Publications

Jan. 18, 2022

“We Choose to Go to the Moon”: An Analysis of a Cold War Means-Developing Strategy

Strategists often ask “With the means available right now, what end can we achieve?” However, in strategy design it can be more appropriate to ask, “What is the desired end, and what means are available to achieve it?” The answer to this question may be, “If this is the desired end, first this new capability has to be created.” This case study examines how Kennedy determined he could achieve his ends (beat the Soviets in the world competition) in a particular way (shape the world conversation) using means yet to be created (the moon landing).

Jan. 13, 2022

Turkey Could Lose Big in the Russia-Ukraine Standoff

Conflict could topple Ankara’s delicate balancing act between NATO and Russia.

Jan. 11, 2022

Defeat Mechanisms in Modern Warfare

This podcast explores the current debate about service and Joint operating concepts, starting with the Army’s multi-domain operations concept. It argues for adaptations to an old operational design technique—defeat mechanisms; updates to Joint and service planning doctrine; and discipline regarding emerging concepts. Rather than debate over attrition versus maneuver, combinations of a suite of defeat mechanisms should be applied to gain victory in the future.

Dec. 30, 2021

Joint Force Quarterly 104 (1st Quarter, January 2022)

Without Colin Powell's simple tasking to develop and implement a journal, JFQ would not exist. His vision has been our team’s guiding force.

Nov. 22, 2021

PRISM Vol. 9, No. 3 (November 2021)

PRISM Vol. 9, No. 3 (November 2021)

Nov. 16, 2021

Russia in the Era of Great Power Competition

Russia has come to occupy an anomalous position in Western strategic thought. While former US president Barack Obama dismissed Russia as a “regional power” following its 2014 occupation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine, both the Trump and Biden administrations have identified Russia as one of the United States’ principal rivals in an era defined by strategic competition among great powers. To a significant degree, though, the United States continues to think about Russia as more of a disruptor than a true great power rival. Though widespread, that view misreads both the nature and the durability of Russian power and underestimates the extent to which Russia remains a potent competitor whose preferences Western leaders will have to take into account.

Nov. 10, 2021

The Empire Versus the Federation

The China challenge has impact far beyond the United States. Australia—a member of the Five Eyes coalition and a stout ally of the United States—stood against Chinese trade, intellectual property, and human rights abuses. Australia led the global insistence on an objective investigation of the origins of the COVID-19 virus. In retaliation China imposed diverse economic sanctions against Australia and threatened more. China has also interfered in the Australian political system. A major challenge for the world’s democracies is “will they stand united in meeting the China challenge?”

Nov. 4, 2021

Winning the Fight Taiwan Cannot Afford to Lose

Taiwan’s defense approach has long relied on purchases of U.S. equipment and attempts to emulate U.S. doctrine. The U.S. military, however, has focused on projecting power to fight smaller adversaries around the world, while Taiwan faces the prospect of defending its homeland from China’s increasingly capable People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The United States is deeply committed to defending Taiwan, particularly as it becomes increasingly clear that Taiwan’s military needs to adapt to the rising threat posed by the PLA and the risk that Xi Jinping might seek to use force to compel unification. China has long had the ability to blockade or to launch missiles or air strikes against Taiwan, but a defiant Taipei could resist such coercion and refuse to surrender. Beijing can only be certain that it can compel unification if it can mount an invasion. Deterring invasion is, therefore, the ultimate objective for the United States and Taiwan. Maintaining cross-strait stability in the face of an increasingly well-resourced and modernizing PLA requires continual innovation and adaptation, including the updating of defense concepts.

Nov. 3, 2021

Extending that "Loving Feeling" to Undersea Warfare

It is time to extend that “loving feeling” to submarine warfare — including, and perhaps especially, to the submarine forces of U.S. allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

Oct. 20, 2021

A Methodology for Evaluating Chinese Academic Publications

NDU’s Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs (CSCMA), part of the Institute of National Strategic Studies, has published a methodology for evaluating the policy relevance of publications by Chinese scholars. The methodology presented in the research memo seeks to increase confidence that analysts are dealing with publications by those who matter, and to ensure that collection takes place in a transparent and consistent manner.