Feb. 3, 2020

14. Twin Children of the Great War: Assessing the Effects of Moral and Spiritual Injury Today

If World War I demonstrated anything, it was the sheer brutality, wastage, and immensity of industrial-age combat. Against this tide, the warrior in the trench or the line, in the sky or on the waves appeared to have little or no hope of coming out unscathed either in body or in soul. Indeed, the postwar social pathos for the plight of the warrior seemed to be a type of hope-filled social exercise in revaluing human life and straining against the goads of this new scale of war.1 Postwar Western societies yearned to reclaim an optimism about war—that somehow it would never again reach the scale of carnage the world had just witnessed, though this was not to be. Metaphorically, war from 1914 to 1919 crossed the Rubicon, never to return to its former land.

Feb. 3, 2020

13. Growth After Trauma: Moral Injury, PTSD, and PTG

Combat deployments affect people, and veterans return changed. Some come back worse than others, but no one comes back the same. Many have experienced various forms of trauma, and whether directly from combat operations or not, trauma can be a significant part of one’s experience in war. Trauma can cause severe physical, emotional, and psychological reactions, often displaying symptoms referred to as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma may manifest symptoms of PTSD, but the injury to the psyche, or soul, is much more than just symptoms of a disorder, reparable through medication and therapy. There is a deeply spiritual aspect to combat that is much more than merely psychological or physiological, yet they are interrelated. Therefore, the treatment of combat veterans’ symptoms needs to address the moral aspects of the combat experience.1 Hence, some behavioral health and religious professionals have begun to talk more about moral injury in the last few years.

Feb. 3, 2020

12. “Renew a Right Spirit Within Me”: Chaplains and Military Morale on the Frontline and Online

In the Balkans in the 1990s, I happened upon a “morale swingometer” at the entrance to a military headquarters. Its commander was rumored to nudge the arrow to the right before visits by his superior officer. Is that perhaps all that needs to be said on the ethics of morale? Certainly, temptation among British generals to just nudge the arrow would have been understandable following the publication of the latest Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey results. Since 2007, these surveys—underpinned by the usual statistical witchcraft—have attempted to measure how British personnel view military life. The 2018 results indicate that three-quarters of personnel are proud to be in their service but just two in five are satisfied with service life in general. Two-thirds perceive the morale of their service as low, a higher proportion than last year, with a decline in high self-morale over the last decade evident across all ranks and services. Such a situation is particularly sensitive given that military doctrine lists “maintenance of morale” as one of the seven foundational Principles of War.

Feb. 3, 2020

11. Anglo-American Army Chaplaincy in World War I: A Centenary Perspective

The history of Anglo-American chaplaincy cooperation is curiously neglected. Since 1900, British and American forces have served together in the Boxer Rebellion, two world wars, the Korean War, Gulf War, and the war on terror, to say nothing of their routine collaboration in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Although histories of 20th-century British and American chaplaincy have multiplied in recent decades, almost all focus on a single national context, an individual service, a specific conflict, and/or a certain religious tradition. However useful in other respects, such selectivity has served to obscure the fundamental connection between British and U.S. Army chaplaincy, especially that which occurred in World War I. If mentioned at all, this collaboration usually receives only a nod of acknowledgment, although Richard Budd has rightly emphasized its formative role in shaping the organization of American chaplaincy.

Feb. 3, 2020

About the Contributors

Contributors to A Persistent Fire: The Strategic Ethical Impact of World War I on the Global Profession of Arms.

Jan. 31, 2020

Baltics Left of Bang: Nordic Total Defense and Implications for the Baltic Sea Region

Sponsored by the U.S. National Defense University (NDU) and the Swedish National Defense University, this paper is the second in a series of Institute for National Strategic Studies Strategic Forums dedicated to the multinational exploration of the strategic and defense challenges faced by the Baltic states. The December 2017 U.S. National Security Strategy described Russia as “using subversive measures to weaken the credibility of America’s commitment to Europe, undermine transatlantic unity, and weaken European institutions and governments.” The U.S. and European authors of this paper, along with many others, came together in late 2017 to explore possible responses to the security challenges facing the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). This second report highlights early research and gaming insights indicating the importance of total defense and comprehensive security, whole-of-society approaches to deterrence and defense of the Baltic Sea Region from Russian aggression. It also provides recommendations for how the Nordic and Baltic states can leverage aspects of total defense and comprehensive security to generate a credible asymmetric defense and build societal resilience.

Jan. 22, 2020

The PLA Beyond Asia: China’s Growing Military Presence in the Red Sea Region

China’s establishment of a military base in Djibouti in 2017 was an important “first” for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which had never operated a base on foreign territory. It was also a milestone in a gradually expanding PLA presence in the Red Sea region. Over the previous decade, China deployed peacekeepers to conflicts in the oil-producing states of Sudan and South Sudan, conducted anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, and increased its military diplomacy throughout the area. By the time the Djibouti base opened, the PLA was already maintaining a presence of more than 2,000 personnel in the region—far more than in any other area outside the Indo-Pacific. While PLA capabilities have remained largely concentrated in Asia, its Red Sea presence showcased an increasing ability to project power to other regions and suggested that additional deployments may occur as China seeks to defend its overseas interests. The PLA role in the region has also entered the Chinese popular imagination: the navy’s evacuation of Chinese and foreign citizens from Yemen in 2015 was the basis of Operation Red Sea, one of China’s top grossing films of 2018.

Jan. 22, 2020

The European Union’s Permanent Structured Cooperation: Implications for Transatlantic Security

In November of 2017, the European Union (EU) officially launched the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) project, its latest attempt to deepen defense cooperation among EU members. Earlier that same year, the EU approved two other important initiatives designed to strengthen defense cooperation: the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) and the European Defence Fund (EDF). Shortly after the launch of PESCO, many U.S. defense officials expressed skepticism about its value. This is not surprising; U.S. officials have reflexively opposed European defense initiatives such as PESCO since the end of the Cold War. U.S. opposition to these initiatives reflects its fear that they could lead the EU to become a competitor to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for European security issues and resources, and in so doing reduce U.S. influence in European security.

Jan. 10, 2020

PRISM Vol. 8, No. 3 (January 2020)

Emerging disruptive technologies, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, quantum computing, and neuroscience will dramatically alter the global security environment. PRISM V.8,N.3 “Singularity” maps this evolving challenge and propose solutions. 

Jan. 10, 2020

The Future of Leadership: Rise of Automation, Robotics, and Artificial Intelligence

It seems like we are continuously bombarded with prophecies about how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and all of its permutations—from quantum computing and machine learning to RPA and Skynet—will radically change just about everything we do.1 However, much of its potential (whether as promise or pariah) remains prospective, more speculative than real.