An Israeli soldier on top of a tank in the Golan Heights

An Israeli soldier on top of a tank in the Golan Heights Ariel Schalit/AP

In The Tank: This Week’s Best Defense and National Security Think Tank Offerings

The latest in wonk reads on national security, tech, and more. By Kedar Pavgi

Welcome to the first edition of “In the Tank”, Defense One’s weekly think tank roundup. Every week, we’ll present the latest research published by think tanks from around the world on defense, national security, foreign policy, technology, and management – a tool to help the national security community navigate the future. If you’d like to be included, email Kedar Pavgi at

A World Run on Algorithms?
Banning Garrett
The Atlantic Council

Algorithms, equations and pieces of software that use data for predictive purposes will govern increasingly larger parts of daily life. In this report, Garrett discusses how algorithms have become ubiquitous on sites like Netflix and Amazon, and for defense applications as seen at the National Security Agency.  While there is a significant backlash towards the rampant collection of data, Garrett argues that algorithms are becoming more essential for day to day functions.

Syria Crisis: Views from the region
European Council on Foreign Relations

As the crisis in Syria continues to unfold, analysts at the European Council on Foreign Relations look at how each of the countries in the region see the conflict, and how they’re likely to respond politically, militarily and economically.  The essays take a holistic view of the situation, especially considering the numerous actors involved in Syria, and their differing incentives.

Presidents Need Flexibility on Nuclear Arms Reductions
Arms Control Association

President Obama should be given additional room to manage and reduce the country’s large nuclear force, the authors argue. Recently, Kingston Reif wrote that the United States’ nuclear force was bloated, and senior leaders were underestimating its future cost burden. This paper goes on to say that Congress needs to work with Obama and avoid imposing restrictions as he looks to reduce the country’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

Rising Robotics and the Third Industrial Revolution
Robert A. Manning
The Atlantic Council

Robert Manning looks at the application of robots, and how intelligent machines are poised to become household items. Manning says that robots will affect future jobs and employment, have healthcare and national security applications, and will raise a number of ethical issues as their use becomes more predominant.

Burkina Faso: With or Without Compaoré, Times of Uncertainty (In French)
International Crisis Group

Burkina Faso is holding presidential elections in 2015, and this small, yet strategically important country faces possible political turmoil if current President Compaoré insists on staying past his constitutionally mandated term. Instability in Burkina Faso could “threaten [regional] security and stability,” according to the report. 

Security Briefing Book
Truman National Security Project

This new book provides policy guidance on major national security issues facing decision makers. It provides background, information on communication and presentation, along with an analysis of available policy options.

(Image by Vaju Ariel via Shutterstock)