In recent conflicts, the traditional rules of humanitarian neutrality and efforts to avoid civilian targeting have eroded. Long standing norms rooted in the Geneva Convention have been dramatically violated in recent years as the frequency and severity of attacks against health workers, facilities, and civilians have increased.
This issue marks a transition for For Your Situational Awareness (FYSA). The International Security Program (ISP) began this publication in November 2013 as a way to highlight the work of our many talented scholars. FYSA will continue to publish pieces that cross these and other lines of research underway in ISP, but beginning in March, we will focus this site on the work of our talented junior staff: ISP’s research assistants, research associates, interns, and visiting fellows.
Five years after the revolution in Libya erupted against the Muammar el-Qaddafi regime in February 2011, the United States is once again contemplating a military intervention in the North African country. The need for U.S. action against the Islamic State in Libya is stark. The Islamic State (IS) first emerged in Libya in late 2014 by gaining small numbers of adherents from the country’s patchwork of Islamist militant organizations. Since then, the Islamic State has managed to establish cells across the country.
The NATO Alliance will grow from 28 to 29 members with the addition of Montenegro in the next year or two. Reaching consensus on Montenegro’s invitation was not without challenges. Indeed, the issue remained unresolved heading into the last weeks and days before the ministerial. Skeptics were hesitant to risk Russia’s ire over a country whose case, in the view of some, is not particularly compelling.
Russia’s irredentist and revisionist narrative, coupled with its willingness to use military aggression irrespective of basic protocols of international law, creates an unstable security paradigm in Europe. Russia now presents an intractable challenge in Europe for the United States.
While they may never be able to match the capabilities and endurance of a manned, nuclear-powered submarine, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) have the potential to dramatically affect the conduct of war at sea. Given their potential, the U.S. Navy must begin to think about and prepare for a world of 20,000 drones under the sea.
As Cuba and the United States continue to open diplomatic relations there will be challenges to normalization progress. Building on common ground security issues such as combating narcotics trafficking and migrant smuggling is a prudent approach to maintain diplomatic momentum. To this end, leveraging the longstanding relationship between the Cuban Border Guard and U. S. Coast Guard is a smart move.
China’s military growth, alleged cyber attacks, and recent assertive behavior and island building in the South China Sea have pushed many in Washington to now accept that there is a China problem. But few agree on the nature of that problem, let alone the right course ahead. The Beltway is struggling to come to terms with an increasingly complex and at times contradictory relationship with Beijing.
Space-based capabilities are a routine part of U.S. military operations, yet they are vulnerable to a number of threats such as jammers, lasers, and other high-powered microwave weapons. The time may be right for the military to consider outlining explicit rules of engagement in space.
Russia’s military deployment into Syria this month adds a layer of complexity to a multifaceted conflict, complicating how the war there will be fought and how it will end. Russian assets in Syria heighten the risk of altercations with counter-ISIS coalition forces and provide Russia with leverage in diplomatic engagement on Syria’s future.