PIPS Fellows 2016-2017

Layla Abi-FalahLayla Abi-Falah    
Silent No Longer: The Reintigration of Female Rape Survivors in Post-Conflict Society
Executive Summary (pdf)
White Paper (pdf)
 

Mass rape during conflict fractures communities, which contributes to broader instability and impedes post-conflict reconstruction. Social stigmas against rape lead to the abuse, exile, and humiliation of female rape survivors, preventing the inclusion of many women in the peace and reconstruction process. To achieve long-lasting peace and stability, the United States should prioritize the reintegration of female rape survivors into society. This paper proposes empowering norm entrepreneurs, establishing education-mediation campaigns, and expanding primary healthcare facilities, which respond to the needs of the community, family, and individual.

Matthew BondyMatthew Bondy    
Bad Bots: The Weaponization of Social Media
Executive Summary (pdf)
White Paper (pdf)
 

In the next several years, hostile states or non-state actors will accelerate their use of social media bots to undermine democracy, recruit terrorists, disrupt markets, and stymie open-source intelligence collection. This report conducts an alternative futures analysis in order to help policymakers identify options to mitigate the threats of social media bots. In the worst-case and most-likely scenario, a technological stalemate between bots and bot-detection leads to a false sense of confidence in social media information, which allows for breakthroughs in bot technology to create disruptions until bot-detection technology advances.

Mitchell Croom, Senior Research FellowMitchell Croom    
Regional Polarity and Alliance Failure: Between a Great Power and a Hard Place
 

Scholars have long endorsed the idea that alliances end due to conflict, war, or the removal of a strong, shared threat. But alliances also fail in the absence of these events, and that type of alliance “death” is poorly understood. This paper argues that alliances in low-threat environments end due to a variety of factors – including countries’ economic health, their material contributions to the alliance, and their regime’s ideology – but that the largest contributing factor to unforced alliance failure is regional polarity. A great power’s pursuit of dominance in a region has a powerful effect on increasing that region’s alliance instability. This trend is demonstrated through a series of case studies of the Middle East, Western Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia, illustrating that alliance longevity depends on regional polarity.

Hali CzosnekHali Czosnek    
Double-Helix, Dual-Use: Securing Synthetic Biological Laboratories
Executive Summary (pdf)
White Paper (pdf)
 

The rapid growth of gene-editing technology, combined with lapses in laboratory safety, risks exposing people to viruses that standard protocols cannot contain and vaccines cannot fight. The potential proliferation of genetically modified viruses requires the United States to secure domestic and foreign laboratories that have access to both pathogens and gene-editing technology, thereby applying its knowledge of securing nuclear and biological weapons to address this new challenge. By physically securing laboratories and standardizing laboratory safety training, the United States can preempt deadly pandemics.

Carolyn De RosterCarolyn DeRoster    
Aggressive Elites: A Policy of Quiet Containment for Russia's Diversionary Tactics
Executive Summary (pdf)
White Paper (pdf)
 

Current international responses to Russia’s aggressive actions, such as in Ukraine and Syria, have failed to curtail Moscow. The current deterrence-based policy relies on an incomplete analysis, which fails to consider that Russian elite dynamics drive diversionary conflict. Elites continue to escalate conflict as a face-saving mechanism to maintain their power. The United States should pursue a policy of “quiet containment” that increases the costs of Russian aggression and reassures allies without playing into Russia’s diversionary strategy.

Haley LarsonLayla Abi-Falah    
Noura the Explorer: Including Children in Morocco's Democratic Process
Executive Summary (pdf)
White Paper (pdf)
 

Although Middle East analysts often point to Morocco’s governance as a democratic model for the region, top-down reform has restricted broad political participation in the Kingdom. A growing youth population and limited outlets for non-violent political expression could lead to a more violent uprising than the Moroccan protests in 2011. This policy paper proposes the development of a children's cartoon series, created by Moroccan youth organizations, that introduces democratic values to promote peaceful civic engagement. A bottom-up approach focused on educating children at an age when most political socialization occurs will foster a lasting culture of democracy in Morocco.

Max SterlingMax Sterling    
The Cyber Collective Threat: A Pack of Lone Wolf Terrorists
Executive Summary (pdf)
White Paper (pdf)
 

Counterterrorism strategies often focus on the structure of terrorist groups, among other variables, to identify and exploit vulnerabilities within those organizations. Terrorist organizations generally range between centralized hierarchical structures to decentralized networks. The cyber world, however, enables the emergence of a structure outside the traditional view: the decentralized, lack-of-command “cyber collective.” This structure has the potential to enhance the resilience of terrorist organizations, increase the frequency of lone wolf terrorist attacks, and reduce the efficacy of targeting high value individuals. The cyber collective represents an unorthodox structure that has yet to be fully realized by a terrorist organization, but the actions of the Islamic State and Anonymous reflect the dangerous potential of this organizational structure.