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Category: Defense Strategy & Policy

Feb. 23, 2021

From Citizen Soldier to Secular Saint: The Societal Implications of Military Exceptionalism

The American public has placed extraordinary trust and confidence in the military, celebrating heroism and service in diverse venues ranging from religious services to theme parks to sporting events. Survey after survey has shown that Americans revere their military, at least superficially. How members of the military feel about their own service, sacrifices, and relationship to the rest of society has been an open question. To help explore these questions, we surveyed more than 1,200 midgrade to senior military officers and West Point cadets between 2017 and 2020 regarding their political views, their sacrifices, and their pride in service.

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. 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.

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.

Oct. 20, 2020

Listen to Women

The NATO Alliance is winding down its Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, the first mission to have gender perspectives incorporated into the entire planning cycle, and it is not entirely clear that lessons will be learned. The risk is that NATO comes to see WPS as “outdated” before it has achieved its objectives in Afghanistan, and before WPS has been widely understood and internalized by NATO officials.

Oct. 1, 2020

Why Armenia and Azerbaijan Are on the Brink of War

Dr. Jeffrey Mankoff provides insights into the recent clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the dynamics that entangle the region.

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

I am certain of one thing: Colin Gray would be exasperated with claims that “Grand strategy is dead.” What he would have called a “banality” is commonplace these days. Some question the need for grand strategy; others contend the United States has lost the art of developing one. Not that Colin would disagree with the difficulty of strategy, or