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21st Century Warfare Studies

Added August 16, 2016
Type: Monograph
Investigating the Benefits and Drawbacks of Realigning the National Guard Under the Department of Homeland Security. Authored by Dr. Ryan Burke, Dr. Sue McNeil.
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Part I of the 2014-2015 Army War College’s Key Strategic Issues List (KSIL)–Army Priorities for Strategic Analysis—asks: “Given the growing importance of homeland defense, what would be the benefits and drawbacks of realigning the [National] Guard under the department of Homeland Security to enhance domestic security and disaster response, while retaining utility for overseas missions in support of the Department of Defense?” (pg. 10). This monograph attempts to answer this question through analysis of interview data from subject matter experts in the National Guard and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The resulting product is a series of recommendations for improving the utility of the National Guard during homeland defense (HD) missions.
Added August 11, 2016
Type: Book
Cyberspace: Malevolent Actors, Criminal Opportunities, and Strategic Competition. Edited by Dr. Phil Williams, Dr. Dighton Fiddner.
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Cyberspace: Malevolent Actors, Criminal Opportunities, and Strategic Competition examines the challenges posed by the unique nature of cyberspace; differences between cyberthreats and more traditional challenges to national security; the range of possible responses to cyberthreats, and the relevance of traditional strategic concepts to potential confrontations in cyberspace. This volume is designed to inform and provoke, as well as to assist civilian and military national security, commerce, public sector, and academic decision-makers in understanding the sheer complexity and dynamism of both cyberspace and its associated insecurities.
Added August 10, 2016
Type: Monograph
The Pivot to Asia: Can it Serve as the Foundation for American Grand Strategy in the 21st Century. Authored by Dr. Douglas Stuart.
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Two years after coming to office, U.S. President Barack Obama designated the Indo-Asia-Pacific (IAP) region as his top strategic priority. This study argues that this was the right decision, and then looks at the challenges that the United States has confronted in its efforts to accomplish this “pivot strategy.”
Added July 14, 2016
Type: Letort Papers
Taking the Fight to the Enemy: Chinese Thinking about Long-Distance and Expeditionary Operations. Authored by Dr. Larry M. Wortzel.
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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.
Added June 29, 2016
Type: Monograph
NATO Cyberspace Capability: A Strategic and Operational Evolution. Authored by Jeffrey L. Caton.
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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?
Added June 07, 2016
Type: Monograph
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.
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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.
Added April 04, 2016
Type: Monograph
Operating in the Gray Zone: An Alternative Paradigm for U.S. Military Strategy. Authored by Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria, II.
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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?
Added March 15, 2016
Type: Monograph
Old and New Insurgency Forms. Authored by Dr. Robert J. Bunker.
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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.
Added December 18, 2015
Type: Monograph
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.
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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.
Added December 16, 2015
Type: Letort Papers
Autonomous Weapon Systems: A Brief Survey of Developmental, Operational, Legal, and Ethical Issues. Authored by Jeffrey L. Caton.
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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.
Added December 15, 2015
Type: Monograph
Lethal and Legal? The Ethics of Drone Strikes. Authored by Dr. Shima D. Keene.
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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.
Added December 11, 2015
Type: Book
The Human Terrain System: Operationally Relevant Social Science Research in Iraq and Afghanistan. Authored by Dr. Christopher Sims.
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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.
Added November 02, 2015
Type: Monograph
Training Humans for the Human Domain. Authored by Dr. Steve Tatham, Keir Giles.
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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.
Added October 16, 2015
Type: Monograph
The Rise of iWar: Identity, Information, and the Individualization of Modern Warfare. Authored by Colonel Glenn J. Voelz.
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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.
Added September 29, 2015
Type: Monograph
The Ethics of Drone Strikes: Does Reducing the Cost of Conflict Encourage War? Authored by Dr. James Igoe Walsh, Dr. Marcus Schulzke.
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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.
Added September 14, 2015
Type: Letort Papers
Cyber Defense: An International View. Authored by Keir Giles, Kim Hartmann.
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Because of the seamlessly international nature of the internet, effective cybersecurity demands close cooperation with allies and friends overseas.
Added August 27, 2015
Type: Monograph
Terrorist and Insurgent Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Use, Potentials, and Military Implications. Authored by Dr. Robert J. Bunker.
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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.
Added August 25, 2015
Type: Letort Papers
Using Target Audience Analysis to Aid Strategic Level Decisionmaking. Authored by Dr. Steve Tatham.
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The author evaluates how advanced social science research can be applied to latent and emergent threats globally to provide strategic policy options.
Added August 11, 2015
Type: Monograph
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.
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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.
Added July 29, 2015
Type: Monograph
China’s Rise and Reconfiguration of Central Asia’s Geopolitics: A Case for U.S. "Pivot" to Eurasia. Authored by Roman Muzalevsky.
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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.
Added April 21, 2015
Type: Monograph
Evolving Army Needs for Space-Based Support. Authored by Jeffrey L. Caton.
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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?
Added April 09, 2015
Type: Letort Papers
A Russian View on Landpower. Authored by Major General Aleksandr V. Rogovoy, Keir Giles.
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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.
Added April 08, 2015
Type: Monograph
Space-Based Solar Power: A Technical, Economic, and Operational Assessment. Authored by Jeffrey L. Caton.
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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?
Added April 03, 2015
Type: Monograph
Thucydides Was Right: Defining the Future Threat. Authored by Dr. Colin S. Gray.
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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.
Added April 01, 2015
Type: Monograph
Confidence Building in Cyberspace: A Comparison of Territorial and Weapons-Based Regimes. Authored by Dr. Mary Manjikian.
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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.
Added February 11, 2015
Type: Monograph
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.
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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.
Added January 23, 2015
Type: Monograph
Army Support of Military Cyberspace Operations: Joint Contexts and Global Escalation Implications. Authored by Jeffrey L. Caton.
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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?
Added December 15, 2014
Type: Letort Papers
Operationalizing Counter Threat Finance Strategies. Authored by Dr. Shima D. Keene.
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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.
Added October 16, 2014
Type: Monograph
Distinguishing Acts of War in Cyberspace: Assessment Criteria, Policy Considerations, and Response Implications. Authored by Jeffrey L. Caton.
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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?
Added July 25, 2014
Type: Book
Visual Propaganda and Extremism in the Online Environment. Authored by Dr. Carol K. Winkler, Dr. Cori E. Dauber.
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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.
Added June 11, 2014
Type: Monograph
Cyberterrorism after STUXNET. Authored by Dr. Thomas M. Chen.
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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.
Added March 19, 2014
Type: Monograph
Defense Planning for National Security: Navigation Aids for the Mystery Tour. Authored by Dr. Colin S. Gray.
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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.
Added March 11, 2014
Type: Letort Papers
Legality in Cyberspace: An Adversary View. Authored by Keir Giles, Dr. Andrew Monaghan.
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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.
Added March 05, 2014
Type: Monograph
The Chinese People's Liberation Army and Information Warfare. Authored by Dr. Larry M. Wortzel.
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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.
Added January 08, 2014
Type: Other
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.
Added December 03, 2013
Type: Monograph
U.S. Governmental Information Operations and Strategic Communications: A Discredited Tool or User Failure? Implications for Future Conflict. Authored by Dr. Steve Tatham.
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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.
Added September 26, 2013
Type: Monograph
The Effectiveness of Drone Strikes in Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism Campaigns. Authored by Dr. James Igoe Walsh.
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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.
Added September 23, 2013
Type: Letort Papers
An Assessment of the DoD Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace. Authored by Dr. Thomas M. Chen.
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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?
Added May 03, 2013
Type: Monograph
Cyber Infrastructure Protection: Vol. II. Edited by Dr. Tarek N. Saadawi, COL Louis H. Jordan, Jr, Dr. Vincent Boudreau.
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This book is a follow-on to our earlier book published in 2011 and represents a detailed look at various aspects of cyber security. The chapters herein provide an integrated framework and a comprehensive view of the various forms of cyber infrastructure protection.
Added April 26, 2013
Type: Monograph
Sharing Power? Prospects for a U.S. Concert-Balance Strategy. Authored by Dr. Patrick Porter.
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Sharing Power examines alternative U.S. grand strategies. It argues that, while retrenchment is prudent, new strategies will also have to cope with dilemmas that can be mitigated but cannot be avoided.
Added April 04, 2013
Type: Monograph
Making Strategic Sense of Cyber Power: Why the Sky Is Not Falling. Authored by Dr. Colin S. Gray.
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Cyber is now recognized as an operational domain, but the theory that should explain it strategically is very largely missing. As the military establishment accepted the revolution in military affairs as the big organizing idea of the 1990s, then moved on to transformation in the early-2000s, so the third really big idea of the post-Cold War Era began to secure traction—cyber. However, it is one thing to know how to digitize; it is quite another to understand what digitization means strategically. With respect to cyber power, Dr. Colin Gray poses and seeks to answer the most basic of the strategist’s questions, “So what?”
Added November 14, 2012
Type: Monograph
Jihadist Cells and "IED" Capabilities in Europe: Assessing the Present and Future Threat to the West. Authored by Dr. Jeffrey M. Bale.
The increasing diffusion and application of expertise acquired by jihadists in fabricating “improvised explosive devices” and the extent to which local jihadist cells in the West may or may not be connected to veteran terrorist groups and networks in other countries and regions are vital concerns for Western military forces and security and intelligence agencies as they relate to these veteran terrorist groups and networks in other countries and regions of the world.
Added August 16, 2012
Type: Monograph
Transnational Organized Crime, Terrorism, and Criminalized States in Latin America: An Emerging Tier-One National Security Priority. Authored by Douglas Farah.
The emergence of new hybrid (state and nonstate) transnational criminal/terrorist franchises in Latin America operating under broad state protection now pose a tier-one security threat for the United States. Similar hybrid franchise models are developing in other parts of the world, making understanding the new dynamics an important factor in a broader national security context.
Added December 23, 2011
Type: Monograph
Organizational Change in the Russian Airborne Forces: The Lessons of the Georgian Conflict. Authored by Dr. Rod Thornton.
Russia’s best troops are to be found in the Airborne Forces. These were the only Russian troops to emerge with their reputation intact after the conflict with Georgia in 2008. They can represent a formidable foe. This monograph examines the current state of the Airborne Forces and why they might be seen as "formidable."
Added October 31, 2011
Type: Monograph
Arms Control and Proliferation Challenges to the Reset Policy. Authored by Dr. Stephen J. Blank.
What are the prospects for further progress in the reset policy with Russia regarding arms control and nuclear proliferation by North Korea and Iran? This monograph attempts to postulate where we are, and possibly where we should be going, or will be going, with respect to these issues.
Added July 08, 2011
Type: Monograph
The New Aztecs: Ritual and Restraint in Contemporary Western Military Operations. Authored by Dr. Zhivan Alach.
The Western way of war has come full circle. After centuries, indeed millennia, of evolution toward increased totality and brutality, it has turned back once again to the ritualistic and restrained methods of primitive warfare.
Added May 09, 2011
Type: Book
Cyber Infrastructure Protection. Edited by Dr. Tarek N. Saadawi, COL Louis H. Jordan, Jr.
This book answers several essential questions: What is cyberpower; how do we deal with emerging threats in cyberspace; what are the lessons that have already been learned; and where are the current cyberspace vulnerabilities?
Added July 20, 2010
Type: Monograph
Got Vision? Unity of Vision in Policy and Strategy: What It Is and Why We Need It. Authored by Dr. Anna Simons.
Having the right "who" to devise strategy is critical to success in counterinsurgency or any asymmetric, cross-cultural encounter. This monograph contends that if we do not get the "who" right, none of the "whats," in terms of what we do, matters.
Added June 03, 2010
Type: Monograph
Human Intelligence: All Humans, All Minds, All the Time. Authored by Mr. Robert D. Steele.
The author explores the centrality of Human Intelligence in meeting the needs of the U.S. Army, as well as the Department of Defense, and the whole of government, for relevant information and tailored intelligence essential to creating a national security strategy; for defining whole of government policies that work in harmony; for acquisition of the right capabilities at the right price in time to be useful; and for operations, both local and global.
Added April 19, 2010
Type: Book
Short of General War: Perspectives on the Use of Military Power in the 21st Century. Edited by Dr. Harry R Yarger.
In this anthology, students in the U.S. Army War College Class of 2008 critically examine the emerging 21st century security environment and offer diverse and innovative thoughts on how military power should be applied in situations short of general war.