Journal Articles

*denotes student co-author

Cybersecurity and its Discontents: AI, the Internet of Things, and Digital Misinformation,International Journal 73:2 (2018).

The future of cybersecurity is in flux. Artificial intelligence challenges existing notions of security, human rights, and governance. Digital misinformation campaigns leverage fabrications and mistruths for political and geostrategic gain. And the Internet of Things—a digital landscape in which billions of wireless objects from smart fridges to smart cars are tethered together—provides new means to distribute and conduct cyberattacks. As technological developments alter the way we think about cybersecurity, they will likewise broaden the way governments and societies will have to learn to respond. This policy brief discusses the emerging landscape of cybersecurity in Canada and abroad, with the intent of informing public debate and discourse on emerging cyber challenges and opportunities.

* The Security and Financial Implications of Blockchain Technologies: Regulating Emerging Technologies in Canada,” (with E. Ducas), International Journal 72:4 (2017).

Driven by advances in data analytics, machine learning, and smart devices, financial technology is changing the way Canadians interact with the financial sector. The evolving landscape is further influenced by cryptocurrencies: non-fiat, decentralized digital payment systems, like Bitcoin, that operate outside the formal financial sector. While Bitcoin has garnered attention for facilitating criminal activity, including money laundering, terrorism financing, digital ransomware, weapons trafficking, and tax evasion, it is Bitcoin’s underlying protocol, the blockchain, that represents an innovation capable of transforming financial services and challenging existing security, financial, and public safety regulations and policies. Canada’s challenge is to find the right balance between oversight and innovation. Our paper examines these competing interests: we provide an overview of blockchain technologies, illustrate their potential in Canada and abroad, and examine the government’s role in fostering innovation while concurrently bolstering regulations, maintaining public safety, and securing the integrity of financial systems.

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*The 60 Days of PVE Campaign: Lessons on Organizing an Online, Peer-to-Peer, Counter-radicalization Program,” (with B. Rigato, on behalf of 60 Days of PVE group), Journal of Deradicalization, Issue No. 12 (2017)

Combatting violent extremism can involve organizing Peer-to-Peer (P2P) preventing violent extremism (PVE) programs and social media campaigns. While hundreds of PVE campaigns have been launched around the world in recent months and years, very few of these campaigns have actually been reviewed, analyzed, or assessed in any systematic way. Metrics of success and failure have yet to be fully developed, and very little is publically known as to what might differentiate a great and successful P2P campaign from a mediocre one. This article will provide first-hand insight on orchestrating a publically funded, university-based, online, peer-to-peer PVE campaign – 60 Days of PVE – based on the experience of a group of Canadian graduate students. The article provides an account of the group’s approach to PVE. It highlights the entirety of the group’s campaign, from theory and conceptualization to branding, media strategy, and evaluation, and describes the campaign’s core objectives and implementation. The article also analyzes the campaign’s digital footprint and reach using data gleamed from social media. Finally, the article discusses the challenges and difficulties the group faced in running their campaign, lessons that are pertinent for others contemplating a similar endeavour.

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Cyber Deterrence and Critical Infrastructure Protection: Expectation, Application, and Limitation,Comparative Strategy 36:4 (2017).

Linking deterrence theory to cybersecurity policy and critical-infrastructure protection is easier said than done. Recent cybersecurity incidents involving the United States, China, Russia, and North Korea illustrate the yawning gap between cyber deterrence expectations, applications, and results. This article draws on classical deterrence theory to illustrate how the logic of deterrence applies to cybersecurity policy and strategy. By differentiating between physical and digital critical infrastructure protection, the article explores the promises and pitfalls of cyber deterrence in practice. Seven limitations are explored in detail, including: denying digital access, commanding cyber retaliation, observing deterrence failure, thwarting cyber misfits, addressing the cyber power of weakness, attributing cyber attacks, and solidifying red lines.

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The Dark Side of Extended Deterrence: Thinking Through the State Sponsorship of Terrorism,Journal of Strategic Studies 40:1 (2017).

States employ extended deterrence to shield third parties from aggression. The concept is traditionally applied to interstate relations, collective security arrangements, and strategic considerations. The protective relationship that exists between a state sponsor of terrorism and its non-state militant proxy is rarely considered. This article will introduce and explore the sponsor–proxy relationship in the context of extended deterrence, and relate it to Iran’s support and sponsorship of political violence, militancy, and terrorism in Europe. The article reviews the rationale states have for sponsoring terrorism, and illustrates the promises and pitfalls associated with extending deterrence to non-state militants.

Contemporary Deterrence Theory and Counterterrorism: A Bridge too Far?NYU Journal of International Law and Politics 47:2 (2015).

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Deterring an ‘Army Whose Men Love Death’: Delegitimizing al-Qaida,” (with Jerry Mark Long), International Security 39:1 (2014).

Deterring terrorism is no longer a provocative idea, but missing from the contemporary theoretical investigation is a discussion of how delegitimization might be used to manipulate and shape militant behavior. Delegitimization suggests that states and substate actors can use the religious or ideological rationale that informs terrorist behavior to influence it. In the case of al-Qaida, the organization has carefully elaborated a robust metanarrative that has proved to be remarkably successful as a recruitment tool, in identity formation for adherents, as public apologia and hermeneutic, and as a weapon of war—the so-called media jihad. In the wake of the upheaval of the Arab Spring, al-Qaida and its adherents have redeployed the narrative, promising a new social order to replace the region's anciens régimes. Delegitimization would have the United States and its friends and allies use al-Qaida's own narrative against it by targeting and degrading the ideological motivation that guides support for and participation in terrorism.

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Fencing in Warfare: Threats, Punishment, and Intra-war Deterrence in Counterterrorism,Security Studies 22:4 (2013)

New theoretical approaches have been developed that apply deterrence and coercion to counterterrorism. Critics have suggested, however, that in the particular case of deterring terrorism by threats of punishment, a mismatch exists between deterrent goals and counterterrorism intentions: the twin aims of destroying and deterring a single opponent is logically and theoretically incompatible. These criticisms, however, neglect to take two important factors into consideration. First, threats of punishment in counterterrorism can be applied against a wide assortment of actors involved in and associated with terrorism and political violence. Second, the concept of “intra-war deterrence” suggests ways in which a state can deter certain behavior or a specific form of warfare while engaging in open conflict with that same adversary. In exploring both factors, this article posits that states can gain coercive leverage over different actors involved in terrorism, including organizations with which they are actively hoping to defeat.

The Next Generation Fighter Club: How Shifting Markets will Shape Canada’s F-35 Debate,” (with Marco Wyss) Canadian Military Journal 12:2, (2012): 18-27.

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Apocalypse Soon? Deterring Nuclear Iran and its Terrorist Proxies,Comparative Strategy 31:1, (2012): 18-40.

The arguments presented here are based on a future scenario in which Iran has succeeded in developing nuclear weapons. Employing the logic and theory of deterrence, the article suggests ways in which the United States and its allies might counter, contain, and coerce nuclear Iran's sponsorship of terrorism and nonstate militant groups. Four strategic concerns are explored in particular: nuclear Iran may blackmail rival and neighboring states; shield an especially assertive foreign policy; protect its nonstate proxies and protégés; and facilitate nuclear terrorism. Deterrence theory is applied to each scenario.

Opportunity Costs or Costly Opportunities? The Arab Spring, Osama Bin Laden, and al Qaeda’s African Affiliates,Perspectives on Terrorism 5:3/4, (2011): 50-62.

There is little doubt that Al-Qaeda faces twin challenges in the “Arab Spring” sweeping North Africa and the Middle East (MENA) and in the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011. Al-Qaeda’s violent narrative has come under immense pressure following the toppling of Arab regimes by largely secular and peaceful protest movements while the removal of bin Laden robs the organization of a charismatic and unifying figure. Yet for Al-Qaeda’s most prominent African affiliates — Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Somalia’s Al-Shabaab — the political upheaval sweeping the MENA region also creates opportunities for growth. And while the elimination of Al-Qaeda’s founding leader will certainly sting, bin Laden’s exit is unlikely to greatly influence AQIM’s or Al-Shabaab’s aspirations, tactics, or strategies. This paper offers a critical overview of the costs and opportunities to Al-Qaeda’s African allies in light of the Arab Spring and bin Laden’s death.

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Transformative Radicalization: Applying Learning Theory to Islamist Radicalization,” (with CJ Dubouloz) Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 34:5, (2011): 418-438.

While a consensus has emerged concerning the role radicalization plays in persuading Westerners to participate in terrorism, little research investigates the cognitive processes inherent to radicalization processes. Transformative learning theory, developed from the sciences in education and rehabilitation, offers an interdisciplinary lens with which to study the processes of personal change associated with radicalization. Transformative radicalization explains how triggering factors lead to critical reflection of meaning perspectives and personal belief systems that guide and alter behavior. Using an autobiographical account of the radicalization process, this study offers a plausibility probe of an inherently interdisciplinary and novel theoretical framework.

Deterring the Undeterrable: Coercion, Denial, and Delegitimization in Counterterrorism,Journal of Strategic Studies 34:1, (2011): 3-37. [Awarded: Amos Perlmutter Prize 2010]

This article argues that deterrence theory can be applied to counterterrorism. Doing so requires broadening the traditional concept of deterrence by punishment, expanding deterrence by denial to include defense, mitigation, and strategic hindrance, and developing deterrence by delegitimization to influence the political, ideological, and religious rationales informing terrorist behavior. In practice, deterring terrorism requires tailoring threats against state and individual facilitators, diffusing the intended consequences of terrorism, and manipulating terrorist self–restraints. When these and other deterrent leverages are applied simultaneously against various actors and processes involved in terrorism, coercion can be achieved.

Terrorism in Canada: Victims and Perpetrators,Journal of Military and Strategic Studies 12:3, (2010): 72-99.

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Targeted Killings in Afghanistan: Measuring Coercion and Deterrence in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency,Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 33:4, (2010): 307-329.

This article examines the coercive and deterrent utility of targeting the leaders of violent, non-state organizations with precision force. Building on the literatures on targeted killings and deterrence theory, this article provides a case study analysis of targeted killings in Afghanistan. Relying on publicly available and semi-private sources, the article presents a comparative analysis of four targeted killings conducted against Taliban leaders. Findings suggest that the eliminations degraded Taliban professionalism, diminished the group's success rates, influenced their selection of targets, and weakened morale. These findings speak to the efficacy of targeted killings in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency and to their value as both counter-capability and counter-motivation operations.

Homegrown Terrorism and Transformative Learning: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding Radicalization,” (with CJ Dubouloz) Global Change, Peace & Security 22:1, (2010): 33-51.

Since 2001, a preponderance of terrorist activity in Europe, North America, and Australia, has involved radicalized Westerners inspired by al Qaeda. Described as ‘homegrown terrorism’, perpetrators are citizens and residents born, raised, and educated within the countries they attack. While most scholars and policy-makers agree that radicalization plays a central role in persuading Westerners to embrace terrorism, little research properly investigates the internal and cognitive processes inherent to radicalization. Transformative learning theory, developed from the sciences in education, health, and rehabilitation, provides an unconventional and interdisciplinary way to understand the radicalization process. The theory suggests that sustained behavioural change can occur when critical reflection and the development of novel personal belief systems are provoked by specific triggering factors. In applying transformative learning theory to homegrown terrorism, this study helps explain how formerly non-violent individuals come to condone, legitimize, and participate in violent behaviour.

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The Swiss-ification of Ethnic Conflict: Historical Lessons in Nation-Building from the Swiss Example,Federal Governance 6:1, (2009): 1-27.

No modern nation-state has had as stable an historical legacy as that of Switzerland. In a world of explosive national and international discord, of recurring genocidal hatred, of chronic violence and ethno-cultural war, the Swiss example offers a light onto others, a veritable living political manuscript, outlining the historical methods that allow for the construction of highly stable and functioning multi-ethnic nation-states. Unlocking the Swiss case, then, provides us with the theoretical keys that will be necessary for avoiding “the coming anarchy” of the post-Cold War Era. The essay presents both an exploration of the historical development of Swiss nationalism and an evaluation of whether or not the Swiss example of post-primordial civic nationalism can act as an ideal model for others in Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. From the historical dialogue, three primary circumstances have guided the development of a stable national foundation in Switzerland; (1) the threat of an external ‘alien other’, (2) elite accommodation and consociation of the national project, and (3) an innate willingness and desire to behave and be governed as a unitary, yet multi-ethnic, nation. The conclusions suggest that while the Swiss case is necessarily an end-result of unique historical happenstance, the variables of stability are nevertheless universal and can be replicated by others living in distinct historical eras and geographical proximities. The lessons are of great value, then, to modern nationbuilding projects in Iraq, Sri Lanka, Israel/Palestine, Kashmir, Ireland/England, Spain and even in Canada.

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One Fish, Two Fish, Three Fish…No Fish: Canada’s Navy and the Global Fisheries Crisis,” (with Dr. K. Bigney) Canadian Naval Review 4:2, (2008): 4-9. [Awarded: Bruce S. Oland Essay Competition 2008]

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Deterring Tehran: The Logic behind Israel’s Emerging Cold War,Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs 1:2, (2007): 19-32.

The Environment-Conflict Nexus: Developing Consensus on Theory and Methodology,International Journal 62:1, (2006/7): 169-188.

Freshwater Scarcity and Hydropolitical Conflict: Between the Science of Freshwater and the Politics of Conflict,Journal of Military and Strategic Studies 8:1, (2005): 1-19. [Awarded: SMSS Award of Excellence 2005]

This paper evaluates and assesses hydropolitical conflict and maps the interface currently developing between water scarcity and political crisis and conflict. It discusses the politics of conflict over water in a manner that highlights several key components that represent the underpinnings of a model for studying international conflict over freshwater resources. To this end, the paper itself is presented in two sections. Part one is a discussion of the political ramifications that stem from the scientific characteristics of freshwater in order to understand the linkages between freshwater and political behaviour and international conflict. Part two then advances a foundational construct for a general hydropolitical conflict model that can be used to evaluate and test the basic assumptions of the hydro-conflict nexus.

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