On Tuesday, March 18, 2014, CNA Corporation convened a symposium of senior-level stakeholders from across the U.S. government (USG) interagency and academia to discuss “persistent engagement in the era of minimal footprint.” What follows is an overview of key themes, perspectives, and tensions that participants raised throughout the discussion.
The U.S. government has described its drone campaign in Pakistan and elsewhere as causing minimal civilian casualties. However, available data–open source data on Pakistan drone strikes, as well as data on air operations in Afghanistan, including drone operations–points to higher casualty numbers than suggested in official statements. Besides their importance to U.S. ethical principles regarding the conduct of war, civilian casualties from U.S. operations also affect national security, fueling threats to the U.S. while simultaneously limiting freedom of action and complicating relations with other nations.
This study provides an overview of Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP) activities, an analysis of the program’s planning and implementation challenges from the strategic to the tactical level, and recommendations that can shape and inform the program to better respond to the region’s ongoing security challenges.
This paper is an update of an earlier CNA Corporation monograph published in September 2013 that examined the leadership and decision-making dynamics under Kim Jong-un. The author felt that Jang Song-taek’s purge and the ramifications it has for the North Korean political structure are so profound that an update was warranted.