Publications

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Category: Asia and the Pacific

Sept. 1, 2015

Chapter 4 | Raising and Mentoring Security Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq

Security force assistance played a leading role in both Afghanistan and Iraq, where local security forces were often spoken of as “our ticket home” or “our exit strategy.” The effort to raise, train, equip, field, and advise army and police forces eventually became the center of gravity in both theaters. Yet for some years, the effort was ad hoc, under-resourced, and complicated by internal bureaucratic struggles in Washington and by corrosive corruption and mismanagement within host-nation governments. If the United States were to undertake similar efforts in the future, the quality and effectiveness of its security force assistance programs will again play a decisive role in achieving successful outcomes.

Aug. 1, 2015

An Empirical Analysis of Claimant Tactics in the South China Sea

China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei all claim some or all of the land features and maritime territory in the South China Sea. One notable aspect of the South China Sea dispute is that its advocates argue past one another with little reference to a common set of facts. Another is the absence of comprehensive data on the actions claimants have taken to advance or protect their claims. The Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at the National Defense University (NDU) set out to create a comprehensive database documenting the various tactics pursued by South China Sea claimants over an 18-year timeframe (1995–2013). This paper draws upon that data to analyze what tactics South China Sea claimants are employing and to present some potential considerations for U.S. and allied policymakers.

July 1, 2015

The Limits of Airpower or the Limits of Strategy: The Air Wars in Vietnam and Their Legacies

For most of the world’s population, America’s air wars in Vietnam are now ancient history. The first U.S. bombing raids against North Vietnam, conducted in response to attacks by North Vietnamese patrol boats on the destroyer USS Maddox in the Tonkin Gulf, occurred a half-century ago this August. Seven months later, America began its longest sustained “strategic bombing” campaign, Operation Rolling Thunder, against the North. That effort, and the Linebacker campaigns that followed, dropped a million tons of bombs on North Vietnam. Three million more tons fell on Laos and Cambodia—supposedly “neutral” countries in the conflict. Four million tons fell on South Vietnam—America’s ally in the war against communist aggression. When the last raid by B-52s over Cambodia on August 15, 1973, culminated American bombing in Southeast Asia, the United States had dropped more than 8 million tons of bombs in 9 years. Less than 2 years later, Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam were communist countries.

July 1, 2015

China Moves Out: Stepping Stones Toward a New Maritime Strategy

Over the last decade, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has increased the frequency, duration, complexity, and distance from the mainland of its operations. Not only does China maintain a permanent counterpiracy escort flotilla in the Indian Ocean, it also now routinely conducts naval exercises and operations beyond the first island chain throughout the year. This normalization of PLAN operations in the Western Pacific and beyond is an important step toward an emerging new maritime strategy that will incorporate far seas defense.

April 1, 2015

The Quantum Leap into Computing and Communication: A Chinese Perspective

For a few decades, nations have been relying on encryption systems to protect a wide variety of computerized transmissions ranging from commerce to government to military communications. While today’s encryption systems are considered reasonably secure, the possibilities of quantum cryptography and quantum computing offer a whole new dimension and threat to computerized secrecy.

April 1, 2015

After the First Shots: Managing Escalation in Northeast Asia

The United States has never fought a conventional war against a nuclear-armed adversary. Yet the United States and its allies must prepare for a range of military contingencies with both North Korea and China, and avoiding nuclear escalation would be a U.S. objective in all of them. Developing strategies for managing escalation will be an essential part of U.S. efforts to extend deterrence and assure its allies in Northeast Asia.

March 1, 2015

The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Review of the Guidelines for Defense Cooperation

DOWNLOAD PDFExecutive Summary This paper is focused on the U.S.-Japan alliance as reflected in the

Jan. 1, 2015

Red China's "Capitalist Bomb": Inside the Chinese Neutron Bomb Program

DOWNLOAD PDFCenter for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs, Institute for National Strategic

Dec. 30, 2014

Bringing Space Crisis Stability Down to Earth

Tensions in the South and East China seas have been elevated during the last year. Territorial disputes in these areas flare periodically, but historically the brinkmanship has largely been confined to encounters at sea, with maritime law enforcement vessels confronting fishing fleets as traditional naval forces lurk just over the horizon. Given that the objects of these political disputes are islands, shoals, and the vast resources around and beneath them, it is only natural that the armed instruments of power brought to bear would operate in close proximity to the territory in question.

Dec. 30, 2014

Refocusing the U.S. Strategic Security Perspective

Since the early days of Cold War rivalry between the United States and Soviet Union, policymakers have recognized that low-intensity conflict and limited wars often occur in spite of deterrence—that is, using the threat of military force or coercion to change an adversary’s behavior. Because of this shortcoming and risk of escalation, the United States has applied deterrence haphazardly in its relationship with China. Yet U.S. policymakers have failed to identify an alternative approach for chronic disputes that are not readily shaped by military posturing. This deficiency is overlooked at the expense of muddling through commonplace confrontations with China over fishing rights, maritime borders, and cyberspace rather than establishing consistent mechanisms to reduce tension and prevent escalation. Some analysts, such as Richard K. Betts, see only two stark choices to address this dilemma: “accept China’s full claims as a superpower when it becomes one or draw clear redlines before a crisis comes.” However, we do not need to limit our options to deterrence or acceptance. Rather, we should complement deterrence with a more flexible, strategic framework focused on conflict management.