CSIS International Security Brief: May 2022


Dear Colleagues,

It's my pleasure to send you the May 2022 edition of the ISP Brief, the monthly newsletter of the CSIS International Security Program. The ISP Brief features CSIS reports and analyses written by our scholars and includes externally published articles, media highlights such as video interviews and podcasts, and links to recent and upcoming virtual events.

This month our scholars produced analyses on the rise in domestic terrorist attacks and plots at demonstrationsthe challenge of European political will, the defense posture of the United States in the Middle East, and the Wagner Group’s mounting humanitarian cost in Mali. In addition, our PONI Next Generation of Nuclear Professionals published a collection of papers exploring a range of crucial debates.

We had the pleasure of hosting a number of thought leaders, such as the Chief of the Defence Staff of Italy Admiral Giuseppe Cavo DragoneMissile Defense Agency Director VADM Jon Hilland Australian Army Major General Simon Stuart, among others. In addition, we hosted a variety of panel discussions on topics ranging from assessing the Marine Corps' Force Design 2030the Falklands at 40the perils and possibilities of using technology for migration management, and the importance of reinvigorating civics literacy in the workplace.

I welcome your feedback on this newsletter and its contents at ispoutreach@csis.org. I also invite you to follow us on TwitterLinkedInInstagram, and Facebook for the very latest on ISP's work. 


Dr. Seth G. Jones

Dr. Seth G. Jones 

Senior Vice President
Harold Brown Chair
Director | International Security Program
CSIS | Center for Strategic and International Studies
1616 Rhode Island Ave, NW | Washington, DC 20036



Dr. Heather Williams Joins CSIS as Director of Project on Nuclear Issues and Senior Fellow, International Security Program

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Heather Williams, formerly a research fellow at the Project on Managing the Atom and International Security Program at Harvard University’s Belfer Center and a senior lecturer in defense studies at King’s College London, has joined CSIS as director of the Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) and a senior fellow in the International Security Program.



BRIEF: Pushed to Extremes: Domestic Terrorism and Polarization and Protest

The number of domestic terrorist attacks and plots at demonstrations has increased, resulting in escalating violence in U.S. cities between extremists from opposing sides. The CSIS Transnational Threats Team, Dr. Seth G. JonesCatrina DoxseeJared ThompsonGrace Hwang, and Kateryna Halstead, update a CSIS data set to assess trends in domestic terrorism through December 2021.

Watch Dr. Seth G. Jones and Catrina Doxsee discuss the findings in the latest PreView episode here.


REPORT: The Challenge of European Political Will

Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine has galvanized Europe and triggered a renewed focus on hard security and defense. Dr. Seth G. Jones and Colin Wall analyze whether European political will to conduct military missions and operations worldwide will be sustained in the coming years.


CRITICAL QUESTIONS: Biden’s Taiwan Position Is Not an Accident

President Biden deviated from Washington orthodoxy on Taiwan for the third time in six months. It is time to realize he is serious in signaling his intent to support the rules-based international order to deter China from upending the order like Russia has. Learn more on President Biden's Taiwan position from John Schaus.


REPORT: The Coming Storm: Insights from Ukraine about Escalation in Modern War

In the future, there will be more crises like Ukraine that pull in great powers, spark escalation risks based on fear and uncertainty, and test the viability of integrated deterrence. In their latest report, Dr. Benjamin Jensen and Adrian Bogart use insights from Ukraine to discuss escalation in modern war.


REPORT: On the Horizon Vol. 4: A Collection of Papers from the Next Generation of Nuclear Professionals

This month, CSIS’s Project on Nuclear Issues released “On the Horizon Vol. 4: A Collection of Papers from the Next Generation of Nuclear Professionals,” which included research from participants in the 2021 Nuclear Scholars Initiative and edited by Reja Younis. These papers explore a range of crucial debates such as the future of arms control and deterrence, emerging technologies, SSBN vulnerability, public opinion, cyber norms, and the role of regional dynamics including China and India in nuclear security.

EVENT: Lt. Gen. Michael A. Guetlein on What’s Next for Space Systems Command

On May 18, Dr. Cynthia Cook sat down with Lieutenant General Michael A. Guetlein, Commander, Space System Command, for a discussion on the future focus of the Space Systems Command, as he manages the research, design, development, acquisition, launch, and sustainment of satellites and their associated command and control systems.


Massacres, Executions, and Falsified Graves: The Wagner Group’s Mounting Humanitarian Cost in Mali

The Wagner Group is complicit in violence against civilians in Mali, the latest in a long pattern of abuses and war crimes. Catrina Doxsee and Jared Thompson argue that the international community needs to redouble its efforts to protect civilians in Mali and hold the Wagner Group accountable. 


BRIEF: Counterterrorism from the Sky? How to Think Over the Horizon about Drones

The Biden administration is pivoting to "over-the-horizon" counterterrorism operations, relying on drones in places where the United States lacks a physical presence. Erol Yayboke and Christopher Reid assess the risks of remotely piloted aircraft and provide recommendations for their future use.


EVENT: The Future of Italy's Armed Forces

On May 11, Dr. Seth G. Jones hosted Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone, Chief of the Defence Staff of Italy, for a conversation on the future of Italy’s armed forces, Italy’s defense budget and defense planning, implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the evolution of NATO and the European Union.

Read the transcript here.


REPORT: U.S. Defense Posture in the Middle East

​​​​​​There are growing calls for a decrease in the U.S.’s military presence in the Middle East. In their latest report, Dr. Seth G. Jones and Seamus Daniels assess posture options in the context of Chinese, Russian, Iranian, and other threats in the region.


REPORT: Trends in Department of Defense Other Transaction Authority Usage

In their latest report, Gregory Sanders and Rhys McCormick analyze how the federal government’s use of Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreements has exploded in recent years, thanks in large part to a surge in popularity within the Department of Defense (DoD).


EVENT: On the Future of the Marine Corps: Assessing Force Design 2030

On May 16, Mark Cancian hosted a lively panel discussion on the Marine Corps’ force restructure initiative “Force Design 2030,” featuring the Honorable Robert Work, former Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Honorable Dov Zakheim, former Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller), Gen Anthony Zinni (Ret), former commander, Central Command (CENTCOM), and LtGen Paul Van Riper, former commander, Marine Corps Combat Development Command.

Read the transcript here.


EVENT: ‘Civics at Work’ Launch Event

​​​On May 4, Suzanne Spaulding launched CSIS’s Defending Democratic Institutions (DDI) Project’s new initiative, 'Civics at Work,’ a partnership with leading civics groups, national security practitioners, and business leaders looking to elevate civics as a national and economic security imperative. 

The launch event featured Microsoft President Brad Smith, the American Bar Association President-elect Deborah Enix-Ross, Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning, Microsoft VP of Tech and Corporate Responsibility Teresa Hutson, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Senior VP on Emerging Issues Michael Carneyand Annenberg Public Policy Center Director Kathleen Hall Jamieson.



A Conversation with Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO
Featuring: Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Dr. Christopher Chivvis, Dr. Kathleen McInnis, and Munir Jaber, with opening remarks by Dean James B. Steinberg​​

Thursday, June 2, 2022
11:00 am - 12:00 pm ET

Location: Kenney Herter, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)


Assessing Russia's War in Ukraine
Featuring: Dr. Eliot A. Cohen, Emily Harding, Dr. Seth G. Jones, and Hon. Michael Vickers

Friday, June 3, 2022
1:00 pm - 1:45 pm ET


Submit live questions here.