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Global Knowledge Networking: Smart Strategies for Promoting Innovative Learning and Leader Development April 1, 2015 — Smart security builds on actionable knowledge. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Wales Summit in September 2014 highlighted the need to build on partnerships to prepare and operate together better. Building on the successes of past partnership initiatives and capabilities, this paper proposes new ways to embrace and extend techniques and relationships originally developed under successful Secretary of Defense (SECDEF)-level memoranda of understanding (MOUs) within NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) program. The Global Knowledge Networking (GKN) initiative supports smart decisionmaking by educating and training tomorrow’s agile, resilient, and effective leaders. GKN is a network of people, ideas, and processes to make knowledge actionable and is focused on improving on U.S. and coalition interoperability through improvements in existing training and education capabilities. It has begun to convene strategic dialogues around key challenges and collectively owned opportunities. Its initial framing is globally relevant and focused on the Arabian Gulf region through a proposed test bed for collaboration with the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). This will allow new tools for interoperability to be explored and created together as enablers of joint capability. Drawing on the experiences of NATO’s Partnership for Peace, it will promote an innovative systems approach that could help cultivate and sustain more effective security partnerships around the globe. MORE

Responding to Russia after the NATO Summit: Unmanned Aerial Systems Overmatch in the Black Sea April 1, 2015 — The Ukraine conflict poses unique and asymmetric challenges to the international community. Since the earliest days of the Crimean crisis, Russian support of “separatists” within Ukraine has ranged from plainclothes thugs to more traditional uniformed troops, munitions, and other forms of aid. Some of the individuals involved may have had links to the Russian military or its intelligence community. While much of the aid comes through the porous border between Russia and Ukraine, Russia also leverages the opportunity to use Black Sea smugglers as a way to supply ongoing rebellions or to initiate new revolts. Two Black Sea–bordering regions, Odessa and Transnistria, are home to active pro-Russian movements that could potentially evolve into a pro-Russian state. Worries of Russia supplying separatists via illicit movements on the Black Sea and generally advancing its Novorossyia claims should be matched to a general concern over Black Sea smuggling rings, which traffic humans, weapons, and nuclear materials into Europe via Odessa’s port. MORE

Defense Partnerships: Documenting Trends and Emerging Topics for Action March 1, 2015 — Public-public and public-private and partnerships (P4s) are time-proven effective solutions for delivering public services at reasonable costs when deployed and managed properly. Various U.S. agencies and international organizations all have longstanding successful P4 initiatives and projects. Recently, Department of Defense (DOD) leaders have expressed increased interest in implementing P4s throughout their organizations. As DOD is faced with evolving roles and missions in an “unpredictable and complex world amid fiscal constraints, the expertise and involvement of the private sector and other public organizations will be essential.” P4s could be ideal tools intended to “further policy objectives, enhance U.S. operational capabilities, reduce costs, gain access to nonmilitary expertise or assets, or build greater capacity in partners.” MORE

Sharing to Succeed: Lessons from Open Information-sharing Projects in Afghanistan July 1, 2013 — The sharing of information in complex civil-military operations is important, yet actors rarely do it well. U.S. and allied military forces must be able to communicate, collaborate, and exchange information effectively with the local populations they seek to influence, or they cannot achieve the goals for which they have been committed. Nonetheless, experience from stability operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, numerous humanitarian assistance/disaster relief missions, and efforts to build the capacity of foreign partners suggest that effective information-sharing is much harder than might be expected. This paper sheds light on the difficulties of setting up and sustaining projects to share information in such situations and suggests ways to do better in the future. MORE

Valued Sustainable Services: Building Partnership Capacity Through Collaborating Approaches July 1, 2013 — The Valued Sustainable Services (ValSServ) concept is an approach to building the capacity of local populations. It emphasizes the interdependency among telecommunications, reliable power, and information-sharing support, and encourages projects to be developed in integrated packages rather than in stove-piped lines of effort. ValSServ focuses on bottom-up projects in complex civil-military operations that can be funded, planned, and executed at local levels, while being consistent with top-down national and theater strategies. It takes a system-of-systems approach, recognizing that successful projects can generate positive ripple effects in local environments and throughout extended networks. This paper focuses on ValSServ within the wide range of U.S. Department of Defense operating environments, such as capacity-building to help shape peacetime conditions in partner nations, post-disaster recovery, and helping to move from the “hold” to the “build” phases in counterinsurgency operations. MORE