Publications

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Policy Briefs

May 1, 2008

The Role of Medical Diplomacy in Stabilizing Afghanistan

Comprehensive stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan are not possible given the current fragmentation of responsibilities, narrow lines of authorities, and archaic funding mechanisms. Afghans are supportive of U.S. and international efforts, and there are occasional signs of progress, but the insurgent threat grows as U.S. military and civilian agencies and the international community struggle to bring stability to this volatile region. Integrated security, stabilization, and reconstruction activities must be implemented quickly and efficiently if failure is to be averted. Much more than a course correction is needed to provide tangible benefits to the population, develop effective leadership capacity in the government, and invest wisely in reconstruction that leads to sustainable economic growth. A proactive, comprehensive reconstruction and stabilization plan for Afghanistan is crucial to counter the regional terrorist insurgency, much as the Marshall Plan was necessary to combat the communist threat from the Soviet Union.1 This paper examines the health sector as a microcosm of the larger problems facing the United States and its allies in efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.

Feb. 1, 2008

So Many Zebras, So Little Time: Ecological Models and Counterinsurgency Operations

Force ratios are an important variable in warfare and in nature. On the Serengeti, large zebra herds are constantly hunted by small prides of lions. But with their overwhelming majority, why don’t the zebras unite and attack the lions? Hooves can be as deadly as claws when used correctly. And conversely, if the lions are such effective predators, why are there so many zebras?

Jan. 1, 2008

Cyber Influence and International Security

Cyber influence is an ongoing source of power in the international security arena. Although the United States has an enormous cyber information capacity, its cyber influence is not proportional to that capacity. Impediments to American cyber influence include the vastness and complexity of the international information environment, multiplicity of cultures and differing audiences to which communications must be addressed, extensiveness and significance of contending or alternative messages, and complexity and importance of using appropriate influential messengers and message mechanisms.

Jan. 1, 2008

Strategic Fragility: Infrastructure Protection and National Security in the Information Age

Modern societies have reached unprecedented levels of prosperity, yet they remain vulnerable to a wide range of possible disruptions. One significant reason for this growing vulnerability is the developed world’s reliance on an array of interlinked, interdependent critical infrastructures that span nations and even continents. The advent of these infrastructures over the past few decades has resulted in a tradeoff: the United States has gained greater productivity and prosperity at the risk of greater exposure to widespread systemic collapse. The trends that have led to this growing strategic fragility show no sign of slowing. As a result, the United States faces a new and different kind of threat to national security.

Dec. 1, 2007

Organizing for National Security: Unification or Coordination?

Experience gained from the 9/11 attacks, combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, disaster assistance during and after Hurricane Katrina, and the ongoing war on terror provides the basis for amending our anachronistic national security structures and practices. Many analysts and officials have called for a second-generation version of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 to address the array of organizational and management challenges that we face. Some argue that the new security environment requires even more fundamental change, similar to what was enacted after World War II. The principal legislation that emerged from that era was the National Security Act of 1947. Goldwater-Nichols aimed to fix inter-Service problems by streamlining the chain of command and promoting “jointness” but did not fundamentally alter the structure of the U.S. military.

Sept. 1, 2007

The Comprehensive Approach Initiative: Future Options for NATO

Experience has shown that conflict resolution requires the application of all elements of national and international power— political, diplomatic, economic, financial, informational, social, and commercial, as well as military. To resolve conflicts or crises, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) should adopt a Comprehensive Approach that would enable the collaborative engagement of all requisite civil and military elements of international power to end hostilities, restore order, commence reconstruction, and begin to address a conflict’s root causes. NATO can provide the military element for a comprehensive approach. Many other national, international, and nongovernmental actors can provide the civilian elements.

July 1, 2007

Privatizing While Transforming

The Armed Forces of the United States are designed to be supported by capabilities provided by civilians. The Army, for example, depends not only on Reserve and National Guard components for warfighting elements, but also on private contractors for numerous roles no longer performed by military personnel. Originally working in small contingents focused on logistical functions, private contractors now rival military personnel in number in the battlespace. In addition to providing direct logistical support to the military, contractors perform equipment maintenance and reconstruction work, train military and police, and work as civil affairs staff, interpreters, and even interrogators. They also provide private armed security services. The issues arising from new roles are exacerbated by the growth of the contractor population in conflict zones at a pace that defies effective recordkeeping.

June 1, 2007

Responding in the Homeland: A Snapshot of NATO’s Readiness for CBRN Attacks

The possibility of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members having to respond to a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) incident is not a hypothetical scenario reserved for training exercises. Indeed, a number of countries worldwide have considerable experience in dealing with a variety of naturally occurring, accidental, and deliberate CBRN incidents. NATO itself, however, has no clear conceptual vision of its role in civil emergencies because preparedness of this sort remains a national responsibility.

Feb. 1, 2007

I-Power: The Information Revolution and Stability Operations

Information and information technology (I/IT) can significantly increase the likelihood of success in stability operations— if they are engaged as part of an overall strategy that coordinates the actions of outside intervenors and focuses on generating effective results for the host nation. Properly utilized, I/IT can help create a knowledgeable intervention, organize complex activities, and integrate stability operations with the host nation, making stability operations more effective.

Aug. 1, 2006

Lee’s Mistake: Learning from the Decision to Order Pickett’s Charge

At the Battle of Gettysburg, Robert E. Lee made a mistake that doomed the hopes of the Confederate States of America to compel the United States to sue for peace. Why one of the great generals of his time made such a blunder continues to be a topic of research and intense debate. Lee said little at the time or afterward to justify his decision to launch what has become known as Pickett’s Charge, so analysis must be inferential and inconclusive. Our aim is to explain Lee’s fateful decision not with new facts but with new analytical methods to illuminate decisionmaking in combat.