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  • Author: Feng Jin
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pacific Forum
  • Abstract: The issue of gray zone conflict between the US and China has attracted much attention in recent years. “Gray” indicates actions below the threshold of war, yet beyond normal diplomacy. The fundamental characteristics of gray zone activity include that they are well-planned, designed to be ambiguous amid strategic competition, and intended to leave opponents unable to launch an effective response. What demands special attention is that gray zone activity could cause unintended escalation, and that assertive responses to them may not be the best option. For instance, the United States’ gray zone retaliation to China’s activities in the South China Sea is hardly helpful to contain China’s activities, but certainly slow the pace of resolving the South China Sea dispute through negotiation and dialogue and jeopardize bilateral strategic stability. In the United States, current studies on the gray zone issue view the activity conducted by “measured revisionists” (such as Russia, China and Iran) as a major challenge to US national interest and the US-led international order. Today, as China and the United States are dancing on the precipice of a trade war, the geopolitical rivalry between the two countries raises major concerns and the possibility of a new Cold War has been discussed with increasing frequency. Although the United States and China are highly interconnected in many ways, entanglement also creates friction. In this context, the gray zone issue between China and the United States has a significant role in the relationship. How do we understand gray zone conflict? What challenges does the current gray zone activity pose to China and the United States? What measures should be taken to address such challenges?
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, War, Peace
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States, its allies, and international organizations are just beginning to come to grips with the civil dimensions of "failed state" wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, the Sudans, Syria, and Yemen. In each case, it is clear that the civil dimension of the war will ultimately be as important as the military one. Any meaningful form of "victory" requires far more than defeating the current extremist threat in military terms, and reaching some temporary compromise between the major factions that divide the country. The current insurgent and other security threats exist largely because of the deep divisions within the state, the past and current failures of the government to deal with such internal divisions, and the chronic failure to meet the economic, security, and social needs of much of the nation's population. In practical terms, these failures make a given host government, other contending factions, and competing outside powers as much of a threat to each nation’s stability and future as Islamic extremists and other hostile forces. Regardless of the scale of any defeat of extremists, the other internal tensions and divisions with each country also threaten to make any such “victory” a prelude to new forms of civil war, and/or an enduring failure to cope with security, stability, recovery, and development. Any real form of victory requires a different approach to stability operations and civil-military affairs. In each case, the country the U.S. is seeking to aid failed to make the necessary economic progress and reforms to meet the needs of its people – and sharply growing population – long before the fighting began. The growth of these problems over a period of decades helped trigger the sectarian, ethnic, and other divisions that made such states vulnerable to extremism and civil conflict, and made it impossible for the government to respond effectively to crises and wars.
  • Topic: Security, War, Fragile/Failed State, ISIS, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sundan
  • Author: Andrew Shaver, Jacob N. Shapiro
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: Scholars of civil war and insurgency have long posited that insurgent organizations and their state enemies incur costs for the collateral damage they cause. We provide the first direct quantitative evidence that wartime informing is affected by civilian casualties. Using newly declassified data on tip flow to Coalition forces in Iraq we find that information flow goes down after government forces inadvertently kill civilians and it goes up when insurgents do so. These results have strong policy implications; confirm a relationship long posited in the theoretical literature on insurgency; and are consistent with a broad range of circumstantial evidence on the topic.
  • Topic: War, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency, Information Age, Civilians, Casualties
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Dr. Mary Manjikian
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: An analysis of weapons-based confidence-building measures shows how academics can work together to self-police their research for national security implications, socialize new members of the academic community into the importance of considering security issues, and develop and disseminate norms regarding what is and is not a moral and ethical use of these technologies. It may be possible for academics and policymakers to come together to work for a ban or build-down on cyber weapons patterned on international efforts to ban chemical and biological weapons and implement export regimes to control the export of code which may form the components of cyber weapons. If we conceptualize cyberspace as territory, we can also learn from the example of territorially-based confidence-building measures such as those implemented along the Indo-Pakistan border. This approach stresses the importance of developing notification procedures to prevent misperceptions and the escalation spiral, as well as communicating regularly to establish trust between all parties. The case studies presented here illustrate the promises and pitfalls of each approach and offer valuable warnings to policymakers seeking to implement such measures in cyberspace. They show what happens when not everyone in a regime is equally committed to a specific outcome by illustrating the difficulties of monitoring compliance in confidence-building regimes, and show the ways in which doctrines and confidence-building measures may not be perfectly aligned.
  • Topic: Security, National Security, Science and Technology, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Dr. Larry D. Miller
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The Army War College Review, a refereed publication of student work, is produced under the purview of the Strategic Studies Institute and the United States Army War College. An electronic quarterly, The AWC Review connects student intellectual work with professionals invested in U.S. national security, Landpower, strategic leadership, global security studies, and the advancement of the profession of arms.
  • Topic: Security, National Security, War, Global Security
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Heidi Reisinger, Aleksandr Golts
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Ukraine is not even a state!” Putin reportedly advised former US President George W. Bush during the 2008 NATO Summit in Bucharest. In 2014 this perception became reality. Russian behaviour during the current Ukraine crisis was based on the traditional Russian idea of a “sphere of influence” and a special responsibility or, stated more bluntly, the “right to interfere” with countries in its “near abroad”. This perspective is also implied by the equally misleading term “post-Soviet space.” The successor states of the Soviet Union are sovereign countries that have developed differently and therefore no longer have much in common. Some of them are members of the European Union and NATO, while others are desperately trying to achieve this goal. Contrary to what Professor John Mearsheimer may suggest. In his article “Why the Ukraine crisis is the West's fault” he argues that NATO has expanded too far to the East, “into Russia's backyard”, against Moscow's declared will, and therefore carries responsibility for recent events; however, this seems to ignore that NATO was not hunting for new members, but found them knocking at its door.
  • Topic: NATO, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Ukraine, Soviet Union, Moscow
  • Author: Jeffery L. Caton
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The monograph is comprised of four main sections: Characterization. This section provides the notional foundation necessary to avoid any devolution of the analysis to mere semantic arguments. It presents how cyberspace is defined and characterized for this discussion, as well as how this compares to existing concepts of the traditional domains of land, sea, air, and space. Also, it identifies some of the unique technical challenges that the cyberspace domain may introduce into the process of distinguishing acts of war. Assessment Criteria. This section explores the de jure and the de facto issues involved with assaying cyber incidents to determine if they represent aggression and possible use of force; and, if so, to what degree? It reviews the traditional legal frameworks surrounding military action to include the United Nations (UN) Charter and the Law of Armed Conflict. It also examines how these compare to the recently published Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare. From these sources, it proposes a cyberspace incident assessment methodology. Policy Considerations. Having identified viable criteria to aid with the assessment of cyber-space incidents, this section looks at the policy considerations associated with applying such principles. First, it examines the relevant U.S. strategies; next, it investigates the strategies of other key countries and international organizations and how they compare to U.S. tenets; and finally, it evaluates how nonstate actors may affect U.S. deliberations. Courses of Action. This section examines the influences that course of action development and implementation may have on the assessment of cyberspace incidents. It first looks at the President's role as the primary decisionmaker in U.S. national matters regarding cyber-space. It then surveys key influences affecting subordinate decisionmakers and their staffs that may be advising the Commander-in-Chief: reliable situational awareness, global and domestic environment considerations, and options and their related risks and potential consequences.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Intelligence, Science and Technology, War
  • Political Geography: United States, United Nations
  • Author: James M. Acton
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The development of non-nuclear weapons that can strike distant targets in a short period of time has been a U.S. goal for more than a decade. Advocates argue that such Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) weapons could be used to counter antisatellite weapons or sophisticated defensive capabilities; deny a new proliferator the ability to employ its nuclear arsenal; and kill high-value terrorists. Critics worry that CPGS weapons could create serious strategic risks, most notably of escalation—including to the nuclear level—in a conflict.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Bryan Gold
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The report shows that Iran's current missile and rocket forces help compensate for its lack of effective air power and allow it to pose a threat to its neighbors and US forces that could affect their willingness to strike on Iran if Iran uses its capabilities for asymmetric warfare in the Gulf or against any of its neighbors. At another level, Iran's steady increase in the number, range, and capability of its rocket and missile forces has increased the level of tension in the Gulf, and in other regional states like Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. Iran has also shown that it will transfer long-range rockets to “friendly” or “proxy” forces like the Hezbollah and Hamas. At a far more threatening level, Iran has acquired virtually every element of a nuclear breakout capability except the fissile material needed to make a weapon. This threat has already led to a growing “war of sanctions,” and Israeli and US threats of preventive strikes. At the same time, the threat posed by Iran's nuclear programs cannot be separated from the threat posed by Iran's growing capabilities for asymmetric warfare in the Gulf and along all of its borders. It is far from clear that negotiations and sanctions can succeed in limiting Iran's ability to acquire nuclear weapons and deploy nuclear-armed missiles. At the same time, the report shows that military options offer uncertain alternatives. Both Israel and the US have repeatedly stated that they are planning and ready for military options that could include preventive strikes on at least Iran's nuclear facilities and, and that US strikes might cover a much wider range of missile facilities and other targets. A preventive war might trigger a direct military confrontation or conflict in the Gulf with little warning. It might also lead to at least symbolic Iranian missile strikes on US basing facilities, GCC targets or Israel. At the same time, it could lead to much more serious covert and proxy operations in Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, the rest of the Gulf, and other areas.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert M. Shelala II
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Concepts are not a strategy. Broad outlines do not set real priorities. A strategy requires a plan with concrete goals numbers schedules and costs for procurement, allocation, manpower, force structure, and detailed operational capabilities. For all the talk of 10 years of planned spending levels and cuts, the President and Congress can only shape the actual budget and defense program one year at a time. Unpredicted events and realities will intervene. There is a near zero real world probability that the coming plan and budget will shape the future in spite of changes in the economy, politics, entitlements, and threats to the US.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, International Cooperation, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States