique legal framework and changes made for this Olympics.

Effort Now Should Be On Building Models To Predict Spread of Infectious Diseases

The report from a recent seminar on "Climate Change and Human Health" is now available for download.

Potomac Institute Board of Regents member Dr. Rita Colwell spoke about “Climate Change and Human Health: Prospects for the Future.”  Studying infectious diseases and their causes, sources and spread can help build models to predict their spread, especially when factoring in ongoing climate change challenges.

Using cholera as an exemplar infectious disease, she considers the impact on human health in a world undergoing climate change. Cholera, which is caused by the bacteria Vibrio cholera, is found in many environments throughout the world, which leads to epidemics in areas with poverty, poor sanitation, and unsafe drinking water.

Shana Dale, a Senior Fellow at the Potomac Institute and former Deputy Administrator of NASA, is a recognized senior executive and leader in aerospace policy and in homeland security, and has broad experience in national security. She also has extensive federal government knowledge and experience, in areas such as legislative process, White House policy and procedures, and agency operations.

This week she spoke to Potomac Institute researchers and interns as part of a mentoring series by the Institute to develop the next generation of leaders in S&T policy and national security.

Panel of Experts Draws on Military, Diplomatic, Academic, Legal and Research Experience to Explore Security Challenges at Olympics

SochiSecurity concerns at the Sochi Olympics are a just one facet of security issues globally, and the current events provide a valuable opportunity to discuss the challenges and potential for the way ahead.

The Potomac Institute co-sponsored an event at the International Law Institute Feb. 20 titled “Olympics Security Lessons: From Munich to Sochi” to look at the many security challenges, including cyber and physical, as well as the legal framework through which to view the challenges.

Kim Phan, ILI Executive Director, opened the discussion by reminding the audience that geopolitical issues and terrorism continue regardless of events like Olympics, and that venues attracting world attention are favored by terrorist groups.

Prof. Yonah Alexander focused on two Olympics – 1972 in Munich and 1980 in Moscow – as examples of political issues and terrorism impacting international sporting events.  He also cited the current events in Ukraine as a different kind of brutalization that deserves attention now.  Prof. Alexander is Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies, and Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

Economic Development, Security, Governance and Engagment Are All Vital Elements of Stability

StabilizingConflictBringing stability to areas of conflict provides is challenging because of the many elements of power and diplomacy that are traditionally used.  But BGen David Reist (USMC, Ret.) says combining economics with governance and engagement is the best solution. 

BGen Reist asked an Iraqi Army general if he needed security for economic development, or economic development for security.  The general’s response:  “One hand alone cannot clap.”  This reinforces that integrating all the elements of national power is the best path toward success, BGen Reist emphasized.

Meeting with Scientists, Engineers and Officers Who Design Equipment Highlights Areas to Improve Greater Mobility

Collaboration is key to identifying and aligning requirements and technology, and The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is taking that next step in helping DoD’s Rapid Reaction Technology Office Innovation Program in Army-specific areas.

Potomac Institute representatives, in support of RRTO, met with U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM) staff and others Feb. 5 and 6 to discuss the soldier and small unit operational energy needs of Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC), Natick and the military S&T community.

"Focus at Potomac Institute" Feb 14 Newsletter Now Available Online

A summary of a seminar on Spain's experience in combatting terrorism is the top story of the latest "Focus" newsletter. 

Other major stories include Melissa Hathaway joining the Institute's Board of Regents, Sochi Olympic security overviews, links to several new counter-terrorism reports and journals, and other resources relating to science, technology, and national security issues.

The Focus newsletter archives can be found here.  To subscribe to our newsletter, click here.

Crime and Terror are not Monolithic but are Inextricably Linked

convergence of Crine And TerrorismThe growing nexus between gangs and terrorism has resulted in a unique type of threat. Since the 1980s, evidence of narcotics trade has been linked to terrorism and transnational organized crime.

The “Convergence of Crime and Terrorism?” seminar was held at the Potomac Institute on Nov. 21, 2013. The seminar centered on the concept that criminal activity and international security are related. Drawing from personal experiences in law enforcement, federal government, and academia, the three panelists evidenced the ways in which crime and terrorism are linked and how law enforcement can stem this issue.  The report is available for download.

Potomac Institute BOR Member and Senior Fellow Receives Lifetime Achievement Award Recognizing His Contribution to SOC

Lt. Gen. Donald Wurster, USAF (Ret) spent his career determined to overcome aging aircraft and complex logistics, and his advocacy to improve SOF aerial capabilities was just one piece recognized during a Feb. 10 award ceremony.

The National Defense Industrial Association SO/LIC (Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict) Division presented the DeProspero Lifetime Achievement Award, one of its highest awards, Lt. Gen. Donald C. Wurster, USAF (Ret), former Commander, AFSOC, during an annual awards banquet.

Lt. Gen. Wurster, former Commander, AFSOC, is a member of the Potomac Institute’s Board of Regents and a Senior Fellow.

Inter Agency Working Group Looks at Critical Challenges to Defense, Space, Cyber, Manufacturing, Civil and Commercial Areas

Natural disasters, creative adversaries and unforeseeable futures all pose a common threat to the engineering of large complex systems that are essential to national security, economy and quality of life.

Because these systems are far more complex and interconnected than ever before, a working group of engineering leaders from a number of U.S. government agencies has been meeting to discuss the challenges and goals in moving our Nation toward the next generation of engineering research and practice.

The Potomac Institute has served as the administrator to the group in its inaugural year, managing meetings, agendas, and documentation, while providing support and input to the discussions.  Institute Research Fellow Lois Hollan is the Institute representative on the group.

imageSpecial Reports, Seminar Proceedings and More Help Provide Context, Knowledge on Many Aspects of Terrorism

The pervasive nature of terrorism and the growing efforts to combat it are central topics in the recently published Volume Three of "Terrorism: An Electronic Journal & Knowledge Base."  It is available online here.

Two special reports are available through the Journal.  One is titled "International Cooperation in Combating Terrorism: The Next Phase," while the other has a regional focus - "Terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel in 2013."

The Journal also provides proceedings from four seminars in the fall, co-hosted by the Potomac Institute of Policy Studies, and the reports can be downloaded:

Spain's Ambassador Uses His Country's Struggle Against ETA as Example of Importance of  Collaboration

For almost 40 years Spain has been victimized by domestic ETA violence. In 2004, Al Qa’ida perpetrated a devastating terrorist attack in Madrid.

Ambassador Ramón Gil-Casares, Ambassador of Spain to the United States of America, discussed both the threats and responses, particularly focusing on Spain’s contributions to security concerns nationally and globally.

Sending military troops abroad and concerns for domestic issues may fuel temptation to consider some terrorism as worse than other terrorism, but Amb. Gil-Casares asked the audience to consider Spain's fight against ETA, a Basque terrorist group -- "once considered not so bad."

North Caucuses Region Is Source For Many Terrorism Problems

The run-up to the Sochi Olympics has been plagued by security concerns that will no doubt persist until the last visitors have left this winter’s sports venue.

From his vantage point in Tbilisi, Georgia, just a few hundred miles from Sochi, Potomac Institute Senior Fellow and Cyber Center Director David J. Smith is watching the situation carefully.

“The press is abuzz with tales of a Black Widow suicide bomber who may already be in Sochi,” Amb. Smith said. Black Widow is a term applied to widows of terrorists seeking to avenge their late husbands’ deaths. “Of course, there could be a suicide bomber or some other kind of terrorist inside Sochi. Terrorist groups have known the Olympics would be held there since 2007,” Amb. Smith continued. “Moreover, do not imagine that the Russian security services ‘Ring of Steel’ around the Sochi region is not made of cheesecloth in some places. They’re throwing 50,000—one even hears numbers up to 100,000—troops and police at the problem, but most of them have no real counter-terrorist training.

Objectivity, Indepence, and Collaboration are Key Factors in Institute's Continued Success

Centered on Science & Technology issues, the Potomac Institute is organized around four divisions that capture key activities involved in strategy, planning, analysis, research, and more.  The focus is to build and continue to provide the best value and guidance on all issues associated with science and technology, with a professional cadre of people who provide innovative idea, advice, strategic planning and assessment.

The Strategy & Planning Division contributes to the formation of national science and technology policy by providing technical and strategic planning support and advice to the U.S. Government.

A new e-newsletter from Potomac Institute features current issues in the news and under review at senior leadership levels in government and industry, focused on key science, technology and national security issues confronting our society.  The January edition can be found here.

Debuting last month, the Potomac Institute Focus includes information on recently published reports, links to video from high-level seminars – such as the 16th Annual International Cooperation in Combating Terrorism discussion – overview of news coverage of Institute-related issues, summaries of recent events, and more.
Intended as a multi-level resource, providing insight into emerging issues, review of timely topics, and myriad other work the Institute studies and researches. 

To subscribe to the Potomac Institute Focus, please click here.

Experience includes National Level Cyber Review for the White House, Extensive Work in Developing Strategy

Reinforcing its focus and attention on cyber security issues, the Potomac Institute welcomes Melissa Hathaway, former acting senior director for cyberspace at the National Security Council, to its Board of Regents.

Melissa Hathaway is at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs as a senior advisor to its cyber security initiative, Project Minerva, a joint effort between the Department of Defense, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University.

Mike Swetnam, CEO and Chairman of Potomac Institute, highlighted the key insight and skill she brings to the think tank in cyber security and cyber space issues.

“Not one day goes by where we don’t hear about the serious policy and security issues resulting from cyber matters:  activities, intrusions, capabilities, and more,” Swetnam said.  “Melissa gets that big picture and can help us explore even further the range of policy issues and recommendations.   This will help us connect our research and strategy in a more significant way.”

Seminar Report Highlights Concerns of Current Situation and Suggestions for the Next Phase

In 2013 terrorism has continued to challenge global stability and security.  It represented the highest annual total of attacks since 9/11. The role of international cooperation in combating terrorism has therefore become more critical than ever before.

A new report titled "International Cooperation in Combating Terrorism: The Next Phase?" provides the context and discussion on this important topic, based on a seminar that highlighted security concerns of the League of the Arab States, African countries, and the European Union during the sixty-eighth session of the U.N. General Assembly.

Report Released At 16th Annual Event on "International Cooperation in Combating Terrorism"

Terrorist attacks in the Maghreb and the Sahel increased an alarming 60 percent from the previous year, totaling 230 incidents regionwide, the highest yearly total since 9/11, according to a recent report from The Potomac Institute's Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies.

The fifth annual report on "Terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel in 2013" is available online, and it recommends more effective engagement by the United States and its allies to prevent the brewing security crisis from erupting in Africa's "arc of instability," from the Atlantic to the Red Sea.

Key elements in the report include:

  • Map - New Terrorism Hotspot
  • Terrorism in North Africa & the Sahel:  Regional Threat Assessment
  • Regional Case Studies: Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Mali
  • Selected Recommendations
  • Chronology:  Terrorism in North Africa & the Sahel
  • Selected Bibliography

 

 

 

Physical Attacks, Cyber Attacks, and General Threats Can Cause Many Levels of Disruption, According to Potomac Institute Senior Fellow Amb. David Smith (Ret.)

As the February 6-23 Sochi Winter Olympic Games draw nearer, world attention is riveting in on the Russian Black Sea city, particularly on security concerns.

Ambassador (ret) David J. Smith, Potomac Institute Senior Fellow and Cyber Center Director is also Director of the Georgian Security Analysis Center in Tbilisi, Georgia.  From his vantage point in Tbilisi, just a few hundred miles from Sochi, Amb. Smith recently discussed some of the concerns in context.

Asked what the United States can do, Amb. Smith underscored that Washington must not imply that it is responsible for security at an event inside Russia, nor should it allow the American people to infer that it can affect things there in an appreciable way.  “The most important thing is for the government to do its best to secure official American participants—athletes, coaches, trainers, etc.”

“Only then,” he continued, “and only to the extent possible, should the US try to assist Russian authorities with the overall security situation.”  The problem, as he summarized it, is that the Russians traditionally refuse outside help, particularly from Americans.  “They’ll ask for some technology that they don’t have,” he said, “but they’re reluctant to accept help from Americans.”

Although U.S. official warnings have been issued for travelers to be vigilant, Amb. Smith pointed out that it’s harder to see signs of trouble in other cultures.  Russia has put billions of dollars and an abundant military presence, but it’s important to remember that sometimes the threats start small.  “Americans need to beware of provocations,” Amb. Smith said.  A gay rights protest may start out small and peaceful, but quickly be escalated into a melee.  “All it would take is a few planted stone-throwers inside the group and a gang of local toughs ready to respond.”

“My sense,” Amb. Smith said, “is that the Russians do not have as good a grip on the threats as they say they do or even think they do.”  In particular, Amb. Smith said that he has concerns over the “typical Russian approach of brawn over brains.  They’ve mobilized 60,000 police and military, but what training do they have?  They’ll line the streets every few meters.  They’re sure to see a rainbow flag unfurled by a gay rights activist, but can they spot real trouble?  With just two weeks to go, Russian authorities are frantically searching for 3 three so-called ‘black widows,’ one of whom is apparently already in Sochi.”  Black Widow is a colloquial reference to widows of alleged terrorists seeking revenge by suicide bombing.

“They have the Sochi area as tight as a drum, and that makes it difficult – but not impossible – for the wrong people to have access.”  That also means that surrounding cities like Krasnodar, Rostov and Stavropol may become more attractive targets.  Volgograd is only 400 miles away and, of course, Moscow is the capital and the major point of arrival in Russia.  “Remember what happened a few weeks ago in Volgograd,” Amb. Smith continued.  “The bomb at the railway station was apparently carried by a Russian convert to Islam.  That’s hard to spot without good intelligence.”

“And that is a problem in the North Caucasus.  Terrorist groups, criminal gangs and law enforcement agencies are all intertwined.  You have to know what you’re looking for.  They’re doing security sweeps, finding bodies and arresting and killing alleged perpetrators.  But in the North Caucasus, it is hard to know from where those bodies came and who was arrested or killed.  It could have more to do with rival gangs and clans than with real counter-terrorism.”

Just as physical attacks on less secure nearby cities have become attractive, cyber attacks are also attractive.  “Someone can sit in a basement in Moscow, Maykop or even Milwaukee,” Amb. Smith explained “and attack all sorts of assets in Sochi.  If the objective is to disrupt and embarrass, the possibilities are near endless.”

“Every major sporting event in recent history has received cyber threats, and groups like Anonymous Kavkaz and Adygea Hackers have been threatening Sochi.  How successful, how disruptive it might be – we cannot tell.”

A corollary concern arises from the massive electronic surveillance system that Russian authorities have erected to combat physical and cyber threats.  “Anyone going to that area should not expect one shred of privacy.  I wouldn’t bring anything on a computer, disk, or smart phone that I don’t want someone else reading.  And one must assume that every phone conversation, every E Mail is monitored,” Amb. Smith said.

 

Regional Experts and Potomac Institute Leadership Discussed Current Issues and Potential Paths Forward in Global Challenge of Terrorism

The video from the Jan. 24 event at the National Press Club, hosted by the Potomac Institute for Policy studies and co-sponsored by:

  • Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies
  • International Center for Terrorism Studies, at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
  • Inter-University Center for Legal Studies, at the International Law Institute
  • Center for National Security Law, University of Virginia School of Law

is now available.  Click here to view the video.

Situational Awareness, Cohesive Strategy and Policy, and Opportunities for Economic Development, Are All Key To Building Cooperation

The year 2013 represented the most troubling security challenge since 9/11, with the largest number of terrorist attacks occurring across the world. The battle is generational, institutional, and unavoidable. Without more effective international cooperation the cost to the global community will continue to grow in 2014.

Ambassadors from embassies of Egypt and the Kingdom of Morocco, as well as the recently retired ambassador from the Republic of Mali, joined Potomac Institute leadership at the National Press Club Jan. 24 for the 16th annual discussion on the way ahead for "International Cooperation in Combating Terrorism."

Institute CEO and Chairman Mike Swetnam opened the discussion, and Prof. Yonah Alexander, Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies, and Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, moderated the discussion.  Speakers included:

  • General (ret.) Alfred Gray, Twenty-Ninth Commandant of the United States Marine Corps; Senior Fellow and Chairman of the Board of Regents, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
  • Ambassador Mohamed M. Tawfik, Embassy of Egypt
  • Ambassador Rachad Bouhlal, Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco
  • Ambassador (ret.) Al Maamoun Baba Lamine Keita, Former Ambassador of the Republic of Mali to the United States

Dr. Edward Luttwak, Senior Associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies, provided commentary, and Prof. Don Wallace Jr., Chairman, International Law Institute gave the closing remarks.

 

Experts Discuss High Impact Journals' Ability to Sift For Pertinent Material, While the Internet Provides an Almost Limitless Forum

By Brian Barnett, Jennifer Lato, Melissa Walsh

The seminar “Open Access: International and Domestic Policies” was held at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies on January 22, 2014. Open access has become increasingly important in the journal publication process, and the policies that surround both the publication and distribution are controversial. Drawing from careers in open access agencies such as AAAS, SPARC, and the Potomac Institute, the three panelists highlighted core features of US open access policy, as well as the business models of open access.

The first speaker, Dr. Alan Moghissi, who is on the Potomac Institute's Board of Regents, highlighted the importance of peer review within the journal publication process, and that despite efforts to increase validity, there exists three major issues. The first is the free, immediate availability of scholarly articles; the second is review criteria; and the third is defining the role of an editor. In addition to these three issues, Dr. Moghissi also addressed a financial incentive for journals to publish regardless of validity. In some cases a journal may not receive numerous manuscripts, and thus will seek to publish articles of low impact.

Corporations' Collection and Storage of American Data Continues With No Oversight

Mike Swetnam, CEO of Potomac Institute, comments on the Presidential Directive released yesterday:

I joined the Intelligence Services of this country in December 1972 when I was first “read into” SCI—Special Compartmented Information.  For the past 41 years I have been involved, at one level or another, in intelligence work.  Most of that time the work was related to Signals Intelligence (SIGINT).  In June of 1985, I was assigned to the Intelligence Community Staff (now called the Office of the DNI Staff).  I was the overseer, coordinator, reviewer, and presenter of the Consolidated Cryptologic Program (NSA’s budget) to the US Congress.  Since 1998, I have been a member of the US Senate Special Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Technical Advisory Board (TAG).  In that capacity, I have had the privilege of reviewing the NSA Program and Budget often.  It is therefore accurate to say that I have been and am currently familiar with NSA and the conduct of SIGINT in the US Intelligence Community.  In particular, I have been involved in SIGINT, how it is used and controlled since the controlling document Executive Order 12333 was released by the Reagan administration.

I have reviewed the President’s new directive regarding the collection, analysis, storage, and dissemination of SIGINT, PD-28. 

In my opinion, this is an almost nothing directive.  It reiterates long-standing processes and procedures for controlling SIGINT.  It redirects department heads and IC agencies to control the info almost exactly as they have for the last 33 years under EO12333.  It directs several reports from the principals of these agencies within the next six months on how well they are doing what they should have been doing anyway.  It’s actually a reminder directive.

Massive Technology Improvements Drive Changes Faster Than Policy Can Keep Up With

Science and technology has been the largest driver in the evolution and change of human affairs, and understanding and assessing new trends in science is the first step helping policymakers react to scientific progress, according to Potomac Institute CEO and Chairman Michael S. Swetnam.  He provided the keynote speech to the neuroscience community at a one-day symposium on "Ethical Issues in Neuroscience" in Washington, DC.

Swetnam’s speech, “From Ethics to Policy and Law,” reviewed scientific advancements starting with the Industrial Revolution, showing how technologies have permeated societies around the world, and emphasized that the government needs advice regarding new policy, new legislation, and new investments.  The report is available here.

“Today, we continue to see the development of earth shattering, economy changing, and socially disruptive technologies every few years,” Swetnam explained. “These tech­nologies continue to have an increasing impact on society and the cumulative effects are harder to mitigate.”

Seminar Is Part of Global Discussion On Scientific Journal Publication Process

Contributing to Open Access week events around the globe, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is hosting a seminar Jan. 22 at noon to review Open Access challenges and opportunities.

This seminar will focus on the economics and current international policies and their impact on open access. One of the primary goals of open access is to strengthen science in the developing world by enabling free access to published research, especially in important fields such as medicine, environment, and agriculture.

Using the case studies of other countries’ policy attempts, the seminar will focus on the current status and future development of US policy. Specifically, it will highlight current US policies, such as the NIH mandate and the recent OSTP memorandum, as well as various legislative policy attempts to require open access publication, including the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006, 2010, and 2012 and the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2013. Building on this context, participants in a panel format will evaluate the implications of open access and deliberate future policy needs.

By Reaching Out to Technology Experts and Connecting to Small Companies, Institute Ensures DoD Has Access to Relevant Technologies

How can a large organization like the Department of Defense find best technology ideas that are percolating in the commercial market place?  Declining budgets and an increase in innovation in the commercial market space -- coupled with smaller/innovative companies not knowing how to do business with DoD -- make the process even more challenging.

The Potomac Institute is assisting with the solution, through DoD’s Rapid Reaction Technology Office Innovation Outreach program, by identifying and evaluating commercial technologies and products developed in industry and academia that can address critical defense needs.  This work ensures government organizations gain access to the most relevant and available technologies to help accomplish their missions.

Work Provides Important, Quality, Independent and Objective  Information on Science, Technical and Policies

Strategic issues in science, technology, healthcare, environment, national security and defense are the focus of the Potomac Institute Press, which publishes original books and reports on these topics and more.

A subsidiary of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, the Potomac Institute Press addresses significant topics of interest to the academic community, government sector and general public alike. In this way, the Potomac Institute Press enables the Institute’s philosophy of providing important scientific, technical and policy information that is of high quality and remains independent and objective.

The Institute’s Press supports the overall mission of the Potomac Institute by identifying and aggressively shepherding discussion on key science, technology, and national security issues facing our society, providing an academic forum for the study of related policy issues.

Some of the latest reports published by the Press include “Combating Hizballah’s Global Network,” “Canada and Terrorism,” “Terrorism: An Electronic Journal and Knowledge Base,” and “Terrorism in North Africa & the Sahel,” to name a few.  In addition, the Press has published reports on the Institute’s Center for Revolutionary Scientific Thought and recent seminars, such as “Ethical Issues in Neuroscience,” “Climate Change in the Pacific,” and “The Future Golden Age.”

Jan. 22 Seminar To Focus on Goal of Strengthening Science in The Developing World by Enabling Free Access to Published Research

Open access is an increasingly important though controversial subject in the scientific journal publication process. The 2013 Open Access Week program encompasses hundreds of events on open access throughout the fall and winter around the globe. These events vary from the China Open Access Publishing Day to the Conferencia Internacional “Acceso Abierto, Preservación Digital y Datos Científicos” in Costa Rica to “Open access: Going for Gold?” at Imperial College London.

Furthering this discussion, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is hosting a seminar Jan. 22 to discuss the economics of open access, current international policies, and the implications for development of US policy.
This seminar will focus on the economics and current international policies and their impact on open access. One of the primary goals of open access is to strengthen science in the developing world by enabling free access to published research, especially in important fields such as medicine, environment, and agriculture.

To achieve this objective, the international community, particularly countries with significant R&D investment, must collectively introduce laws, regulations, funding requirements, and other edicts to promote or require open access publication. This requirement for communal action, however, begs the question of who should pay for open access. In fact, many doubt the economic sustainability of the current income model for open access. Nonetheless, several countries have already undertaken initiatives to support open access.

In the United Kingdom, for example, the Research Council UK, which funds research at 170 universities, requires grant recipients to publish in open access journals. In addition to evaluating the international and economic trends surrounding open access, the Potomac Institute seminar will examine several countries and regions around the globe and how they have instituted open access policy and regulation, particularly highlighting the challenges and opportunities.

Using the case studies of other countries’ policy attempts, the seminar will focus on the current status and future development of US policy. Specifically, it will highlight current US policies, such as the NIH mandate and the recent OSTP memorandum, as well as various legislative policy attempts to require open access publication, including the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006, 2010, and 2012 and the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2013. Building on this context, participants in a panel format will evaluate the implications of open access and deliberate future policy needs. Overall, the aim of the seminar is to assess what the US can learn from international attempts, successes, and failures in instituting open access legislation and to develop suggestions and recommendations for future policy efforts.

Institute Brings 20 Years of Insightful Analysis Experience to Major Review, Discussion

The House Armed Services Committee has recently undertaken an effort to significantly reform the defense acquisition process – and the Potomac Institute is contributing to this important work by chartering a high level study.

The output of the analysis by the Potomac Institute will inform lawmakers on the complicated issues of defense acquisition reform and will recommend strategies and approaches for fixing, streamlining, and even restarting the process of acquisition for the good of the nation.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon announced in October that Vice Chairman Mac Thornberry would lead a long-term effort to reform the Department of Defense, including a hard look at acquisition, which is often criticized as being costly and inefficient. Defense Acquisition Reform is a critical national security issue intensified by continued international threats and budget pressures.

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science, technology, and national security issues facing our society, providing in particular, an academic forum for the study of related policy issues. From these forums, the Institute develops meaningful policy options to ensure implementation at the intersection of business and government.

Over the last 20 years, the Potomac Institute has proven its ability to focus high-level discussion and conduct insightful analysis to elevate dialogue on science and technology policy issues. The Institute has built its reputation as a “Think and Do” Tank by maintaining its principles of objectivity, credibility and independence, and fostering collaboration with business, government and academia, leading to important contributions to national S&T and security policy, processes, legislation and more.

Economics, Challenges, Opportunities and Implications Are Key Topics for Experts to Discuss

Open access is an increasingly important though controversial subject in the journal publication process.

The Potomac Institute is hosting a seminar Jan. 22 to discuss the economics of open access, current international policies, and the implications for development of U.S. policy.   Specifically, a panel of experts will examine the challenges and opportunities surrounding open access policy and regulation around the globe. The seminar will also highlight the current status of U.S. open access policy. From the seminar, future U.S. policy suggestions and recommendations will be developed.

Potomac Institute CEO Mike Swetnam will provide opening remarks.  Featured panelists include:

  • Michael Stebbins, PhD, Assistant Director for Biotechnology, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)
  • James Gavigan, PhD, Minister-Counselor Research & Innovation, Delegation of the European Union to the United States.
  • Alan I. Leshner, PhD, CEO, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Executive Publisher, Science
  • Heather Joseph, Executive Director, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)

 

CReST Members Are Committed to Study of Revolutionary Scientific Development and the Impact on Society and Policy

A unique convergence of pure scientific research and policy. A willingness to consider new ideas because of the value of expanding thinking.  Adding a national security perspective to science and technology policy.

These are just some of the views of Potomac Institute from a recent group of applicants for the Fellow Program at the Institute’s Center for Revolutionary Scientific Thought (CReST).  Many applicants from academia, government, industry and other fields applied for the opportunity.  After interviews, the Institute selected Mark Ridinger, MD, as a CReST Senior Fellow, and Ewelina Czapla as a CReST Fellow.

CReST is composed of members and Fellows devoted to the study of revolutionary scientific development of today and the future, and even more importantly, the potential impact of these developments on society and policy.  One of the Institute’s academic centers, CReST addresses complex problems with creative, revolutionary solutions regarding how science and technology will change our world, engendering thought and discussion on how science and technology can be used to serve the needs of societies of the future.

While Ridinger and Czapla followed different paths to the fellowship, both commend the Institute on its uniqueness.  As Czapla says, “The work that we do as CReST fellows seems to catalyze the development of new ideas and new research at the institute. Put simply, I think we keep things fresh.”

Ridinger was researching a local healthcare IT startup and noticed the CEO was an Institute Fellow; a visit to the Institute website led him to the CReST fellowship announcement. 

“I was looking for a new challenge in my career. I have mostly had a background initially in academia, then clinical medicine and in the last 15 years, in the private sector and as an entrepreneur in healthcare IT. One area that I had no exposure to was policy, and I thought it would be interesting and valuable to add that dimension to my professional background,” Ridinger explained.
Czapla heard about the Fellow program while job hunting and decided the program offered a unique merging of scientific research and policy. 

“It is refreshing that the policy approach is truly non partisan and focused on hard science,” Czapla said. “The Potomac Institute brings in great minds currently working in the field of science to provide their take on policy rather than leaving it to some policy analysts.”

CReST members are expected to pursue CReST tasks in addition to their sponsored work and duties of employment, and the Center engages in daily discussions of current events in science and technology, reviews relevant books and publications, and explores divergent concepts through the works of innovative thinkers and authors. 

To Ridinger, the non-partisan affiliation and the emphasis on informing policy based on sound science and technology evaluation are important qualities of the Institute.

“My roles here are to be part of the meetings and discussions intended to discuss and develop bold ideas across interdisciplinary realm, while providing medical and healthcare industry expertise to several initiatives underway,” Ridinger said.  “I think the fact that I have had a diverse and eclectic professional life is key. I hope to be able to call on and leverage my past experiences and broad areas of study, as well as current interests, to help bring new ideas and approaches to the group.”

Ridinger’s primary focus is the analysis of biomedical technology trends: what disruptive technologies and discoveries are happening and will happen that effect healthcare. Additionally, he is part of the study of the impact of Big Data and artificial intelligence, and neuroscience advances, among other topics.
“I’m looking forward to understanding and participating in how informed policy initiatives are developed here, and how that can be applied in a manner that benefits the country,” Ridinger said. “I also hope to continue to meet and exchange ideas with bright, accomplished people, both within the Institute and guests that frequently visit for seminars and round table discussions.”

Czapla is interested in IT and governance, which involves investigating how scientific developments can and will alter our mode of governance.

“I think my degrees in combination (BS Geology, BA Philosophy & JD) have provided me with enough scientific knowledge and enough understanding of policy to contribute in a substantial way,” Czapla said.  “As a CReST fellow, my goal is to ensure that I keep up on my areas of interest, energy and environment, and insert them into the discussion. They are important fields in our current national debate that are very tied to science.”

Founded on the ideals of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and its core mission, the Center for Revolutionary Scientific Thought forms a think tank within a think tank, serving as both an apprenticeship for those who participate, and an incubator for ideas and activities moving the Institute toward future endeavors.

The CReST team sponsors symposia, invites speakers and visitors for engaging discussions, meets with luminaries, and produces briefings, articles, opinion pieces, editorials, and blog postings.  The team also engages in research through interviews and readings, contributing to both mini-studies and in-depth technical analyses.  Most products are collaborative efforts, but at least once per year each individual member is responsible as the prime author and owner for one or more major products of publishable quality.

For more information, visit the CReST web page - http://www.potomacinstitute.org/academic-centers/crest.

Experience In Managing and Leading Science and Technology, as well as Strategic Planning, Make Solhan a Welcome Addition to Institute

Mr. George Solhan manages and leads Science and Technology programs, and he is a private consultant specializing in Science & Technology, Innovation, and Application; Operational Modernization needs, opportunities and imperatives; Special Operations Force/General Purpose Force Integration; and doing business with the Federal Government.

“George Solhan has insight and experience in so many areas that Potomac Institute explores and studies, we knew he was exactly the type of Senior Fellow we want on our team,” said Potomac Institute Chairman and CEO Mike Swetnam.  “I respect his knowledge and skills in complex areas of technology and research, and we welcome his talent.”

Solhan recently retired from the Senior Executive Service, after a Federal Civil Service career of 23 years. For the last 9 years at the Office of Naval Research (ONR), he was the Deputy Chief of Naval Research for Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism; the Department Head, ONR 30; and the Director of Marine Corps Science and Technology.  He planned, managed, and led an extensive Science and Technology program, which consists of basic research, applied research and advanced technology development in a wide range of technical disciplines and warfare areas. He formed and led teams to conduct strategic planning, obtain investment resources, build coalitions, and successfully develop and deliver technology breakthroughs in a number of areas, including C4, ISR, Firepower, Maneuver/Mobility/Counter-Mobility, Logistics, Force Protection/Survivability, Human Performance, Training and Education, Human Socio-Cultural/Behavioral Science, and Non-Lethal Weapons. 

Solhan is a retired U.S. Marine Corps Officer with combat experience in the Republic of Vietnam and Infantry and Special Operations experience through the Regimental level.  His military decorations include the Purple Heart Medal, and the Legion of Merit.  Solhan received the 2008 Presidential Rank Award and the DoN Distinguished Civilian Service Award.

The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation – GoDaddy “Matching Challenge” Raises Money to Help Injured Service Members via the Semper Fi Fund

Semper Fi Fund, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation and GoDaddy have announced the results of their two-month matching challenge. Thanks to GoDaddy, Bob and Renee Parsons and the hundreds of individual supporters who gave to the Semper Fi Fund this holiday season, the campaign raised an unprecedented $5 million - more than double the initial goal.

The Potomac Institute has made numerous donations to the Semper Fi Fund, including a $25,000 check in 2013, representing proceeds from sales of "Al Gray, Marine: The Early Years."  Gen. Al Gray, the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps, is the Chairman of Potomac Institute’s Board of Regents as well as a Senior Fellow, and he is also the Chairman of the Semper Fi Fund’s Board of Directors.  Gray,  Scott Laidig (the book’s author and a Marine Vietnam Veteran), and Potomac Institute’s CEO Mike Swetnam presented the check to Karen Guenther, President, CEO and Founder of the Semper Fi Fund; and Bob Bowlin, Semper Fi Fund treasurer.

“Al Gray, Marine” is the first volume in a biography series of the former Commandant and is available on Amazon.com (click here).    Proceeds from sales of the book go to The Semper Fi Fund.

Since 2004, Semper Fi Fund, and its program America's Fund, have provided immediate financial assistance and lifetime support for injured and critically ill members of the post 9/11 U.S. Armed Forces and their families. The Semper Fi Fund's streamlined structure keeps overhead very low, 6%; they are also one of three veteran charities to receive an "A+" rating from The American Institute of Philanthropy, and a "Four Star" rating from Charity Navigator.   The Semper Fi Fund has given more than 67,000 grants totaling more than $85 million to over 11,000 service members and their families.

 

Retired Navy Four-Star Admiral Has Experience with Defense, Security, Strategy, and Infrastructure Issues

The Potomac Institute welcomes ADM Robert J. Natter, (USN, Ret.), as a member of the Board of Regents and as a Senior Fellow.

ADM Natter is President of R.J. Natter & Associates, LLC, a nationwide consulting and advocacy firm specializing in corporate and defense strategy.  Clients have included the State of Florida Governor’s Office; McDonald's Corporation; Lockheed Martin Corp; Microsoft Corp; IBM Corp; DLA Piper Rudnick US LLP; Vornado Realty Trust; Embraer North America; Sumitomo North America; and myriad other U.S. and international corporations. 

Admiral Natter is Chairman of the Board of G4S Government Solutions (GS), a premier U.S. provider of security and infrastructure support solutions for customers with complex requirements in highly regulated industries. G4S GS is a U. S. government security-cleared commercial nuclear security business and is an independent operating unit of G4S plc. He also serves on the Board of Directors of BAE Systems, Inc, a U.S. subsidiary of BAE Systems plc.

Mike Swetnam, Potomac Institute’s CEO and Chairman, welcomed the experience and leadership ADM Natter brings to the Science and Technology Policy-focused think tank.

“As we start another year filled with challenges and opportunities facing our government, the defense arena, global security and more, having ADM Natter’s depth of knowledge and experience will enable us to ensure our work reflects the best that is known on the subjects we so carefully research and write about,” Swetnam said.  “We are fortunate to have the skills and expertise of this respected military leader as we delve further into serious issues that are the topics of debates at the highest levels."

     In 2003, Admiral Natter completed a distinguished 41-year Navy career as Commander of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, the first Commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, the first Commander of all U.S. Navy and Coast Guard homeland defense forces under the newly created Northern Command, and the Commander-in-Chief of the NATO Western Atlantic Command.  At that time the Atlantic Fleet consisted of over 160,000 Sailors and Marines, 162 ships and 1,200 aircraft, as well as 18 major shore stations.

     Admiral Natter’s military decorations include the Silver Star Medal, four awards of the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V, Navy Achievement Medal with Combat V, and the Purple Heart among others.  His personal honors include the 1998 Order of the Rising Sun Medal by the Emperor of Japan; the 1998 Order of National Security Medal from the President of the Republic of Korea; the 2003 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the 2004 Distinguished Sea Service Leader of the Year by the Naval Order of the United States.  Natter has earned Masters degrees in Business Management and International Relations, and he is the fifth recipient of the Naval War College Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award.

   In 2012 Natter assumed Chairmanship of the US Naval Academy Alumni Association Board of Trustees, representing about 55,000 living graduates. He is also on the Board of the National Navy SEAL Museum.

Schmorrow Brings Capabilities in Research, Technology, and Intelligent Systems Across Array of Applications

Expertise in national security research brings a new Senior Fellow to the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.  Dylan Schmorrow, PhD, is the Chief Scientist at Soar Technology (SoarTech) where he is leading the advancement of research and technology tracks to build intelligent systems for defense, government, and commercial applications that emulate human decision making in order to make people more prepared, more informed and more capable.

Potomac Institute Chairman and CEO Michael Swetnam welcomed Dr. Schmorrow, recognizing his contribution in many areas of research.  “The scope of his knowledge in medical research, applying policy and technology to national security issues, his ability to collaborate with key agencies – this is the kind of expert that helps deepen and broaden our Institute in the vital fields that we aggressively study and explore.”

Dr. Schmorrow is one of the nation’s leading experts on national security research, technology, and policy related to information technology, medical research, and human performance applications. He led numerous initiatives that transformed promising technologies into operational capabilities and he successfully transitioned several significant prototypes to operational use. He has extensive experience collaborating with all of the DoD Services and Components, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Homeland Security, the Intelligence Community, and other federal agencies, as well as partner nations and international organizations.

U.S. Marine Corps Career included Joint Force Development Directorate Work Building Operational Concepts, Doctrine

The Potomac Institute is proud to add a new Board of Regent member and Senior Fellow with significant military operational expertise and proven leadership and management.  LtGen George J. Flynn, USMC (Ret.), joins the Institute following a distinguished career of more than 38 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.  Decades of practical experience and graduate level education in national security and international affairs are reflected in an extensive record across a broad spectrum of defense operations. 

Potomac Institute Chairman and CEO Michael Swetnam reinforced the vital importance of Flynn’s depth of experience in national security, education, and mission performance.

“I deeply respect LtGen Flynn’s military career and the leadership, insight and innovation he brings to the Potomac Institute family,” Swetnam said.  “With the increased focus on our nation’s security in our science and technology policy work at the Institute, we are fortunate to have his guidance and support.”

While on active duty, LtGen Flynn created the Joint Force Development Directorate while at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, managing more than 2,000 people and a $1 billion organization that developed new military operational concepts, doctrine and training.  He supervised all elements of the Combatant Commander exercise program, which provides staff training and evaluates the mission performance of the largest military command organization in the United States.  He also developed policy for and provided oversight of all professional military education.  As Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps for Combat Development and Integration, LtGen Flynn determined future requirements for all equipment, training, personnel, facilities, and supporting activities of the Marine Corps. 

His role as the Deputy Commanding General, Multi-National Corps, Iraq, involved leading combat operations and providing direction supervision of support activities of more than 50,000 service members and civilians, while conducting operational planning and execution to enable coalition operations, including extensive interaction with United Kingdom and Coalition Special Operations Forces.  LtGen Flynn supervised and provided oversight, policy and guidance for Marine Corps training as the Commanding General, Marine Corps Training and Education Command.  As Chief of Staff, U.S. Special Operations Command, LtGen Flynn supervised all support requirements for a 2,000-person organization, responsible for the planning, direction and financial execution of the headquarters. 

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has several Masters Degrees in National Security and Strategy, and International Relations.

More than 50 Books, 18 Reports, and Numerous Seminars Provide Vital Context of Many Aspects of Worldwide Terrorism

Terrorism has been a permanent fixture in human history, and the beginning of the 21st century marked the beginning of a new age of terrorism. 

As a member of the academic and research community, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies established the International Center for Terrorism Studies to address the extensive issues surrounding the ever increasing issue of modern-day terrorism.  Through the Center, the Potomac Institute participates in the international effort to arrest the virus of terrorism.  The ICTS is directed by Professor Yonah Alexander, and the Center not only publishes in depth material but hosts seminars and conferences with experts world wide to examine the issues and propose policy to address terrorism issues.

In contrast with older precedents, modern-day terrorism is widespread, institutionalized, technologically advanced, and global in its consequences. Raising the stakes of this challenge is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  This alarming and dangerous trend increases the potential for "superterrorism"- biological, chemical, or nuclear violence - as well as the advent of information warfare and cyber-terrorism. 

ICTS helps educate policy-makers, and the public in general, on the nature and intensity of the terrorism threat in the 21st century, and this is done in four major areas:

  • Monitor current and future threats of terrorism;
  • Develop response strategies on governmental and non-governmental levels;
  • Effect continual communication with policy-makers, academic institutions, business, media, and civic organizations; and
  • Sponsor research programs on critical issues, particularly those relating enabling technologies with policy, and share the findings nationally and internationally. 

More information on ICTS books, publications and reports is available at http://www.potomacinstitute.org/academic-centers/icts.

As we start 2014, we reflect on the past year and the challenges we have ahead of us.

2013 was a tornado of activity that included so much good:  new offices, new faces, and new opportunities.  It was a year of growth and positive change.  Our work informed and influenced vital debates, and we provided input into policy discussions at high levels.  We were also able to observe and learn from science and technology changes throughout the world that directly impact us as an Institute - and all humanity.  By any measure, we have much for which to be thankful last year.

We are starting 2014 in full stride, and we are confident our future is bright with many high level opportunities and challenges. 

We are fortunate to be able to address the hardest issues of our time, and every day we are challenged to contribute ideas and policy for the good of mankind.  In doing so, we are only limited by our reach and creativity. Progress and lofty achievements are most often the result of the boldness and courage of a few who dare to believe that they can make the vital difference.  We are privileged to work in an organization replete with such people, as well as with equally talented partners across the government, the United States and the world who share our vision of developing meaningful policy options while identifying and aggressively shepherding discussion on key science, technology, and national security issues facing our society.

Thanks to our partners and friends for a great 2013, and we look forward to a greater 2014 together.

- Mike Swetnam, Chairman and CEO

Russia Suicide Bombings Impact Regional Security, World Events

Another bombing in the Russian city of Volgograd has resulted in tightened security at railway stations, airports and other transportation centers across Russia, and the attacks are raising security concerns as February's winter Olympics in Sochi get closer.  Unrest from the North Caucasus is also spreading, and there is apprehension about more attacks as experts work to determine the links.

Experts from various Academic Centers at The Potomac Institute are available for comment on the situation.

Experts:

Prof. Yonah Alexander, PhD, Member, Board of Regents, Senior Fellow, and Director, International Center for Terrorism Studies
Professor Alexander previously served as Professor of International Affairs and Director of Terrorism Studies at the George Washington University as well as Professor of International Studies and Director of the Institute for Studies in International Terrorism at the State University of New York.  He has served as academic advisor to governments and international organizations (UN, NATO, OSCE, and the EU) and was consultant to various Olympic Games and to the International Academy of the Media in Moscow.  He is founder and editor-in-chief of five academic international journals:  Terrorism; Minorities and Group Rights; Political Communication and Persuasions; NATO's Partnership for Peace Review; and Terrorism: An Electronic Journal & Knowledge Base. He has published over 100 books including "Al-Qa'ida:  Ten Years after 9/11 and Beyond," and others on terrorism and the Russian connection.

Amb. David Smith, (Ret.), Member, Board of Regents and Senior Fellow
Ambassador David Smith joined the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies as a Senior Fellow in 2005. In 2012, he became Director of the Potomac Institute Cyber Center. Amb. Smith has in-depth expertise and experience in building stability and security in the South Caucasus region. Ambassador Smith is currently involved in a major project to assist the Republic of Georgia in reforming its national security institutions, and serves as Director of the Georgian Security Analysis Center in Tbilisi.  He also has had a distinguished career in defense and foreign affairs, is an expert on international security issues, and in recent years has focused on the emerging field of cybersecurity. His other areas of expertise include U.S. strategic missile defense, arms control, European security policy, and security relationships with China, Russia, and Korea.

Khatuna Mshvidobadze, PhD, Associate Academic Fellow
Ms. Khatuna Mshvidobadze, PhD, is an Associate Academic Fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Ms. Mshvidobadze is affiliated with the Potomac Institute Cyber Center. She is also a Senior Associate at the Georgian Security Analysis Center, Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, Tbilisi, Georgia.  In 2009, she was an Advisor to the Office of the Minister of Defense of Georgia.  Ms. Mshvidobadze is a member of the Academy of Political Science of Georgia.  She can speak about the cyber threat to Sochi, as well as the cultural implications of the Olympics, based on some of the venues.

Dec. 17 Discussion Focused on Threats, Capabilities, Attacks

The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) is allegedly a group of hackers supporting the Syrian government of Bashar al Assad. Its tactics include denial of service attacks, defacements and spamming campaigns.  Observers debate whether it is directly supported by the Damascus government; however, Assad has publicly praised the group.  It targets Syrian rebels and other perceived enemies of the Assad regime, particularly news outlets.  Apparent targets have included the BBC, AP, NPR, Financial Times, Washington Post and al-Jazeera.

Dr. Gabi Siboni, Director of the Military and Strategic Affairs Program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, shared his analysis of the SEA background and structure, capabilities, political motivations and discussed why America should take the SEA seriously.

Potomac Institute CEO Mike Swetnam opened the discussion.  Closing remarks were provided by Amb. David J. Smith, Potomac Institute Senior Fellow and Cyber Center Director; and Mr. Paul DeSouza, founder and Director, Cyber Security Forum Initiative.

Video from the event can be viewed here

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/41818354

Implications for U.S. Environmental and Human Security Explored

Accurate and consistent data collection on climate change is critical to helping develop effective disaster preparedness plans, and it impacts national security, food and water security, as well as immigration, according to Dr. Victoria Keener, Research Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu.

The report and transcript of the discussion about the wide-ranging impacts of climate change in the Pacific are highlighted in the report, now available.

 

Speaking at the Potomac Institute during a seminar titled “Effects of Climate Change in the Pacific Region,” Dr. Keener said that underinvestment in the systems that gather data on climate in the Pacific weakens research.  This in turn impacts the predictability profiles that affect food and water security, which can result in increased numbers of climate migrants.  The cycle also makes it more difficult to get policymakers the information needed to make decisions on how to address the effects of climate change.  Partnerships between scientists and decision makers are crucial to understand the impacts of climate change, she reinforced.

 

U.S. and world leaders are increasingly focused on climate change challenges.  Recently, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific identified climate change as the greatest security threat to the future of the Asia-Pacific region. President Obama introduced a new national climate action plan in June, prioritizing federal-level coordination to address the multidimensional problems raised by a warming planet.

Dr. Keener highlighted Pacific regional challenges and adaptations, along with a number of innovative ways islanders are addressing these issues, and the broader importance of the region with respect to such issues as climate security, environmental sustainability, public health, coastal adaptations, and immigration.

Experts to Provide Insight into Capabilities, Motivations and More

 

The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) is allegedly a group of hackers supporting the Syrian government of Bashar al Assad. Its tactics include denial of service attacks, defacements and spamming campaigns.  Observers debate whether it is directly supported by the Damascus government; however, Assad has publicly praised the group.  It targets Syrian rebels and other perceived enemies of the Assad regime, particularly news outlets.  Apparent targets have included the BBC, AP, NPR, Financial Times, Washington Post and al-Jazeera.

Dr. Gabi Siboni, Director of the Military and Strategic Affairs Program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, will share his analysis of the SEA background and structure, capabilities, political motivations and why America should take the SEA seriously.

Potomac Institute CEO Mike Swetnam will open the discussion.  Closing remarks will be provided by Amb. David J. Smith, Potomac Institute Senior Fellow and Cyber Center Director; and Mr. Paul DeSouza, founder and Director, Cyber Security Forum Initiative.

 

 

Amphibious Military Operations During Deployment Ranged From Exercises To Preparation For Crisis Response

Current events in the Middle East were a focus for the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) during a recent eight-month deployment, and the Navy and Marine Corps personnel were ready for exercises in Jordan, ongoing conflict in Syria, and increased tension in Egypt.

The military commanders of the two units discussed challenges related to current events, logistics and equipment during a brief at the Potomac Institute Dec. 5.  Navy Capt. Jim Cody commands the Kearsarge ARG, and Marine Corps Col. Matthew St. Clair commands the 26th MEU.  The three-ship ARG included about 4,000 Sailors and Marines and the 26th MEU.

In the months prior to deployment, the Marines and Sailors prepared for humanitarian missions, which could include helping countries neighboring conflict areas in case of refugee moves and other security issues.

The two commanders also discussed the mix of old and new equipment they used during the deployment, specifically the air assets – from helicopters to unmanned aerial vehicles.  Changes in technology for ships and aircraft will change the face of the deploying units in the future, as they prepare for missions ranging from combat to logistics to search and rescue. 

The next big decks amphibious ship will not have a well deck for smaller surface vehicles to bring heavy equipment to the shore, so that equipment will have to be lighter for air assets to carry it.  Heavier equipment will have to be forward staged or brought in by larger Military Sealift Command ships.

Tehran's Bomb Challenge:  Crossroads, Roadblocks, and Roadmaps to Rapprochement?

In light of the growing debate over the Geneva deal with Iran as illustrated by the Senate’s move toward a new sanctions bill, a panel of experts will provide a timely assessment on issues such as the nuclear “red line” status, options for future trade-offs negotiations, and short and long term regional and global strategic implications.

The discussion takes place Thursday, Dec. 5, at noon, at the Potomac Institute.

The Keynote Speaker is The Honorable Bijan R. Kian, the highest ranking Iranian-American to serve two U.S. presidents. He also held other senior government positions. In addition, he had a distinguished career in both business and academia. Currently, he is a senior fellow, Naval Postgraduate School.

Panelists include:        

  • Ambassador Noam Katz, Former Ambassador of Israel to Nigeria, Ghana, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).  Currently, Minister of Public Diplomacy at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C.
  • Dr. Anthony Fainberg, A physicist; former FAA Director of Office of Policy and Planning for Aviation Security and currently consultant for the Institute for Defense Analyses.
  • Alan Makovsky, Former senior staff member Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Congress and a specialist on Middle East Affairs.

"Combating Hizballah's Global Network" Report Gives Realistic Assessment of Challenges

In light of the growing debate over the Geneva deal with Iran, the tactical and strategic role of Hizballah, Tehran’s major terrorist proxy in the Middle East and beyond, is becoming more critical for any future diplomatic negotiations.

The new timely publication on “Combating Hizballah’s Global Network” provides an updated reality-check on the nature and potential challenges of Iran’s most effective terrorist tool in the coming months and years. It was co-authored by Professor Yonah Alexander (Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies), Dr. Matthew Levitt (Director, Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, Senior Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy), Professor Amit Kumar (Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown), and Dan Mariaschin (Executive Vice President at B'nai B'rith International).

The just released report focuses on Hizballah’s ideology, objectives, organizational structures, major terrorist activities around the world, the Iranian connection, and what the international community, particularly the United States and Europe can do to confront the growing threat to all societies.

Returning Commander Speaker Series Highlights Navy and Marine Corps Contribution to National Security

More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines from the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (KSGARG) and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26 MEU) have just returned home after an eight-month deployment that saw them support maritime security operations, provide crisis response capability, and increase theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the U.S Navy's 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation.

CAPT Jim Cody, Amphibious Squadron 4 Commander, and Col Matthew St. Clair, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit Commander, will provide an overview of the sea services' efforts and answer questions.

After departing last March 11 from Norfolk and Little Creek, VA and Camp Lejeune, NC, the KSARG/26th MEU sailed to the 5th Fleet's area of responsibility in the Middle East. There, the ARG/MEU team participated in four major multinational exercises designed to strengthen coalition partnerships and reinforce regional security and stability, including Exercise Eager Lion 2013 in Jordan. KSARG/26th MEU also spent time in the Mediterranean supporting 6th Fleet contingency operations.

As an expeditionary crisis response force operating from the sea, the MEU is proficient across the range of military operations, from amphibious assaults, raids and maritime interdiction operations to humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and non-combatant evacuation operations. While conducting pre-deployment training before its March departure, the 26th MEU deployed in November 2012 aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) in support of Hurricane Sandy disaster relief efforts in New York and New Jersey.

ICTS Books

The Potomac Institute is Pleased to Announce the Release of:

It's the Ideology: How to Defeat Islamist Terrorism Once and for All
by David M. Eneboe

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The terrorism embraced by the likes of Islamic State and Al-Qaeda emanates from their common Islamist ideology of hate and intolerance. Kill that ideology and we kill the terrorism that it breeds. But, we cannot kill ideas with bombs and bullets – we can only kill them with better ideas. And since the handful of Al-Qaeda extremists who first attempted to target US interests in 1992 has now grown to over 30,000 in Islamic State alone, what Washington has been doing clearly has not been working. Our strategic victory against Islamist terrorism is all but certain; the only variable in the equation is the human and material cost from our policy missteps and mistakes. Yet even after a quarter century of conflict, Washington still does not have a solid strategy for winning the war against Islamist terrorism. It’s the Ideology offers what our leaders have not – a fresh, bold, and clear six-step plan to muzzle our enemies; win the information war; turn failing states around; be smarter in our use of military force; substitute failed conventionalism with bold, twenty-first century approaches; strip Islamism of any religious legitimacy; and, ultimately, prevent future generations of terrorists. This book delivers a specific, real-world strategy to permanently defeat Islamist terrorism once and for all. This is a book about victory. It is a roadmap for restoring America’s global statesmanship and leadership written by a fresh voice with an experienced perspective.

Paperback and Kindle now available on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

About the Author

David M. Eneboe graduated from the 47-week Arabic language course at the prestigious Defense Language Institute as a young Marine in December 1975. He graduated at the top of his class, with honors, and in the four decades since that achievement, he has had ample opportunities to apply his education. Following language training, Mr. Eneboe received technical training in the signals intelligence (SIGINT) field as a Voice Intercept Operator (the Marine Corps now calls its language graduates Cryptologic Linguists). He was subsequently assigned to 2nd Marine Division, Force Troops, 2nd Radio Battalion at Camp Lejeune, NC. Consistent with the expeditionary nature of the Marines, Mr. Eneboe was continuously deployed domestically, abroad, and aboard ship for nearly the entire period of his assignment to the battalion. After his honorable discharge from the Marines, Mr. Eneboe’s position required him to routinely brief Senior US Officials, such as Ambassadors and cleared members of visiting Congressional Delegations. Mr. Eneboe was certified in Arabic as a Language Analyst in 1990 and he was awarded numerous honors and citations, including an NSA Letter of Appreciation for his contributions during Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and a Most Valuable Player award from his component. In the early nineties, the author returned to the United States after an unexpected tragedy made family considerations a higher priority. He founded Sahara Consulting Services and began working as a contract Arabic linguist for the intelligence community and that relationship grew to include various special projects and collection/reporting responsibilities focused on counterterrorism and counterproliferation. He was instrumental in pioneering early Internet research tradecraft and received a personal commendation from the Director of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (now the Open Source Center) for his work on Mideast counterproliferation. In addition to his work for the intelligence community, Mr. Eneboe also provides translation and other services to commercial clients. In his leisure time, he is an active pilot and aircraft owner who enjoys flying for charitable and humanitarian causes. He and his wife live and work in Arizona.

About the Potomac Institute

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science, technology, and national security issues facing our society, providing in particular, an academic forum for the study of related policy issues. From these discussions and forums, we develop meaningful policy options and ensure their implementation at the intersection of business and government. For further information see www.potomacinstitute.org. Media inquires please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 703-525-0770. Follow us on Twitter: @PotomacInst

In this breakthrough book, General Al Gray and Dr. Paul Otte provide a new model for achieving a higher level of leadership. This book validates the struggles of the Conflicted Leader – one who must lead individuals and organizations as our world moves through ever-evolving waves of change. But, the authors do more than address what many leaders today are experiencing. They propose a new way of making a difference though Vantage Leadership, defined as the ability to embrace uncertainty, see the possible over the probable, remain conceptual through conflict, and more.

“If you only look for leadership in the usual places, you will only find the usual leadership.”

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PRAISE FOR

The Conflicted Leader and Vantage Leadership

“In 1989, the U.S. Marine Corps promulgated a small book entitled Warfighting for all Marines. The intent was to describe General Al Gray’s philosophy on warfighting and to encourage leaders at all levels to use the Maneuver Warfare concepts and values as a way of thinking to meet the challenges of both combat and life. Now General Gray and Dr. Paul Otte have taken these principles and applied them to the everyday challenges of leadership in a complex and uncertain world.  Understanding and using the concepts in this book will serve well all who aspire to lead and succeed at any level”

– Brent Scowcroft
Air Force Lt. General (Ret) and former National Security Advisor to President Gerald Ford and President George H.W. Bush

“General Al Gray’s leadership profoundly changed the US Marine Corps, US policy, and the way the US Military fights today in hundreds of ways. His unique form of leadership inspires all who come in contact with him. General Gray and Dr. Paul Otte have successfully outlined these principles of leadership in a fashion that will continue to inspire and guide people for generations to come.”

– Michael S. Swetnam
CEO and Chairman
Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

The Conflicted Leader and Vantage Leadership provides a fresh perspective to the study of leadership, providing a basis for developing leadership concepts, ideas, and ideals that apply to you. This book is a “must read” for the serious student of leadership.

– Robert L. Bailey
Retired CEO, Chairman and President – State Auto Insurance Companies
Author of “Plain Talk About Leadership”

“The Marine Warfighting philosophy published by General Gray in 1989 contains concepts, values, and wisdom that helped transform the Marine Corps. Now, General Gray and his writing partner Dr. Paul Otte have captured these thoughts in a superb book. If you want to know why the Marines win – read this. You can us the same principles in your in your business or professional life.”

– David C. Miller, Jr.
Ambassador of the United Sates (Retired) 
and former Special Assistant to President George H. W. Bush

“General Gray and Dr. Otte have advanced significantly the discourse on leadership for our modern age. Happily, one will not find in this work any endorsement of manipulative leadership so in evidence today, with its reliance on testing issues and words through focus groups before positions are articulated and ‘leadership’ is sounded through a false trumpet.”

– Norman G. Mosher, Capt, USN (Retired)
and former Professional Staff Member,
United States Senate Committee on Armed Services

“We owe General Gray and Dr. Otte great thanks for bringing us a very clear and convincing description of the U.S. Marine Corps’ extraordinary success in creating leaders and a culture of leadership throughout the organization. The military genuinely believes there is potential in most people. It is that profound belief that allows them to fully develop everyone’s potential.”

– Judith M. Bardwick
Author of “Danger in the Comfort Zone” and “In Praise of Good Business” 

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The Potomac Institute Press is pleased to announce the latest book by Institute Chairman and CEO Michael Swetnam and ICTS Director Prof. Yonah Alexander, Al-Qa'ida: Ten Years After 9/11 and Beyond (Potomac Institute Press, 2012, ISBN: 978-0-9678594-6-0 Paperback, 454 pages).  Orders for Al-Qa'ida, Ten Years After and Beyond may be placed through Amazon.com.  Click here to access the Amazon listing.

Al-Qa'ida: Ten Years After 9/11 and Beyond follows the authors' 2001 book, Usama bin Laden's al-Qa'ida: Profile of a Terrorist Network, which came out just months before the 9/11 attacks.  The new volume offers comprehensive coverage of the group’s history, leadership, financing, propaganda, ideology, and  future outlook.

click here to purchase

 

Here's what prominent scholars are saying about Al-Qa'ida: Ten Years After 9/11 and Beyond:

“This is the indispensable book on al-Qa’ida, its spawn, and its affiliates.  Usama and many of his lieutenants have been killed, and the central “base” weakened. But radical Islam and sundry jihadi organizations live.  Yonah Alexander and Michael S. Swetnam have been writing about al-Qa’ida since 1988; they have not lost their touch.”  Don Wallace, Jr., Professor of Law at Georgetown University and Chairman of the International Law Institute.

“This comprehensive book on al-Qa’ida, its evolution, current status, ideology, modus operandi, and its affiliates provides an excellent source for both experts and those who want to learn about this organization and the challenges posed by international terrorism in general.” Shireen Hunter, Visiting Professor, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, and Distinguished Scholar, Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“Few experts on ‘jihadi’ terrorism can write with more authority on the past ten years of al-Qa’ida after 9/11 than Yonah Alexander and his colleague, Michael S. Swetnam.  Many things have happened in these ten years; 2011 was an important year just like 2001.  To understand what is likely to happen in the future, this book is a must read for both experts and all those interested in world peace.” Honorary Professor Ved Marwah, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi; Chairman, India’s Task Force on National Security and Criminal Justice System; Former Commissioner of Police Delhi; and Former Governor of Manipur and Jharkhand.

“Many books have been written on al-Qa’ida, but this comprehensive volume details not only the group’s origin and background, but also its evolution into the present. Yonah Alexander and Michael S. Swetnam have produced a much needed, up-to-date handbook on al-Qa’ida and its affiliated groups. An excellent source for all those who study or combat contemporary terrorism.” Michael Fredholm, Senior Researcher, Stockholm International Program for Central Asian Studies (SIPCAS), Stockholm University, Sweden.

“This book, produced from the pens of scholars that have been wrestling with the issues for decades, should come as a timely reminder that we might want to get back to business as usual but that the likes of al-Qa’ida won’t forget us.”  William J. Olson, Distinguished Professor, National Defense University.

Authors:

Yonah Alexander, PhD
Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies
Director, International Center for Terrorism Studies, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Arlington, VA, USA
Co-Director, Inter-University Center for Legal Studies at the International Law Institute, Washington, DC, USA

Michael S. Swetnam

CEO and Chairman, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Arlington, VA, USA
Member, US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Technical Advisory Group
Former Special Consultant to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Washington, DC, USA

 

Table of Contents:

Introduction by Charles E. Allen
Chapter 1: Ideological and Theological Perspectives
and Goals
Chapter 2: Key Leadership
Chapter 3: Selected Modus Operandi
Chapter 4: Propaganda and Psychological Warfare
Chapter 5: Al-Qai’da’s Key Networks
Chapter 6: Selected Affiliated Groups
Chapter 7: Selected U.S. Individuals with Alleged
al-Qa’ida Connections
Chapter 8: Operation Neptune Spear and Beyond
Appendices
• Selected Electronic Political Communication from
al-Qa’ida (October 2001 – 2011)
• U.S. Indictment of Usama bin Laden (November 5, 1998)
• Remarks by the President on Osama bin Laden
(May 2, 2011)
• Ensuring al-Qa’ida’s Demise (Remarks by John Brennan
on June 29, 2011)
• National Strategy for Counterterrorism (June 2011)
• Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent
Extremism in the United States (August 2011)
• The Honorable James R. Clapper, Statement
• David H. Petraeus, Director of CIA, Statement

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