Dec. 29, 2021

Defending Taiwan in an Expanded Competitive Space

Taiwan’s defense has always been precarious, and the dangers are only likely to grow as China’s power increases. Looking at Taiwan’s defense through a competitive strategy lens suggests different options for confronting the PLA in wartime. China’s military structure is built on the notion that the PLA must be prepared to fight in many theaters at once. By necessity, it contains a centralized command and control and logistics system designed to manage and reallocate forces in a war. Targeting those critical links would complicate Chinese decisionmaking, reduce the PLA’s capacity to mass forces, and support U.S. and Taiwan operations in the main theater.

Dec. 29, 2021

Retaining Female Leaders: A Key Readiness Issue

America’s joint force is at a difficult crossroads where the pressure of the “fight tonight” readiness mentality conflicts with long-term strategic competition with peers. The 2018 National Defense Strategy describes the changing character of war and the new challenges the joint force will face during “the reemergence of long-term strategic competition, rapid dispersion of technologies, and new concepts of warfare and competition that span the entire spectrum of conflict.” An enduring mission of the Department of Defense (DOD) is to provide combat-capable, technically proficient personnel, but there is a readiness issue undermining the joint force.

Dec. 29, 2021

Above or Beyond: Overflight Considerations for U.S. Military Aircraft

One of the most valuable attributes of airpower in warfare is the ability to fly to anywhere from anywhere, avoiding terrain and hostile forces alike. But despite this seeming omnipresence, straightline “crow’s-flight” distances are illusory. A complicated patchwork of bilateral arrangements, open-skies regimes, and international legal frameworks divides the sky into national airspaces and flight information regions, projecting into low-Earth orbit itself in a straight line from territorial borders on the ground.

Dec. 29, 2021

Building Institutional Capacity in the Ukrainian Armed Forces: Sustainment Planning for U.S.-Provided Equipment

Over a 3-year period (2017–2019), a combined team from U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and the Institute for Security Governance (ISG) worked closely with their Ukrainian counterparts to establish a simple but effective sustainment planning process, which provides comprehensive upkeep for U.S.-provided equipment. The 2019 DOD Sustainment Train, Advise, and Assist of Foreign Forces Award not only recognizes the important contribution made by ISG and USEUCOM to the UAF but also acknowledges that institutional capacity-building is a critical and effective security cooperation tool that DOD can employ to improve the capabilities of our strategic partners while meeting our own national security objectives.

Dec. 29, 2021

The Women, Peace, and Security Act: Implementation Strategies for a Modern Department of Defense

Peace negotiations are more likely to succeed and achieve longer lasting results when women are involved in the process. Women’s civil society groups and the first all-woman United Nations (UN) peacekeeping team were notably active in the peace process following Liberia’s civil conflict. The Graduate Institute in Geneva conducted an in-depth analysis of 40 post–Cold War peace processes, revealing that negotiators reached an agreement more often when women’s groups had a prominent role in the negotiation process. Acknowledging the benefit of female involvement, the UN passed Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325). Subsequently, more than 80 nations, including the United States, have developed their own National Action Plans on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS). The U.S. National Action Plan makes a statement on policy related to WPS and identifies objectives, actions, and reporting criteria for Federal agencies and departments. Approximately a year after the U.S. National Action Plan was published, the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development created formal implementation plans, including integration strategies and planned actions to accomplish national objectives.

Dec. 29, 2021

Competing Regionally: Developing Theater Strategy

The past two decades have been tough for strategists. Large-scale efforts in Central Asia and the Middle East did not bring the successes policymakers demanded, despite considerable blood and treasure expended, and though free of U.S. combat casualties, the record in both Europe and the Indo-Pacific is not much better. U.S. attempts to reset relations with Russia did not prevent invasions of its neighbors or stop significant Russian intelligence operations in cyberspace. The U.S. military buildup in the Indo-Pacific and clear redlines did not deter the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from militarizing the South China Sea, undermining U.S. alliances in the region, or from using the power of trade to reinforce China’s national security positions. In Latin America and the Caribbean, both Russia and the PRC made inroads with their traditional partners, muting efforts to unify the region’s commitment to democracy, cooperation, and transparency. And in Africa, U.S. and European efforts to squelch terrorism, aid developing economies, and become the partner of choice ran up against alternative proposals from Moscow and Beijing, as they continue to strengthen their positions beyond their regions. The limits of the United States’ ability to preserve its hegemony and restrain competitors have compelled the national security community to refocus on Great Power competition to inform strategy development at the regional level.

Dec. 29, 2021

Challenges to Creative Thinking: Identifying Officer Background Beliefs in Limited Information Environments

The nature of the current threat environment presents a challenge to U.S. national security that necessitates creative thinking by military officers. In 2020, the Joint Chiefs of Staff released a guidance document stating that the “profound and rapidly changing character of war and conflict” requires “the development of strategically minded joint warfighters who think critically and can creatively apply military power to inform national strategy.” This article conveys the results of the first empirical analysis of the background beliefs, or operative theories, that officers employ when applying military power to inform national strategy. It then outlines the implications of these findings and recommends ways to develop strategically minded military officers.

Dec. 29, 2021

Misleading a Pandemic: The Viral Effects of Chinese Propaganda and the Coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the world, including strained diplomatic ties and blurred perceptions of who or what is responsible for its origins. In response to allegations, China crafted an intricate social media campaign to clear its name. Social media propaganda toward Western countries has become increasingly complex, systematic, and effective. The joint force should examine this campaign as an opportunity to better understand the changing character of war and the deliberate weaponization of social media among Great Power competitors.

Dec. 29, 2021

Design Thinking at the Enterprise Level: Integrating Defense All-Source Analysis

There is no shared understanding within the Defense Intelligence Enterprise about how all-source analytic organizations at different echelons should collaborate to support civilian and military decisionmakers. Although leaders within the enterprise and the broader Intelligence Community (IC) have taken steps to enhance horizontal integration between all-source analytic organizations, insufficient focus on the vertical integration of analysis throughout the Department of Defense (DOD) persists. A design thinking framework applied at the enterprise level should mitigate this problem and encourage the informed interactions necessary to integrate all-source analysis across DOD.

Dec. 29, 2021

Analyzing the Potential Disruptive Effects of Hypersonic Missiles on Strategy and Joint Warfighting

There are conflicting assertions about the implications of the United States, Russia, and China developing and deploying high-speed maneuvering weapons delivery systems—more commonly referred to as hypersonic missiles to conduct warfare. The often hyped and much-anticipated technical promise of hypersonic missiles raises questions that go to the heart of long-held U.S. operational and strategic assumptions. To better understand military operations featuring hypersonic missiles, DOD should initiate a campaign of experimentation, “a process of discovery about new military operational concepts and capabilities.”