Publications

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Category: Defense Strategy & Policy

Sept. 19, 2022

Deconstructing the Collapse of Afghanistan National Security and Defense Forces

The rapid collapse of Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in August 2021 was widely anticipated and due to its structural constraints and qualitative decline from 2018–21. This article provides a targeted analysis of ANDSF operational liabilities and qualitative limitations, referencing often overlooked statements by US and Afghan political and military officials, data from official US government reports, and prescient NGO field analyses. The painful ANDSF experience illuminates several principles that must be considered as US policymakers turn toward security force assistance for proxy and surrogate military forces in conflict with the partners of America’s emerging great-power geostrategic competitors—China and Russia.

Aug. 26, 2022

Deconstructing the Collapse of Afghanistan National Security and Defense Forces

The rapid collapse of Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) in August 2021 was widely anticipated and due to its structural constraints and qualitative decline from 2018–21. This article provides a targeted analysis of ANDSF operational liabilities and qualitative limitations, referencing often overlooked statements by US and Afghan political and military officials, data from official US government reports, and prescient NGO field analyses. The painful ANDSF experience illuminates several principles that must be considered as US policymakers turn toward security force assistance for proxy and surrogate military forces in conflict with the partners of America’s emerging Great Power geostrategic competitors— China and Russia.

Aug. 1, 2022

Chinese Perspectives on US Strategy in Asia, 2017-2021

The architects of US strategy in Asia have advanced a bold vision for a "free and open Indo-Pacific" but have paid less attention to China's views and responses. This article surveys perceptions of Chinese strategists toward the Trump administration's regional approach, arguing that China's analytic community came to see US strategy as largely focused on the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

June 15, 2022

What Next in Ukraine?

Five experts outline possible military, political, environmental, and socioeconomic scenarios

April 29, 2022

America Needs a Comprehensive Compellence Strategy Against Russia

One month before the war started, FPRI’s Rob Lee argued that Moscow’s compellence strategy would include the use of military force directly against Kyiv or more likely by punitive raids deep into the eastern half of Ukraine. He argued, “By inflicting heavy losses on the Ukrainian military, taking prisoners of war, and degrading Kyiv’s defense capabilities, Russia could potentially alter Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s incentive structure sufficiently to induce painful concessions.” Despite Ukraine’s successful effort to turn back Russian forces around Kyiv, Russia’s compellence strategy has not yet failed. As a result, it needs to be undercut by NATO with a more comprehensive approach.

March 23, 2022

Were Drone Strikes Effective? Evaluating the Drone Campaign in Pakistan Through Captured al-Qaeda Documents

At a time when the United States seems likely to rely heavily on targeted killing as an instrument of counter-terrorism, scholars, policymakers, and other analysts remain divided over its utility. These disagreements have been especially pronounced in scholarship and commentary regarding the U.S. drone campaign in Pakistan.

March 7, 2022

Can the West Apply Enough Pressure to End the War in Ukraine Without Further Provoking Vladimir Putin?

The U.S. and its allies should begin thinking now about what an acceptable diplomatic outcome would look like.

Jan. 26, 2022

Updating Defeat Mechanisms

“The advocates of Maneuver Warfare claimed all the positive virtues of operational art and castigated attrition as the artless application of raw force.”

Jan. 11, 2022

Defeat Mechanisms in Modern Warfare

This podcast explores the current debate about service and Joint operating concepts, starting with the Army’s multi-domain operations concept. It argues for adaptations to an old operational design technique—defeat mechanisms; updates to Joint and service planning doctrine; and discipline regarding emerging concepts. Rather than debate over attrition versus maneuver, combinations of a suite of defeat mechanisms should be applied to gain victory in the future.

Oct. 20, 2021

Defence Dominance: Advantage for Small States

Emerging technologies are leading to a period of defensive dominance on the battlefield. Small states can take advantage of the new small, smart, and numerous weapons systems to create highly lethal, survivable forces that can deter larger powers.