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  • Author: Oula A. Alrifai
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Tehran and its proxies have been exerting hard and soft power in northeast Syria, combining military consolidation with economic, social, and religious outreach in order to cement their long-term influence. On September 30, Syria and Iraq reopened their main border crossing between al-Bukamal and al-Qaim, which had been formally closed for five years. The circumstances surrounding the event were telling—the ceremony was delayed by a couple weeks because of unclaimed foreign airstrikes on Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps targets in east Syria following the Iranian attack against Saudi oil facilities earlier that month. What exactly have the IRGC and its local proxies been doing in Deir al-Zour province? And what does this activity tell us about Iran’s wider plans there?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Education, Military Strategy, Geopolitics, Conflict, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Dayyab Gillani
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The following paper attempts to analyze the ongoing insurgency in Afghanistan by critically evaluating the insurgent ideology, its past, current and future relevance. The paper draws on lessons from the recent Afghanistan history and discusses the irrelevance for the future of Afghanistan. It traces the success of Taliban insurgency by highlighting the role of „mullahs‟ and „madrasas‟ in the Afghan society. It argues that the US policy in Afghanistan thus far has failed to isolate the public from the insurgents, which poses serious present and future challenges. By drawing parallels between the sudden Soviet withdrawal in the early 1990s and a potential US withdrawal in the near future. It also points out that an untimely US withdrawal from Afghanistan may entail an end of US engagement but it will not be an end of war for Afghanistan itself. The essay stresses the importance of a consistent long-term US policy aimed at addressing the very root causes of insurgency in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Military Strategy, Insurgency, Taliban, Islamism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia, Punjab, United States of America
  • Author: Ahmad Ejaz
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: South Asia has always been regarded as a significant area for the security interests of the United States. In view of the U.S. threat perceptions in Asia, the American policy makers were constantly motivated to construct a stable security system in the region. The U.S. security programme in South Asia actually is predominantly exerted on United States-Pakistan –India triangular relationship. Given its strategic perspective in the area, the U.S. policy is found transferred. During the Cold War days, the U.S. interests were attached with Pakistan. Thus Pakistan was regarded as the „America‟s most allied ally in Asia.‟ With the end of Cold War, the U.S. policy underwent a tremendous change that subsequently picked India as a potential counterweight to China and called it a „natural partner.‟ Eventually, the U.S.-Pakistan relations had been in a depressing setting. However, in the post 9/11 period, the two countries came closer and collaborated in war against terrorism. But this single-issue alliance could not engulf the differences between the partners. This paper attempts to trace the US security policy and its maneuvering in South Asia during and after the Cold War periods.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Cold War, International Cooperation, International Security, History, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, South Asia, North America, Punjab, United States of America
  • Author: Jack Kelly
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA)
  • Abstract: This IFPA National Security Update examines artificial intelligence (AI),with a focus on its status, military applications, benefits, and shortcomings; competition with China and Russia to develop AI technologies; the Trump Administration’s AI Executive Order; and the need for the United States government to develop strategies and acquisition approaches to harness/leverage more effectively the AI innovations and applications being developed primarily in the U.S. commercial sector. In early 2017, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis initiated an online series entitled National Security Update. Its purpose is to examine key foreign policy/defense issues and to set forth policy options. These updates are made available to the broad policy community within and outside government, including key policy makers in Washington, D.C.; members of Congress and their staffs; academic specialists; and other members of the private-sector security community. Future National Security Updates will address a range of topics in an effort to provide timely analyses and policy options.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, National Security, Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Artificial Intelligence, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Robert Hutchings
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: We begin with a puzzle: the need for strategic analysis is more important than ever in this period of great flux and uncertainty, but the disdain for analysis of any kind has never been greater than under the administration of President Donald J. Trump. The very premise that leaders need reasonably objective intelligence analysis to inform their policy decisions – a premise that has guided every U.S. administration since World War II – is under assault. If we are to rebuild our capacity for strategic thinking, we need to go back to the beginning. When President Harry Truman created the strategic intelligence function at the end of World War II, he understood that the United States had been thrust into a global role for which it was not prepared. The world was simply too complex, and American interests too extensive, to operate on the basis of impulse or ad hoc decision making. Moreover, when Truman issued National Intelligence Authority No. 5 on July 8, 1946, instructing the Director of Central Intelligence to “accomplish the evaluation and dissemination of strategic intelligence,” he deliberately set up this function outside of the White House, the Department of State, and the military, so that strategic analysis would be kept at a critical distance from policy making. Yet Truman, like every president since, was ambivalent about the role of strategic intelligence and the degree of autonomy it ought to have. ​ The story actually begins earlier, when President Franklin Roosevelt, in a military order of June 13, 1942, formally established the Office of Strategic Services with William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan at its head, and directed it to “collect and analyze... strategic information” and to “plan and operate special services.” The cloak- and-dagger wartime operations of the OSS are the stuff of legend, as are the notable figures recruited to serve, including the poets Archibald MacLeish and Stephen Vincent Benét, the banker Paul Mellon, the psychologist Carl Jung, the philosopher Herbert Marcuse, the anthropologist Margaret Mead, and the movie director John Ford. Less well known is its role in strategic intelligence analysis through its Research and Analysis (R&A) Branch, led initially by James Phinney Baxter III, president of Williams College, and after 1943 by Harvard historian William Langer, identified in war correspondence as “OSS 117.”
  • Topic: Security, Intelligence, History, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jack Kelly
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA)
  • Abstract: This IFPA National Security Update examines the Trump Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).i This NPR addresses requirements for a U.S nuclear-force structure more attuned to 21st-century requirements in a world of additional nuclear states as well as other actors in possession of such weapons. The NPR focuses on the crucially important nuclear component of U.S national security strategy and capabilities and should be read in the broader context of the recently released National Security Strategyii and National Defense Strategyiii documents. In early 2017, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis initiated an online series entitled National Security Update. Its purpose is to examine key foreign policy/defense issues and to set forth policy options. These updates are made available to the broad policy community within and outside government, including key policy makers in Washington, D.C.; members of Congress and their staffs; academic specialists; and other members of the private-sector security community. Future National Security Updates will address a range of topics in an effort to provide timely analyses and policy options.
  • Topic: National Security, Military Strategy, Nuclear Power, Weapons , Trump
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Basem Aly, William Nester
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Decision makers and academics have debated for decades the most effective strategies to defeat militant groups. The absence of a clear center of gravity for conventional militaries to target creates hardships in achieving strategic objectives against non-state actors. In a conventional war, the force with a higher capability to destroy these centers of gravity — such as weapons depots and troop deployment locations — will likely win. Yet, when conventional militaries encounter non-state groups, whose centers of gravity may be well hidden or highly dispersed, the results are quite different. The Israeli wars against Hezbollah and the U.S. war in Vietnam exemplify the difficulties related to this traditional dilemma. One counterinsurgency program, suggested by classical theorists such as David Galula, says that success requires focusing on winning the support of local populations by “capturing hearts and minds.” The logic is obvious: locals living in warzones know where militants are hiding their weapons, money, and personnel. Thus, militaries need local support. In his book, Hearts, Minds, and Hydras: Fighting Terrorism in Afghanistan, Pakistan, America, and Beyond — Dilemmas and Lessons, William Nester argues that capturing hearts and minds is not enough. Rather, Nester develops two primary arguments to show that militaries need a multidimensional strategy in order to succeed.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Counterinsurgency, Non State Actors, Book Review
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Stacie L. Pettyjohn, Jennifer Kavanagh, Robert Pulwer
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Stacie L. Pettyjohn is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation and co-director of the Center for Gaming. She is also an adjunct professor and Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Her primary research areas include wargaming, military posture, Internet freedom, and American foreign policy in the Middle East. She is the author of the RAND monograph U.S. Global Defense Posture, 1783-2011 and the coauthor of several other reports, including Access Granted: Political Challenges to the U.S. Overseas Military Presence, 1945-2011, The Posture Triangle: A New Framework for U.S. Air Force Global Presence, Overseas Basing of U.S. Military Forces: An Assessment of the Relative Costs and Strategic Benefits, and Deradicalizing Islamist Extremists. Her work has also been published in academic journals such as Security Studies and International Negotiation, and her commentary has appeared in Foreign Affairs, War on the Rocks, Defense News, The National Interest, Asia Times, and The Daily Star. Previously, she was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Peace Scholar at the United States Institute of Peace, and a TAPIR fellow at the RAND Corporation. She has a Ph.D. and M.A. in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and a B.A. in history and political science from the Ohio State University. Jennifer Kavanagh is a political scientist at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on defense strategy and planning; trends in international conflict and military interventions; domestic and international terrorism; military personnel policy; and U.S. public opinion. She has also recently studied the resurgence of populism in the United States and its implications for U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Jennifer is also a faculty member at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and has taught research methods courses as an adjunct professor at Georgetown and American University. While completing her Ph.D., she was a Department of Homeland Security Fellow and completed a research internship at Lawrence Livermore National Lab. She was a research assistant at RAND from 2003-2006. Dr. Kavanagh graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Government and a minor in the Russian language. She completed her Ph.D. in Political Science and Public Policy at University of Michigan. Her dissertation, "The Dynamics of Protracted Terror Campaigns: Domestic Politics, Terrorist Violence, Counterterror Responses" was named the best dissertation in the Public Policy subfield in 2010 by the American Political Science Association.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Interview
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Jeffrey P. Bialos, Christine E. Fisher, Stuart L. Koehl
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: Generating the innovation to sustain the United States’ technology-based military superiority will, of necessity, be a core element of defense strategy for the Trump Administration. This paper identifies the challenges faced by the DoD’s large, multi-faceted research and development ecosystem in meeting that national security goal, and proposes a holistic and balanced strategy for addressing them. Fundamentally, the outgoing Obama Administration concluded that the U.S. military dominance against our near-peer adversaries is eroding in a globalized environment where commercial innovation is not only being rapidly generated through agile and fast-paced processes but is being rapidly disseminated globally and therefore available to potential adversaries. In contrast, the DoD faces the challenge of building a future force that is second to none while using internal processes that generally are overly cumbersome, somewhat antiquated and slower—processes which constrain its ability to access all available innovation, commercial and otherwise, and to rapidly transition that technology to the war fighter in order to produce robust effects on the battlefield. Notwithstanding years of studies that have highlighted well known institutional obstacles to change in both our defense R&D ecosystem and the Department more broadly, these challenges still largely remain. Numerous DoD initiatives to address these issues and incentivize change unfortunately have not moved the needle.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Cybersecurity, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: United States of America, North America , Washington, D.C.
  • Author: Nikolay Kozhanov
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Russia and the West: Reality Check." The current level of Russian presence in the Middle East is unprecedented for the region since the fall of the Soviet Union. Records of diplomatic and political contacts show increased exchange of multilevel delegations between Russia and the main regional countries. After 2012, Moscow has attempted to cultivate deeper involvement in regional issues and to establish contacts with forces in the Middle East which it considers as legitimate. Moreover, on September 30, 2015, Russia launched air strikes against Syrian groupings fighting against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Before that time, Russia had tried to avoid any fully-fledged involvement in the military conflicts in the region. It was also the first time when it adopted an American military strategy by putting the main accent on the use of air power instead of ground forces. Under these circumstances, the turmoil in the Middle East, which poses a political and security challenge to the EU and United States, makes it crucial to know whether Russia could be a reliable partner in helping the West to stabilize the region or whether, on the contrary, Moscow will play the role of a troublemaker.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Military Intervention, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Libya, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, United States of America, European Union, Gulf Cooperation Council