PROJECT OVERVIEW: "Securing Global Cities"

Securing Global Cities is a new year-long project that will examine the intersection of globalization and security in today's cities. It will be co-chaired by Michael O'Hanlon, senior fellow and director of research in the Brookings Institution's Foreign Policy program, and General Raymond Odierno (ret.), former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and JPMorgan Chase senior advisor.

This project recognizes that the dramatic urbanization and population growth of the world's cities is creating new challenges for governance and economic performance. Securing Global Cities will develop a first-of-its-kind, data driven and expert-informed how-to manual to help cities think through the key elements of integrated security strategies.

The Brookings Institution is introducing the Securing Global Cities as part of the Global Cities Initiative: a joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase. GCI was launched in 2012 to strengthen the international economic competitiveness and connections of metropolitan areas. The Securing Global Cities project will convene experts from many parts of the world to compare experiences and recommendations for enhancing security in major urban areas.

Securing Global Cities will identify different types of threats from terrorists to narcotraffickers and other international criminal networks, to gangs, insurgents, street criminals, and abusive security forces and examine the various tools that governments can deploy to address these problems. The tools will include reformed and strengthened police forces, justice systems, paramilitary and military institutions, intelligence capabilities, and a range of other instruments.

The project, which will reside in the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, will examine the following questions, among others:

  • What is the interrelationship between security and economic development in today's global setting?
  • What are the latest lessons from the "war on drugs?" including on matters such as the high-value targeting of key leaders, and interdiction of illicit financial flows?
  • What types of policing strategies, ranging from community policing to close linkages between police forces and intelligence agencies to broader reform of police sectors and judicial systems, have proven most effective around the world?
  • How can we best integrate crime-ridden slums with safer city areas and deliver public goods to marginalized populations?
  • What are the key tactics that should be extracted from recent counterinsurgency and counter terrorism campaigns in the broader Middle East?
  • How has the United States lowered its homicide rate in recent decades?
  • What have cities ranging from New York to London to Riyadh to Delhi done effectively to address the terrorism challenge since 9/11?
  • What new security concepts driven by technological capabilities, especially in the areas of intelligence, mobility, and big data, must be developed to assist in solving future security challenges (especially as technology increasingly helps criminals and extremists to communicate more stealthily)?


JPMorgan Chase is a donor to the Brookings Institution. Brookings recognizes that the value it provides is in its absolute commitment to quality, independence, and impact. Activities supported by its donors reflect this commitment and the analysis and recommendations are solely determined by the scholars.

The Global Cities Initiative is a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase to help metropolitan leaders grow their regional economies by strengthening international connections and competitiveness. GCI activities include producing data and research to guide decisions, fostering practice and policy innovations, and facilitating a peer-learning network for dissemination and replication.