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  • Author: Ian Williams
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: For decades, China has engaged in a fervent game of “catch-up” with U.S. military capabilities. This effort, which has ballooned China’s defense spending to 620 percent of its 1990 level, is beginning to bear real fruit. While still far from achieving military parity, China’s military technology and doctrine are quickly coalescing into a coherent form of warfare, tailored to overpowering the U.S. military in a short, sharp conflict in the Eastern Pacific. This strategy of “informationized” warfare focuses first on eroding U.S. situational awareness, communications, and precision targeting capabilities.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Weapons , Military Spending, Conflict, Surveillance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Esther Sperling
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The US military maintains almost $1.2 trillion worth of installations worldwide, allowing the United States to sustain critical capabilities and respond to crises around the globe. Outdated and degraded infrastructure limits the military’s ability to respond. The growing impacts of climate change exacerbate the challenge of modernizing and maintaining infrastructure. Climate change’s impact on military installations can be broken down into four main categories: sea level rise, extreme storms, extreme drought and heat, and Arctic ice melt. While Congress has passed bipartisan legislation to address the threat, the Department of Defense (DoD) must take additional steps to adapt to the challenges of climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Military Affairs, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Naval incidents in the Gulf have spotlighted the danger that a U.S.-Iranian skirmish could blow up into war. The two sides have little ability to communicate at present. They should hasten to design a military-to-military channel to lower the chances of inadvertent conflagration. What’s new? Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have repeatedly brought the two sides to the brink of open conflict. While neither government seeks a full-fledged war, a string of dangerous tit-for-tat exchanges amid mounting hostile rhetoric underscores the potential for a bigger military clash. Why does it matter? Due to limited communication channels between Tehran and Washington, an inadvertent or accidental interaction between the two sides could quickly escalate into a broader confrontation. The risk is especially high in the Gulf, where U.S. and Iranian military vessels operate close to one another. What should be done? The U.S. and Iran should open a military de-escalation channel that fills the gap between ad hoc naval communications and high-level diplomacy at moments of acute crisis. A mechanism facilitated by a third party might contain the risk of conflict due to misread signals and miscalculation.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Military Affairs, Conflict, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Terry Babcock-Lumish, Tania Chacho, Tom Fox, Zachary Griffiths
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: As the Indo-Pacific region enters a period of uncertainty, this monograph details the proceedings of West Point’s 2019 Senior Conference 55. Scholars and practitioners convened to discuss and debate strategic changes, and experts shared thoughts during keynote addresses and panels on economics, security, technology, and potential futures in this critically important region.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Asia, North America, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Jean-loup Samaan
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This monograph explores the emerging challenge of nonstate actors’ anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) strategies and their implications for the United States and its allies by looking at two regions, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, with case studies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Houthis in Yemen, and separatist groups in Ukraine.
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Hezbollah, Houthis, Hamas
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Yemen, Gaza, Lebanon, United States of America
  • Author: C. Anthony Pfaff
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Security cooperation with Iraq remains a critical component of the US-Iraq relationship. Despite neighboring Iran’s ability to limit US political and economic engagement, Iraq still seeks US assistance to develop its military and to combat resurgent terrorist organizations. This monograph provides a historical and cultural basis from which to understand the limitations and potential for US cooperation with Iraq’s armed forces.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Islamic State, Economy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Heidi Peltier
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: This infographic displays an estimate of the raw number of service members from each state operating in the United States post-9/11 wars in 2019 and the relative burden borne by each state in making this contribution. The ‘post-9/11 wars’ refers to U.S. military operations around the world, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere, that have grown out of President George W. Bush’s “Global War on Terror” and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The color coding on the map shows the broader context of each state’s contribution of service members in relation to its population size. The darkest color, for instance, shows that South Carolina, Hawaii, Alaska, Florida, and Georgia send the highest numbers of troops, per capita, to war. Since there is no publicly available government data that lists service members involved in the U.S. post-9/11 wars by their state of origin, the research team estimated the figures using a combination of various government data sources. The Methodological Appendix, below, lists sources and methods.
  • Topic: Demographics, War, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, 9/11, War on Terror, Statistics
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sara Nowacka
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Iraq remains an area of rivalry between the U.S. and Iran. The latest example was the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad by the U.S. in January. The Iraqi parliament then demanded the withdrawal of all foreign military troops. However, the fear of the resurgence of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) and continued protests against Iranian influence, ongoing since October 2019, may lead the Iraqi authorities to alter their position. An alternative option to request a NATO mission to take over some of the activities of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS may be a good solution.
  • Topic: NATO, Military Affairs, Islamic State, Military Intervention, Qassem Soleimani
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, North America, 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: 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: 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: 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: Barrett Y. Bogue, Andrew Morse
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: A secondary education for service members, many of whom would otherwise have delayed enrollment or deemed the opportunity of a higher education unaffordable altogether. The commitment began in earnest in 1944 through the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, which provided federal benefits to veterans to defray the cost of unemployment, education, and purchasing a home. This landmark legislation established the GI Bill, led to a historic increase of veterans pursuing a degree, and effectively democratized higher education. America’s promise to service members and veterans in higher education remains vibrant through the 2017 Forever GI Bill, which made education benefits for military-connected students available for life. Nearly eight decades later, the GI Bill continues to pay dividends. Student veterans in college campuses across the country engage as some of the best-performing nontraditional students compared to other adult learners.1 Simultaneous to the GI Bill’s evolution, higher education also evolved with a distinct set of challenges in the 21st century, including a changing demography of prospective students, increasing out-of-pocket costs and decreasing state support, and growing skepticism on the value of a post-secondary degree. Service members and veterans who earned a degree though the GI Bill, or by other means, will choose to enter higher education as a career and continue to serve an important role leading, teaching, and mentoring the next generation of Americans. This report examines the connection between military service and veterans who work in higher education, and how they navigate profound change in the higher education landscape. The report also provides recommendations to explicitly target the recruitment of veterans into higher education leadership roles and support their careers. Higher education in America is at an inflection point. The rapidly changing demography of its prospective students, persistent increases in the out-of-pocket costs for an increasingly low- to middle-income student demographic, growing skepticism of the value of post-secondary attainment, and the compounding student debt owed by Americans place increasing pressure on the seams of our nation’s post-secondary educational infrastructure. The country must continue to address these challenges with a sense of urgency, and we must continue exploring new ways to approach solutions to these challenges. Developing a critical mass of adaptive leaders across organizations is critical to higher education’s success now and for generations to come. While military service provides a critical avenue for the development of skills and competencies required for success in higher education leadership, there is (1) an inadequate understanding by many in higher education, as in the general public, about the virtues of military service in forging the knowledge and skill profile required for higher education leadership roles; and (2) a gap in the literature and corresponding policy recommendations about pathways for service members and veterans into executive-level higher education leadership roles. Therefore, the purposes of this study are (1) to identify the connections between military service and higher education leadership competencies; and (2) offer recommendations for growing the number of service members and veterans who are positioned to assume leadership roles in higher education settings. Using a semi-structured qualitative interview design of currently serving higher education leaders and practitioners with prior military service, this paper identifies the reasons why veterans choose to work in higher education, captures the leadership skills and traits learned in the military that practically apply to their roles, identifies current challenges in higher education’s mission to serve students, and provides recommendations for recruiting more veterans into leadership roles.
  • Topic: Education, Military Affairs, Veterans
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Lewis G. Irwin
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This monograph identifies challenges and opportunities in today’s US Army Reserve. Since its inception in 1908, the Army Reserve has made important, diverse, and cost-effective contributions to the Army and the Joint Force and has shown the ability to adapt in profound ways to meet emerging requirements. In the context of emerging requirements driven by the 2018 National Defense Strategy, the Army is developing its thinking on multi-domain operations and evolving complex threats in the strategic and operational environments. To meet these emerging, complex challenges, the Army Reserve must adapt again. Accordingly, the monograph offers an honest and direct assessment of the modern Army Reserve’s structural realities, institutional limitations, and untapped potential, while proposing a series of “quick wins,” “heavy lifts,” and “deep” reforms aimed at adapting the institution to meet our nation’s twenty-first century needs.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Army
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Stephen J. Blank
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Wherever one looks, Russia is carrying out aggressive military and informational attacks against the West in Europe, North and South America, the Arctic, and the Middle East. This “war against the West” actually began over a decade ago, but its most jarring and shocking event, the one that started to focus Western minds on Russia, was the invasion of Ukraine in 2014. Given this pattern, the National Security Council (NSC) in 2014 invited Stephen Blank to organize a conference on the Russian military. We were able to launch the conference in 2016 and bring together a distinguished international group of experts on the Russian military to produce the papers that were then subsequently updated for presentation here.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Authoritarianism, Cybersecurity, Vladimir Putin
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Asia, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Antulio J. Echevarria II, Hew Strachan, Seth A. Johnston, Howard Coombs, Martijn Kitzen, Christophe Lafaye, Conrad C. Crane, Alexander G. Lovelace
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The Autumn issue of Parameters opens with a Special Commentary by Sir Hew Strachan concerning lessons Western militaries learned, or ought to have learned, during their campaigns in Afghanistan. His commentary sets up this issue’s first forum, Afghanistan’s Lessons: Part I. In the opening article, Seth Johnston’s “NATO’s Lessons” underscores the importance of the Alliance’s role as a facilitator of multinational collaboration. He presents a favorable view, arguing NATO’s established processes succeeded in enabling countries with limited resources to participate fully in the mission in Afghanistan. Howard Coombs follows with a contribution concerning “Canada’s Lessons.” Among other things, he maintains Canada’s whole-of-government approach resulted in great gains while Canadian Forces were actively involved in combat. Nonetheless, Canada seems uninterested in maintaining this capability as a framework for responding to other crises. The third article in this forum is Martijn Kitzen’s “The Netherlands’ Lessons,” which highlights the benefits of having a small military that enjoys networked learning. Although the Dutch military seems to be reverting to enemy-centric thinking, the author encourages its leaders to retain an adaptive mindset that will facilitate adopting a more population-centric approach when necessary. In “France’s Lessons,” Christophe Lafaye explains how combat in Afghanistan contributed to the tactical and doctrinal evolution of the French Army. With decades of relative peace since the Algerian War, French soldiers began their service in Afghanistan with little experience and inadequate materiel. They quickly developed into a combat-ready force capable of responding rapidly to a variety of military emergencies as the need arose. Our second forum, World War II: 75th Anniversary, features two contributions concerning famous US generals. Conrad Crane’s, “Matthew Ridgway and the Battle of the Bulge” illustrates examples of Ridgway’s strategic thinking at work during the German’s surprise attack and ensuing crisis. Alexander G. Lovelace’s “Slap Heard around the World: George Patton and Shell Shock” analyzes Patton’s possible motives for slapping two soldiers in during the Sicily campaign in 1943.
  • Topic: NATO, War, History, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, Canada, North America, Netherlands, United States of America
  • Author: M. Chris Mason, John Crisafulli, Fernando Farfan, Aaron French, Yama Kambiz, Bryan Kirk, Matthew Maybouer, John Sannes
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The United States will soon enter the 18th year of combat operations in Afghanistan. During that time, multiple approaches to stabilize the country have been tried, including support to regional security initiatives, “nation-building,” counterinsurgency, counternarcotics, counterterrorism, and “train and equip.” The constellation of anti-government elements known collectively as the Taliban continues to refuse reconciliation or a negotiated peace under the existing Afghan constitution.
  • Topic: War, History, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Antulio J. Echevarria II, Sam J. Tangredi, Mathieu Boulegue, Keir Giles, C. Anthony Pfaff, Karen J. Finkenbinder, Massimo Pani, Richard A. Lacquement Jr., John F. Sullivan
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Our 2019 Spring/Summer issue of Parameters features three forums. In the first forum, A2/AD Myths: Chinese & Russian, Sam Tangredi’s “Anti-Access Strategies in the Pacific: The United States and China” puts Beijing’s A2/AD capabilities in perspective and encourages the United States to consider developing an anti-access strategy of its own to deter possible Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. Keir Giles and Mathieu Boulegue’s “Russia’s A2/AD Capabilities: Real and Imagined,” explode some of the myths concerning Russia’s A2/AD capabilities and recommend ways to promote a stronger defense of the Baltic states and Eastern Europe. The second forum, Enhancing Security & Stability, considers how to address emerging and periodic challenges in regional and functional stability. In “Human Security in the Arctic: Implications for the US Army,” Tony Pfaff explains the growing importance of Arctic security for Army strategists. The challenges of climate change will require the Army, including the Alaska National Guard, to reallocate forces to this important region. In “Projecting Stability: A Deployable NATO Police Command,” Massimo Pani and Karen Finkenbinder propose methods NATO could use to project a stability force to crisis situations within 5 days, to be augmented with additional police forces and command elements within 30 days. Our third forum, On Strategic Foundations, offers two articles that explore the reliability of some of the conceptual foundations of our strategic thinking. Richard Lacquement Jr. discusses the use of historical analogies as one of humanity’s most important adaptive techniques in “Analogical Thinking: The Sine Qua Non for Using History Well.” He suggests pattern recognition may aid in clarifying context and in guiding action in unfamiliar intellectual terrain. In “Reconsidering Sun Tzu,” John Sullivan challenges readers to be more critical of orthodox interpretations of Sun Tzu’s Art of War. After all, the unexamined theory is not worth teaching.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Stefan Forss, Juha Pyykönen
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: With enhanced cooperation from the U.S. Army, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Nordic partner nations could combine efforts with each other and with the Alliance to deliver effective and visible regional deterrence against a resurgent Russia in the Nordic-Baltic region. This monograph by two leading Finnish defense academics explores the regional defense environment and optimum roles for the United States.
  • Topic: NATO, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Deterrence, Army
  • Political Geography: Russia, Finland, North America, Nordic Nations, United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Shima D. Keene
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This monograph provides an assessment of the emerging threat posed by foreign jihadist fighters following the reduction in territory controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and recommends ways that the U.S. Army should address the issues highlighted.
  • Topic: Migration, Military Affairs, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Jihad, Army
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America