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Oct. 30, 2023

Executive Summary

As the outline of the Joint Warfighting Concept begins to become clearer to the joint force and beyond, we hope to hear from you about how it relates to your vision of the future, AI, geopolitical issues, and more. While this world may seem increasingly complex and complicated, sharing your thoughts on how to deal with it is always of value to our nation’s leadership and your battle buddies alike. JFQ is always ready to air them out.

Sept. 7, 2023

PRISM Vol. 10, No. 3 (September 2023)

PRISM Vol. 10, No. 3 is now online.

Sept. 7, 2023

The Fifth Act: America’s End in Afghanistan

Elliot Ackerman’s The Fifth Act: America’s End in Afghanistan reads like one of his award-winning novels. It is fast-paced and thrilling. It also is full of flashbacks, similar to movies and extended television murder mysteries. But this latest Ackerman volume is not a novel. It is the very real story of how the author, together with many others, worked to rescue as many Afghans as they could during the chaotic days of Kabul’s downfall to the Taliban. And it contrasts not only the fate of these people with the author’s current peaceful life but with the anguish that characterized his own service in Afghanistan both as a Marine and as a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer a decade into what became America’s endless war.

Sept. 7, 2023

War Transformed and White Sun War:

Every military strategist is cautioned against the temptation of fighting the last war. This pair of books by retired Australian Major General Mick Ryan makes clear that, whatever criticisms might be addressed against his predictions, he has not succumbed to that temptation. Instead, he has decided to try his hand not just at envisaging the next war but fleshing it out in a novel.

Sept. 7, 2023

Interview with the Honorable Arvydas Anušauskas: Minister of National Defence of Lithuania

Lithuania’s defense policy is based on three pillars. These are the strengthening of the armed forces, a resilient society, and reliance on collective defense. In order to achieve these three, we are increasing our spending on defense.

Sept. 7, 2023

Interview with the Honorable Hanno Pevkur: Minister of Defense of Estonia

We are quite like Finland in the sense that we have a clear understanding that everyone must be involved in protecting the country. We have a conscript service for the reserve army. This is mandatory for all men and voluntary for women. What we have changed since the full-scale war in Ukraine is that we have increased the number of wartime structures. We had 31,000 fighters before, but now we have almost 44,000. Most of those come from the Volunteer Defense League. The Estonian army is based on the regular army, the reserve army, and the Volunteer Defense League which at the moment has 30,000 people of which 10,000 are combatants. This will be increased this year to 20,000, which brings us to 44,000 combatants in our wartime structure.

Sept. 7, 2023

Interview with the Honorable Ināra Mūrniece: Minister of Defense of Latvia

As the Minister of Defense of Latvia, I am very happy with the outcomes regarding trans-Atlantic defense and deterrence on the eastern flank of NATO. We are also very happy with defense planning for the Baltic states, scaling up the Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) battle group to brigade level, thus fulfilling the commitments made at the 2022 NATO summit in Madrid. The endorsement of the rotational model of air defense which will be incrementally implemented for the Baltic countries situated on the eastern flank of NATO means more security and deterrence against Russia. Lessons learned from Ukraine show very clearly the necessity for air defense and how crucial it is to safeguarding our communities, our critical infrastructure, and most importantly human lives in our part of the world.

Sept. 7, 2023

NATO’s New Center of Gravity

“Russia considers the Baltic states to be the most vulnerable part of NATO….” This is the conclusion of a recent report by Estonia’s Foreign Intelligence Service.1 The three small Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, have a 1,360-kilometer border with Russia and its client state Belarus. With a joint population of just over 6 million and 47,000 active-duty armed forces the Baltic states are on the frontline of any confrontation with Russia. Their vulnerability is keenly felt having all been under brutally oppressive Soviet occupation until quite recently; many still living recall that oppression that lasted until the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991. Russia’s unprovoked February 2022 invasion of Ukraine has reminded Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians of the horrors of occupation, and rekindled fears of what until recently was considered unimaginable—a land war of territorial aggression in Europe—a contingency for which the Baltic states are urgently preparing.

Sept. 7, 2023

Organized Crime as Irregular Warfare: Strategic Lessons for Assessment and Response

Organized crime both preys upon and caters to human need. It is corrosive and exploitative, but also empowering, and therefore pervasive. Indeed, though often out of sight, organized crime is everywhere: wherever governments draw the line, criminal actors find profitable ways of crossing it; wherever governments fail to deliver on human need, criminal actors capitalize on unmet desire or despair. For those excluded from the political economy, from patronage systems or elite bargains, organized crime can offer opportunity, possibly also protection.

Sept. 7, 2023

An Ancillary Duty?: The Department of Defense Approach to Women, Peace, and Security in Security Cooperation Programs

It has been six years since the passage of the Women, Peace, and Security Act, which aimed to increase the “meaningful participation of women in conflict prevention and conflict resolution processes” in order to “promote more inclusive and democratic societies” globally. This act institutionalized the United States’ approach to furthering the United Nations Security Council’s Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda.