Rotational Deployments vs. Forward Stationing: How Can the Army Achieve Assurance and Deterrence Efficiently and Effectively? Authored by: Dr John R Deni. August 25, 2017

The Army’s force posture is out of balance, with a greater percentage of troops stationed in the United States than at any time since the late 1940s. This has forced an over-reliance on lengthy, continuous rotational deployments to achieve deterrence and assurance in theaters such as northeast Asia and Europe. This finding is based on a 9-month study assessing the costs and benefits of rotational deployments and forward stationing. The analysis reveals that in terms of fiscal cost, training readiness, morale and family readiness, and diplomatic factors, the United States could likely achieve deterrence and assurance objectives more efficiently and more effectively with increased forward stationing. The recommendations address what kinds of units would be best suited for forward stationing, where forward stationing would be most efficacious, and how the Department of Defense should go about rebalancing Army force posture.

21st-Century Challenges of Command: A View from the Field Authored by: Dr Anna Simons. May 31, 2017

Leadership receives a tremendous amount of attention, but what about the day-to-day command challenges that confront O-4s, O-5s, and O-6s in today’s war zones? What has command entailed over the past decade and a half for special operations force (SOF) commanders who have deployed to Afghanistan (and Iraq) either to lead or to work under Special Operations Task Forces (SOTFs) or Combined Joint Special Operations Task Forces (CJSOTFs)? In both theaters, officers have had to contend with various competing hierarchies and significant churn. What then might the Army and military do to obviate or mitigate these and other problems? The contours of a potential solution are described and its benefits discussed.

Still Soldiers and Scholars? An Analysis of Army Officer Testing Authored by: Dr Steven J. Condly, Dr Arthur T Coumbe, LTC William L Skimmyhorn. December 15, 2017

Still Soldiers and Scholars? sheds light on a neglected aspect of talent management, namely, officer accessions testing and evaluation. It does so by tracing the history of officer testing since 1900, identifying and analyzing key developments in the assessment process, and then offering recommendations about how the Army should revise its approach to officer testing. This book supplements a series of monographs written by the Army’s Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis (OEMA) and published by the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) in 2009 and 2010. In those monographs, the authors proposed an officer corps strategy based on the theory of talent management. This book is a necessary first step in reforming the Army’s officer accessions effort in order to better align it with the Army’s talent-based approach to officer management.

Strategic Insights: Proxy War Norms Authored by: Dr C. A. Pfaff. December 18, 2017

Current trends in international relations suggest the United States will place a greater reliance on international partners in securing vital national interests. Growing assertiveness by regional state actors, increasingly capable nonstate actors, and a “war-weary” American public suggest the emergence of a “polyarchic” world order that will strain the United States’ ability to maintain sufficient forces overseas, where it currently exchanges defense commitments for access and basing. Rather, the United States may have to commit to a strategy broadly described as “off-shore balancing” that would rely on regional partners to uphold the balance of power in their own neighborhood, exchanging indirect U.S. support for the partner’s willingness to act in the interests of the United States. Even if it does not commit to such a strategy, current events suggest working through others to achieve strategic ends will be a feature in any future approach to international relations.

Strategic Insights: Revolutionary Change Is Coming to Strategic Leadership Authored by: Dr Steven Metz. December 19, 2017

Clausewitz famously observed that war has an enduring nature and a changing character that evolves over time as technology, society, economics, and politics shift. This observation also applies to strategic leadership: it too has an enduring nature and a changing character.

Known Unknowns: Unconventional "Strategic Shocks" in Defense Strategy Development Authored by: Mr Nathan P Freier. November 01, 2008

The author provides the defense policy team a clear warning against excessive adherence to past defense and national security convention. Including the insights of a number of noted scholars on the subjects of “wild cards” and “strategic surprise,” he argues that future disruptive, unconventional shocks are inevitable. Through strategic impact and potential for disruption and violence, such shocks, in spite of their nonmilitary character, will demand the focused attention of defense leadership, as well as the decisive employment of defense capabilities in response. As a consequence, the author makes a solid case for continued commitment by the Department of Defense to prudent strategic hedging against their potential occurrence.

From Frozen Ties to Strategic Engagement: U.S.-Iranian Relationship in 2030 Authored by: Mr Roman Muzalevsky. May 01, 2015


The nuclear talks between Iran and P5+1 following the most stringent sanctions against Iran to date have opened new prospects for relaxation of tensions between Tehran and the West and for a U.S.-Iranian détente in the long run. The coming to power of new presidential administrations in both the United States and Iran, the additional sanctions, major geo-economic and geopolitical trends, and U.S.-Iranian economic and security cooperation imperatives all contributed to these dynamics. Some view the talks as a new beginning in U.S.-Iranian ties, which could herald the emergence of a U.S.-Iranian strategic relationship in the next 15 years. This work has developed three such possible strategic relationships:
1) strategic engagement involving a nuclear weapons-capable Iran;
2) comprehensive cooperation following a “Grand Bargain”; and,
3) incremental strategic engagement after a nuclear deal.
These relationships deliberately focus on constructive engagement, skipping the status quo and a strike on Iran as two other possible outcomes. If they pull it off by 2030, a U.S.-Iranian détente would advance external integration of the region, aiding the U.S. strategy of fostering global connectivity. It would promote resolution of conflicts and development and reconstruction of countries ravaged by wars and sectarian violence. It would also enable Washington to deploy select military assets to other locales to address other challenges while repurposing remaining forces to face new threats in the Greater Middle East.

Protection of Civilians Military Reference Guide, Second Edition Authored by: PKSOI Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute. January 03, 2018

The Protection of Civilians (PoC) Military Reference Guide is primarily intended for military commanders and staffs who must consider PoC during armed conflict, multidimensional peace operations, or other military operations, particularly when PoC is an operational or strategic objective. It is designed as a supplement to existing doctrine and other relevant guidance so that military forces can meet their obligations to protect civilians. The reference guide may also be used as a textbook for PoC training

Strategic Insights: Challenges in Using Scenario Planning for Defense Strategy Authored by: Dr Michael Fitzsimmons. January 30, 2018


Lawrence Freedman and Colin Gray are two of the most famous contemporary scholars of military strategy. Within the past few years, each published a book addressing different aspects of the same practical problem of strategy: defense planning. Considered to be strategy’s mundane cousin, defense planning revolves around how a nation designs its military according to its views of the future. Freedman’s and Gray’s verdicts on the subject are very similar and simply put: we are usually wrong when we predict the future of war.

Avoiding the Trap: U.S. Strategy and Policy for Competing in the Asia-Pacific Beyond the Rebalance Edited by: COL (R) Frederick J. Gellert, Dr David Lai, Prof John F Troxell. February 06, 2018


The Trump administration has recently called for a free and open Indo-Pacific, essentially replacing the Obama-era “Rebalance.” This U.S. Army War College report provides prescient analysis and policy recommendations on how to proceed down the path to this call while simultaneously managing the rise of China.