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Tag: Features

Jan. 1, 2016

Unconventional Warfare in the Gray Zone

In the months immediately following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in the autumn of 2001, a small special operations forces (SOF) element and interagency team, supported by carrier- and land-based airstrikes, brought down the illegitimate Taliban government in Afghanistan that had been providing sanctuary for al Qaeda. This strikingly successful unconventional warfare (UW) operation was carried out with a U.S. “boots on the ground” presence of roughly 350 SOF and 110 interagency operatives working alongside an indigenous force of some 15,000 Afghan irregulars.1 The Taliban regime fell within a matter of weeks. Many factors contributed to this extraordinary accomplishment, but its success clearly underscores the potential and viability of this form of warfare.

Jan. 1, 2016

The Aegis Warship: Joint Force Linchpin for IAMD and Access Control

Under defense strategic guidance, U.S. combatant commanders have been rebalancing joint forces along the Asia-Pacific Rim with recalibrated capabilities to shape the regional security environments in their areas of responsibility. The mission of what the 2012 guidance calls “Joint Force in 2020” is to project stabilizing force to support our allies and partners, and to help maintain the free flow of commerce along sea lines of communication in the globalized economic system.

Jan. 1, 2016

Violent Nonstate Actors with Missile Technologies: Threats Beyond the Battlefield

During the summer of 2014, three overlapping crises involving violent nonstate actors (VNSAs) with missile technologies captured the world’s attention.1 First, for 50 days in July and August, Israel engaged in a major conflict with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other VNSAs that fired more than 4,500 rockets and mortars from the Gaza Strip at Israel.

Jan. 1, 2016

The Criticality of Collaborative Planning

In both 2011 and 2012, the Barack Obama administration announced a pivot to the Asia-Pacific region. One of the factors necessitating this pivot was the strained relationship between China and Japan, as well as the U.S. bilateral agreement with Japan to provide security for it. Furthermore, recent disputes over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea have placed a premium on how the United States postures to meet its obligations politically and militarily. President Obama confirmed that the U.S.-Japan bilateral security pact applies to the islands. The asymmetric nature of this situation demands a dynamic and flexible planning capability—not one focused only on military operations, but one that also integrates diplomatic, information, military, and economic dimensions of power into a coherent strategy.