Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence

About the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence

The Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence (21CSI) was created to address the key issues shaping security policy over the coming decades. The Center seeks to answer the critical questions emerging in defense, cybersecurity, arms control and intelligence in an all-encompassing manner, seeking not just to explore important new policy challenges but also how they cross traditional fields and domains.

The Center focuses on delivering cutting-edge research, analysis and outreach that shapes public understanding and official decision-making across a broad range of security issues. The Center encompasses four key focal points of public policy research:

  • A Defense Policy team focuses on key trends in warfare and how the U.S. military should respond, both in the near and long term. It is led by Michael O’Hanlon, one of the most widely quoted and influential defense scholars in the world. He is joined by Vanda Felbab-Brown, a leading expert on illicit networks and counterinsurgency, and retired United States Marine Corps general John R. Allen. It also houses the Federal Executive Fellows (FEF) program, which allows career officers from each military service and Coast Guard to spend a year in residence researching and publishing on defense topics, as well as an International Security Fellowship, which hosts officers from allied militaries.
  • The Brookings Intelligence Project, focusing on the nexus between policymaking and intelligence, will be led by Bruce Riedel, a 30-year veteran of the intelligence community. He is supported by a team of resident and non-resident researchers, including career public servants from the intelligence and diplomatic community, John McLaughlin, Paul Pillar and Daniel Benjamin, in addition to two Federal Executive Fellows from the Central Intelligence Agency and National Counterterrorism Center. The project is unique in that it is the first program at a major research institution to focus on intelligence from the perspective of policy process.
  • The Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative examines both the emerging questions of nuclear proliferation and the continued legacy of the Cold War. It is led by Steve Pifer, former special assistant to the president and advisor on the START talks, who is joined by a team that includes Robert Einhorn, previously the State Department’s special advisor for nonproliferation and arms control, and Gary Samore, who served as special assistant to the president for weapons of mass destruction non-proliferation and counterterrorism. The initiative also houses a new program designed to cultivate the next generation of arms control scholars.
  • Finally, a new research node on Cybersecurity brings together the work of experts like Ian Wallace, previously a senior official at the British Ministry of Defense who helped develop British cyber strategy as well as its cyber relationship with the United States, Richard Bejtlich, chief security strategist at FireEye, and Ralph Langner, the cybersecurity expert credited with “decoding” Stuxnet.

The Center is designed to draw lessons from across related fields to allow an even greater scope of collaboration and dissemination for maximum policy impact  In addition, 21CSI serves as a linking point for the security studies world to the wealth of expertise and capacity that exists within Foreign Policy Studies at Brookings and its world-class regional centers, including the Center on the United States and Europe, the Center for East Asia Policy Studies, the John L. Thornton China Center and the Center for Middle East Policy. The creation of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence promotes the close integration of regional knowledge with functional security analysis in a manner not possible at other institutions.