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Chinese Military Reforms in the Age of Xi Jinping: Drivers, Challenges, and Implications March 21, 2017 — Chinese military modernization has made impressive strides in the past decade. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has achieved progress in key technological areas, ranging from precision-guided missiles to advanced surface ships and combat aircraft; PLA personnel are more highly trained and skilled, capable of carrying out increasingly complex operations near to and farther away from China’s shores; and Chinese military doctrine and strategy have been updated to emphasize modern, joint maneuver warfare on a high-tech battlefield. This progress has been supported by significant increases in Chinese defense spending every year since 1990. Taken together, these changes better enable the PLA to fight what the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) describes as “short-duration, high-intensity regional conflicts.” MORE

India-Japan Strategic Cooperation and Implications for U.S. Strategy in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region March 14, 2017 — The emerging strategic relationship between India and Japan is significant for the future security and stability of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. It is also a critical emergent relationship for U.S. security objectives across the Asia-Pacific. India possesses the most latent economic and military potential of any state in the wider Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, India is the state with the greatest potential outside of the United States itself to contribute to the objectives of the “Rebalance to the Pacific” announced by Washington in 2011. This “rebalance” was aimed at fostering a stable, prosperous, and rules-based region where peace, prosperity, and wide respect for human rights are observed and extended. Implicit in the rebalance was a hedge against a China acting to challenge the existing post–World War II rules-based international and regional order. MORE

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Negotiations: A Case Study February 24, 2017 — On July 16, 1945, the United States conducted the world’s first nuclear explosive test in Alamagordo, New Mexico. The test went off as planned; a nuclear chain reaction, in the form of an explosion, could be created. Less than a month later, nuclear weapons were used to support Allied efforts to end World War II. MORE

Managing Military Readiness February 7, 2017 — Understanding the limits of the Nation’s ability to generate and deploy ready military forces is a basic element of national security. It is also the element most likely to be taken for granted or assumed away despite ample historical evidence of the human and operational costs imposed by such an error. As budgets shrink and threats grow more diverse, national security leaders need a specific accounting of the readiness limits of the force and the consequences of those limits as well as the insight to make timely and effective mitigation decisions. MORE

Joint Force Quarterly 84 (1st Quarter 2017) January 1, 2017 — This issue of JFQ brings you the best new ideas from and for the Joint Force. MORE

Charting a Course: Strategic Choices for a New Administration December 8, 2016 — The new administration takes office in a time of great complexity. Our new President faces a national security environment shaped by strong currents: globalization; the proliferation of new, poor, and weak states, as well as nonstate actors; an enduring landscape of violent extremist organizations; slow economic growth; the rise of China and a revanchist Russia; a collapsing Middle East; and a domestic politics wracked by division and mistrust. While in absolute terms the Nation and the world are safer than in the last century, today the United States finds itself almost on a permanent war footing, engaged in military operations around the world. MORE

China’s Future SSBN Command and Control Structure November 28, 2016 — China is developing its first credible sea-based nuclear forces. This emergent nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) force will pose unique challenges to a country that has favored tightly centralized control over its nuclear deterrent. The choices China makes about SSBN command and control will have important implications for strategic stability. MORE

The NSC Staff: New Choices for a New Administration November 15, 2016 — Early in every new administration, the President and his national security team are inundated with studies offering advice on how to organize for national security. Many propose sweeping changes in the size, structure, and mission of the National Security Council (NSC) staff, the fulcrum of national security decisionmaking. However attractive superficially, organizational tinkering is unlikely to drive better performance. This paper argues that structure and process are less important than leadership and the quality of NSC staffing. No duty rises higher than the President’s call to defend the Constitution and the people and territory it nourishes. That duty will be tested early and often. An NSC staff that is up to the task will play an enormous role in keeping the United States safe. MORE

The Return of Foreign Fighters to Central Asia: Implications for U.S. Counterterrorism Policy October 29, 2016 — Central Asia is the third largest point of origin for Salafi jihadist foreign fighters in the conflagration in Syria and Iraq, with more than 4,000 total fighters joining the conflict since 2012 and 2,500 reportedly arriving in the 2014–2015 timeframe alone. As the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) continues to lose territory under duress from U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition activities, some predict that many may return home bent on jihad and generating terror and instability across Central Asia. MORE


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