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  • Author: Danielle Pletka, Frederick W. Kagan, J. Matthew McInnis
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: A review of the soft-power strategies of both the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Middle East and Afghanistan makes clear a disturbing fact: Tehran has a coherent, if sometimes ineffective strategy to advance its aims in the Middle East and around the world. The United States does not. This project began with two tour d'horizon reviews of Iranian activities throughout areas Iran has, by its actions, defined as its sphere of influence. From the Persian Gulf through the Levant and into neighboring Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic has consistently invested in soft- and hard-power activities designed not only to extend its own influence but also to limit both American and hostile Arab aims. And while the latter part of the Ahmadinejad administration saw waning rewards for Tehran's efforts-a result more of the growing Sunni-Shia divide in the Middle East than of changes in strategy-the continued existence of a coherent Iranian strategy to dominate or destabilize the region should not be ignored. This report, the culmination of a process of both examining Iranian actions and surveying American policy, policy responses, and soft-power strategies in the region, focuses on the US side of the equation. Despite the Obama administration's commitment to replace hard power with smart power, what the United States pursues in the Middle East is a set of incoherent, ineffective, and increasingly irrelevant policies.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Iran, Central Asia, Middle East
  • Author: Mary Habeck
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Current national security policy is failing to stop the advancement of al Qaeda and its affiliates throughout the Muslim-majority world. While there are many reasons for this failure, three key issues stand out: a poor definition of the enemy, an incorrect view of its objectives, and the adoption of a strategy that will not defeat the latest evolution of this adaptive organization. If the US understood al Qaeda as it is: the leadership and field army of an insurgency with worldwide linkages that hopes to impose its extremist version of shari'a , govern territory, and overthrow the leaders of every Muslim- majority country, the current national strategy for combating al Qaeda would not be confined to counter - terrorism and attrition, but would instead make counterinsurgency-without large numbers of American ground forces-its main technique for confronting and defeating the organization.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Islam, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Jon Kyl, Jim Talent
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: When President Obama took office, the armed services of the United States had already reached a fragile state. The Navy had shrunk to its smallest size since before World War I; the Air Force was smaller, and its aircraft older, than at any time since the inception of the service. The Army was stressed by years of war; according to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, it had been underfunded before the invasion of Iraq and was desperately in need of resources to replace its capital inventory.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: John L. Kokulis
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The rise in military health care spending has been a primary driver of the large growth in military personnel compensation over the past decade. Left unchecked, these costs will impact the ability of the DoD's Military Health System (MHS) to support its three critical missions: 1. Readiness for deployment: Maintaining an agile, fully deployable medical force and a health care delivery system so they are capable of providing state-of-the-art health services anytime, anywhere; 2. Readiness of the fighting force: Helping commanders create and sustain the most healthy and medically prepared fighting forces anywhere; and 3. The benefits mission: Providing long-term health coaching and health care for 9.7 million DoD beneficiaries.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Health, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Katherine Zimmerman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The failure to define al Qaeda properly has confused American policy and strategy. The enemy was not just the man shot dead on May 2, 2011, in Abbottabad, Pakistan, nor is it the 1.5 billion Muslims for whom Osama bin Laden claimed to speak.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Defense Policy, Islam, Terrorism, War, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, America
  • Author: Cheryl Miller
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The military-civilian disconnect has been a source of increasing concern over the last few decades. National security leaders—including the commander in chief, President Barack Obama—have warned that many Americans are unaware of the military's sacrifices and its growing sense of isolation from wider society. In remarks at Duke University in September 2010, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates identified this issue as the “narrow sliver” problem, reflecting on both the achievements of America's all-volunteer force and the challenges it now faces.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Education, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: New York, America
  • Author: Charlie Szrom, Chris Harnisch
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The environment in which an al Qaeda affiliate operates is one of the most important factors in assessing the threat it poses to US interests. Defeating the militant Islamist network led by al Qaeda requires a nuanced strategy that supports the appropriate combination and prioritization of policies and approaches for each environment in which an al Qaeda affiliate or franchise operates. The US government has not articulated such a strategy, a deficiency that acquires urgency because terrorist groups based abroad have been linked to three attacks against the American homeland in the past year. Building a strategy to oppose the al Qaeda network requires detailed understanding of its different operating environments, the ties between its various parts, and how territory affects its vitality. A comprehensive strategy should deny the al Qaeda network access to operating environments from which it can pose a major threat to the United States and the West.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Tim Sullivan
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: As home to a number of the world's most dynamic economies, two rising powers, and six nuclear states, Asia is a region of enormous strategic importance to the United States. For over six decades, America has functioned as the preeminent power in Asia, playing a vital role in providing security and ensuring a stable balance of power that has allowed the region's states to flourish politically and economically. The U.S. security framework in the region has rested historically upon a series of bilateral alliances and strategic partnerships. The arrangement has impressively stood the test of time despite concerns that the lack of an overarching, multilateral security architecture would lead to inefficiencies in the United States' pursuit of regional stability.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Emerging Markets, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Author: Dan Blumenthal, Gary J. Schmitt, Michael Mazza, Randall Schriver, Mark Stokes
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Taiwan is a great success story. It is a prosperous, thriving democracy living at peace—and it wants to remain at peace. A recent poll shows that more than 90 percent of Taiwanese support maintaining the “status quo,” meaning principally that an overwhelming majority of the island's citizens wants to avoid a conflict with the mainland if at all possible while retaining their de facto sovereignty.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Peace Studies, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Israel, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Veronique de Rugy
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Congress should direct home land security funding to program s that provide the greatest return in the most crucial security missions. Since the number of possible attacks is effectively unlimited and the resources we can devote to the fight against terror are limited, spending should not occur without a careful cost-benefit analysis. Most importantly, it is perfectly reasonable to decide not to implement an antiterrorism measure, not because it has no benefit, but because the costs are too high compared to the potential benefits. Of course, program s that are not cost effective should never be implemented.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States