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Category: Strategic Insights

May 5, 2021

Alliance in Evolution: The Biden-Suga Summit

The Biden‒Suga Summit represents the latest phase in the evolution of the U.S.‒Japan Alliance. What follows outlines the steps in the adaptation of this critical alliance made by governments in Washington and Tokyo.  This paper relies upon key statements made in the most recent summits to strengthen the alliance and broaden its perspective and interests.  

March 11, 2021

Want to Grow the Economy? Try Fermenting It Instead

U.S. industry’s distribution system and supply chains were vulnerable before COVID, but pandemic-related disruptions to supply chains fully exposed this already alarming problem. U.S. manufacturers have relied too heavily on foreign materials for production, and the steady off-shoring of critical industries over a course of decades has reduced direct control of vital defense-related manufacturing should it be needed.

Feb. 4, 2021

Intellectual Overmatch Is Impossible If We Teach Only Half the Team: A Call for Professional Civilian Education

Last May, the Joint Chiefs of Staff published a combined vision for military education and talent management that correctly emphasized the need for both technical and intellectual overmatch to successfully compete in the modern warfare environment. However, without a parallel emphasis in developing the intellectual skills of the civilian workforce (in DOD and across the Federal national security enterprise), we will not achieve the overmatch we need.

Nov. 24, 2020

Russia’s Escalating Use of Private Military Companies in Africa

In May 2020, fourteen unmarked Russian Mig-29 and Su-24 combat aircraft appeared in the possession of Russian paramilitaries in Libya. This transfer was unprecedented. While outdated, the aircraft have air-to-air and ground-attack capabilities similar to the United States (U.S.) Air Force F-15 and A-10. Why would Moscow send this equipment to a ragtag group of former military personnel moonlighting in Libya? As the United States military refocuses its attention on strategic competition with great powers, it will need to answer not only this question, but also broader questions related to how and why Russia utilizes its proxy forces.

Nov. 12, 2020

China – Next Steps

If we are to compete successfully with China for influence in Asia and across the globe, where to begin? In short, back to basics – our alliances.

April 27, 2020

Beyond 1918: Bringing Pandemic Response into the Present, and Future

The current pandemic gives us an opportunity to envision new tools, methods, and response policies that leverage emerging technologies, which, if adopted and prudently employed, would enable capability to far better predict, prepare, if not prevent the “next” biosecurity war, and not merely repeat the errors of the “last”. 

April 23, 2020

Today the Spratlys and Paracels, Tomorrow…

Our alliances and regional strategic partnerships must be the foundation of a concerted effort, led by the United States, to push back against China’s on-going efforts to unilaterally change the status quo and incrementally chip away at the existing international order. 

April 10, 2020

Ready or Not: Regaining Military Readiness during COVID19

The COVID19 pandemic has critically shaken the health, civil society, and economic security of the United States.  It also has tested the readiness management processes of the U.S. Defense Department. While we wait for treatments, the Department of Defense needs to maintain readiness of the force in the interim. Force readiness and management will be improved by rapidly deploying a point of care serological test to all in the U.S. military. 

Feb. 4, 2020

Qassem Soleimani: Moscow's Syria Decision – Myth and Reality

On January 3, 2020, Iran’s Special Forces leader– IRGC Quds Force – Major General Qassem Soleimani, was killed by an American drone strike outside of the Baghdad International Airport in Iraq. Commentators noted that Soleimani had been the subject of a United Nations (UN) travel ban and an asset freeze by the United Nations Security Council (UNSCR) since 2007.  Soleimani had, however, traveled frequently to Syria, Iraq and Lebanon in the decade since these prohibitions. Notably, Soleimani also reportedly made a covert trip to Moscow in July of 2015 that was conspicuous for its flouting of UN travel restrictions and for the lore associated with it having facilitated what became a precipitous escalation in Russian intervention into the Syrian civil war.

Oct. 8, 2019

Putin Heads For Riyadh

At their summit later this month, Putin and his Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) hosts will highlight progress on the economic agenda laid out during King Salman’s October 2017 visit to Moscow.  Questions about the American commitment to protect the free flow of energy from the region will play in the background, and Putin will lobby the Saudis to buy Russian air defense systems.  The Russian president will use the September 14 strikes on Saudi energy facilities and the lengthy Yemen conflict to advance Moscow’s Concept for Collective Security in the Persian Gulf and encourage peace talks.  Moscow and Riyadh will underscore their intent to continue working together in OPEC+ to stabilize global oil prices, and use the Riyadh summit to bolster the room for independent action on the world stage of their energy tandem.