Micah Zenko

Politics, Power, and Preventive Action

Zenko covers the U.S. national security debate and offers insight on developments in international security and conflict prevention.

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Tracking Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan

by Micah Zenko

This blog post was coauthored with my research associate, Amelia M. Wolf.

Since the Afghanistan war began twelve years and four months ago, the fate of innocent civilians has been a constant focus of Afghan and international audiences. Trying to understand and assign responsibility for harm to noncombatants in an insurgency/counterinsurgency conflict has been tremendously difficult, due to the obstacles faced by reporters and human rights investigators to obtain direct access to alleged victims, and the motivated biases of combatants to defend their targeting practices. Recently, the office of Afghan President Hamid Kharzai has taken to distributing demonstrably fake evidence to attempt to blame the United States for civilian deaths, and blamed the U.S. military for terrorist attacks overwhelmingly believed to have been committed by the Taliban. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Global Threats Hearing, China’s ADZ, Drones in Pakistan

by Micah Zenko

Hearing on Global Threats to the U.S., U.S. House Intelligence Committee, February 4, 2014.

REPRESENTATIVE JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D-IL): Director Clapper, do you have any concrete intelligence of a relationship between Snowden and the Russian government in regard to the stolen documents? Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Afghanistan, Targeted Killings, and U.S. Policy Priorities

by Micah Zenko
A U.S. soldier at the site of a suicide attack on a NATO base in Zhari on January 20, 2014. (Nadeem/Courtesy Reuters) A U.S. soldier at the site of a suicide attack on a NATO base in Zhari on January 20, 2014. (Nadeem/Courtesy Reuters)

Alice K. Ross, “Leaked official document records 330 drone strikes in Pakistan,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, January 29, 2014. Read more »

Why the U.S. and Russia Won’t Cooperate to Protect the Sochi Games

by Micah Zenko

With the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia scheduled to start in twelve days, U.S. officials and policymakers have repeatedly raised the possibility of a terrorist attack by Chechen militant groups. On Friday, the State Department issued a qualified travel alert for U.S. athletes and visitors to Sochi: “There is no indication of a specific threat to U.S. institutions or citizens, but U.S. citizens should be aware of their personal surroundings and follow good security practices.” That same day, secretary of defense Chuck Hagel declared: “If we need to extract our citizens, we will have appropriate arrangements with the Russians to do that.” Read more »

You Might Have Missed: USS Cowpens, French Reapers, and the World Economic Forum

by Micah Zenko
The guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens maneuvers into position during a replenishment-at-sea. Cowpens is on patrol with the George Washington Carrier Strike Group supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (Barnes/Courtesy U.S. Navy) The guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens maneuvers into position during a replenishment-at-sea. Cowpens is on patrol with the George Washington Carrier Strike Group supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (Barnes/Courtesy U.S. Navy)

Samuel J. Locklear III, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, “Department of Defense Press Briefing by Admiral Locklear in the Pentagon Briefing Room,” U.S. Department of Defense, January 23, 2014. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: NSA Reforms, CIA Drone Strikes, and Benghazi

by Micah Zenko
President Barack Obama speaks about the National Security Agency from the Justice Department in Washington on January 17, 2014. (Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) President Barack Obama speaks about the National Security Agency from the Justice Department in Washington on January 17, 2014. (Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-28: Signals Intelligence Activities,” White House, January 17, 2014.

When the United States collects nonpublicly available signals intelligence in bulk, it shall use that data only for the purposes of detecting and countering: (1) espionage and other threats and activities directed by foreign powers or their intelligence services against the United States and its interests; (2) threats to the United States and its interests from terrorism; (3) threats to the United States and its interests from the development, possession, proliferation, or use of weapons of mass destruction; (4) cybersecurity threats; (5) threats to U.S. or allied Armed Forces or other U.S. or allied personnel; and (6) transnational criminal threats, including illicit finance and sanctions evasion related to the other purposes named in this section. (page 4) Read more »

Meet Foreign Policy Interrupted

by Micah Zenko
Madeline Albright, former U.S. secretary of state, arrives in London on December 5, 2005. (Hird/Courtesy Reuters) Madeline Albright, former U.S. secretary of state, arrives in London on December 5, 2005. (Hird/Courtesy Reuters)

Elmira Bayrasli and Lauren Bohn are co-founders of Foreign Policy Interrupted, an important and unprecedented new initiative that aims to increase the number of female voices in foreign policy. Working from the ground up through a cohesive fellowship program, including media training and meaningful mentoring at partnering media institutions, FPI helps women break both internal and external barriers to more and better representation in and on the media. I was fortunate to learn more about FPI recently. Read more »

Mapping Global Conflict

by Micah Zenko

We are excited to announce the launch of the Center for Preventive Action’s new interactive guide to U.S. conflict prevention priorities in 2014. The Global Conflict Tracker is based upon the findings of our Preventive Priorities Survey (PPS), which evaluates ongoing and potential conflicts based on their likelihood of occurring in 2014 and their impact on U.S. interests. Read more »

Tracking U.S. Targeted Killings

by Micah Zenko

In January 2013, we released a report that called on President Obama to reform U.S. targeted killing policies in non-battlefield settings. Included in that report was a chart that estimated the number of strikes, total fatalities, and civilian fatalities through the end of 2012. The data was based on averages within the ranges provided by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Long War Journal, and New America Foundation.  We have updated our chart to display all known U.S. targeted killings in non-battlefield settings from the first one on November 3, 2002, through the end of 2013. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Drones, U.S. Arms in Iraq, and Civil-Military Relations

by Micah Zenko
A man looks at the site of bomb attack at a marketplace in Baghdad's Doura District on December 25, 2013. At least 20 people were killed in bomb attacks in Christian areas of Baghdad on Wednesday. Two bombs also went off in a crowded market in a separate, mostly Christian, area in Doura killing another six people and wounding 14. (Ahmed Malik/Courtesy Reuters) A man looks at the site of bomb attack at a marketplace in Baghdad's Doura District on December 25, 2013. At least 20 people were killed in bomb attacks in Christian areas of Baghdad on Wednesday. Two bombs also went off in a crowded market in a separate, mostly Christian, area in Doura killing another six people and wounding 14. (Ahmed Malik/Courtesy Reuters)

 

 

 

 

Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap: FY2013-2038,” U.S. Department of Defense, 2013.

 Inventory of DoD UAS (page 5) Read more »