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Category: Policy Briefs

Oct. 1, 2005

Russia and NATO: Increased Interaction in Defense Research and Technology

As a member of both the Partnership for Peace and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)–Russia Council (NRC), Russia enjoys remarkable status in an alliance formed principally to counter Soviet aggression. Active participation in one additional element of NATO—the Research and Technology Organization (RTO)—would offer unique opportunities to enhance relationships and mutual security. The RTO is the largest organization of its type in the world, has an extremely active program of work, and is eager to work with Russia.

July 1, 2005

The Changing Landscape of Defense Innovation

In a rapidly evolving business environment, many successful companies have transformed themselves by reexamining their core missions and competencies and exploiting innovation in nontraditional ways. General Electric still manufactures products but now identifies itself as a services company. Wal-Mart has become the premier retailer by capitalizing on its logistics and support systems. These two giants and other companies have realized that they can become more profitable by exploiting new regions of the business landscape.

May 1, 2005

A New Military Framework for NATO

Although Americans and Europeans do not always agree on political strategies in the Middle East, they have a compelling reason to reach an accord on the need to strengthen North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military forces for future operations in that region and elsewhere. If adequate military capabilities are lacking, the Alliance will not be able to act even when its political leaders agree on the need to do so. But if it creates such capabilities, it will be able to act either ad hoc or across the board if a common political strategy eventually were to emerge.

Dec. 1, 2004

Military Transformation and Joint Experimentation: Two Views from Above

Military transformation— “a process that shapes the changing nature of military competition and cooperation through new combinations of concepts, capabilities, people and organizations”— is on the minds and agendas of everyone dealing with the military. Many people talk about transformation; the two authors of this Defense Horizons have done something about it. In fact, they are among the few who have been responsible for shaping and implementing the concept. To get a better idea of what goes into this process, particularly the element of joint experimentation that is helping to identify and define the nature of change, Defense Horizons presents the views of two of America’s leading military officers who have been involved in the process.

Sept. 1, 2004

Needed—A NATO Stabilization and Reconstruction Force

At the Istanbul Summit in June 2004 , NATO endorsed the further transformation of military capabilities to make them “more modern, more usable, and more deployable to carry out the full range of Alliance missions.” The Istanbul Communiqué especially called for continuing progress on the NATO Response Force and the Prague Capabilities Commitments.

July 1, 2004

Defense Laboratories and Military Capability: Headed for a BRACdown?

For 150 years, military laboratories have made vital contributions to national defense. In recent years, they have been significantly reduced in number by several rounds of base realignment and closure (BRAC). Even so, they remain the primary source of internal technical competence within the Department of Defense (DOD). Their capability in that role will depend on how DOD answers two questions. Is there excess laboratory capacity - too many laboratories relative to forecasts of future force structure? What is their military value - their likely contribution to the future operational needs of warfighters.

July 1, 2004

Global Networks: Emerging Constraints on Strategy

If current trends in communications technologies and services persist, the United States will be hard pressed to keep a strategic advantage in network capability. The international telecommunications system is rebalancing into four major centers of influence and innovation. Within ten years, Europe, India, and China will have the same technological and innovative capabilities in telecommunications as the United States. This shift is problematic for U.S. national security, because the global telecommunications infrastructure is becoming an important strategic battlespace—the physical battlefield of information warfare. Understanding the dynamic of regional balancing is critical to shaping U.S. responses.

July 1, 2004

NATO Technology: from Gap to Divergence?

A widening technology gap between the United States and other NATO members will challenge the ability of NATO to function as a cohesive, multinational force. Over several decades, great disparities in the funding of defense research and technology by NATO members has produced a widening technological gap that threatens to become a divergence - a condition from which the Alliance may not be able to recover. The technology gap, in turn, is creating a capabilities gap that undercuts the operational effectiveness of NATO forces, including the new NATO Response Force.

July 1, 2004

Alternative Approaches to Army Transformation

Army transformation is an attempt to provide future forces with enhanced capabilities in lethality, survivability, and mobility, both strategic and tactical. Alternatives to achieving these goals differ in emphasis on weight and reliance on technology. That is, transformation plans differ if the objective is weight reduction as opposed to weight redistribution. In one approach, platform weight is reduced to meet mobility goals. However, shedding weight has implications for platform survivability and lethality; previous attempts to design a single platform that is simultaneously lethal, mobile, and survivable have not done so satisfactorily. Thus, advances in materials are required to insure the survivability of a lightweight platform. Advances in network technology are also required to make the platform more aware of its environment. The immaturity of these technologies increases the risks inherent in transformation based strictly on platform characteristics.

April 1, 2004

Responsive Space and Strategic Information

American strategists face a daunting challenge; they must assure and defend American and allied interests, induce and encourage international security cooperation, and deter, dissuade, and defeat a diverse range of potential adversaries. This challenge has been addressed by senior political leadership in recent policy statements, such as the Nuclear Posture Review of 2002, and in the formation of an expanded U.S. Strategic Command, but this vision has not yet taken root in the Department of Defense components responsible for providing operational capability.