Publications

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 While outdated, the aircraft have air-to-air and ground-attack capabilities similar to the United States (U.S.) Air Force F-15 and A-10.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.

Nov. 19, 2020

Joint Force Quarterly 99 (4th Quarter, October 2020)

Robert Kennedy’s speech that day in 1966—on a then unprecedented trip and exactly 2 years before his assassination—included some words that may help all of us see our road ahead a bit more clearly. He stated, “It is from numberless diverse acts of courage such as these that the belief that human history is thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” To me that is what Americans, especially those in uniform, aspire to do. Let us know what you think. Be safe.

Nov. 19, 2020

Executive Summary

In an address in Cape Town, South Africa, on June 6, 1966, Senator Robert F. Kennedy stated, “There is a Chinese curse which says, ‘May he live in interesting times.’ Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind.” As it turns out, we ourselves are living in interesting times: from the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic to racial strife, wildfires to record numbers of hurricanes, contested politics to economic crises, and more.

Nov. 12, 2020

China – Next Steps

If we are to compete successfully with China for influence in Asia and across the globe, where to begin? In short, back to basics – our alliances.

Nov. 10, 2020

Podcast: Change or Die

The successful military is the one that adapts and innovates. Dave Barno, Nora Bensahel, and Frank Hoffman join Ryan to talk about how the U.S. military changes, or fails to do so. They have two new books on the subject between them: Adaptation under Fire: How Militaries Change in Wartime, by Dave and Nora, is out now. And Mars Adapting: Military Change During War, by Frank, will be out soon.

Nov. 4, 2020

Strategic Assessment 2020: Into a New Era of Great Power Competition

In retrospect, it seems clear that the new era of Great Power competition that is the subject of the chapters in this volume began to take shape almost as soon as the last era had drawn to a close. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the sudden end of the Cold War, the United States found itself in a position of unchallenged (and seemingly unchallengeable) global preponderance.

Nov. 2, 2020

Designing Tomorrow’s Marine Corps

Dr. Frank Hoffman discusses why force design must be versatile, balanced, risk-informed, and strategy-driven as the Corps moves into an unknown future.

Oct. 29, 2020

Interview: Force Structure Perspectives: Col. T.X. Hammes (Ret) on Experimenting for Adaptation

As a part of CIMSEC’s Force Structure Perspectives Series, CIMSEC discussed the Battle Force 2045 fleet design with Col. T.X. Hammes (ret)., a Distinguished Research Fellow at the U.S.