Mexico: Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking Organizations

  Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) pose the greatest crime threat to the United States and have “the greatest drug trafficking influence,” according to the annual U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) National Drug Threat Assessment. These organizations work across the Western Hemisphere and globally. They are involved in extensive money laundering, bribery, gun trafficking, and… Continue Reading Mexico: Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking Organizations

Iran: Internal Politics and U.S. Policy and Options

U.S.-Iran relations have been mostly adversarial—but with varying degrees of intensity—since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. U.S. officials have consistently identified Iran’s support for militant Middle East groups as a significant threat to U.S. interests and allies, and Iran’s nuclear program took precedence in U.S. policy after 2002 as that program advanced. In 2010,… Continue Reading Iran: Internal Politics and U.S. Policy and Options

Renewed Great Power Competition: Implications for Defense

World events in recent years have led observers, particularly since late 2013, to conclude that the international security environment in recent years has undergone a shift from the post-Cold War era that began in the late 1980s and early 1990s, also sometimes known as the unipolar moment (with the United States as the unipolar power),… Continue Reading Renewed Great Power Competition: Implications for Defense

Bitcoin, Blockchain, and the Energy Sector

The popularity of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology presents both challenges and opportunities to the energy sector. As interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has increased, the energy demand to support cryptocurrency “mining” activities has also increased. The increased energy demand—when localized—can exceed the available power capacity and increase customers’ electricity… Continue Reading Bitcoin, Blockchain, and the Energy Sector

Bahrain: Unrest, Security, and U.S. Policy

  A 2011 uprising by a mostly Shia opposition to the Sunni-minority-led regime of Bahrain’s Al Khalifa ruling family has subsided, but punishments of oppositionists and periodic demonstrations continue. The uprising did not achieve its goal of establishing a constitutional monarchy, but the unrest has compelled the ruling family to undertake some modest reforms. Elections… Continue Reading Bahrain: Unrest, Security, and U.S. Policy

US Foreign Aid to Israel

This report provides an overview of U.S. foreign assistance to Israel. It includes a review of past aid programs, data on annual assistance, and analysis of current issues. Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $142.3 billion (current, or noninflation-adjusted,… Continue Reading US Foreign Aid to Israel

Honduras

Honduras, a Central American nation of 9.1 million people, has had close ties with the United States for many years. The country served as a base for U.S. operations designed to counter Soviet influence in Central America during the 1980s, and it continues to host a U.S. military presence and cooperate on antidrug efforts today.… Continue Reading Honduras

Iran’s Foreign and Defense Policies

  Iran’s national security policy is the product of many overlapping and sometimes competing factors such as the ideology of Iran’s Islamic revolution, perception of threats to the regime and to the country, long-standing national interests, and the interaction of the Iranian regime’s factions and constituencies. Iran’s leadership: * Seeks to deter or thwart U.S.… Continue Reading Iran’s Foreign and Defense Policies

Mozambique: Politics, Economy, and U.S. Relations

Mozambique, a significant recipient of U.S. development assistance, achieved rapid growth following a post-independence civil war (1977-1992), but faces a range of political, economic, and security challenges including unmet development needs, a range of governance shortcomings, organized crime, an ongoing economic slump, and political conflict and violence involving both mainstream political actors and violent extremists.… Continue Reading Mozambique: Politics, Economy, and U.S. Relations

Hypersonic Weapons

The United States has actively pursued the development of hypersonic weapons— maneuvering weapons that fly at speeds of at least Mach 5—as a part of its conventional prompt global strike program since the early 2000s. In recent years, the United States has focused such efforts on developing hypersonic glide vehicles, which are launched from a… Continue Reading Hypersonic Weapons