Issue Brief Series

Issue Briefs are intended to promote better policy by providing context and evidence to help assess current, past, and potential future approaches to issues of ongoing strategic and tactical significance.  Designed to be timely and relevant, Issue Briefs aim to help leading policymakers, academics, and observers better understand important debates, frame key questions, and challenge underpinning assumptions. Comments should be directed to [email protected].

Drones in Yemen: Is the U.S. on Target? (PDF)

June 21, 2012

At a time when the al Qaeda organization globally has met a low point al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has reached its zenith despite successful U.S. airstrikes on the American al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and senior AQAP figure Fahd al-Quso - indicted in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen.

The Next Decade of Countering Threat Finance: Risks, Opportunities, and Limitations (PDF)

June 12, 2012

Almost ten years after the September 11 attacks, domestic terrorist plots linked to Islamic extremism continue rising. The evolving nature of sub-state threats makes it critically important to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the counterterrorism toolkit in the hope of maintaining an efficient and effective security posture.

Smart, Savvy, Insightful: Analytic Tradecraft to Enable Homeland Security (PDF)

January 13, 2012

This issue brief highlights the value of applying analytic tradecraft techniques more widely throughout the homeland security community. Author and HSPI Senior Fellow Jon Nowick maintains that, especially when used to promote collaboration, these techniques can help members of the homeland security community enhance performance and mitigate risk.

Mexico and the Triple Threat (PDF)

October 20, 2011

Reviewing the extent of the triple threat and efforts to respond to it, both individually and jointly on the part of the Government of Mexico and the United States Government, Cardash, Cilluffo, and Tussing write: “The question remains…whether strategy and doctrine in Mexico, in the United States, and in the region can and will keep pace with the triple threat…that is at once adaptive, lethal, and determined.”

Running a Three-Legged Race; the San Diego Police Department, the Intelligence Community, and Counterterrorism (PDF)

August 01, 2011

Mills and Clark find that the CIU's decision to learn from the intelligence community and the local fusion center represents a step forward in local law enforcement counterterrorism practices. However, lessons learned by the San Diego Police Department will be of little use unless local law enforcement agencies work with their local fusion centers and the broader intelligence community.

Yemen & Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula: Exploiting a Window of Counterterrorism Opportunity (PDF)

June 24, 2011

AQAP’s ascension in the wake of the Yemeni government collapse again illustrates the dangers of un- and under-governed states as terrorist sanctuaries. Al Qaeda exploits underlying conditions in these safe havens to plan, train and execute global terrorist attacks. Thus the question becomes: how does the U.S. counter AQAP amidst pending state failure in Yemen?

Egyptian Crosscurrents: The Muslim Brotherhood and Democracy on the Nile (PDF)

March 02, 2011

The Muslim Brotherhood is the world's oldest and most influential Islamist movement. Founded in 1928, the Brotherhood, like most of the movements that sprang up in Egypt at the time, was opposed to colonial rule and advocated Egyptian independence. But while most took inspiration from Western-imported ideologies, the Brotherhood based its discourse on Islam.

The Global Muslim Brotherhood: Myth or Reality? (PDF)

March 02, 2011

Is there a super-organization, a global Muslim Brotherhood central entity directing or coordinating the activities of varied groups across the Arab and Muslim world?

What's the Big Idea? Confronting the Ideology of Islamist Extremism (PDF)

February 04, 2011

Attempting to address the symptoms of the violent Islamist ideology without confronting the cause is tantamount to relying on tactics rather than strategy—which is not a recipe for long term success.

Cloud Computing Risks and National Security: Keeping Pace With Expanding Technology (PDF)

September 09, 2010

While cloud computing offers limitless possibilities in terms of collaboration and access to data, the indefinable structure of this advanced technology raises several security concerns. The George Washington Policy University Homeland Security Policy Institute hosted a recent forum sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton and Cisco Systems to address the myriad security concerns that arise as cloud computing deployments expand.

East African Piracy (PDF)

July 08, 2009

East African Piracy, thrust into American political discourse by the dramatic rescue of merchant Captain Richard Phillips, represents a small but growing challenge to the United States and larger international community. The recent introduction of legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives suggests that despite the absence of continued media attention, the issue has not disappeared.

Dependence on Non-Profits During Major Disaster Relief: A Risky Dilemma (PDF)

January 30, 2009

Non-profits have been a key resource for survivors of disasters in the United States and around the world for many years. People depend on them and expect them to be there when a disaster strikes. But what happens when the disaster is too large and beyond the capability of local communities and non-profits to manage?

Hey Good Samaritans—Get A Lawyer! (PDF)

January 30, 2009

We cannot afford to have volunteers sit on the sidelines when disaster strikes. In the event of a major disaster such as a terrorist attack, law enforcement and emergency response personnel will be overwhelmed—and, if anything, Hurricane Katrina demonstrated that we cannot wait around for FEMA to show up.

Serving America's Disaster Victims: FEMA, Where Does It Fit? (PDF)

January 13, 2009

As the debate regarding the bureaucratic placement of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) within the executive branch intensifies, we implore pundits and policymakers alike to pause and consider more broadly the implications of any reshuffling. Serving America’s disaster victims must be the primary focus of any discussion regarding FEMA.

Poverty and Terrorism (PDF)

August 21, 2007

Does poverty cause terrorism? The short answer is: no. The long answer, however, is a little more complicated: poverty might not turn anyone into a terrorist, but it often makes the terrorists’ goals easier to achieve.

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