Security and Conflict 

PISCES looks to strengthen trade policies and hinder terrorists.  

Bryan Early, director of the Project on International Security, Commerce and Economic Statecraft, is an expert on strategic trade controls and the proliferation of weapons. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 29, 2018) — With the aid of a new grant — one of several received this year — UAlbany’s Project on International Security, Commerce, and Economic Statecraft (PISCES) team is gearing up to expand its international research in 2019. Led by Associate Professor Bryan Early, PISCES’ global impact has reached countries in regions as distant as East Asia and Africa.

“We aim to help countries develop policies to make their trade safe from the threat of being exploited by terrorists and proliferators who are trying to build weapons of mass destruction,” Early said. “Certainly I’m excited that these projects are going to have a pragmatic impact on these countries and hopefully help make that region of the world a safer place.”

“We’ve been engaged with countries like Albania, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia for quite a long time,” he said. “And so, this most recent project really built off of our six years of work in the region to help those countries develop and continue to enhance their strategic trade control policies.”

Early received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia and was a research fellow at Harvard University before joining the Political Science department of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy in 2009. Within three years, he was winning awards from the U.S. Department of State for research and outreach. And so, in 2012, he and his team founded PISCES to expand their projects on a global level. The focus of the team was to advance knowledge on issues that intersect economics and security and to help craft better policies in those areas.

“Dr. Early’s work on sanctions and strategic export control is one of a constellation of projects that the Rockefeller College supports on international politics, conflict and development,” said R. Karl Rethemeyer, dean of Rockefeller College. “We’re very proud of the new knowledge that we’re creating, the expertise that we can provide to the United States and foreign governments, and the opportunities our students gain through these projects to learn about international issues.”

In November, the U.S. Department of State awarded Early an $199,932 grant to assist in the expansion of the PISCES’s team’s project, “Strategic Trade Control Support for Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.”

“One of the biggest takeaways from this project is that in order for the United States to be safe in the world, we need to develop strong international partnerships with other countries," said Early.

"There are a lot of policy issues that require cooperation in order to be addressed, particularly those pertaining to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. And so, I found this work very satisfying because we get to work with other governments, understand the unique challenges they face, and then provide them with the type of assistance that helps them realize their own international security goals.”

It isn’t the team's only grant of the year, however. PISCES has received nine other awards this year alone, allowing it to increase its impact on Asia while also reaching into Africa as well.

“One of the things that we’ve been able to do this year is really strengthen our engagement in Asia," said Early. "We did outreach events in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Taiwan and we have a major new project to engage in outreach with China and East Asia. We’re also now working with the governments of Tunisia, Morocco and Kenya.”

Early and his team are excited to dig deeper in 2019. The Trump Administration has emphasized the nuclear and missile proliferation threats posed by countries like Iran and North Korea. Early hopes to expand his team’s efforts to deal with the threats posed by these countries while expanding on his projects already in place.

“Our team’s goals in this upcoming year are going to be seeing how we can help the United States and the rest of the international community address those security threats.”

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