Research & Analysis

Latest Publications

Tending the tech-ecosystem: who should be the tech-regulator(s)? | 12 May 2022

Policy Report

Research Fellows Matthew O’Neill and Mark Williams, alongside Executive Director, Caitríona Heinl, contributed a chapter on the Irish ecosystem to the inaugural report by the Australian National University’s Tech Policy Design Centre entitled ‘Tending the tech-ecosystem: who should be the tech-regulator(s)?’. The report draws upon international comparisons to consider who is best placed to implement and oversee a new era of tech regulation. Read more…

The EU, Irish Defence Forces, and Contemporary Security | Jonathan Carroll, Mark Williams & Matthew O’Neill (Eds.) | Forthcoming 2022

Edited Volume

The Azure Forum for Contemporary Security Strategy Research Fellows Matthew O’Neill and Mark Williams, alongside Jonathan Carroll, are co-editors of a forthcoming Palgrave Macmillan edited volume on the Irish Defence Forces entitled “The EU, Irish Defence Forces, and Contemporary Security.” Read more…

Joint ESIWA-ORF Roundtable, Enhancing Global Cybersecurity Cooperation, Raisina Dialogue, New Delhi | 27 April 2022 

The Enhancing Security Cooperation in and with Asia (ESIWA) project together with the hosted a closed-door Track 1.5 Dialogue between the EU and India at the Raisina Dialogue in April  . Participants exchanged information and discussed the respective EU and Indian positions on key global cybersecurity cooperation questions. Read more…

‘Debating the Tech Sanctions on Russia: Is ‘Splinternet’ Upon Us?’, Raisina Edit, Caitríona Heinl | April 2022

Commentary

There has been much debate over the years about the likelihood of a ‘splinternet’ and so-called ‘balkanization’ or fragmentation of the global Internet. A key concern has been that the “open, globally connected Internet we all use splinters into a collection of fragmented networks controlled by governments or corporations”. In fact, several countries, such as China, Iran, and Russia, have previously taken steps in this direction, albeit not completely disconnecting from the global Internet. Read more…

Exploring Serious and Organised Crime across Ireland and the UK: Towards a Shared Understanding of a Shared Threat | Alexander Chance | 30 March 2022

Policy Report

The Azure Forum for Contemporary Security Strategy, with the support of the British Embassy Dublin, has published a new report on Serious and Organised Crime across Ireland and the UK. “Exploring Serious and Organised Crime across Ireland and the UK: Towards a Shared Understanding of a Shared Threat” provides a strategic-level, qualitative assessment Read more…

Incorporating cybersecurity into EU policy formation | Paddy McGuinness | 25 March 2022

Commentary

As the EU strives to strengthen its cyber resilience, it becomes ever more important for its institutions to have coherent advice on the cybersecurity implications of legislative and regulatory decisions. Current practice, including in the context of the Digital Market Act (DMA), suggests action is needed. Read more…

Is war in Ukraine the End of Cyber Diplomacy? | EU Cyber Direct Editorial Board  | 18 March 2022

Commentary

The war in Ukraine has so far seen very little engagement from the cyber diplomatic community. While the international community focuses on stopping Russia’s invasion and ending the conflict, the contribution of cyber diplomacy to these efforts has been limited to the usual offers of assistance to deal with cyber incidents. Read more…

Maturing national responses to hybrid influencing and cyber threats: A primer on Finland’s approach | Jarmo Sareva and Liisa Talonpoika | 02 March 2022

Strategic Insight

The current geopolitical situation has highlighted the need for a comprehensive response to both cyber and hybrid threats. Finland’s model of comprehensive security also supports our overall resilience against these threats. The goal is to protect all of society’s vital functions through a collaborative approach involving authorities, the private sector, civil society organisations, academia, and private citizens. Read more…

Treat ransomware as criminality | Paddy McGuinness | 16 February 2022

Strategic Insight

Paddy McGuinness lays out four recommendations to combat ransomware attacks. First, treat ransomware as criminality and address it separately from the conflicted and glacial diplomacy to address state cyber action. Read more…

Taking Stock of Ireland’s Defence Industry | Neil Dee |  11 February 2022

Policy Report

The Azure Forum for Contemporary Security Strategy was commissioned by the Irish Defence and Security Association (IDSA) to produce an independent report on the Irish defence industry. The report, the first of its kind in Ireland, was designed to provide the IDSA with a high-level, state-of-play overview of the industry in Ireland. Read more…

Commission on the Defence Forces Report | 9 February 2022

Policy Report

Caitríona Heinl was appointed as a member of the Irish government’s Commission on the Defence Forces which began its work on 15 December 2020. Over a period of 13 months, the Commission focused its work on considering the appropriate capabilities, structures and staffing of both the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) and Reserve Defence Force (RDF). Read more…

EU CSDP mission reform and Ireland’s contribution | Aonghus Kelly |  28 June  2021

Strategic Insight

Aonghus Kelly argues that if the EU wishes to become a heavyweight in international diplomacy, it must first focus on CSDP mission reform. Ireland must be forcefully involved in those reforms. Read more…

The EU doesn’t stop at the water’s edge: EU-India and the Indo-Pacific | John Joseph Wilkins | 28 April 2021

Strategic Insight 

This paper examines ways to enhance security cooperation between the European Union and India, with a focus on counter-piracy and cooperation through ASEAN. This piece is the revised version of the original paper produced in March 2021 for the EU India think tanks twinning initiative 2020-22. Read more…

Emerging AI governance for international security: The stakes and stakeholders of responsibility | Zoe Stanley-Lockman | 10 March 2021

Strategic Insight 

Zoe Stanley-Lockman explores the stakes of governing technology for peace, security, and defence, before identifying the stakeholders who have a responsibility to shape the emerging international technology order. Read more…

Identity politics, neutrality and the single European act referendum: Lessons for modern Ireland | Jack McCarthy | 3 March 2021

Strategic Insight 

Jack McCarthy contends that identity politics and extreme nationalism have once again emerged as challenges to modern democracies. He writes that for extreme actors and for the uninformed public, the Irish foreign policy of military neutrality is inextricably linked to a traditional concept of Irish identity. Read more…

Corruption, organised crime and conflict in Mozambique: exploring the role of international donors | Alexander Chance | 17 February 2021

Strategic Insight 

Alexander Chance explores the multilevel dynamics of the ongoing Islamist insurgency in Mozambique, arguing that international donors need to step up and tackle the root causes of the conflict. Read more…

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Critical technologies and the Indo-Pacific: The ‘digital Quad’ | Trisha Ray | 10 February 2021  

Strategic Insight

Trisha Ray examines growing technology cooperation between Quad members India and Australia. Read more…

Malicious cyber activity in the Covid-19 era | Steve Honiss | 3 February 2021

Strategic Insight 

Information security expert Steve Honiss explores the spike in state-sponsored cyberattacks linked to COVID-19. Read more…

Strategic autonomy as anti-protectionism | Jens Hillebrand Pohl | 30 November 2020

Strategic Insight 

Jens Hillebrand Pohl argues that  the pandemic has activated our imagination and helped us realise that there are certain societal interests that prevail over purely economic interests and that the benefits of collective action rely on trust and reciprocity. Read more…

European strategic autonomy: A trojan horse | Michael Murphy | 23 November 2020

Strategic Insight 

Michael Murphy argues that has strategic autonomy has been installed without roadmaps or metrics or justifying evidence bases. Moreover, it will be shaped for national ends and in the context of defence, it is about giving control to national defence champions. Read more… 

Covid and Europe’s strategic awakening | Daniel Fiott | 11 November 2020 

Strategic Insight 

Daniel Fiott writes that the pandemic has encouraged the EU to take its strategic autonomy more seriously and it has led to a wider reflection on what more the Union can do to protect its citizens. Read more… 

European strategic autonomy in the shadow of Covid-19: Three lessons and one conclusion | Ben Tonra | 16 November 2020

Strategic Insight

Ben Tonra writes that the pandemic has underlined the challenges to deeper security and defence cooperation while again highlighting its urgent necessity. He argues that the Union needs to embrace its own nature as a multi-sovereign polity rather than speaking the foreign language of ‘power’. Read more…

Navigating cyber diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific | 1 November 2020

Interview

Executive Director Caitríona Heinl interviewed Tobias Feakin, Australian Ambassador for Cyber and Critical Technology, and Johanna Weaver, Australian Representative to the UN GGE and UN OEWG on Cyber. This was published as a part of the EU Cyber Direct project. Read more…

covid-19
Global supply chain security after Covid-19: Potential Outlook | David Ramirez | 7 October 2020

Strategic Insight 

David Ramirez examines the economic and geopolitical difficulties countries face as they attempt to rebalance their economy and decouple from China. Read more…

Securing the common travel area in 2021 | Edward Burke | 2 October 2020

Strategic insight 

Edward Burke examines opportunities for Irish-British bilateral security cooperation in the Common Travel Area. Read more…

globalisation
Trade and strategic overreliance on global supply chains: A new phase in globalisation? | Gareth Prendergast | 28 September 2020 

Strategic Insight 

Lt. Col. Gareth Prendergast discusses increased dependency on strategic reserves and supply chain redundancies in the wake of a global pandemic like Covid-19, arguing for a need to review the pooling and sharing policy now being advocated at EU level. Read more…

The rise of sovereign funds: Foreign takeovers exacerbated by Covid-19 | Winston Ma | 27 July 2020

Strategic Insight 

Winston Ma writes that the global tensions around foreign takeovers have been on the rise in recent years and are exacerbated by the Covid- 19 crisis. One major driving force is the emergence of a new set of powerful investors – the sovereign investment funds, which have become pivotal players in global financial markets thanks to their enormous capital base.Read more…

Combating low cost foreign takeovers of vulnerable companies in medical and strategic sectors in the wake of Covid-19 | Paddy McGuinness | 10 July 2020

Strategic Insight

Paddy McGuinness  examines the threat of foreign takeovers in strategic sectors. He warns that the use of new regulation to tackle this issue,  requires capacity, capabilities, partnerships and a culture which are not yet in place in EU Member States including Ireland. Read more…

The Azure Forum DNA
Developing an effective security strategy in Ireland: Lessons from the cyber domain | Caitríona Heinl | 02 March 2020

Commentary

Executive Director Caitríona Heinl writes on the development of Irish security strategy and the need for alignment with Ireland’s core interests and values.Read more…

National cyber deterrence and the Irish Defence Forces’ contribution | Caitríona Heinl | 5 December 2019

Journal Article 

Executive Director Caitríona Heinl published a journal article focusing on the contribution of the Defence Forces to national cyber deterrence in the Defence Forces Review 2019. Read more…