Roy Kamphausen Mr.
The 27th annual People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Conference—“The People in the PLA” 2.0—revisited a theme first explored at the 2006 conference but understudied since. This volume examines how the structure, education, training, and recruitment of PLA personnel have changed in the last decade and in the Xi Jinping era.
Structural changes in the PLA have centered around two poles: improving the warfighting readiness of the PLA and strengthening Communist Party of China (CPC) control of the PLA. Reforms to the political work system, the evolution of the Second Artillery into the Rocket Force, and expansion of the PLA’s foreign-based force posture all indicate that the PLA is accelerating its drive to become a world-class military.
To succeed in future “informatized” wars, the PLA recognizes it must improve its members’ education level. It seeks to leverage better China’s civilian education system while also addressing legacy issues that frustrate professional military education and the care of its veterans. The PLA is also reforming joint education and seeking insight from its exchanges and interactions with other nations’ militaries. The revamping of its academic institutions to support better its most technical and advanced entities for network warfare and other operations is indicative of the PLA’s fast-paced evolution.
Leonard Wong and Stephen J. Gerras Dr.
Previous studies analyzing disability compensation have decried its $76 billion annual budget or warned of its perverse ability to incentivize veterans not to work. This study focuses on the impact of this moral hazard on the US Army profession. If soldiers continue to capitalize on an extremely permissive disability system, the trust between society and the military may be threatened, and future Army readiness may be jeopardized should disability compensation be added to the marginal cost of a soldier. More importantly, many of today’s soldiers are rationalizing disability compensation as something owed to them—not for a debilitating injury, but for the hardships of service to the nation. This study uses US Army and Department of Veterans Affairs personnel files, soldier interviews, and discussions with senior leaders to support its conclusions. The intent of the study is to prompt the Army profession to act before the culture surrounding disability compensation becomes permanent. In the end, the essence of the entitlement—taking care of veterans—must remain sacrosanct. This call for reform is driven not by fiscal considerations, but by a desire for the Army to remain both an institution trusted by society and a profession marked by selfless service.
A Hard Look at Hard Power: Assessing the Defense Capabilities of Key US Allies and Security Partners—Second Edition
Gary J. Schmitt Mr.
With the United States facing two major revisionist powers, Russia and China, as well as additional security threats from North Korea, Iran, and jihadist terrorism, a critical advantage for the United States is its global network of alliances and strategic partners. As the 2018 National Defense Strategy states, “Alliances and partnerships are crucial to our strategy, providing a durable asymmetric strategic advantage that no competitor or rival can match.”
The advantage of having military allies and partners is enhanced by the core capacity of the American military having remained largely the same over the past decade, though the global security environment grew more complex and difficult during that time. In short, the United States needs allies and security partners. But the United States needs allies and partners that can pull their weight militarily if the country is going to be able to maintain a favorable balance of power in critical regions of the world. The second edition of A Hard Look at Hard Power provides an in-depth examination of the overall strategic perspective, defense plans, budgets, and capabilities of seven key European and Asian allies, three frontline strategic partners, and NATO.
Security Threats, American Pressure, and the Role of Key Personnel: How NATO’s Defence Planning Process is Alleviating the Burden-Sharing Dilemma
John R. Deni
In 2017, for the first time since the end of the Cold War, none of the capability targets identified in NATO’s quadrennial NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP) were left on the negotiating table. Previously, capability targets were identified by the alliance’s secretariat, but they remained unfilled as allies failed to assume responsibility for them.
This monograph examines the 2014–18 iteration of the NDPP, which represented a stunning turnaround in transatlantic burden sharing. The analysis reveals a combination of factors—the changed threat environment, political pressure from Washington, and the role of “policy entrepreneurs” working within NATO—best explain the alliance’s success in achieving more equitable burden sharing.
To reach this conclusion, the monograph relies on an array of primary and secondary sources, including interviews with over two dozen officials directly involved in the 2014–18 NDPP. While incorporating available quantitative data on alliance defense spending, the monograph primarily focuses on process tracing as the most effective qualitative methodology for revealing the story behind the 2014–18 NDPP. Policy makers will find this monograph particularly useful because it draws key lessons from the 2014–18 NDPP to make several forward-leaning policy recommendations to strengthen and build upon NATO’s burden-sharing successes to date.
Christopher Ankersen, William G. Braun III, Ferry de Kerckhove, Carol V. Evans, Kathryn M. Fisher, Samit Ganguly, Anna Geis, Sara K. McGuire, Kim Richard Nossal, Ben Rowswell, and Stéfanie von Hlatky
KCIS2019 examined the implications of the changing international order for international security. It studied the hypercompetitive, multipolar environment in which we find ourselves, marked by a persistent struggle for influence and position within a “grey zone” of competition. This edited collection features contributions from academic and military experts who have examined the future of the liberal international order and what is at stake. These evidence-based examinations discuss the challenges to the order, and why it has been so difficult to articulate a compelling narrative to support the continuation of American leadership.
Mark Balboni, John A. Bonin, Robert Mundell, and Doug Orsi
This research monograph explores the Army’s emerging concept of multi-domain operations and its implications on the mission command approach. The transition to multi-domain operations changes the traditional view of how Army commanders and staffs conduct operations in the physical environment to include simultaneously operations in the information environment within the competition continuum.
This monograph will utilize the introduction of the aircraft during World War I as a historical case study for the integration of new domains. The Army has integrated new domains in the past and this example provides the historical context for the challenges involving integration of new domains. An overview and analysis of what multi-domain operations are will provide a baseline understanding of how multi-domain operations are changing not only how we fight but also how the Army must change roles and responsibilities to allow the Joint force to compete across the competition continuum, especially below armed conflict.
The transition to multi-domain operations will require new processes. Changes will be required not only to the physical systems employed but also to Joint professional military education, Joint and Army doctrine, and headquarters staff structures as leaders and their staffs will require different skills to operate in this new environment.
Robert J. Bunker Dr.
June 2014 to December 2017 represented the high tide of radical Islamist (Salafi-jihadist) territorial control under the authority of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. This monograph analyzes and provides policy response options for US national security and Army planners concerning the potential for postterritorial caliphate battlefield migration by the sizable contingent of battle-hardened Islamic State foreign fighters situated within various enclaves in Syria and Iraq. The monograph achieves these ends by
- discussing Islamic State territorial eras and demographics;
- offering an overview of the initial inflows of these fighters into the territorial caliphate, outflows to the United States, and lateral transfers to new battlefields, as well as mentioning special issues related to Islamic State women and children;
- highlighting and analyzing the four strategic options available to the Islamic State in its postterritorial caliphate phase; and
- offering senior US policy makers and planners options for counterbattlefield migration policy responses.
These options pertain to policies focused on extremists and the Islamic State as an organization and embedded within the context of higher-level US foreign policies toward Syria and Iraq. Additionally, recommendations for counterforeign terrorist fighter programs and the Joint force are provided.
This monograph places events in Libya since 2011 into their historical and social context and argues a form of radical Islamism, linked to long-standing national defiance of outside control, remains a factor even after the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This entrenched radicalism means extremist Islamist groups may still make a renewed bid for power until the current civil war is resolved. At the time of this writing, the military campaign by the Libyan National Army has stalled outside Tripoli. Now is the time for the United States and the wider international community to step up and help Libya transition to a unitary government with conventional elections. If this fails to happen and ISIS is able to exploit the current chaos, the hard-won victory over the group in Libya may yet turn out to have been illusory.
Nathan P. Freier Mr., John Schaus, and William G. Braun III
The United States faces a hypercompetitive geopolitical landscape in the Indo-Pacific region, arguably the most consequential theater for US national interests over the coming decades. Although the United States has created exquisite military capabilities to counter insurgencies and fight terrorists, rivals like China have developed a whole-of-government toolkit focused on expanding their span of control and freedom of action, separating the United States from its allies, and deterring US leaders from greater engagement in East Asia.
China is actively transforming its military forces, with an eye toward defeating the United States in the event of armed hostilities. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is also creatively employing its military and paramilitary assets strategically to outmaneuver the United States and partners in meaningful gray zone approaches. The PRC enjoys strategic depth and increasingly operates on internal or heavily protected lines of communication while demonstrating the ability to threaten American interests with a variety of multi-domain capabilities and forces.
Meeting this challenge will require joint transformation to a more hypercompetitive theater design. Army adoption of the four transformational roles of grid, enabler, multi-domain warfighter, and capability and capacity generator will be essential to realizing this more hypercompetitive Joint theater approach.
New for Academic Years 2021-2022, the USAWC has published an updated Key Strategic Issues List (KSIL). The KSIL informs students, faculty, and external research associates of strategic topics requiring research and analysis. The USAWC in coordination with Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA), major commands throughout the Army, and the joint and interagency community has updated the Army's priorities for strategic analysis to address issues in the emerging strategic environment and to align with elements of the current Army Vision and Army Strategy. The USAWC will continue to address select topics as Integrated Research Projects and through other research efforts. The KSIL will help prioritize strategic research and analysis that USAWC students and faculty, USAWC Fellows, and external researchers conduct to link their research efforts and results more effectively to the Army's highest priority topics.
Striking the Balance: US Army Force Posture in Europe, 2028—A Study Sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of the Army
J. P. Clark COL and C. Anthony Pfaff Dr.
Within the context of Europe, the US Army must develop a force posture that best navigates the tensions between deterring or defeating armed conflict at an acceptable cost, successfully competing below armed conflict, and maintaining global responsiveness and institutional flexibility through the global operating model and dynamic force employment. While Russia’s economy, and consequently military capability will likely shrink over the next 10 years, which can make them more dangerous as the Kremlin continues to try to punch above its weight. The ideal force posture needs to accomplish a range of on-going and contingency missions and also be adaptive enough to remain viable despite any number of potential swings in resources, military balance, or the domestic politics of allies. This study recommends five possible strategic approaches and specifies what conditions and priorities optimize each.
The principal investigators recommend investing in a multidomain alliance. This strategic approach enables the joint force and multinational partners to get the most of their capabilities and makes the best use of the Army’s top modernization priorities, such as long-range fires in a way that alters the strategic balance of a theater to avert a potentially catastrophic, albeit low probability, scenario of armed conflict. More importantly, this strategic approach is far more stable in a crisis, as it does not place policymakers in having to rush this critical, escalatory capability into theater at a moment of high tension. Moreover, invest in a multidomain alliance has the flexibility to allow a later build-up of heavy forces if conditions still warrant.
Larry D. Miller Dr.
Carlisle Compendia of Collaborative Research is produced under the purview of the Applied Communication and Learning Lab and the United States Army War College. Each issue reports the findings of a major collaborative student or student-faculty research initiative on a topic of strategic importance to the Army, the Department of Defense, and/or the larger community of strategic leaders.
The ideas and viewpoints advanced in Carlisle Compendia of Collaborative Research are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Applied Communication and Learning Lab, the United States Army War College, the Department of Defense, or any other department or agency of the United States Government.
Huba Wass de Czege Brigadier General (Ret.)
Countering the aggression of Russian or Chinese “hegemonic” behavior will require a rapid, ready, and appropriate reaction along anticipated lines of operations to deter rather than accelerate crisis escalation, and to defend the status quo when challenged. Do the central ideas in the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Pamphlet 525-3-1, The U.S. Army in Multi-Domain Operations 2028, provide logical counters to hegemonic behavior from Russia or China?
This monograph offers a critique of TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1 to avoid the foundational flaws from its predecessor concepts, AirSea Battle and Multi-Domain Battle, and to reinforce the foundation for continued discussion, analysis, and development to evolving Army and Joint doctrine.
Today the United States and its Allies must cooperate to keep our advantageous peace. By keeping the peace between the United States, Russia, and China, and by the logic of our theory of victory, we are all more likely to manage other lesser anticipated and unanticipated dangers ahead.
Senior Conference 55—The Emerging Environment in the Indo-Pacific Region: Drivers, Directions, and Decisions
Terry Babcock-Lumish Dr., Tania Chacho COL, Tom Fox MAJ, and Zachary Griffiths MAJ
Senior Conference 55—The Emerging Environment in the Indo-Pacific Region: Drivers, Directions, and Decisions, explores the possibilities and challenges that exist in this critical and dynamic region. This monograph captures three days of panels, keynotes, and discussions among a diverse group of distinguished experts.
Focus areas included shifting economic realities, political dynamics, technological trends, and forms of conflict and competition that could shape the region’s future. Senior Conference 55 assembled a range of experts taking a broad approach to the entire Indo-Pacific region to explore complex and varied relationships.
This monograph begins by summarizing the consensus recommendations that emerged during the event, followed by the substance of the keynote addresses and panels, all while maintaining a nonattributional approach that allowed conversations to tackle hard questions. This monograph presents those discussions, including disagreements and dissenting viewpoints, and serves as a foundation for future debate on possible policy.
The Indo-Pacific region is—and will continue to be—crucial for both the United States and the global community. The United States needs to increase its capacity for decision-making amid risk and uncertainty in the coming decades. This monograph offers key findings for confronting these challenges and broadens the conversation about future US policy in the Indo-Pacific.
Jean-Loup Samaan Dr.
This monograph explores the emerging challenge of nonstate actors’ anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) strategies and their implications for the United States and its allies by looking at two regions, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, with case studies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Houthis in Yemen, and separatist groups in Ukraine. The historical monopoly of states over precision-guided munitions has eroded, and this evolution eventually challenges the ability of the most advanced militaries to operate in specific environments. As they gain greater access to advanced military technology, some nonstate actors increasingly lean toward A2/AD strategies. The study underlines three key parameters to assess these emerging nonstate A2/AD strategies: a political shift toward the preservation of status quo vis-à-vis opponents; a focus of military resources dedicated to A2/AD capabilities—primarily missiles and rockets; and the adaptation of military units responsible for the implementation of this new strategy. The development of nonstate A2/AD postures currently remains dependent on the ability of the nonstate actors to attract state sponsorship. Without state sponsorship, these emerging nonstate A2/AD strategies would hardly constitute a major threat. Bearing this precondition in mind, if a scenario of multiple nonstate A2/AD “bubbles” were to unfold, the United States and its allies could face unprecedented challenges, especially in the field of counterterrorism campaigns.
C. Anthony Pfaff Dr.
The United States has spent—and continues to spend—billions of dollars building Iraq’s military capabilities. Despite that fact, Iraq’s military performance, even after wresting control of its territory from the Islamic State, remains inconsistent at best. A survey of Iraqi military history suggests a pattern of strengths, weaknesses, and performance that includes courageous soldiers, cohesive units, incompetent leaders, divided loyalties, poor combat support, and weak institutions that have, on occasion, risen to the defense challenge. If the United States is going to be more successful in developing Iraqi military capabilities, it will need to change its approach to better account for the Iraqi Army’s culture, history, and political environment. The United States will also have to be clear regarding the purpose of this cooperation. Security cooperation with Iraq is not just about defeating the Islamic State or other terrorist groups. The United States stands to gain when Iraq can play a constructive security role as an accepted member of the broader regional and international community. Iran cannot get the Iraqi military to that point, but the United States can. Thus, the long-term goal of US security cooperation with Iraq should be to establish its military as a valuable security partner, capable of participating in regional security arrangements, much in the same way Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and even Oman does. Of course, getting to that point depends on political developments the United States has limited ability to influence, much less control. Having said that, continued, steady engagement emphasizing the critical areas of development should serve to set conditions for meaningful improvement when political and social conditions permit. While no single measure is going to improve the Iraqi Army, taken together, the right combination give the Iraqi Army a chance to achieve a “tipping point” that enables the kind of reform that can allow it to get beyond its historic limitations.
Turkey and the United States on the Brink: Implications for NATO and the US-Turkish Strategic and Military Partnership
Kamal A. Beyoghlow
This monograph analyzes the current political tensions between the United States and Turkey and suggests ways to manage them. The two countries have been strategic allies since at least the end of World War II—Turkey became a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member and participated with its military forces in the Korea War, and during the Cold War protected NATO’s southern flank against Soviet communism, and Turkey’s military and intelligence services maintained close relationships with their Western and Israeli counterparts. These relationships were not without problems, due mostly to differences over minority and civil rights in Turkey and over Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1973 and continued tensions with Greece. The special relationship with the United States was put to the final test after the Islamic conservative populist political party, Justice and Development, and its current leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, came to power in 2002. Turkey opposed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the NATO-backed regime change in Libya in 2011. Most recently, Turkey has had strained relations with Cyprus, Greece, and Israel—all key US allies—and has alienated the US Congress and select NATO members further by its October 2019 invasion of Syria against Kurdish forces aligned with the US military against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, all against a background of a military rapprochement with Russia. This monograph highlights differences between US agencies concerning Turkey, ways to reconcile them, and offers several policy recommendations for new directions.
Lewis G. Irwin Major General
Since its inception in 1908, the US Army Reserve has made important, diverse, and cost-effective contributions to our nation while demonstrating the ability to adapt to meet emerging requirements. The emerging complex threats in today’s strategic and operational environments require the Army Reserve to adapt again.
Stephen J. Blank Dr.
Wherever one looks, Russia is carrying out aggressive military and informational attacks against the West in Europe, North and South America, the Arctic, and the Middle East. This “war against the West” actually began over a decade ago, but its most jarring and shocking event, the one that started to focus Western minds on Russia, was the invasion of Ukraine in 2014. Given this pattern, the National Security Council (NSC) in 2014 invited Stephen Blank to organize a conference on the Russian military. We were able to launch the conference in 2016 and bring together a distinguished international group of experts on the Russian military to produce the papers that were then subsequently updated for presentation here.
The results presented here are sobering, to say the least. Ray Finch and Aleksandr Golts high-light the domestic program of military mobilization of Russian society that began before 2014 and has only intensified since then. It aims to engender a positive, heroic image for the military and the idea that Russia is under siege from the West. This campaign has also gone hand in hand with signs of greatly enhanced defense spending, although there have been cuts in 2017-2018 due to sanctions. However, despite the fact that Paul Schwartz rightly points out that Russia’s science and technology sectors are wounded and suffer from excessive militarization, he and Steven Rosefielde undermine the complacent and excessively comfortable notion that Russian economic weak-ness?which is real—will lead to the collapse of the system or its retreat from its current posture.
M. Chris Mason Dr.
The United States will soon enter the 18th year of combat operations in Afghanistan. During that time, multiple approaches to stabilize the country have been tried, including support to regional security initiatives, “nation-building,” counterinsurgency, counternarcotics, counterterrorism, and “train and equip.” The constellation of anti-government elements known collectively as the Taliban continues to refuse reconciliation or a negotiated peace under the existing Afghan constitution.
Deterrence in the Nordic-Baltic Region: The Role of the Nordic Countries Together With the U.S. Army
Juha Pyykönen Brigadier General and Stefan Forss Dr.
With enhanced cooperation from the U.S. Army, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Nordic partner nations could combine efforts with each other and with the Alliance to deliver effective and visible regional deterrence against a resurgent Russia in the Nordic-Baltic region. This monograph by two leading Finnish defense academics explores the regional defense environment and optimum roles for the United States.
Shima D. Keene Dr.
This monograph provides an assessment of the emerging threat posed by foreign jihadist fighters following the reduction in territory controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and recommends ways that the U.S. Army should address the issues highlighted.
Samit Ganguly and M. Chris Mason
As global competition with an increasingly assertive Chinese Government expands, the strategic relationship between India and the United States is assuming ever-greater importance. From a superficial perspective, a strategic partnership seems to make a great deal of sense for both countries. Yet, enormous political, cultural, and structural obstacles remain between them, which continue to slow the progress in security cooperation to a crawl, relative to China’s economic and military advances. The authors explore these impediments frankly and suggest practical ways to build trust and establish confidence.
Tim Hwang Mr.
How should the defense community best organize to combat modern campaigns of propaganda and disinformation? Without a broader strategic concept of the nature of the challenge posed by these techniques, current efforts and investments run the risk of simply chasing the latest tactics without establishing enduring security. This monograph offers a way forward, proposing a cohesive strategic framework for thinking about modern information warfare and its effective conduct.
Elzabeth G. Troeder
Gray zone warfare has increasingly been the strategy selected by states that are determined to influence change without the risk of major escalation to outright military war. It is a significant concern today, threatening U.S. national security as well as the security of U.S. allies and partners. Although warfare is traditionally led by the Department of Defense (DoD), as the use of gray zone warfare increases and evolves, a whole-of-government approach that incorporates the unique capabilities of Federal departments and agencies for this fight is needed.
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