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  • Author: Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: Despite the Biden administration’s push to revitalize U.S. alliances, U.S. relations with NATO are due for a reset. The United States should incentivize European members of NATO to take on additional responsibilities for their defense. Encouraging the European allies to take initiative will help the United States focus on its other domestic and international priorities and may facilitate improving relations with Russia. This approach will also prove attractive to European states concerned about the future direction of U.S. foreign policy. Recalibrating the U.S. role in Europe would conform with the United States’ post–World War II efforts to stabilize European security — and stand as the fruit of Washington’s success in this regard.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, International Security, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Alliance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Andrea Gilli
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Thanks to their higher speed, larger data volume, lower latency, and capacity to sustain very high density connections (including machine-to-machine communications), 5G networks are set to unleash a major economic revolution, potentially adding trillions of dollars to the global economy (at least according to recent forecasts). From smart cities to Artificial Intelligence (AI); telemedicine to driverless cars; virtual reality to the Internet of Things (IoT); Industry 4.0 to all manner of applications that will comprise this new ecosystem, 5G ushers in enormous opportunities. 5G communications still require significant investments, both for research and development of key technologies, and for building the supporting infrastructure. Moreover, the next generation of telecommunications raises several important questions about the political economy of spectrum allocation and standard definition, their military applications, the role of Chinese companies and the attendant cybersecurity risks. These are all relevant topics for NATO from which the Alliance can draw some strategic lessons.
  • Topic: NATO, Military Strategy, Data, 5G, Internet of Things
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, Global Focus
  • Author: Angela Kane, Noah Mayhew
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: Many consider the Reagan-Gorbachev prin- ciple that “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” (Joint Soviet-United States Statement 1985) to be the clarion call for arms control. With this, US and Soviet leaders put words to the fundamental under- standing that arms control was sacrosanct in the context of other, unrelated issues in inter- national security. In 2020, we live in a different reality where arms control by some experts has been reduced to “nuclear identity politics” (Ford 2020) while others claim that it is “practical- ly exhausted” (Yermakov 2020). Disconcert- ing as these sentiments may be, they contain a kernel of truth. Arms control in 2020 is still oriented to realities of the past. But if the arms race spirals into full force, it is humans who will be the losers. Hence, it is unhelp- ful to dismiss arms control as an obsolete manifestation of Cold War nightmares. But it is time for an update to address new global challenges, in particular quickly evolving geo- political realities and emerging technologies. Furthermore, the silos in the debate on arms control need to be overcome.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: This is a Pugwash document concerning nuclear problems and tensions in the time of COVID-19. This document has been co-signed by an extensive list of Pugwash colleagues and personalities. We hope that it might promote debate about how to improve international cooperation and, in particular, the reduction of international tensions that may bring new risks
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nonproliferation, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: George Fust
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Department of Social Sciences at West Point, United States Military Academy
  • Abstract: This article seeks to help intelligence professionals better define an operating environment through the use of civil military relations theory.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Civil-Military Relations
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michelle Nicholasen
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Centerpiece
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: From civil strife in Syria to the war in Yemen to US-Iran tensions, Shi'a groups are emerging as major players on the geopolitical landscape. The 200 million Shi'as around the world comprise 15–20 percent of all Muslims, yet little is understood about their culture, historical legacy, and political dynamics. Shi’as are the majority sect in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, and Bahrain, and comprise substantial minority groups in Africa, South and Central Asia, and countries throughout the Middle East. Last fall, the Weatherhead Center launched the Project on Shi’ism and Global Affairs to support advanced research on the diverse manifestations of Shi’ism, and to encourage rigorous scholarship on the political dynamics of its role in the Middle East. The project supports scholarship that increases understanding of the intersection between religion and politics in Islam by engaging political scientists, historians, policy makers, religious leaders, and other specializations at the WCFIA. It was a busy first year, replete with talks on important events in Islamic history, the geopolitics of Iraq, the US-Iran confrontation, and more. The project launched the online platform Visions, which offers advanced commentary on all aspects of Shi’a thought, politics, and society. Additionally, project members have travelled to Baghdad and Erbil in Iraq for field work and academic conferences, as well as to the United Kingdom to present research and conduct outreach. Team members have also travelled to various cities across the United States to give presentations and interactive workshops—including to Muslim-American communities in Dearborn, Michigan (home to the largest Arab-American population in North America) and Orlando, Florida—on the topic of religious pluralism, youth activism, Islamic thought, and civil society. Directed by Payam Mohseni, lecturer at Harvard University, the project is funded in part by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. We asked Payam Mohseni and project chairs Melani Cammett and Ali Asani about the motivations behind the Project on Shi’ism and Global Affairs.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Civil War, Religion, Military Strategy, Political Activism, Domestic politics, Pluralism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lawrence D. Freedman
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), National Defense University
  • Abstract: Strategic competition is back in vogue. After years of worrying about ethnic conflict and humanitarian intervention, civil wars and counterinsurgency, there is a renewed focus among policymakers, think-tankers, and academics on traditional strategic concerns and in particular great power confrontation. For many students of international relations this appears as no more than recognizing a feature of the system that never went away.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Hegemony, Strategic Competition, Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Otto Fiala, Ulrica Pettersson
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), National Defense University
  • Abstract: Resistance is a form of warfare. It can be planned. The Resistance Operations Concept is simply a resistance primer. It contains guidance and advice toward establishing a nationally authorized resistance capability. It advises the establishment of a pre-crisis organization for nations under greater threat, for the purpose of having a unified resistance effort against an occupier, and renders specific organizational guidance.
  • Topic: War, Military Strategy, Conflict, Resistance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Emily Knowles
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), National Defense University
  • Abstract: Taking a peacebuilding approach to working with local militaries and armed groups means using assistance to fragmented security sectors to increase cooperation between various formal and informal elites in a weak state. This approach places less emphasis on developing conventional military power and more emphasis on facilitating and improving relations between the different factions within the security sector and between the security sector and the civilian population. If international providers help local partners perform better at military tasks without ensuring that the forces have local legitimacy and strong accountability, progress is likely to be fleeting and could actually exacerbate civilian harm and the underlying drivers of violent conflict.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Peacekeeping, Conflict, Local
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mieke Eoyang
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: In 2020, candidates and elected officials will face questions on national security and foreign policy issues. In this memo, we provide short talking points on these issues that acknowledge the concerns of Americans, critique current approaches and policies, and present a vision for the future: 1. Global Health Security, 2. China & COVID-19, 3. China Trade War, 4. Russia, 5. Terrorism, 6. Domestic Extremism, 7. Iran, 8. Election Security, 9. Saudi Arabia & Yemen, 10. Syria, 11. Alliances, 12. North Korea, 13. Cyberthreats, 14. Venezuela, 15. Afghanistan, 16. Forever War, 17. Border Security, 18. Defense Spending, 19. Impeachment, 20. Climate Change, 21. Corruption
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Elections
  • Political Geography: United States, North America, Global Focus
  • Author: Amy J. Nelson
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: his study explores variations in national models of innovation, as well as the pathways or levers those models afford in controlling innovation’s end product. This report focuses on dual-use, emerging technologies’ “origin stories” and takes a big picture view of their emergence. It is bookended by an exploration of where these dual-use technologies come from and by an assessment of where they are going. The report uses case studies of both U.S. and German investment in artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing to highlight national approaches to innovation, assessing each country’s approach to regulating sensitive and dual-use technologies once they have been developed. The report argues that within a national model of innovation, the way in which technology is procured by a state’s military is linked with that state’s ability to control or regulate an end-product and, in turn, prevent diffusion or proliferation.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Nonproliferation, Innovation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gordan Akrap
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Hybrid threats and hybrid conflicts and wars are one of those terms that have suddenly entered in public knowledge, raising many concerns. This is not surprising because there is no common and generally accepted definition of hybrid threats by which these processes are defined. The emergence of this term in the the complexity of this issue. Specifically, hybrid threats are not a new phenomenon to theorists of conflicts and wars. What makes hybrid warfare different from previous wars is the change in the importance and intensity of the individual components of the conflict, such as information or influence warfare component. In fact, until regional media space was, in the beginning, connected with journalist’s perception that intention of the state is to impose censorship of writing and publishing. Over time, fear in the media receded and gave way to understanding the end of the 20th century, information and media operations, that could be called influence or cognitive operations, were in the function of military operations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tanya Ogilvie-White
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Collaborative efforts to build a new arms-control architecture are urgently needed following the demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) – especially in the Asia-Pacific, where arms-racing pressures are unbridled. High-level discussions within the Trump administration on deploying previously prohibited ground-based INF-range (500–5,500 kilometres) missiles in the Asia-Pacific could hamper progress; rather than convincing Beijing to engage in (as-yet-unspecified) trilateral arms-control negotiations, they could increase strategic risks, strain relations between the United States and its allies in the region (Australia, Japan and South Korea) and encourage closer Sino–Russian military cooperation. Efforts to create arms-control momentum are welcome, but to be politically viable, new initiatives need to be fair, equitable and underpinned by strategic empathy, reciprocity and mutual restraint. A more constructive approach would see the US and its Asia-Pacific allies using their combined diplomatic capital to push for a formal regional arms-control dialogue, which could initially focus on confidence building and strategic-risk reduction, and over the longer term help lay the foundations for a new arms-control regime.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, INF Treaty
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andrew Hankins
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Whilst the number of insurgencies has steadily increased since the end of the 1990s, today they constitute the majority of all globally monitored conflicts.1 Insurgencies, defined as “organized subversion and violence to seize, nullify, or challenge political control of a region”2 have consequently become a key focus for conflict analysts, with counter-insurgency (COIN) operations now a central tenant within the education of modern professional armed forces.3 COIN itself consists of a “combination of measures undertaken by a government, sometimes with […] multinational partner support, to defeat an insurgency”.4 These missions have been primarily conducted by Western forces, which this article defines as those belonging to the European Union, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States of America – as not only are these states in line with what is traditionally considered Western society, but are well documented as leaders of Western COIN operations.5 However, non-Western COIN operations now constitute the majority of global COIN operations. One such example is the ongoing operation against the Islamist group known as Boko Haram, in the Lake Chad Basin.6 Despite the fact that Boko Haram continues to operate today, between 2011 and 2019 the Nigerian Joint Task Force (NJTF), as part of the Lake Chad Basin Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), successfully reduced both the ability and reach of Boko Haram. This was achieved by adopting the widely accepted best practices of COIN: a regional focus, a political strategy and a population-centric security focus.7 This article explores each of these strategies, analysing them through a theoretical lens, before outlining the mission’s shortcomings and finally considering the lessons that can be learnt and contrasting them with Western COIN missions in Afghanistan, Vietnam and Kenya.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Military Strategy, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency, Boko Haram
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Brian Katz
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Islamic State’s march across Syria and Iraq in 2014 and ensuing expansion via global affiliates posed a vexing challenge for the United States and key allies. The Islamic State sought not only to seize, govern, and defend territory as part of its so-called caliphate, but also to leverage these safe havens to build transnational terrorist networks. Countering the Islamic State would thus require large-scale ground operations to conquer the Islamic State proto-states and defeat its military forces, but the need to do so urgently and expeditiously to prevent external terrorist attacks. But who would conduct such a ground campaign? The Islamic State ’s expansion coincided with a shift in U.S. and allied military strategy: the adoption of the “by, with, and through” model for major counterterrorism (CT) operations. Rather than committing large numbers of ground forces, Western strategy would center on training, advising, and assisting host-nation militaries to serve as the main combat element. With small numbers of special operations forces (SOF) and key enablers such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and close air support, Western powers could bolster the battlefield effectiveness of local forces while limiting their own troop commitments. A national army like the Iraqi Security Forces was a natural host-nation partner. But what if there is no state with whom to partner? This paper will examine the recent history of partnering with non-state actors for CT operations where the United States and allies were unable or unwilling to work “by, with, and through” the host-nation.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Military Strategy, Non State Actors, Counter-terrorism, Islamic State
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Thomas G. Roberts
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Over 60 years ago, the Soviet Union used a derivative of its R-7 rocket—often called the world's first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)—to launch an artificial satellite into orbit, marking the first orbital space launch from the spaceport now known as the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Since then, launch vehicles have reached orbit from 27 spaceports around the world. With the rate of space launches projected to grow exponentially in the coming years, spaceports will become an increasingly important and potentially limiting factor in the global space industry. This report analyzes ground-based space launches from 1957 to 2018, including brief histories of all active and inactive orbital spaceports, 10 year launch records for the 22 spaceports still in use today, and the current status of several proposals to create new facilities capable of supporting orbital space launches. Ground-based spaceports are typically built in geopolitically favorable locations. Many spaceports are located in the most physically optimal regions available to operators, with geographic characteristics that include close proximity to the equator, opportunities for eastward or near-eastward launch, and favorable environmental factors. Historically, orbital space launch operations have been closely tied with ballistic missile research, leading several ICBM development and testing centers to later become spaceports. Due to the political risk associated with both missile development and orbital space launch testing, several spaceports were originally created such that their precise positions could remain ambiguous. In at least one case, a spaceport was created with the intention of being entirely secret—with its operator denying its existence for more than 15 years.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Space, Missile Defense
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Erol Yayboke, Melissa Dalton, MacKenzie Hammond, Hijab Shah
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. government has an opportunity to pursue effective and conflict-aware stabilization, building upon the U.S. Stabilization Assistance Review (SAR) framework signed in June 2018.1 The SAR clarified roles and streamlined priorities for stabilization assistance, though “implementation will require sustained leadership, an interagency roadmap, new processes, bureaucratic incentives, and a review of authorities and resources.”2 The SAR includes a unified U.S. government definition of stabilization that recognizes stabilization as an “inherently political endeavor involving an integrated civilian-military process to create conditions where locally legitimate authorities and systems can peaceably manage conflict and prevent a resurgence of violence.”3 CSIS has embarked on a study to examine how to operationalize and build upon the SAR framework. This brief serves as a companion to a brief published in January 2019 which called for a clearer and contextualized definition of stabilization success and well-delineated roles, goals, and leadership structures in the U.S. interagency. It emphasized the importance of local actors and called for a process-based approached to assessment, monitoring, and evaluation (AM&E).4 This brief builds on the first by focusing on the lessons learned from past stabilization efforts and by addressing a key element of successful SAR implementation: partnerships. Success requires deeper interagency coordination and substantive partnerships with international partners. Lastly, this brief addresses a fundamental challenge to SAR implementation: updating the U.S. government’s tools, authorities, and resourcing to increase chances of success.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Humanitarian Crisis, Strategic Stability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sergio Duarte
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: On 17 June 2019 Pugwash President Sergio Duarte published a commentary on the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty on the InDepthNews website.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sergio Duarte
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: On 18 November 2019 The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists published a piece by Pugwash President Sergio Duarte examining the health of the nuclear non-proliferation regime in anticipation of the 2020 NPT Review Conference.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: From 19-22 November 2019 Pugwash President Sergio Duarte attended the opening of general debate of the conference convened in accordance with General Assembly decision A/73/546, entitled “Convening a conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction”. A decision had been taken by the President of the Conference, Ambassador Bahous of Jordan, and participating States to allow invited NGOs to participate as observers through the opening sessions. The First Session of the Conference was convened by the UN Secretary General pursuant to Resolution 73/546. Amb. Sima Bahous of Jordan was elected President. 23 States from the region participated, plus four NWS invited as observers. It was agreed to proceed by consensus on both procedural and substantive issues, pending final agreement on the rules of procedure, which will be considered in the intersessional period. The thematic debate centered on principles and objectives, general obligations on nuclear weapons and other WMD, peaceful uses, international cooperation, institutional arrangements and other aspects. Representatives of existing NW Free Zones will be invited prior to the Second Session to share good practices and lessons learned. The Conference adopted a Political Declaration and a Report. The next Session will be held in New York from 16 to 20 November 2020. The Declaration stated the belief of participating States that a verifiable ME Zone free of Nuclear Weapons and other WMD would greatly enhance regional and international peace and security and stated further their intent to pursue in an open and inclusive manner the elaboration of a legally binding treaty on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at by the States of the region. In that spirit, the Conference extended an open-ended invitation to all those States to support the Declaration and join in the process. Participating States also undertook to follow-up on the Declaration and on the outcomes of the Conference.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, United Nations, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Military Strategy, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus