Strategic Insights: Syria Safe Zones Authored by: Dr Azeem Ibrahim. January 09, 2017

Diplomacy has all but failed in Syria, and it is difficult to envisage when and how diplomatic efforts could be restarted in light of the continued difficulties between Russia and the West. With these difficulties, it is imperative to change focus and tackle the one area where the United States might still be able to have a positive impact: the humanitarian situation in Syria. The first priority in this regard must be the establishment of safe zones within Syria, where civilian populations who fear being targeted by either side can find safe refuge until the conflict can move toward some kind of resolution. Achieving this first priority will require a much more serious commitment than any Western power has yet been willing to make. Failing to do so will carry even higher costs over the medium and long term: the continued migration of refugees into Europe, where the political impact of the migration crisis so far has already had serious political and social costs; as well as the possible spread of the instability contagion to neighboring Lebanon, Jordan, and perhaps most seriously, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member Turkey.

2016-2017 Civil Affairs Issue Papers: Leveraging Civil Affairs Edited by: Colonel Christopher J Holshek. March 15, 2017

For three years now, the Civil Affairs Association and its partners have provided the Civil Affairs Regiment a way to provide experience-based feedback and advice to institutional and policy level leadership on the future of the Civil Affairs force through an annual fall symposium. These symposia result in Civil Affairs Issue Papers published and presented at the spring roundtable. The workshop built upon Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster’s 2015 Symposium challenge to the CA Regiment to contribute to the discussion of the future force through the Army Warfighting Challenges. This discussion was motivated by the general recognition of CA’s longstanding role as more than a critical “force multiplier” or tactical “enabler” in decisive action.

Strategic Insights: Speed Kills—Enter an Age of Unbridled Hyperconnectivity Authored by: Mr Nathan P Freier. June 09, 2017

This month, a team of U.S. Army War College (USAWC) researchers concluded a yearlong study on enterprise-level risk and risk assessment inside the Department of Defense (DoD). At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk and Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World argues for a new Department-level risk concept for describing, identifying, assessing, and communicating risk in an environment defined by sudden disruptive change. It suggests that a new concept should rest on four foundational principles: diversity, dynamism, persistent dialogue, and adaptation. Among At Our Own Peril’s many insights, perhaps the most enlightening are those concerning the strategic environment and the complex hazards emerging from it. The report characterizes the contemporary environment as one of “post-primacy,” where the United States remains a global power, but one that is commonly confronted by purposeful and contextual defense-relevant challenges that fall considerably outside of the DoD’s dominant bias and convention.

The Army War College Review Vol. 3 No. 1 Authored by: Colonel Darren Huxley, COL David C. Menser, Lieutenant Colonel Carter L. Price, Lieutenant Colonel Jaren K. Price, LTC Geoffrey W. Wright. Edited by: Dr Larry D Miller. July 18, 2017

The Army War College Review, a refereed publication of student work, is produced under the purview of the Strategic Studies Institute and the United States Army War College. An electronic quarterly, The AWC Review connects student intellectual work with professionals invested in U.S. national security, Landpower, strategic leadership, global security studies, and the advancement of the profession of arms.

Ends, Means, Ideology, and Pride: Why the Axis Lost and What We Can Learn from Its Defeat Authored by: Dr Jeffrey Record. July 13, 2017

The author examines the Axis defeat in World War II and concludes that the two main causes were resource inferiority (after 1941) and strategic incompetence—i.e., pursuit of imperial ambitions beyond the reach of its actual power. Until 1941 Axis military fortunes thrived, but the addition in that year of the Soviet Union and the United States to the list of Axis enemies condemned the Axis to ultimate strategic defeat. Germany, Italy, and Japan all attempted to bite off more than they could chew and subsequently choked to death.

Strategic Insights: U.S.-China Relations: Avoiding the Traps Authored by: Prof John F Troxell. July 19, 2017

Much has been written about the rise of China and the tensions that this has put on the international system. The potential for conflict between the United States and China can be compared to the Peloponnesian War, as told by the ancient historian Thucydides, and the inevitability of that war because of Sparta’s fear of a rising Athens. There is no doubt that the rise of China has generated, if not fear, at least significant consternation on the part of the United States and our Pacific allies.

What Should the U.S. Army Learn From History? Recovery From a Strategy Deficit Authored by: Dr Colin S Gray. July 26, 2017

Does history repeat itself? This monograph clearly answers “no,” firmly. However, it does not argue that an absence of repetition in the sense of analogy means that history can have no utility for the soldier today. This monograph argues for a “historical parallelism,” in place of shaky or false analogy. The past, even the distant and ancient past, provides evidence of the potency of lasting virtues of good conduct. This monograph concludes by offering four recommendations: 1) Behave prudently. 2) Remember the concept of the great stream of time. 3) Do not forget that war nearly always is a gamble. 4) War should only be waged with strategic sense.

The Army War College Review Vol. 3 No. 2 Authored by: Colonel James M. Efaw, Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin R. Jonsson, Lieutenant Colonel Asariel Loria, Commander Mark O’Connell, Colonel Stephen E. Schemenauer. Edited by: Dr Larry D Miller. July 24, 2017

The Army War College Review, a refereed publication of student work, is produced under the purview of the Strategic Studies Institute and the United States Army War College. An electronic quarterly, The AWC Review connects student intellectual work with professionals invested in U.S. national security, Landpower, strategic leadership, global security studies, and the advancement of the profession of arms.

The Iran Nuclear Deal: The Verification Challenge Authored by: Mr. Mark A. Carter.

On July 20, 2015, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an international agreement on the nuclear program of the Islamic Republic of Iran, hereafter referred to as Iran. The JCPOA was negotiated between Iran and the five permanent members of the UNSC, plus Germany (P5+1) to eliminate Iran’s path to the development of a nuclear weapon. The signatories to the JCPOA state the agreement puts in place safeguard measures that prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon or weapons-grade nuclear material. The JCPOA is the first agreement to limit fissile material and uranium enrichment capability since the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty entered into force in 1970. As a historic agreement and one that affects the Middle East, and possibly global, security, it is appropriate to analyze its safeguard provisions to determine if deficiencies in coverage exist and the ramifications of such deficiencies. This analysis will demonstrate that P5+1 claim that the JCPOA has completely, and indefinitely, blocked Iranian attempts to develop a nuclear weapon is not verifiable.

Justified Physical Response to Cyber Attacks from Walzer’s Legalist Paradigm Authored by: Commander Joseph W. Smotherman.

As warfare evolves, new technology pushes the limits of acceptability and operations in cyberspace are no different. If attacks in cyberspace are assaults of one state against another, then the framework of Just War theory should still apply and Michael Walzer’s Legalist Paradigm provides a clearer lens on when an armed response to a cyber attack is morally permissible. While some parts of Just War theory directly apply to responses to Cyber Attacks, the others do not, beginning with Just Cause. Walzer describes Just Cause in terms of the natural rights of the citizens of a state, and when a cyber attack interrupts the ability of those citizens to make a life together or the “safe space” they create, then a physical response to a cyber attack could be justified. This paper outlines the relationship between Walzer’s Legalist Paradigm and justification for physical responses to cyber attacks, with the intent of providing senior leaders with a framework for those responses.