Publications

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Category: Defense Strategy & Policy

Oct. 1, 2020

How Will Russia Respond to the U.S.-China Cold War?

Dr. Jeffrey Mankoff examines the dynamics of the Russia-China entente and what this means for the competition between the United States and China.

Aug. 25, 2020

Tactical Partnerships for Strategic Effects: Recent Experiences of U.S. Forces Working By, With, and Through Surrogates in Syria and Libya

Drawing on interviews with senior policymakers, diplomats, and military officials with knowledge of Operations Inherent Resolve in Syria and Odyssey Lightning in Libya, this paper confronts commonly-held perspectives on the “by, with, through” approach to warfare. It argues that will-to-fight and skillset play important roles in US military partnerships with irregular forces.

Aug. 10, 2020

Distilling the Essence of Strategy

This succinct set of considerations provide the fundamentals distilled from a detailed review of Professor Colin Gray’s studies. There is nothing guaranteed in the realm of human affairs, but strategists who recognize these considerations will increase the likelihood that their strategy will be “good enough.” There is heroic difficulty in resolving the competing tensions inherent to crafting and implementing strategy, and only a few heroes that have taught this craft with Colin’s intense style. He will be remembered for keeping the strategic flame alive and passing it along to future generations of strategists.

July 28, 2020

With Friends Like These: Assessing Russian Influence in Germany

As Europe’s unquestioned heavyweight and a country with deep political, economic, and cultural ties to Russia, Germany has been a frequent target of Russian influence activities. Yet compared to other countries, Germany has proven relatively resilient. In this report, Jeffrey Mankoff examines the nature and tactics of Russian influence operations

July 20, 2020

An End to Exquisite Weapons

The convergence of new technologies is creating smaller, cheaper, autonomous weapons that challenge America’s arsenal of few, costly, but exquisite weapons. This convergence also presents the nation with an opportunity to field forces that are not only more effective, but also cheaper. By focusing on weapons systems that can be made platform-agnostic—launching from air, sea, or land—the U.S. can forgo the huge expense of many of today’s weapons systems.

July 20, 2020

Al-Qaeda’s Iran Dilemma: Evidence from the Abbottabad Records

Through a comprehensive review of documents recovered from Usama bin Ladin’s Abbottabad compound, this study provides a new periodization of al-Qaeda’s relationship with Iran. The analysis reveals that al-Qaeda often had to reconcile conflicting operational and ideational pressures in its interactions with the Islamic Republic over time. Beyond offering insight into the trajectory of this important relationship and direction for future scholarship, the analysis suggests some ways through which the United States might expand the strategic wedge that exists between these unlikely allies and highlights the need for a more flexible understanding of state sponsored terrorism.

July 14, 2020

Terrorism in Afghanistan: A Joint Threat Assessment (Chapter III)

Chapter III: Afghanistan in the Regional Security Interplay ContextAs it has for centuries, Afghanistan, based on its location, sits at the intersection of many competing regional and international security agendas. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the geostrategic security interplay between the British and Russian Empires provided the backdrop

July 13, 2020

Western Way of War

RUSI Western Way of War audio discussion featuring Dr. Frank Hoffman.

June 23, 2020

An Affordable Defense of Asia

US military advantages over China are steadily eroding…For the last two decades, China has studied the US military, identified its key weaknesses, and developed the tactics and forces best suited to exploit those vulnerabilities. These challenges are compounded by significant deficiencies in today’s US joint force across all domains of

May 11, 2020

Still First to Fight? Shaping the 21st Century Marine Corps

The headline in the New York Times on June 1, 1918, read “Marines – First to Fight.” The day before, a brigade of Marines attached to the U.S. Army’s 2nd Division had raced to the Western Front to halt a breakthrough threatening Paris. They stopped the Germans cold, and five days later, the brigade successfully counterattacked at Belleau Wood