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.

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "National Security"

Evolving State Department-USAID Strategic Goals

by Micah Zenko

In August 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell and USAID administrator Andrew Natsios introduced the first joint State Department – USAID Strategic Plan. These plans are intended to better synchronize the direction of and priorities for the two agencies most responsible for developing and implementing U.S. foreign policy and development assistance programs.  Just yesterday, the fourth Strategic Plan was published, and like the preceding three it lists several broad strategic priorities that are intended to guide State and USAID’s own guidance documents, budgets, directives, and policies. To understand how U.S. foreign policy priorities have shifted between the Bush and Obama administrations in the past decade, please see below for a chart that lists those strategic goals
Read more »

Guest Post: The Hague Nuclear Security Summit: Opportunities for Pakistan and India

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko
Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani speaks to India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul March 27, 2012. (Downing/Courtesy Reuters) Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani speaks to India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul March 27, 2012. (Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

Anna Feuer is a research associate in the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations. Read more »

Highlights Of U.S. Special Operations Command

by Micah Zenko

U.S. Special Operations Command in Review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2015 and the Future Years Defense Program,” Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, March 11, 2014. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Cyberattacks, Asia Pivot, and the U.S. Military and Human Rights

by Micah Zenko
Pro-Russian men hold Russian flags in front of armed servicemen near Russian army vehicles outside a Ukrainian border guard post in the Crimean town of Balaclava March 1, 2014. (Ratner/Courtesy Reuters) Pro-Russian men hold Russian flags in front of armed servicemen near Russian army vehicles outside a Ukrainian border guard post in the Crimean town of Balaclava March 1, 2014. (Ratner/Courtesy Reuters)

Zachary Fryer-Biggs, “DoD Official: Asia Pivot ‘Can’t Happen’ Due to Budget Processes,” Defense News, March 4, 2014.

“Right now, the pivot is being looked at again, because candidly it can’t happen,” Katrina McFarland, assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, told Aviation Week’s Defense Technologies and Requirements conference in Arlington, Va… 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 »

Ten What’s With…Daniel Markey

by Micah Zenko
No Exit from Pakistan:America's Tortured Relationship with Islamabad by Daniel Markey No Exit from Pakistan:America's Tortured Relationship with Islamabad by Daniel Markey

Daniel Markey is Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where he specializes in security and governance issues in South Asia. He has published a book on the future of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, No Exit from Pakistan: America’s Tortured Relationship with Islamabad (Cambridge University Press, October 2013). Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Afghanistan, Threat Deflation, and Signature Strikes

by Micah Zenko
Students gather at the site of a suspected U.S. drone strike on an Islamic seminary in Hangu district, bordering North Waziristan, November 21, 2013 (Syed Shah/Courtesy Reuters). Students gather at the site of a suspected U.S. drone strike on an Islamic seminary in Hangu district, bordering North Waziristan, November 21, 2013 (Syed Shah/Courtesy Reuters).

The Uses of Force,” Economist, November 23, 2013.

It’s too easy to use force,” says Admiral Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “It’s almost the first choice.”


Security and Defense Cooperation Agreement Between the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, November 20, 2013. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Nuclear Iran, Drone Markets, and Terrorism

by Micah Zenko
John Kerry, U.S. secretary of state, Catherine Ashton, European Union high representative for foreign affairs, and Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran foreign minister, during the third day of nuclear talks in Geneva on November 9, 2013 (Jean-Christophe Bott/Courtesy Reuters). John Kerry, U.S. secretary of state, Catherine Ashton, European Union high representative for foreign affairs, and Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran foreign minister, during the third day of nuclear talks in Geneva on November 9, 2013 (Jean-Christophe Bott/Courtesy Reuters).

 

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” International Atomic Energy Agency, November 14, 2013.

Since Iran began enriching uranium at its declared facilities, it has produced at those facilities: Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Benghazi, Syria, and China’s Aid

by Micah Zenko
Attack on U.S. Consulate in Benghazi The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames on September 11, 2012 following an attack on the compount that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other staff members (Al-Fetori/Courtesy Reuters).

Art Swift, “For First Time, American’s Views of Russia Turn Negative,” Gallup, September 18, 2013. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Drone Strikes in Yemen, AQAP, Kissinger on Africa

by Micah Zenko
A military police trooper checks a car at a checkpoint in Sanaa A military police trooper checks a car at a checkpoint in Sanaa, Yemen, on August 6, 2013. The United States told its citizens to leave the country and ordered the evacuation of non-essential government staff out of Sanaa because of a terror threat (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters).

Maria Abi-Habib, Margaret Coker, and Siobhan Gorman, Yemen Steps Back From Terror-Plot Claims, Highlighting U.S.’s Challenge, The Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2013. Read more »