A series of megatrends will present a major challenge to the United States in the coming decades, exposing it to crises and opportunities on the battlefield and in the market. The U.S. military should stand ready to harness these dynamics to retain its edge in an operational environment marked by increased complexity, speed, and intensity of global developments.
This monograph reimagines war’s fundamental nature, extending Clausewitz’s theory of its political origin and “Trinitarian” elements in a way that embraces alternative, sociological explanations like that of John Keegan. Ultimately, it proposes a new way to visualize the complexities of war’s intrinsic elements, operating at any scale, and expresses war with a completely new and universal definition.
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.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) faces persistent fundamental change in its strategic and operating environments. This report suggests this reality is the product of the United States entering or being in the midst of a new, more competitive, post-U.S. primacy environment. Post-primacy conditions promise far-reaching impacts on U.S. national security and defense strategy. Consequently, there is an urgent requirement for DoD to examine and adapt how it develops strategy and describes, identifies, assesses, and communicates corporate-level risk. This report takes on the latter risk challenge. It argues for a new post-primacy risk concept and its four governing principles of diversity, dynamism, persistent dialogue, and adaptation. The authors suggest that this approach is critical to maintaining U.S. military advantage into the future. Absent change in current risk convention, the report suggests DoD exposes current and future military performance to potential failure or gross under-performance.
Does history repeat itself? This monograph clearly answers “no,” firmly. However, it does not argue that an absence of repetition in the sense of analogy means that history can have no utility for the soldier today. This monograph argues for a “historical parallelism,” in place of shaky or false analogy. The past, even the distant and ancient past, provides evidence of the potency of lasting virtues of good conduct. This monograph concludes by offering four recommendations: 1) Behave prudently. 2) Remember the concept of the great stream of time. 3) Do not forget that war nearly always is a gamble. 4) War should only be waged with strategic sense.
Recent successful "hacks," allegedly carried out by professionals acting on behalf of, or in concert with nation-states have heightened concerns about cyber warfare and sovereignty in the context of cyberspace. To maintain the integrity of U.S. and allied sovereign borders, it is imperative that security measures and defenses are coordinated and choreographed at the policy, strategy, and operational levels in the cyber domain, as well as in the physical world. The determination of what constitutes cyber sovereignty will greatly influence identification and understanding of threats, Department of Defense (DoD) preparation of the battlefield, the development of capabilities, the identification of participants, and planning for cyberspace operations. Considering the stakes, U.S. leaders cannot afford the consequences of allowing the enemy to define the boundaries of cyber sovereignty and the rules of cyberspace engagement.
Despite leaps in technological advancements made in computing system hardware and software areas, we still hear about massive cyberattacks that result in enormous data losses. Cyberattacks in 2015 included: sophisticated attacks that targeted Ashley Madison, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the White House, and Anthem; and in 2014, cyberattacks were directed at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Home Depot, J.P. Morgan Chase, a German steel factory, a South Korean nuclear plant, eBay, and others. These attacks and many others highlight the continued vulnerability of various cyber infrastructures and the critical need for strong cyber infrastructure protection (CIP). This book addresses critical issues in cybersecurity. Topics discussed include: a cooperative international deterrence capability as an essential tool in cybersecurity; an estimation of the costs of cybercrime; the impact of prosecuting spammers on fraud and malware contained in email spam; cybersecurity and privacy in smart cities; smart cities demand smart security; and, a smart grid vulnerability assessment using national testbed networks.
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.
Counterinsurgency (COIN) continues to be a controversial subject among military leaders. Critics argue that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have made the U.S. military, particularly the Army, "COIN-centric." They maintain that equipping U.S. forces to combat insurgency has eroded their conventional war fighting capabilities. Those committed to preserving and even enhancing COIN capabilities, on the other hand, insist that doing so need not compromise the ability of the military to perform other tasks. They also point out that the likelihood of even a mid-level conventional war remains low while the probability of unconventional engagements is high. This monograph reviews the COIN debate, analyzes current force structure, and concludes that contrary to the more extreme positions taken by critics and proponents, the U.S. military has achieved a healthy balance between COIN and other capabilities.
Urbanization is one of the most important mega-trends of the 21st century. Consequently, the possibility of U.S. military involvement in a megacity or sub-megacity is an eventuality that cannot be ignored. After elucidating the nature of urbanization and developing a typology in terms of smart, fragile, and feral cities, we give consideration to the kinds of contingencies that the U.S. military, especially the Army, needs to think about and prepare for. Understanding the city as a complex system or organism is critical and provides the basis for changes in intelligence, recruitment, training, equipment, operations, and tactics.
One of the key takeaways is the need to understand the urban environment and the need to work with (instead of against) the flows and rhythms of a city. Without such an approach, the results of military involvement in such a formidable environment would likely be disastrous; with it, the prospects for success would at least be enhanced.