Research & Analysis

By Xu Tianran on June 29, 2020

This article tries to give a general idea of the technological level of North Korean nuclear weapon’s miniaturization in a bid to better understand the nuclear threat North Korea poses to the region and the globe. Through examining limited open-source materials the author tries to establish a rough estimate on the size and weight of North Korea’s nuclear bombs. 

Leafleting in North Korea
By Jee Abbey Lee on June 25, 2020

Marking the 70th anniversary of the Korean War, this report explains the practice of leafleting -- focusing on why it is such a big point of contention for North Korea. Private leaflets coming from the South Korea side of the border are seen as a demoralising insult for Pyongyang. When the North Korean public is exposed to detailed or even inflated information about the Kim family, it may lead to questioning the nature of its leadership -- a de facto theocracy.

Global Fragility Act - Report
By Conor Seyle, Elizabeth Hume, Jessica Baumgardner-Zuzik, Eric Keels, Dianna E. Almanza on June 1, 2020

In late 2019, the US government passed the Global Fragility Act as part of the consolidated budget appropriations act.  The Global Fragility Act is a major attempt to redesign how the United States approaches fragility and stabilization work, with an emphasis on improving the coordination between the US State Department, USAID, and the Department of Defense.

Ethics in open source imagery analysis
By Melissa Hanham, Jaewoo Shin on May 21, 2020

The increased availability and lower cost of satellite imagery has made it accessible to civil society in recent years. While universities, think tanks, and nongovernmental organizations are racing ahead to incorporate this form of open-source intelligence (OSINT) into their regular research work, there are a number of unexamined areas that our team at the Open Nuclear Network (ONN) wanted to explore. Are open-source analysts facing ethical dilemmas? If they are, how are they resolved? What resources exist to support them to make such decisions?

Russian Presidential Speeches
By Clayton Besaw on May 21, 2020

This analysis utilizes a machine learning methodology known as topic modeling to identify and uncover thematic trends in Russian presidential speech data from 1999 to 2020.

By Tianran Xu, Jaewoo Shin on April 24, 2020

Since May 2019, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has repeatedly tested two new solid-fuel short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM). Unlike liquid SRBMs such as the SCUD-B/C, the KN-23 and KN-24 missile systems have different designs, means of transportation, and launch methods. However, they have largely overlapping performance and utility. In theory, the longer range KN-23, which appeared earlier than KN-24, should have eliminated the need for the latter. The authors examine English and Korean texts about the two systems’ launch activities from the North’s state-owned Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) to look for particularities that could explain this parallel development.

Ethical Decision Making with Geospatial and Open Source Analysis
By Open Nuclear Network & Stanley Center on March 17, 2020

Researchers and analysts working outside of governments are now able to make remarkable contributions to international security using publicly available satellite imagery. While the open source community has a growing toolbox of technical skills, analysts often lack guidance or a support network when they come across ethical dilemmas. Open Nuclear Network & the Stanley Center convened some of the world's top open source analysts to address these issues.

Block Chain Helping Governments in Fragile States
By Victor Odundo Owuor, Dianna E. Almanza on December 20, 2019

In an increasingly networked and digital world in which millions of transactions are recorded daily, the potential of data tampering in centralized ledgers that are the primary depository of these records can not be overemphasized. To partially confront this challenge, distributed ledger technologies such as blockchain are growing in global use. This fact sheet builds on this narrative and suggests ways in which block chain can be particularly useful to enterprises in fragile and conflict-affected states.

Private Sector Peace Building - Political Conflict
By Conor Seyle, Jinghong Wang on November 25, 2019

This report reviews a dozen case studies of business engagement in peacebuilding across a variety of private sector actors, strategies, and time. It was developed as a partnership with UN Peacebuilding Support Office and PeaceNexus Foundation with engagement from the UN Global Compact, and is intended to supplement the UN Peacebuilding Fund Guidance Document on business and peace by providing concrete examples and lessons-learned about where, why, and how businesses have deliberately attempted to contribute to peace and security.

By Melissa Hanham on November 15, 2019

While there is insufficient evidence to prove that North Korea is pursuing countermeasures or penetration aids (penaids), the lack of evidence certainly does not prove that they are not. The technology behind producing penaids — or still more dangerous — multiple independent reentry vehicles (MIRVs) is difficult, but not more difficult than what North Korea has already accomplished.