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Senior Officer Talent Management: Fostering Institutional Adaptability

March 21, 2014 Comments off

Senior Officer Talent Management: Fostering Institutional Adaptability
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

The Army has for years been successful at creating senior leaders adept in the art and science of land combat after honing their leadership at the direct and organizational levels. While those experiences remain invaluable, undue reliance upon them to create the Army’s future institutional leaders is increasingly risky in today’s rapidly changing world. The contemporary and future operating environments demand an innovative and highly adaptive Institutional Army, capable of rapidly responding to operational demands. Incremental adjustments to current senior officer management practices will not create that adaptability. An entirely new approach is required, one that unleashes the unique potential of each person—full-career officer talent management.

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New Realities: Energy Security in the 2010s and Implications for the U.S. Military – Executive Summaries

January 29, 2014 Comments off

New Realities: Energy Security in the 2010s and Implications for the U.S. Military – Executive Summaries
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

The rapidly changing global energy supply situation, coupled with a host of social, political, and economic challenges facing consumer states, has significant implications for the United States generally and for the U.S. military specifically. The U.S. Army War College gathered experts from the policymaking community, academia, think tanks, the private sector, and the military services at the Reserve Officers Association in Washington, DC on 19-20 November 2013 to address first the major ‘new realities’ both geographically and technologically and then the specific military implications. This compendium of executive summaries is based on the presentations delivered at that conference, which was funded through the generous support of the U.S. Army War College Foundation.

Changing Minds In The Army: Why It Is So Difficult and What To Do About It

December 4, 2013 Comments off

Changing Minds In The Army: Why It Is So Difficult and What To Do About It
Source: Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College

History and organizational studies both demonstrate that changing one’s mind is quite difficult, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that this change needs to occur. This monograph explains how smart, professional, and incredibly performance-oriented Army senior leaders develop frames of reference and then oftentimes cling to their outdated frames in the face of new information. It describes the influence of individual-level concepts—personality, cognitive dissonance reduction, the hardwiring of the brain, the imprints of early career events, and senior leader intuition—along with group level factors to explain how frames of reference are established, exercised, and rewarded. It concludes by offering recommendations to senior leaders on how to structure Army leader development systems to create leaders comfortable with changing their minds when the environment dictates.

The Effectiveness of Drone Strikes in Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism Campaigns

October 16, 2013 Comments off

The Effectiveness of Drone Strikes in Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism Campaigns
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

The United States increasingly relies on unmanned aerial vehicles to target insurgent and terrorist groups around the world. This monograph analyzes the available research and evidence that assesses the political and military consequences of drone strikes. It is not clear if drone strikes have degraded their targets, or that they kill enough civilians to create sizable public backlashes against the United States. Drones are a politically and militarily attractive way to counter insurgents and terrorists, but, paradoxically, this may lead to their use in situations where they are less likely to be effective and where they are difficult to predict consequences.

Strategic Landpower Task Force Research Report

October 16, 2013 Comments off

Strategic Landpower Task Force Research Report
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

The 21st-century security environment compels the United States to develop more effective and efficient ways to promote its national interests. This includes refining methods for developing and applying landpower. One of the most important aspects of improving American landpower is augmenting the ability of the U.S. military in the human domain of conflict.

While discussion of the human domain is new for the U.S. military, it reflects long-standing ideas. Skilled military leaders have always understood that war has both a physical and a psychological dimension. The physical dimension allows an army, navy, and air force to compel enemies and noncombatants to act in a specific way. By contrast, effects in the psychological dimension are indirect, leading both enemies and noncombatants to choose to act in a specific way, either by fear of what will happen to them if they do not or the promise of reward if they do. The two dimensions clearly overlap: physically compelling enemies to do something, or killing them, has psychological effects on anyone who observes or hears about it. But skill in one dimension does not automati­cally equate to success in the other.

History’s greatest military strategists have capitalized on this intersection to amplify their in­fluence beyond what they can physically affect and to make the most efficient use possible of their resources. As Sun Tzu, the Chinese theorist of war, wrote more than 2,000 years ago, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” Although he used different words, Sun Tzu was talking about the psychological dimension of armed conflict. And the past 10 years have shown that, in 21st-century conflict, the psychological dimension is as important as the physical, and often more so.

The Real “Long War”: The Illicit Drug Trade and the Role of the Military

October 11, 2013 Comments off

The Real “Long War”: The Illicit Drug Trade and the Role of the Military
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

The 21st century has seen the growth of a number of nontraditional threats to international stability on which, trade, and thus U.S. peace and security, depends, and for the moment at least a reduced likelihood of continental scale warfighting operations, and something of a de-emphasis on major involvement in counterinsurgency operations. These nontraditional threats are, however, very real and should command a higher priority than they have done in the past, even in a period of budgetary constraint. The military have cost-effective contributions to make in countering the manufacture and distribution of illicit drugs, and in many cases can do so without serious detriment to their main warfighting role. Successfully completing this mission, however, will require the military to rethink their integration with the nonmilitary aspects of a whole-of-government approach, and almost certainly, their institutional preference for speedy victories in short wars.

An Assessment of the DoD Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace

October 10, 2013 Comments off

An Assessment of the DoD Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

In July 2011, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) issued the DoD Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace, which outlines five strategic initiatives: 1) Treat cyberspace as another operational domain; 2) Employ new defense operating concepts to protect DoD networks; 3) Partner with other U.S. Government agencies and the private sector; 4) Build relationships with U.S. allies and international partners to strengthen cyber security; and, 5) Leverage national intellect and capabilities through cyber workforce training and rapid technological innovation. First, the monograph explores the evolution of cyberspace strategy through a series of government publications leading up to the DoD Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace. It is seen that, although each strategy has different emphases on ideas, some major themes recur. Second, each strategic initiative is elaborated and critiqued in terms of significance, novelty, and practicality. Third, the monograph critiques the DoD Strategy as a whole. Is it comprehensive and adequate to maintain U.S. superiority in cyberspace against a rapidly changing threat landscape? Shortcomings in the strategy are identified, and recommendations are made for improvement in future versions of the strategy.

Closing the Candor Chasm: The Missing Element of Army Professionalism

September 26, 2013 Comments off

Closing the Candor Chasm: The Missing Element of Army Professionalism
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

Candor stands as the keystone element in creating the foundation of trust in the Army, yet the topic is muted. Stewards of the Army Profession build trust through authentic communication—in education, training, and modeled in application. Candor was previously included in Army Doctrine, yet nearly no mention of it currently exists in professional military education and dialogue. Through personal experiences and review of literature, two examples—the demands placed on the Army Reserve Components and a review of the Army’s counseling and evaluation environment—serve as illustrations where candor requires revitalization. Candor must be reinforced to be valued or it remains peripheral, serving as a lesson that is equally damaging to individual character as is it institutionally to the Army.

The Struggle for Yemen and the Challenge of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

July 16, 2013 Comments off

The Struggle for Yemen and the Challenge of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

In recent years, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been widely recognized as a more dangerous regional and international terrorist organization than the original al-Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden until his death in 2011. In 2010-11, AQAP was able to present a strong challenge to Yemen’s government by capturing and retaining large areas in the southern part of the country. Yemen’s new reform President defeated AQAP and recaptured areas under their control in 2012, but the terrorists remain an extremely dangerous force seeking to reassert themselves at this time of transition in Yemen.

The Future of the Arab Gulf Monarchies in the Age of Uncertainties

June 14, 2013 Comments off

The Future of the Arab Gulf Monarchies in the Age of Uncertainties

Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

Seismic cultural and political shifts are under way in the Arab Gulf monarchies. The political upheavals and transitions that have swept through the Arab world over the last 2 years have not toppled the Arab Gulf rulers, but did not leave them untouched, either. Rulers of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states face heightened internal and external challenges and uncertainties. Pro-democracy protests and calls are extending from Bahrain to other oil-rich countries of the Arabian Peninsula. The expectations of GCC citizens, particularly the educated youth, are increasingly moving from socio-economic demands to political ones. They are now not only asking for jobs or wage increases, but also for more political participation and accountability. Chief among internal challenges is the resurgence in several GCC countries, particularly Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, of a decades-long sectarian rift between the Sunni regimes and their Shia subjects. The Gulf regimes’ already tense relations with Iran have worsened on the basis of alleged Iranian interference inflaming sectarian tensions in Bahrain and across the broader region.

Cyber Infrastructure Protection: Vol. II

May 8, 2013 Comments off

Cyber Infrastructure Protection: Vol. II

Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

Increased reliance on the Internet and other networked systems raise the risks of cyber attacks that could harm our nation’s cyber infrastructure. The cyber infrastructure encompasses a number of sectors including: the nation’s mass transit and other transportation systems; banking and financial systems; factories; energy systems and the electric power grid; and telecommunications, which increasingly rely on a complex array of computer networks, including the public Internet. However, many of these systems and networks were not built and designed with security in mind. Therefore, our cyber infrastructure contains many holes, risks, and vulnerabilities that may enable an attacker to cause damage or disrupt cyber infrastructure operations. Threats to cyber infrastructure safety and security come from hackers, terrorists, criminal groups, and sophisticated organized crime groups; even nation-states and foreign intelligence services conduct cyber warfare. Cyber attackers can introduce new viruses, worms, and bots capable of defeating many of our efforts. Costs to the economy from these threats are huge and increasing. Government, business, and academia must therefore work together to understand the threat and develop various modes of fighting cyber attacks, and to establish and enhance a framework to assess the vulnerability of our cyber infrastructure and provide strategic policy directions for the protection of such an infrastructure. This book addresses such questions as: How serious is the cyber threat? What technical and policy-based approaches are best suited to securing telecommunications networks and information systems infrastructure security? What role will government and the private sector play in homeland defense against cyber attacks on critical civilian infrastructure, financial, and logistical systems? What legal impediments exist concerning efforts to defend the nation against cyber attacks, especially in preventive, preemptive, and retaliatory actions?

See also: Cyber Infrastructure Protection (2011)

From Chaos to Cohesion: A Regional Approach to Security, Stability, and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

April 9, 2013 Comments off

From Chaos to Cohesion: A Regional Approach to Security, Stability, and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

Prevention is the key to effective policies in Africa, whether the issue is equitable resource exploitation, ethnic conflict, infectious diseases, or famine. African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have moved beyond their initial purpose of a loose confederation of trading partners to become increasingly effective supranational bodies promoting financial, political, and security stabilization in each of their regions. Looking at each of the RECs, their power centers, and areas of weakness, policymakers can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the sometimes symbiotic and often destructive dynamics within and among African states to seek more effective strategic and regional, not national, approaches. This monograph suggests USAFRICOM is uniquely positioned to help design a path to spearhead a pan-African strategy highly likely to have the net long-term effect of attaining considerable competitive advantage for the U.S. economically, militarily, and politically, with a corresponding increase in stability, security, and economic opportunity for the entire continent.

Hidden Dragon, Crouching Lion: How China’s Advance in Africa is Underestimated and Africa’s Potential Underappreciated

September 25, 2012 Comments off

Hidden Dragon, Crouching Lion: How China’s Advance in Africa is Underestimated and Africa’s Potential Underappreciated

Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

The explosive growth of China’s economic interests in Africa—bilateral trade rocketed from $1 billion in 1990 to $150 billion in 2011—may be the most important trend in the continent’s foreign relations since the end of the Cold War. In 2010, China surpassed the United States as Africa’s top trading partner; its quest to build a strategic partnership with Africa on own its terms through tied aid, trade, and development finance is also part of Beijing’s broader aspirations to surpass the United States as the world’s preeminent superpower. Africa and other emerging economies have become attractive partners for China not only for natural resources, but as growing markets. Africa’s rapid growth since 2000 has not just occurred because of higher commodity prices, but more importantly due to other factors including improved governance, economic reforms, and an expanding labor force. China’s rapid and successful expansion in Africa is due to multiple factors, including economic diplomacy that is clearly superior to that of the United States. China’s “no strings attached” approach to development, however, risks undoing decades of Western efforts to promote good governance. Consequently, this monograph examines China’s oil diplomacy, equity investments in strategic minerals, and food policy toward Africa. The official U.S. rhetoric is that China’s rise in Africa should not be seen as a zero-sum game, but areas where real U.S.-China cooperation can help Africa remain elusive, mainly because of Beijing’s hyper-mistrust of Washington. The United States could help itself, and Africa, by improving its own economic diplomacy and adequately funding its own soft-power efforts.

Disjointed Ways, Disunified Means: Learning from America’s Struggle to Build an Afghan Nation

August 20, 2012 Comments off

Disjointed Ways, Disunified Means: Learning from America’s Struggle to Build an Afghan Nation

Source:  Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

Remarkably ambitious in its audacity and scope, NATO’s irregular warfare and nation-building mission in Afghanistan has struggled to meet its nonmilitary objectives by most tangible measures. Put directly, the Alliance and its partners have fallen short of achieving the results needed to create a stable, secure, democratic, and self-sustaining Afghan nation, a particularly daunting proposition given Afghanistan’s history and culture, the region’s contemporary circumstances, and the fact that no such country has existed there before. Furthermore, given the central nature of U.S. contributions to this NATO mission, these shortfalls also serve as an indicator of a serious American problem as well. Specifically, inconsistencies and a lack of coherence in the U.S. Government’s strategic planning processes and products, as well as fundamental flaws in the U.S. Government’s structures and systems for coordinating and integrating the efforts of its various agencies, are largely responsible for this adverse and dangerous situation. This book explores these strategic and interagency shortfalls, while proposing potential reforms that would enable the United States to achieve the strategic coherence and genuine unity of effort that will be needed in an era of constrained resources and emerging new threats.

Can Russia Reform? Economic, Political, and Military Perspectives

July 29, 2012 Comments off

Can Russia Reform? Economic, Political, and Military Perspectives
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

These three papers represent the first panel of papers from SSI’s annual Russia conference that took place in September 2011. They assess the nature of Russia’s political system, economy, and armed forces and draw conclusions, even sharp and provocative ones, concerning the nature and trajectory of these institutions. The three papers presented here offer attempts to characterize first of all, the nature of the state; second, the prospects for economic reform within that state—perhaps the most pressing domestic issue and one with considerable spillover into defense and security agendas as well—in contemporary Russia; and third, the nature and lasting effects of the defense reform that began in 2008. The papers are forthright and pull no punches, though we certainly do not claim that they provide the last or definitive word on these subjects. The papers go straight to the heart of the most important questions concerning the nature of the state and the possibilities for its economic and military reform. As such, we hope that the papers presented here, and in subsequent volumes, provide insight and understanding to several critical questions pertaining to and/or affecting Russia, a country that deliberately tries to remain opaque to foreign observers despite its many changes. These papers aim to be a resource, to enlighten, to edify readers, and to stimulate the effort to understand and deal with one of the most important actors in international affairs today.

The Future of the Field Artillery

June 11, 2012 Comments off

The Future of the Field Artillery
Source: U.S. Army War College

Since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Field Artillery branch, more than any other branch in today’s Army, has been asked to conduct in-lieu-of missions rather than its core fire support mission during conduct of the war. The associated potential deterioration of core competencies could possibly have a major impact in future operations.

This U.S. Army War College student author examines:
— how long it would take to restore Field Artillery core competencies to support Major Combat Operations?;
— how the branch could perhaps be balanced in order to support current operations as well as prepare for future operations?;
— when should the branch be ready to conduct operations in either a hybrid or Major Combat Operation environment?; and
— how much lead time would be needed to ensure success in either operation?

He offers recommendations to enhance the Army’s capabilities and capacity to address Field Artillery challenges.

Once Again, the Challenge to the U.S. Army During a Defense Reduction: To Remain a Military Profession

April 14, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

As with the post-Cold War downsizing during the Clinton administration in the late 1990s, one critical challenge for the U.S. Army centers on the qualitative, institutional character of the Army after the reductions—will the U.S. Army manifest the essential characteristics and behavior of a military profession with Soldiers and civilians who see themselves sacrificially called to a vocation of service to country within a motivating professional culture that sustains a meritocratic ethic, or will the Army’s character be more like any other government occupation in which its members view themselves as filing a job, motivated mostly by the extrinsic factors of pay, location, and work hours? In mid-2010, the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff directed the Commanding General, Training and Doctrine Command, then General Martin Dempsey, to undertake a broad campaign of learning, involving the entire Department. The intent was to think through what it means for the Army to be a profession of arms and for its Soldiers and civilians to be professionals as the Army largely returns stateside after a decade of war and then quickly transitions to the new era of Defense reductions. Several new conceptions of the Army as a military profession have been produced, along with numerous initiatives that are currently being staffed to strengthen the professional character of the Army as it simultaneously recovers from a decade of war and transitions through reductions in force. They form the descriptive content of this monograph.

Full Paper (PDF)

Categorical Confusion? The Strategic Implications of Recognizing Challenges Either as Irregular or Traditional

March 5, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College
Strategic theory should educate to enable effective strategic practice, but much of contemporary theory promotes confusion, not clarity, of suitable understanding. A little strategic theory goes a long way, at least it does if it is austere and focused on essentials. Unfortunately, contemporary strategic conceptualization in the U.S. defense community is prolix, over-elaborate, and it confuses rather than clarifies. Recent debate about irregular, as contrasted allegedly with traditional, challenges to U.S. national security have done more harm than good. Conceptualization of and for an operational level of war can imperil the truly vital nexus between strategy and tactics. In much the same way, the invention of purportedly distinctive categories of challenge endangers the relationship between general theory for statecraft, war, and strategy, and strategic and tactical practice for particular historical cases. It is not helpful to sort challenges into supposedly distinctive categories. But, if such categorization proves politically or bureaucratically unavoidable, its potential for harm can be reduced by firm insistence upon the authority of the general theory of strategy.

Full Paper (PDF)

The Strategic Logic of the Contemporary Security Dilemma

December 4, 2011 Comments off

The Strategic Logic of the Contemporary Security Dilemma
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

The reality and severity of the threats associated with contemporary transnational security problems indicate that the U.S. and its national and international partners need a new paradigm for the conduct of unconventional asymmetric conflict, and an accompanying new paradigm for strategic leader development. The strategic-level basis of these new paradigms is found in the fact that the global community is redefining security in terms of nothing less than a reconceptualization of sovereignty. In the past, sovereignty was the acknowledged and/or real control of territory and the people in it. Now, sovereignty is the responsibility of governments to protect peoples’ well-being and prevent great harm to those peoples. Thus, the security dilemma becomes, “Why, when, and how to intervene to protect people and prevent egregious human suffering?” We address some of the strategic-level questions and recommendations that arise out of that debate. We probably generate more questions than answers, but it is time to begin the strategic-level discussion.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Mexico’s “Narco-Refugees”: The Looming Challenge for U.S. National Security

November 24, 2011 Comments off

Mexico’s “Narco-Refugees”: The Looming Challenge for U.S. National Security
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

Since 2006, when Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels, there has been a rise in the number of Mexican nationals seeking political asylum in the United States to escape the ongoing drug cartel violence in their home country. Political asylum cases in general are claimed by those who are targeted for their political beliefs or ethnicity in countries that are repressive or are failing. Mexico is neither. Nonetheless, if the health of the Mexican state declines because criminal violence continues, increases, or spreads, U.S. communities will feel an even greater burden on their systems of public safety and public health from “narco-refugees.” Given the ever increasing cruelty of the cartels, the question is whether and how the U.S. Government should begin to prepare for what could be a new wave of migrants coming from Mexico. Allowing Mexicans to claim asylum could potentially open a flood gate of migrants to the United States during a time when there is a very contentious national debate over U.S. immigration laws pertaining to illegal immigrants. On the other hand, to deny the claims of asylum seekers and return them to Mexico where they might very well be killed, strikes at the heart of American values of justice and humanitarianism. This monograph focuses on the asylum claims of Mexicans who unwillingly leave Mexico rather than those who willingly enter the United States legally or illegally. To successfully navigate through this complex issue will require a greater level of understanding and vigilance at all levels of the U.S. Government.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

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