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  • Author: Anna Borshchevskaya
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Moscow is in Syria for the long haul and will continue to undermine American efforts there. In recent months, Moscow intensified its activities in Syria against the backdrop of a changing US administration. The Kremlin sent additional military policy units to eastern Syria, and continued diplomatic engagement through the Astana format, a process that superficially has international backing but in practice excludes the United States and boosts Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Moreover, Moscow also unveiled at its airbase in Syria a statue to the patron saint of the Russian army, Prince Alexander Nevsky. A growing Russian presence in Syria will further hurt Western interests.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Conflict, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Leonard Wong, Dr. Stephen J. Gerras
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Previous studies analyzing disability compensation have decried its $76 billion annual budget or warned of its perverse ability to incentivize veterans not to work. This study focuses on the impact of this moral hazard on the US Army profession. If soldiers continue to capitalize on an extremely permissive disability system, the trust between society and the military may be threatened, and future Army readiness may be jeopardized should disability compensation be added to the marginal cost of a soldier. More importantly, many of today’s soldiers are rationalizing disability compensation as something owed to them—not for a debilitating injury, but for the hardships of service to the nation. This study uses US Army and Department of Veterans Affairs personnel files, soldier interviews, and discussions with senior leaders to support its conclusions. The intent of the study is to prompt the Army profession to act before the culture surrounding disability compensation becomes permanent. In the end, the essence of the entitlement—taking care of veterans—must remain sacrosanct. This call for reform is driven not by fiscal considerations, but by a desire for the Army to remain both an institution trusted by society and a profession marked by selfless service.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Government, Disability, Army, Veterans
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Artur Kacprzyk
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: After a few years of increases, U.S. defence spending is likely to stagnate. At the same time, the needs related to the U.S. priority of deterring China will grow. The effect will be that the U.S. will continue to call for a greater contribution of NATO members to their own defence, even given the softening of transatlantic tensions and positive signals regarding the U.S. military presence in Europe.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Military Spending, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: China, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jonathan Winer
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar initiated his effort to take Libya’s capital, Tripoli, by force on April 4, 2019, Libya has remained in a state of full-on civil war. The conflict involves not only competing forces within the country, but also foreign powers using Libyan clients as proxies for their regional interests. These external actors—primarily the United Arab Emirates, Russia, and Turkey, plus a host of supporting players—continue to exacerbate the chaos as they maneuver for long-term power. Meanwhile, the United States is absent.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Civil War, Military Intervention, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ryan C. Berg
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Daniel Ortega’s suppression of protestors and civil society continues unabated. Since April 2018, Nicaragua’s security forces have killed hundreds of people, thousands have been injured or held as political prisoners, and more than 100,000 Nicaraguans have fled to neighboring countries or the United States. Ortega’s authoritarian consolidation began well before April 2018; the keys to his regime’s ruthless survival strategy are the National Police and Nicaraguan Army, co-optation of the judiciary, domination of the media, and a highly complicit private sector that long ago embraced a modus vivendi with his socialist government, among others. The US should ramp up its sanctions against the Ortega regime; target individuals and industries, especially those connected to Ortega or the military; sequence its sanctions rollout; and synchronize external pressure with the domestic opposition to develop an effective strategy for achieving key political and electoral reforms ahead of the general elections in 2021. Reinvigorated diplomacy, particularly with the European Union and other Latin America governments, should seek to expand the international coalition against Ortega’s repression to maintain steady pressure for a definitive change in the character of the regime.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Civil Society, Sanctions, Protests
  • Political Geography: Central America, Nicaragua, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Partial decoupling from China is overdue. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) suppresses foreign competition and infringes intellectual property. It is an ugly dictatorship at home and increasingly aggressive overseas. Decoupling involves a range of tools and economic activities. Policymakers should quickly move to document and respond to Chinese subsidies, implement already legislated export control reform, monitor and possibly regulate outbound investment, and provide legal authority to move or keep supply chains out of the PRC. Decoupling has costs—higher prices, lower returns on investment, and lost sales. But they are dwarfed by the costs of continued Chinese economic predation and the empowerment of the Communist Party.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Mark Balboni, John A. Bonin, Robert Mundell, Doug Orsi
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This research monograph explores the Army’s emerging concept of multi-domain operations and its implications on the mission command approach. The transition to multi-domain operations changes the traditional view of how Army commanders and staffs conduct operations in the physical environment to include simultaneously operations in the information environment within the competition continuum. This monograph will utilize the introduction of the aircraft during World War I as a historical case study for the integration of new domains. The Army has integrated new domains in the past and this example provides the historical context for the challenges involving integration of new domains. An overview and analysis of what multi-domain operations are will provide a baseline understanding of how multi-domain operations are changing not only how we fight but also how the Army must change roles and responsibilities to allow the Joint force to compete across the competition continuum, especially below armed conflict. The transition to multi-domain operations will require new processes. Changes will be required not only to the physical systems employed but also to Joint professional military education, Joint and Army doctrine, and headquarters staff structures as leaders and their staffs will require different skills to operate in this new environment.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, War, Military Strategy, World War I, Peace
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America
  • Author: John R. Deni
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: In 2017, for the first time since the end of the Cold War, none of the capability targets identified in NATO’s quadrennial NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP) were left on the negotiating table. Previously, capability targets were identified by the alliance’s secretariat, but they remained unfilled as allies failed to assume responsibility for them. This monograph examines the 2014–18 iteration of the NDPP, which represented a stunning turnaround in transatlantic burden sharing. The analysis reveals a combination of factors—the changed threat environment, political pressure from Washington, and the role of “policy entrepreneurs” working within NATO—best explain the alliance’s success in achieving more equitable burden sharing. To reach this conclusion, the monograph relies on an array of primary and secondary sources, including interviews with over two dozen officials directly involved in the 2014–18 NDPP. While incorporating available quantitative data on alliance defense spending, the monograph primarily focuses on process tracing as the most effective qualitative methodology for revealing the story behind the 2014–18 NDPP. Policy makers will find this monograph particularly useful because it draws key lessons from the 2014–18 NDPP to make several forward-leaning policy recommendations to strengthen and build upon NATO’s burden-sharing successes to date.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Mateusz Piotrowski
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In response to the growing threats from China and Russia to U.S. security in space and the increased importance of space infrastructure for its civil and military sectors, American authorities began reorganising the armed forces. This includes adoption of the “Defense Space Strategy”, which places the newest branch of the armed forces—Space Force—in the U.S. defence planning. The strengthening of military cooperation with allies in this area, as declared in the document, is an opportunity for Poland to acquire experience in the protection of satellite systems, which are planned for the needs of the Polish armed forces.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Space
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, United States of America
  • Author: Jerry Hendrix
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This paper seeks to both explore and understand the first “Sputnik Moment” in all of its facets. It will investigate its origins; how it came as such a surprise to so many outside of the White House and the intelligence community; and how various groups—to include leaders in the Soviet Union, the separate American military services, the scientific and engineering communities and, finally, opposing political forces within the United States—moved to leverage the “moment” to their own advantage. Because of this phenomenon, great investments were made in the U.S. military, the National Air and Space Administration was created, and the U.S. public educational system was overhauled to place greater emphasis on science and engineering within its curriculums. This study will also seek to distill lessons learned from the first “Sputnik Moment” and to examine the question of whether such an event could happen again and, if so, what would be the modern reactions?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, National Security, Science and Technology, Space
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States of America
  • Author: Bryan Clark, Seth Cropsey, Timothy A. Walton
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Submarines have posed a challenge to naval forces for more than a century, enabling weaker maritime powers to launch surprise attacks ashore or cut an opponent off from the sea. But submarine threats, and the difficulty of countering them, increased substantially for the United States and its allies during the past decade. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is modernizing its fleet with conventional air-independent propulsion submarines (SSPs) that support its broader sensor and weapon networks. It is also fielding nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) and ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) capable of longer or more distant deployments. New generations of Russian Federation Navy (RFN) SSNs are difficult to track and could be employed for conventional or nuclear strikes during a conflict. Both countries are augmenting their submarine fleets with large autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) incorporating submarine like capabilities. Modern submarine technology has also proliferated, with the North Korean and Iranian navies using submarines and AUVs to level the playing field with their larger regional competitors and the United States. Unfortunately, the current US and allied approach to antisubmarine warfare (ASW) is unlikely to cope with the probable scale of undersea threats in a crisis or conflict. US Navy ASW concepts rely on fixed seabed sensors such as the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) or Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS) ships to detect and initially track submarines. Multiple maritime patrol aircraft and guided missile destroyers (DDGs) then track each adversary submarine before potentially passing it to an SSN for longerterm surveillance. This approach works when opposing submarines deploy infrequently but is likely to break down during a large-scale submarine deployment or as submarines become quieter and harder to track. When manned platforms and expendables such as sonobuoys or torpedoes run out or are needed elsewhere, ASW operations will necessarily collapse to a defensive strategy protecting high-value targets, instead of suppressing enemy submarine operations closer to the adversary’s waters. This may result in unlocated adversary submarines operating in the open ocean, where they could threaten US and allied shipping and maritime operations.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, National Security, Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Maritime, Automation, Submarines
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Liselotte Odgaard, Sune Lund
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This report first analyzes the use of CUES in the South China Sea, which is the region they initially were designed for as an instrument to prevent unwanted escalation. In what sense have CUES in the South China Sea set a precedent for reassurance measures in other regions? Second, we discuss whether CUES could be useful to lower tension levels between Russia and NATO in their ongoing conflicts over spheres of interest, strategic space, and appropriate deterrence measures in maritime Europe. The analysis draws on the first-hand experiences of personnel engaged in implementing the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES). This allows us to go beyond rhetorical announcements of intention and understand how de-escalation instruments are used at the level of implementation and whether they have any effect. Third, we conclude by discussing the caveats to and advantages of adopting CUES in the Euro-Atlantic area and how they should be designed to take the specific strategic context of this area into account.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Defense Policy, NATO, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Central Asia, United States of America
  • Author: T. X. Hammes
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: For the last two decades, China has studied the US military, identified its key weaknesses, and developed the tactics and forces best suited to exploit those vulnerabilities. These challenges are compounded by significant deficiencies in today’s US joint force across all domains of conflict—sea, air, land, space, electronic warfare, and cyber. Proposed budgets cannot overcome those deficiencies using legacy systems. Therefore, the current US military strategy for the defense of Asia—a conventional defense of the first island chain from Japan to the Philippines, built on current air and sea platforms supported by major air and sea bases—needs to be adapted. The United States and its allies have two major advantages they can exploit—geography and emerging technologies. In Forward Defense’s inaugural report, An Affordable Defense of Asia, T.X. Hammes crafts a strategy for leveraging these advantages. Hammes makes the case that by developing novel operational concepts that take advantage of emerging technologies, while integrating these concepts into a broader Offshore Control Strategy which seeks to hold geostrategic chokepoints, the United States can improve its warfighting posture and bolster conventional deterrence. This paper advances the following arguments and recommendations. 1. The geography of the Pacific provides significant strategic, operational, and tactical advantages to a defender. 2. New operational concepts that employ emerging, relatively inexpensive technologies—including multimodal missiles, long-range air drones, smart sea mines, and unmanned naval vessels—can support an affordable defense of Asia. 3. These new technologies can and should be manufactured and fielded by US allies in the region in order to strengthen alliance relationships and improve their ability to defend themselves. 4. Autonomous weapons will be essential to an affordable defense of Asia.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Tate Nurkin, Ryo Hinata-Yamaguchi
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Geopolitical and security dynamics are shifting in the Indo-Pacific as states across the region adjust to China’s growing influence and the era of great-power competition between the United States and China. These geopolitical shifts are also intersecting with the accelerating rate of innovation in technologies associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) to reshape the future of military-technological competition and emerging military operations. This report, Emerging Technologies and the Future of US-Japan Defense Collaboration, by Tate Nurkin and Ryo Hinata-Yamaguchi, explores the drivers, tensions, and constraints shaping US-Japan collaboration on emerging defense technologies while providing concrete recommendations for the US-Japan alliance to accelerate and intensify long-standing military and defense-focused coordination and collaboration.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, International Cooperation, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Japan, East Asia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: C. Anthony Pfaff
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: With US-Iraq ties strained and a Strategic Dialogue between the two countries set to begin in June 2020, this Atlantic Council Iraq Initiative report by Nonresident Senior Fellow and former White House National Security Council Iraq Director Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff analyzes the current challenges in the relationship and presents policy recommendations. Dr. Pfaff argues in the report that the United States should: Avoid dragging Iraq into its broader campaign against Iran; Play to its comparative advantage: The United States can be a better security partner for Iraq than other countries and can also assist with integrating it into the international community and developing the economic and financial capabilities necessary to participate in the global economy; Continue to insist on the integration of Iran-backed militias into Iraq’s security forces; Highlight US aid to Iraq and while acknowledging US mistakes, push back against politicized narratives that explain Iraq’s lack of recovery; Emphasize military interoperability, so that in the event of an ISIS resurgence – or the emergence of a like-minded group – US forces can quickly fill in the Iraqi armed forces’ capability gaps; Promote reconciliation and provide an alternative to Iranian mediation while at the same time avoiding advocacy for a particular outcome; Provide economic assistance to set conditions for foreign investment by US companies and like-minded partners; Focus additional COVID-19 related assistance on economic recovery;.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Bilateral Relations, Military Affairs, Economic Development , COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Paul D. Miller
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: At the outset of some of the most impactful wars in history, policymakers have assumed that the duration of conflict would be brief. Unfortunately, their assumptions were often wrong, as may wars like those in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan only grew more complicated with the passage of time. However, at least in these three cases, the reality of prolonged stalemate did not stop policymakers from setting withdrawal deadlines to assuage public anxieties and improve military performance. The pressures contributing to these consistent decisions across time are still relevant now. Therefore, as the United States currently seeks to deter great-power rivals and rogue regimes while combating terrorism, it is as important as ever to understand the roles and potential outcomes of withdrawal deadlines in war. In this new Atlantic Council report, Withdrawal Deadlines In War: Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Dr. Paul D. Miller examines the effect of withdrawal timetables on public opinion, military success, and policymakers’ goals across the three titular case studies. He finds that “Withdrawal timelines do not achieve the political benefits that policymakers desire, but they do incur the risks policymakers rightly fear.” In the face of prolonged and difficult military challenges, withdrawal deadlines can exacerbate outcomes at crucial moments, and thus policymakers must tread carefully.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, History, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, South Asia, Middle East, East Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Kristine Lee, Joshua Fitt, Coby Goldberg
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The U.S.–South Korea alliance is a primary deterrent to the threat North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal poses. But the alliance’s nearly singular functional focus on managing the North Korea threat, despite South Korea’s broadly integral role in advancing a rules-based order in the region, has introduced volatility in the bilateral relationship. Washington’s halting and inconsistent approach to Pyongyang and its failure to reach a timely agreement on its military cost-sharing framework with Seoul have nudged the alliance toward a new inflection point. Beyond the North Korea challenge, South Korea has the potential to play a consequential role in advancing the United States’ broader vision for a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific. As Seoul adopts globally oriented policies, buoyed by its position at the leading edge of certain technology areas and its successful COVID-19 pandemic response, the United States should parlay these efforts into a more concrete role for South Korea as a partner on the world stage. Collaborating on global public health issues, combating climate change, and jointly developing norms around critical emerging technologies would position the alliance to meet the challenges of the 21st century. By widening the aperture of the alliance and positioning Seoul to play an integral role in the United States’ vision for the future of the Indo-Pacific, the two allies will be better equipped to address enduring geopolitical risks in Northeast Asia, including those associated with a nuclear-armed North Korea.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Alliance, Modernization
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Paul Scharre, Ainikki Riikonen
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The Department of Defense’s (DoD) ever-shifting technology priorities jeopardize its ability to win a long-term technology competition. The DoD needs a systematic approach—a technology strategy—for how to prioritize technology investments. The dominant global tech trend today is the information revolution, which is leading to exponential growth in digital capabilities. The top priority of the DoD’s technology strategy should be rapidly spinning in and militarizing digital technologies generated in the private sector. The DoD should invest in key military-specific technologies, such as hypersonics or directed energy weapons, when there is clear operational value but should expect advancements to be incremental.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Investment
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Loren DeJonge Schulman
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The tragic 2017 killing of four U.S. Army personnel caught in a surprise ambush in Niger offers very few positive lessons for congressional oversight. Indeed, when speaking with experts, there is little agreement on whether Congress was kept appropriately informed or was even in a position to understand the mission of U.S. forces in Niger. Superficially, there are blunt facts—years of War Powers notifications detailing increasing numbers of combat-equipped personnel and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) posture statements highlighting the counterterrorism mission in the Sahel—stood against blunt statements from senior members—“I didn’t know there was 1,000 troops in Niger,” Senator Lindsey Graham said shortly after the incident.1 Explored in more detail, inconsistent mission and authority reporting from the Department of Defense (DoD) confronts, and combines with, variable expectations from Congress. At the heart of this friction is the by-with-and-through counterterrorism strategy, how it is implemented in practice, and whether key stakeholders have a common understanding of its rule sets and risks. Some of the gaps the Tongo Tongo ambush highlighted—between the Pentagon and operational units; between AFRICOM and Special Operations Command Africa (SOC-AF); and between Congress and the DoD—have been addressed, but others remain. This incident offers multiple lessons to both sides of the Potomac River in improving oversight relationships, both in informal interactions and in formal understanding of authorities and oversight responsibilities.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Affairs, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Africa, North America, Niger, United States of America
  • Author: Karl Friedhoff
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: The Trump presidency has strained relations with several Asian allies, including South Korea. But the 2020 Chicago Council Survey results show that President Donald Trump’s repeated threats and bullying tactics on defense and trade issues with Seoul have done little to soften support among the American public for the alliance with South Korea. In fact, favorable views of South Korea are now at an all-time high.
  • Topic: International Relations, Defense Policy, Trade
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North America, Korea, United States of America