Category Archives: Vol. 10 No. 1

climate change and national security

The National Security Impacts of Climate Change

As global sea levels rise and extreme weather events become more frequent and more intense, what is the impact on our nation’s military readiness and the capabilities of its forces to carry out their missions? On both the domestic and international front, the effects of climate change could become catastrophic, overwhelming disaster-response capabilities.

Recent actions and statements by members of Congress and US military officers have drawn attention to the consequences of climate change, including the destabilizing effects of storms, droughts, and floods. Military experts note that the fallout from global warming—massive migrations, increased border tensions, and greater demands for rescue and evacuation efforts—could increase the need for more direct US military involvement.

For these reasons, climate change is increasingly recognized as having national security implications, which has spurred dialogue between the climate change and national security communities. This issue brief, by Brian La Shier and James Stanish, provides an overview of the US military’s position on climate change, and specifically how it defines climate change risks and the subsequent challenges the military branches will likely face in the future. In addition, a brief accounting of Department of Defense and Congressional actions on climate and security is provided.

Sovereign Immunity

Sovereign Immunity in Cyber Space: Towards Defining a Cyber-Intrusion Exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

In light of recent foreign cyber-assaults that have jeopardized personal privacy in the United States, it is time for individuals to explore opportunities for private suits against foreign governments. In the first attempt to do this, Doe v. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the courts found that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act barred suit under the Wiretap Act’s private cause of action and the common law tort of intrusion upon seclusion. Kurland posits that either a new exception should be added to the FSIA to ameliorate this legal lacuna.

Artificial Intelligence

Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and the Use of Force by States

Taking an international law perspective, Ashley Deeks, Noam Lubell, and Daragh Murray highlight the potential legal, policy, and ethical challenges that will arise as governments inevitably begin to employ artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to inform their use of force decisions. The authors identify critical questions states should contemplate before developing such algorithms, underscoring that machine learning algorithms could both improve the accuracy of use of force decision making and present negative consequences for states, and recommend prophylactic measures for states as they develop and eventually deploy these tools.

Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and the Use of Force by States