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Counter Terrorism and Defense

On Putin, Pot and Public Security in 2014

As 2014 begins, it is tempting to comment on trends and things one hopes will happen, or do not happen. A few things have occurred that have me thinking overtime on the latter – such as hesitancy to attend the Olympics given terrorism fears or TSA looking for marijuana from Colorado.

Top 3 Security Issues to Watch in 2014

Of all the big stories to keep your eye on for 2014, what are three, base-level “working-stiff” issues? They are mobile computing, defense readiness, and the connection between Special Operation Forces and intelligence. If we can get these right, it would take us a long way towards better security.

A Bitcoin For Your Thoughts

Bitcoin is a new digital currency. The Cyber age has vastly changed our day-to-day relationship with money, and Bitcoin is here to stay in some shape and form. But is it real money? The bottom line is simple: as people accept Bitcoin as a means of exchange for goods and services, then it’s a currency.

A New Year’s Hope for CFIUS

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is an increasingly robust regulator of foreign investments in U.S. businesses, policing these investments for possible harm to national security. But which investments? CFIUS reviews “covered transactions” that might adversely affect national security. If that’s unclear to you, you’re not alone – but you might be at risk.

NSA Intel Gathering and the Privacy v. Security Conflict

It seems like not a week goes by without yet another report on the NSA’s digital intelligence gathering activities. Understanding what the NSA is up to deserves a robust and nuanced public discussion. The agency’s activities raise challenging questions about just how much privacy Americans are willing to sacrifice in the name of security and counterterrorism.

Johnson Nominated for DHS Secretary – What Does That Tell Us?

The anticipated nomination of Jeh Johnson to become the fourth DHS Secretary is welcomed news almost any way you look at it. Johnson’s prodigious resume and professional history is being chronicled by the homeland security, defense and legal establishment writers. Most of those stories will focus on Johnson’s past experience at the Pentagon, but here are the five most pressing issues he ought to address in his confirmation hearing, as well as his tenure as Secretary (should that occur).

Foreign Buyers Beware – Dismissal of CFIUS Challenge

The United States might look less welcoming to foreign investment these days. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has ceased operations temporarily. Foreign investors seeking the “safe harbor” that CFIUS approval confers will have to wait until CFIUS resumes operations in order to close acquisitions of U.S. companies.

Cyber Space – A New Age, A New Way

As I kid, I loved Superman. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Hiding his identity like a spy. But who was he? “It’s a bird? It’s a plane? No, it’s Superman.” The reason I bring up this dusty piece of nostalgia is my mind drifts toward it every time I hear someone […]

Is Al Qaeda in Yemen Becoming More Dangerous?

As the United States and other world powers weigh the risks and rewards of a strike against Syria, there are rising concerns that destabilizing the Assad regime could give extremists – particularly al Qaeda – an opening to gain strength and weapons. The embassy closures earlier this month threw a spotlight on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), with some suggesting the terrorists in Yemen are more powerful than ever. So are they?

Entering the Era of Homegrown Violent Extremism

As the United States enters another chapter in the ongoing effort to protect U.S. citizens and assets, the phenomenon of homegrown terrorism is likely to take center stage, requiring a new approach and perspective toward homeland security. This is the subject of Homegrown Violent Extremism, a new book from counterterrorism expert and fellow Security Debrief contributor Erroll Southers.