National Security

Cyber Threats and Vulnerabilities

Cyber threats, and related vulnerabilities, are becoming more numerous and sophisticated. And the job of keeping one step ahead of the problem is a most daunting task. During a recent Director's Forum, Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, delivered a keynote speech about the evolving threats and the Obama Administration's comprehensive strategy to address them. She also discussed the topic with Wilson Center Director, Jane Harman and fielded question from participants in the public forum. That’s the focus of this edition of REWIND.

How the CIA can get from spy to cyberspy

Agility and digital savvy traditionally haven't been the strong suits of government agencies, so it's encouraging that CIA Director John O. Brennan wants a big investment in cyberespionage and a new Directorate of Digital Innovation as part of what he calls a “bold” reorganization of the CIA. Brennan's overhaul is commendable, but it's urgent to do more to make his agency cyber literate.

The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security

For four decades, Brent Scowcroft has been a major player in formulating and executing US national security policy. In his new biography of the man he dubs “The Strategist,” author Bartholomew Sparrow chronicles Scowcroft’s rise and the lasting impact of his work. That’s the focus of this edition of  Wilson Center NOW.

Exploring Nuclear Latency

Report of a Workshop on Nuclear Latency

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Washington D.C. | October 2, 2014

Joseph F. Pilat, Los Alamos National Laboratory[1]

A Conversation with Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson

Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, recently delivered a major address at the Wilson Center. Afterwards, he discussed the latest efforts to secure America from a myriad of threats ranging from terrorism to natural disasters with the Center’s director and president, Jane Harman. That’s the focus of this edition of REWIND.

Speakers
Jane Harman, Director, President and CEO, Wilson Center
Jeh Johson, Secretary, US Department of Homeland Security

Presidents Obama, Bush Sound a Lot Alike on Countering Islamic Extremism

Despite the partisan squabbles in Washington, President Barack Obama’s recent speeches on countering extremism could have been given by a Democrat or a Republican. The neo-cons of the Bush era called for the same five-point strategy: confronting extremism, promoting democracy, addressing public grievances, creating opportunities for disillusioned youth, and dignity for all.

Indeed, the two presidents have given speeches with almost identical language on the subject—and the various components of U.S. policy.

Disrupting the Intelligence Community

Some 40 years have passed since the Church Committee’s sweeping investigation of U.S. intelligence practices, fresh on the heels of the Watergate scandal. And ten years have gone by since the last major reorganization of the country’s spy agencies, enacted in the wake of 9/11. Both efforts led to a host of reforms—among them, the creation of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and the adoption of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which I helped shepherd through Congress.

What the White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism Can’t Fix

The problem that Barack Obama’s summit to counter violence and extremism is meant to address isn’t one that community activism can resolve. The president’s message about the need for tolerance, understanding, and  inclusiveness to prevent and preempt radicalization of American youth is well suited to our historic notion of the “big tent.” But the world confronts a radicalized version and vision of Islam that requires a military and political approach. This isn’t something that Washington can fix quickly or comprehensively.

Violent Extremism the White House Doesn’t Want to Talk About

The stories expected to dominate the agenda at the White House summit on countering violent extremism are the headline-grabbing incidents of recent months: relentless attacks from Peshawar to Paris, from Africa to the Arab world, by the Taliban, al Qaeda, Islamic State, Boko Haram. The tactics—beheadings, bombings, burnings, and gun-and-grenade massacres—have been brutal.

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