Publications

July 20, 2020

An End to Exquisite Weapons

The convergence of new technologies is creating smaller, cheaper, autonomous weapons that challenge America’s arsenal of few, costly, but exquisite weapons. This convergence also presents the nation with an opportunity to field forces that are not only more effective, but also cheaper. By focusing on weapons systems that can be made platform-agnostic—launching from air, sea, or land—the U.S. can forgo the huge expense of many of today’s weapons systems.

July 20, 2020

Al-Qaeda’s Iran Dilemma: Evidence from the Abbottabad Records

Through a comprehensive review of documents recovered from Usama bin Ladin’s Abbottabad compound, this study provides a new periodization of al-Qaeda’s relationship with Iran. The analysis reveals that al-Qaeda often had to reconcile conflicting operational and ideational pressures in its interactions with the Islamic Republic over time. Beyond offering insight into the trajectory of this important relationship and direction for future scholarship, the analysis suggests some ways through which the United States might expand the strategic wedge that exists between these unlikely allies and highlights the need for a more flexible understanding of state sponsored terrorism.

July 14, 2020

Terrorism in Afghanistan: A Joint Threat Assessment (Chapter III)

Chapter III: Afghanistan in the Regional Security Interplay ContextAs it has for centuries, Afghanistan, based on its location, sits at the intersection of many competing regional and international security agendas. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the geostrategic security interplay between the British and Russian Empires provided the backdrop

July 13, 2020

Western Way of War

RUSI Western Way of War audio discussion featuring Dr. Frank Hoffman.

June 29, 2020

NDU Korea Futures 2025 Symposium

National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies has now released a public report from its February 2020 “Korea Futures 2025” symposium. The objective was to explore the implications and consequences of differing Korean futures for the United States and the countries of Northeast Asia. The report summarizes the discussions and presents key findings.

June 25, 2020

System Overload: Can China’s Military Be Distracted in a War over Taiwan?

In his 2019 New Year’s Day address, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping issued a stern warning to Taiwan: “We make no promise to abandon the use of force, and retain the option of taking all necessary measures.” At the same time, he warned that force could also be used to forestall “intervention by external forces,” referring to the United States. While designed to intimidate recalcitrant Taiwan and U.S. leaders—and appeal to domestic nationalists—rather than to signal an imminent confrontation, Xi’s comments underscored the very real military threats that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) poses to Taiwan. As the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency notes, Taiwan has been the “primary driver” of PLA modernization for decades, spurring the development of short- and long-range ballistic missiles, amphibious and airborne units, and other capabilities targeted at Taiwan and intervening U.S. forces. Those threats have become more worrisome as the PLA conducts large-scale exercises and provocative bomber flights around the island. The PLA’s improved warfighting capabilities have contributed to China’s near-term cross–Taiwan Strait objective—deterring Taiwan independence. Understanding the costs that a war would impose on the island, few but the most die-hard Taiwan independence activists have supported overt moves toward de jure independence.

June 24, 2020

How Will the EU Survive the Coronavirus?

What will be the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on Europe?  How will the pandemic change the trajectory of European development? One way to answer these questions is to ask where Europe seemed to be headed before the coronavirus struck and then assess what is likely to change as a result of the pandemic. We will address these questions based

June 23, 2020

An Affordable Defense of Asia

US military advantages over China are steadily eroding…For the last two decades, China has studied the US military, identified its key weaknesses, and developed the tactics and forces best suited to exploit those vulnerabilities. These challenges are compounded by significant deficiencies in today’s US joint force across all domains of

June 12, 2020

PRISM Vol. 8, No. 4 (June 2020)

As the National Security and National Defense Strategies state, the world has entered a phase of great power competition in which the United States is confronted by a rising China and a resurgent Russia. PRISM V.8,N.4 offers perspective on this competition with articles by Sir Lawrence Freedman, the Honorable Joseph Nye, and the Honorable Andrew Natsios.

June 10, 2020

China’s Inopportune Pandemic Assertiveness

For a state just beginning to recover from Covid-19, China has been remarkably active in pressing its sovereignty claims. Chinese forces have been involved in a spate of incidents around its borders, most recently a series of tense encounters with India. Foreign media have seized on this as another example of Chinese opportunism, in which Beijing