Mohammed El-Katiri Dr.
This monograph focuses on the geopolitical and economic drivers for the renewed Moroccan interest in West Africa and examines how Morocco is conducting its foreign and security policy in a variety of Western African countries. It highlights Morocco’s contribution to counterextremism in West Africa and Sahel regions through the provision of training to the imams and preachers of African Mosques. It concludes with recommendations on how Morocco could be supported by the U.S. defense community to mutual benefit, tackling some of the key security challenges that are facing these sub-regions of Africa. Given the common interest between the United States and Morocco in preserving peace and stability in Morocco’s surrounding region, Rabat’s growing assertiveness in West Africa presents an opportunity, not a challenge, for U.S. interests. Morocco’s geographic location, political stability, and deep and long-standing cultural ties with sub-Saharan states provide a potential bridgehead for U.S. efforts to promote its security objectives in Africa. At a time of severe defense budget constraints, bilateral cooperation with reliable and moderate regional partners can provide an effective multiplier and augment the U.S. reach into otherwise challenging regions.
The Hour of Truth: The Conflict in Ukraine–Implications for Europe’s Energy Security and the Lessons for the U.S. Army
Ariel Cohen Dr. and Ivan Benovic Mr.
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, a number of gas disputes between Russia and Central and Eastern European countries have unveiled the strategic dependence of Europe on Russian piped gas. The recent Ukrainian crisis demonstrated that Europe has a desperate need to improve the security of its gas supply. The United States is interested in the economic stability and growth of Europe, because the European Union (EU) is its principal and largest economic partner. The United States and the EU enjoy the largest trade and investment relationship in the world, which should not be jeopardized by disruptive, anti-status-quo powers. Europe’s energy independence is not only an economic interest of America, but also a political and security one. Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas undermines European unity and weakens the primary U.S. allies in their relations with Russia. U.S. Armed Forces in Europe and the U.S. Army in particular can and should play an important role in promoting energy security. This involvement includes: increased situational awareness; deployment to the sensitive areas; and enhanced training activities, including with the allies of the U.S. military in Central and Eastern Europe.
Gregory Aftandilian Mr.
This monograph examines the new Arab regional order that has emerged over the past few years and analyzes opportunities and challenges for U.S. strategic interests. The regional order encompasses: 1) an anti-Islamist grouping of countries that came about largely in reaction to Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt in 2012-2013; and, 2) an anti-Shia grouping which solidified in the aftermath of the Houthi takeover over much of Yemen, but which includes other areas of Sunni-Shia conflict in the region. Saudi Arabia is a leader in both orders and has important allies in them, like Egypt. Although the United States has extensive ties to a number of the countries in these alliances, and has assisted many of them in recent conflicts, it has tried to avoid getting involved in the larger Sunni-Shia conflict (having equities with both Sunni and Shia countries) and does not share the views of many secularists in the region that all Islamist groups pose a threat to regional stability. The monograph argues that U.S. policymakers should continue to promote inclusivity of all nonviolent political groups in the political systems of these countries, regardless of whether these groups are secularist or Islamist, with the understanding that there are limits to U.S. influence. In addition, U.S. policymakers should continue to avoid taking sides as much as possible in Sunni-Shia conflicts and should use its influence in the area to try to dampen such conflicts, as they are a main source of instability in the region and help extremist groups, like ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and al-Qaeda, exploit these conflicts. The monograph also recommends that the U.S. Army should assist countries of the region in counter-terrorism training and operations where possible, but Army officers should avoid being drawn into discussions about the Islamist-secularist and Sunni-Shia disputes.
Steve Tatham Dr. and Keir Giles Mr.
Experience from Afghanistan and Iraq has demonstrated the vital nature of understanding human terrain, with conclusions relevant far beyond counterinsurgency operations in the Islamic world. Any situation where adversary actions are described as “irrational” demonstrates a fundamental failure in understanding the human dimension of the conflict. It follows that where states and their leaders act in a manner which in the U.S. is perceived as irrational, this too betrays a lack of human knowledge. This monograph offers principles for operating in the human domain which can be extended to consideration of other actors which are adversarial to the United States, and whose decisionmaking calculus sits in a different framework to our own — including such major states as Russia and China. This monograph argues that the human dimension has become more, not less, important in recent conflicts and that for all the rise in technology future conflicts will be as much defined by the participants’ understanding of culture, behavior, and language as by mastery of technology.
W. Andrew Terrill Dr.
The threat perceptions of many Arab states aligned with the United States have changed significantly as a result of such dramatic events as the 2011 U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq, the emergence and then fading of the Arab Spring, the rise of Iranian power and Tehran’s nuclear agreement with key world powers, the Egyptian revolution and counterrevolution, and the development of civil wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya. There have also been some notable differences that have developed between the United States and its Arab allies over how to address these issues and most especially Iranian regional ambitions. This report considers ways in which the United States might react to these events with a specific focus on military coordination and support to friendly Arab countries. It notes that a variety of U.S. officials remain intensely committed to a strong effort to work with Arab allies and to convince them that the United States will not abandon them or downgrade the importance of their security concerns.
Breaking the Bathsheba Syndrome: Building a Performance Evaluation System that Promotes Mission Command
Curtis D. Taylor Colonel
In 2014, the National Defense Authorization Act directed the Department of Defense to reconsider the way the Army evaluates and selects leaders. This call for reform came after repeated surveys from the Center for Army Leadership suggested widespread dissatisfaction with the current approach. The Army today is seeking to inculcate a philosophy of mission command across the force based on a culture of mutual trust, clear intent, and decentralized initiative. It is therefore, reasonable to ask if our current performance evaluation system contributes or detracts from such a culture. This paper seeks to answer this question by considering the essential leader attributes required for the exercise of mission command and then considering practical methods for evaluating this behavior. It then reviews the history of the existing Army performance evaluation system and analyzes how well this existing system conforms to the attributes of mission command. Finally, the paper examines other methods of performance evaluation outside of the Army to determine if those methods could provide a better model. This examination includes a variety of best practice models in private business and the public sector and identified alternative approaches to performance evaluation.
John R. Deni Dr.
American security policy rests on a three-legged stool consisting of defense, diplomacy, and development. As President Obama implied in his May 2014 speech at West Point, the United States is in the midst of a resurgence of diplomacy and development, as it seeks to leverage diplomatic influence, foreign aid, and multilateral institutions to solve the most vexing international security challenges. However, the dramatic rebalance toward diplomacy and development over the last several years has largely has failed. Rhetoric, official strategies, and actual policies have all aimed at rebalancing the three legs of the foreign policy stool. However, several factors point to a continued militarization of U.S. foreign policy, including funding levels, legal authorities, and the growing body of evidence that civilian agencies of the U.S. Government lack the resources, skills, and capabilities to achieve foreign policy objectives. Continued reliance by senior decisionmakers at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue on the U.S. military in the development, planning, and implementation of U.S. foreign policy has significant implications. Foremost among them is the fact that the military itself must prepare for a future not terribly unlike the very recent past.
Glenn J. Voelz Colonel
During a decade of global counterterrorism operations and two extended counterinsurgency campaigns, the United States was confronted with a new kind of adversary. Without uniforms, flags, and formations, the task of identifying and targeting these combatants represented an unprecedented operational challenge for which Cold War era doctrinal methods were largely unsuited. This monograph examines the doctrinal, technical, and bureaucratic innovations that evolved in response to these new operational challenges. It discusses the transition from a conventionally focused, Cold War-era targeting process to one optimized for combating networks and conducting identity-based targeting. It analyzes the policy decisions and strategic choices that were the catalysts of this change and concludes with an in depth examination of emerging technologies that are likely to shape how this mode of warfare will be waged in the future.
Roman Muzalevsky Mr.
India’s impressive economic growth over the last two and a half decades has brought India’s role and interests to the forefront of global politics and statecraft. Importantly, it has put India into a comparative perspective with China, another aspiring Asian great power poised to stiffen competition for resources and influence worldwide. Both are resource-hungry and rapidly emerging powers seeking a new place and role in the global and regional orders. Both are also strategic rivals and consider their immediate neighborhood of Central Asia of growing strategic importance to their grand strategies. For now, China has outperformed India in Central Asia on all counts, securing the region as a key resource base and platform for power projection. India launched the “Connect Central Asia” policy in 2012 to shore up its presence, but the policy has not yet secured for it even a remotely comparable stake in the region due to aspects of India’s strategic culture and geopolitical constraints. Meanwhile, the U.S. strategic presence in the region leaves much to be desired. The United States is withdrawing from Afghanistan without major political or military gains from the conflict that has cost it and its partners a fortune in lives and money. The future of its military infrastructure and relationships with countries in Central-South Asia is a big unknown, with regional partners equating the U.S. military pullout with its waning commitment to support the regional economic and security order. To help unlock their strategic potentials, Delhi and Washington should join forces and cultivate a strategic partnership that makes Central Asia its major pillar. Until then, neither Delhi, nor Washington is likely to succeed.
Keir Giles Mr. and Kim Hartmann Ms.
An overview of four different national approaches to cyber defense are discussed: those of Norway, Estonia, Germany and Sweden. While providing a useful guide for engagement with the relevant governmental and other organizations in each of these countries, the Paper also compares and contrasts the advantages and drawbacks of each national approach.
Joseph R. Cerami Dr.
The main focus of this monograph is to synthesize the top research on leadership and leader development and to highlight the needs for developing individuals committed to careers of service across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The foundation for the research is based on ideas drawn from leadership and management literature, government doctrine and reports, think tank studies, and case studies. The Army has long sought to be innovative in its leader development. Most recently, the Army’s Human Development White Paper supports TRADOC Pamphlet 5250301, The U.S. Army Operating Concept, “Win in a Complex World” document (2014), by emphasizing the Army’s desire to become the nation’s leader in “human development.” In short, the Army Operating Concept requires that emerging leaders must understand the political-social-military environmental context, the defense-diplomatic-development (the 3-Ds) policies of the U.S. Government, and their roles as emerging leaders and followers in a variety of operational settings. Collaboration, not just within the Army, but across government agencies will be crucial to success in this complex operating environment.
Marcus Schulzke Dr. and James Igoe Walsh Dr.
Armed unmanned aerial vehicles—combat drones—have fundamentally altered the ways the United States conducts military operations aimed at countering insurgent and terrorist organizations. Drone technology is on track to become an increasingly important part of the country’s arsenal, as numerous unmanned systems are in development and will likely enter service in the future. Concerned citizens, academics, journalists, nongovernmental organizations, and policymakers have raised questions about the ethical consequences of drones and issued calls for their military use to be strictly regulated. This level of concern is evidence that the future of drone warfare not only hinges on technical innovations, but also on careful analysis of the moral and political dimensions of war. Regardless of whether drones are effective weapons, it would be difficult to sanction their use if they undermine the legitimacy of U.S. military forces or compromise the foundations of democratic government.
Hal Brands Dr.
Is offshore balancing the right grand strategy for America? Is it time for Washington to roll back the vast system of overseas security commitments and forward military deployments that have anchored its international posture since World War II? This monograph argues that the answer to these questions is no. Offshore balancing represents the preferred grand strategy among many leading international-relations “realists,” who argue that significant geopolitical retrenchment can actually improve America’s strategic position while slashing the costs of its foreign policy. The reality, however, is rather different. The probable benefits of offshore balancing—both financial and geopolitical—are frequently exaggerated, while the likely disadvantages and dangers are more severe than its proponents acknowledge. In all likelihood, adopting this strategy would not allow America to achieve more security and influence at a lower price. The more plausible results would be to dissipate U.S. influence, to court heightened insecurity and instability, and to expose the nation to greater long-range risks and costs.
Russell N. Bailey Colonel, Bob Dixon Lieutenant Colonel, Derek J. O'Malley Lieutenant Colonel, and Christopher J. Parsons Colonel (NZ)
This strategic assessment seeks to go beyond a traditional comparative analysis of the military, technological, political, cultural, and economic factors governing the relationships and capabilities of the Asia Pacific environment. To make sense of the intrinsic complexities unique to this region, we endeavor to broaden our view and rely on a tool often overlooked in government studies: imagination. Moreover, we aim to offer a strategic document that is readable, instructive, and provocative. Pulling from a well-referenced piece of military teaching, this assessment borrows a learning concept first employed in 1904 by Major General Sir Ernest Dunlop Swinton in "The Defence of Duffer’s Drift." This fictional story describes the plight of young Lieutenant Backsight Forethought as he commands a 50-man platoon tasked to hold a tactically critical piece of land called Duffer’s Drift. The story unfolds in a series of six dreams, where the blunders of the unwitting lieutenant lead to disaster. As the dreams progress, he harnesses the lessons of each of his failures, and by applying these lessons, his platoon ultimately defends Duffer’s Drift.
Robert J. Bunker Dr.
This manuscript focuses on the present threat posed by terrorist and insurgent use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as well as associated future threat potentials. This work presents a counterintuitive analysis in the sense that armed drones are typically viewed as a component of America’s conventional warfighting prowess—not a technology that would be used against U.S. troops deployed overseas or against civilians back home. The emerging threat of such UAV use against the United States is investigated, and the unique analysis and creative approach related to the threat scenario variants generated are very informative. Hopefully, the larger implications posed by this analysis related to semi-autonomous and autonomous UAV type robotic systems will be of benefit.
Steve Tatham Dr.
The author explains how sophisticated social science research and behavioral profiling can be used to warn us of impeding issues and how that information might be used by senior strategy makers as a tool for testing and refining strategy. He makes a compelling case that the science of Target Audience Analysis (TAA) is now so well advanced that it must become a key component of future strategic decisionmaking. The author views social media as just another communication conduit, and sees this as a continuum of wrong activities being undertaken. In Iraq and Afghanistan, he saw how big public relations and marketing companies cost the U.S. taxpayer millions of dollars in ultimately failed communication and propaganda campaigns. Social media, he argues, has become yet another blank checkbook for companies who rely on creative energy rather than empirical understanding to produce communications campaigns. Instead, he argues for far greater resource in TAA and greater understanding by federal agencies of what is and is not possible or desirable in their communication efforts. To this end, he looks in particular at the U.S. Agency for International Development relief work in Pakistan and argues that the communication objectives set at the start of the projects are almost unattainable, even naive in their presumptions.
A Hard Look at Hard Power: Assessing the Defense Capabilities of Key U.S. Allies and Security Partners
Gary J. Schmitt Mr.
Since World War II, a key element of America’s grand strategy has been its worldwide network of strategic allies and partners. The network has provided the United States an invaluable global presence, enhanced deterrence against adversaries and, when called upon, provided men and materiel to help fight wars. However, following the end of the Cold War, less attention has been paid to America’s allies, especially their “hard power” capabilities, despite the United States and its allies going to war more frequently than before. This volume addresses that gap, providing a holistic account of allied hard power and, in turn, the ability – and, indirectly, the willingness – of those same partners to use force independently or in concert with the United States and other allies.
Roger N. McDermott Mr. and Zhulduz Baizakova Ms.
Central Asia has been experiencing an increase or activation of radical Islamic movements over the last decade or so. These complex processes include increasing urbanization, institutional and individual corruption, the growing gap between rich and poor, the inability of the state to provide security, corruption in the law enforcement agencies, poor functioning of the state religious bodies, inefficient power structures, limited scope for citizens to influence decisionmaking, all which result in lower trust in the authorities as well as other factors. The authoritarian regimes of Central Asia gave rise to boiling anger and discontent among their populations. For people unable to defend their rights and interests, religion might be seen as a way out of this situation. Kazakhstan, the most stable and safe country in the region, witnessed a series of alleged extremist terrorist acts since 2011. Historic roots and the identity of “Kazakh Islam,” the nature of connection and influence reaching Kazakhstan from neighboring North Caucasus and Afghanistan and how it affects radicalization of the youth, and reasons for misleading assumptions are analyzed so as to identify how Kazakhstan is viewed from the outside world. State structures and the role of the state overseeing issues regarding Islam and its practices, with attention to banned extremist groups, their specifics, and the country’s experience of political violence in 2011-12, as well as the state’s response to the acts of violence, are discussed.
Roy Kamphausen Mr. and David Lai Dr.
This volume is of special relevance in light of the profound changes occurring within the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). China’s desire to develop a military commensurate with its diverse interests is both legitimate and understandable. The challenge for U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) is to understand how China will employ this growing military capability in support of its interests. The book addresses the uncertainty surrounding the potential direction of the PLA by examining three distinct focus areas: domestic, external, and technological drivers of PLA modernization; alternative futures for the PLA; and, implications for the region, world, and U.S.-China relations. The analysis provides an insightful perspective into the factors shaping and propelling the PLA’s modernization, its potential future orientation ranging from internally focused to globally focused, and how the PLA’s choices may impact China’s relations with its neighbors and the world.
Robert E. Atkinson, Mr.
This monograph offers a neo-classically republican perspective on a perennial problem of civilian/military relations: limitations on military officers’ obligation to obey civilian authorities. All commentators agree that military officers are generally obliged—morally, professionally, and legally—to obey civilian orders, even as they agree that this rule of obedience must admit of exceptions. Commentators tend to differ, however, on the basis and breadth of these exceptions. Following Samuel Huntington’s classic analysis in The Soldier and the State, this monograph shows that disagreement about the breadth of the exceptions tends to assume that their bases—moral, professional, and legal—are incommensurable. It suggests, to the contrary, that all defensible exceptions to the rule of military obedience, like that rule itself, derive from a single neo-classical, Huntingtonian standard, binding on civilian authorities and military officers alike: the common good. This perspective promises significantly to reduce the range of disagreement over the limits of military obedience both in theory and in practice.
Norman Cigar Dr.
As America’s de facto co-belligerents who often share the same battlespace in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the presence and activity of Iraq’s Shia warlords and their militias have an impact on U.S. interests and policies at both the strategic and operational levels. The objective of this monograph is to provide a better understanding of the Shia militia phenomenon and to highlight the factors with which U.S. policymakers and U.S. Army planners and commanders will have to deal with respect to operations in Iraq.
Keir Giles Mr.
Russia's actions in Ukraine are not the only challenge to relations with the United States. U.S. plans for ballistic missile defense (BMD) capability in Europe have led to aggressive rhetoric from Moscow, which continues at the time of this writing even though attention in the West is focused almost exclusively on Ukraine. Russia’s strenuous opposition to the U.S. European Phased Adaptive Approach plans is based on claims that this capability is intended to compromise Russia’s nuclear deterrent capability. Most of these claims have been dismissed as groundless. Yet, all discussion of the subject highlights the U.S. current and proposed deployments, and entirely ignores Russia’s own missile interception systems, which are claimed to have comparable capability. Russia protests that U.S. missiles pose a potential threat to strategic stability, and has made belligerent threats of direct military action to prevent their deployment. But no mention at all is made of the strategic implications of Russia’s own systems, despite the fact that if the performance and capabilities claimed for them by Russian sources are accurate, they pose at least as great a threat to deterrence as do those of the United States. This monograph aims to describe Russia’s claims for its missile defense systems, and, where possible, to assess the likelihood that these claims are true. This will form a basis for considering whether discussion of Russian capabilities should be an integral part of future conversations with Russia on the deployment of U.S. and allied BMD assets.
R. Evan Ellis Dr.
In many ways, Russia’s expanded engagement in Latin America as a response to escalating tension over the Ukraine was a repetition of its answer to U.S. involvement in the 2008 conflict in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. In the latter conflict, the U.S. deployed naval forces to the Black Sea in response to Russian support for the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia countered with a series of actions in Latin America, including sending nuclear-capable Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela, from where they conducted symbolically-charged flights around the Caribbean. A month later, a four-ship Russian naval flotilla deployed to the area to conduct military exercises with the Venezuelan navy before making port calls in Cuba and Nicaragua. In November 2008, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev traveled to Latin America to participate in the leadership summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, then subsequently hosted both Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in Moscow. Three months later, Bolivian President Evo Morales also traveled to Russia, followed in November 2009 by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. Very little beyond journalistic accounts have been written to examine contemporary Russian activities in Latin America and the Caribbean. As Russia’s reassertion of its global position and associated tensions with the United States proceed, a broad understanding of Russia in the Americas becomes ever more important, both as a question of U.S. national security and as an important dynamic shaping the global geopolitical environment. This monograph focuses on the character of the ongoing Russian re-engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean and its implications for the U.S.
Leif Rosenberger Dr.
This Letort Paper analyzes the new global oil market. It shows how the price of oil reflects the confluence of four interrelated factors. First, the Paper explores why the supply of oil has been soaring in the world. Second, it explains why the demand for oil has been relatively weak. Third, it discusses the role that Wall Street plays in moving the price of oil. Fourth, it examines the importance of the U.S. dollar in determining the prices of oil. As a result of these factors, oil prices are relatively low. The Paper also explains how these low oil prices produce winners and losers at home and abroad. In addition, it explores where oil prices are likely to go in 2016 without policy intervention. It also recommends ways to make oil prices less volatile.
The Strategic Lessons Unlearned from Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan: Why the ANSF Will Not Hold, and the Implications for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan
M. Chris Mason Dr.
The wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan were lost before they began, not on the battlefields, where the United States won every tactical engagement, but at the strategic level of war. In each case, the U.S. Government attempted to create a Western-style democracy in countries which were decades at least away from being nations with the sociopolitical capital necessary to sustain democracy and, most importantly, accept it as a legitimate source of governance. The expensive indigenous armies created in the image of the U.S. Army lacked both the motivation to fight for illegitimate governments in Saigon, Baghdad, and Kabul and a cause that they believed was worth dying for, while their enemies in the field clearly did not. This book examines the Afghan National Security Forces in historical and political contexts, explains why they will fail at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war, why they cannot and will not succeed in holding the southern half of the country, and what will happen in Afghanistan year-by-year from 2015 to 2019. Finally, it examines what the critical lessons unlearned of these conflicts are for U.S. military leaders, why these fundamental political lessons seem to remain unlearned, and how the strategic mistakes of the past can be avoided in the future.
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