This week, we discuss an in-school program that helps children cope with trauma; ways the United States can exploit Russia's weaknesses; how women make the U.S. Coast Guard stronger; avoiding satellite collisions in space; human smuggling from Central America; and the strengthening ties between China and Russia.
Research has shown that exposure to trauma is more the rule for children than the exception. The impacts are far-reaching. Childhood traumas are linked to poorer academic performance, decreased reading ability, and lower high school graduation rates. Kids exposed to trauma also face mental and physical health problems later in life.
To tackle this problem, RAND researchers developed the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools, or CBITS, more than two decades ago. Since then, the program has been used to help students from Newtown, Connecticut, to Fukushima, Japan. And now, the researchers are tailoring CBITS for children in Puerto Rico whose lives were upended by hurricanes.
Russia's use of information warfare and its military arsenal make it a formidable U.S. opponent. But Russia has many vulnerabilities. According to a new RAND report, there are a number of nonviolent ways the United States could exploit the Kremlin's weaknesses while undermining its current advantages. The most-promising options involve putting more pressure on the Russian economy.
RAND's Robert Parker is a retired Coast Guard vice admiral. In his decades of service, he has led both all-male and mixed-gender crews. He prefers the latter—by far. With women in the ranks, he says “much-needed candor, directness, and order abound in ways they might not when units are packed only with good but rambunctious young men.”
Space is becoming more and more congested with satellites. To avoid collisions, most spacefaring nations communicate and share satellite position data. But a few countries, notably Russia and China, do not. What's more, these two countries may be developing “kamikaze satellites.” RAND's Bruce McClintock says this highlights the need for greater transparency in space—and for new international rules to hold non-compliant actors accountable.
Smuggling unlawful migrants from Central America to the United States generated an estimated $200 million to $2.3 billion for human smugglers in 2017. That's according to a new report from the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center, operated by RAND. Notably, the study finds that transnational criminal organizations are not the only—or even the main—human smugglers along these routes. Many other actors, including ad hoc groups and independent operators, engage in the practice.
The relationship between China and Russia is stronger than it has been in decades. Despite this alignment, the United States should treat each country as a separate strategic challenge, say RAND experts. China is a resurgent power focused on achieving economic and technological preeminence. By contrast, Russia is a declining power focused on stirring up military and ideological chaos.
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