Publications

Feb. 23, 2021

From Citizen Soldier to Secular Saint: The Societal Implications of Military Exceptionalism

The American public has placed extraordinary trust and confidence in the military, celebrating heroism and service in diverse venues ranging from religious services to theme parks to sporting events. Survey after survey has shown that Americans revere their military, at least superficially. How members of the military feel about their own service, sacrifices, and relationship to the rest of society has been an open question. To help explore these questions, we surveyed more than 1,200 midgrade to senior military officers and West Point cadets between 2017 and 2020 regarding their political views, their sacrifices, and their pride in service.

Feb. 17, 2021

Reviving the Nuclear Deal Gives the U.S. More Leverage Over Iran

As officials in Washington consider returning to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, much of the debate has centered on whether the U.S. government will lose leverage. Some experts and officials argue that if the Biden administration rejoins the deal—also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—the United States will squander the leverage

Feb. 4, 2021

Intellectual Overmatch Is Impossible If We Teach Only Half the Team: A Call for Professional Civilian Education

Last May, the Joint Chiefs of Staff published a combined vision for military education and talent management that correctly emphasized the need for both technical and intellectual overmatch to successfully compete in the modern warfare environment. However, without a parallel emphasis in developing the intellectual skills of the civilian workforce (in DOD and across the Federal national security enterprise), we will not achieve the overmatch we need.

Feb. 1, 2021

The Future of Weapons of Mass Destruction: An Update

In an update to their 2014 paper on the future of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), John P. Caves, Jr., and W. Seth Carus assess and offer policy considerations on the significant geopolitical and technological developments shaping the future of WMD since 2014.

Jan. 31, 2021

A Middle East Forum Can Help Biden Succeed

A Middle East-wide forum could facilitate dialogue and transparency on a range of short-term measures, engendering momentum to then take on other more complex items, such as regional arms control.

Jan. 29, 2021

Baltics Left of Bang: The Southern Shore

Sponsored by the U.S. National Defense University (NDU) and the Swedish Defence University, this is the fourth and final paper in a series of INSS Strategic Forums dedicated to the multinational exploration of the strategic defense challenges faced by the Baltic states. The December 2017 U.S. National Security Strategy describes Russia as “using subversive measures to weaken the credibility of America’s commitment to Europe, undermine transatlantic unity, and weaken European institutions and governments.” The American and European authors of this paper, along with many others, came together in a series of exercises conducted in late 2017 through the winter of 2019 to explore possible responses to the security challenges facing the Baltic Sea region (BSR).

Jan. 6, 2021

National Security in the Post-Pandemic Era

The geopolitical implications of COVID-19 are profound in the near term, and will have a ripple effect throughout the U.S. economy and the foundations of U.S. power. It could be more strategically contagious over the longer term if it compels a sharp change in how Americans see their role in the world and adapts its conception of national security.

Dec. 18, 2020

Regaining the Initiative: Can the US Lead Again?

Restoring US leadership in global affairs will require a number of strategic shifts to change the trajectory set by the Trump administration. These substantial choices have to be made quickly by the new Biden team, which faces daunting domestic and political obstacles to its more internationalist approach.

Dec. 18, 2020

A Kinder, Gentler Bear? Why Rumors of Russia’s Post-Soviet Retreat Are Premature

While 2020 has been an annus horribilis pretty much everywhere, it has been particularly challenging across the periphery of the former Soviet Union. In Eastern Europe (Belarus), the South Caucasus (Nagorno-Karabakh), and Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan), 2020 has brought widespread political upheaval and conflict. Amid this wave of instability washing

Nov. 24, 2020

Russia’s Escalating Use of Private Military Companies in Africa

In May 2020, fourteen unmarked Russian Mig-29 and Su-24 combat aircraft appeared in the possession of Russian paramilitaries in Libya. This transfer was unprecedented. While outdated, the aircraft have air-to-air and ground-attack capabilities similar to the United States (U.S.) Air Force F-15 and A-10. Why would Moscow send this equipment to a ragtag group of former military personnel moonlighting in Libya? As the United States military refocuses its attention on strategic competition with great powers, it will need to answer not only this question, but also broader questions related to how and why Russia utilizes its proxy forces.