On July 20, 2015, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an international agreement on the nuclear program of the Islamic Republic of Iran, hereafter referred to as Iran. The JCPOA was negotiated between Iran and the five permanent members of the UNSC, plus Germany (P5+1) to eliminate Iran’s path to the development of a nuclear weapon. The signatories to the JCPOA state the agreement puts in place safeguard measures that prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon or weapons-grade nuclear material. The JCPOA is the first agreement to limit fissile material and uranium enrichment capability since the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty entered into force in 1970. As a historic agreement and one that affects the Middle East, and possibly global, security, it is appropriate to analyze its safeguard provisions to determine if deficiencies in coverage exist and the ramifications of such deficiencies. This analysis will demonstrate that P5+1 claim that the JCPOA has completely, and indefinitely, blocked Iranian attempts to develop a nuclear weapon is not verifiable.
There are multiple players in the global community - governmental, non-governmental, and private sector, who focus their efforts on economic development in post-conflict, fragile, or failed states. In 2006, a new player emerged from the Department of Defense, known as the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, focused on promoting economic development in Iraq. This novel task force consisted mainly of civilian business personnel who leveraged their private sector expertise to help revitalize Iraq’s industrial economy. After eight years of operating in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the TFBSO shut down operations and transferred its open projects to United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This paper seeks to answer how successful the Task Force was in helping to promote a sustainable economy in Iraq and Afghanistan and what role the Department of Defense should play in economic development activities. It also provides recommendations on what actions should occur to regenerate a more effective capability for future contingencies.
The collaboration of technology and weapons development occasionally yields strategic advantages, dramatically changing the way war is waged and significantly shifting power projection and great power alignment. Many believe lethal autonomous weapons (LAWs) to be in that category. Others, however, contend that removing human oversight from the offensive targeting process violates the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC), specifically the principles of discrimination and proportionality. In order to stop their development, numerous organizations are calling for an international ban on the development of LAWs, claiming their use violates the basic human code of morality derived from Just War Theory. Conversely, developers are pursuing programmable, human-like intelligence, capable of the autonomous application of International Humanitarian Law and the LOAC. Regardless of the opposition, technology continues to advance. The author addresses both sides of this issue for consideration and offers recommendations on a possible compromise for the way ahead.
The 3D (Diplomacy, Development, and Defense) Planning Process is a novel concept meant to fuse together critical aspects of our nation’s whole of government approach to international affairs. Despite a bevy of key strategic documents, U.S. Foreign Policy lacks focus, structure, and accountability across the interagency to make it effective and efficient. From the local through the regional to the national level, issues of poor coordination, boundary confusion, and bureaucratic competition grow worse the higher one gets in the relations between the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Department of Defense. American Foreign Policy requires effective synchronization of the different parts of government. This effort would involve national-level leadership and a comprehensive review of interagency collaboration, organization, and policies to address some of the obvious problems with the current approach.
The U.S. military has proven itself adept at creating a decentralized culture that produces innovation during long periods of conflict, as in World War II and more recently during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, the military has been less successful at being able to maintain that type of culture in peacetime. This paper analyzes the concepts of entrepreneurship, competition, and knowledge through the filter of the lessons of the “Austrian school of economics” and applies them to the current U.S. military. This analysis concludes that the military retains vestigial conscription-era controls that inhibit a culture that encourages disruptive innovation. This paper proposes that DoD move to a post-conscription professional model, redefine and make greater use of mission command, add bottom-up experimental units, and create an internal, competitive marketplace by giving greater requirements validation and funding authorities to the regional combatant commanders instead of to the service chiefs.
This paper proposes that national security decision makers consider using special operation forces (SOF) forward in contested security environments outside of theaters of war to enable partner forces to combat violent extremist threats. Assumption of low-risk presence early buys down risk later as U.S. forces gain needed situational understanding. To the degree that SOF enablement activities are successful, the United States can achieve positive effects for U.S. national security interests in an acceptable time horizon. Additionally, time is gained for long-term institution building and governance activities to achieve sustainable results. First, this paper addresses key concepts and assumptions concerning the strategic indirect approach in terms of security cooperation and shaping operations. Second, we discuss the strategic environment and threat in North and West Africa. The paper then addresses the USSOF enablement model of select regional partner forces. By analyzing SOF supporting actions in North and West Africa, we present four specific insights for future potential enablement operations outside of areas of declared combat operations.
In January 2013, the Chief of Staff of the Army directed the Army Medical Department (AMEDD) to conduct a study aimed at improving development of its officers for leadership and command positions. The AMEDD determined that many officers inadequately develop as leaders through professional military education, training, and assignment experiences. The purpose of this research paper is to evaluate current AMEDD strategies to develop and employ talent in its active duty officer corps. Additionally, the paper identifies evidence-based courses of action derived from both military and private sector best practices to improve AMEDD’s talent management. Developing talent in the AMEDD requires an overhaul of competency identification and building, as well as performance management to meet current and future leader-development demands. The AMEDD must also adapt its practices of employing talent through matching talents to the right jobs, supported by more quantifiable talent management systems. Improving development and employment of talent in the AMEDD fosters an organization ready to meet future readiness demands, decrease costs, and improve beneficiary satisfaction.
As warfare evolves, new technology pushes the limits of acceptability and operations in cyberspace are no different. If attacks in cyberspace are assaults of one state against another, then the framework of Just War theory should still apply and Michael Walzer’s Legalist Paradigm provides a clearer lens on when an armed response to a cyber attack is morally permissible. While some parts of Just War theory directly apply to responses to Cyber Attacks, the others do not, beginning with Just Cause. Walzer describes Just Cause in terms of the natural rights of the citizens of a state, and when a cyber attack interrupts the ability of those citizens to make a life together or the “safe space” they create, then a physical response to a cyber attack could be justified. This paper outlines the relationship between Walzer’s Legalist Paradigm and justification for physical responses to cyber attacks, with the intent of providing senior leaders with a framework for those responses.
In the words of author Robert D. Kaplan, “the South China Sea is the future of conflict.” With vital national interests at stake and frequent military activities occurring in close proximity, parties involved in the South China Sea must develop ways of managing tensions that inevitably accompany sensitive interactions. While all military confidence building measures (CBM) generate a degree of improved communication, transparency of intent, and predictability, the magnitude of beneficial outcomes beyond these becomes a function of how well interests align between the parties. To achieve sustainable success, CBM activities must meet a short list of prerequisites and must trend toward inclusivity by building on small successes. Norms established through multiple successful CBM iterations between a small number of partner militaries serve as a baseline for incrementally including other militaries. Deliberately including key militaries in this process ultimately contributes to stability in this volatile region.
Chinese provocative actions in the South China Sea (SCS) have intensified U.S. and Chinese military interactions and any corresponding miscalculation could bring the two nations into direct conflict. This paper examines the tensions in this region that stem from China's rapid and large-scale land reclamation projects in the SCS and overlapping claims with U.S. allies on islands in the region. It analyzes U.S. national interests that are directly opposed to China's "Core Interests" in the SCS and that are driving diplomatic, economic and military relations. Conflicting national interests coupled with China's escalatory actions against U.S. allies and partners contributes to the current military tension between the two nations. The paper concludes that China's continued provocative actions in the SCS will be a recurring source of friction. Thus, the U.S. should maintain its presence to preserve regional security and stability. More important, the U.S. can dictate how and when to respond to Chinese provocations and the paper argues that now is the time for the U.S. to draw the proverbial line in China's man-made sand.