National Security

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.

Have the Iran Nuclear Talks Reached an Impasse?

The nuclear negotiations between Iran and the group of six world powers bear out Einstein’s observation that politics is more difficult than physics.

At this point in the diplomatic process, the talks focus on technical details of a prospective agreement. But the politics of nuclear diplomacy loom large.

High Stakes: How This Year’s Climate Negotiations Will Impact National Security

Expectations for the upcoming UN climate change summit in Paris are higher than they’ve been in years. Experts expect it will be the best chance to achieve a binding, universal agreement to limit carbon emissions.

What should America do with Guantanamo’s high-risk detainees?

In his State of the Union address last month, President Obama reiterated his determination to shut down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Some in Congress are resolved to stop him. Even Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has supported closing the prison in the past, joined a recent congressional effort to slow releases from Guantanamo on the grounds that the president has never presented Congress with a “concrete or coherent plan.”

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