Cyber Incidents of National Significance

At the core of this research is the premise that the goal of securing cyberspace must be grounded in an empirical portrait of actual cyber conflict behavior and security norms. The CyberINS online database draws upon published vulnerability data and processes it through a set of scoring rules to identify cyber incidents with potential national security implications.

As far as SPL can determine, CyberINS is the only dynamic cyber incidents tool that uses open source data, adds research-driven analytical determinations to existing cyber incident reporting, and makes empirical assessments about cyber events in terms of their national significance.

FISA Working Group

In collaboration with the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security, the FISA Working Group aims to make recommendations for revision to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Islam & International Humanitarian Law

With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the SU Humanities Center, the Islam and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) project examines from multiple perspectives the role of Islam and Shari’a plays in IHL and how these perspectives contribute to the regulation of international conflicts, civil wars, asymmetric warfare, and human rights. 

Mapping Global Insecurity

In this project SPL and the Moynihan Institute focuses on scanning the world for “global black spots,” defined as physical areas outside effective governmental control.

Muslim State Armed Conflict & Compliance (MSACC) Dataset: 1947-2014

Most of the world’s humanitarian aid goes to Muslim-majority communities, whether in the form of security support, development aid, or NGO assistance. But policymakers and the public at large do not fully understand conflict dynamics in the Muslim world. Experts, likewise, have little knowledge about how Muslim governments use international legal norms to navigate conflict and postconflict challenges. To better inform and help shape US security and foreign policy, this project uses social science methods to analyze modern Muslim-majority state conflict behavior, to examine these states’ compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL), and to quantify the frequency of IHL language versus Shari’a versus in their constitutions.

Postconflict Justice & Islam

SPL has partnered with the US Institute of Peace and the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences (ISISC) to examine postconflict challenges in the Middle East and the role of international norms and mechanisms to meet those challenges, including the conformity of Shari’a law to internationally recognized forms of postconflict justice, such as prosecutions, truth commissions, lustration, memorialization, and legal reform.

In early 2014, the Brookings’ Project on US Relations with the Islamic World, housed within the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, selected SPL’s white paper “Justice in Postconflict Settings: Islamic Law and Muslim Communities as Stakeholders in Successful Transition” as a working group topic at its prestigious US-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar, June 9 to 11, 2014.

Postconflict Resilience

SPL’s project on Postconflict Resilience is an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional, and cross-sector effort to generate a stream of research aimed at identifying key metrics of adaptive capacity in local communities, organizations, governments, and societies overcome by security challenges such as armed conflict and catastrophic disasters.

Postconflict Transitions

As postconflict stabilization, reconstruction, and peacebuilding efforts draw to a close, foreign actors and their host nation counterparts undergo a “transition” period of shared responsibility or mutual support to one in which host nation institutions assume self-reliant administrative control over the full range of state functions.

The Rise of the Drones

SPL’s project on “The Rise of the Drones” seeks to illuminate the debate on the legality of the use of drones to target enemies, including al-Qa’ida and Taliban operatives, in various locations around the world.

Rule of Law Workshops

  • Law & Security: Perspectives from the Field & Beyond (2013)
  • SPL/Bantle Symposia (2005/2006)

Security Sector Governance

SPL’s Security Sector Governance project addresses difficult, often ambitious efforts embodied in a variety of multi- and unilateral activities, with labels such as Security Cooperation (SC); Security Assistance (SA); Security Sector Reform (SSR); Security Force Assistance (SFA); and Demobilization, Disarmament, and Reintegration (DDR). This project consists of two parts: “Contracting in Complex Operations: Developing a Contracting Framework for Security Sector Reconstruction and Reform” and “The Prospects of Institutional Transfer: A Within-Case Analysis of Partnering Efforts across the Afghan Security Sector.”

Teaching National Security Law & Policy

Annual ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security seminars on Teaching National Security Law bring together the research, legal, and educational communities to discuss the methods, tools, and processes of training future practitioners and leaders.

Veterans’ Research

SPL is collaborating with SU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science and Institute for Veterans and Military Families on a series of multi-method research projects that are providing novel, critical data on veterans’ and institutions’ attitudes toward the post-secondary education of former military personnel—particularly in the science, technological, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields—in order to leverage veterans’ skill sets and to help them remain productive citizens. Projects include the “Service to Student Survey,” “From Battlefield to Classroom,” and “Battlefield Perceptions of Engineering.”

Victim Compensation

SPL’s Victim Compensation project develops a national policy for compensating victims of terrorism through research and dialogue with an interdisciplinary team of practitioners and academics.

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