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Blood Year July 1, 2016 — Students of strategy and defense policy who have closely tracked the war on terror since 9/11 will find David Kilcullen’s new book both enlightening and discouraging. It is enlightening because he carefully weaves years of field study, scholarly research, and thoughtful analysis into a compelling work that is rich in insights and brutally honest in its judgments. Yet it is discouraging nonetheless. After taking the reader on a rich journey through the rise and fall of al Qaeda, the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an analysis of the inconclusive campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the collapse of order in the Middle East, the brutal civil war in Syria, and the largest dislocation of refugees since World War II, he offers the reader few policy recommendations on how we might rediscover strategic clarity and advance U.S. national interests in a multigenerational war against violent extremism. MORE

The U.S.-China Military Scorecard and China's Military Power July 1, 2016 — Over the past 20 years China’s military spending, a low priority in the 1980s, has grown, in real terms, at roughly 11 percent per year. At the same time, the focus of China’s military strategy has pivoted sharply from an army-centric “people’s war under modern conditions” aimed to blunt a Soviet attack from the northwest to an air and naval force–centric emphasis on “local wars under informationized conditions” along the country’s long coast, with the United States as the principal adversary. It has been a prodigious transformation, modeled after—and surely provoked by—the U.S. military’s own transformation. MORE

The Multinational Interoperability Council: Enhancing Coalition Operations July 1, 2016 — Throughout history, coalitions have played an important role in military operations. In today’s globalized world, nations are becoming even more likely to take part in an operation as part of an alliance or coalition, rather than engaging in operations on their own.1 Whether the operation involves an established alliance or an ad hoc coalition, interoperability between multinational forces is imperative to achieving mission success. To be successful in the anticipated complex and shifting operating environment, coalition forces must identify and address potential strategic and operational challenges and interoperability concerns well in advance. This requires an investment in areas of common doctrine development, coalition planning, exercises, and experimentation. Early identification of the potential challenges can improve the speed and quality of decisionmaking and enhance unity of effort within a coalition. The Multinational Interoperability Council (MIC), led by senior operators of the member nations, focuses on understanding and addressing contemporary strategic and operational challenges and risks. MORE

The Tao of Doctrine: Contesting an Art of Operations July 1, 2016 — According to Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) 3-0, Unified Land Operations, “Operational art is the pursuit of strategic objectives, in whole or in part, through the arrangement of tactical actions in time, space, and purpose.” With this definition, the U.S. Army broke with both its prior doctrinal paradigm of an operational level of war and the joint model in Joint Publication (JP) 3-0, Joint Operations, of the three levels of war. In contrast to ADP 3-0, however, Army Doctrine Reference Publication 3-0, Unified Land Operations, emphasizes the joint definition, acknowledging an operational level: “Operational art is applicable at all levels of war, not just to the operational level of war.” Thus, a contested delineation of operational art entered the cognitive space of schools and commands throughout the Army. This article is not specifically about whether there should or should not be an operational level of war; rather, it is concerned with the concept of “doctrine” and its relationship to history and theory in the context of an operational art. MORE

Joint Engineers Launch New Knowledge-Based Management Program July 1, 2016 — After more than 3 years in development, the Joint Staff Logistics Directorate will field its first joint engineering computer application: the Joint Engineer Common Operating Picture (JECOP). Its purpose is to aid combatant command and Service engineers with steady-state planning, programming, and the synchronization of engineer efforts for worldwide military operations. The JECOP portal serves as a collaborative knowledge management tool that depicts network information on a map in order for end-users to quickly gather and analyze location data for a variety of purposes including data summary, trend analysis, infrastructure planning, and decision support. The portal also provides users access to real-time authoritative data linked to strategic direction via map-based displays and user-defined views. MORE

JPME II Available at Satellite Sites July 1, 2016 — Joint Professional Military Education, Phase II (JPME II) is a career milestone for joint warfighters and was designed and implemented to assist with the development of military leaders. The Department of Defense (DOD) Joint Officer Management Program mandates JPME II for an officer to be designated a Level III Joint Qualified Officer and eligible for promotion to O-7.1 This requirement generates a high demand signal for JPME II, but that demand is tempered by constraints in both the law and the existing infrastructure. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2016 modified the language in Title 10 U.S. Codes that define JPME II and authorized JPME II–granting institutions (for example, Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) and Service war colleges) greater flexibility in presenting their curricula.2 The result is that JPME II is now exportable to sites away from the traditional residential campuses. Preserving academic outcomes and associated resource requirements will determine how this flexibility allows the schools to best support the joint warfighter. MORE

Joint Doctrine Update July 1, 2016 — Joint Doctrine Updates. MORE

Reflections on U.S.-Cuba Military-to-Military Contacts July 1, 2016 — The strategic import of U.S.-Cuba relations was underscored by President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba from March 20–22, 2016, and his comment that he had come to Cuba “to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas.” Geography also reinforces the strategic importance of both countries to one another. Cuba sits astride the intersection of the three large bodies of water dominating the approaches to the southern United States. The large island nation is in a position to block, complicate, or facilitate U.S. border control efforts in many ways. Partnering with Cuba also might allow the United States to benefit from Cuba’s notable record of using soft power effectively in the Western Hemisphere and beyond. MORE

The NATO Warsaw Summit: How to Strengthen Alliance Cohesion June 1, 2016 — It is often stated that cohesion constitutes the center of gravity of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Yet divergent domestic pressures and external threat perceptions are threatening to pull Allies apart and leave the Euro-Atlantic security architecture in shatters. When NATO Heads of State and Government meet in Warsaw on July 8–9, 2016, the stakes will be high. Not since the end of the Cold War has the security outlook been as bleak or the collective resources for meeting multiple threats as meager. MORE

Supporting Democracy in Erdoǧan’s Turkey: The Role of Think Tanks May 10, 2016 — This paper examines the Turkish think tank sector as part of a strategy to invest in Turkish democratization in a manner that does not prejudice security cooperation or the broader bilateral relationship. The United States for over 60 years has promoted a Turkey that is politically stable, economically prosperous, militarily capable, and democratically mature. As we head into 2016, the good news is that Turkey has had a party capable of ruling and winning elections for 14 years, is a G20 economy, retains one of the strongest military and security establishments in the world, and has established civilian authority over the military in a durable manner. The bad news is that this substantial progress has not resulted in a more transparent government fully committed to Western democratic norms. Instead the result has been a frequently unpredictable ally led by an increasingly authoritarian, albeit popular President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who flouts Western norms with relish and deviates from Western strategic consensus with ease. The sustained dialogue, mutual understanding, consultation, and compromise that mark good partnerships are noticeably absent—and the formerly substantial American influence over Turkish policymaking is greatly diminished. At the same time, the United States has an image problem to accompany its influence deficit, having experienced a sustained loss of trust among the Turkish public. MORE

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