Shima D. Keene Dr.
The U.S. Army increasingly faces adversaries that are difficult to define. The threat landscape is further complicated by the silent partnership between criminal organizations, irregular groups, and nation-states. This collaboration, whatever its exact nature, is problematic, because it confounds understanding of the adversary, making existing countermeasures less effective, and thus directly challenging U.S. national security interests. Military action taken without full appreciation of the dynamics of the nature of these relationships is likely to be ineffective at best or suffer unintended consequences. This monograph provides a comprehensive assessment of the threat to U.S. national security interests posed by the silent partners, as well as how the vulnerabilities of the relationships could be exploited to the advantage of the U.S. Army.
Richard Weitz Dr.
Russia has strengthened its military position in Central Asia and the South Caucasus through a combination of bilateral and multilateral initiatives. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has become the most important multilateral defense structure in the former Soviet Union and is an essential instrument in Russia’s resurgence. The CSTO has expanded its missions, authorities, and capabilities. However, it faces both internal and external challenges, especially debilitating divisions among its members.
John A. S. Ardis Dr. and Shima D. Keene Dr.
There are many risks to the U.S. Army’s command and control (C2) operations and to its intelligence and information warfare (IW) capabilities. The challenges include: significant uncertainty; sudden unexpected events; high noise and clutter levels in intelligence pictures; basic and complex deceptions exercised through a variety of channels; the actions of hidden malign actors; and novel forms of attack on U.S. and allied command, control, communications, computers, information/intelligence, surveillance, targeting acquisition, and reconnaissance (C4ISTAR) systems. If the U.S. Army is to secure and maintain information dominance in all environments, it must exploit complexity and uncertainty in the battlespace and not simply seek to overcome it. Innovation requires that new ideas are considered, and that old ideas should be robustly challenged. To achieve and maintain information dominance, the U.S. Army will also require a significant injection of innovation, a robust and resilient C2 and intelligence capability, novel technologies and an accelerated information operations capability development program that is broad, deep, sustained and well-coordinated. Furthermore, once information dominance is achieved, maintaining it will demand continuous change and development.
The Relevance of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for the United States in the 21st Century
Joel R. Hillison Dr.
The “America First” approach to foreign policy seems to call into question the value of institutions like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU). However, in a more competitive and uncertain strategic environment, NATO and the EU remain vital to promoting U.S. interests.
Shima D. Keene Dr.
Establishing the rule of law is a key goal and end state in counterinsurgency (COIN) operations and is a critical aspect of securing peace and preventing future conflict. However, recent experience in theaters such as Afghanistan has shown that establishing effective rule of law institutions and practices is not a straightforward task. Consequently, considerations as to how and when rule of law institutions can start to be developed and integrated into the stability transition process must not only be planned in advance, but also form part of the U.S. Army’s strategy from the start of any military intervention. The analysis provided in this monograph will assist the U.S. Army, and more broadly the Departments of Defense and State, in better facilitating a seamless rebalancing from military to police functions in post-conflict environments, and to ensure that sustainable and effective rule of law interventions are delivered as part of an exit strategy.
Robert D. Lamb Dr. and Melissa R. Gregg Ms.
Conflict and fragile environments are increasingly complex and unpredictable, but the U.S. policy system itself is much more complex and unpredictable than most leaders appreciate. In this monograph, the authors argue that until we get a grasp on this “dual-system problem,” the United States will fall further and further behind in its strategic ambitions.
Gregory Aftandilian Mr.
Syria has become one of the most vexing and complex problems for U.S. strategic planners in recent times. Currently, the United States has about 2,000 troops in the northeastern part of the country whose primary mission has been to aid the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up primarily of Kurds and some Arab tribesmen, to fight ISIS. The near total defeat of ISIS in Syria, especially with the fall of its so-called caliphate capital in Raqqa in October 2017, might seem to suggest that the military mission is coming to an end and, therefore, the United States should pull out its troops. Indeed, President Donald Trump stated publicly in late March 2018, that he wanted these troops to come home “very soon.” However, since that time, the U.S. President has backtracked from this statement after receiving advice from several of his top military advisers, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, some foreign leaders like French President Emanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and influential members of Congress, such as Senator Lindsey Graham, all of whom have recommended that the President keep these troops in Syria.
Impacts of Anti-Access/Area Denial Measures on Space Systems: Issues and Implications for Army and Joint Forces
Jeffrey L. Caton
The 2018 National Defense Strategy and National Space Strategy both reaffirm the vital interests that the United States has in the domain of space. However, space remains an inherently hostile environment that has become congested, contested, and competitive among the nations. What are ways for the U.S. Army to assure the success of its space-dependent warfighting functions in an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) environment where space systems are degraded for significant periods of time?
Radical Islamist English-Language Online Magazines: Research Guide, Strategic Insights, and Policy Response
Robert J. Bunker Dr. and Pamela L. Bunnker
Radical Islamist online magazines first appeared in November 2003 with the publication of Sawt al-Jihad (Voice of Jihad) in Arabic. This magazine discontinued publication in April 2005 after 29 issues, having been shut down by the Saudi security services. The magazine was produced by the Saudi branch of al-Qaeda that later evolved into al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). It called upon other al-Qaeda groups to develop and franchise their own magazines. Besides the plethora of radical Islamist online magazines in Arabic that has been produced since 2003—along with those in many other languages including Urdu, Russian, German, French, and Turkish—English-language editions have been in existence since April-May 2007. There have been a number of these magazines published at varying dates and for varying periods of time. Some, such as Al Rashideen and Ihya-e-Khilafat, were initiated but fell by the wayside, victim to a lack of audience, the capture or death of an editor, or their initiating group’s evolution. In the cases of al-Qaeda’s Inspire and Islamic State’s Dabiq magazines, the publications have been ongoing—until very recently with the demise of Dabiq—with over a dozen issues each, and have notably been cited in relation to terrorism cases by law enforcement. Beyond their propaganda potentials, each magazine can be said to promote a specific jihadi culture, to be embraced in total by followers of the particular group in question in order to achieve its desired utopian vision. Toward that end, components of these online magazines address the group’s successes and legitimacy, offer a vision of a desirable end state, encourage recruitment into their ranks, direct violent action against stated enemies, xiv and provide instructional materials and advice with regards to its enaction.
Henry D. Sokolski
J. Toby Reiner Dr.
One of the major developments in international law since World War II is the growth of human rights law dedicated to ensuring the protection of individuals from violence wherever they are, including from their own state. Tracking such changes, in recent decades, just-war theory has evolved from its traditional focus on state sovereignty in the direction of a rights-based approach that treats just wars as a form of global law enforcement. This monograph provides a survey of these developments, focusing on the increased scope for humanitarian intervention, principles of justice after war, and on the question of the responsibility of combatants for assessing the justice of their military's cause. It concludes by considering the call for strengthening international institutions and training programs in military ethics.
Friendly Force Dilemmas in Europe: Challenges Within and Among Intergovernmental Organizations and the Implications for the U.S. Army
Jose Luis Calvo Albero Colonel, Angus McAfee Colonel, Stefano Messina Colonel, and Kirk Gallinger Colonel
After a period of stability, the transatlantic community is facing considerable challenges in maintaining European security. Russia’s efforts to destabilize Europe, terrorism, climate change, energy insecurity, migration, fracturing European identity, and the reemergence of nationalist populism challenge the ability of European institutions to perform their central functions. Different visions for Europe’s future and the lack of a shared threat perception add to these dilemmas.
The U.S. military can help to shape these “friendly force dilemmas” by influencing European actors and institutions, promoting positive change through the U.S. interagency, and providing capabilities to tackle the theater-specific challenges.
William G. Braun Prof., Stéfanie von Hlatky Dr., and Kim Richard Nossal Dr.
In the wake of two extended wars, Western militaries find themselves looking to the future while confronting amorphous nonstate threats and shrinking defense budgets. The 2015 Kingston Conference on International Security (KCIS) examined how robotics and autonomous systems that enhance soldier effectiveness may offer attractive investment opportunities for developing a more efficient force capable of operating effectively in the future environment. This monograph offers 3 chapters derived from the KCIS and explores the drivers influencing strategic choices associated with these technologies and offers preliminary policy recommendations geared to advance a comprehensive technology investment strategy. In addition, the publication offers insight into the ethical challenges and potential positive moral implications of using robots on the modern battlefield.
The Land, Space, and Cyberspace Nexus: Evolution of the Oldest Military Operations in the Newest Military Domains
Jeffrey L. Caton
Over the last century, the domains of air, space, and cyberspace have joined the traditional warfighting domains of land and sea. While the doctrine for land operations is relatively mature, the doctrine for space and cyberspace continue to evolve, often in an unstructured manner. This monograph examines the relationships among these domains and how they apply to U.S. Army and joint warfighting. It concentrates on the central question: How are U.S. military operations in the newest domains of space and cyberspace being integrated with operations in the traditional domain of land? This inquiry is divided into three major sections:
• Existing Doctrine: This section presents an overview of the current state of joint and U.S. Army doctrinal development
for each of the domains of land, space, and cyberspace.
• Operations in Multiple Domains: This section examines the concept of cross-domain synergy and its ability to enhance
globally integrated operations.
• Future Operations: This section explores probable future operating environments as well as the resulting implications for
U.S. Army and joint force development. It includes recommendations for policymakers and senior leaders regarding the future
development and integration of space and cyberspace doctrine.
Anticipated future trends favor the decreased emphasis on traditional large-scale land operations and increased frequency and intensity of conflict in space and cyberspace, perhaps even where these newer domains may become preeminent for a given operation. The joint staff’s pursuit of achieving cross-domain synergy in planning and operations offers a credible method to face some of the challenges of the future joint force, but this will likely remain an evolutionary vice revolutionary endeavor.
The pivot to Asia is over, suggested Susan Thornton, Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, on the eve of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first visit to Asia on March 14, 2017.1 This statement, though expected, begs many questions: Is this just a repeal of the bumper sticker “Strategic Rebalance,” typical of administration change? If so, what is its replacement? Moreover, if this change is just in name but not in substance, will President Donald Trump stay the course? If not, what will be Trump’s policy toward the Asia-Pacific? What should be the new focus and priorities? In short, given the enduring U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific, what should be a sound and forward-looking U.S. strategy toward this region? This research project began with two questions on the future of the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific: Was it the right thing to do, and have we done it right? Given the enormous expected growth in the region and thus the expected impacts in the world, the answer to the first question is a resounding yes. The answer to the second question is less clear. On the one hand, there have been several successes, not the least of which was the public pronouncement of the Obama administration’s directive to pivot attention to the region and increase significant travel and engagement in the region by former President Obama and his senior officials. On the other hand, there have been limited effects in world affairs and murky plans for future U.S. endeavors in the region, complicated by growing financial and political challenges inside the United States. Perhaps the best answer to the second question is that there was a great start with xiv an unclear follow-up. With the Trump administration now guiding U.S. foreign policy, it is time to move forward from the rebalance to a revitalized strategy and approach to the Asia-Pacific for the third decade of the 21st century
Steven J. Condly, Arthur T. Coumbe Dr., and William L. Skimmyhorn Lieutenant Colonel
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.
Robert J. Bunker Dr.
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.
Jeffrey L. Caton
In 2011, the Department of Defense (DoD) released its Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace, which officially recognized cyberspace as an operational domain akin to the traditional military domains of land, sea, air, and space. This monograph examines the 2015 DoD Cyber Strategy to evaluate how well its five strategic goals and associated implementation objectives define an actionable strategy to achieve three primary missions in cyberspace: defend the DoD network, defend the United States and its interests, and develop cyber capabilities to support military operations. This monograph focuses on events and documents from the period of about 1 year before and 1 year after the 2015 strategy was released. This allows sufficient time to examine the key policies and guidance that influenced the development of the strategy as well as follow-on activities for the impacts from the strategy. This inquiry has five major sections that utilize different frameworks of analysis to assess the strategy:
1. Prima Facie Analysis: What is its stated purpose and key messages?
2. Historical Context Analysis: What unique contributions does it introduce into the evolution of national security cyberspace activities?
3. Traditional Strategy Analysis: Does it properly address specific DoD needs as well as broader U.S. ends in a way that is appropriate and actionable?
4. Analysis of Subsequent DoD Action: How are major military cyberspace components—joint and Service—planning to implement these goals and objectives?
5. Whole of U.S. Government Analysis: Does it integrate with the cyberspace-related activities of other U.S. Government departments and agencies?
The monograph concludes with a section that integrates the individual section findings and offers recommendations to improve future cyberspace strategic planning documents.
Joseph Guido Lieutenant Colonel
The idea to deny sanctuary to terrorist groups lies at the heart of contemporary U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Violent extremist organizations in North Africa, most notably the group al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), have used remote and sparsely populated areas in the Sahara for protection from security forces to perform a range of activities such as training, planning, and logistics in order to conduct terrorist operations like kidnapping, murder, and bombing. Even after 16 years since the September 11 attacks and the resources dedicated to efforts to deny sanctuary, the concept of sanctuary remains largely unexplored. To deny sanctuary requires an understanding of what sanctuary is as an object and how sanctuary is used by terrorist organizations. This monograph proposes a functional understanding of sanctuary and offers fresh ideas to control sanctuary using a detailed case study of the most notorious of the North African terrorists, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, from his arrival to Mali in the late 1990s until the French intervention in early 2012. This multi-disciplinary inquiry utilizes a wide range of open-source documents as well as anthropological, sociological, and political science research, including interviews with one-time Belmokhtar hostage, Ambassador Robert Fowler, in order to construct a picture of what a day in the life of sanctuary-seeking terrorists is like. Belmokhtar and other violent groups remain active and at large in the Sahara in spite of a large French military presence, a small U.S. military presence, and local security forces conducting counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations. Additionally, the Islamic State movement could be viewed as the emergence of mega sanctuaries for terrorists and other violent extremist organizations. These threats require a new strategy to isolate, contain, or defeat terrorists and violent extremists in their sanctuary areas.
Samuel R. White
The Defense Innovation Initiative (DII), begun in November 2014 by former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, is intended to ensure U.S. military superiority throughout the 21st century. The DII seeks broad-based innovation across the spectrum of concepts, research and development, capabilities, leader development, wargaming, and business practices. An essential component of the DII is the Third Offset Strategy—a plan for overcoming (offsetting) adversary parity or advantage, reduced military force structure, and declining technological superiority in an era of great power competition.
This study explored the implications for the Army of Third Offset innovations and breakthrough capabilities for the operating environment of 2035-2050. It focused less on debating the merits or feasibility of individual technologies and more on understanding the implications—the second and third order effects on the Army that must be anticipated ahead of the breakthrough.
Mary Manjikian Dr.
Many different actors oppose the use of unmanned autonomous weapons (UAV’s) from adversary states, to international governmental organizations to policymakers and academics. However, the basis for their opposition varies, as do the assumptions behind their arguments. This Letort Paper lays out distinctions between arguments about technology, arguments about policy, and arguments about strategy.
Jean-Loup Samaan Dr.
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.”
Roman Muzalevsky Mr.
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.
Daniel Maurer Major
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.
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