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  • Author: Kars de Bruijne(ed.)
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The Global Security Pulse tracks emerging security trends and risks worldwide. This month the Global Security Pulse focuses on the subject of political warfare. It specifically assesses how it plays a role in the foreign relations of Russia
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Patrick Martin
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: ISIS is waging a renewed offensive campaign in recaptured areas that could exploit vulnerabilities in the Iraqi Government’s ability to respond amidst accelerating political competition before upcoming elections.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Maha Yahya, Jean Kassir
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: A sustainable political settlement to end the multiple conflicts in Syria will not be possible without a real focus on the challenges of refugee returns. The complexities of the Syrian wars as well as previous international experiences with similar conflicts underscore that ensuring long-term peace requires a more focused attention on the challenges for effective repatriation of refugees and internally displaced persons, including significant security and protection guarantees. Without these, and irrespective of the eventual shape of a political solution, their return may be neither possible nor sustainable—with significant repercussions for peace in Syria, neighboring countries, and states beyond.
  • Topic: War, International Security, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Ephraim Kam, Zaki Shalom
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Senior officials within the Iranian regime have long been convinced that American administrations have striven to infiltrate Iran’s internal system and topple the Islamic regime, and this impression has been bolstered of late. For its part, even if the Trump administration has not presented a defined position on regime change in Iran, it undoubtedly has a clear interest in this regard. Yet the US administration has no concrete ability to bring about regime change in Iran in the desired direction – not by supporting internal opposition forces, and certainly not through military intervention. If the Iranian regime does change in the future, it will presumably result from internal processes and not external intervention.
  • Topic: War, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Iran
  • Author: Morgan Wesley
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The Afghanistan ORBAT (PDF) describes the location and area of responsibility of all American units in Afghanistan, down to the battalion level, updated as of February 2016..
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Cindy Huang, Nazanin Ash
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The world is witnessing higher levels of displacement than ever before. The statistics tell the story. Today, an unprecedented 65 million people—including 21 million refugees—are displaced from their homes. Since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011, 5 million people have fled to nearby Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan. And refugees now spend an average of 10 years away from their countries. Equally striking as the scale of the crisis are the consequences of an inadequate response. Individual lives hang in the balance; refugees are struggling to rebuild their lives, find jobs, and send their children to school. Developing countries that are hosting the overwhelming majority of refugees— and at the same time trying to meet the needs of their own citizens—are shouldering unsustainable costs. We are seeing global stability and hard-won development gains threatened.
  • Topic: War, Refugee Issues, Territorial Disputes, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Chris Kozak
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Russia, Iran, and Turkey agreed at a new set of Astana Talks on May 3 - 4 to establish four large “de-escalation” zones over opposition-held regions of Western Syria. The deal allows for the three countries to deploy forces along the borders of the “de-escalation zones” to monitor a faltering nationwide ceasefire that excludes all opposition forces “associated” with Al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria. Activists reported a general decrease in violence except along key frontlines such as Damascus and Northern Hama Province after the deal went into effect on May 6. Russia likely intends to leverage to “de-escalation zones” to subordinate the political process to its objectives, reset its military deployments, and block future unilateral action to implement so-called “zones of stabilization” by the U.S. in Syria. Pro-regime forces will likely also use the relative lull in Western Syria to refocus their military campaign towards Eastern Syria to preempt the U.S. from establishing a long-term foothold in regions formerly held by ISIS in Syria. Conditions on the ground remain unfit for a durable ceasefire or political settlement to end the Syrian Civil War. The U.S. signaled its intent to move forward with an imminent offensive to seize Ar-Raqqa City from ISIS that includes the Syrian Kurdish YPG despite clear objections from Turkey. U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order on May 8 authorizing the U.S. Department of Defense to directly provide weapons, ammunition, and other equipment to the YPG “as necessary” in support of upcoming operations against ISIS in Ar-Raqqa City. Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White stated that the weapons deliveries will be “limited, mission specific, and metered out incrementally” in order to prevent the transfer of weapons to the PKK in Turkey. The U.S. also floated plans to expand an intelligence fusion center based in Ankara targeting the PKK in Turkey. These efforts remain insufficient to address the security concerns of Turkey. The decision will likely fuel a further breakdown in relations between Turkey and the U.S. that could include new cross-border operations by Turkey against the YPG in Northern Syria. This strategic break will form a core area of disagreement during a face-to-face meeting between Trump and Turkish President Recep Erdogan in Washington D.C. on May 16.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Benjamin Knudsen, Alexandra Lariiciuc, Franklin Holcomb
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Russia has continued its destabilization campaign in Ukraine using its proxy forces and other means of subversion. The Trump Administration has indicated it is willing to support Ukraine as the Eastern European country faces Russian aggression. President Trump must act to strengthen the U.S.-Ukraine partnership and increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of a broader campaign to deter Russian aggression globally. U.S. officials emphasized their support for Ukraine in a series of diplomatic meetings in May. U.S. President Donald Trump held separate meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin in Washington on May 10 during which he reportedly stressed “Russia’s responsibility to fully implement the Minsk agreements.” This rhetoric echoes previous statements by Trump administration officials. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. will maintain sanctions against Russia “until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered them.”
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Patrick Martin
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) surged in northwest Mosul in a bid to clear the city prior to Ramadan, anticipated to begin on May 26. Emergency Response Division (ERD) and Federal Police (FP) units joined 9th and 15th Iraqi Army Division units in northwest Mosul on April 28. The combined forces recaptured the neighborhoods of Mushairfa and 30 Tamouz, and are fighting to seize the denser neighborhoods of Harmat, 17 Tamouz, and Hawi Kanisa as of publication. Meanwhile, Counter-Terrorism Services (CTS) recaptured three neighborhoods in western Mosul. ISF are unlikely to clear the city prior to Ramadan. ISIS claimed to launch attacks to retake two Old City gates, Bab al-Jadid and Bab al-Toub. ISIS will also continue to defend the Old City by conducting suicide attacks and attempting to draw fire on civilian gatherings. ISIS will concentrate its defenses around al-Nuri Great Mosque, where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared publicly in 2014.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Alexandra Gutowski, Jesse Rose Dury-Agri
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: U.S.-backed forces continue to advance on the major ISIS-held urban centers of Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria. Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have encircled ISIS in Mosul’s Old City. The U.S.-backed, Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured Tabqa, a city adjacent to Raqqa that contains Syria’s largest dam. ISIS also lost terrain in southern Syria, as various factions of the Syrian opposition, including some with U.S. backing, cleared ISIS from positions in Suweida and the Qalamoun mountains. ISIS will attempt to offset these losses during its annual Ramadan offensive campaign, anticipated to begin around May 27. ISIS’s campaign in 2017 increasingly resembles its 2013 insurgent campaign; ISIS’s Ramadan plan will likely focus on synchronizing spectacular attacks across different locations for combined effect. Potential targets include religious sites, security forces, and oil infrastructure. ISIS may also conduct ground attacks in Salah ad Din, Anbar, and central Syria where ISIS retains latent combat capability.
  • Topic: War, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Genevieve Casagrande
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Russia’s campaign against Syrian civilians continued undeterred by the U.S. strike on April 6 in response to the Bashar al-Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons in southern Idlib. Local reports indicate Russia regularly used incendiary munitions and bunker buster munitions in Idlib and Aleppo Provinces in order to inflict mass casualties on the population in rebel-held terrain following the U.S. strike. Russian airstrikes also targeted local civilian infrastructure from April 4 - 25, including hospitals, schools, mosques, and civil defense centers across Syria. Russia continually targeted Khan Shaykhoun, the site of the regime’s chemical attack on April 4, throughout the reporting period. Furthermore, activists claimed Russia targeted a hospital and civil defense center treating those wounded in Khan Shaykhoun immediately following the regime’s sarin gas attack. The use of chemical weapons is just one of many means the pro-regime coalition has to punish anti-Assad populations in Syria. Russia remains a principal contributor to President Assad’s purposeful campaign to target Syrian civilians. The Assad regime has a long history of violence against its own people, but the advanced capabilities Russia has brought to theater have allowed the pro-regime coalition to target civilians with even greater precision.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Syria
  • Author: Chris Kozak, Genevieve Casagrande, Tom Ramage
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Pro-regime basing data accurate through March 21, 2017. Syria Control of Terrain data accurate through April 3, 2017.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: “There can be no future for Assad and his regime in Syria. It is good that the Trump Administration has recognized that the regime must go in order for negotiated settlement to occur. Demonstrating American will to use military force is a necessary first step. President Trump still needs a larger strategy to achieve the outcomes that US national security and humanity require.” - Jennifer Cafarella
  • Topic: War, Developments
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jessa Rose Dury-Agri, Omer Kassim, Patrick Martin
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The liberation of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sh­am’s (ISIS) urban holdings in Iraq was necessary but not sufficient to secure America’s vital national interests. ISIS has lost neither the will nor the capability to fight, even as it withdraws into desert hideouts and sleeper cell formations in November 2017. Rather, dispersed ISIS militants have begun an insurgent campaign in northern and western Iraq as some of its foreign fighters have returned to their home countries to serve in ISIS’s external operations network.
  • Topic: Islam, War, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Ofra Bengio
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The Kurds challenge the self-perceptions of the nation-states in which they reside: Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq; and they have played a crucial role in combatting Islamic State. This study analyzes the rivalry and interdependence among the four parts of Kurdistan as well as the dynamics of their relations with regional countries and the international community. With the entire region in a state of flux, will the Kurds fulfill their dream for a state or autonomous existence of their own?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Self Determination, Authoritarianism, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Jacqueline Lopour
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Humanitarian crises across the world are the worst since World War II, and the situation is only going to get worse. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), almost 60 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced from their homes — that is approximately one in every 123 people on the planet (UNHCR 2016a). The problem is growing, as the number of those displaced is over 60 percent greater than the previous decade. As a result, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced the first ever World Humanitarian Summit to be held May 23-24, 2016. The world’s attention is focused on the Syrian refugee crisis, which has displaced 11 million people. But in doing so, the global community has lost sight of an equally severe humanitarian and displacement crisis — the situation in Yemen. Yemen now has more people in need of aid than any other country in the world, according to the UNOCHA Global Humanitarian Overview 2016. An estimated 21.2 million people in Yemen — 82 percent of the population — requires humanitarian aid, and this number is steadily growing (UNOCHA 2016a).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, War, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Global Focus
  • Author: Alexa L. Wesner
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Second World War, the United States and Austria have enjoyed one of the most mutually beneficial and prosperous relationships in the world. Born from a shared desire for lasting peace and nourished by trade, education, and people-to-people exchanges, Austria and the United States share an intertwined past and interconnected future. Today, our shared democratic ideals and our willingness to work together to combat global threats serve as an example of collaboration on the world stage. But since the earliest days of the modern era, our common goals have been underwritten by a series of often-overlooked exchange programs that have exposed thousands of people to the significance of our shared values. The intimate human bonds built by exchange participants continue to weave an increasingly beautiful, intricate, and durable social fabric that strengthens our bilateral relationship.
  • Topic: Politics, War, Bilateral Relations, Global Security
  • Political Geography: Austria, United States of America
  • Author: Wolfgang Mühlberger
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The September ceasefire in Syria expired after the scheduled duration of a week due to the bombardment of sensitive targets by the brokers – instead of being extended and shored up by a political track. Agreeing on the modalities without the ability or willingness to enforce them, makes ceasefires futile and undermines peace negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Jason Stearns
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Peace Operations
  • Abstract: Since October 2014, the region around the town of Beni in north eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) has been the site of some of the worst massacres in the country’s recent history. Over five hundred people have been killed and tens of thousands have fled their homes. The UN mission and the Congolese government have publicly stated that the massacres are the work of Ugandan rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). Research by the Congo Research Group (CRG) based on interviews conducted with over a hundred witnesses and local leaders indicates that the definition of the ADF needs to be revised. Rather than a foreign Islamist group driven by revenge, our research points to a group that has forged strong ties with local interest groups and militias over the course of twenty years of insurrection around Beni. Moreover, our preliminary findings indicate that responsibility does not lie with the ADF alone. In addition to commanders directly tied to the ADF, members of the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC), the national army; former members of the Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie—Kisangani/Mouvement de libération (RCD– K/ML); as well as members of communal militias have also been involved in attacks on the civilian population.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, United Nations, War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Adam Baron
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After years of conflict Yemen is on the verge of absolute collapse. Institutions across the country are falling apart, while a plethora of armed groups have taken advantage of the power vacuum to claim leadership over key territories, leading to even greater fragmentation of the country. The conflict, and the accompanying Saudi-led intervention, has brought about the Middle East's most severe humanitarian crisis, with 86 percent of the population in need of humanitarian assistance. Yemen is facing a lost generation, as hundreds of thousands of Yemeni children grow up without an education or enough food to eat. The EU and its member states have a moral and strategic interest in ending the conflict. Failure to act could result in Yemen becoming a new hub for globally oriented terror groups, and could spur a new wave of refugees into Europe. The EU should make the most of its comparatively neutral position in Yemen to pave the way for post-conflict stabilisation and reach out to groups that have, to date, been marginalised in the ongoing peace process. The EU can complement UN efforts and may be faced with the responsibility of filling in for an increasingly isolationist United States.
  • Topic: War, International Security
  • Political Geography: Yemen
  • Author: Alan Gill, David Sevigny
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The creation of the multilateral development bank (MDB) model represents one of the most ingenious financial innovations in recent times. Initially designed to address the problems of financing reconstruction after World War II, this model has shown itself to be surprisingly adaptable to meet a range of other challenges. These have included fostering developing country growth, dealing with the developing world debt problem and facilitating the transition of countries within Central and Eastern Europe from centrally planned to market-based economies.
  • Topic: Economics, War
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Chicago
  • Author: Alexander De Juan
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Does extraction increase the likelihood of antistate violence in the early phases of state building processes? While much research has focused on the impacts of war on state building, the potential “war‐making effects” of extraction have largely been neglected. The paper provides the first quantitative analysis of these effects in the context of colonial state‐building. It focuses on the Maji Maji rebellion against the German colonial state (1905–1907), the most substantial rebellion in colonial Eastern Africa. Analyses based on a newly collected historical data set confirm the correlation between extraction and resistance. More importantly, they reveal that distinct strategies of extraction produced distinct outcomes. While the intensification of extraction in state‐held areas created substantial grievances among the population, it did not drive the rebellion. Rather, the empirical results indicate that the expansion of extractive authority threatened the political and economic interests of local elites and thus provoked effective resistance. This finding provides additional insights into the mechanisms driving the “extraction–coercion cycle” of state building.
  • Topic: Economics, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Germany
  • Author: Alexandra Francis
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Syrian refugee crisis has exacerbated endemic political, economic, and resource challenges in Jordan. As the conflict in Syria enters a protracted state and public discontent and other tensions rise, Jordan has limited its humanitarian response. Yet, the roots of the kingdom’s challenges run deeper than the refugee crisis and if left unaddressed will be harbingers of instability. If Jordan is to confront its national challenges and continue to provide a safe haven for Syrian refugees, the country will depend on increased international support.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Political Economy, War, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Paul D. Williams
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The number of UN peacekeepers is at a record high, with nearly 110,000 uniformed deployed "blue helmets" worldwide, most of them in Africa. But the status quo is "untenable," warns Paul D. Williams, author and associate professor of international affairs at George Washington University, in a new Council Special Report, Enhancing U.S. Support for Peace Operations in Africa. Unrealistic mandates, unsustainable supplies of personnel, hostile host governments, and mission creep have undermined peace operations, Williams writes. "Given the growing interest in fostering a stable and prosperous Africa, the United States should wield its political influence to address these challenges."
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Humanitarian Aid, War, Fragile/Failed State, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: This report derives from a colloquium on the theme of ‘Women & War’ organised jointly by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) which took place on 30 September 2014 in Brussels. The proceedings of this colloquium have been written by the speakers or by the Delegation of the ICRC in Brussels on the basis of audio recordings of the event.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, War, Peacekeeping, Women
  • Author: Maksymilian Czuperski, John Herbst, Eliot Higgins, Alina Polyakova, Damon Wilson
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Russia is at war with Ukraine. Russian citizens and soldiers are fighting and dying in a war of their government's own making. Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to deny Russian involvement in the fighting, but the evidence is overwhelming and indisputable. Drawing upon open source information, Hiding in Plain Sight: Putin's War in Ukraine provides irrefutable evidence of direct Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine.
  • Topic: Political Violence, War, Hegemony, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Sarah Wolff
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The death of Aylan, a 3-year-old boy on a Turkish beach, prompted European leaders and public opinions to acknowledge that Europe is the deadliest migration destination in the world. In spite of this disturbing truth, there is little agreement on an EU solution to the Syrian refugee crisis. In September 2015, the EU Interior Ministers struggled to agree over the relocation of 120,000 refugees through a common compulsory mechanism, as Eastern European countries oppose the idea of “sharing the burden.” Progress regarding other solutions such as a European rescue at-sea-mission, the delivery of humanitarian visas or the opening of legal means of migration have also met strong member state resistance. If Europe is not up to the task, can international organisations (IOs), often critical of European states for their inaction, impulse change? What influence do IOs have on EU and Mediterranean migration and refugee policies? This paper investigates how IOs have been trying to frame an alternative debate and the challenges they meet in promoting transregional governance.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Migration, War, Immigration, Border Control
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-66-8
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Never before was the lack of a single European government, or at least of a strong and effective European governance, as acutely felt as in these days. With wars and failed states in the neighbourhood, and an unstoppable exodus crossing Europe, the continent appears at once more interdependent and more fragmented than ever. A coherent model of governance, competent and cohesive, but above all empowered by a full democratic investiture, would be needed everyday, to cope with daily emergencies while painstakingly devising and developing a long-term strategy where such emergency responses would be framed. Instead, in spite of the remarkable efforts of creative leadership made by the Commission, we are “governed” (but the term sounds like a gross overstatement) by subsequent extraordinary summits, each summoned to remedy the failures of the previous one. What can thus be expected and what should be asked, in such dire circumstances, to the next of these ad hoc European Council meeting, scheduled on Wednesday 23 September?
  • Topic: Migration, War, Fragile/Failed State, Governance, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-58-3
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Liam P. Walsh
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Beginning in 2013, the U.S. Army began an effort to “engage regionally and respond globally.” A central tenant of this strategy, building upon National strategic guidance, is the necessity to build partner capacity. Army units, through the regionally aligned forces concept, may find themselves conducting security force assistance (SFA) missions across the globe as a means to achieve these ways. However, after examining the Army’s SFA mission in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM from 2003-10, it becomes apparent that institutional and organizational shortcomings plagued the Army’s initial efforts in this critical aspect of the campaign. Many of these shortcomings remain in the Army today, particularly within the Army’s core formation—the brigade combat team (BCT). This monograph examines the Army’s role in conducting SFA in Iraq, drawing key lessons for the Army’s experience there, and then provides recommendations as to how the Army can better optimize the BCT to conduct SFA, while still retaining its core mission to fight and win America’s wars.
  • Topic: National Security, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iraq, United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Shima D. Keene
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: While supporters claim that drone warfare is not only legal but ethical and wise, others have suggested that drones are prohibited weapons under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) because they cause, or have the effect of causing, indiscriminate killings of civilians, such as those in the vicinity of a targeted person. The main legal justification made by the Barack Obama Administration for the use of armed drones is self-defense. However, there is ambiguity as to whether this argument can justify a number of recent attacks by the United States. In order to determine the legality of armed drone strikes, other factors such as sovereignty, proportionality, the legitimacy of individual targets, and the methods used for the selection of targets must also be considered. One justification for the ethical landscape is the reduced amount of collateral damage relative to other forms of strike. Real time eyes on target allow last-minute decisions and monitoring for unintended victims, and precise tracking of the target through multiple systems allows further refinements of proportionality. However, this is of little benefit if the definition of “targets” is itself flawed and encompasses noncombatants and unconnected civilians. This monograph provides a number of specific recommendations intended to ensure that the benefits of drone warfare are weighed against medium- and long-term second order effects in order to measure whether targeted killings are serving their intended purpose of countering terrorism rather than encouraging and fueling it.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War, Counter-terrorism, Ethics
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Christopher Sims
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The Human Terrain System embedded civilians primarily in brigade combat teams (BCTs) in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2007 and 2014 to act as a collection and dispersal mechanism for sociocultural comprehension. Set against the backdrop of the program’s evolution, the experiences of these social scientists clarifies the U.S. Army’s decision to integrate social scientists at the tactical level in conflict. Based on interviews, program documents, material from Freedom of Information Act requests, and secondary sources, this book finds a series of limiting factors inhibiting social science research at the tactical level, common to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Complexity in integrating civilians into the military decision-making cycle, creating timely research with a high level of fidelity, and making granular research resonate with brigade staff all contributed to inhibiting the overall effect of the Human Terrain System. Yet, while high operational tempo in contested spaces complicates social science research at the tactical level, the author argues that there is a continued requirement for a residual capability to be maintained by the U.S. Army.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, United States of America
  • Author: Dr. W. Andrew Terill
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: In an unexpected effort to protect a key Middle Eastern ally, the Kremlin intervened in Syria with military forces in late September 2015. This effort was undertaken to protect the Bashar Assad regime from Islamist and secular rebels now threatening his regime. Moscow initiated this action with a limited force that may be primarily designed to prevent Assad’s ouster but does not have the capabilities to help him retake large tracks of the country from the rebel groups that are now holding them. The Russian leadership made the decision to use military units in Syria at some political cost, aware that it was poisoning relations with many conservative anti-Assad Arabs and complicating its troubled relationship with Western powers.1 At some point, the Russians will have to consider the questions of how well these efforts have met their goal of bolstering the regime and what will be their next moves. They may also be rapidly faced with pressure to escalate their commitment to support the regime, if current actions do not produce meaningful results. They may also learn the painful lesson of other great powers, that military intervention in the Middle East is often much more problematic than national leaders initially expect.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil War, Islam, Politics, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Dr. David Lai
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The Chinese government conducted a military parade to commemorate the “70th Anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War” on September 3, 2015. Although Chinese President Xi Jinping uttered “peace” 18 times in his brief opening remarks and Chinese government propaganda flooded China’s media with massive unqualified praise afterward, this show of force was by no means a blessing for peace. On the contrary, it arguably will cast a shadow over China’s outreach in the Asia-Pacific region for years to come.
  • Topic: War, Governance, Peacekeeping, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Dr. James Igoe Walsh, Marcus Dr. Schulze
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: 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.
  • Topic: Security, Human Welfare, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Counter-terrorism, Ethics, Drones
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Professor John F. Troxell
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The recently published National Military Strategy emphasizes the unpredictability of the global security environment. According to General Dempsey, “global disorder has significantly increased while some of our comparative military advantage has begun to erode. We now face multiple, simultaneous security challenges…” General Odierno echoes this concern by pointing to the “increased velocity of instability,” and emboldened potential adversaries that have “magnified the risk to U.S. interests around the world.” Responding to this period of geopolitical uncertainty demands thoughtful and careful analysis of a wide array of strategic issues. The Strategic Studies Institutes’ (SSI) annual Key Strategic Issues List (KSIL) addresses this need by providing a list of high-priority topics organized to support the Army's most important strategic objectives, issues that must be addressed to ensure the Army of 2025 and beyond will continue to meet the needs of the nation. Part I of the KSIL lists the Chief of Staff of the Army’s top five topics, all five of which will be addressed as integrative research projects by the US Army War College. Part II, “Priority Research Areas,” is a compilation of critical topics developed by the Army War College and Commands and organizations throughout the Army. Part III consists of the Army Warfighting Challenges. Students and researchers are encouraged to get in touch with the topic sponsors listed in the document, tackle one of these issues, and contribute to the knowledge base needed to support the future direction of the Army
  • Topic: Security, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Colonel Martha S. H. VanDriel
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Cyberspace operations have a far-reaching, permanent impact on military operations. At the conceptual level, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) now recognizes five warfighting domains: land, maritime, air, space, and cyber.1 While there are examples of how cyberspace support to military operations have advanced over the past decade, one gap has not been addressed in detail—operational planning. It is clear that in U.S. military operations, the land, maritime, air, and space domains rely heavily on cyberspace. Therefore, cyberspace operations must be viewed in the context of all domains and be included as part of the overall operational scheme of maneuver. For if a commander postures his or her command to fight an adversary in the first four domains but ignores cyberspace, not only will that commander have ceded the cyberspace domain to the adversary, but the adversary can then proceed to undermine that commander’s effectiveness in the other four domains.
  • Topic: National Security, Science and Technology, War, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Jeffrey L. Caton
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The Army has been involved with space-based military operations for well over a half-century. During this time, space operations have changed from a realm exclusive to scientists and engineers, to highly classified activities largely unknown to the general population, to the unveiling of space-based communication, imagery, surveillance, and environment capabilities that have become a foundation for all modern warfare. Today, such support is so ingrained into daily operations that most soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines assume it has been, and always will be, available for their use. But with such reliance comes vulnerability that potential adversaries may try to exploit. The evolution of Army space operations is well documented in many sources, thus this monograph serves not as a comprehensive history or detailed critique of the myriad accomplishments. Rather, it serves as a primer for current and future space-based operations to provide senior policymakers, decision-makers, military leaders, and their respective staffs an overall appreciation for existing Army space capabilities and the challenges, opportunities, and risks associated with their use in joint operations.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Author: Richard Dr. Weitz
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: China and Russia have engaged in an increasing number of joint exercises in recent years. These drills aim to help them deter and, if necessary, defeat potential threats, such as Islamist terrorists trying to destabilize a Central Asian government, while at the same time reassuring their allies that Russia and China would protect them from such challenges. Furthermore, the exercises and other joint Russia-China military activities have a mutual reassurance function, informing Moscow and Beijing about the other’s military potential and building mutual confidence about their friendly intentions toward one another. Finally, the joint exercises try to communicate to third parties, especially the United States, that Russia and China have a genuine security partnership and that it extends to cover Central Asia, a region of high priority concern for Moscow and Beijing, and possibly other areas, such as northeast Asia. Although the Sino-Russian partnership is limited in key respects, the United States should continue to monitor their defense relationship since it has the potential to become a more significant international security development.
  • Topic: Security, War, Governance, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • Author: Dr. Sue McNeil, Ryan Burke
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The authors advocate the integration of process improvement methods into future Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) operations. They briefly discuss alternative process improvement strategies and their current state of employment in a variety of DoD programs. Methods discussed include Lean Six Sigma, Total Quality Management, and Capability Maturity Models, the utility of such methods is demonstrated, and the value in applying process improvement methods to DSCA operations is articulated. Three recommendations are given to demonstrate how a usable process maturity model can be built and employed for future operations. The monograph concludes by reaffirming the inherent utility of, and advocating for, process improvement techniques as a way to mature future DSCA operations using the dual status commander arrangement.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, National Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Jean-Loup Samaan
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: For the last 4 decades, Israel has been challenged by the rise of ballistic arsenals in the Middle East. If, at first, the country kept relying on its traditional offensive doctrines, it eventually developed missile defense programs in the early-1980s through U.S.-Israel cooperation and then in the 2000s with the building of its iconic Iron Dome. This Israeli experience in missile defense reveals crucial lessons on the military adaptation to both new threats and new remedies that have direct implications for the United States and its allies.
  • Topic: War, History, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel, United States of America
  • Author: Keir Giles, Major General Aleksandr V Rogovoy
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Russia’s seizure of Crimea, and ongoing operations in eastern Ukraine, have refocused attention on the Russian military as a potential cause for concern in Europe. This Letort Paper, by an influential Russian general and military academic, lays out specifically Russian views on the essential nature of strong conventional land forces, and how they may be used. With an expert commentary providing essential context and interpretation, the Paper presents a valuable insight into Russian military thinking, at a potentially critical juncture for European security.
  • Topic: Security, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Crimea
  • Author: Dr. Colin S. Gray
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: To define future threat is, in a sense, an impossible task, yet it is one that must be done. The only sources of empirical evidence accessible are the past and the present; one cannot obtain understanding about the future from the future. The author draws upon the understanding of strategic history obtainable from Thucydides’ great History of the Peloponnesian War. He advises prudence as the operating light for American definition of future threat, and believes that there are historical parallels between the time of Thucydides and our own that can help us avoid much peril. The future must always be unpredictable to us in any detail, but the many and potent continuities in history’s great stream of time can serve to alert us to what may well happen in kind.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics, War, History
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • 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: Timothy Frye
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
  • Abstract: What are public attitudes in Russia toward the war in Ukraine? Is this Putin’s war, or do his narrative on Ukraine and the policies he has followed toward that country resonate with Russian citizens? If the war has popular support, to what extent is this the case and why?
  • Topic: International Relations, War, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Edward Rhodes
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: “History,” Winston Churchill is reported to have observed, “is written by the vic¬tors.” The losers, if they are lucky enough to avoid vilification, are airbrushed out. When it comes to our understanding of American foreign policies of the first four decades of the twentieth century, the history-writing victors have, for the most part, been liberal internationalists. Democrats and Republicans alike, in the wake of the Second World War, concluded that the task of making the world safe for America demanded active, global U.S. politico-military engagement. In the name of liberal international institutions, Washington's “Farewell” injunctions against entangling alliances would be consigned to the waste bin of quaint anachronisms.- See more at: http://www.psqonline.org/article.cfm?IDArticle=19341#sthash.wG3JMQox.dpuf
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Education, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Craig Arceneaux
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Peacekeeping appears to offer a golden ticket to civilian supremacy in democ­ratizing states. These missions allow the armed forces in cash-strapped coun­tries to participate in military operations, and they send soldiers overseas, far away from the politics of their home countries. Arturo Sotomayor offers a careful, systematic, and ultimately persuasive critique of this conventional wisdom, with case studies of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. He clearly addresses three questions: Does peacekeeping help civilians reform the mili­tary? Does peacekeeping instill attitudes and beliefs in soldiers that comple­ment democracy and civilian control? Does peacekeeping craft bridges across defense and foreign policy establishments? While the conventional wisdom offers a cursory “yes” to these questions, Sotomayor responds with an astute “it depends.” And it is here that the value of his study shines. Peacekeeping can appear in a variety of forms, from observation, to enforcement, to peacebuild­ing. Peacebuilding really is more like an internal mission, and thus can actually reinforce adverse patterns of civil–military relations. - See more at: http://www.psqonline.org/article.cfm?IDArticle=19343#sthash.9DMzoId6.dpuf
  • Topic: United Nations, War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay
  • Author: Tanisha M. Fazal
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Isabel Hull's analysis of international law during World War I is a welcome and valuable contribution to an emerging body of scholarship on the laws of war. This is not to undercut its place in the historiography of World War I. Hull rightly points out that most histories of the war have tended to gloss over or even dismiss the role of international law in the war. Hull corrects this bias by delving into British, French, and particularly German archives to show that international law was very much on the minds of all parties to the conflict. Indeed, she argues that preserving the existing structure of international law was a major reason for the outbreak of war. - See more at: http://www.psqonline.org/article.cfm?IDArticle=19345#sthash.HizIRkHF.dpuf
  • Topic: International Law, War
  • Political Geography: France, Germany
  • Author: Lee J. M. Seymour
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Side switching by armed groups is a prominent feature of many civil wars. Shifts in alignment have far-reaching consequences, influencing key outcomes such as civil war duration and termination, military effectiveness, levels of civilian victimization, and state-building prospects. In Sudan's wars, ideological and ethnic cleavages have not influenced factional alignments nearly as much as one might expect given the prominence of clashing political projects and ethnically organized violence in southern Sudan and Darfur. Recent explanations highlighting the role of territorial control, factional infighting, or relative power considerations also have limited value. In many wars fought in weak states characterized by low barriers to side switching, two mechanisms explain patterns of collaboration and defection: first, political rivalries that lead actors to collaborate in exchange for military support in localized struggles; and second, patronage-based incentives that induce collaboration for material gain. A nested analysis drawing on original data from wars in southern Sudan and Darfur supports this argument. The findings have implications for understanding alignments in civil wars, the role of weak states in counterinsurgency, and ethnic politics more generally, as well as policy relevance for factionalized civil wars.
  • Topic: Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Sudan, Darfur
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: I think it is difficult to contest that the most important state player in world affairs over the last one hundred years – and consistently so over this period – has been the United States of America. World War I – into which, to borrow from Christopher Clark's justly celebrated book, we 'sleepwalked' – marks a useful starting point. It is not only the fairly important role America played in bringing WWI to an end that signals the beginning of this era, but also the no less important role it played in shaping the aftermath. Wilson's 14 points were considered at the time 'idealistic' by some of the yet-to-be 'Old Powers'. But by dismantling the Ottoman Empire through the principle of self-determination (not at that time a universal legally binding norm) it was an early swallow to the demise, a mere generation later, of all other colonial empires and the truly decisive reshaping of the balance of power in the post-WWII world. The US played an equally cardinal role in ideating and realizing the United Nations Organization and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – two lynchpins of our current world order.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Gaza