Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Center for International Security and Cooperation Stanford University


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Governance, Organizations and Security


Governments and the private sector face constant threats of cyber-intrusion traveling across borders on far-reaching computer networks. Unsafe food and infectious disease affect millions of people. Failed or failing states are unable to assure security for their citizens and can undermine regional and global security. 

All of these challenges implicate critical problems of governance and organization affecting security, international cooperation and the continuing evolution of nation-states. Governance and organization issues can affect the ability of government agencies to transcend cultural or bureaucratic problems that sometimes bedevil security policy, law, economics and society. They can impact the ability of nations to tackle global problems such as food security, arms proliferation and human rights. Ultimately, governance issues affect the resilience of societies as they confront risks in a changing and uncertain world.

Understanding and addressing these issues is a priority for CISAC. Former CISAC Co-Director Scott Sagan has done extensive work on the development and enforcement of transnational strategies to bolster the nuclear nonproliferation regime. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall has published on the importance of allies and alliances to U.S. security. James Fearon and Jeremy Weinstein have written extensively about the relationship between development aid and social cohesion after civil war. Stephen Stedman has authored numerous publications on the role of international organizations in global security, including the U.N. High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change’s report A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility.

Governance and organization problems are just as important to national-level policies that address security and safety. CISAC scholars are working on the development and evaluation of strategies for ensuring the proper and effective role of intelligence in security and cooperation. Thomas Fingar has published widely about methods of analysis in the U.S. intelligence community, as well as the relationship between intelligence and U.S. government agencies. In her book, Spying Blind, CISAC Co-Director Amy Zegart provided the first scholarly examination of the intelligence failures leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. 

Other researchers, including FSI Director Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, are pursuing projects that explore the role of the executive branch in the United States and the relationship between national security and the organization of federal agencies such as the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.


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