Although collective security in the Gulf is the topic of numerous policy publications, most of the available literature focuses on the political environment without considering the operational requirements of this scenario. This monograph offers an evaluation of Gulf defense cooperation programs in order to stir the discussion on the future of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as the “NATO of the Gulf.”
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.
U.S. landpower is an essential, but often overlooked, element of national power in semi-enclosed maritime environments like the South China Sea. This monograph gives U.S. policymakers a better understanding of the role of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and Special Operations Forces (SOF) in the region through potential combat operations employing wide area defense and maneuver; deterrence through forward presence and peacetime operations; and security engagement with landpower-dominant allies, partners, and competitors in the region. Landpower’s capabilities are also essential for direct support of the air and sea services and other government organization’s success when operating in this theater in direct support of U.S. national interests.
Operation UNITED ASSISTANCE (OUA), which deployed to Liberia between September 2014 and June 2015, provides an example of how a Joint Force can support a lead federal agency (LFA), in this case the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other interagency and international partners to end a raging epidemic of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). This EVD outbreak began in late 2013, when Emile Ouamouno, a two year old from Meliandou, a village in Guinea, close to the border with Liberia and Sierra Leone, died of a hemorrhagic fever.1 Soon after, many of his relatives and their connections, who lived across the region, also became ill and died. In March 2014, a team from the Institut Pasteur in France confirmed that the hemorrhagic fever spreading through the region was EVD. By then, more than 2,400 people had died from the disease. By the time the epidemic ended, in Liberia alone, 15,227 cases of EVD had been confirmed through laboratory tests and 11,310 people had died.
The much-anticipated National Security Strategy of the United States of America was released in December 2017 by President Donald J. Trump. The National Security Strategy is composed of four pillars and is applied in a regional context. How does the National Security Strategy view the Western Hemisphere? What are the U.S. priorities within the realm?
Diplomacy has all but failed in Syria, and it is difficult to envisage when and how diplomatic efforts could be restarted in light of the continued difficulties between Russia and the West. With these difficulties, it is imperative to change focus and tackle the one area where the United States might still be able to have a positive impact: the humanitarian situation in Syria. The first priority in this regard must be the establishment of safe zones within Syria, where civilian populations who fear being targeted by either side can find safe refuge until the conflict can move toward some kind of resolution. Achieving this first priority will require a much more serious commitment than any Western power has yet been willing to make. Failing to do so will carry even higher costs over the medium and long term: the continued migration of refugees into Europe, where the political impact of the migration crisis so far has already had serious political and social costs; as well as the possible spread of the instability contagion to neighboring Lebanon, Jordan, and perhaps most seriously, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member Turkey.
Armed robotic systems—drones and droids—now emerging on the battlefield portend new strategic realities not only for U.S. forces but also for our allies and future potential belligerents. Numerous questions of immediate warfighting importance come to mind with the fielding of these drones and droids that are viewed as still being in their experimental and entrepreneurial stage of development. By drawing upon historical weapons systems life cycles case studies, focusing on the early 9th through the mid-16th-century knight, the mid-19th through the later 20th-century battleship, and the early 20th through the early 21st-century tank, the monograph provides military historical context related to their emergence, and better allows both for questions related to warfighting to be addressed, and policy recommendations related to them to be initially provided.
In the wake of recent U.S. and Israeli military strikes, the potential for expanded U.S. military engagement in the Syrian civil war is growing and U.S. policymakers will need to plot a smart strategic course ahead. In doing so, they will need to conduct an honest appraisal of America’s interests in Syria and wrestle with the many strategic dilemmas confronting them.
On April 7, 2018, insurgents and civilians in a rebel enclave in Douma, east of Damascus, Syria, were subjected to a chemical weapons attack during an offensive conducted by Assad regime and allied Russian and Iranian-linked ground forces. At least 42 individuals were reported to have been killed in the attack due to suffocation—primarily in their homes—with more than 500 additional individuals seeking medical attention. Local reports from the encircled enclave suggest that during the late afternoon and evening hours, Assad regime helicopters dropped two barrel bombs containing a substance with signatures consistent with that of chlorine.
In a change from the Vietnam War—where the U.S. military trained at least 45,000 deploying service members to speak Vietnamese and probably twice that number—for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, apart from some remotely-based intelligence specialists doing classified work, the U.S. military trained almost no deploying personnel to speak either Arabic or Pashto fluently. Instead, it relied on interpreters or “terps” as the troops called them. This policy was an unmitigated failure and an important cause of the U.S. inability to get traction at the operational level of war in both countries. All of the thousands and thousands of day-to-day tactical engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan that involved communicating with someone who did not speak English were intended to combine together and attain an operational objective, but they were all essentially gobbledygook.