Publications

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?

June 20, 2017

Leave Mountain People Alone

We have over 4,000 years of recorded history of human conflict. As Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has noted “There is nothing new under the sun.” And from this wealth of experience, a number of rules of thumb for military operations have evolved. Perhaps the most famous is “Don’t get in a land war in Asia.” Interestingly, I have never seen a similarly obvious rule – “Leave mountain people alone.” Yet even a brief historical survey shows that campaigns against mountain people rarely pay off. Afghans, Chechens, Kurds, Montagnards (which literally means “mountain people” in French), Scots, Welsh, Swiss, Druze, Maronite Christians, and West Virginians have all repeatedly seen off outsiders.

May 24, 2017

Another Week; Another Missile Test: Inching Toward a Freeze – With Eyes Wide Shut?

On January 20, North Korea became the responsibility of the new Trump administration. After eight years of “strategic patience,” North Korea, as President Obama advised his successor, now poses the greatest threat to the security of the United States.

May 22, 2017

Like, Comment, Retweet: The State of the Military's Nonpartisan Ethic in the World of Social Media

Past research contends that with the exception of voting in presidential elections, military officers’ political participation is fairly muted. Moreover, most allegations of political outspokenness tend to be levied at retired officers, not those on active duty. Department of Defense directives provide guidelines on permissible but traditional forms of political expression for active duty members of the military, but largely neglect social media as a forum for political activity. Through a survey of more than 500 military elites attending the United States Military Academy and National Defense University, this project seeks to establish the nature and extent of political expression by members of the military throughout social media and whether or not such expression is in keeping with the norm of nonpartisanship.

May 15, 2017

Developing an Innovation- Based Ecosystem at the U.S. Department of Defense: Challenges and Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is looking at new ways to spur entrepreneurship and innovation among its stakeholders and related constituencies.

May 2, 2017

Tell-Tale MRAPS

A recent article in the Washington Free Beacon, “Biden Used False Data to Smear Marine Corps over Armored Vehicle Request from Iraq,” accomplishes the rare feat of politicizing a bipartisan issue; blackguarding both parties erroneously; and unnecessarily embarrassing Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. The April 24, 2017 article by Bill Gertz reports on a new unpublished study by retired Marine, Steve Chill. Chill participated in Marine Corps decision making on the Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles used to protect servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan. Chill wrote his study to “correct the record” and prove the Marine Corps did not “drag its feet” in deploying MRAPs. Gertz and Chill get the story wrong, and thus obscure the lesson the Pentagon should have learned from the MRAP experience, which is that its decision making processes need reform.

April 21, 2017

The Armed Forces Officer

In 1950 when he commissioned the first edition of The Armed Forces Officer, Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall told its author, S.L.A. Marshall, “that American military officers, of whatever service, should share common ground ethically and morally.”