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The Strategic Study Institute focuses on security issues throughout Eastern Europe, Russia and the other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Thus SSI focuses considerable attention on Central Asia where US troops are currently engaged and where an increasingly important set of security challenges is occurring and on developments in Russian foreign policy, defense policy, and strategy. SSI has also followed the Balkan states and the enlargement of NATO with attendant changes in European security and defense planning.

New References from the Military Education Research Library Network

Pakistan: Mullen's Statement on Haqqani Network and ISI

(9/30/11) The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's testimony on the Pakistan government's approach to the Haqqani Network and violent extremism, as well as reaction from the State Department. (View it at NDU)

Pakistan: Mullen's Statement on Haqqani Network and ISI

(9/30/11) The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's testimony on the Pakistan government's approach to the Haqqani Network and violent extremism, as well as reaction from the State Department. (View it at NDU)

Congressional Hearing on President Obama's Plan for the Way Forward in Afghanistan

(6/24/11) Congressional testimony by the Secretary of State, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy on the President's plan for the way forward in Afghanistan. (View it at NDU)

Central Asia

(3/7/08) The Pakistan MiPAL has been updated with an article on Musharraf's efforts to stem rising U.S. sentiment from the Jamestown Foundation, an article analyzing Pakistan's conduct in the War on Terror from Washington Quarterly, a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S. policy options in post-election Pakistan, a report on the security of Pakistan's nuclear facilities from the EastWest Institute, a report on U.S. policy options toward Pakistan from the Stanley Foundation, and an article on Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate from Joint Force Quarterly. Please see the Recently Added Documents section for the latest on this country - the newest updates are in bold. (View it at NDU)

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    Added August 26, 2014

    Russia and the Caspian Sea: Projecting Power or Competing for Influence?

    Authored by Dr. Tracey German.
    View the Executive Summary

    A clear understanding of Russian strategic thinking and threat perception concerning the Caspian Sea is vital in order to facilitate effective U.S. policy in the wider Caucasus and Central Asian region.

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    Added May 05, 2014

    Russian Military Transformation - Goal In Sight?

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

    This Letort Paper assesses the range of options available to Russia for closing the capability gap with the United States and its allies, the authors review a flawed political perception of the key threats facing Russia and the challenges facing Russia’s military transformation.

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    Added May 02, 2014

    Russia After Putin

    Authored by Dr. Richard J. Krickus.
    View the Executive Summary

    This monograph addresses the question: "What next after Putin?" The answer will have a profound impact on U.S.-Russian relations—in particular, the capacity to forge a security relationship. The campaign to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons indicates that a new "reset" is in the making.

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    Added March 31, 2014

    Russia's Counterinsurgency in North Caucasus: Performance and Consequences

    Authored by Dr. Ariel Cohen.
    View the Executive Summary

    Understanding the conflict in North Caucasus may be the key to understanding the future of the post-communist Russian state and its interaction with Islam, as well as regional mountainous insurgencies. The region’s turbulent past and present make it a potential source of future waves of instability both within Russia and abroad—especially if the Kremlin and the Russian and local elites fail to deal with accumulating local economic, social, religious, and political pressures.

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    Added November 06, 2013

    Reforming the Police in Post-Soviet States: Georgia and Kyrgyzstan

    Authored by Dr. Erica Marat.
    View the Executive Summary

    Both Georgia and Kyrgyzstan offer important guidelines for conducting successful police reform in a former Soviet state, advice that could be helpful to the Middle Eastern states currently undergoing rapid political transformation.

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    Added November 03, 2013

    Central Asia After 2014

    Edited by Dr. Stephen J. Blank.
    View the Executive Summary

    The papers collected here offer assessments of Sino-Russian rivalry, the U.S.-Russian rivalry, and a neglected but critical topic, Chinese military capability for action in Central Asia. All of these issues are essential for any informed analysis of the future of Central Asian security, as well as relations among the great powers in Central Asia.

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    Added August 21, 2013

    2013-14 Key Strategic Issues List

    Edited by Professor John F. Troxell.
    For several years, the Strategic Studies Institute has annually published the Key Strategic Issues List (KSIL). The overall purpose of this document is to make students and other researchers aware of strategic topics that are of special interest to the U.S. Army. Part I of KSIL is entitled "Army Priorities for Strategic Analysis" (APSA) and is a list of high-priority topics submitted by Headquarters, Department of the Army. Part II is entitled "Command Sponsored Topics" and represents the high-priority command-specific topics submitted by MACOMs and ASCCs. This KSIL provides military and civilian researchers worldwide a listing of the Army's most critical national security issues.

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    Added December 26, 2012

    India's Changing Afghanistan Policy: Regional and Global Implications

    Authored by Dr. Harsh V. Pant.
    View the Executive Summary

    India's perpetually reactive foreign policy ensured that India has been reacting to the actions of other actors in Afghanistan for the last decade without developing an autonomous posture. This will have serious consequences for Indian security once Western forces depart Afghanistan in 2014.

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    Added October 24, 2012

    Russia's Homegrown Insurgency: Jihad in the North Caucasus

    Edited by Dr. Stephen J. Blank.
    The insurgency in the North Caucasus is virtually unknown outside Russia, but it is the greatest threat to Russia’s domestic security. These studies open that “ black box” and provide much analysis that should lead to further reflection on the issues of Islamist insurgency and counterinsurgency.

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    Added August 01, 2012

    2012-13 Key Strategic Issues List

    Edited by Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria, II.
    The purpose of the Key Strategic Issues List is to provide military and civilian researchers a ready reference for issues of special interest to the Department of the Army and the Department of Defense.

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    Added May 10, 2012

    Disjointed Ways, Disunified Means: Learning from America's Struggle to Build an Afghan Nation

    Authored by Colonel Lewis G. Irwin.
    Remarkably ambitious in its audacity and scope, NATO’s irregular warfare and nation-building mission in Afghanistan has struggled to meet its nonmilitary objectives by most tangible measures. This book explores shortfalls in the U.S. Government’s strategic planning processes and the mechanisms for interagency coordination of effort that have contributed to this situation, as well as reforms needed to meet emerging 21st century national security challenges.

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    Added April 19, 2012

    Drug Trafficking, Violence, and Instability

    Authored by Dr. Phil Williams, Dr. Vanda Felbab-Brown.
    The world of armed groups has changed and is continuing to change. What impact will these changes have on the threats and challenges to national and global security in the world today? This monograph focuses on the complex relationship between human security, crime, illicit economies, and law enforcement. It also seeks to disentangle the linkages between insurgency on the one hand and drug trafficking and organized crime on the other, suggesting that criminal activities help sustain an insurgency, but also carry certain risks for the insurgency.

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    Added March 14, 2012

    Delegitimizing Al-Qaeda: A Jihad-Realist Approach

    Authored by Dr. Paul Kamolnick.
    Preventing radicalization and recruitment to al-Qaeda’s terrorism is vital to U.S. national security. This monograph suggests a distinct “jihad-realist” approach for partially accomplishing this elusive strategic objective.

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    Added December 23, 2011

    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."

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    Added October 21, 2011

    The Afghanistan Question and the Reset in U.S.-Russian Relations

    Authored by Dr. Richard J. Krickus.
    The ability of the United States and Russia to cooperate in Afghanistan represents a solid test of their reset in relations. Skeptics in Washington cite the value gap that separates the two sides as well as compelling evidence that the Kremlin is bent on a course of confrontation and not cooperation with the West. Russian critics claim that there is no justification for Moscow to help Washington in what many Kremlin overlords believe is a losing cause.

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    Added October 18, 2011

    Natural Gas as an Instrument of Russian State Power

    Authored by Alexander Ghaleb.
    This monograph supports Robert Gates's recent assessment that NATO could face a dim if not dismal future; not because of funding considerations, but because NATO decisions are made by consensus, and many members will be unlikely to side against Russia in the future because of their heavy dependency on Russian Natural Gas.

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    Added July 15, 2011

    The Changing Face of Afghanistan, 2001-08

    Authored by Colonel Deborah Hanagan.
    This paper reviews the broad dimensions of the George W. Bush administration policy and strategy regarding Afghanistan and the fact that it was multilateral, encompassing extensive political, economic, and military efforts, and multinational during the entire period of the administration. It provides broad documentation of the concrete progress made in the country between 2001 and 2008 and addresses the ongoing challenges.

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    Added April 19, 2011

    Central Asian Security Trends: Views from Europe and Russia

    Edited by Dr. Stephen J. Blank.
    The war in Afghanistan has made Central Asia an ever more important strategic theater and one over which many states compete to exert influence. This monograph comprehensively analyzes Russia's efforts to exert its influence in the region through 2010.

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    Added December 08, 2010

    Russia's Prospects in Asia

    Edited by Dr. Stephen J. Blank.
    To what degree should we take Russia seriously as an important actor in Asia? The three chapters here, taken from an SSI conference in January 2010, actively debate the prospects for Russia as it makes its way in an increasingly complex Asian environment characterized by China’s rising power and multiple threats, such as proliferation in Korea and the Taiwan issue.

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    Added September 23, 2010

    Preparing for One War and Getting Another?

    Authored by Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria, II.
    The idea that war or strategy is driven by a paradoxical logic is attractive, but a number of questions remain unanswered. If war has its own logic, rather than its own grammar, where does the logic of policy fit in? If the logic of strategy is paradoxical, how can it be taught? What are paradoxes, and can they be useful in guiding our strategic choices?

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    Added September 02, 2010

    Lessons Learned – 13 Months as the Senior Military Advisor to the Minister of Interior

    Authored by COL Kevin J. Palgutt.
    In recounting his experiences as a senior advisor to the Afghan Minister of Interior, COL Palgutt indicates that it is a shame that many senior advisors will go on to new duty assignments that will have nothing to do with the experiences that were learned during their 12+ months of senior advisor duty.

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    Added August 09, 2010

    America's Flawed Afghanistan Strategy

    Authored by Dr. Steven Metz.
    Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the August 2010 newsletter.

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    Added July 14, 2010

    The Russian Military Today and Tomorrow: Essays in Memory of Mary Fitzgerald

    Edited by Dr. Stephen J. Blank, Dr. Richard Weitz.
    The essays in this volume represent both a memorial and an analytical call to action. Mary Fitzgerald of the Hudson Institute was one of the most brilliant and vivacious practitioners of the study of the Russian and Chinese militaries, whose insights helped not just to put those fields of study on the map, but also to influence U.S. military thinking.

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    Added July 09, 2010

    China's Role in the Stabilization of Afghanistan

    Authored by Col Greg Kleponis.
    Critics contend that China is getting a free-ride on the coat tails of U.S.-coalition stabilization efforts. However, the author argues that any economic stimulus should be seen as a boon.

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    Added July 06, 2010

    The PLA at Home and Abroad: Assessing the Operational Capabilities of China's Military

    Edited by Mr. Roy Kamphausen, Dr. David Lai, Dr. Andrew Scobell.
    In 2009, the People's Republic of China, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, and the PLA Air Force celebrated their 60th anniversaries. Behind China’s economic development, the PLA parades, and the spectacular celebration fireworks, the world clearly saw an ambitious China edging its way to the center stage of international economic, political, and military affairs. However, a few other major events in the last 2 years came just in time to remind the Chinese leaders, and the world as well, that China still faced a challenging future.

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    Added June 17, 2010

    Endgame for the West in Afghanistan? Explaining the Decline in Support for the War in Afghanistan in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, France and Germany

    Authored by Charles A. Miller.
    Analyses of the War in Afghanistan frequently mention the declining or shaky domestic support for the conflict in the United States and among several U.S. allies. This paper dates the beginning of this decline back to the resurgence of the Taliban in 2005-06 and suggests that the deteriorating course of the war on the ground in Afghanistan itself along with mounting casualties is the key reason behind this drop in domestic support for the war.

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    Added June 10, 2010

    Wanted: A Strategy for the Black Sea

    Authored by Dr. Stephen J. Blank.
    Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the June 2010 newsletter.

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    Added April 23, 2010

    Shades of CORDS in the Kush: The False Hope of "Unity of Effort" in American Counterinsurgency

    Authored by Mr. Henry Nuzum.
    Counterinsurgency (COIN) requires an integrated military, political, and economic program best developed by teams that field both civilians and soldiers. This Paper describes the benefits that unity of command at every level would bring to the American war in Afghanistan.

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    Added April 16, 2010

    The Construction of Liberal Democracy: The Role of Civil-Military Institutions in State and Nation-Building in West Germany and South Africa

    Authored by Dr. Jack J. Porter.
    West Germany’s and South Africa’s experiences remind U.S. policymakers of the tremendous obstacles and challenges that confront states as they attempt to install liberal, democratic political institutions.

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    Added April 14, 2010

    The State-Owned Enterprise as a Vehicle for Stability

    Authored by Dr. Neil Efird.
    State-owned enterprises affect stability in conflict-prone environments, and decisive control of them creates positive or negative conditions. However, it is a challenge to know how and when to use these enterprises, and a good set of metrics is necessary to measure their effectiveness.

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    Added April 06, 2010

    Counternarcotics Operations in Afghanistan: The COIN of the Realm

    Authored by COL Louis H. Jordan, Jr.
    In this Op-Ed style document, COL Louis Jordan concedes that there will be no success for the U.S. in Afghanistan if the drug trade is not curtailed. He provides a frank discussion of the illicit narcotics industry and finishes with an alarm regarding the new trend in the Afghanistan drug war: Methaphetamines.

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    Added March 18, 2010

    Lashkar-I-Taiba: The Fallacy of Subservient Proxies and the Future of Islamist Terrorism in India

    Authored by Dr. Ryan Clarke.
    When it comes to the analysis of Islamist terrorism, the vast majority of attention is given to the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan while the remainder goes towards Southeast Asia, namely Indonesia, and “homegrown” terrorism in the West. This unbalanced approach has resulted in a critical deficit in knowledge regarding the growth of the phenomenon in India, a country which faces the challenge of having to tackle Islamist terrorists based in Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as in India itself. What is clear is that the Pakistan based Lashkar-i-Taiba (LeT) has taken the leading role in spreading its terrorist infrastructure well outside of its original theater, Kashmir, and throughout the whole of India. Inadequate attention has especially been given to LeT’s connections with organized criminal syndicates in India, as well as Indian terrorists themselves. This paper aims to fill this gap and to enhance American understanding of this powerful and sophisticated organization that is set to pose a major challenge to stability and American interests in South Asia and elsewhere.

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    Added March 04, 2010

    Transnational Insurgencies and the Escalation of Regional Conflict: Lessons for Iraq and Afghanistan

    Authored by Dr Idean Salehyan.
    Transnational insurgencies complicate traditional counterinsurgency operations in significant ways and can lead to conflict between states. This monograph examines several transnational militant groups, assesses the prospects for conflict and cooperation over cross-border violence, and discusses current issues facing Iraq and Afghanistan.

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    Added November 03, 2009

    A Case Study in Security Sector Reform: Learning from Security Sector Reform/Building in Afghanistan (October 2002-September 2003)

    Authored by Captain Jason C. Howk.
    Afghanistan was America’s first attempt at conducting formalized Security Sector Reform. This case study offers readers an opportunity to learn whom the United States saw as key actors in the process, what institutions were slated for reform, and how well the United States and its partners met the typical challenges of SSR.

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    Added September 16, 2009

    Russian Elite Image of Iran: From the Late Soviet Era to the Present

    Authored by Dr. Dmitry Shlapentokh.
    Increasing numbers of Russian intellectuals became disenchanted with the West, particularly after the end of the USSR, and looked for alternative geopolitical alliances. The Muslim world, with Iran at the center, became one of the possible alternatives.

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    Added June 25, 2009

    2009 Key Strategic Issues List

    Edited by Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria, II.
    The purpose of the Key Strategic Issues List is to provide military and civilian researchers a ready reference for issues of special interest to the Department of the Army and the Department of Defense.

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    Added June 01, 2009

    Challenges and Opportunities for the Obama Administration in Central Asia

    Authored by Dr. Stephen J. Blank.
    President Obama has outlined a comprehensive strategy for the war in Afghanistan which is now the central front of our campaign against Islamic terrorism. The strategy strongly connects our prosecution of that war to our policy in Pakistan and internal developments there as a necessary condition of victory. The author argues that a new approach, relying heavily on improved coordination at home and the more effective leveraging of our superior economic power in Central Asia to help stabilize the region so that it provides a secure rear to Afghanistan, is just as important.

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    Added March 25, 2009

    Provincial Reconstruction Teams: How Do We Know They Work?

    Authored by Dr. Carter Malkasian, Dr. Gerald Meyerle.
    Provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs, along with civilian development agencies, including the U.S. Agency for International Development, numerous nongovernmental organizations, and the Afghan government’s National Solidarity Program, are one of several organizations working on reconstruction in Afghanistan. Perhaps unsurprisingly, something of a debate has emerged over whether PRTs are needed.

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    Added February 27, 2009

    Russia, China, and the United States in Central Asia: Prospects for Great Power Competition and Cooperation in the Shadow of the Georgian Crisis

    Authored by Dr. Elizabeth Wishnick.
    An overview of changing U.S. Central Asia policy over the past 5 years reveals an effort to respond to changing developments on the ground, most recently the Georgian crisis, but also the “color” revolutions, the Andijan events in Uzbekistan and its subsequent decision to end U.S. basing rights at Karshi Khanabad, Kazakhstan’s economic rise, and leadership change in Turkmenistan. At the same time, the worsening security situation in Afghanistan and growing insecurity about energy supplies has heightened U.S. interest in security and economic cooperation in Central Asia.

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    Added February 11, 2009

    Kazakhstan's Defense Policy: An Assessment of the Trends

    Authored by Mr. Roger N. McDermott.
    United States defense assistance programs have had mixed results in the promotion of defense reform in Kazakhstan, partly as a result of internal factors ranging from corruption to inadequate resource management and geopolitical limitations placed on how far Astana can cooperate with either the Unied States or NATO taking account of its close political relations with both Russia and China. New, deeper and more closely monitored programs are needed, and, combined with multilateral cooperative initiatives, should be a matter of urgent priority, otherwise, such programs will underperform and languish in the repetition of the misjudgements of the past.

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    Added November 07, 2008

    Unity of Command in Afghanistan: A Forsaken Principle of War

    Authored by COL Ian Hope.
    The author discusses the traditional importance of unity of command in American doctrine and practice from World War I until now, and how this principle has been forsaken in the evolution of military command for Afghanistan. He argues for a renewal of understanding of the importance of unity of command and recommends amending the Unified Command Plan to invest one "supreme commander" with responsibility for the current Operation ENDURING FREEDOM Joint Operations Area.

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    Added September 30, 2008

    Stability Operations and State Building: Continuities and Contingencies

    Edited by Colonel Greg Kaufmann, U.S.A., Ret..
    The current age of state building may be traced back at least to U.S. involvement in the various Balkan conflicts. But with the advent of the Global War on Terror and the subsequent interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military, especially the Army and the Marines Corps, has been faced with an unprecedented challenge to reestablish entire countries and rebuild their institutions.

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    Added July 16, 2008

    Key Strategic Issues List, July 2008

    Edited by Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria, II.
    The Key Strategic Issues List gives researchers, whether military professionals or civilian scholars, a ready reference of those issues of particular interest to the Department of the Army and the Department of Defense. Its focus is strategic, rather than operational or tactical. Every year, the KSIL helps guide research efforts to the mutual benefit of the defense community and individual researchers.

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    Added April 17, 2008

    Baloch Nationalism and the Geopolitics of Energy Resources: The Changing Context of Separatism in Pakistan

    Authored by Dr. Robert J. Wirsing.
    The author argues that Pakistan’s rapidly mounting energy insecurity magnifies the economic and strategic importance of Pakistan’s sprawling and energy-critical southwestern province of Balochistan, while it simultaneously complicates Pakistan’s efforts for coping with the province’s simmering Baloch tribal separatist insurgency. He concludes that Pakistan’s government needs to overhaul its counterinsurgent policies to avoid protracted conflict and to enlist the Baloch as partners in energy development, not antagonists of it.

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    Added December 27, 2007

    Overcoming the Obstacles to Establishing a Democratic State in Afghanistan

    Authored by Colonel Dennis O. Young.
    The author outlines potential solutions to the problematic and challenging situation in Afghanistan today. The difficulties facing U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan are endemic and will require a long-term commitment of time, money, and resources to overcome these obstacles in order to stabilize and democratize this nation.

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    Added October 25, 2007

    The Military Strategy of Global Jihad

    Authored by Lieutenant Colonel Sarah E. Zabel.
    Al-Qaeda has declared war on the United States and the rest of the civilized world, but how does the organization plan to win that war? The author draws on sources from within the broader global jihad movement to explain the movement’s goals and the mechanisms it proposes to enact a revolution.

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    Added October 22, 2007

    Opium and Afghanistan: Reassessing U.S. Counternarcotics Strategy

    Authored by Lieutenant Colonel John A. Glaze.
    The author concludes that the skyrocketing opium trade in Afghanistan is threatening to destabilize the government and turn the conflict-ridden country back into a safe haven for drug traffickers and terrorists. The author also argues that the counternarcotics strategy has been ineffective in reducing opium production and needs to be modified to better help achieve stability in Afghanistan.

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    Added September 28, 2007

    Turkmenistan and Central Asia after Niyazov

    Authored by Dr. Stephen J. Blank.
    Turkmenistan, a key natural gas producer in Central Asia is undergoing a transition from the sultanistic regime of President Sapirmurat Niyazov to some other form of rule. It also is being courted by all the major powers in Central Asian politics. This monograph examines the domestic dynamics of succession here and in Central Asia and the entwined international rivalry or great game for energy access and influence over regional security in Central Asia.

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    Added August 03, 2007

    Shaping Commitment: Resolving Canada's Strategy Gap in Afghanistan and Beyond

    Authored by Colonel D. Craig Hilton.
    The author concludes that Canada's current efforts in Afghanistan illustrate the need for Canada to urgently reassess the manner of its national security strategy process, particularly in light of future demands.

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    Added July 18, 2007

    2007 Key Strategic Issues List (KSIL)

    Edited by Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria, II.
    The Key Strategic Issues List gives researchers, whether military professionals or civilian scholars, a ready reference of those issues of particular interest to the Department of the Army and the Department of Defense. Its focus is strategic, rather than operational or tactical. Every year, the KSIL helps guide research efforts to the mutual benefit of the defense community and individual researchers.

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