Book Launch—City of Omens: A Search for the Missing Women of the Borderlands – July 11 NYC

I am very happy to host this book launch and moderate the subsequent discussion with Dan Werb, Maia Szalavitz, and Dr. Patty Gonzalez-Zuñiga, and featuring Dan's new book City of Omens: A Search for the Missing Women of the Borderlands. Having visited and supported harm reduction and community safety work in Tijuana for the past several …

Why Declaring ‘War’ on Mexican Drug Cartels Is a Bad Idea

A recent proposal for US Congress to “declare war” on Mexican cartels in order to curb the growing number of fatal opiate overdoses of Americans is incendiary and dangerous. Not only would it be ineffective in countering cartels or reducing fatal overdoses in the U.S.; it would lead to lead to the murders of thousands more Mexican civilians, not to mention endanger the lives of American soldiers.

Evolving Internal Roles of the Armed Forces: Lessons for Building Partner Capacity

Governments and societies have been contemplating the appropriateness of newly defined or previously secondary purposes for their armed forces, which extend beyond their core role of national defense. These include the assignment of a variety of external and internal military and civilian roles and tasks. Some of these are performed as a subsidiary activity in support of operations under civilian command. An examination of the internal roles of the armed forces in 15 Western democracies shows that armed forces assist in internal security provision mainly as a resource of last resort when efforts are required to respond to exceptional situations. This is the case primarily during and after natural and humanitarian catastrophes as well as other emergencies that exceed the response capacities of civilian and hybrid security institutions. Under the command and control of civilian agencies, the usually subsidiary operations of the armed forces are designed to enhance the capacity of civilian security providers in such situations. What does this mean for armed forces in the developing countries in their indigenous state-building processes? What are the implications for donor nations from the North in their efforts towards “building partner capacity?”

Mapping Evolving Internal Roles of the Armed Forces

It is widely assumed, at least from a Western perspective, that the armed forces provide national defence against external threats. In reality, within many consolidated Western democracies the armed forces are assuming an increasingly wide range of internal roles and tasks. These can include domestic security roles and the provision of humanitarian assistance in situations of natural or humanitarian catastrophe, often under the command and control of different civilian agencies. This SSR Paper seeks to make sense of this complex reality. Different internal roles of armed forces are analysed, drawing on the cases of Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Through carefully examining evolving internal roles and identifying patterns and lessons from these experiences, this SSR Paper provides an important contribution to understanding the evolving nature of contemporary armed forces.