Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland Research Works

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    The Desirability and Feasibility of Strategic Trade Controls on Emerging Technologies
    (Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM), 2023-06-22) Nancy W. Gallagher; Lindsay Rand; Devin Entrikin; Naoko Aoki
    Policy problem: Policymakers must decide whether and how to regulate the development, sale, and use of emerging technologies so the security benefits outweigh the economic, technological, and political costs. They have faced that question before, so lessons can be learned from historical experience. It has never been easy to get agreement about what types of governance mechanisms are most desirable, or to implement those controls effectively enough to achieve the security objectives. Many different approaches have been tried but only some legacy arrangements could be applied to emerging technologies, while others would do more harm than good. Four features make the current iteration of the dual-use problem particularly challenging. (1) Emerging technologies are largely intangible rather than physical. (2) The private sector is now the main engine for innovation, often independent from and resistant to government control. (3) Concerns about dual-use emerging technologies expand beyond their relevance to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to their much broader utility for conventional warfighting. (4) Political and economic relations among the countries at the forefront of technology innovation are also very complex and uncertain, further complicating efforts to get agreement about what greatest security risks are, and what mix of competition and cooperation offers the most cost-effective way to reduce them. Methodology: This report employed a historical review of efforts to control dangerous dual-use technologies during and after the Cold War to identify key governance approaches and assess their effectiveness. This was followed by a socio-technical evaluation of five key emerging technologies including PNT, quantum computing, computer vision, hypersonics, and quantum sensing. The technical assessment focused on seven considerations that vary widely across different sectors to determine which strategic trade controls would be both feasible and desirable for a specific category or sub-category of emerging technology: technology makeup, fabrication process, stage of development and dispersion, dual-use applications, disruption mechanisms, stakeholder community and power distribution, and scientific promise. Key lessons for policymakers: The findings of the historical and technical survey contain important lessons for policymakers tasked with trying to manage the spread and use of emerging technologies: (1) Policymakers need to decide what the primary objective of strategic trade controls is. (2) The historical analysis shows that, even under relatively favorable geopolitical, economic, and technological conditions, any type of denial-based control effort will be a stopgap solution at best and is likely to have unintended negative consequences. (3) Using cooperative management as the primary governance approach for WMD relevant aspects of nuclear, chemical, and biological technologies has had strengths and weaknesses, too. (4) The socio-technological characteristics of critical emerging technology fields indicate that getting multi-stakeholder agreement on denial-based controls will be harder, implementation will be more challenging, and the outcomes will be less stable than they were in the past
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    Iranian Public Opinion after the Protests
    (CISSM, 2018-07-09) Gallagher, Nancy; Mohseni, Ebrahim; Ramsay, Clay
    Summary of Findings 1. More Iranians See Economy as Bad and Getting Worse Growing majorities say Iran’s economic situation is bad and getting worse. Less than a fifth now say the economic condition of their family has improved over the last four years. Most say economic mismanagement and corruption are having a greater negative impact than sanctions. Unemployment remains the top concern of the Iranian people. They are divided on whether the next generation will be better off financially than their parents are today. 2. Approval of Nuclear Deal Drops as Disappointment with its Benefits Rises Enthusiasm for the JCPOA has dropped significantly. Slightly more than half approve of the agreement, while a third oppose it. Two years into the implementation of the deal, majorities believe Iran has not received most of the promised benefits and that people’s living conditions have not been improved by the nuclear deal. An overwhelming majority says the deal did not improve Iran’s relations with the United States, but are more positive about its effect on relations with Europe. As Rouhani’s administration steps up its efforts to defend the deal against its domestic opponents, public misperceptions about the terms of the deal have undergone a revival. Clear majorities incorrectly believe that per the agreement, all U.S. sanctions on Iran must eventually be lifted, and that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is not allowed to inspect Iranian military sites under any circumstances. Most Iranians still believe that it is important for Iran to develop its nuclear program, although the percentage that is very supportive has decreased slightly since the JCPOA was signed. 3. Increasing Majority Supports Retaliation if U.S. Abrogates JCPOA Attitudes about how Iran should respond if the United States violates the JCPOA have hardened. A growing majority says that were the United States to abrogate the deal, Iran should retaliate by restarting the aspects of its nuclear program it has agreed to suspend under the JCPOA rather than taking the matter to the UN. A modest majority says Iran should withdraw if the United States withdraws, even if other P5+1 countries remain committed to the deal. Most Iranians, however, would support their government if it decides that remaining in the deal is in Iran’s best interest. 4. Staunch Resistance to Renegotiating the Nuclear Deal with Trump Large majorities say that Iran should refuse to increase the duration of the special nuclear limits it accepted under the JCPOA or to stop developing more advanced missiles, even if the United States threatens to re-impose sanctions lifted under the JCPOA or offers to lift more sanctions. 5. Majority Rejects Halting Development of Missiles An overwhelming majority thinks it is important for Iran to develop missiles, primarily to defend Iran, deter attacks, and increase Iran’s security. Large majorities say Iran should continue testing ballistic missiles despite U.S. demands for Iran to halt such tests. 6. Views of P5+1 Countries Iranians’ views of all the P5+1 countries besides the United States have improved, and a clear majority expresses confidence that these countries will uphold their end of the JCPOA. Majorities now regard Russia, China, Germany, and even France favorably, but retain negative views of the United States and Britain. For the first time, a majority now says they have an unfavorable view of the American people as well as of their government. A majority believes that Iranian relations with European countries have improved due to the deal; almost no one says that about the United States. Far from showing implacable hostility toward the West, a majority continues to think it is possible for the Islamic world and the West to find common ground, though the number who say conflict between the two is inevitable has increased. 7. Majority Sees No Value in Negotiations; Support for Self-Sufficiency Grows Two in three say the JCPOA experience shows that it is not worthwhile to make concessions as part of international negotiations, because Iran cannot have confidence that world powers would honor their sides of an agreement. Accordingly, an increasing majority thinks Iran should strive to achieve economic self-sufficiency rather than focus on increasing its trade with other countries. Willingness to compromise and make reciprocal concessions is higher among those who think the nuclear deal has improved the living conditions of ordinary Iranians, as well as those who voice confidence that the United States will abide by its side of the agreement. 8. Strong Sympathy with Complaints about Economic Policies and Corruption During late December 2017 and early January 2018, large street protests took place across Iran. These protests were organized by different groups of people for varying reasons. To see what proportion of the Iranian population sympathizes with each type of protest, this study asked respondents to indicate the degree to which they sympathized with each of the complaints voiced. Large majorities say they sympathize with complaints voiced by some protestors that the government should do more to keep food and gasoline prices from rising; not cut cash subsidies; and compensate people who lost money when some financial institutions in Iran collapsed. They also agree that the government is not doing enough to help the poor and farmers who are suffering as a result of the drought. Iranians are also almost unanimous in their demand that more should be done to fight financial and bureaucratic corruption in Iran. 9. Majorities Disagree with Protestors who Critiqued Iran’s Domestic Political System and Foreign Operations Three in four disagree that Iran’s political system needs to undergo fundamental change. Two in three also disagree with the view that the government interferes too much in people’s personal lives; indeed, six in ten reject the idea that the government should not strictly enforce Islamic laws. As in the past, about three in four believe that when making decisions, Iranian policymakers should take religious teachings into account. Clear majorities also reject other complaints voiced by some protestors—that the military should spend much less on developing missiles, and that Iran’s current level of involvement in Iraq and Syria is not in Iran’s national interests. U.S. expressions of support for protests were generally regarded as irrelevant or unhelpful. 10. Majority Approves of Police Handling of the Protests Two in three approve of how the police handled the protests and say they used an appropriate amount of force. Views about how arrested protestors should be treated depend on how they acted. Almost two in three think that protestors who were arrested while peacefully voicing their complaints against government policies should be released. A smaller majority wants protestors who accidentally injured bystanders to be prosecuted, but not punished harshly. Most Iranians want the judiciary to prosecute protestors who chanted slogans against Islam or Iran’s system of government, but only a minority demand harsh punishment. About six in ten want the judiciary to prosecute and harshly punish those who are found guilty of attacking the police, damaging public property, or burning Iran’s flag. 11. Media Consumption Habits Majorities follow news regarding domestic and international affairs. Domestic television, followed by social networking apps, such as Telegram, and the internet are the media used by a majority of Iranians to become informed about the news. The numbers of people relying on VOA and BBC news programs have declined significantly since the rise of social media in Iran. 12. A Range of Views on Regional Issues About half of Iranians say their government should try to find mutually acceptable solutions to regional problems, and the other half say that Iran should seek to become the most powerful country in the region. A large majority says Iran should either increase or maintain its current level of support for groups fighting terrorist groups like ISIS. Most Iranians want Iran to use its influence in Iraq to support policies that benefit both Shiites and Sunnis, rather than policies that primarily benefit Shiites. Now that Iran and Russia have declared victory over ISIS in Syria, almost as many Iranians want to end or reduce assistance to President Bashar Assad as want to continue it until his government regains full control over all Syrian territory. An overwhelming majority reject the idea that Assad should not be allowed to remain as Syria’s president and say the Syrian people should decide whether he remains in office. 13. General Soleimani’s Popularity Soars, while Rouhani and Zarif Slip General Qasem Soleimani’s popularity is at an all-time high, with two in three saying that they hold a very favorable opinion of him. He is followed in popularity by the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, whose favorability rating has decreased slightly since June 2017. President Rouhani’s popularity has dropped sharply since his victory in the May 2017 presidential elections. Opinions of Ebrahim Raisi, Rouhani’s conservative opponent in the election, have held steady. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s former president, remains the most polarizing figure among Iranian politicians. 14. Majority Sees Climate Change as a Very Serious Problem Iranians almost unanimously see global climate change as a serious issue and a majority says these changes are harming people around the world today. Two in three say they are very concerned that climate change will affect them personally. A large majority wants the government to do more to protect the environment, even if the economy suffers as a result. Two in three say they approve of Iran taking steps to significantly reduce its air pollution over the next 15 years, even if it leads to higher prices and unemployment rates in the short-term.
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    Balancing Belligerents or Feeding the Beast: Transforming Conflict Traps
    (2018-02-26) Hayden, Nancy
    Even as the threat of international conflict between great powers re-emerges, violent civil conflict remains one of the greatest threats to human security and global stability. Persistent conflicts – those that have been active for twenty years or more – resulted in 65 million forcibly displaced persons worldwide at the end of 2017. This record high is an increase of 20 percent from the previous year. In Africa alone, more than 35 such conflicts continue to pose the utmost challenge for conflict resolution despite investments of over a trillion dollars in peacebuilding and foreign aid by the international community. The spread of extremist threats through conflicts across the Middle East and Africa—e.g., Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo–demonstrate that ignoring these conflicts is not an option. Creating the right balance and coordination among security assistance, military peace operations, humanitarian relief aid, and long-term peacebuilding remains an elusive goal. Are these intervention failures due to unsuitable policies and practices, to the fundamental intractability of the conflicts, or some combination of both? This question is the subject of many academic and policy studies. However, most studies of when, where, and how to intervene are limited in perspective, and fail to assess the combined effects of different types of interventions on human security over time. Practitioners and policy makers recognize that lifting social and political systems out of the “conflict trap” requires a systems approach. Such an approach holistically considers the nature and context of the conflict, in conjunction with the scope, timing, and dynamic interactions among different modes and types of interventions. Using twenty-five years of comparative data on persistent conflicts in Africa, supplemented by a case study of Somalia, this brief presents a scalable systems framework to (1) examine the relationship between conflict persistence and factors associated with conflict contexts, peacekeeping and aid interventions, and (2) identify the underlying principles and practices for those conflict interventions most likely to result in conflict transformation that increases human security, and those most likely to sustain conflict.
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    Arms Control as Uncertainty Management
    (2018-04-23) Nelson, Amy
    For decades or longer, policy-makers have sought to use arms control to reduce the uncertainty endemic to the international security environment. Because uncertainty is pervasive in these situations, however, practitioners themselves are naturally vulnerable to its effects. This paper seeks to help policy-makers optimize arms control outcomes by providing improved theory and best practices for goal-setting and strategy selection using the judicious application of decision theoretic concepts. The paper first lays out a suitable role for decision theory in the study and analysis of arms control, arguing that “uncertainty” is a more appropriate concept for description and analysis here than is “risk.” Prior approaches that rely on “risk” have tended to drive the search for arms control best practices, but “risk” requires the use of probability estimates that are frequently not available or not a good indicator of potential outcomes. Second, the paper argues that decision-makers are vulnerable to the effects of missing information and the uncertainty it causes in the run-up to and during arms control negotiations. Consequently, they are subject to biases and resort to the use of security-specific heuristics, including worst-case scenario thinking, limited-theater-of-war thinking, and low-dimension (or non-complex) thinking when setting goals and employing strategies for negotiating arms control agreements. The paper discusses the origins of this uncertainty and the strategies that states could employ as a result of these security-specific heuristics, arguing that they can best be grouped into two types—risk reduction versus uncertainty management. Finally, the paper makes recommendations for optimizing outcomes—for getting efficient negotiations that result in robust, durable agreements, capable of managing uncertainty about security, despite the effects of missing information.
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    Building Confidence in the Cybersphere: A Path to Multilateral Progress
    (2018-03-31) Hitchens, Theresa; Gallagher, Nancy
    As use of the Internet has become critical to global economic development and international security, there is near-unanimous agreement on the need for more international cooperation to increase stability and security in cyberspace. Several multilateral initiatives over the last five years have begun to spell out cooperative measures, norms of behavior, and transparency and confidence-building measures (TCBMs) that could help improve mutual cybersecurity. These efforts have been painstakingly slow, and some have stalled due to competing interests. Nonetheless, a United Nations (UN) Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) and the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) have achieved some high-level agreement on principles, norms, and “rules of the road” for national Internet activities and transnational cyber interactions. Their agreements include commitments to share more information, improve national protective capacities, cooperate on incident response, and restrain certain destabilizing state practices. Voluntary international agreements are worth little, unless states implement their commitments. So far, implementation has been crippled by vague language, national security considerations, complex relations between public and private actors in cyberspace, and privacy concerns. This is particularly true regarding the upfront sharing of information on threats and the willingness of participants to cooperate on incident investigations, including identifying perpetrators. With multilateral forums struggling to find a way forward with norm-setting and implementation, alternate pathways are needed to protect and build on what has been accomplished so far. Different strategies can help advance implementation of measures in the UN and OSCE agreements. Some commitments, such as establishing and sharing information about national points of contact, are best handled unilaterally or through bilateral or regional inter-governmental cooperation. Other objectives, such as protecting the core architecture and functions of the Internet that support trans-border critical infrastructure and underpin the global financial system, require a multi-stakeholder approach that includes not only governments but also private sector service providers, academic experts, and nongovernmental organizations. This paper compares what the GGE and OSCE norm-building processes have achieved so far and what disagreements have impeded these efforts. It identifies several priorities for cooperation identified by participants in both forums. It also proposes three practical projects related to these priorities that members of regional or global organizations might be able to work on together despite political tensions and philosophical disputes. The first would help state and non-state actors share information and communicate about various types of cybersecurity threats using a flexible and intuitive effects-based taxonomy to categorize cyber activity. The second would develop a more sophisticated way for state and non-state actors to assess the risks of different types of cyber incidents and the potential benefits of cooperation. The third would identify aspects of the Internet that might be considered the core of a public utility, worthy of special protection in their own right and for their support of trans-border critical infrastructure.