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Military Change and Transformation

(1/23/08) The Transformation MiPAL has been updated with a press conference by the Secretary of the Army and a Government Accountability Office report, both on the plan to increase the Army's size. Please see the Recently Added Documents section for the latest on this topic - the newest updates are in bold. (View it at NDU)

Military Change and Transformation

(12/18/07) The Transformation MiPAL has been updated with a Government Accountability Office report on the Army's modular force and expansion activities, and an article from the Heritage Foundation on Army modernization and the Future Combat Systems. Please see the Recently Added Documents section for the latest on this topic - the newest updates are in bold. (View it at NDU)

Military Change and Transformation

(12/18/07) The Transformation MiPAL has been updated with a Government Accountability Office report on the Army's modular force and expansion activities, and an article from the Heritage Foundation on Army modernization and the Future Combat Systems. Please see the Recently Added Documents section for the latest on this topic - the newest updates are in bold. (View it at NDU)

Military Change and Transformation

(12/18/07) The Transformation MiPAL has been updated with a Government Accountability Office report on the Army's modular force and expansion activities, and an article from the Heritage Foundation on Army modernization and the Future Combat Systems. Please see the Recently Added Documents section for the latest on this topic - the newest updates are in bold. (View it at NDU)

  • Publication cover with title

    Added July 14, 2016

    Taking the Fight to the Enemy: Chinese Thinking about Long-Distance and Expeditionary Operations

    Authored by Dr. Larry M. Wortzel.
    View the Executive Summary

    This Letort Paper examines a genre of military publications inside the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that advocates the development of the capacity to hold a distant enemy’s population and homeland at risk in a conflict. This Paper also assesses a series of military exercises and changes in force posture that would make the PLA more capable of expeditionary operations.

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    Added June 29, 2016

    NATO Cyberspace Capability: A Strategic and Operational Evolution

    Authored by Jeffrey L. Caton.
    View the Executive Summary

    Bolstered by numerous cyber attacks, such as those in Estonia in 2007, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO’s) priorities were formalized in subsequent cyber defense policies adopted in 2008, 2011, and 2014. If indeed the decision is made to pursue military action in the cyberspace realm, what capabilities are available within NATO forces to accomplish such activities?

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    Added June 07, 2016

    Outplayed: Regaining Strategic Initiative in the Gray Zone, A Report Sponsored by the Army Capabilities Integration Center in Coordination with Joint Staff J-39/Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment Branch

    Authored by Mr. Nathan P. Freier, Lieutenant Colonel Charles R. Burnett, Colonel William J. Cain, Jr., Lieutenant Colonel Christopher D. Compton, Lieutenant Colonel Sean M. Hankard, Professor Robert S. Hume, Lieutenant Colonel Gary R. Kramlich, II, Colonel J. Matthew Lissner, Lieutenant Colonel Tobin A. Magsig, Colonel Daniel E. Mouton, Mr. Michael S. Muztafago, Colonel James M. Schultze, Professor John F. Troxell, Lieutenant Colonel Dennis G. Wille.
    View the Executive Summary

    This report concludes gray zone competition and conflict will persist as Department of Defense (DoD) pacers for the foreseeable future. It describes trends contributing to the emergence of gray zone challenges, major gray zone archetypes, and their defense implications and finally, specific recommendations for more activist and adaptive DoD responses to persistent gray zone provocation.

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    Added April 04, 2016

    Operating in the Gray Zone: An Alternative Paradigm for U.S. Military Strategy

    Authored by Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria, II.
    View the Executive Summary

    The idea of gray zone wars is not new, but why does the West think it is and why has it struggled to deal with it? How can the West adjust its way of thinking about strategy and war to operate better in the gray zone?

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    Added March 15, 2016

    Old and New Insurgency Forms

    Authored by Dr. Robert J. Bunker.
    View the Executive Summary

    While the study of insurgency extends well over 100 years and has its origins in the guerrilla and small wars of the 19th century and beyond, almost no cross-modal analysis—that is, dedicated insurgency form typology identification—has been conducted. This monograph creates a proposed insurgency typology divided into legacy, contemporary, and emergent and potential insurgency forms, and provides strategic implications for U.S. defense policy as they relate to each of these forms.

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    Added January 29, 2016

    The Army War College Review Vol. 2 No. 1

    Edited by Dr. Larry D Miller.
    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.

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    Added January 24, 2016

    Military Engagement and Forward Presence: Down but Not Out as Tools to Shape and Win

    Authored by Dr. John R. Deni.
    View the Executive Summary

    Forward military presence and, when employed selectively, military engagement – can promote stability and security and can contribute dramatically to operational capacity and capability across a range of military operations, including major interstate war. Unfortunately, significant cuts to overseas permanent presence and continuing pockets of institutional bias against engagement as a force multiplier and readiness enhancer have combined to limit the leverage possible through these two policy tools.

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    Added December 31, 2015

    Strategy and Grand Strategy: What Students and Practitioners Need to Know

    Authored by Dr. Tami Davis Biddle.
    View the Executive Summary

    Explaining why the practice of strategy is such a difficult and demanding art, Dr. Tami Davis Biddle offers a clear-headed critique that will be illuminating for students and practitioners alike. Relying on a broad base of classic and contemporary literature, she reveals why the logic of strategy often rests on weak foundations, and why—even when that logic is sound—the myriad problems of implementation will tend to erode and undermine the link between ends and means.

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    Added December 23, 2015

    Reforming U.S. Export Controls Reforms: Advancing U.S. Army Interests

    Authored by Dr. Richard Weitz.
    View the Executive Summary

    The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) help prevent potential foreign adversaries from using U.S. arms against the United States and its allies. However, the Regulations, as enforced, can weaken U.S. national security in other important ways.

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    Added December 18, 2015

    Enabling Others to Win in a Complex World: Maximizing Security Force Assistance Potential in the Regionally Aligned Brigade Combat Team

    Authored by CPT (P) Liam P. Walsh.
    View the Executive Summary

    Despite significant U.S. Army efforts at providing security force assistance (SFA) during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, the performance of the Iraqi Security Forces against the Islamic State in the summer of 2014 raises questions about the conventional Army’s ability to train host nation security forces. Focusing on the brigade combat team (BCT), this monograph examines SFA efforts in Iraq and provides recommendations to maximize SFA capabilities in the regionally aligned BCT.

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    Added December 16, 2015

    Autonomous Weapon Systems: A Brief Survey of Developmental, Operational, Legal, and Ethical Issues

    Authored by Jeffrey L. Caton.
    View the Executive Summary

    What does the Department of Defense hope to gain from the use of autonomous weapon systems (AWS)? This Letort Paper explores a diverse set of complex issues related to the developmental, operational, legal, and ethical aspects of AWS.

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    Added December 15, 2015

    Lethal and Legal? The Ethics of Drone Strikes

    Authored by Dr. Shima D. Keene.
    View the Executive Summary

    With greatly increased lethal use of unmanned aerial vehicles comes greater scrutiny and controversy. This monograph lays out the ethical and legal landscape in which drone killings take place and makes key recommendations both for ensuring legality and a sound moral basis for operations, but also for ensuring those operations are effective.

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    Added December 11, 2015

    The Human Terrain System: Operationally Relevant Social Science Research in Iraq and Afghanistan

    Authored by Dr. Christopher Sims.
    View the Executive Summary

    Investigation of the experiences and insights of social scientists that conducted research at the tactical level in Iraq and Afghanistan offers a nuanced examination of the challenges posed by those conflicts. This book explains how a military crisis catalyzed the creation of the Human Terrain System and traces its effect through interviews with former program members.

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    Added December 02, 2015

    Mastering the Gray Zone: Understanding a Changing Era of Conflict

    Authored by Dr. Michael J. Mazarr.
    View the Executive Summary

    This study examines the growing use of “gray zone” campaigns and techniques to achieve national goals. It assesses the character of these challenges, offers a number of hypotheses to help understand their strategic implications, and makes policy recommendations to deal with these increasingly important forms of statecraft.

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    Added November 02, 2015

    Training Humans for the Human Domain

    Authored by Dr. Steve Tatham, Keir Giles.
    View the Executive Summary

    Experience from Afghanistan and Iraq has demonstrated the vital nature of understanding human terrain, with conclusions relevant far beyond counterinsurgency operations in the Islamic world. This monograph offers an outline for educating U.S. and allied service personnel in fundamental human domain skills, and argues against their being overlooked in favor of technical solutions.

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    Added October 26, 2015

    Breaking the Bathsheba Syndrome: Building a Performance Evaluation System that Promotes Mission Command

    Authored by Colonel Curtis D. Taylor.
    View the Executive Summary

    The Army today is seeking to inculcate a philosophy of mission command across the force based on a culture of mutual trust, clear intent, and decentralized initiative. It is therefore, reasonable to ask if our current performance evaluation system contributes or detracts from such a culture.

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    Added October 16, 2015

    The Rise of iWar: Identity, Information, and the Individualization of Modern Warfare

    Authored by Colonel Glenn J. Voelz.
    View the Executive Summary

    During a decade of global counterterrorism operations and two extended counterinsurgency campaigns, the United States was confronted with a new kind of adversary. Without uniforms, flags, and formations, the task of identifying and targeting these combatants represented an unprecedented operational challenge for which Cold War era doctrinal methods were largely unsuited.

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    Added October 14, 2015

    The Army War College Review Vol. 1 No. 3

    Edited by Dr. Larry D Miller.
    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.

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    Added September 29, 2015

    The Ethics of Drone Strikes: Does Reducing the Cost of Conflict Encourage War?

    Authored by Dr. James Igoe Walsh, Dr. Marcus Schulzke.
    View the Executive Summary

    The increasingly frequent use of drones raises profound questions about the nature and morality of warfare involving asymmetrical risks between opposing belligerents. Many have raised questions regarding ethical consequences of the military use of drones.

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    Added September 18, 2015

    Developing Emerging Leaders: The Bush School and the Legacy of the 41st President

    Edited by Dr. Joseph R. Cerami.
    View the Executive Summary

    This research project examines the ideas and techniques for the education and training development of emerging leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The project addresses the gaps in military and civilian education and training in preparing emerging leaders for “whole of government,” cross-agency, and cross-sector organizational environments.

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    Added September 14, 2015

    Cyber Defense: An International View

    Authored by Keir Giles, Kim Hartmann.
    View the Executive Summary

    Because of the seamlessly international nature of the internet, effective cybersecurity demands close cooperation with allies and friends overseas.

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    Added August 27, 2015

    Terrorist and Insurgent Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Use, Potentials, and Military Implications

    Authored by Dr. Robert J. Bunker.
    View the Executive Summary

    U.S. Army organizations and its sister services are effected by nonstate threat unmanned aerial vehicle (or drone) use, as well as domestic policing and federal law enforcement bodies tasked with counterterrorism and homeland security missions. This technology can and will be used against U.S. troops deployed overseas and against civilians back home.

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    Added August 25, 2015

    Using Target Audience Analysis to Aid Strategic Level Decisionmaking

    Authored by Dr. Steve Tatham.
    View the Executive Summary

    The author evaluates how advanced social science research can be applied to latent and emergent threats globally to provide strategic policy options.

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    Added August 11, 2015

    Duffer’s Shoal: A Strategic Dream of the Pacific Command Area of Responsibility

    Authored by Colonel Russell N. Bailey, Colonel (NZ) Christopher J. Parsons, Colonel Elizabeth R. Smith, Lieutenant Colonel Derek J. O'Malley, Lieutenant Colonel Bob Dixon, Ms. Laura McAleer.
    View the Executive Summary

    This monograph is a powerful primer for strategic and operational thinking. The successful defense of Duffer’s Drift required the nuanced application of hard-earned knowledge; ignoring even one tactical lesson guaranteed certain defeat.

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    Added July 29, 2015

    China’s Rise and Reconfiguration of Central Asia’s Geopolitics: A Case for U.S. "Pivot" to Eurasia

    Authored by Roman Muzalevsky.
    View the Executive Summary

    China’s emergence as a global actor has questioned the position of the United States as the strongest power and the future of the Washington-led global order. To achieve the status of a truly global player wielding influence in all dimensions of power would require China to leverage its regional influence in Central Asia.

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    Added July 22, 2015

    A Hard Look at Hard Power: Assessing the Defense Capabilities of Key U.S. Allies and Security Partners

    Edited by Gary J. Schmitt.
    View the Executive Summary

    Following the end of the Cold War, less attention has been paid to America’s allies, especially their “hard power” capabilities, despite the United States and its allies going to war more frequently than before. This volume addresses that gap, providing a holistic account of allied hard power and, in turn, the ability—and, indirectly, the willingness—of those same partners to use force independently or in concert with the United States and other allies.

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    Added April 30, 2015

    Stand Up and Fight! The Creation of U.S. Security Organizations, 1942-2005

    Edited by Colonel Ty Seidule, Dr. Jacqueline E. Whitt.
    View the Executive Summary

    Stand Up and Fight is a collection of essays that explores how new National Security Organizations are stood up—that is, formed, organized, funded, and managed—in the first years of their existence. From Joint ventures to combatant commands to cabinet-level departments, each organization’s history reveals important themes and lessons for leaders to consider in forming a new organization.

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    Added April 21, 2015

    Evolving Army Needs for Space-Based Support

    Authored by Jeffrey L. Caton.
    View the Executive Summary

    During the past half-century, Army space operations have evolved from a realm exclusive to scientists and engineers, to highly classified activities largely unknown to the general population, to the unveiling of space-based communication, imagery, surveillance, and environment capabilities that have become a foundation for all modern warfare. Is the Army properly postured to meet current and future space-based support needs to conduct unified land operations?

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    Added April 13, 2015

    Another Brick in the Wall: The Israeli Experience in Missile Defense

    Authored by Dr. Jean-Loup Samaan.
    View the Executive Summary

    The Israeli experience in missile defense reveals crucial lessons on the military adaptation to both new threats and new remedies that have direct implications for the United States and its allies.

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    Added April 09, 2015

    A Russian View on Landpower

    Authored by Major General Aleksandr V. Rogovoy, Keir Giles.
    View the Executive Summary

    In a time of rapid change for the U.S. Army, it is essential to retain awareness of how potential adversaries are also developing their concepts of Landpower. This Letort Paper lays out an authoritative Russian view on the importance of substantial conventional land forces—a view which U.S. force planners should study closely.

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    Added April 08, 2015

    Space-Based Solar Power: A Technical, Economic, and Operational Assessment

    Authored by Jeffrey L. Caton.
    View the Executive Summary

    With growing international awareness of energy security challenges, the promise of space-based solar power for clean and unlimited energy for all humankind is certainly appealing. While significant progress continues in the enabling technologies of such systems, is there compelling evidence that space-based solar power systems will provide the best energy solution? How does the Army’s current approach to incorporating a diverse portfolio of renewable energy sources in distributed locations compare to the potential of enterprise ventures that beam energy from solar collectors in space?

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    Added April 03, 2015

    Thucydides Was Right: Defining the Future Threat

    Authored by Dr. Colin S. Gray.
    View the Executive Summary

    To define future threat is, in a sense, an impossible task, yet it is one that must be done. The only sources of empirical evidence accessible are the past and the present; one cannot obtain understanding about the future from the future.

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    Added April 01, 2015

    Confidence Building in Cyberspace: A Comparison of Territorial and Weapons-Based Regimes

    Authored by Dr. Mary Manjikian.
    View the Executive Summary

    Confidence-building measures among nations can establish trust, prevent misunderstandings, and establish stable conditions in the international system. In considering how to establish confidence-building measures in cyberspace, analysts can learn from past examples—including the establishment of weapons-based confidence-building measures in the areas of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, as well as in the Indo-Pakistan Conflict.

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    Added February 11, 2015

    Senior Conference 50, The Army We Need: The Role of Landpower in an Uncertain Strategic Environment

    Edited by Major Charlie D Lewis, Dr. Rachel M Sondheimer, Colonel Jeffrey D Peterson.
    View the Executive Summary

    Senior Conference 2014, the 50th iteration of the United States Military Academy (USMA) Senior Conference, explored emerging trends and their implications for the Army’s strategic contribution to national security.

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    Added February 03, 2015

    New Realities: Energy Security in the 2010s and Implications for the U.S. Military

    Edited by Dr. John R. Deni.
    View the Executive Summary

    How are the profound, even revolutionary changes in today’s global energy markets affecting U.S. national security and the U.S. military? Experts from academia, think tanks, the Pentagon, and the private sector address these and related questions in this timely, important edited volume.

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    Added January 23, 2015

    Army Support of Military Cyberspace Operations: Joint Contexts and Global Escalation Implications

    Authored by Jeffrey L. Caton.
    View the Executive Summary

    Military cyberspace operations have been ongoing since before the advent of the Internet and their influence on traditional military operations continues to increase. What are the significant changes in mission and structure of Department of Defense offensive and defensive cyberspace activities over the past decade? How do joint and Army cyberspace military operations fit into the complex and dynamic sphere of daily network defense as well as international deterrence and escalation?

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    Added December 15, 2014

    Operationalizing Counter Threat Finance Strategies

    Authored by Dr. Shima D. Keene.
    View the Executive Summary

    Counter Threat Finance strategies have the potential to be a multifaceted weapon both for the purpose of gathering intelligence and for direct action. This Paper highlights ways in which Counter Threat Finance strategies can be applied not only to effectively disrupt adversary activity, but also to stabilize local economies for the purpose of capturing hearts and minds, as well as to serve in advance as indicators and warnings of impending instability.

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    Added December 12, 2014

    Government Contracting Should be a Core Competence for U.S. Military Personnel

    Authored by Professor Katherine E. White.
    View the Executive Summary

    The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan mark an era of unprecedented outsourcing in contingency operations—in some cases leading to significant waste, fraud, and abuse. The author addresses the steps the U.S. military should take to make government contracting a core competency for both its civilian and military personnel.

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    Added October 16, 2014

    Distinguishing Acts of War in Cyberspace: Assessment Criteria, Policy Considerations, and Response Implications

    Authored by Jeffrey L. Caton.
    View the Executive Summary

    Currently, there is no internationally accepted definition of when hostile actions in cyberspace are recognized as attacks, let alone acts of war. Although many of the challenges associated with this conundrum are common with those of the traditional domains (land, sea, and air), how should senior policymakers and decisionmakers address the unique vexations related to the complex and dynamic character of conflict in the cyberspace domain?

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    Added July 25, 2014

    Visual Propaganda and Extremism in the Online Environment

    Authored by Dr. Carol K. Winkler, Dr. Cori E. Dauber.
    View the Executive Summary

    Visual images have been a central component of propaganda for as long as propaganda has been produced. Terrorist groups, with very little initial investment, are making videos that are coming so close to the quality of BBC or CNN broadcasts that the difference is meaningless, and with access to the web, they have instantaneous access to a global audience.

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    Added June 19, 2014

    Operational Reservations: Considerations for a Total Army Force

    Authored by COL John D. Ellis, COL (Ret.) Laura McKnight Mackenzie.
    View the Executive Summary

    Despite fighting shoulder-to-shoulder this past decade, the U.S. Army is comprised of essentially “three Armies”—the active component, the Army Reserve, and the National Guard. While an intriguing start to integrate the three components, the Army Total Force Policy is not a panacea for reform. Real and meaningful work still needs to be done to bring the three into effective alignment and in a way to foster cooperation and mutual respect.

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    Added June 11, 2014

    Cyberterrorism after STUXNET

    Authored by Dr. Thomas M. Chen.
    View the Executive Summary

    This monograph examines the threat of cyberterrorism before and after STUXNET by addressing questions of motive, means, and opportunity. STUXNET has not changed the near-term likelihood of cyberterrorism, which remains low, but has implications for the cost-benefit weights of future attacks.

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    Added March 19, 2014

    Defense Planning for National Security: Navigation Aids for the Mystery Tour

    Authored by Dr. Colin S. Gray.
    View the Executive Summary

    What do we believe we know about the future with sufficient reliability for it to serve as a basis for defense planning? Science and social science are both utterly disarmed by the complete absence of data about the future, from the future.

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    Added March 11, 2014

    Legality in Cyberspace: An Adversary View

    Authored by Keir Giles, Dr. Andrew Monaghan.
    View the Executive Summary

    The United States and its allies are in general agreement on the legal status of conflict in cyberspace. But other key cyber actors have radically different ideas on key concepts of cyber warfare, including when a state of war exists. This paper explores the Russian approach to legal constraints governing actions in cyberspace, in order to assist in formulating an effective response to Russian cyber initiatives.

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    Added March 05, 2014

    The Chinese People's Liberation Army and Information Warfare

    Authored by Dr. Larry M. Wortzel.
    View the Executive Summary

    The Chinese government plans to establish a new air defense intercept zone which will include the Diaoyu or Senkaku Islands, sovereignty over which is disputed by Japan, China, and Taiwan. Due to complaints of cyber penetrations attributed to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and State are devising new means to protect intellectual property and secrets from the PLA’s computer network operations.

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    Added February 14, 2014

    Senior Officer Talent Management: Fostering Institutional Adaptability

    Authored by Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Michael J. Colarusso, Colonel David S. Lyle.
    View the Executive Summary

    Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates characterized the "greatest challenges facing the Army" as the "institutional and bureaucratic constipation" of its officer management systems. In this book, Mike Colarusso and Dave Lyle examine the Army's industrial-era personnel practices and prescribe a senior officer talent management approach that they believe is better suited to the demands of tomorrow.

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    Added January 08, 2014

    New Realities: Energy Security in the 2010s and Implications for the U.S. Military - Executive Summaries

    Edited by Dr. John R. Deni.
    The rapidly changing global energy supply situation, coupled with a host of social, political, and economic challenges facing consumer states, has significant implications for the United States generally and for the U.S. military specifically. The U.S. Army War College gathered experts from the policymaking community, academia, think tanks, the private sector, and the military services at the Reserve Officers Association in Washington, DC on 19-20 November 2013 to address first the major ‘new realities’ both geographically and technologically and then the specific military implications. This compendium of executive summaries is based on the presentations delivered at that conference, which was funded through the generous support of the U.S. Army War College Foundation.

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    Added December 03, 2013

    U.S. Governmental Information Operations and Strategic Communications: A Discredited Tool or User Failure? Implications for Future Conflict

    Authored by Dr. Steve Tatham.
    View the Executive Summary

    Are U.S. information operations and strategic communications fit for purpose? This issue is debated herein, and the author concludes that, if the United States is to compete with emerging powers such as China and Russia, it needs to significantly modernize and update information operations and strategic communications. But, despite what critics and even Congress may say, these important programs must not be cut.

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    Added September 26, 2013

    The Effectiveness of Drone Strikes in Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism Campaigns

    Authored by Dr. James Igoe Walsh.
    View the Executive Summary

    Drones have become an important part of the U.S. counterinsurgency and counterterrorism arsenal. But the available evidence shows that they are not always effective, and their use can have unpredictable consequences.

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    Added September 23, 2013

    An Assessment of the DoD Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace

    Authored by Dr. Thomas M. Chen.
    View the Executive Summary

    This monograph critically examines the Department of Defense Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace, which was published in July 2011. What are the messages conveyed, and is the Strategy adequate to maintain U.S. superiority in the face of existing and future cyber threats?

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