Publications

Sept. 7, 2021

Afghanistan Will Put Russia's Regional Ambitions to the Test

While the failure of the United States’ two-decade campaign to reshape Afghanistan was a source of no little schadenfreude in Moscow, the collapse of Ashraf Ghani’s U.S.-backed government has thrust Russia into a challenging position. Even as President Vladimir Putin confirmed that Russia has no intention of deploying troops to Afghanistan itself, the potential for radicalization and violence around Russia’s borders is foisting greater responsibility for regional security on Moscow at a time of mounting domestic difficulties.

Sept. 2, 2021

The Return of Great Power Proxy Wars

If the United States fights with China or Russia, what type of war will it be? Will it look like the high-tech conflict envisaged in The Kill Chain or will it be closer to the plot of Ghost Fleet? Much of the U.S. strategic debate has been dominated by the perceived need to deter and prepare for large-scale, conventional conflicts — what some in these pages have called a Napoleonic conception of war. But great-power competition does not always manifest itself by direct, protracted, and high-intensity wars.

Sept. 1, 2021

Dueling Dyads: Conceptualizing Proxy Wars in Strategic Competition

The purpose of this article is to explore the character of proxy wars in the context of the emerging strategic environment. It offers insights into the array of forms that proxy wars can take, identifies shortfalls in how such conflicts are currently conceptualized, and offers recommendations to update U.S. military doctrine to prepare for this more prevalent and likely form of armed conflict in this century.

Aug. 24, 2021

Policy Roundtable: The Future of Trans-Atlantic Nuclear Deterrence

This January, Perry World House hosted a two-day workshop titled “Transatlantic Disruption: Challenges and Opportunities.” The essays in this roundtable emerged from a panel on the future of trans-Atlantic nuclear deterrence.

Aug. 18, 2021

Taking Stock of the National Stockpile: Modernizing for a Dynamic Response

Many have acknowledged that the COVID19 pandemic was not a failure of our imagination – we’ve been preparing for such an event for decades by building biotechnologies for biosurveillance and medicines, conducting exercises, and stockpiling of medical supplies. Response to a spreading illness in many ways is not rocket science:  treat the sick, protect the vulnerable, and stop the spread – mainly accomplished via the tools and products of biotechnology.  Many are now asking, what could we have done better in the pandemic response?

July 27, 2021

Party-Army Relations in China: Is Another 100 Years Possible?

On July 15, the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs hosted a webinar on party-army relations in China featuring three leading experts: Dr. Chen Yali (Hunter College), Dr. Andrew Scobell (U.S. Institute of Peace), and Dr. Joel Wuthnow (National Defense University). Center Director Dr. Phillip Saunders chaired the session. This report summarizes the presentations and key points from the discussion, which was on the record.

July 1, 2021

Executive Summary

In many parts of joint warfighting, getting the right situational awareness (SA) is essential to success, especially to those of us in a position of military or civilian leadership. I must admit to a lack of SA in recent years as I, like many, have been drawn into an information cycle centered around less-traditional media sources. Because I live and work in the Nation’s capital area, I fully accept that I live in a “bubble,” where I may not have an accurate picture of events. But in recent years, with the rise of social media platforms—including active disinformation campaigns, both foreign and domestic—getting and keeping good SA is increasingly difficult. Where does one scan to find an objective view? As always, we look forward to hearing from you about what you think we need to do in the years ahead.

July 1, 2021

Joint Force Quarterly 102 (3rd Quarter, July 2021)

In many parts of joint warfighting, getting the right situational awareness (SA) is essential to success, especially to those of us in a position of military or civilian leadership. I must admit to a lack of SA in recent years as I, like many, have been drawn into an information cycle centered around less-traditional media sources. Because I live and work in the Nation’s capital area, I fully accept that I live in a “bubble,” where I may not have an accurate picture of events. But in recent years, with the rise of social media platforms—including active disinformation campaigns, both foreign and domestic—getting and keeping good SA is increasingly difficult. Where does one scan to find an objective view? As always, we look forward to hearing from you about what you think we need to do in the years ahead. 

June 28, 2021

Toward Nuclear and WMD Fluency in Professional Military Education

While there has been a stream of commentary on how best to adapt PME writ large, far less attention has been given to what the Chairman’s guidance says about high-level policy priorities that must now be integrated across the military education system. The inclusion of these priorities does not reflect any broader debate about the fundamental purpose of military education or how best to provide it. Instead, they are included because civilian and military authorities believe that functional fluency in these topics is essential to strategic leadership of the joint force. In this article, we discuss one of these policy priorities – nuclear capabilities and concepts – and describe why and how highest-level policy deliberations have been translated into the Chairman’s guidance on officer professional military education. We then suggest why and how this process can be replicated for other emerging challenges facing the joint force. As an example, we focus on the wider set of issues that fall under Countering Weapons of Mass

June 24, 2021

Arms Control in Today's (Dis)Information Environment Part III

Information manipulation and covert influence campaigns have long been tools of sub-threshold strategic competition used to try to influence arms race dynamics, arms control decisions, and the enforceability of compliance and verification regimes. During the Cold War, such massive covert operations were only feasible by great powers. Today, not only are there more actors with potential stakes in arms control decisions, but global connectivity and digitization combined with a panoply of new Digital Age tools make it easier to obfuscate, deny, and manipulate the information environment around arms control.