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.
One of the major developments in international law since World War II is the growth of human rights law dedicated to ensuring the protection of individuals from violence wherever they are, including from their own state. Tracking such changes, in recent decades, just-war theory has evolved from its traditional focus on state sovereignty in the direction of a rights-based approach that treats just wars as a form of global law enforcement. This monograph provides a survey of these developments, focusing on the increased scope for humanitarian intervention, principles of justice after war, and on the question of the responsibility of combatants for assessing the justice of their military's cause. It concludes by considering the call for strengthening international institutions and training programs in military ethics.
The Trump administration has recently called for a free and open Indo-Pacific, essentially replacing the Obama-era “Rebalance.” This U.S. Army War College report provides prescient analysis and policy recommendations on how to proceed down the path to this call while simultaneously managing the rise of China.
Lawrence Freedman and Colin Gray are two of the most famous contemporary scholars of military strategy. Within the past few years, each published a book addressing different aspects of the same practical problem of strategy: defense planning. Considered to be strategy’s mundane cousin, defense planning revolves around how a nation designs its military according to its views of the future. Freedman’s and Gray’s verdicts on the subject are very similar and simply put: we are usually wrong when we predict the future of war.
The Protection of Civilians (PoC) Military Reference Guide is primarily intended for military commanders and staffs who must consider PoC during armed conflict, multidimensional peace operations, or other military operations, particularly when PoC is an operational or strategic objective. It is designed as a supplement to existing doctrine and other relevant guidance so that military forces can meet their obligations to protect civilians. The reference guide may also be used as a textbook for PoC training
The Army’s force posture is out of balance, with a greater percentage of troops stationed in the United States than at any time since the late 1940s. This has forced an over-reliance on lengthy, continuous rotational deployments to achieve deterrence and assurance in theaters such as northeast Asia and Europe. This finding is based on a 9-month study assessing the costs and benefits of rotational deployments and forward stationing. The analysis reveals that in terms of fiscal cost, training readiness, morale and family readiness, and diplomatic factors, the United States could likely achieve deterrence and assurance objectives more efficiently and more effectively with increased forward stationing. The recommendations address what kinds of units would be best suited for forward stationing, where forward stationing would be most efficacious, and how the Department of Defense should go about rebalancing Army force posture.
Leadership receives a tremendous amount of attention, but what about the day-to-day command challenges that confront O-4s, O-5s, and O-6s in today’s war zones? What has command entailed over the past decade and a half for special operations force (SOF) commanders who have deployed to Afghanistan (and Iraq) either to lead or to work under Special Operations Task Forces (SOTFs) or Combined Joint Special Operations Task Forces (CJSOTFs)? In both theaters, officers have had to contend with various competing hierarchies and significant churn. What then might the Army and military do to obviate or mitigate these and other problems? The contours of a potential solution are described and its benefits discussed.
Current trends in international relations suggest the United States will place a greater reliance on international partners in securing vital national interests. Growing assertiveness by regional state actors, increasingly capable nonstate actors, and a “war-weary” American public suggest the emergence of a “polyarchic” world order that will strain the United States’ ability to maintain sufficient forces overseas, where it currently exchanges defense commitments for access and basing. Rather, the United States may have to commit to a strategy broadly described as “off-shore balancing” that would rely on regional partners to uphold the balance of power in their own neighborhood, exchanging indirect U.S. support for the partner’s willingness to act in the interests of the United States. Even if it does not commit to such a strategy, current events suggest working through others to achieve strategic ends will be a feature in any future approach to international relations.
Clausewitz famously observed that war has an enduring nature and a changing character that evolves over time as technology, society, economics, and politics shift. This observation also applies to strategic leadership: it too has an enduring nature and a changing character.
The author provides the defense policy team a clear warning against excessive adherence to past defense and national security convention. Including the insights of a number of noted scholars on the subjects of “wild cards” and “strategic surprise,” he argues that future disruptive, unconventional shocks are inevitable. Through strategic impact and potential for disruption and violence, such shocks, in spite of their nonmilitary character, will demand the focused attention of defense leadership, as well as the decisive employment of defense capabilities in response. As a consequence, the author makes a solid case for continued commitment by the Department of Defense to prudent strategic hedging against their potential occurrence.