Disrupting, dismantling, and ultimately defeating al-Qaeda based and inspired terrorism is a declared policy of the U.S. Government. Three key strategic objectives have been identified for accomplishing this: attacking al-Qaeda’s terror network, undermining radicalization and recruitment, and hardening homeland defense. The present monograph proposes a distinct "jihad-realist" approach for undermining radicalization and recruitment to al-Qaeda. First, a brief discussion of six means for ending terrorist organizations is provided. Second, the premises of a jihad-realist approach are described. Third, a jihad-realist shari’a case against al-Qaeda’s terrorism is presented. In conclusion, key assertions are summarized, and several specific policy recommendations offered for national security personnel charged with formulating and executing counterterrorist messaging strategy.
The al-Qaeda Organization (AQO) and the Islamic State Organization (ISO) are transnational adversaries that conduct terrorism in the name of Sunni Islam. It is declared U.S. Government (USG) policy to degrade, defeat, and destroy them. The present book has been written to assist policymakers, military planners, strategists, and professional military educators whose mission demands a deep understanding of strategically-relevant differences between these two transnational terrorist entities. In it, one shall find a careful comparative analysis across three key strategically relevant dimensions: essential doctrine, beliefs, and worldview; strategic concept, including terrorist modus operandi; and specific implications and recommendations for current USG policy and strategy. Key questions that are addressed include: How is each terrorist entity related historically and doctrinally to the broader phenomenon of transnational Sunni “jihadism”? What is the exact nature of the ISO? How, if at all, does ISO differ in strategically relevant ways from AQO? What doctrinal differences essentially define these entities? How does each understand and operationalize strategy? What critical requirements and vulnerabilities characterize each entity? Finally, what implications, recommendations, and proposals are advanced that are of particular interest to USG strategists and professional military educators?
U.S. landpower is an essential, but often overlooked, element of national power in semi-enclosed maritime environments like the South China Sea. This monograph gives U.S. policymakers a better understanding of the role of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and Special Operations Forces (SOF) in the region through potential combat operations employing wide area defense and maneuver; deterrence through forward presence and peacetime operations; and security engagement with landpower-dominant allies, partners, and competitors in the region. Landpower’s capabilities are also essential for direct support of the air and sea services and other government organization’s success when operating in this theater in direct support of U.S. national interests.
Syria has become one of the most vexing and complex problems for U.S. strategic planners in recent times. Currently, the United States has about 2,000 troops in the northeastern part of the country whose primary mission has been to aid the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up primarily of Kurds and some Arab tribesmen, to fight ISIS. The near total defeat of ISIS in Syria, especially with the fall of its so-called caliphate capital in Raqqa in October 2017, might seem to suggest that the military mission is coming to an end and, therefore, the United States should pull out its troops. Indeed, President Donald Trump stated publicly in late March 2018, that he wanted these troops to come home “very soon.” However, since that time, the U.S. President has backtracked from this statement after receiving advice from several of his top military advisers, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, some foreign leaders like French President Emanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and influential members of Congress, such as Senator Lindsey Graham, all of whom have recommended that the President keep these troops in Syria.
This Strategic Studies Institute book provides a comprehensive research guide to radical Islamist English-language online magazines, eBooks, and assorted radical Islamist news magazines, reports, and pocketbooks published between April-May 2007 and November 2016, and generates strategic insights and policy response options.
What are the key strategic objectives of Russian foreign and security policy? How has Russian operational planning been affected by experiences in Georgia, Ukraine, and elsewhere in recent years? What international or domestic factors most influence Russian force modernization? These and other questions were at the top of the agenda on May 1, 2018, as the U.S. Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) and the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) gathered some of the best minds from academia, think tanks, and government to discuss current Russian military affairs The objective of the invite-only workshop was to inform EUCOM's efforts vis-à-vis Russia, and to bridge the gap between leading scholarly work and the practice of U.S. security policy. This compendium of executive summaries from each of the featured workshop speakers provides critical analysis and important recommendations for policy-makers and other practitioners of American foreign policy.
On April 7, 2018, insurgents and civilians in a rebel enclave in Douma, east of Damascus, Syria, were subjected to a chemical weapons attack during an offensive conducted by Assad regime and allied Russian and Iranian-linked ground forces. At least 42 individuals were reported to have been killed in the attack due to suffocation—primarily in their homes—with more than 500 additional individuals seeking medical attention. Local reports from the encircled enclave suggest that during the late afternoon and evening hours, Assad regime helicopters dropped two barrel bombs containing a substance with signatures consistent with that of chlorine.
This case study examines the intervention and stability operations in Kosovo from March 24, 1999 through approximately 2 years thereafter. Set during the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia and preceded by ethnic carnage in Bosnia, Croatia, and elsewhere, the intervention, named Operation ALLIED FORCE, was executed in order to protect Kosovars of Albanian descent from the ethnic cleansing of the Serbian leaders of the remaining federation of Yugoslavia
After a period of stability, the transatlantic community is facing considerable challenges in maintaining European security. Russia’s efforts to destabilize Europe, terrorism, climate change, energy insecurity, migration, fracturing European identity, and the reemergence of nationalist populism challenge the ability of European institutions to perform their central functions. Different visions for Europe’s future and the lack of a shared threat perception add to these dilemmas.
The U.S. military can help to shape these “friendly force dilemmas” by influencing European actors and institutions, promoting positive change through the U.S. interagency, and providing capabilities to tackle the theater-specific challenges.
In January, the Trump administration released its first National Defense Strategy (NDS), which closely followed the December 2017 release of the new National Security Strategy (NSS). Both of these documents call for a fundamental shift in the U.S. approach to security, emphasizing competition against Russia and China at the expense of what some may argue has been a myopic focus on eradicating transnational terrorism. What the NSS and NDS are less clear about is how the United States will compete against Russia. Instead, an array of arguably vague policy objectives are all these documents seem to muster. There may be good reasons why these documents provide us little in the way of substantive ways and means, but that shouldn’t prevent a public debate about the many tools Washington can and should employ in competition with Russia in order to generate potentially novel policy options for decision-makers, clearly signal Washington’s intent and reassurance to allies, and convey a stronger deterrent message to Moscow.