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  • Author: Dr. Don M. Snider
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Crossing the Plains on an expedition to Utah [in the 1850s], Major Charles A. May searched the wagons in an effort to reduce unnecessary baggage. When he reached the wagons of the light artillery battery, Captain Henry J. Hunt proudly pointed out the box containing the battery library. “Books,” May exclaimed. “You say books? Whoever heard of books being hauled over the Plains? What the hell are you going to do with them?” At that moment Captain Campbell of the Dragoons came up and asked permission to carry a barrel of whiskey. ”Yes, anything in reason Captain, you can take along the whiskey, but damned if these books shall go.
  • Topic: Education, Military Affairs, Ethics
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The U.S. defense export system needs further major reforms to reduce inefficiencies and weaknesses. Although the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) do help prevent potential foreign adversaries from using U.S. arms against the United States and its allies, the Regulations, as enforced, can weaken U.S. national security in other important ways. For example, by excessively impeding defense exports, the ITAR makes it more difficult for U.S. firms to sustain core U.S. defense technological and industrial advantages, decreases U.S. military interoperability with allies that purchase ITAR-free weapons from other sources, and generates other undesirable effects for the U.S. Army and U.S. national security.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Trade and Finance, National Security, Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Reform, Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Henry D. Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: With the world focused on the nuclear crisis in Iran, it is tempting to think that addressing this case, North Korea, and the problem of nuclear terrorism is all that matters and is what matters most. Perhaps, but if states become more willing to use their nuclear weapons to achieve military advantage, the problem of proliferation will become much more unwieldy. In this case, U.S. security will be hostage not just to North Korea, Iran, or terrorists, but to nuclear proliferation more generally, diplomatic miscalculations, and wars between a much larger number of possible players. This, in a nutshell, is the premise of Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future, which explores what nuclear futures we may face over the next 3 decades and how we currently think about this future. Will nuclear weapons spread in the next 20 years to more nations than just North Korea and possibly Iran? How great will the consequences be? What can be done?
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, International Security, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Liam P. Walsh
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Beginning in 2013, the U.S. Army began an effort to “engage regionally and respond globally.” A central tenant of this strategy, building upon National strategic guidance, is the necessity to build partner capacity. Army units, through the regionally aligned forces concept, may find themselves conducting security force assistance (SFA) missions across the globe as a means to achieve these ways. However, after examining the Army’s SFA mission in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM from 2003-10, it becomes apparent that institutional and organizational shortcomings plagued the Army’s initial efforts in this critical aspect of the campaign. Many of these shortcomings remain in the Army today, particularly within the Army’s core formation—the brigade combat team (BCT). This monograph examines the Army’s role in conducting SFA in Iraq, drawing key lessons for the Army’s experience there, and then provides recommendations as to how the Army can better optimize the BCT to conduct SFA, while still retaining its core mission to fight and win America’s wars.
  • Topic: National Security, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iraq, United States of America
  • Author: Jeffrey L. Caton
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: What does the Department of Defense hope to gain from the use of autonomous weapon systems (AWS)? This Letort Paper explores a diverse set of complex issues related to the developmental, operational, legal, and ethical aspects of AWS. It explores the recent history of the development and integration of autonomous and semi-autonomous systems into traditional military operations. It examines anticipated expansion of these roles in the near future as well as outlines international efforts to provide a context for the use of the systems by the United States. As these topics are well-documented in many sources, this Paper serves as a primer for current and future AWS operations to provide senior policymakers, decision-makers, military leaders, and their respective staffs an overall appreciation of existing capabilities and the challenges, opportunities, and risks associated with the use of AWS across the range of military operations. Emphasis is added to missions and systems that include the use of deadly force.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Shima D. Keene
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: While supporters claim that drone warfare is not only legal but ethical and wise, others have suggested that drones are prohibited weapons under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) because they cause, or have the effect of causing, indiscriminate killings of civilians, such as those in the vicinity of a targeted person. The main legal justification made by the Barack Obama Administration for the use of armed drones is self-defense. However, there is ambiguity as to whether this argument can justify a number of recent attacks by the United States. In order to determine the legality of armed drone strikes, other factors such as sovereignty, proportionality, the legitimacy of individual targets, and the methods used for the selection of targets must also be considered. One justification for the ethical landscape is the reduced amount of collateral damage relative to other forms of strike. Real time eyes on target allow last-minute decisions and monitoring for unintended victims, and precise tracking of the target through multiple systems allows further refinements of proportionality. However, this is of little benefit if the definition of “targets” is itself flawed and encompasses noncombatants and unconnected civilians. This monograph provides a number of specific recommendations intended to ensure that the benefits of drone warfare are weighed against medium- and long-term second order effects in order to measure whether targeted killings are serving their intended purpose of countering terrorism rather than encouraging and fueling it.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War, Counter-terrorism, Ethics
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Christopher Sims
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The Human Terrain System embedded civilians primarily in brigade combat teams (BCTs) in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2007 and 2014 to act as a collection and dispersal mechanism for sociocultural comprehension. Set against the backdrop of the program’s evolution, the experiences of these social scientists clarifies the U.S. Army’s decision to integrate social scientists at the tactical level in conflict. Based on interviews, program documents, material from Freedom of Information Act requests, and secondary sources, this book finds a series of limiting factors inhibiting social science research at the tactical level, common to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Complexity in integrating civilians into the military decision-making cycle, creating timely research with a high level of fidelity, and making granular research resonate with brigade staff all contributed to inhibiting the overall effect of the Human Terrain System. Yet, while high operational tempo in contested spaces complicates social science research at the tactical level, the author argues that there is a continued requirement for a residual capability to be maintained by the U.S. Army.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, United States of America
  • Author: Gregory Aftandilian
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This manuscript examines the increasingly important form of rivalry and statecraft that has become known as “gray zone strategies.” In regions from Eastern Europe to the South China Sea, such tactics in the hands of ambitious regional powers pose a growing challenge to U.S. and allied interests. This monograph aims to provide a broad introduction to the issue to help leaders in the U.S. Army and the wider joint Department of Defense and national security community better understand this challenge. Dr. Michael Mazarr, a Senior Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation and Associate Program Director of the Army’s Arroyo Center there, defines the issue, examines the most notable current cases of gray zone strategies, offers several hypotheses about the nature of this form of conflict, and suggests a number of policy responses.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, National Security, Politics, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Don Snider
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Recently, one of the most respected voices of those who work and teach in the field of American civil-military (civ-mil) relations, Professor Peter Feaver, provocatively offered the following question: When it comes to national security, should one advise President Barack Obama on the best course of action or just the best course of action that he is likely or able to accept and implement?1 Thus, owing primarily to the Obama administration’s difficult civ-mil relations and what some consider to be ineffective policy implementation, particularly in Syria, this question is now sprouting up in journalistic reporting, academic journals, and in classroom discussions here at the U.S. Army War College. The import of the question for military professionals lies in the fact that it could lead one outside the traditional norms of American civil-military relations. These norms have in general held that the responsibility of senior military leaders is simply to give their best professional military advice – no shading allowed, and most certainly no shading that might make policy implementation less than fully effective. In fact in the Army’s new doctrine of the profession (ADRP 1 – The Army Profession),2 the principles are clearly stated: Military leaders offer their expertise and advice candidly to appropriate civilian leadership . . . Army professionals properly confine their advisory role to the policymaking process and do not engage publically in policy advocacy or dissent. Army professionals adhere to a strict ethic of political nonpartisanship in the execution of their duty.3
  • Topic: National Security, Politics, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Steve Tatham, Keir Giles
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Experience from Afghanistan and Iraq has demonstrated the vital nature of understanding human terrain, with conclusions relevant far beyond counterinsurgency operations in the Islamic world. Any situation where adversary actions are described as “irrational” demonstrates a fundamental failure in understanding the human dimension of the conflict. It follows that where states and their leaders act in a manner which in the U.S. is perceived as irrational, this too betrays a lack of human knowledge. This monograph offers principles for operating in the human domain which can be extended to consideration of other actors which are adversarial to the United States, and whose decision-making calculus sits in a different framework to our own — including such major states as Russia and China. This monograph argues that the human dimension has become more, not less, important in recent conflicts and that for all the rise in technology future conflicts will be as much defined by the participants’ understanding of culture, behavior, and language as by mastery of technology.
  • Topic: Islam, Science and Technology, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Professor John F. Troxell
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: A recent editorial in The New York Times asked the question, “Who threatens America most?” It proceeded to compare recent pronouncements by incoming senior military leaders, the President, the FBI director, and finally the Director of National Intelligence. The major candidates included the usual nation states (Russia, North Korea, and China), a few nonstate terrorist organizations (ISIS and al-Qaeda), and a couple of unattributed capabilities (weapons of mass destruction and cyberattacks). The editorial concluded with the lament: “If officials cannot agree on what the most pressing threats are, how can they develop the right strategies and properly allocate resources?”1 Given the confusion and uncertainty generated by the current strategic environment, compounded by America’s resource-driven retrenchment, it is a fair question. However, I contend that we could pursue a more focused national strategy and do a better job of allocating resources if we focus on the opportunities as opposed to this wide array of threats. The opportunity that beckons is the increasingly interconnected global economy and the integral role played by the United States in both its institutional design and future evolution. A functioning, interconnected global economy will mitigate most, if not all, of the previously mentioned threats, whereas a fractured and disconnected global economy will exacerbate them.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Economics, Governance, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Dr. James Igoe Walsh, Marcus Dr. Schulze
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Armed unmanned aerial vehicles—combat drones—have fundamentally altered the ways the United States conducts military operations aimed at countering insurgent and terrorist organizations. Drone technology is on track to become an increasingly important part of the country’s arsenal, as numerous unmanned systems are in development and will likely enter service in the future. Concerned citizens, academics, journalists, nongovernmental organizations, and policymakers have raised questions about the ethical consequences of drones and issued calls for their military use to be strictly regulated. This level of concern is evidence that the future of drone warfare not only hinges on technical innovations, but also on careful analysis of the moral and political dimensions of war. Regardless of whether drones are effective weapons, it would be difficult to sanction their use if they undermine the legitimacy of U.S. military forces or compromise the foundations of democratic government.
  • Topic: Security, Human Welfare, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Counter-terrorism, Ethics, Drones
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Hal Brands
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Is offshore balancing the right grand strategy for America? Is it time for Washington to roll back the vast system of overseas security commitments and forward military deployments that have anchored its international posture since World War II? This monograph argues that the answer to these questions is no. Offshore balancing represents the preferred grand strategy among many leading international-relations “realists,” who argue that significant geopolitical retrenchment can actually improve America’s strategic position while slashing the costs of its foreign policy. The reality, however, is rather different. The probable benefits of offshore balancing—both financial and geopolitical—are frequently exaggerated, while the likely disadvantages and dangers are more severe than its proponents acknowledge. In all likelihood, adopting this strategy would not allow America to achieve more security and influence at a lower price. The more plausible results would be to dissipate U.S. influence, to court heightened insecurity and instability, and to expose the nation to greater long-range risks and costs.
  • Topic: Economics, International Security, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Joseph R. Cerami
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The main focus of this monograph is to synthesize the top research on leadership and leader development and to highlight the needs for developing individuals committed to careers of service across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The foundation for the research is based on ideas drawn from leadership and management literature, government doctrine and reports, think tank studies, and case studies. The Army has long sought to be innovative in its leader development. Most recently, the Army’s Human Development White Paper supports TRADOC Pamphlet 5250301, The U.S. Army Operating Concept, “Win in a Complex World” document (2014), by emphasizing the Army’s desire to become the nation’s leader in “human development.” In short, the Army Operating Concept requires that emerging leaders must understand the political-social-military environmental context, the defense-diplomatic-development (the 3-Ds) policies of the U.S. Government, and their roles as emerging leaders and followers in a variety of operational settings. Collaboration, not just within the Army, but across government agencies will be crucial to success in this complex operating environment.
  • Topic: Development, Human Welfare, Military Strategy, Power Politics, Governance, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dr. M. Chris Mason
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Events on world battlefields over the past two years should give the U.S. Army pause to reconsider the entire Foreign Internal Defense (FID) mission. The seemingly unarguable axiom that "good training makes good soldiers" has been proven to be not always true. Good training does not always make good soldiers. If the definition of a good soldier is "a member of the armed forces who stands and fights for his or her country," then a good deal of money has been spent in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere without measurable and sustainable success. More than a third of all Afghan defense forces trained with U.S. taxpayer money desert in Afghanistan each year, and in Iraq they simply disappear.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Education, Nationalism, Military Strategy, Labor Issues, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States of America
  • Author: Colonel Michael J. Arnold
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The dynamic nature of the future security environment necessitates better retention of diversified talent among officers from the Millennial Generational Cohort. Although the U.S. Army has done well to attract a diverse and talented group of junior officers at commissioning, a revision of the Army’s Personnel System, that incorporates a more personalized management approach, could help to motivate and retain millennial officers and better prepare them for senior leadership. Lieutenant colonels and colonels must provide the transformational leadership and innovation needed to create the intrinsic value that millennials seek in their profession. In order to explore what is most appealing to talented millennial officers and what is most effective for the Army, this Carlisle Paper will explore, as its methodology, the salient features of leadership theory, the characteristics of the Millennial Generational Cohort, and what senior leaders must do to improve attraction, motivation, and retention of millennial officers in the U.S. Army.
  • Topic: Education, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Leadership
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Robert J. Bunker
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This manuscript focuses on the present threat posed by terrorist and insurgent use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as well as associated future threat potentials. This work presents a counterintuitive analysis in the sense that armed drones are typically viewed as a component of America’s conventional warfighting prowess—not a technology that would be used against U.S. troops deployed overseas or against civilians back home. The emerging threat of such UAV use against the United States is investigated, and the unique analysis and creative approach related to the threat scenario variants generated are very informative. Hopefully, the larger implications posed by this analysis related to semi-autonomous and autonomous UAV type robotic systems will be of benefit.
  • Topic: National Security, Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Drones
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Professor John F. Troxell
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The recently published National Military Strategy emphasizes the unpredictability of the global security environment. According to General Dempsey, “global disorder has significantly increased while some of our comparative military advantage has begun to erode. We now face multiple, simultaneous security challenges…” General Odierno echoes this concern by pointing to the “increased velocity of instability,” and emboldened potential adversaries that have “magnified the risk to U.S. interests around the world.” Responding to this period of geopolitical uncertainty demands thoughtful and careful analysis of a wide array of strategic issues. The Strategic Studies Institutes’ (SSI) annual Key Strategic Issues List (KSIL) addresses this need by providing a list of high-priority topics organized to support the Army's most important strategic objectives, issues that must be addressed to ensure the Army of 2025 and beyond will continue to meet the needs of the nation. Part I of the KSIL lists the Chief of Staff of the Army’s top five topics, all five of which will be addressed as integrative research projects by the US Army War College. Part II, “Priority Research Areas,” is a compilation of critical topics developed by the Army War College and Commands and organizations throughout the Army. Part III consists of the Army Warfighting Challenges. Students and researchers are encouraged to get in touch with the topic sponsors listed in the document, tackle one of these issues, and contribute to the knowledge base needed to support the future direction of the Army
  • Topic: Security, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The Army has an opioid drug problem that is not going away under current personnel policies and medical practices. The survey results recorded here indicate that senior officers attending the U.S. Army War College recognize that the opioid problem is distinct in nature and origin from those of recreational drug abuse. The majority of these future Army leaders see misuse originating out of prescribing practices, a lack of medical monitoring, and a lack of Soldier training and education on the dangers of opioids, rather than from undisciplined Soldiers.
  • Topic: Education, War on Drugs, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Robert E. Atkinson Jr.
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This monograph offers a neo-classically republican perspective on a perennial problem of civilian/military relations: limitations on military officers’ obligation to obey civilian authorities. All commentators agree that military officers are generally obliged—morally, professionally, and legally—to obey civilian orders, even as they agree that this rule of obedience must admit of exceptions. Commentators tend to differ, however, on the basis and breadth of these exceptions. Following Samuel Huntington’s classic analysis in The Soldier and the State, this monograph shows that disagreement about the breadth of the exceptions tends to assume that their bases—moral, professional, and legal—are incommensurable. It suggests, to the contrary, that all defensible exceptions to the rule of military obedience, like that rule itself, derive from a single neo-classical, Huntingtonian standard, binding on civilian authorities and military officers alike: the common good. This perspective promises significantly to reduce the range of disagreement over the limits of military obedience both in theory and in practice.
  • Topic: Education, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States of America