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Category: INSS Around the Web

Sept. 7, 2021

Afghanistan Will Put Russia's Regional Ambitions to the Test

While the failure of the United States’ two-decade campaign to reshape Afghanistan was a source of no little schadenfreude in Moscow, the collapse of Ashraf Ghani’s U.S.-backed government has thrust Russia into a challenging position. Even as President Vladimir Putin confirmed that Russia has no intention of deploying troops to Afghanistan itself, the potential for radicalization and violence around Russia’s borders is foisting greater responsibility for regional security on Moscow at a time of mounting domestic difficulties.

Sept. 2, 2021

The Return of Great Power Proxy Wars

If the United States fights with China or Russia, what type of war will it be? Will it look like the high-tech conflict envisaged in The Kill Chain or will it be closer to the plot of Ghost Fleet? Much of the U.S. strategic debate has been dominated by the perceived need to deter and prepare for large-scale, conventional conflicts — what some in these pages have called a Napoleonic conception of war. But great-power competition does not always manifest itself by direct, protracted, and high-intensity wars.

Sept. 1, 2021

Dueling Dyads: Conceptualizing Proxy Wars in Strategic Competition

The purpose of this article is to explore the character of proxy wars in the context of the emerging strategic environment. It offers insights into the array of forms that proxy wars can take, identifies shortfalls in how such conflicts are currently conceptualized, and offers recommendations to update U.S. military doctrine to prepare for this more prevalent and likely form of armed conflict in this century.

Aug. 24, 2021

Policy Roundtable: The Future of Trans-Atlantic Nuclear Deterrence

This January, Perry World House hosted a two-day workshop titled “Transatlantic Disruption: Challenges and Opportunities.” The essays in this roundtable emerged from a panel on the future of trans-Atlantic nuclear deterrence.

June 28, 2021

Toward Nuclear and WMD Fluency in Professional Military Education

While there has been a stream of commentary on how best to adapt PME writ large, far less attention has been given to what the Chairman’s guidance says about high-level policy priorities that must now be integrated across the military education system. The inclusion of these priorities does not reflect any broader debate about the fundamental purpose of military education or how best to provide it. Instead, they are included because civilian and military authorities believe that functional fluency in these topics is essential to strategic leadership of the joint force. In this article, we discuss one of these policy priorities – nuclear capabilities and concepts – and describe why and how highest-level policy deliberations have been translated into the Chairman’s guidance on officer professional military education. We then suggest why and how this process can be replicated for other emerging challenges facing the joint force. As an example, we focus on the wider set of issues that fall under Countering Weapons of Mass

June 24, 2021

Arms Control in Today's (Dis)Information Environment Part III

Information manipulation and covert influence campaigns have long been tools of sub-threshold strategic competition used to try to influence arms race dynamics, arms control decisions, and the enforceability of compliance and verification regimes. During the Cold War, such massive covert operations were only feasible by great powers. Today, not only are there more actors with potential stakes in arms control decisions, but global connectivity and digitization combined with a panoply of new Digital Age tools make it easier to obfuscate, deny, and manipulate the information environment around arms control.

June 23, 2021

Don't Base U.S. Forces in Central Asia

In headlines reminiscent of a bygone era, journalists this week reported rapid gains made by the Taliban in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz province. This follows grim news that at least 24 Afghan commandos were killed in a battle with Taliban fighters in Faryarb Province. Amid the upsurge in violence and concern that the withdrawal of U.S. forces (scheduled for completion by September 11) will precipitate a Taliban takeover, Washington continues searching for a way to maintain its ability to collect information and project power into Afghanistan—perhaps by establishing a residual presence in neighboring Central Asia.

June 14, 2021

Three Priorities for NATO Partnerships in a Contested World

Over the next twelve months, the allies will negotiate a new Strategic Concept that adapts NATO’s core tasks—collective defense, crisis management, and cooperative security—to this contested environment. It will be informed by the NATO 2030 Report, which characterized China as a full-spectrum rival and offered recommendations to strengthen NATO’s political dimensions and extend its global reach. The next Strategic Concept presents an opportunity to breathe new life into cooperative security by steering cooperation with non-member states toward these challenges. NATO should double down on what works—capacity-building—while expanding political consultations with partners and forging new frontiers in science and technology cooperation.

June 7, 2021

Back from the Brink? Prospects for U.S.-Russia Relations

As the current American and Russian leaders, Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, prepare for their first summit on June 16 in Geneva, prospects are slim for the kind of breakthrough achieved by Reagan and Gorbachev. Tensions remain high due to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and subsequent invasion of Ukraine; its interference in U.S. elections; its aggressive behavior in cyberspace—including the recent SolarWinds hack, which compromised a range of public and private sector entities across the West—and the sanctions that Washington imposed in response to all those activities. ...

May 25, 2021

Arms Control in Today’s (Dis)Information Environment Part II

Dr. Justin Anderson's recent article is the second in a series of papers by Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) Fellows examining Arms Control in Today’s (Dis)information Environment. The goal of the series is to contribute to a discussion about how disinformation could play a role in future arms control treaties and agreements.