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  • Author: Alexander Salt
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Since 2006, well over 70 000 lives have been claimed by Cartel and narcotics related violence in Mexico. The sheer scale of this conflict has attracted considerable scholarly attention, particularly that which seeks to classify what type of violence this is, be it terrorism, insurgency or something else altogether. This paper addresses this issue by asking: Can Mexican Cartels be considered terrorist organizations? The paper explores the evolution of the Cartels in Mexico from 2006-present, analyzing their motivations, tactics and operations, organizational structures, and targets of violence. The paper concludes that Cartels should not be defined as terrorists as they lack political motives for their use of violence. However, Cartels can be said to have a dual nature; sometimes they act like terrorists in terms of their operational and tactical level behavior, and the rest of the time they act as illicit businessmen.
  • Topic: War on Drugs, Narcotics Trafficking, Violence, Drugs
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Gabriel Boulianne Gobeil
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Leadership targeting, or decapitation, which involves the removal of an organization’s leader, has been utilized in various military conflicts. The use of drones has been particularly consequential in such schemes, earning themselves the reputation of being “Washington’s weapon of choice.” The existing literature on leadership targeting gravitates around the question of the practice’s strategic effectiveness, focusing on the targeted groups’ internal characteristics to explain their (in)ability to withstand decapitation. However, this literature overlooks a key feature of terrorist groups, namely their identity’s organizational dynamics. Highlighting the importance of group identities in determining the outcome of decapitations, this article fills this void. Looking at the cases of al Qaeda in Iraq and Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen, it argues that groups which have a global identity are likely to retain cohesion when their leaders are the victim of decapitation while groups whose identity stems from an ethnic or tribal lineage tend to fragment, therefore creating “veto players.”
  • Topic: Terrorism, Military Strategy, Drones, Leadership, Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Yemen
  • Author: Ben Wan, Beng Ho
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The fleet aircraft carrier possesses a number of unique advantages such as territorial independence and mobility that make it the United States National Command Authorities’ platform of choice to deal with a crisis or war. Nevertheless, it must be noted that the successful and unencumbered application of American carrier airpower in the post-war period has been significantly aided by the benign environments where the flat-tops have operated. In the modern combat environment, critics contend that anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities would render the vessel obsolete. Uncertainty clouds this issue as American carriers have yet to be subjected to A2/AD threats. Nevertheless, it is possible to draw two conclusions based on related empirical evidence. They are namely, 1) the submarine poses a credible challenge to American flat-tops, provided the sub is able to find and track them; 2) the anti-ship missile constitutes less of a “mission-kill” threat compared to the torpedo.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Maritime, Missile Defense, Air Force
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Lee Lacy
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The history of strategic bombing in World War II is well-documented, but is also found in the unlikeliest of places, in a theatrical production performed in the New York theater—on Broadway— in 1947. The play, Command Decision, by William Wister Haines, is an examination of the decision making process involved with the strategic bombing campaign in the European Theater of Operations. This paper uses Command Decision to examine real events in 1943—notably the raids on industrial targets of Regensburg, Schweinfurt and Stuttgart, where the 8th USAAF sustained punishing losses. Out this terrible episode of the war, when thousands of airmen lost their lives, the lessons of the bombing campaign’s Combined Bomber Offensive are significant. The leaders, events and decisions that influenced this intense and deadly episode of World War II remain relevant. The powerful lessons of leadership and command— mixed with human failing and the suffering of mankind, make a compelling story.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, World War II, Air Force
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America