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  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The key issue in evaluating the prospects for a successful Transition in Afghanistan is not whether a successful transition in Afghanistan is possible, it is rather whether some form of meaningful transition is probable — a very different thing. The answer is a modest form of strategic success is still possible, but that it is too soon to know whether it is probable and there are many areas where the current level of planning, analysis, and action combined to sharply reduce the chances for success.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, War, Counterinsurgency, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert M. Shelala II
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US may not face peer threats in the near to mid term, but it faces a wide variety of lesser threats that make maintaining effective military forces, foreign aid, and other national security programs a vital national security interest. The US does need to reshape its national security planning and strategy to do a far better job of allocating resources to meet these threats. It needs to abandon theoretical and conceptual exercises in strategy that do not focus on detailed force plans, manpower plans, procurement plans, and budgets; and use its resources more wisely. The US still dominates world military spending, but it must recognize that maintaining the US economy is a vital national security interest in a world where the growth and development of other nations and regions means that the relative share the US has in the global economy will decline steadily over time, even under the best circumstances. At the same time, US dependence on the security and stability of the global economy will continue to grow indefinitely in the future. Talk of any form of "independence," including freedom from energy imports, is a dangerous myth. The US cannot maintain and grow its economy without strong military forces and effective diplomatic and aid efforts. US military and national security spending already places a far lower burden on the US economy than during the peaceful periods of the Cold War, and existing spending plans will lower that burden in the future. National security spending is now averaging between 4% and 5% of the GDP -- in spite of the fact the US has been fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- versus 6-7% during the Cold War.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Government, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is surprisingly difficult to get a meaningful estimate of the total cost of the Afghan conflict, total spending on Afghan forces and total spending on various forms of aid. More data are available on US efforts – which have dominated military and aid spending, but even these data present serious problems in reliability, consistency, and definition. Moreover, it is only since FY2012 that the US provided an integrated request for funding for the war as part of its annual budget request. The data for the period before FY2009 are accurate pictures of the Department of Defense request, but there is only a CRS estimate of total spending the previous years.
  • Topic: Economics, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sean T. Mann, Bryan Gold
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In a little over two years the US and its allies plan to hand over security and other responsibilities to the Afghan government as part of a process labeled “Transition.” Afghanistan is still at war and will probably be at war long after 2014. The political, governance, and economic dimensions of this Transition, however, will be as important as any developments in the fighting.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert Shelala II
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US may not face peer threats in the near to mid term, but it faces a wide variety of lesser threats that make maintaining effective military forces, foreign aid, and other national security programs a vital national security interest. The US does need to reshape its national security planning and strategy to do a far better job of allocating resources to meet these threats. It needs to abandon theoretical and conceptual exercises in strategy that do not focus on detailed force plans, manpower plans, procurement plans, and budgets; and use its resources more wisely. The US still dominates world military spending, but it must recognize that maintaining the US economy is a vital national security interest in a world where the growth and development of other nations and regions means that the relative share the US has in the global economy will decline steadily over time, even under the best circumstances. At the same time, US dependence on the security and stability of the global economy will continue to grow indefinitely in the future. Talk of any form of “independence,” including freedom from energy imports, is a dangerous myth. The US cannot maintain and grow its economy without strong military forces and effective diplomatic and aid efforts. US military and national security spending already places a far lower burden on the US economy than during the peaceful periods of the Cold War, and existing spending plans will lower that burden in the future. National security spending is now averaging between 4% and 5% of the GDP – in spite of the fact the US has been fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – versus 6-7% during the Cold War.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US confronts a wide range of challenges if it is to win the Afghan conflict in any meaningful sense, and leave a stable Afghanistan and Pakistan: Decide on US strategic objectives in conducting and terminating the war. These objectives not only include the defeat of Al Qaeda, but deciding on what kind of transition the US wishes to make in Afghanistan, what goals the US can achieve in creating a stable Afghanistan, US goals in Pakistan, and the broader strategic goals the US will seek in Central and South Asia. Defeat the insurgency not only in tactical terms, but also by eliminating its control and influence over the population and ability exploit sanctuaries in Pakistan and win a war of political transition. Create a more effective and integrated, operational civil and civil-military transition effort by NATO/ISAF, UN, member countries, NGO, and international community efforts through 2014 and for 5-10 years after the withdrawal of combat forces. Build up a much larger, and more effective, mix of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Give the Afghan government the necessary capacity and legitimacy (and lasting stability) at the national, regional/provincial, district, and local levels by 2014. Dealing with Pakistan in reducing the Taliban-Haqqani network in the NWFP and Baluchistan, and dealing with the broader risk Pakistan will become a failed nuclear weapons state. Shape a balance of post-transition relations with India, Iran, "Stans," Russia, and China that will help sustain posttransition stability. Make effective trade-offs in terms of resources relative to the priorities set by other US domestic and security interests.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Erin Fitzgerald, Varun Vira
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US has many hard decisions to make in shaping its policies toward Central and South Asia – driven primarily by the war in Afghanistan, the growing instability in Pakistan, and whether the US should actively pursue strategic interest in Central Asia in the face of Russian and Chinese pressures and advantages, than by strategic competition with Iran.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Defeating the insurgency not only in tactical terms, but by eliminating its control and influence over the population. Creating an effective and well-resourced NATO/ISAF and US response to defeating the insurgency and securing the population. Building up a much larger and more effective (and enduring base for transition) mix of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Giving the Afghan government the necessary capacity and legitimacy at the national, regional/provincial, district, and local levels. Creating an effective, integrated, and truly operational civil-military effort. NATO/ISAF, UN, member country, and NGO and international community efforts. Dealing with the sixth center of gravity outside Afghanistan and NATO/ISAF's formal mission. with the actions of Pakistan, Iran, and other states will be critical to success in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: NATO, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Asia
  • Author: S. Frederick Starr, Andrew C. Kuchina
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: One of the most promising ways forward for the U.S. and NATO in Afgha-nistan is to focus on removing the impediments to continental transport and trade across Afghanistan's territory. Many existing international initiatives from the Mediterranean to the Indian sub-continent and Southeast Asia are already bringing parts of this network into being. Absent is the overall priori-tization, coordination, and risk management that will enable Afghanistan to emerge as a natural hub and transit point for roads, railroads, pipelines, and electric lines. America and its coalition partners can provide these missing ingredients.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, America, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Maren Leed, Hilary Price, Tara Murphy
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Department of Defense's (DoD's) mission to protect the nation necessitates its leaders' concern about the military's readiness for a vast and expanding range of missions. These concerns are heightened in the midst of two ongoing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan and within the context of a world that is increasingly complex. To their credit, DoD leaders continue to seek insight from both inside and outside the department about areas of potential vulnerability; this study is one such effort.
  • Topic: Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq