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Publications

Aug. 14, 2017

The Pentagon’s Pivot: How Lead Users Are Transforming Defense Product Development

Historically, the Department of Defense (DOD) has relied on strategic forecasting to determine specifications for new military products. These specifications are codified in formal product requirements that drive new product development (NPD).

Aug. 14, 2017

China’s Russia Problem on North Korea

The Trump Administration has hailed a recent 15-0 UN Security Council vote imposing new sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a diplomatic victory. The sanctions include a complete ban on coal, iron, and lead exports, a major source of foreign currency for Pyongyang. Success will depend on how effectively China, as North Korea’s predominant trading partner, enforces the new sanctions. In deciding how vigorously to implement them, Beijing will have to weigh multiple competing factors, including assessments of North Korea’s reaction, Chinese public expectations, and the possibility of additional U.S. secondary sanctions on Chinese firms. A less obvious, but potentially crucial, variable in China’s calculus is whether Russia will take advantage of a curtailed Sino-DPRK economic relationship to build its own influence in North Korea.

Aug. 8, 2017

Asia and the Trump Administration: Challenges, Opportunities, and a Road Ahead

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.

Aug. 7, 2017

A Short History of Biological Warfare: From Pre-History to the 21st Century

This short monograph reviews the history of biological warfare (BW) from prehistory to the present. It covers what we know about the practice of BW and briefly describes the programs that developed BW weapons based on the best available research.

July 26, 2017

Analysis of an Intervention: Lessons from U.S. Advisory Work in Afghanistan's Information and Communications Technology Sector

After decades of war and civil strife, Afghanistan’s infrastructure had largely been destroyed and the country had virtually no telecommunications services. Most Afghans had to travel to neighboring countries to make phone calls, and data services were essentially non-existent. The ouster of the Taliban at the hands of the US-led NATO Coalition in late 2001 ushered in a new era for Afghanistan. In 2002, the Afghan Government laid the groundwork for the reconstruction of the country by adopting a policy framework that encouraged public and private investment in Afghanistan’s rebirth. With the first private company authorized to provide GSM telephone service in April of that year, the information and communications technology (ICT) sector was among the very first post-war sectors to be established. To date, the ICT has attracted over US$2 billion in private investment, is one of the largest contributors to the Afghan treasury, and is one of Afghanistan’s greatest success stories.

July 17, 2017

Chinese Military Diplomacy, 2003–2016: Trends and Implications

China is placing increasing emphasis on military diplomacy to advance its foreign policy objectives and shape its security environment. Military diplomacy is part of broader Chinese foreign policy efforts to create a favorable international image, develop soft power, and shape international discourse. Other objectives include shaping China’s security environment, collecting intelligence, and learning from advanced militaries. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) seeks to forward strategic and operational goals through a variety of interactions with foreign military partners, including senior-level visits, security dialogues, nontraditional security cooperation, military exercises, functional exchanges, and port calls.

July 10, 2017

Innovative Prototyping and Rigorous Experimentation (iP&rE): A One Week Course to Build Culture and a Cadre

This DTP contains all of the course planning and curriculum content provided in the Final Report delivered to the sponsor of a pilot, one week course developed at NDU for the Rapid Reaction Technology Office (RRTO) in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Emerging Capability and Prototyping (DASD[EC&P]). The purpose for publishing this Defense and Technology Paper (DTP) is to make the material readily available to others who may benefit from our experience and wish to utilize the materials developed.

July 6, 2017

Putin’s Syrian Gambit: Sharper Elbows, Bigger Footprint, Stickier Wicket

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.

July 5, 2017

Deconstructing the “Warrior Caste:” The Beliefs and Backgrounds of Senior Military Elites

In May 2017, The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) published a study exploring the implications of the rise of a “Warrior Caste” in American society.1 The authors conclude the implications are mixed. On the positive side of the ledger, they report that the United States now possesses a more ready and professionalized military than ever before. On the negative side, this force consists of a dwindling percentage of the population, who are more isolated from mainstream American society than ever before. As a growing percentage of service members and officers are coming from military families themselves, the choice to join the military is becoming more akin to a decision to join the family business. The result is greater divisions between the ‘Warrior Caste” and the civilian population than the numbers would indicate if taken at face value.

June 22, 2017

Joint Force Quarterly 86 (3rd Quarter 2017)

One of the most important questions we ask students of national and international security is “What is war?” Many will provide a solid response citing one of the great war “thinkers” like Thucydides or Carl von Clausewitz. An equally important set of questions flows from these responses. When should a country like the United States become involved?