Publications

Results:
Category: Asia and the Pacific

Dec. 12, 2016

Chapter 13 | South Asia

In late 2016, the United States has four major national security interests in South Asia. Three of these are vital security interests with more than a decade of pedigree. They will require new administration policies and strategy to prevent actions that could gravely damage U.S. security: a major conventional war between India and Pakistan, the return of global terrorist safe havens in the region, or the proliferation of nuclear weapons or materials into the hands of America’s enemies. The challenge will be “to keep a lid” on the potential for a major terrorist strike of the U.S. homeland emanating from South Asia or from a major interstate war that could risk nuclear fallout, involvement of China, the loss of nuclear material to terrorists, or a combination of all three. A fourth objective is relatively new, but rising in importance. It requires the new administration to pursue a flexible strategy and proactive but patient security initiatives that enable the responsible rise of an emerging American security partner, India, in a manner that supports U.S. security objectives across the Indo-Pacific region without unintentionally aggravating the Indo-Pakistan security dilemma or unnecessarily stoking Chinese fears of provocative encirclement.

Dec. 12, 2016

Chapter 14 | Africa

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the movement of populations, proliferation of violent, nonstate actors, expansion of criminal networks, and continued weakness of governance indicators all present serious challenges in the short, medium, and long term. Reevaluating American partnerships on the continent and reinstating the principle of first doing no harm are critical if the United States is to achieve its objectives in the region and strengthen multilateral partnerships to advance our global security agenda.

Dec. 12, 2016

Chapter 9 | Asia Pacific

This chapter examines the strategic challenges the United States confronts in the Asia-Pacific region and argues that the United States should work with allies, partners, and multilateral organizations to build a rules-based regional order that includes China and advances U.S. national interests. This requires sustaining the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific and intensifying cooperation with other regional actors to shape China’s choices. The chapter begins by reviewing the history of U.S. engagement with Asia and describing the range of important U.S. national interests located in the Asia-Pacific region or strongly influenced by developments there. It then reviews major trends shaping the region (including economic dynamism, China’s rise, and the U.S. rebalance to Asia) and considers specific security challenges in Northeast Asia, the Korean Peninsula, the China-Taiwan relationship, and in the South China Sea. The authors argue that the United States needs to devote high-level attention to its alliances in Asia, to cooperation with new regional security partners, and to shaping the Asia-Pacific strategic and economic order in favorable directions. These actions will place the United States in a better position to shape China’s strategic choices and integrate China within a rules-based regional and global order.

Dec. 12, 2016

Chapter 6 | Weapons of Mass Destruction

The next U.S. administration faces four pressing WMD challenges. First, the prospects of a direct clash between the United States and a nuclear-armed adversary that could escalate to the nuclear level are likely to grow. Second, the scope of North Korea’s nuclear, chemical, and suspected biological weapons programs likely will require resources for countering weapons of mass destruction that exceed those currently available. Third, longstanding international efforts to prohibit chemical and biological weapons are threatened by the reemergence of chemical weapons use and potentially by rapid advances in the life sciences. Finally, concern that the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action may only postpone—rather than prevent—Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons will perpetuate tensions and proliferation pressures in the region.

Nov. 28, 2016

China’s Future SSBN Command and Control Structure

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.

Oct. 29, 2016

The Return of Foreign Fighters to Central Asia: Implications for U.S. Counterterrorism Policy

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.

Oct. 3, 2016

India’s Naxalite Insurgency: History, Trajectory, and Implications for U.S.-India Security Cooperation on Domestic Counterinsurgency

The pace of U.S.-India defense cooperation over the past decade—and especially the past 2 years—has been unprecedented and impressive in many areas. These areas include defense technology cooperation, the discussion of a framework for military-to-military agreements, and the expansion of joint military exercises. U.S.-India defense cooperation, however, will remain limited in critical areas where India’s historical independent interests remain firm. Among these areas of Indian reserve include strategic autonomy, the imperatives of domestic federalism, and the preference for a go-slow approach toward redressing civil unrest. Attempts by U.S. policymakers to press harder in these areas will likely prove counterproductive.

Oct. 1, 2016

Is the Chinese Army the Real Winner in PLA Reforms?

The apparent PLAA sense of decline may be intensifying. Despite President and CMC Chairman Xi Jinping’s insistence that the army plays an “irreplaceable” role in protecting national interests, the new PLAA commander used his first media interview to refute the notion that “land warfare was outdated and the army is useless.”

Oct. 1, 2016

China’s Military Reforms: An Optimistic Take

China is implementing a sweeping reorganization of its military that has the potential to be the most important in the post-1949 history of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).1 Xi Jinping, who serves as China’s president, general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), seeks to transform the PLA into a fully modernized and “informatized” fighting force capable of carrying out joint combat operations, conducting military operations other than war (MOOTW), and providing a powerful strategic deterrent to prevent challenges to China’s interests and constrain the decisions of potential adversaries. Scheduled for completion by 2020, the reforms aim to place the services on a more even footing in the traditionally army-dominated PLA and to enable the military to more effectively harness space, cyberspace, and electronic warfare capabilities. Simultaneously, Xi is looking to rein in PLA corruption and assert his control over the military.

Oct. 1, 2016

Chinese Military Reforms: A Pessimistic Take

On the evening of May 21, 1941, the German battleship Bismarck, escorted by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, departed the Norwegian port of Bergen, intending to conduct commerce raiding against Allied merchant shipping in the Atlantic Ocean. The Bismarck was the world’s largest warship in operation at the time and proved to be virtually unsinkable by naval gunfire; it ultimately absorbed more than 400 direct hits from naval guns, roughly a quarter of which were main battery rounds from other battleships, without sinking. And yet less than 6 days into its first combat mission, the Bismarck had nonetheless been sunk. Better armor or a more powerful armament might have made the Bismarck even more dangerous and difficult to sink, but would not have prevented it from being sunk. Similarly, recent changes to the organizational structure of China’s military have made clear improvements, but do nothing to address its most important weaknesses.