Deputy Director of National Intelligence, Susan Gordon, delivered keynote remarks at last week’s Intelligence Studies Project spring symposium: “Intelligence in Transition.” In a follow-up article for the Washington Post, national security reporter and fellow symposium participant, Ellen Nakashima, quoted Gordon’s remarks and complimented her candor.

In a recently released research brief, CEPSA Researcher and Strauss Distinguished Scholar, Dr. Joshua Busby and his team discuss climate change vulnerability in South and Southeast Asia. CEPSA Research Brief No. 12, titled “Climate Security Vulnerability in Asia V2”, presents the updated findings of the Asian Climate Security Vulnerability model version 2 (ACSV V2), an attempt to map sub-national climate security vulnerability in 11 countries in South and Southeast Asia. South Asian countries include Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Southeast Asian countries include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Strauss Distinguished Scholar Rana Siu Inboden investigates the role of authoritarian countries in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) NGO Committee and finds that the Like-Minded Group (LMG), a coalition of largely authoritarian nations, have often blocked non-governmental organizations (NGO) from gaining consultative status in the United Nations. Her findings are presented in the Strauss Center Report, Authoritarian States: Blocking Civil Society Participation in the United Nations. She provides background on the origins, composition and evolution of the Like-Minded Group (LMG), which first emerged in the UN Commission on Human Rights in the late 1990s. Although not formally active under the LMG banner in the United Nation's New York-based bodies, a number of these countries sit on the UN ECOSOC NGO Committee, which is responsible for reviewing NGO applications for UN consultative status. She presents original research showing that LMG countries were responsible for deferred applications 94 percent of the time and that LMG member countries often do each other's bidding on the Committee. These actions limit the ability of NGOs to access and contribute the work of the United Nations, especially civil society organizations working on human rights-related issues. It also underscores the threat that authoritarian countries present beyond their borders. Dr. Inboden concludes this report with recommendations to improve the UN's process for reviewing NGO applications for consultative status, including urging countries with a commitment to civil society to stand for election to the NGO Committee and advance reform proposals.

In her article, “How Many Central Americans Are Traveling North,” (Spanish version available here) Mexico Security Initiative Director Stephanie Leutert, along with LBJ Student Sarah Spalding, attempt to calculate how many Central Americans are making the trip to the United States. To answer the question, they build a model that incorporates data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Mexico's National Migration Institute, divided into categories such as families, unaccompanied minors, and adults. At the end of the article, Leutert and Spalding find that between FY2014 and 2018, there were approximately 250,000-312,000 people traveling north per year. However, over the past five months, the numbers of Central Americans traveling north has increased dramatically, potentially reaching more than 700,000 for FY2019. Currently, these migration patterns are dominated by Guatemalans (49%), Hondurans 35% and Salvadorans (16%).

At a USAID Adaptation Community Meeting on The Intersection of Global Fragility and Climate Risks, Ashley Moran, the State Fragility Initiative Director at the Strauss Center, discussed how extreme weather and other climate risks pose a multi-faceted and urgent security risk for fragile states.