Nov. 18, 2019

Strengthening Mission Assurance Against Emerging Threats: Critical Gaps and Opportunities for Progress

The Department of Defense (DOD) 2012 Mission Assurance Strategy does not account for the risk that cyberattacks on critical infrastructure could degrade mission execution. Adversaries are rapidly improving their ability to attack such infrastructure by accessing industrial control systems and exploiting other cyber vulnerabilities. At the same time, US infrastructure systems are becoming increasingly interdependent, heightening the risk of cascading failures across multiple sectors on which the Department depends. The department must strengthen the culture of mission assurance, say the authors, by bringing cybersecurity into the heart of mission assurance and extending such initiatives to all overseas defense installations.

Nov. 18, 2019

Maximizing the Power of Strategic Foresight

Strategic Foresight is an interdisciplinary skillset concerned with identifying signals of change in uncertain environments. This article argues first that national security professionals need this skillset in this era of ambiguity and unpredictability. In addition, the author identifies several areas where Strategic Foresight can be improved. First, shift analytic focus from technology-focused futures to a more integrated vision of future environments. Second, use lessons from systems thinking to evaluate more accurately the global system. Third, provide more instruction on complexity thinking. Fourth, introduce foresight thinking early in professional development. Fifth, create a unified lexicon of the concepts and terms.

Nov. 18, 2019

Strategic Army: Developing Trust in the Shifting Landscape

Warfare in the information age is a new battleground. The disinformation campaigns of our adversaries undermine trust across the Joint Force and degrade the legitimacy of liberal democracies. The Australian Army serves as a case study of building trust domestically, regionally and globally in order to strengthen the entire rules-based global order. Trust is a strategic asset, say the authors, which strengthens our defense capabilities and can diminish the power of our adversaries. In order to realize a truly strategic army, force design and force structure should complement high quality combat capability.

Nov. 18, 2019

Executive Summary

Our world is in constant motion. If you have a setback or loss, you would be wise to do as the unofficial slogan of the U.S. Marine Corps suggests: improvise, adapt and overcome. Former Secretary James Mattis asked our professional military education (PME) institutions to develop their critical thinking skills and push their intellectual limits. To that end, in the pages of Joint Force Quarterly, we examine past and present conflicts to help you become a better leader. And we offer new ideas to help you maintain your intellectual advantage and keep the Joint Force moving forward.

Nov. 7, 2019

Baltics Left of Bang: The Role of NATO with Partners in Denial-Based Deterrence

This paper is the first in a sequence of INSS Strategic Forums dedicated to multinational exploration of the strategic and defense challenges faced by Baltic states in close proximity to a resurgent Russia that the U.S. National Security Strategy describes as “using subversive measures to weaken the credibility of America’s commitment to Europe, undermine transatlantic unity, and weaken European institutions and governments.” The American and European authors of this paper, along with many others, came together in late 2017 to begin exploration of the most significant Baltic states security challenges through focused strategic research and a series of multinational, interactive theater wargames sponsored by the U.S. National Defense University and Swedish Defence University. This first paper highlights early research and wargaming insights indicating the importance of denial-based deterrence for protection of the Baltic states from potential Russian aggression. It also provides recommendations for how the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United States, and the Baltic states can best improve their ground, maritime, and air forces to generate credible denial-based deterrence.

Oct. 17, 2019

PRISM Vol. 8, No. 2 (October 2019)

“Taking Responsibility in a Dangerous World”—the aptly titled feature by Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy—sets the tone for our latest edition of PRISM.  A non-themed edition, PRISM Vol. 8, No. 2 explores the business of terrorism; lessons learned from 18 years of war; the emergence of hybrid warfare; the potential militarization of robotic automated systems and artificial intelligence; Russia’s resurgence, and Sweden’s strategy of Total Defense in response to Russia’s resurgent assertiveness; as well as the rapid growth of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, and a comparative analysis of international approaches to diplomatic security. The edition features the perspectives of warfighters, scholars, practitioners, and diplomats from Israel, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, as well as the United States. Distinguished perspectives include those of a Defense Minister, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, former Commander Joint Special Operations Command, and former UN Under Secretary General for Safety and Security. Irrespective of the rank or specialty, each of our newest authors are thought leaders. 

Oct. 4, 2019

Diplomatic Security: A Comparative Analysis

This book's stark litany of attacks against diplomats from other nations—as well as the information presented regarding the steps their individual nations have taken in the name of diplomatic security—reveals that too often, the attention of the public and members of national governments may have been momentarily seized by attacks on their diplomatic outposts. But discussions about anemic budgets and other higher priority matters quickly diluted the collective anger about the deaths of yet another diplomat serving their country, and little changes.

Oct. 4, 2019

"Total Defense"—an Interview with Swedish Minister of Defense Peter Hultqvist

"Total Defense" is the total mobilization of a society in a war situation—what you can mobilize on the civilian side and on the military side together, and what you can do on the civilian side to support the military effort. It includes what you can do in private companies, as well as in the public sector and authorities. Sweden had a huge civil defense organization during the Cold War, but since then it has atrophied, and now we are starting the complicated process of rebuilding that capacity. If the military organization is to work in reality, you need this support from the civilian side, such as infrastructure, healthcare, and all these things that are required for effective military operations.

Oct. 4, 2019

The Digital Maginot Line: Autonomous Warfare and Strategic Incoherence

Just as the Maginot Line created an illusion of security, guaranteed standoff, and physical protection that made its shattering during the blitzkrieg of 1940 all the more shocking to the French polity, the pursuit of militarized robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) and artificial intelligence (AI) has led many to believe that the key to a more efficient and secure future lay within these technologies. The United States Armed Forces owe themselves and their civilian leaders honesty regarding a prudent approach to integrating AI and a pragmatic vision of the threats and risks associated with relying on these systems to achieve future policy goals.

Oct. 4, 2019

Artificial Intelligence on the Battlefield: Implications for Deterrence and Surprise

Predicting the future of technology is a risky business. We know with certainty that AI is being incorporated into an array of military missions with the intent of improving our knowledge of the operational environment, adversary capabilities, and the speed and precision of offensive and defensive weapons. We can usefully speculate about how these developments are poised to change the face of modern warfare and how those changes might affect regional and strategic deterrence stability, based on our understanding of established political and military realities. More elusive, however, is a clear picture of how AI might converge with other technologies to produce unexpected outcomes, or “unknown unknowns.” Nevertheless, there are a few possibilities that could have major strategic consequences and alter the underlying realities on which regional and strategic stability are founded.