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Posing Problems without an Alliance: China-Iran Relations after the Nuclear Deal February 1, 2016 — Key Points China is poised to increase economic and diplomatic cooperation with Iran as a result of sanctions relief under the recent Iran nuclear deal, though a close geopolitical alignment between the two states is unlikely.  Sino-Iranian relations will remain limited by several enduring constraints, including MORE

Japan’s Initiatives for Deepening Cooperation with Other Countries in the Areas of Defense Equipment and Technology December 1, 2015 — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who came to power in the December 16, 2012 general election and formed his second administration together with the Komeito Party, has promoted a substantial change in Japan’s national security policy. Key policy initiatives of the Abe government include the establishment of the National Security Council, formulation of the National Security Strategy[1], formulation of new National Defense Program Guidelines, and modification of the legal basis for national security. MORE

The People’s Liberation Army and Contingency Planning in China November 1, 2015 — How will China use its increasing military capabilities in the future? China faces a complicated security environment with a wide range of internal and external threats. Rapidly expanding international interests are creating demands for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to conduct new missions ranging from protecting Chinese shipping from Somali pirates to evacuating citizens from Libya. The most recent Chinese defense white paper states that the armed forces must “make serious preparations to cope with the most complex and difficult scenarios . . . so as to ensure proper responses . . . at any time and under any circumstances.” MORE

Lessons Encountered: Learning from the Long War September 1, 2015 — Lessons Encountered: Learning from the Long War began as two questions from General Martin E. Dempsey, 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: What were the costs and benefits of the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what were the strategic lessons of these campaigns? The Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University was tasked to answer these questions. The editors composed a volume that assesses the war and analyzes the costs, using the Institute’s considerable in-house talent and the dedication of the NDU Press team. The audience for this volume is senior officers, their staffs, and the students in joint professional military education courses—the future leaders of the Armed Forces. Other national security professionals should find it of great value as well. MORE

Rethinking Deterrence and Assurance September 1, 2015 — Convening in the shadow of Russia’s continuing efforts to destabilize Ukraine, this conference examined NATO’s assessment of the changed security environment and the threat posed by Russia’s evolving approach to contemporary confl ict. Discussions focused on Moscow’s worldview and the sources of its conduct, its doctrine and capabilities, and the specifi c challenge of understanding the nature and implications of “hybrid warfare” as practiced by Russia. Participants also debated how best to bolster NATO deterrence and defence in the near-term, the appropriate strategies to counter hybrid warfare over the longer-term, whether and how to adapt NATO’s nuclear posture going forward, and the utility of sanctions and other policies of economic coercion in seeking changes in Russian behavior. MORE

Putin's Russia and U.S. Defense Strategy August 15, 2015 — The workshop addressed two questions bearing on the development of U.S. and NATO strategy toward Russia. First, how has Russia framed the problem of deterring and defeating a conventionally superior nuclear-armed major power and its allies? Second, what should the United States and NATO do to strengthen their deterrence and defense postures? In exploring these challenges with a diverse group of experts, the workshop also sought to give impetus to a community of interest that should work collectively to ensure that defense planning is informed by a detailed understanding of contemporary Russian attitudes, doctrine, and capabilities. In order to focus in depth on the deterrence challenge, the workshop did not undertake a comprehensive review of all the issues shaping Russia’s relations with the west. A number of worthy and important questions were therefore not discussed in detail, including the genesis of the current confrontation with Russia, the full range of recent developments in Russian military capability and doctrine, Russian domestic politics, and how to integrate the military and nonmilitary dimensions of national and international strategy toward Russia. MORE

An Empirical Analysis of Claimant Tactics in the South China Sea August 1, 2015 — China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei all claim some or all of the land features and maritime territory in the South China Sea. One notable aspect of the South China Sea dispute is that its advocates argue past one another with little reference to a common set of facts. Another is the absence of comprehensive data on the actions claimants have taken to advance or protect their claims. The Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at the National Defense University (NDU) set out to create a comprehensive database documenting the various tactics pursued by South China Sea claimants over an 18-year timeframe (1995–2013). This paper draws upon that data to analyze what tactics South China Sea claimants are employing and to present some potential considerations for U.S. and allied policymakers. MORE

Understanding Putin Through a Middle Eastern Looking Glass July 1, 2015 — DOWNLOAD PDFExecutive Summary The resurgence of Russian influence in the Middle East has surprised Moscow as much as any other capital. Russia has done better than the Kremlin and its Middle East experts feared when the Arab Spring began. Despite Moscow’s deep involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, Russia is now in a stronger position with national MORE

China Moves Out: Stepping Stones Toward a New Maritime Strategy July 1, 2015 — Over the last decade, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has increased the frequency, duration, complexity, and distance from the mainland of its operations. Not only does China maintain a permanent counterpiracy escort flotilla in the Indian Ocean, it also now routinely conducts naval exercises and operations beyond the first island chain throughout the year. This normalization of PLAN operations in the Western Pacific and beyond is an important step toward an emerging new maritime strategy that will incorporate far seas defense. MORE

Women on the Frontlines of Peace and Security April 1, 2015 — There is a growing body of evidence that shows how outcomes are better for whole societies when women participate in peace talks, security-sector planning, and reconstruction efforts. For example, women often raise day-to-day issues such as human rights, citizen security, employment, and health care, which make peace and security plans more relevant and more durable. They speak on behalf of marginalized groups, often crossing cultural and sectarian divides, which helps give voice to everyone seeking a peaceful future. And once consensus is reached, women can help translate peace from an agreement on paper into changes that make a real difference in people’s lives. MORE

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