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Asia and the Trump Administration: Challenges, Opportunities, and a Road Ahead August 8, 2017 — The Asia-Pacific region is of exponentially increasing importance to the United States. Developments there affect vital U.S. economic, security, and political interests. Unfettered access to the region is a strategic imperative to allow the United States to protect and advance its wide-ranging national interests. MORE

Putin’s Syrian Gambit: Sharper Elbows, Bigger Footprint, Stickier Wicket July 6, 2017 — Thanks in large part to Russia’s military intervention, Syrian president Bashar al-Asad’s fortunes have made a remarkable recovery since May/June 2015. Russia, together with the Lebanese Hizballah, Iran, and Iranian-organized Shia militias from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere, has succeeded in averting Asad’s military defeat. What Russian president Vladimir Putin has accomplished in Syria is important for American national security interests and policy in the region because it frames some of the hard choices Washington must now make. 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

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

The Return of Foreign Fighters to Central Asia: Implications for U.S. Counterterrorism Policy October 29, 2016 — Central Asia is the third largest point of origin for Salafi jihadist foreign fighters in the conflagration in Syria and Iraq, with more than 4,000 total fighters joining the conflict since 2012 and 2,500 reportedly arriving in the 2014–2015 timeframe alone. As the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) continues to lose territory under duress from U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition activities, some predict that many may return home bent on jihad and generating terror and instability across Central Asia. MORE

India’s Naxalite Insurgency: History, Trajectory, and Implications for U.S.-India Security Cooperation on Domestic Counterinsurgency October 3, 2016 — The pace of U.S.-India defense cooperation over the past decade—and especially the past 2 years—has been unprecedented and impressive in many areas. These areas include defense technology cooperation, the discussion of a framework for military-to-military agreements, and the expansion of joint military exercises. U.S.-India defense cooperation, however, will remain limited in critical areas where India’s historical independent interests remain firm. Among these areas of Indian reserve include strategic autonomy, the imperatives of domestic federalism, and the preference for a go-slow approach toward redressing civil unrest. Attempts by U.S. policymakers to press harder in these areas will likely prove counterproductive. MORE

Frontier Security: The Case of Brazil August 17, 2016 — Over the past three decades Brazil has greatly improved its ability to monitor and control its long border. Achieving better management of the complex frontier security problem required a great deal of patience, trial and error, organizational adaptation, and good leadership. The Brazilian experience yields a number of important lessons for Brazil and for its neighbors in the Western Hemisphere. Improving performance required subordination of military priorities to civilian authorities; the repositioning of forces; better military-police cooperation; interagency and international cooperation; investment in technologies to give Brazil an advantage in the contest for best situational awareness; a long-term commitment; and guiding strategy documents supported by both civil and military authorities. Of overarching significance is the way the Brazilian military was able to reestablish the confidence of civilian leaders in the aftermath of decades of military rule. The result was a Brazilian military that is more professional, more respected, and better resourced than before. For the United States, the evolution of Brazilian frontier security is not only a developing good news story for hemispheric relations, but also a learning opportunity, since similar security problems have not always been so well managed in the United States. 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

The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Review of the Guidelines for Defense Cooperation March 1, 2015 — DOWNLOAD PDFExecutive Summary This paper is focused on the U.S.-Japan alliance as reflected in the evolution of the U.S.- Japan Guidelines for Defense Cooperation. It begins with consideration of the October 3, 2013, 2+2 Statement released by Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, and MORE

The Indian Jihadist Movement: Evolution and Dynamics July 1, 2014 — The Indian jihadist movement remains motivated primarily by domestic grievances rather than India-Pakistan dynamics. However, it is far more lethal than it otherwise would have been without external support from the Pakistani state, Pakistani and Bangladeshi jihadist groups, and the ability to leverage Bangladesh, Nepal, and certain Persian Gulf countries for sanctuary and as staging grounds for attacks in India. External support for the Indian mujahideen (IM) from the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence and Pakistan-based militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) persists, but the question of command and control is more difficult to discern. The IM is best viewed as an LeT associate rather than an LeT affiliate. MORE

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