Combating Health-Related Cyber Security Threats with Health Systems Approaches

By |2021-07-12T11:01:53-10:00July 12th, 2021|

By Drs. Sebastian Kevany and Deon Canyon* Cyber Attacks on Health Systems A clear overlap between cyber security and public health realms was made evident during the cyber attacks on Ireland’s health system in May 2021.  Through an encryption process, hackers were able to disable the functionality of the Irish health system, putting lives at risk through the postponement of operations and other essential services. The challenge faced by the Irish government, and the public health system, was to weigh the trade-offs between paying ransom to the hacking group versus risking the release of protected public health information.  At the [...]

Senior Leaders Wargame Insights into the U.S. – North Korea Nuclear Standoff

By |2021-06-22T15:15:13-10:00June 22nd, 2021|

By Deon Canyon,1  Jonathan Cham,2  Jim Potenza3 Introduction On July 28, 2017, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that experts asserted could threaten the mainland United States (Sanger, et al., 2017). This event triggered major shifts in US-DPRK relations. Within an eleven-month period, the two parties moved from threatening kinetic strikes on the other to participating in an unprecedented meeting between the two heads of state. In retrospect, it is easy to place these events within the broader context of US-DPRK relations. However, for decision-makers facing down that pivotal moment, the future seemed [...]

China’s Manipulative Use of Climate Change

By |2021-05-20T12:22:11-10:00May 18th, 2021|

By Deon Canyon * In 2014, following a climate deal between the United States and China, President Obama announced his aim to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, and President Xi Jinping of China reiterated the Paris Agreement commitment by saying that Chinese carbon dioxide emissions would peak by 2030 or earlier. China’s stance was that the impacts of climate change “pose a huge challenge to the survival and development of the human race” and that China is “one of the most vulnerable countries to the adverse impacts of climate change.” By 2016 the results were [...]

Goldilocks Power and the Reform of Irregular Warfare in a Changing World

By |2021-05-13T15:02:59-10:00May 14th, 2021|

By Deon Canyon * The Irregular Warfare (IW) Annex to the 2020 National Defense Strategy defines irregular warfare as “a struggle among state and non-state actors to influence populations and affect legitimacy.” Irregular warfare is called Hybrid Warfare by NATO, New Generation Warfare by Russia, and Unrestricted Warfare by China. All of these terms place an emphasis on influencing populations, primarily using non-military means below the level of conventional war. Although irregular warfare encompasses a range of activities traditionally dominated by special operations forces, such as counter-terrorism, unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency, foreign internal defense and stability operations, this revised definition broadens [...]

India Leading International HADR Cooperation in South Asia

By |2021-05-12T15:28:30-10:00May 10th, 2021|

By Deon Canyon* Introduction There are some simple reasons why there are few multinational and regional disaster response agencies. First, most developed nations do not ask for assistance when disasters and crises strike because they have sufficient capacity to manage the response. Second, some nations are at odds with their neighbors. And third, some nations do not have the resources to assist others. Historically, crisis-prone nations with inadequate resources for immediate relief request assistance from well-developed affluent nations with capable militaries. These providers have typically been Western countries, but that is beginning to change. The most well-known exception is the [...]

SARS-CoV-2 Mutations, Variants, and National Security

By |2021-05-07T08:34:56-10:00May 8th, 2021|

By Deon Canyon, Sebastian Kevany and Michael S. Baker * Mutations are caused by random, spontaneous errors in the RNA-based genetic code of viruses that occur as the virus replicates within a host. The process of continually emerging, small mutations is called antigenic drift. In influenza and Covid, these mutations are often noticeable by observing changes in viral surface proteins, otherwise known as antigens. The human immune system identifies and reacts to foreign antigens by producing antibodies that target the infection. Most vaccines work by presenting a harmless version of the foreign antigen to train the immune system to be [...]

An International Public Health and Virus Surveillance Network for National Security

By |2021-05-06T11:02:18-10:00May 6th, 2021|

By Deon Canyon, Sebastian Kevany and Michael S. Baker* Introduction The monitoring and surveillance of novel and variant, emergent and resurgent, infectious viral diseases is a core need for global health and national security. The United States has not, to date, put a priority on the funding and resourcing of private and public laboratories to identify and monitor Covid variants and mutations. While the U.K. sequences 10% of its positive cases, the U.S. currently only inspects around 0.3-1.5% of positive tests for the presence of viral mutations, which is lower than Gambia, Senegal and even Latvia. This created a “gaping [...]

Anti-Vaccine Sentiment – An Existential Disrupter of National and International Security

By |2021-03-25T11:52:16-10:00March 26th, 2021|

By Deon Canyon and Sebastian Kevany* Vaccine Fears versus Epidemic Containment There are at least 51 brands of viral vaccines containing inactivated or attenuated viruses. Inactivated vaccines prompt an immune response by introducing dead virus particles, while attenuated vaccines contain non-pathogenic live virus particles. These and other vaccines have been extremely effective around the world in preventing 6 million deaths annually, while in the United States, nine diseases have been reduced by 99%. People are unimmunized for various reasons. Most are children who miss out on basic immunization in developing nations due to lack of access. For instance, 190,000 children [...]

Looking Forward: Pandemic, Economic, Vaccine and Social Predictions for ‘Year Two’

By |2021-03-25T11:16:52-10:00March 25th, 2021|

By Sebastian Kevany and Deon Canyon* Summary:  Over a year in to the global pandemic, demand for prognoses and models that will assist in determining key decisions and planning remains as strong as ever – resulting in entire industries that provide forecasts, foresight and insight into possible future outcomes. This demand is in spite of the numerous failures of scientists, academics, politicians, and modelers to work out what is going to happen next.  Nonetheless, the authors attempt to advise on policy and planning decisions for professional activities over the coming six months, up to Autumn / Fall 2021. Never Make [...]

Time for the Pacific Islands Forum to Step-Back and Heal

By |2021-02-25T16:31:03-10:00February 25th, 2021|

By Deon Canyon  * Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, New Zealand, Tonga and Samoa founded the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) as the South Pacific Forum in 1971 and it has come to be considered the primary agency for regionalism in Oceania (Fig 1). Up until recently, its membership comprised the 14 sovereign United Nations member states (Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu); the 2 non-sovereign territories (French Polynesia and New Caledonia); and the 2 sovereign non-UN member states in association with [...]

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