Commentary Series

The Commentary Series is intended to promote better policy by fostering constructive debate among leading policymakers, academics, and observers.  Designed to be timely and relevant, these commentaries seek to illuminate the issues of the day by raising important questions and challenging underpinning assumptions.  Opinions expressed in Commentaries are those of the author(s) alone. Comments should be directed to cchs@gwu.edu.

%3

Homeland Defense: Policy Judgments and Lessons Learned

December 17, 2015

After twenty-seven years of federal service, including the last six as a senior official at the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense, I am now able to reflect and offer lessons learned from the experience. It is daunting to help lead complex national efforts on homeland security, homeland defense, and defense support of civil authorities – issues that are central to central to national security. My experiences also provide examples of how disparate groups can come together in defense of the nation.

Time for the United States and Russia to Take on ISIS Together in Syria

November 13, 2015

The conflict zone that is Syria continues to fester to the benefit of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). As evidence mounts suggesting the Russian-operated Airbus A321M was brought down in Egypt by an explosion possibly planted by the Sinai affiliate of ISIS—and as a recent Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) report suggests the use of mustard gas by ISIS in August near Aleppo, we seem to be moving into an even more dangerous phase of ISIS capability to conduct terror and combat operations.

How California’s Drought Exacerbates the Terrorism Threat

May 12, 2015

Terrorist organizations including ISIS, Hezbollah, and al‐Qa’ida have openly promulgated a strategy of ecological jihad. In contrast to other methods employed by terrorists, environmental tactics, such as contaminating water supplies or starting fires, can be quickly planned, require little technical expertise to execute, and have lower risk of detection. Water shortages due to drought increase vulnerability to these terror methods with significant consequences for people, infrastructure, and the economy.

Counterterrorism in France: Key Questions after Charlie Hebdo

January 16, 2015

Recent terrorist attacks in Paris leave France in a difficult position - one that is at once both common to the West and yet particular to France itself. Although there must be international cooperation, each country must also chart its own course by formulating, implementing and refining a strategy that best tackles the problem as manifested locally. Our Commentary, written by CCHS Associate Director Sharon Cardash and CCHS Scholar in Residence Rhea Siers, raises a series of questions and issues that offer the beginnings of a framework for understanding the conundrum facing French officials.

Meet Our Staff

Read about our Staff and other pieces they’ve authored.

Meet Our Senior Fellows

Read about our Senior Fellows and other pieces they’ve authored.

News