Sept. 30, 2022

The Limits of Victory: Evaluating the Employment of Military Power

On November 28, 1984, then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger appeared before the National Press Club in Washington, DC, to deliver a speech titled “The Uses of Military Power.” The previous year had brought mixed results in the deployment of U.S. combat troops overseas. An invasion of the small West Indies country of Grenada wrested regime control from the one-party socialist People’s Revolutionary Government in favor of a relatively stable democracy. In Lebanon, however, the bombing of a Marine Corps barracks complex in Beirut killed 305 troops and civilians, including 241 Americans, and led to the withdrawal of the multinational peacekeeping force months later. Perhaps most central to Secretary Weinberger’s speech was the Vietnam War, an event that two decades later still struck deep into the institutional fabric of the U.S. military.

Sept. 30, 2022

Panda Power? Chinese Soft Power in the Era of COVID-19

The rivalry between the United States and China is not only one of military-strategic and economic challenges but also one of ideas. The West has had the advantage of presenting the more compelling image to the rest of the world. While China makes propaganda efforts, the United States enjoys soft power—the attractiveness of its culture, political ideas, and policies—and this gives America an international advantage. With a recent analysis suggesting that China’s economy will overtake that of the United States in 2028, China’s attempts to rebrand its image will not only have more resources but also find an increasingly eager international audience that seeks to engage the newly emerging number one global economy.

Sept. 30, 2022

The BRI and Its Rivals: The Building and Rebuilding of Eurasia in the 21st Century

China’s re-emergence as a global power after 400 years raises profound questions about not only China’s place in the truly new world order in which no superpower can reign supreme but also the international system itself, as well as the ways in which China’s policies may be reorientating Eurasia’s regions in the direction of China.

Sept. 30, 2022

The 21st Century's Great Military Rivalry

The era of uncontested U.S. military superiority is likely over. While America’s position as a global military superpower remains unique—both China and Russia are now serious military rivals and even peers in particular domains. If there is a “limited war” over Taiwan or along China’s periphery, the United States would likely lose—or have to choose between losing and stepping up the escalation ladder to a wider war. Choices the administration and Congress will make in 2022 and beyond can significantly impact the current trajectories. But the decisions likely to have the greatest positive impact are the hardest to make and execute.

Sept. 20, 2022

Crafting Strategy for Irregular Warfare: A Framework for Analysis and Action (2nd Edition)

The United States, and the West, struggle to understand and respond to irregular warfare, whether by states or nonstate actors. Attempts to master the art have generated much new jargon, ranging from “hybrid war” to “the gray zone,” and most recently “integrated deterrence.” The terminology belies a struggle to overcome entrenched presumptions about war—a confusion that generates cognitive friction with implications for strategy. To inform a better approach, this monograph presents an analytical framework to assess and respond to irregular threats.

Sept. 13, 2022

The Civil War and Revolutions in Naval Affairs: Lessons for Today

At certain times, owing to new strategy, new technology, or the vagaries of war, the character of naval warfare and course of naval history undergo rapid, profound, and lasting change. Our thesis is that the American Civil War was one such time. It was the seminal revolution in naval affairs in the history of the United States. With its existence at stake, the Union doubled down on its plan to blockade the Confederacy even as the demands of doing so became clear. What followed was an American revolution in naval affairs with worldwide implications for the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.

Sept. 13, 2022

Gray Dragons: Assessing China’s Senior Military Leadership

This report analyzes more than 300 biographies of senior Chinese military officers from 2015 and 2021 to assess the composition, demographics, and career patterns of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) leadership.

Sept. 6, 2022

Academics vs. Aliens: Selected Essays on Social Science Research, Defense Education, and the Power of Partnerships

The book is divided into two sections of student essays that discuss the main goals of the program: the roles of partnership and social science education in PME. Each section is introduced by a reflection from one of our esteemed partners who worked on the project over the past two years. Eleven masters’ students contributed essays informed by their experience that comment on the broader topics of scientific innovation through collaboration, the role of social science research for national security, and how they would like to see PME take creative advantage of programs like Minerva DECUR.

Sept. 1, 2022

Rightsizing Chinese Military Lessons from Ukraine

Russia’s failures in the early phases of the 2022 Ukraine conflict, and Ukraine’s successes, have raised questions about the implications for China’s People’s Liberation Army.

Aug. 14, 2022

Crossing the Strait: China’s Military Prepares for War with Taiwan

Both the U.S. and Chinese militaries are increasingly focused on a possible confrontation over Taiwan. China regards the island as an integral part of its territory and is building military capabilities to deter Taiwan independence and compel Taiwan to accept unification. Based on original research by leading international experts, Crossing the Strait: China’s Military Prepares for War with Taiwan explores the political and military context of cross-strait relations, with a focus on understanding the Chinese decision calculus about when and how to use force, the capabilities the People’s Liberation Army would bring to the fight, and what Taiwan can do to defend itself.