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Chinese Military Reforms in the Age of Xi Jinping: Drivers, Challenges, and Implications March 21, 2017 — Chinese military modernization has made impressive strides in the past decade. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has achieved progress in key technological areas, ranging from precision-guided missiles to advanced surface ships and combat aircraft; PLA personnel are more highly trained and skilled, capable of carrying out increasingly complex operations near to and farther away from China’s shores; and Chinese military doctrine and strategy have been updated to emphasize modern, joint maneuver warfare on a high-tech battlefield. This progress has been supported by significant increases in Chinese defense spending every year since 1990. Taken together, these changes better enable the PLA to fight what the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) describes as “short-duration, high-intensity regional conflicts.” MORE

India-Japan Strategic Cooperation and Implications for U.S. Strategy in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region March 14, 2017 — The emerging strategic relationship between India and Japan is significant for the future security and stability of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. It is also a critical emergent relationship for U.S. security objectives across the Asia-Pacific. India possesses the most latent economic and military potential of any state in the wider Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, India is the state with the greatest potential outside of the United States itself to contribute to the objectives of the “Rebalance to the Pacific” announced by Washington in 2011. This “rebalance” was aimed at fostering a stable, prosperous, and rules-based region where peace, prosperity, and wide respect for human rights are observed and extended. Implicit in the rebalance was a hedge against a China acting to challenge the existing post–World War II rules-based international and regional order. MORE

PLA Reform in 2017: Likely Directions and Implications for Taiwan March 8, 2017 — 2017 will be a busy year for PLA reform. Key goals include rebalancing towards a greater focus on the navy and air force, restructuring the ground forces, and revising the personnel system to promote stronger joint operations capabilities. Taiwan needs to work, both individually and in concert with the United States, to mitigate the risks of a PLA that will be better organized, trained, and equipped to threaten the island’s safety. MORE

President Trump’s Defense Budget: Just a Down Payment March 7, 2017 — President Trump took the right approach: an incremental first step that demonstrates his commitment. Before he lays out the required long-range strategy to correct the shortcomings in our armed forces, he will need to explain his vision for America’s leadership role in the world. His forthcoming National Security Strategy will lay out that vision, and the National Security Council must assist him in laying out the underpinning role of defense within that overarching strategy. It must also define parameters for a subordinate National Defense Strategy that Secretary of Defense James Mattis and his still understaffed team at the Pentagon are responsible for. These more detailed plans will lay out the larger architectural design that the American people and our allies so clearly need to see. But in the absence of the entire design, we should cash the down payment immediately and begin to sharpen the tired instruments we have to work with now. MORE

Strategic Culture and Ways of War: Elusive Fiction or Essential Concept? March 1, 2017 — This review essay appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of the Naval War College Review in March 2017.Is there such a thing as “strategic culture” and a distinctive “American way ofwar”? What defines this supposedly unique approach to warfare? What elementsor habits comprise this approach, and how has itbeen applied over the course of time? Do MORE

Facilitating Japan’s Participation in Multinational Defense R&D: A Japanese Approach to Strategic Management of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Rights Issues February 27, 2017 — In 2014, Japan made a high-profile policy reversal toward the export policy of major most technologically and militarily advanced nations, that permits the export of defense equipment, articles and services, involving technology transfer. Since then, however, Japan has made little substantial progress to date, except several bi-national research and development (R&D) projects for individual element technologies as well as some limited legal-administrative instruments thereof.2 For several decades, Japanese defense firms have produced arms mostly for domestic use, with some under manufacturing agreements of U.S. defense contractors. Unsurprisingly, Japanese arms do not sell well overseas, due to their low international price competitiveness consequent upon the nature of domestic defense markets that are generally closed, highly monopsonistic, and comparatively small-sized; and due to the total lack of battlefield operational experience and combat-proven performance that results from the postwar pacifist constitution. MORE

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Negotiations: A Case Study February 24, 2017 — On July 16, 1945, the United States conducted the world’s first nuclear explosive test in Alamagordo, New Mexico. The test went off as planned; a nuclear chain reaction, in the form of an explosion, could be created. Less than a month later, nuclear weapons were used to support Allied efforts to end World War II. MORE

Managing Military Readiness February 7, 2017 — Understanding the limits of the Nation’s ability to generate and deploy ready military forces is a basic element of national security. It is also the element most likely to be taken for granted or assumed away despite ample historical evidence of the human and operational costs imposed by such an error. As budgets shrink and threats grow more diverse, national security leaders need a specific accounting of the readiness limits of the force and the consequences of those limits as well as the insight to make timely and effective mitigation decisions. MORE

Joint Force Quarterly 84 (1st Quarter 2017) January 1, 2017 — This issue of JFQ brings you the best new ideas from and for the Joint Force. MORE

Charting a Course: Strategic Choices for a New Administration December 8, 2016 — The new administration takes office in a time of great complexity. Our new President faces a national security environment shaped by strong currents: globalization; the proliferation of new, poor, and weak states, as well as nonstate actors; an enduring landscape of violent extremist organizations; slow economic growth; the rise of China and a revanchist Russia; a collapsing Middle East; and a domestic politics wracked by division and mistrust. While in absolute terms the Nation and the world are safer than in the last century, today the United States finds itself almost on a permanent war footing, engaged in military operations around the world. MORE

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