Strauss Center News

Updates from the Strauss Center and our affiliated distinguished scholars and fellows


New Programs on Special Operations Forces, Middle East Water and Security, and State Fragility

May 13, 2015 |

This spring the Strauss Center has rolled out three new programmatic areas, with research well underway in each.

Strauss Center Associate Director Ashley Moran leads the Middle East Initiative on Water, Energy, and Security, partnering with Kevin Rosner, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security and Associate at the Stockholm Environment Institute. Moran and Rosner have spent the spring months working with graduate students Ellen Scholl and Christine Bonthius on a pilot project on Iraq and Jordan to collect and map water and energy resources and infrastructure, along with their relation to various population groups in both countries. The aim is to identify where development and humanitarian needs lie along this water-energy nexus and support strategies to meet the needs of local and refugee populations.

Associate Director Moran is also heading up the new State Fragility program, which looks at the implications of fragility on national and international security as it relates to U.S. policy and military decision making. Program research explores the factors that drive state fragility, assessing potential precursors to state fragility and possible responses to prevent and alleviate that fragility.

The Special Operations Forces initiative is led by Distinguished Scholar Dr. Ami Pedahzur in close collaboration with Strauss Center Administrator and retired Marine Meg Dampier and undergraduate researcher Baldamar Barba. The program analyzes the rise and use of Special Operations Forces, and its implications for the future of warfare. As a part of the program, Dampier and Pedahzur have been interviewing both retired and active duty officials from the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) to assess the evolution of MARSOC, which was the last of the U.S. services to stand up a special operations command.

For more information on all of the Strauss Center’s programs, visit