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  • Author: Jeffrey Cimmino, Matthew Kroenig, Barry Pavel
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is a strategic shock, and its almost immediate, damaging effects on the global economy constitute a secondary disruption to global order. Additional secondary strategic shocks (e.g., in the developing world) are looming. Together, these developments pose arguably the greatest threat to the global order since World War II. In the aftermath of that conflict, the United States and its allies established a rules-based international system that has guaranteed freedom, peace, and prosperity for decades. If the United States and its allies do not act effectively, the pandemic could upend this order. This issue brief considers the current state of the pandemic and how it has strained the global rules-based order over the past few months. First, it considers the origins of the novel coronavirus and how it spread around the world. Next, it examines how COVID-19 has exacerbated or created pressure points in the global order, highlights uncertainties ahead, and provides recommendations to the United States and its partners for shaping the post-COVID-19 world.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Politics, European Union, Economy, Business , Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, South Asia, Eurasia, India, Taiwan, Asia, North America, Korea, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • 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: Matthew Kroenig, Mark Massa, Christian Trotti
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced five new nuclear-capable, strategic weapons systems. These systems include a nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed cruise missile and a nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed submarine drone. What does Russia have to gain from developing these novel and exotic nuclear weapons? And what should the United States and NATO do about it? This new Atlantic Council issue brief, Russia’s Exotic Nuclear Weapons and Implications for the United States and NATO, answers these questions. Informed by a workshop convened by the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and Los Alamos National Laboratory, authors Matthew Kroenig, Mark Massa, and Christian Trotti evaluate the potential utility, motivations, and consequences of these new systems. Among other conclusions, the most significant may be that great-power competition has returned, and with it, the importance of nuclear weapons in international politics.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Nuclear Power, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Tate Nurkin, Stephen Rodriguez
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: AI is expected to have a transformational impact on the future of geopolitics, defense, and security. The emerging geopolitical and security context influencing the future of AI technology development has been driven by the erosion of traditional geopolitical frameworks, increased conflict between liberalism and authoritarianism, the pervasiveness of social media use and 4IR-driven digitization of industries, as well as the ability of more actors to affect strategic and operational environments. However, the future of AI will depend on the decisions of great power competitors—the US, China and Russia—global trends development, and the management of uncertainties associated with emerging technologies. In this fluctuating environment, where the US is engaged in a high-stakes competition with is near-peer adversaries, and AI is enabling paradigm-shifting changes in public and private sector operations, how should the US respond? In this new Atlantic Council Strategy Paper, A Candle in the Dark: US National Security Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, Tate Nurkin and Stephen Rodriguez provide an integrated strategy to respond to this key issue. According to Former US Secretary of Defense Dr. Ashton B. Carter, author of the foreword, this paper “effectively articulates the current technological landscape and offers a coherent strategic framework for the United States and its allies to harness AI’s upside potential, while mitigating downside risks and defending against emerging threats.” In a world full of uncertainties, this paper provides a holistic way forward for the US to leverage the full potential of AI while maintaining America’s technological competitiveness.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Intelligence, National Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Entrepreneurship, Drones, Conflict, Disinformation
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Abbas Kadhim
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Iraq has a long and complicated history with the United States, and security and military engagements have been the primary driver of the relationship. Iraq’s relations with Russia, on the other hand, have been more transactional and economically-oriented. At a time when there are signs of US disengagement from the Middle East and North Africa while Russian and Chinese activities in the region are increasing, it is useful to trace the past US and Russian strategies in Iraq and assess how the United States could better tailor its strategy toward Iraq in the future in order to achieve durable outcomes that would bring benefits to both sides such as a responsive government, a thriving economy, and security. This chapter is part of an edited volume that gathers analysis on the policy choices pursued by Washington and Moscow in the MENA region and develops case studies of the two powers’ policies in the countries beset by major crises.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iraq, Eurasia, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ash Jain, Matthew Kroenig
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, the United States and other leading democracies built an international system that ushered in an almost 70-year period of remarkable peace and prosperity. After three decades of largely uncontested primacy, however, this rules-based system is now under unprecedented challenge, both from within and without. We need a new strategy— one ambitious enough to meet the moment, and one innovative enough to fit the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Patrick O'Reilly
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: NATO leaders have cited missile defense as an example of applying the principles of the Smart Defense initiative endorsed at the 2012 NATO Summit to enhance collective defense at minimum cost. As ballistic missiles continue to proliferate and become more accessible to both state and nonstate actors, it is important to foster global partnerships to pursue NATO's missile defense mission and protect North American and European interests. NATO should consider opportunities to further apply the principles of Smart Defense now to reduce future costs of deterring and countering missile proliferation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Asia, North America
  • Author: Karl-Heinz Kamp
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: While the withdrawal of all combat forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 will be welcomed in most NATO capitals, it raises stark questions for the future of the Atlantic Alliance. Can it justify its existence without a direct threat to the security of its members? Is it enough for NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to state that the Alliance has to evolve from “deployed NATO to prepared NATO,” without answering the question: prepared for what? Or will NATO have to accept that it is now less relevant, placing itself in standby mode to hibernate until it is reawakened by a new mission inside or outside Europe?
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, North America
  • Author: Barry Pavel, Jeffrey Lightfoot
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The "tough love" farewell speech of former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates last June was more than a major policy speech on the state of NATO. His remarks were also highly symbolic, coming from a legendary Cold Warrior whose forty-year career had been oriented around the transatlantic relationship. Secretary Gates used his final appearance at the bully pulpit not only to warn Europeans that declining defense budgets risked undermining the credibility of the Alliance among US policymakers, but also that a new wave of American decision-makers would not necessarily share his generation's knowledge of, concern for, or sentimental attachment to the transatlantic alliance.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, International Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Middle East, North America