USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, April 26 - May 2, 2012

Table of Contents

**Click here to subscribe to USIP's Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding News Roundup,
which includes a special section on Internet and social media.**

Building the Pentagon's 'Like Me' Weapon
The Pentagon wants to understand the science behind what makes people violent. [A program] started last year looks at finding ways to generate versions of events that could be used in attempts to persuade people not to support the enemy. Known as Narrative Networks, it seeks to "understand how narratives influence human thoughts and behaviour, then apply those findings to a security context in order to address security challenges such as radicalization, violent social mobilization, insurgency and terrorism, and conflict prevention and resolution.
See the full article (BBC, Sharon Weinberger, 5/2/12)
[Return to top]

Silkworms and Squid Inspire Smart Materials
Research published on Wednesday reveals advances in materials science that could transform industries struggling with the rising cost and scarcity of raw materials and save lives in post-conflict countries still clearing minefields. Their research could lead to lightweight armor that dissipates rather than deflects the particular components of a blast that do the most damage to the human body - much like crumple zones in modern cars or sound-absorbing sonar tiles that make submarines harder to detect.
See the full article (Reuters, Chris Wickham, 5/2/12)
[Return to top]

Military Leaders Seek Higher Profile for Pentagon's Cyber Command Unit
Senior military leaders are recommending that the Pentagon's two-year-old cyberwarfare unit be elevated to full combatant command status, sending a signal to adversaries that the U.S. military is serious about protecting its ability to operate in cyberspace. The elevation of Cyber Command to a level on a par with commands protecting entire regions and continents would give the nation's top cyberwarriors more direct access to Dempsey and Panetta, allowing them more clout in the struggle for resources.
See the full article (Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima, 5/1/12)
[Return to top]

Q&A with George Clooney: Hollywood Legend Talks Sudan, Satellites and How to Stop Atrocities
If you wanted a celebrity to adopt your cause, you'd pray for George Clooney. The 50-year-old gets to address Congress, the National Security Council and the U.N. General Assembly, meet U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and have dinner with President Barack Obama. He is resourceful enough to rent a satellite and point it at Sudan. "How come you could Google Earth my house and you can't Google Earth where war crimes are being committed? It doesn't make sense to me."
See the full article (CNN, Alex Perry, 4/27/12)
[Return to top]

How Tech Can Help Prevent Violence
Just as researchers are able to predict tornadoes and tsunamis, they can sometimes predict war and violence, too. Researchers developed the world's first early-warning systems to protect civilians after the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Now the Obama administration has put out a call for the next generation of technologies made to prevent mass torture, killings and more. USAID -- a government agency responsible for providing humanitarian aid -- issued a challenge seeking technology to prevent atrocities.
See the full article (Discover News, Francie Diep, 4/30/12)
[Return to top]

Obama Administration Details Rationale for Covert Drone War
White House counterterrorism official John Brennan detailed the Obama administration's rationale for using drone strikes against al-Qaeda targets, the first time the Obama administration has publicly laid out its defense of targeted killings outside of "hot" battlefields such as Afghanistan. Brennan said that President Obama wants to be more open with the American public about the use of targeted strikes.
See the full article (USA Today, Aamer Madhani, 4/30/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "USIP Annual Conference on Security Sector Transformation in North Africa and the Middle East" on May 10 at 8:30am.
[Return to top]

Predators for Peace
The technological versatility of airborne drones, the flying robots that are already transforming warfare, also has the potential to revolutionize how humanitarian aid is delivered worldwide. Now used by the U.S. military to conduct surgical, sniper-like missile strikes against al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders in the badlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan, drones have many capabilities that are easily applicable to peaceful pursuits as well.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Jack C. Chow, 4/27/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism in Pakistan" on May 9 at 10:00am.
[Return to top]

Cyberwar May be New Tool in Iran's Arsenal
U.S. lawmakers have eagerly speculated about the threat that would be represented by a nuclear-armed Iran. Now they have a new concern: a cyber-armed Iran. Security experts are looking closely at Iran's cyber capabilities and considering whether Iran might be tempted to launch a cyber attack on the United States, possibly in retaliation for a U.S. or Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities.
See the full article (NPR, 4/26/12)
[Return to top]

The World's Five Biggest Cyber Threats
As computers organise and dominate more and more of our world, five distinct threats are emerging, says Eugene Kaspersky, founder and chief executive of Russian computer security firm Kaspersky Lab and speaker at this year's Counter Terror Expo in London. The first threat is cyber warfare, he says - exactly what Stuxnet was about. And just last weekend, Iran took key oil facilities offline after their computer systems suffered a malware attack.
See the full article (BBC, Katia Moskvitch, 4/26/12)
[Return to top]

House Passes CISPA in Surprise Vote
The U.S. House of Representatives surprised the tech industry Thursday by voting on, and passing, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) after having originally scheduled a vote for Friday. The bill was amended several times prior to the final vote, most significantly to include a sunset clause. Proponents of the bill have framed it as an "information sharing" measure that is necessary to protect companies from hacking and the country form cyber-attack.
See the full article (CNN, Tom Krazit and Jeff Roberts, 4/26/12)
[Return to top]

In U.S.-Russia Deal, Nuclear Communication System May be Used for Cybersecurity
A secure communications channel set up to prevent misunderstandings that might lead to nuclear war is likely to expand to handling new kinds of conflict - in cyberspace. The Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, established in 1988 under President Ronald Reagan so that Washington and Moscow could alert each other to missile tests and space launches that could be mistaken as acts of aggression, would take a central role in [ensuring] that misperceptions in cyberspace do not escalate to full hostilities.
See the full article (Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima, 4/26/12)
[Return to top]

Click here to subscribe to USIP's Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding News Roundup,
which includes a special section on Internet and social media.

Did we miss anything?



Share this: FacebookDeliciousDiggMySpaceStumbleUponGoogleMicrosoftYahoo! BookmarksLinkedIn| Forward this to a Friend