WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 9, 2009 - CNAS has released several new reports and working papers for its third annual conference, “Striking a Balance: A New American Security" on Thursday, June 11. Topics include Iraq, Afghanistan-Pakistan, Natural Security, and combating violent extremism. Each report offers strong, principled and pragmatic recommendations on how to strike a balance between immediate and long-term national security challenges facing the United States.
The publications are available for download at the CNAS website now at http://www.cnas.org/ and will be available in hard copy at Thursday's conference.
Since 2003, debates about America’s role in Iraq have focused on how to withdraw U.S. forces. Yet the search for an “end game” emphasizes a short-term objective - getting out of Iraq - and sidesteps the strategic imperative of establishing an enduring relationship with a key country in a region of vital importance to the United States. It is time for America to take the long view. Neither Iraq nor America’s stake in a stable, peaceful, secure Middle East will vanish when the last American combat brigade departs. American policymakers must advance U.S. interests in Iraq and the Middle East through a long-term, low-profile engagement to help resolve Iraq’s internal challenges, strengthen its government and economic institutions, and integrate it as a constructive partner in the region.
Eight years into the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, the situation is as perilous as ever and continuing to worsen. The campaign has been further complicated by a rapidly deteriorating security situation in Pakistan, where the center of gravity of the insurgency has now shifted. In counterinsurgency campaigns, momentum matters. Over the next 12 months, the United States and its allies must seize the initiative back from the Taliban and other hostile actors. This paper makes four operational recommendations and gives specific metrics by which the administration can gage its progress.
In the 21st century, the security of nations will increasingly depend on the security of natural resources, or “natural security.” The modern global economy depends on access to energy, minerals, potable water and arable land to meet the rising expectations of a growing world population, and that access is by no means assured. At the same time, increasing consumption of these resources has consequences, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, which will challenge the security of the United States and nations all over the world. Natural security ultimately means sufficient, reliable, affordable, and sustainable supplies of natural resources for the modern global economy. This will require the United States to both shape and respond to emerging natural resources challenges in a changing global strategic environment. This concept paper outlines a new program of study at the Center for a New American Security that will examine emerging natural resources challenges in six key areas of consumption and consequences – energy, minerals, water, land, climate change, and biodiversity – as well as the ways in which these challenges are linked together. Any solution to the country’s energy insecurity is likely to involve water, non-fuel minerals, and land-use issues; climate change and biodiversity cut across all concerns, with broad effects on resource vulnerability. Without an integrated, national-level approach that links together natural security challenges, the United States runs the risk of trading one dependency for another and exacerbating the consequences.
On April 29, 2009, the Center for a New American Security convened a group of scientists, investors, business executives, academics, nonprofit representatives, defense professionals, and federal, state, and local officials to discuss how to implement President Obama’s energy and climate security goals. The conference was the culmination of a year-long CNAS project, called the Big Energy Map, which examined the role the federal government is playing and can play in protecting and promoting the nation’s energy security. This report is a compilation and analysis of the proceedings of the April 29 Big Energy Map conference. Drawing on the discussions and recommendations of the group of experts, CNAS has identified three main recommendations for the Obama Administration: draft a comprehensive national strategy; link that strategy to a major, systems-level demonstration project for a future, low-carbon energy economy; and create a scorecard to track progress and capture lessons learned from the historical level of federal investment in energy and climate security.
Beyond Bullets: Strategies for Countering Violent Extremism by Kristin M. Lord, John A. Nagl, Seth D. Rosen, David Kilcullen, Larry Diamond, Camille Pecastaing, Harvey M. Sapolsky, Daniel Benjamin, and Alice E. Hunt (editor)
To counter the threat from violent Islamist extremism more effectively, the Center for a New American Security launched a strategy development process modeled after President Eisenhower’s Project Solarium. CNAS asked five experts to recast the effort to defeat al-Qaeda in sustainable terms consistent with American values. The result is a series of essays, produced in this report, that recommend a rich array of counterterrorism tools and strategies for the new administration.
This paper, which is part of a larger edited volume, presents a pragmatic and comprehensive strategy to combat violent Islamist extremism, one that engages all appropriate instruments of national power in a cohesive vision for action. As other national security concerns proliferate, the authors argue, America must re-commit to countering violent extremism by employing an approach that is sustainable, properly resourced, grounded in bipartisan political support, and bolstered by a dense network of partnerships that engages actors both inside and outside of government. The authors establish a clear analysis of the threat, a realistic vision of success, and strategic principles to guide U.S. actions. They also offer specific “ways and means” in order to accomplish U.S. strategic objectives.
When Lieutenant Colonel Jim Crider arrived in the Doura neighborhood of Baghdad in February of 2007 as the commander of 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment out of Fort Riley, Kansas, the Sunni neighborhood appeared beyond hope. The streets were largely empty of life and the air was filled with the foul smell of burning trash and open sewage. Improvised explosive devices, small arms fire, hand grenades, and dead bodies were a normal part of every 1-4 CAV patrol in the spring and early summer of 2007. However, through the ruthless implementation of the counterinsurgency principles outlined in Army Field Manual 3-24 and several pragmatic decisions along the way, the neighborhood began to turn in July of 2007. By the end of September, the unit had seen the last attack on its forces. Businesses reopened, the streets were full of people, and there was hope. This paper contains some of the primary lessons learned during their 14 month combat tour and has been called “the first in-depth review offered by an American battalion commander about post-invasion operations in Iraq.”