International Center for Terrorism Studies (ICTS)

ICTS Reports

Bio6 29 19wbBiological security concerns, ranging from Mother Nature to man-made threats by state and non-state actors, transcend geographic regions. In 2018 and early 2019 alone, the Ebola virus has broken out in the Congo, cholera has afflicted war-torn Yemen, North Korea has augmented its biological warfare capabilities, and the Islamic State has demonstrated a willingness to pursue the use of biological weapons. These looming biological threats pose continual and unprecedented security challenges to those in the U.S. and abroad.

Is the international community prepared to identify, prevent, counter, and respond to future biological challenges? What are the past lessons, emerging risks, and needed strategies nationally, regionally, and globally?

The following report on “Biological Terrorism: International Dimensions” is based off the remarks given by experts from the security and health communities during a special seminar held on March 28, 2019 at the International Law Institute in Washington, D.C. The distin-guished panel included: Dr. Larry Kerr (Director, Pandemics and Emerging Threats, Office of Global Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services); Professor Rita Colwell (Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies); Dr. Daniel M. Gerstein (Senior Policy Researcher, Rand Corporation, and Former Acting Undersecretary and Deputy Undersecretary in the Science and Technology Directorate, Department of Homeland Security); Dr. Gerald L. Epstein (Distinguished Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction, National Defense University); and Dr. Meghan Delaney (Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine & Medical Director for Transfusion Medicine, Children’s National Medical Center, and Associate Professor of Pathology & Pediatrics, George Washington University). Professor Yonah Alexander (Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies, and Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies) moderated the discussion and General Al Gray (Twenty-Ninth Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Senior Fellow and Chairman of the Board of Regents, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies) provided closing remarks.

See the full report here 

icts20thsmAn enduring fixture of international affairs is the fact that, throughout the history of the world, nothing is static . Empires, countries, communities, and nearly entire civilizations have risen and declined while others became engaged in an endless struggle for power within and among social and political identifiable structures.

It is not surprising, then, that two historical lessons spring to mind when considering these socio- political fluctuations. The first recalls the old Chinese proverb which reads, “One who studies the past, knows the future” and the second observation, attributed to Hegel, asserts that “We learn from history that we do not learn from history.”

Indeed, these truisms have echoed continuously throughout the ages of different cultures and peoples located in every geopolitical region. The experience of the Balkans from antiquity to modernity demonstrates both evolutionary and revolutionary developments of triumph and calamity with broader significant strategic implications.

From the dawn of history, humanity has continuously faced two critical security challenges. The first is “natural”, or “Mother Nature’s”, disasters. It includes a wide range of disruptions and destruction to human lives and property. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, monsoons, droughts, floods, heat waves, wildfires, and varieties of pandemics arising from biological pathogens, cause some of the most frequent catastrophic costs to individuals, communities, and civilizations.

The second permanent and equally significant security concern consists of “man-made” threats such as technological and economic calamities, ideological and political radicalization and extremism, terrorism, insurgencies, and wars.

Both challenges represent security concerns that include the safety, welfare, and rights of ordinary people; the stability of the state system; the success of national, regional and global economic development; the expansion of liberal democracies; and perhaps, even the survival of civilization itself.

Consider, for example, several landmark historical anniversaries related to the dual-danger from “natural” and “manmade” challenges. First, in 1918 an influenza pandemic, often regarded as the deadliest in modern times, killed an estimated 50-100 million people worldwide. Moreover, the Asian flu originated in 1957-1958 and caused the death of some one to four million individuals. Mention should be made of the deadly Ebola virus that represented a major health security challenge with unprecedented fear and anxiety over public safety around the world. Other current infection challenges include the Zika virus, which causes microcephaly and other birth defects, as well as the cholera epidemic, spread by bacteria from water or food contaminated with feces, which is alarmingly expanding in war-torn Yemen. In short, the expansion of pandemic outbreaks of deadly infectious disease is only a matter of time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that during the 2015-2017 period, it had already “monitored more than 300 outbreaks in 160 countries, tracking 37 dangerous pathogens in 2016 alone.”

Another century-old landmark event occurred on June 28, 1914, when the Archduke Frank Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated in Sarajevo. This tragic attack perpetrated by Gavrilo Princip, a young Bosnian terrorist, triggered a series of escalating diplomatic and military moves in Europe and beyond that contributed, at least partly, to the outbreak of World War I. The resulting horrific human and political costs eventually caused the Second World War, with all its unprecedented national and global consequences, and subsequently led to the Cold War and the escalation of terrorism throughout the world . And thus, in the past four decades, terrorism has evolved further. On November 4 1979, Iranian “radicals” seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held the American diplomats captive for 444 days. Also, in 1998 U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were attacked by al-Qaeda members and on September 11, 2001 bin Laden’s operatives perpetrated the most devastating terrorist attack in world history, to name a few key events.

Since this report focuses on “Two Decades of Combating Terrorism: Tactical and Strategic Lessons, a brief overview is provided on some related threats and responses to be followed by an academic context and the selected contributions by colleagues over the past twenty years.

View the full report here 

balkanssmAn enduring fixture of international affairs is the fact that, throughout the history of the world, nothing is static . Empires, countries, communities, and nearly entire civilizations have risen and declined while others became engaged in an endless struggle for power within and among social and political identifiable structures .

It is not surprising, then, that two historical lessons spring to mind when considering these socio- political fluctuations . The first recalls the old Chinese proverb which reads, “One who studies the past, knows the future” and the second observation, attributed to Hegel, asserts that “We learn from history that we do not learn from history .”

Indeed, these truisms have echoed continuously throughout the ages of different cultures and peoples located in every geopolitical region . The experience of the Balkans from antiquity to mo- dernity demonstrates both evolutionary and revolutionary developments of triumph and calamity with broader significant strategic implications .

See the Full Report Here

More specifically, among the numerous memorable historical regional phases, mention should be made of the Byzantine Empire (330 – 1453), the Serbian Kingdom (929 – 1389), the Ottoman Sultanate (1354 – 1922), and the Balkan Wars (1912 – 1913) . Subsequently, over a century ago, on June 28, 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated in Sarajevo . This tragic attack perpetrated by Gavrilo Princip, a young Bosnian terrorist, triggered a series of escalated diplomatic and military moves in Europe and beyond that contributed, at least partly, to the outbreak of World War I .

One of the resulting outcomes of the “War to end all Wars” was the formation of the “Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes,” who regained control of Kosovo . And on December 1, 1918, Yugoslavia was established over the territories formerly inhabited by the Austrian and Ottoman empires .

It should be noted that the Albanians in Kosovo claimed that their minority rights were not implemented by the Serbs in the inter-war period . The Serbs, on the other hand, charged the Albanians of fermenting discontent in Kosovo . During the Second World War, Albania was annexed by Italy and later was occupied by Germany . Moreover, Berlin established a puppet government in Serbia, Croatia joined the Axis powers, and Slovenia became under German influenceIn.

1945, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was established and the Communist party of Yugoslavia was elected into power . That year, the United States recognized the new republic under Josip Broz Tito . Interestingly, in 1948, Yugoslavia was removed from the Cominform (a coordinated body headed by the Soviet Union for communist parties in Europe) as the result of disputes with Moscow . By 1953, Marshall Tito was named President of Yugoslavia and ten years later became president for life . He died on May 4, 1980 .

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union and Communism in Eastern Europe, Croatia and Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 and Bosnia-Herzegovina also broke away from the federal republic in 1992 . In response to these de- velopments, the Serbian military invaded portions of Croatia and Bosnia resulting in the ethnic cleansing and bitter hostilities between the antagonists . The costly Balkan wars led to the signing of the Dayton Accord in 1995, which outlined a future peace process involving Croatian, Bosnian, and Serbian leaders . By March 1998, hostilities began in Kosovo between the ethnic Albanians and Serbs and a year later, NATO launched a 78-day air attack on Serbian targets . On February 17, 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia but tensions between the parties remained high .

Sadly, some ten years later, the deep-seated mistrust in the region has risen again . A recent example of this challenge occurred on January 16, 2018, with the assassination of Oliver Ivanovic, a Kosovan Serb leader of the civic initiative, Freedom, Democracy, Justice (SDP) by an unknown gunman . This attack took place on the day that talks to normalize relations between Kosovans and Serbs, mediated by the European Union (EU), were to be held . This scheduled meeting was predictably aborted . NATO, which has maintained a peacekeeping force in the region since 1999, following the Kosovan War, has urged all the parties to show constraint and return to the negotiating table .

To be sure, NATO’s overall impact in the Balkans has been positive with regards to establishing early warning systems, and intelligence gathering to prevent political crises, upholding the rights of the people to return to their homes, and providing emerging regional democracies with incentives for reforms . Moreover, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, and Slovenia are currently members of NATO and other states of the former Yugoslavian country are, to varying degrees, closer in association with NATO as well as the EU . Other countries with historical relationships and current interests in the Balkans such as Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and Turkey, are already members of the alliance and are continuing to support NATO mission in Europe and around the globe .

Another significant aspect of security concerns in the region is the challenge of terrorism and the efforts to combat non-state actors such as al-Qa’ida and the Islamic State, to mention a few . For instance, Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Serbia are continu- ing their participation in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and are engaged in multiplecounter-terrorism activities, including introducing legislation, law enforcement border security, countering the financing of terrorism, combating violent extremism, and participating in inter- national and regional cooperation .

 

 

 

roleof Diplo3 18From the dawn of history “diplomacy” has been utilized as a permanent mode of statecraft in the struggle for power within and among nations during peace and war. 

The purpose of this March 2018 report on “The Role of Diplomacy in Combating Terrorism: Selected International Perspectives” is to highlight insights from foreign diplomats on threats and challenges to officials and their missions, analysis of statecraft, and “best practices” responses to radicalization and violence.

Download the report here.

BiologicalTerrorismCoverRecent epidemics, such as Ebola and Zika, and the potential dangers of biological terrorism from both state and non-state actors highlight the urgent need to address these challenges through international partnerships and comprehensive biosecurity strategies to reduce the gravest health risks at home and abroad.

This January 2018 report on “Combating Biological Terrorism: Roadmaps for Global Strategies” follows several earlier related publications, such as “Biological Terrorism: Past Lessons and Future Outlook” (June 2017) and “Preventing WMD Terrorism: Ten Perspectives” (August 2017).

Download the report here.

 

 

Role of Diplomacy Nov 2017 Cover lgIn view of the multiple security challenges to international peace and order posed by the intensification of terrorist attacks for over the past half-century, governmental, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental bodies have developed tactical and strategic responses on national, regional, and global levels. The role of diplomacy is, indeed, a critical element in the evolving process.

The purpose of this report on “The Role of Diplomacy in Combating Terrorism: Selected U.S. Perspectives” to focus specifically on the role of diplomacy in combating terrorism relevant to experiences of the United States and their implications internationally. The key question is whether the U.S. and the international community is capable of crafting adequate responses to terrorism, diffusing expanding conflicts regionally and inter-regionally, engaging in constructive peace processes, and striking a delicate balance between security measures and democratic value systems.

Download the report here.

RuleofLaw1Ensuring the safety and interests of citizens at home and abroad continues to be every government’s paramount responsibility. The purpose of this report is to focus on the interface between terrorism and the rule of law. The key question is whether nations can strike a balance between security concerns and protecting civil liberties and constitutional order.

“Terrorism and the Rule of Law: Selected Perspectives” features presentations by experts with extensive academic and government experience. Some of the topics covered include the “War on Terror,” the role of intelligence, law enforcement, detention, civil and military trials, punishment of terrorists, hostage-taking, and other relevant issues.

Download the report here.

WMD8 17a

Preventing the proliferation of biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear weapons has been a major priority for many nation states in the post-World War II era. Additionally, in the aftermath of 9/11, there has been a growing awareness globally of the potential dangers posed by terrorist groups who may resort to WMD capabilities.

The purpose of this report on “Preventing WMD Terrorism: Ten Perspectives” is to provide some recent insights from experts on lessons learned, assessments of future challenges, and offer recommendations on response strategies to reduce the risk on national and international levels.

Download the report here.

Biological Terrorism cover june

Biological security concerns are permanent fixtures of history, ranging from Mother Nature’s infectious diseases to man-made threats by state and non-state actors. Thus, as the international community is currently approaching the 100 year anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed an estimated 50-100 million people, it is assessing the implications of the recent epidemics of Ebola and Zika, considering potential dangers of biological terrorism, and beginning to offer recommendations on response strategies to reduce the risk on national, regional, and global levels.

This June 2017 report on “Biological Terrorism: Past Lessons and Future Outlook” serves as an academic effort to provide insights from former U.S. officials, members of Congress, and other experts on these looming security challenges.

Download the report here.

LatinAmerica1aLatin America continues to face multiple security challenges including natural disasters, infectious diseases, organized crime, terrorism, migration, economic development, and threats to democratic governance.

This April 2017 report on “Latin America’s Strategic Outlook: Populist Politics, Health Concerns, and Other Security Challenges” deals with recent security-related developments such as the Rio Olympics, the Zika epidemic, and post-Castro-era assessments.

Download the report here.

Cover IUCTS 2017On April 13,2017,the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies (IUCTS) published its eighth annual report, "Terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel in 2016," authored by Prof. Yonah Alexander, Director--IUCTS. The report finds the region & global community facing the most serious security challenges since 9/11, from natural and man-made threats. The rise of the Islamic State and the resilience of al-Qa’ida and their affiliates in Africa in 2016 have resulted in continued instability on the continent with a costly strategic impact inter-regionally. The study recommends the U.S. & allies engage more effectively to slow a security crisis that is erupting across Africa’s “arc of instability.”

Download the report here.

loneWbThe latest terrorist incidents in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere, are once again a grim reminder of the expanding operational roles of "lone wolves." Whether they are self-radicalized or linked to home-grown or foreign groups, their involvement reflects a worrisome weakness in the security chain of modern society.

This February 2017 report on “The Lone Wolf Terrorist: Past Lessons, Future Outlook, and Response Strategies” focuses on some of the “lone wolf” challenges. These include security threats to the safety, welfare, and rights of ordinary people; the stability of the state system; the impact on national, regional, and global economic development; the expansion of democratic societies; and the prevention of the destruction of civilization by biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.

Download the report here.

NatoNATO, as it marked its 68th anniversary, is still facing a broad range of old and new challenges, including piracy, terrorism, regional and global conflicts, humanitarian crises, proliferation of WMD, and cyber threats.

In light of these and other strategic concerns, the latest NATO Warsaw Summit in 2016 focused inter alia on strengthening and modernizing the Alliance’s deterrence and defense posture and projecting stability beyond its Eastern borders. The question arises whether the 28 nations’ partnership will continue to play its essential political and military role in the coming years.

This January 2017 report on “NATO’s Strategy: Continuity or Change?” provides a recent academic effort to analyze whether NATO, at this stage of its evolution, is capable of completing its transformation from an earlier static defense alliance into a more effective regional and global security provider.

Download the PDF here.

JerusalemCover2

As the new administration of President Donald J. Trump is beginning to develop its Middle East foreign policy strategy, the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict still persists. In addition to the multiple outstanding issues to be resolved by the parties, such as the need for mutual recognition and the settling of boundary disputes, questions remain regarding the future of Jerusalem, the Holy City, which is considered by Israel as its eternal capital—and which the Palestinians also see as their own capital in a future state.

This current report on "The Holy Jerusalem: A Key to Middle East War or Peace?" provides a recent academic effort focusing on two questions. First, can religion in general serve as an effective bridge to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East and elsewhere? And second, will the antagonists and their partisan Jewish, Muslim, and Christian co-religionists be capable of a peaceful resolution on the final status of the Holy City?

Download the PDF here.

turkey2

In the wake of the failed coup in July 2016, many questions have arisen both domestically and internationally regarding Turkey’s future political, social, economic, and strategic direction. Among them are how will Turkey to continue to maintain a balance between security concerns and civil liberties domestically, as well as contribute to international efforts, including NATO’s mission, to advance stability regionally and globally.

This current report on “Post-Attempted Coup in Turkey: Quo Vadis?” provides a recent academic effort focusing on these issues as well as other related strategic concerns include the refugee crisis, the impact on the fight against the Islamic State, and Turkey’s relations with regional and global powers.

 

Download the PDF here.

roleofMilitaryThe role of force in the struggle for power within and among nations is a permanent fixture of international life. As James Madison observed during a debate on the adoption of the Constitution in 1787, “There never was a government without force.” Likewise, Sir Winston Churchill in a note to the First Sea Lord on October 15, 1942 remarked: “Superior force is a powerful persuader.”

Clearly, the primary actors capable of resorting to power domestically during periods of peace are the police and other law enforcement agencies. They are mandated to implement the preservation of public order, and thus represent the first layer of protection for civilians, including citizens, permanent residents, and visiting foreigners. These designated governmental bodies seek to encourage “good behavior,” prevent illegal activities, warnof potential internal threats, and develop strategies to assure an effective national security environment in accordance with the requirements of the administration of justice.

And yet, from time immemorial, military forces in particular have projected power at home and abroad during periods of both war and peace. It is not surprising therefore that there exists a comprehensive literature in this field, from antiquity to the contemporary era. Suffice to mention the infinite theological and secular sources covering the nature, role, and impact of armies on the direction of the statecraft of nations. For example, early religious texts focused on God’s directing military operations (e.g., assurance of victory),organizational structures (e.g., standing armies and mercenaries), arms supplies (e.g., slings, chariots, provisions), strategies and tactics (e.g., intelligence and spoils of war), and the virtues and vices of battles (e.g., magnanimity in victory and treatment of prisoners)...

Download the full PDF here.

roleofInfo1sm

The failure of contemporary societies during the past sixty years in the post-World War II period to effectively combat terrorism at home and abroad is, indeed, puzzling. After all, all nations are fully aware that the most critical element in combating the challenge of terrorism is intelligence. That is, the knowledge acquired, whether overtly or covertly, for the purpose of both internal and external statecraft.

And yet, despite this awareness, the grim reality is that terrorism is still attractive and works. For instance, according to recent press reports, during the past year and a half alone some 2,063 attacks were recorded in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, with a death toll of 28,031. Likewise, 46 attacks occurred in Europe and the Americas, and as a result of which some 658 were killed.

The purpose of this introduction is to provide an academic context for the apparent lingering confusion regarding the nature and implications of intelligence in democracies. It presents a brief overview of the challenge of modern terrorism, outlines key aspects of the role of intelligence in confronting the threats at home and abroad, and reports on the two latest academic efforts in this security area that are incorporated in this study.

Download pdf here.

RefugeeCrisiscoverFrom time immemorial humanity has been challenged by a wide range of manmade calamities, usually resulting from criminality, corruption, political violence, and economic and technological disasters. These events have been labeled by historians and contemporary observers as dangers bringing fear, suffering, destruction, and death. Such misfortunes were also characterized as multiple forms of “humanitarian and security crises” facing all societies.

One of the most lingering and devastating manifestations of this reality is the “refugee crisis.” According to a popular definition “refugees are people who vote with their feet,” as described by Berliner Illustrirte on crowds fleeing from Communist East Germany in its 1961 Special Issue. A more “formal” articulation of the term is provided by Merriam-Webster dictionary, stating that a refugee is “one that flees; especially: a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution.”

Download pdf here.

roleofLaw3The International Center for Terrorism Studies produced a report in May reflecting on past and current assessments as well as anticipated future outlooks for the role of law enforcement in combating terrorism. The purpose of this report is to deal only with some selected terrorism-related dangers, focusing on law enforcement and police responses.

Additionally, a wide range of academic and practitioners’ phraseology must be noted in connection with the meaning of “terrorism.” Generic terms such as radicalization, extremism, violence, conflicts, armed struggle, war, and even peace spring to mind. Thus, “terrorism” challenges include organized crime, piracy, low intensity or low-level conflicts, guerrilla campaigns, insurgencies, asymmetric warfare, civil wars, cyber dangers, and weapons of mass destruction (e.g., biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear).

In the face of such and other security concerns, the missions of law enforcement and police agencies are therefore linked directly or indirectly to broad frameworks of national, regional, and inter-regional response strategies and tactics. Among the numerous prevalent concepts, mention should be made of those such as anti-terrorism, combating terrorism, counter-insurgency efforts, clandestine operations, overseas contingency activities, targeted killings, and the global war on terrorism.

Download the full pdf here.

 

RussiaStrategicPuzz

 

The “cloud” over Russia’s intentions, capabilities, and actions still lingers on. For nearly a century its conduct in the Eurasian region, the Caucasus, the Balkans, the Baltics, the Middle East, and elsewhere has consistently been characterized as an “enigma.” This current report on “Russia’s Strategic Puzzle: Past Lessons, Current Assessment, and Future Outlook” provides a modest academic effort to focus on the historical and contemporary context as well as on several case studies such as the Ukraine crisis and the Kremlin’s involvement in Syria. Contributions to this publication are by former government officials, a serving diplomat, and academics. The co-sponsors of the report are the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies, the International Center for Terrorism Studies at Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, and the Inter-University Center for Legal Studies at the International Law Institute.

Download the full pdf here.

RSEC Workshop on
International Traffic in Arms Regulations:
Impact on Science, Technology, and National Security

Monday, July 27th, 2015
Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

 

 


RSEC
serves to study and influence the regulatory process by
incorporating the best available science into its policy recommendations.

The Department of State’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
controls the export of defense articles. The goal of ITAR is to maintain the
United States’ edge in defense technology and safeguard national security by
denying advanced military technologies to potential foreign adversaries. In
order to achieve this goal, ITAR restricts the ability of companies to develop
and export technologies with potential military use and limits the ability of
researchers to collaborate with international partners and share technical
information. The State Department’s most recent ITAR amendments attempt
to address concerns about the impact of ITAR on domestic innovation, but
there is an ongoing debate among commercial, government, and academic
stakeholders about the impact of ITAR on national security and science and
technology research.

This workshop aims to discuss the ITAR’s impact on domestic science and
technology research, foreign defense capabilities, and national security. The
distinguished participants in this discussion will provide insight on their
experiences with ITAR and its current ability to deter foreign adversaries from
obtaining advanced military technologies. We hope that this workshop will lead
to a beneficial discussion on the current effects of ITAR and implications for
reform.