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Category: Occasional Papers

Oct. 29, 2016

The Return of Foreign Fighters to Central Asia: Implications for U.S. Counterterrorism Policy

Central Asia is the third largest point of origin for Salafi jihadist foreign fighters in the conflagration in Syria and Iraq, with more than 4,000 total fighters joining the conflict since 2012 and 2,500 reportedly arriving in the 2014–2015 timeframe alone. As the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) continues to lose territory under duress from U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition activities, some predict that many may return home bent on jihad and generating terror and instability across Central Asia.

Oct. 3, 2016

India’s Naxalite Insurgency: History, Trajectory, and Implications for U.S.-India Security Cooperation on Domestic Counterinsurgency

The pace of U.S.-India defense cooperation over the past decade—and especially the past 2 years—has been unprecedented and impressive in many areas. These areas include defense technology cooperation, the discussion of a framework for military-to-military agreements, and the expansion of joint military exercises. U.S.-India defense cooperation, however, will remain limited in critical areas where India’s historical independent interests remain firm. Among these areas of Indian reserve include strategic autonomy, the imperatives of domestic federalism, and the preference for a go-slow approach toward redressing civil unrest. Attempts by U.S. policymakers to press harder in these areas will likely prove counterproductive.

Aug. 17, 2016

Frontier Security: The Case of Brazil

Over the past three decades Brazil has greatly improved its ability to monitor and control its long border. Achieving better management of the complex frontier security problem required a great deal of patience, trial and error, organizational adaptation, and good leadership. The Brazilian experience yields a number of important lessons for Brazil and for its neighbors in the Western Hemisphere. Improving performance required subordination of military priorities to civilian authorities; the repositioning of forces; better military-police cooperation; interagency and international cooperation; investment in technologies to give Brazil an advantage in the contest for best situational awareness; a long-term commitment; and guiding strategy documents supported by both civil and military authorities. Of overarching significance is the way the Brazilian military was able to reestablish the confidence of civilian leaders in the aftermath of decades of military rule. The result was a Brazilian military that is more professional, more respected, and better resourced than before. For the United States, the evolution of Brazilian frontier security is not only a developing good news story for hemispheric relations, but also a learning opportunity, since similar security problems have not always been so well managed in the United States.

July 18, 2016

The Soviet Biological Weapons Program and Its Legacy in Today’s Russia

In its first Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Case Study, the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction (CSWMD) at the National Defense University examined President Richard M. Nixon’s decision, on November 25, 1969, to terminate the U.S. offensive biological weapons program. This occasional paper seeks to explain why the Soviet government, at approximately the same time, decided to do essentially the opposite, namely, to establish a large biological warfare (BW) program that would be driven by newly discovered and powerful biotechnologies. By introducing the innovation of recombinant DNA technology—commonly referred to as genetic engineering—the Soviets were attempting to create bacterial and viral strains that were more useful for military purposes than were strains found in nature.

July 1, 2015

China Moves Out: Stepping Stones Toward a New Maritime Strategy

Over the last decade, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has increased the frequency, duration, complexity, and distance from the mainland of its operations. Not only does China maintain a permanent counterpiracy escort flotilla in the Indian Ocean, it also now routinely conducts naval exercises and operations beyond the first island chain throughout the year. This normalization of PLAN operations in the Western Pacific and beyond is an important step toward an emerging new maritime strategy that will incorporate far seas defense.

July 1, 2015

Understanding Putin Through a Middle Eastern Looking Glass

DOWNLOAD PDFExecutive Summary The resurgence of Russian influence in the Middle East has surprised Moscow as much as any other capital. Russia has done better than the Kremlin and its Middle East experts feared when the Arab Spring began. Despite Moscow’s deep involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, Russia is now in a stronger position with national

March 1, 2015

The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Review of the Guidelines for Defense Cooperation

DOWNLOAD PDFExecutive Summary This paper is focused on the U.S.-Japan alliance as reflected in the evolution of the U.S.- Japan Guidelines for Defense Cooperation. It begins with consideration of the October 3, 2013, 2+2 Statement released by Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, and

Jan. 1, 2015

Red China’s “Capitalist Bomb”: Inside the Chinese Neutron Bomb Program

This paper examines why China developed an enhanced radiation weapon (ERW) but did not deploy it. ERWs, better known as “neutron bombs,” are specialized nuclear weapons with reduced blast effects and enhanced radiation, making them ideal tactical and antipersonnel weapons. Declassified U.S. intelligence and Chinese press reports indicate the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was interested in an ERW in 1977 and successfully tested a device on September 29, 1988. To date, however, these sources provide no evidence of deployment. This study exploits primary source documents to reconstruct the ERW program’s history, assesses drivers behind decisions throughout the program, and considers broader implications for PRC decisionmaking on weapons development. This case study suggests a model of a “technology reserve” in which China develops a weapons technology to match the capabilities of another state but defers deployment. This paper presents an analytic framework for examining how the technology reserve model might apply to China’s decisionmaking on ballistic missile defense (BMD), antisatellite (ASAT), and hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) systems.

Oct. 1, 2014

“Not an Idea We Have to Shun”: Chinese Overseas Basing Requirements in the 21st Century

China’s expanding international economic interests are likely to generate increasing demands for its navy, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), to operate out of area to protect Chinese citizens, investments, and sea lines of communication. The frequency, intensity, type, and location of such operations will determine the associated logistics support requirements, with distance from China, size and duration, and combat intensity being especially important drivers.

July 1, 2014

The Indian Jihadist Movement: Evolution and Dynamics

The Indian jihadist movement remains motivated primarily by domestic grievances rather than India-Pakistan dynamics. However, it is far more lethal than it otherwise would have been without external support from the Pakistani state, Pakistani and Bangladeshi jihadist groups, and the ability to leverage Bangladesh, Nepal, and certain Persian Gulf countries for sanctuary and as staging grounds for attacks in India. External support for the Indian mujahideen (IM) from the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence and Pakistan-based militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) persists, but the question of command and control is more difficult to discern. The IM is best viewed as an LeT associate rather than an LeT affiliate.