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.
Frank L. Jones Dr.
The fiscal year (FY) 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a title to reform the Department of Defense (DoD) security cooperation, has far-reaching implications for U.S. defense interests in Africa. As the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee notes, “the Department of Defense continues to place greater emphasis on security cooperation, to include building partner capacity.” The term “building partner capacity” (BPC) widens the focus of security cooperation as a whole-of-government effort, and makes clear congressional interest in treating security cooperation as a defense institution building endeavor. In response to the law, this book examines and recommends specific steps the DoD can take to build partner capacity successfully in Africa and meet congressional direction.
Rotational Deployments vs. Forward Stationing: How Can the Army Achieve Assurance and Deterrence Efficiently and Effectively?
John R. Deni
The Department of Defense can achieve deterrence and assurance objectives more effectively and efficiently through a rebalancing of its force posture. The Army should reverse the trend of the last 2 decades and forward station additional heavy units in Europe and on the Korean Peninsula, while ending lengthy, heel-to-toe rotational noncombat deployments.
Rotational Deployments vs. Forward Stationing: How Can the Army Achieve Assurance and Deterrence Efficiently and Effectively?
John R. Deni Dr.
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.
Colin S. Gray Dr.
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.
Jeffrey Record Dr.
The author examines the Axis defeat in World War II and concludes that the two main causes were resource inferiority (after 1941) and strategic incompetence—i.e., pursuit of imperial ambitions beyond the reach of its actual power. Until 1941 Axis military fortunes thrived, but the addition in that year of the Soviet Union and the United States to the list of Axis enemies condemned the Axis to ultimate strategic defeat. Germany, Italy, and Japan all attempted to bite off more than they could chew and subsequently choked to death.
Clarence J. Bouchat (USAF, Ret.) Lieutenant Colonel
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.
Nathan P. Freier Mr., Christopher M. Bado Colonel (Ret.), Christopher J. Bolan Dr., and Robert S. Hume Colonel (Ret.)
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.
Thomas C. Graves Brigadier General
This monograph will answer the question: Can the U.S. Army apply to the current “prototype brigade” the lessons that were learned during the development and experimentation of the 11th Air Assault Division (Test)? Having established that the criteria of DTLOMS is a valuable tool for evaluating change in military systems, the next step is to apply those criteria to evaluate the changes that occurred in the formation of the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) from 1963 to 1965. In order to accomplish this, a study of the separate elements of DTLOMS will be conducted in order to determine how the 11th Air Assault Division reorganized itself and conducted operations during that period. The benchmark for studying the elements of DTLOMS will be the use of air mobility during the Ia Drang campaign of November 1965. Specifically, this monograph will attempt to answer the following six questions: 1. How did the division develop doctrine to support the transition to airmobile warfare? 2. How did the division determine the proper organization to facilitate warfighting with the airmobile division? 3. How did the division train leaders to support the new doctrine and organization? 4. How did the division conduct field training to certify its soldiers and units in the new tactics? 5. Did building a new force require any specific soldier skills; and if so, how were those skills cultivated? 6. How did the division adopt and recommend changes to material and equipment to support the new methods of fighting? Each of these questions addresses one aspect of the DTLOMS and will be used to measure change in the 11th Air Assault (Test) Division from the beginning in 1963 to the redesignation to the 1st Cavalry Division in 1965. Finally, this study will synthesize these changes and determine which lessons learned can be applied to ongoing experimentation in the U.S. Army of the 21st century.
Tarek N. Saadawi Dr. and John D. Colwell LTC
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.
Richard Weitz Dr.
The U.S.-Indian security relationship has markedly improved since the Cold War with increased cooperation in a range of areas. The two countries have established stronger military, economic, and political ties based on mutual interests in combating terrorism, promoting democracy, preventing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation, and addressing China’s rise. Their bilateral defense engagements now include a range of dialogues, exercises, educational exchanges, and joint training opportunities. The partnership benefits both countries, enabling them to realize their core security goals. Yet, U.S. and Indian national security leaders must take new steps to ensure that the relationship realizes its potential.
Shima D. Keene Dr.
Corruption increases the level of instability and the risk of conflict by undermining the legitimacy and credibility of state institutions. It can be both a cause and effect of poor leadership and governance. States emerging from conflict are particularly vulnerable to corruption, due to the lack of good governance infrastructures; but Western interventions can exacerbate the problem through the unintended consequences of good intentions. For peacekeeping and state-building interventions to be effective, careful consideration must be given as to the reason the problem occurs, and to its broader impact, as well as ways to manage it. This Letort Paper suggests ways in which these unintended consequences may be mitigated in future peace and stability operations.
Anna Simons Dr.
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.
Gregory Aftandilian Mr.
This monograph examines the possibility of Egypt leading the Arab world again, and how that effort, if successful, will present opportunities and challenges for U.S. policy. At the present time, Egypt is not in a position to do so given its many domestic problems stemming from its turbulent politics since 2011 and the challenges facing its economy, which is currently experiencing high unemployment, weak tourism revenues because of terrorist incidents, and high rates of inflation as it implements an International Monetary Fund (IMF) economic reform package. However, Egypt has faced similar problems in the past and has recovered from them, enabling it to pursue an Arab leadership role. Hence, the United States should be prepared to deal with Egypt’s longstanding leadership quest, which this monograph argues will generally be a positive development for the United States in the region, though there will be some issues where the United States and Egypt will not see eye-to-eye. Given the intense Sunni-Shia conflicts in the region that are fed in large part by the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, having Egypt (a moderate Sunni Muslim country not pushing a religious agenda) in a leadership role in the region will help to dampen this sectarian strife. Moreover, because of its large and competent military, Egypt can be a source of stability and reassurance when other Arab states, particularly the Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, are feeling vulnerable because of outside threats. Furthermore, Egypt can play a moderating influence in the region by being a bulwark against the radical extremist ideologies of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), al-Qaeda, and like-minded groups. The United States can help Egypt succeed by continuing military assistance, offering counterterrorism training of whole units, and resuming military exercises like Bright Star. This monograph also argues for a boost in U.S. economic assistance to past levels—given Egypt’s strategic importance—to help it cope with economic reform measures even under U.S. budgetary woes. Although the United States and Egypt will continue to differ on the nature of Egypt’s domestic politics, particularly with regard to human rights and dissent and recognizing that the United States has limited influence in this regard, Washington should use whatever leverage it has to persuade the Egyptian Government to be less repressive, because an easing of authoritarian policies and practices will help Egyptian stability in the long run.
Keir Giles Mr.
This Letort Paper analyzes the drivers of assertive military action by Russia, as exemplified by interventions in Ukraine and Syria. It identifies key turning points in Russia’s perception of external threat, and the roots of Russian responses to this threat making use of a capacity for military, political, and diplomatic leverage that has been greatly enhanced in the current decade. Color revolutions, the Arab Spring, and Western intervention in Libya are all highlighted as key influencers leading to a Russian assessment that the developments in Ukraine and Syria presented direct security challenges to Russia, which needed to be addressed through direct action. This Letort Paper concludes with a range of policy recommendations intended to mitigate the risk of confrontation with Russia through an imperfect understanding of Russian security perspectives.
Ian Tunnicliffe and Steve Tatham Dr.
The impact of social media on the media environment has been widely recognized; as has the ability of extremist and adversarial organizations to exploit social media to publicize their cause, spread their propaganda, and recruit vulnerable individuals. Supporting the growth of social media has been the phenomenal global increase in mobile telephone usage, and much of this increase is in areas where there are existing conflicts or conflicts are highly likely. These combined revolutions will increasingly have a direct impact on virtually all aspects of military operations in the 21st century. In doing so, social media will force significant changes to policy, doctrine, and force structures. This Letort Paper explores the implications of social media for the U.S. Army.
W. Andrew Terrill Dr.
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has embarked on a campaign to destroy or sell priceless world heritage relics throughout the area under its control. While images of the outrageous destruction of priceless artifacts have been seen throughout the world, the strategic and military implications of comprehensive antiquities looting and ISIS propaganda about antiquities are of vital importance and correspondingly are considered throughout this Letort Paper. In particular, ISIS funding from the illicit sales of antiquities (and high quality fakes) is a serious problem and may help ISIS remain functional even after other sources of revenue are increasingly disrupted or eliminated. Should ISIS experience additional defeats and further loss of territory in Iraq and Syria, an ongoing stream of revenue could fund a nucleus of the organization while it searches for opportunities to rebuild itself and prove its continued relevance through spectacular acts of terrorism. Antiquities, if hidden and trafficked later, along with reproductions marketed as original masterpieces, could give the organization the financial lifeline it needs to stay operational and relevant, even if it is forced to transform itself from a “caliphate” controlling territory to a more simplified type of terrorist organization operating out of portions of the areas it once ruled.
R. Evan Ellis Dr.
This monograph comparatively examines the content and country focus of high-level diplomacy for each of the two actors, as well as the volume and patterns of trade, the activities of Indian and Chinese companies in the region, and their relationship to their respective governments in eight sectors: (1) petroleum and mining; (2) agriculture; (3) construction; (4) manufacturing and retail; (5) banking and finance; (6) logistics and port operations; (7) technology such as telecommunications, space, and high technology; and, (8) military sales and activities. This monograph finds that Indian engagement with the region is significantly less than that of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and concentrated on a more limited subset of countries and sectors. In the commercial and military sector, it finds that the efforts by the Indian government to support their companies in the region are generally more modest and less coordinated than those of the PRC. Nonetheless, despite such limitations, the nature of Indian companies and their engagement with the region create opportunities for significant advances in the future, in a manner that is relatively well received by Latin American governments and societies.
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