Publications

Results:
Category: Strategic Forums

Jan. 1, 2014

The Defense Acquisition Trilemma: The Case of Brazil

Brazil is a puzzling new player in the global system. Emerging as a complex international actor, it has come to be seen as a significant economic competitor and dynamic force in world politics. But transformational changes in the economic and political realms have not been accompanied by advances in military power. While Brazil has entered the world stage as an agile soft power exercising influence in setting global agendas and earning a seat at the economic table of policymakers, its military capacity lags. The national security strategy announced under President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2008 intended to redress this power gap. President Dilma Rousseff ’s 2011 White Paper—so detailed that it is called a “White Book”—provides the conceptual roadmap to achieve a new military balance. But military modernization is still a work in progress.

Dec. 1, 2013

Next Steps in Syria

Nearly 3 years since the start of the Syrian civil war, no clear winner is in sight. Assassinations and defections of civilian and military loyalists close to President Bashar al-Asad, rebel success in parts of Aleppo and other key towns, and the spread of violence to Damascus itself suggest that the regime is losing ground to its opposition. The tenacity of government forces in retaking territory lost to rebel factions, such as the key town of Qusayr, and attacks on Turkish and Lebanese military targets indicate, however, that the regime can win because of superior military equipment, especially airpower and missiles, and help from Iran and Hizballah.

Sept. 1, 2013

Transitional Justice for Syria

Transitional justice is the provision of justice in the transition from one form of government, often perceived as illegitimate, unjust, and tyrannical, or an anarchic society, to one that observes the rule of law and administers justice. It also is about choices: how to allocate scarce prosecutorial, judicial, police, and prison resources. The goal is to make the rule of law ordinary.

Aug. 1, 2013

The Rebalance to Asia: U.S.-China Relations and Regional Security

Upon taking office in January 2009, Obama administration officials proclaimed a U.S. “return to Asia.” This pronouncement was backed with more frequent travel to the region by senior officials (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s first trip was to Asia) and increased U.S. participation in regional multilateral meetings, culminating in the decision to sign the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Treaty of Amity and Cooperation and to participate in the East Asia Summit (EAS) at the head-of-state level. The strategic “rebalance to Asia” announced in November 2011 builds on these earlier actions to deepen and institutionalize U.S. commitment to the Asia-Pacific region.

March 1, 2013

Russia Still Matters: Strategic Challenges and Opportunities for the Obama Administration

Russia’s institution of a ban on American adoptions of Russian orphans, an appalling response by the Duma to U.S. sanctions against officials involved in the Sergei Magnitsky case, was a clear indicator that bilateral relations will assume a lower priority in the next 4 years for both capitals. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the measure despite open misgivings by some of his own key aides and against the opposition of most of Russia’s civil society. The Russian Internet response was scathing, producing an instant winner for best sick joke of 2012: “An educated American family has decided to adopt a developmentally disabled Duma deputy.”

Aug. 1, 2012

Trust, Engagement, and Technology Transfer: Underpinnings for U.S.-Brazil Defense Cooperation

On the eve of the January 1, 2011, inauguration of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, the State Department noted that the United States “is committed to deepening our relationship on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues with Brazil’s government and people.” President Rousseff herself declared shortly thereafter, “We will preserve and deepen the relationship with the United States.” During President Barack Obama’s March 2011 visit to Brazil, both leaders cited “the progress achieved on defense issues in 2010” and stated their commitment to “follow up on the established dialogue in this area, primarily on new opportunities for cooperation.” While these rhetorical commitments are important, will they lead to greater cooperation on defense issues and improve U.S.-Brazil ties?

June 1, 2012

Offshore Control: A Proposed Strategy for an Unlikely Conflict

As America ends its military commitment to Iraq and continues its drawdown in Afghanistan, a lively discussion has emerged on what future challenges the Nation faces. High on every list is the requirement to deal with a rising China. In his remarks to the Australian Parliament on November 17, 2011, President Barack Obama stated, “As we end today’s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and mission in the Asia Pacific a top priority.” As part of this rebalancing to Asia, the administration has stated that it seeks “to identify and expand areas of common interest, to work with China to build mutual trust, and to encourage China’s active efforts in global problem-solving.” Clearly, the United States seeks prudent and coordinated political, economic, and military actions to further integrate China into the international system.

April 1, 2012

Grand Strategy and International Law

Grand strategy is, or should be, the “calculated relationship of means to large ends.” Interrelated strategic and legal dimensions provide a leitmotif to the modern history of relations among powerful states. States employ an array of means to achieve their large ends—military power, as well as diplomatic, informational, economic/financial, and legal tools and influence. They differ in effectiveness and precision. In the web of interactions that shape contemporary international relations, the legal dimension as a framework and guide to choices is more often overlooked than particular legal instruments that might be invoked in the belief, or more often the hope, that they will serve policy and strategic objectives.

Feb. 1, 2012

Post-Asad Syria: Opportunity or Quagmire?

The government of President Bashar al-Asad in Syria faces strong pressure from its neighbors and the Western powers. In the background is the fall in 2011 of longstanding governments in Tunisia and Egypt to popular protests and, of course, the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi in a civil war backed by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military action. It is not clear if Asad will fall or if he will hold on to power. It is fair to say that because his hold on power is sufficiently in doubt, it is well worth examining what would be the strategic consequences if he fell and what would be the strategic implications if he is able to muddle through Syria’s current difficulties. Moreover, given the many sudden and unpredicted Middle East developments in 2011, such an examination should note which low-probability developments might have major impacts on the region and on U.S. interests.

Feb. 1, 2012

Space and the Joint Fight

The world first saw the power of space to transform warfare in the 1991 Gulf War. In the years since, the U.S. military has come to depend heavily on space throughout its peacetime and combat operations. Satellites acquired by the Department of Defense (DOD) principally provide protected communications; data for position and timing, terrestrial and space weather, missile launch warning and tracking, and space situational awareness; and experiments and other research and development activities. Satellites for reconnaissance and surveillance are the domain of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), under the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).