July 18, 2016
The Soviet Biological Weapons Program and Its Legacy in Today’s Russia
In its first Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Case Study, the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction (CSWMD) at the National Defense University examined President Richard M. Nixon’s decision, on November 25, 1969, to terminate the U.S. offensive biological weapons program. This occasional paper seeks to explain why the Soviet government, at approximately the same time, decided to do essentially the opposite, namely, to establish a large biological warfare (BW) program that would be driven by newly discovered and powerful biotechnologies. By introducing the innovation of recombinant DNA technology—commonly referred to as genetic engineering—the Soviets were attempting to create bacterial and viral strains that were more useful for military purposes than were strains found in nature.
July 1, 2015
China Moves Out: Stepping Stones Toward a New Maritime Strategy
Over the last decade, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has increased the frequency, duration, complexity, and distance from the mainland of its operations. Not only does China maintain a permanent counterpiracy escort flotilla in the Indian Ocean, it also now routinely conducts naval exercises and operations beyond the first island chain throughout the year. This normalization of PLAN operations in the Western Pacific and beyond is an important step toward an emerging new maritime strategy that will incorporate far seas defense.
Understanding Putin Through a Middle Eastern Looking Glass
The resurgence of Russian influence in the Middle East has surprised Moscow as much as any other capital. Russia has done better than the Kremlin and its Middle East experts feared when the Arab Spring began. Despite Moscow’s deep involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, Russia is now in a stronger position with national leaderships across the Middle East than it was in 2011, although its stock with Sunni Arab public opinion has been sinking.
March 1, 2015
The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Review of the Guidelines for Defense Cooperation
DOWNLOAD PDFExecutive Summary This paper is focused on the U.S.-Japan alliance as reflected in the
Jan. 1, 2015
Red China’s “Capitalist Bomb”: Inside the Chinese Neutron Bomb Program
This paper examines why China developed an enhanced radiation weapon (ERW) but did not deploy it. ERWs, better known as “neutron bombs,” are specialized nuclear weapons with reduced blast effects and enhanced radiation, making them ideal tactical and antipersonnel weapons. Declassified U.S. intelligence and Chinese press reports indicate the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was interested in an ERW in 1977 and successfully tested a device on September 29, 1988. To date, however, these sources provide no evidence of deployment. This study exploits primary source documents to reconstruct the ERW program’s history, assesses drivers behind decisions throughout the program, and considers broader implications for PRC decisionmaking on weapons development. This case study suggests a model of a “technology reserve” in which China develops a weapons technology to match the capabilities of another state but defers deployment. This paper presents an analytic framework for examining how the technology reserve model might apply to China’s decisionmaking on ballistic missile defense (BMD), antisatellite (ASAT), and hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) systems.
Oct. 1, 2014
“Not an Idea We Have to Shun”: Chinese Overseas Basing Requirements in the 21st Century
China’s expanding international economic interests are likely to generate increasing demands for its navy, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), to operate out of area to protect Chinese citizens, investments, and sea lines of communication. The frequency, intensity, type, and location of such operations will determine the associated logistics support requirements, with distance from China, size and duration, and combat intensity being especially important drivers.
July 1, 2014
The Indian Jihadist Movement: Evolution and Dynamics
The Indian jihadist movement remains motivated primarily by domestic grievances rather than India-Pakistan dynamics. However, it is far more lethal than it otherwise would have been without external support from the Pakistani state, Pakistani and Bangladeshi jihadist groups, and the ability to leverage Bangladesh, Nepal, and certain Persian Gulf countries for sanctuary and as staging grounds for attacks in India. External support for the Indian mujahideen (IM) from the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence and Pakistan-based militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) persists, but the question of command and control is more difficult to discern. The IM is best viewed as an LeT associate rather than an LeT affiliate.
June 1, 2014
The U.S. “Rebalance” and Europe: Convergent Strategies Open Doors to Improved Cooperation
European concerns regarding U.S. disengagement have dissipated but not entirely disappeared over the past 2 years. Still, U.S. readiness to lead politically and militarily in Europe— for example, in response to the ongoing crisis involving Russia and Ukraine—and adjoining regions remains under close scrutiny. Furthermore, while many Europeans agree in principle that renewed American focus on Asia-Pacific issues should encourage Europeans to assume a greater share of security-related responsibilities in their neighborhood, there is little evidence to date of a sea change in European attitudes toward defense spending and overseas military deployments.
The Future of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Their Nature and Role in 2030
The longstanding efforts of the international community writ large to exclude weapons of mass destruction (WMD) from international competition and conflict could be undermined in 2030. The proliferation of these weapons is likely to be harder to prevent and thus potentially more prevalent. Nuclear weapons are likely to play a more significant role in the international security environment, and current constraints on the proliferation and use of chemical and biological weapons could diminish. There will be greater scope for WMD terrorism, though it is not possible to predict the frequency or severity of any future employment of WMD. New forms of WMD—beyond chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons—are unlikely to emerge by 2030, but cyber weapons will probably be capable of inflicting such widespread disruption that the United States may become as reliant on the threat to impose unacceptable costs to deter large-scale cyber attack as it currently is to deter the use of WMD. The definition of weapons of mass destruction will remain uncertain and controversial in 2030, and its value as an analytic category will be increasingly open to question.
March 1, 2014
The Bosnian Train and Equip Program: A Lesson in Interagency Integration of Hard and Soft Power
DOWNLOAD PDFExecutive Summary Military assistance to Bosnian forces was part of a complex plan to