Written by Clayton Besaw on August 7, 2020

Building off of Datayo’s topic modeling toolkit, we break down North Korea’s official English news media by sentiment. First we explore how sentiment patterns manifest within the entire English language news corpus from 1996 to 2020. Then we look at how sentiment patterns manifest within a set of articles related to our previously identified nuclear weapons topic. 

electoral forecasting
Written by Matthew Frank on July 26, 2020

This report introduces a new forecasting tool that uses structural data in order to make predictions of the outcome of elections on a global scale, complementing most existing election forecasting tools which are country-specific.

Written 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
Written 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.

Ethics in open source imagery analysis
Written 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?

The Stanley Center partnered with Open Nuclear Network as a leader in the geospatial and open-source analysis communities to explore how ethics could help govern open-source intelligence and safely extend the critical contributions it makes to creating a safer world. This article provides an overview of our joint work and the ongoing work ONN is doing to address ethical pitfalls in working with open-source information.

Russian Presidential Speeches
Written 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.

North Korea’s KN-23 and KN-24 Short-Range Ballistic Missiles
Written 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
Written 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.

ICBM North Korea Analysis
Written 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.

Not only does much of the technology date back decades, but North Korea has already proven that it can use cutting-edge design, modeling, and testing practices as seen in their nuclear and missile programs to date. Since every state that preceded them has investigated countermeasures, it is likely that North Korea is as well. In the near term, it is likely that North Korea will pursue simple decoys, which are light and relatively cheap. However, in the long-term North Korea will continue to miniaturize warheads in order to place multiple nuclear warheads on a single intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the US mainland.

North Korea's Approach to Countering Ballistic Missile Defence
Written by Melissa Hanham on November 15, 2019

This article provides an overview of North Korea’s approach towards countering US and allied ballistic missile defence. It explains the integral role the two tested Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, the Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15, play for North Korea’s capability for delivering a nuclear weapon to the US mainland, as well as how ballistic missile defense is set up to detect and intercept incoming threats.