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Publications

Nov. 1, 2011

A Review of the 2001 Bonn Conference and Application to the Road Ahead in Afghanistan

Ten years ago in Bonn, Germany, the United Nations Envoy to Afghanistan, Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, and U.S. Envoy to the Afghan Opposition, Ambassador James Dobbins, led a diverse group of international diplomats and warriors to consensus and charted the political course for Afghanistan well into the decade. The process that led to the Bonn Agreement (Bonn 2001, or Bonn I) reflects the best of U.S. and United Nations statesmanship and was the result of the effective application of military and diplomatic power.

Sept. 1, 2011

The Ongoing Insurgency in Southern Thailand: Trends in Violence, Counterinsurgency Operations, and the Impact of National Politics

Since January 2004, a Malay-Muslim–based insurgency has engulfed the three southernmost provinces in Thailand. More than 4,500 people have been killed and over 9,000 wounded, making it the most lethal conflict in Southeast Asia. Now in its 8th year, the insurgency has settled into a low-level stalemate. Violence is down significantly from its mid-2007 peak, but it has been steadily climbing since 2008. On average, 32 people are being killed and 58 wounded every month. Most casualties are from drive-by shootings, but there are also about 12 improvised explosive device (IED) attacks a month.

Sept. 1, 2011

Korean Futures: Challenges to U.S. Diplomacy of North Korean Regime Collapse

There is no shortage of plausible scenarios describing North Korean regime collapse or how the United States and North Korea’s neighbors might respond to such a challenge. Yet comparatively little attention has been paid to the strategic considerations that may shape the responses of the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan, China, and Russia to a North Korean crisis. These states are most likely to take action of some kind in the event the North Korean regime collapses. For the ROK (South Korea), North Korean regime collapse presents the opportunity for Korean reunification. For the other states, the outcome in North Korea will affect their influence on the peninsula and their relative weight in Asia. This study identifies the interests and objectives of these principal state actors with respect to the Korean Peninsula. Applying their interests and objectives to a generic scenario of North Korean regime collapse, the study considers possible policies that the principal state actors might use to cope with such a crisis.

June 1, 2011

Joint Interagency Task Force–South: The Best Known, Least Understood Interagency Success

Joint Interagency Task Force–South (JIATF–South) is well known within the U.S. Government as the “gold standard” for interagency cooperation and intelligence fusion, despite its preference for keeping a low profile and giving other agencies the credit for its successes. It is often cited as a model for whole-of-government problem-solving in the literature on interagency collaboration, and other national security organizations have tried to copy its approach and successes. Despite the plaudits and attention, the way that JIATF–South actually operates has only received superficial analysis. In fact, few people actually understand why JIATF–South works as well as it does or how its success might be replicated.

March 1, 2011

Secret Weapon: High-value Target Teams as an Organizational Innovation

This study argues that interagency teams were a major catalyst in turning around the Iraq War, and that they will disappear from America’s arsenal unless the knowledge base supporting the innovation can be secured. Most explanations credit the dramatic reduction in violence in Iraq between 2007 and 2008 to new U.S. leadership, the surge in U.S. forces, and/or U.S. financial support to Sunni tribal leaders. In contrast, we argue that the United States employed an underappreciated organizational innovation—interagency teams—to put insurgent clandestine organizations on the defensive and give population security measures a chance to take effect.

Jan. 1, 2011

Russia’s Revival: Ambitions, Limitations, and Opportunities for the United States

Independent Russia is approaching the start of its third decade of post-Soviet existence. After the economic chaos of the Boris Yeltsin decade and the recovery and stabilization of the Vladimir Putin decade, Russia’s leaders have high ambitions for a return to great power status in the years ahead. Their aspirations are tempered, however, by the realities of Russia’s social, economic, and military shortcomings and vulnerabilities, laid painfully bare by the stress test of the recent global financial crisis. Looking ahead, some also calculate that Russia will be increasingly challenged in the Far East by a rising China and in the Middle East by an Iran that aspires to regional hegemony.

Jan. 1, 2011

China’s Out of Area Naval Operations: Case Studies, Trajectories, Obstacles, and Potential Solutions

This study seeks to understand the future direction of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) with regard to out of area deployments and power projection. The assessment is based on the history of past PLAN out of area deployments and an analysis of out of area operations of other military forces. Both short- and long-term lenses are employed to understand the scope and direction of China’s defense planning and strategic decisions.

Dec. 1, 2010

The Surge: General Petraeus and the Turnaround in Iraq

When General David H. Petraeus, USA, took command of Multi-National Force–Iraq (MNF–I) on February 10, 2007, beginning his 3d tour and 28th month in Iraq, the situation was grim. Increasing sectarian violence had led to an escalation of killings of civilians in Iraq, with up to 150 corpses being found daily in Baghdad.1 The government of Prime Minister Nouri alMaliki was viewed by almost everyone as ineffective at best, and the U.S. military strategy was not well defined and clearly not working. Iraq appeared to be sliding out of control toward civil war or disintegration, and the United States appeared to be headed inexorably toward defeat— another Vietnam. Popular sentiment held that the best course of action was to cut our losses and disengage from a fight we were losing. General George Casey, USA, the outgoing commander of MNF–I, had supported a gradual drawdown of U.S. forces and a handoff of security tasks to Iraqi forces even as the situation got worse

Dec. 1, 2010

Chief of Mission Authority as a Model for National Security Integration

The inability of the President of the United States to delegate executive authority for integrating the efforts of departments and agencies on priority missions is a major shortcoming in the way the national security system of the U.S. Government functions. Statutorily assigned missions combined with organizational cultures create “stovepipes” that militate against integrated operations. This obstacle to “unity of effort” has received great attention since 9/11 but continues to adversely affect government operations in an era of increasingly multidisciplinary challenges, from counterproliferation to counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. Presidents have tried various approaches to solving the problem: National Security Council committees, “lead agencies,” and “czars,” but none have proven effective.

Sept. 1, 2010

Redefining Success: Applying Lessons in Nuclear Diplomacy from North Korea to Iran

The United States has no good options for resolving the North Korean and Iranian nuclear challenges. Incentives, pressures, and threats have not succeeded. A military strike would temporarily set back these programs, but at unacceptable human and diplomatic costs, and with a high risk of their reconstitution and acceleration. For some policymakers, therefore, the best option is to isolate these regimes until they collapse or pressures build to compel negotiations on U.S. terms. This option has the veneer of toughness sufficient to make it politically defensible in Washington. On closer scrutiny, however, it actually allows North Korea and Iran to continue their nuclear programs unrestrained. It also sacrifices more achievable short-term goals of improving transparency and securing vulnerable nuclear materials to the uncertain long-term goal of denuclearization. Yet these short-term goals are deemed critical to U.S. national security in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR).