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21st Century Warfare Studies

Added December 15, 2014
Type: Letort Papers
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.
Added October 16, 2014
Type: Monograph
Distinguishing Acts of War in Cyberspace: Assessment Criteria, Policy Considerations, and Response Implications. Authored by Jeffery 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.
Added November 16, 2009
Type: Monograph
YouTube War: Fighting in a World of Cameras in Every Cell Phone and Photoshop on Every Computer. Authored by Dr. Cori E. Dauber.
Terrorist attacks are media events designed to draw the attention of the press since, without a larger audience, a terrorist attack will have accomplished very little. Shaping the attitudes and perceptions of the public can undermine the public will to fight. This is done by shaping media coverage.
Added November 03, 2009
Type: Op-Ed
Army Football and Full Spectrum Operations. Authored by Dr. Stephen J. Gerras.
Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the November 2009 newsletter.
Added October 28, 2009
Type: Monograph
Schools for Strategy: Teaching Strategy for 21st Century Conflict. Authored by Dr. Colin S. Gray.
Education in strategy is feasible and important. Few would-be strategists are beyond improvement by some formal education. However, for such education to be well-directed, it needs to rest upon sound assumptions concerning the eternal nature yet ever shifting character, meaning, and function of strategy, and the range of behaviors required for effective strategic performance.
Added September 16, 2009
Type: Student (Carlisle) Papers
Baghdad ER--Revisited. Authored by Colonel Erin P Edgar.
The China Dragons of the 28th Combat Support Hospital deployed in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM from September 2006 until November 2007. Their service epitomizes the strides that have been made in military combat medicine.
Added August 11, 2009
Type: PKSOI Papers
Toward a Risk Management Defense Strategy. Authored by Mr. Nathan P. Freier.
The author outlines eight principles for a risk management defense strategy. He argues that these principles provide “measures of merit” for evaluating the new administration’s defense choices.
Added May 22, 2009
Type: Monograph
State and Nonstate Associated Gangs: Credible "Midwives of New Social Orders". Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring.
The author addresses the subject of the multifaceted nature and predominant role of gangs operating as state and nonstate proxies in the modern unbalanced global security environment. In every phase of the process of compelling radical political change, agitator-gangs and popular militias play significant roles in helping their political patrons prepare to take control of a targeted political-social entity. As a result, gangs (bandas criminales or whatever they may be called) are important components of a highly complex political-psychological-military act—contemporary irregular asymmetrical political war.
Added January 10, 2008
Type: Colloquium Brief
COIN of the Realm: U.S. Counterinsurgency Strategy. Authored by Dr. Steven Metz, Ralph Wipfli.
Given the wide-ranging and deep impact of counterinsurgency, the participants in the "Future Defense Dilemmas" seminar conducted by The Brookings Institution and the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, explored two key questions: (1) Is the United States pursuing and executing the right strategy? And (2) Does the military’s focus on counterinsurgency detract from other defense and security needs?
Added August 21, 2007
Type: Monograph
Negotiation in the New Strategic Environment: Lessons from Iraq. Authored by Mr. David M Tressler.
With thousands of negotiations being conducted by U.S. soldiers in Iraq—from junior to senior leaders—the aggregate effect of successful or failed negotiations has an impact on the ability of the U.S. military to accomplish its mission there as well as meet American strategic goals. The author argues that the military’s strategic success in the future may increasingly depend on an expanded range of training that includes negotiation skills and practice. By analyzing the negotiating experience of U.S. Army and Marine Corps officers in Iraq, he offers recommendations to improve negotiating effectiveness and predeployment negotiation training.
Added April 10, 2007
Type: Monograph
Biodefense Research Supporting the DoD: A New Strategic Vision. Authored by Colonel Coleen K. Martinez.
The author examines why, despite devoting decades of research to developing countermeasures against biological agents, the Department of Defense has few products in its arsenal. She concludes that the military requires significant change in program structure and management to begin fielding protective drugs and vaccines for the warfighter efficiently.
Added January 04, 2007
Type: Letort Papers
Naval Transformation, Ground Forces, and the Expeditionary Impulse: The Sea-Basing Debate. Authored by Professor Geoffrey Till.
While naval forces often are out of sight and out of mind to land forces engaged in expeditionary operations, their contribution is vital and becoming much more so. But they face major challenges, which if not resolved may mean the end of what has been called the "expeditionary era."
Added September 06, 2006
Type: Op-Ed
"What If?" -- A Most Impertinent Question Indeed. Authored by Mr. Nathan P. Freier.
Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the September 2006 newsletter.
Added August 02, 2006
Type: Op-Ed
Doctrine that Works. Authored by Dr. Douglas V. Johnson, II.
Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the August 2006 newsletter.
Added November 01, 2005
Type: Monograph
Fourth-Generation War and Other Myths. Authored by Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria, II.
Dr Antulio J. Echevarria II critiques the theory of fourth-generation warfare, examining its problematic assumptions and logical flaws. He argues that this theory is hopelessly flawed and that its proponents undermine their credibility by subscribing to it.
Added June 01, 2005
Type: Monograph
Pseudo Operations and Counterinsurgency: Lessons from Other Countries. Authored by Dr. Lawrence E. Cline.
The author argues that pseudo operations in which specially trained government troops--preferably supported by guerrilla defectors--infiltrate guerrilla groups have been very effective in previous operations. If used with care, such operations can be useful in future counterinsurgency campaigns.
Added December 01, 2004
Type: Monograph
Deception 101--Primer on Deception. Authored by Dr. Joseph W Caddell.
The author reviews the basic concepts related to "deception," defining terms, providing historical examples, and discussing problems associated with deception.
Added November 01, 2004
Type: Monograph
Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in the 21st Century: Reconceputalizing Threat and Response. Authored by Dr. Steven Metz, LTC Raymond A. Millen.
Modern insurgency warfare presents fresh challenges for the United States, which must re-conceptualize its approach to fighting such conflicts. Because the dominant characteristics of insurgency--protractedness and ambiguity--effectively stymie the American military's approach to war, the United States needs to reorient its strategic thinking.
Added November 01, 2004
Type: Monograph
Shadows of Things Past and Images of the Future: Lessons for the Insurgencies in Our Midst. Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring.
The author identifies the political-strategic challenges of modern unconventional conflicts, with a focus on the political complexity of insurgency. This report comes at a time when U.S. and other world political and military leaders have been struggling with the "new" political-psychological aspects of insurgency/terrorist war.
Added May 01, 2004
Type: Monograph
Learning from the Stones: A Go Approach to Mastering China's Strategic Concept, Shi. Authored by Dr. David Lai.
The author introduces a new approach to learning about the different ways of strategic thinking and interaction in Chinese culture. It is through learning the Chinese board game called go,that is a living reflection of Chinese philosophy, culture, strategic thinking, warfare, military tactics, and diplomatic bargaining. The author suggests that a little knowledge of go will take U.S. leaders a long way in understanding the essence of the Chinese way of war and diplomacy.
Added March 01, 2004
Type: Monograph
Toward an American Way of War. Authored by Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria, II.
This monograph addresses trends in American strategic thinking to the war in Iraq. It argues that the American way of war is really a way of battle and offers some recommendations for change.
Added December 01, 2003
Type: Monograph
Insurgency in Nepal. Authored by Dr. Thomas A. Marks.
Insurgencies in the 21st century are different than the Cold War era ones that generated existing doctrine and strategy, and which shaped the way that most American strategists think about insurgency. This monograph assesses the growing insurgency in Nepal with its potential to further destabilize an already volatile region.
Added September 01, 2003
Type: Monograph
Rethinking Asymmetric Threats. Authored by Dr. Stephen J. Blank.
U.S. policymakers, officials, and writers on defense have employed the terms "asymmetric" or "asymmetry" to characterize everything from the nature of the threats we face to the nature of war and beyond. The author challenges the utility of using those terms to characterize the threats we face, one element of the broader debate over the nature of war, U.S. strategy, and the threats confronting us.
Added March 01, 2003
Type: Monograph
Future War/Future Battlespace: The Strategic Role of American Landpower. Authored by Dr. Steven Metz, LTC Raymond A. Millen.
The trends in the strategic environment in the development of the Future War/Future Battlespace suggest that traditional warfighting has changed in the post 9-11 era. The strategic environment can be classified into four strategic battlespaces, within which future adversaries will operate to thwart U.S. strategic initiatives.
Added March 01, 2003
Type: Monograph
Globalization and the Nature of War. Authored by Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria, II.
Globalization—the spread of information and information technologies, along with greater public participation in economic and political processes—is transforming every aspect of human affairs. What is not yet clear, however, are the impacts of these trends, especially how they might affect the nature of war. This monograph argues that the Clausewitzian trinity—hostility, chance, purpose—is still a valid way of looking at the nature of war in the 21st century.
Added September 01, 2002
Type: Book
Transformation Concepts for National Security in the 21st Century. Edited by Dr. Williamson Murray.
This book represents some of the thinking by students at the U.S. Army War College, considering the nature and direction of transformation. They consider how the transformed joint services of the United States should employ force in the 21st century. The services are exploring concepts such as Effects Based Operations and Rapid Decisive Operations to move swiftly and strike vigorously to secure vi
Added September 01, 2001
Type: Monograph
Internal Wars: Rethinking Problem and Response. Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring.
Asymmetric guerrilla war--insurgencies, internal wars, and other small-scale contingencies (SSCs)--are the most pervasive and likely type of conflict in the post-Cold War era. The author draws from the lessons of the recent past to better prepare today's civilian and military leaders to meet the unconventional and asymmetric warfare challenges that face the United States and the rest of the intern
Added July 01, 2001
Type: Monograph
Educating International Security Practitioners: Preparing to Face the Demands of the 21st Century International Security Environment. Authored by Dr. Robert H. Dorff, Brigadier General Daniel J. Kaufman, Dr. James M. Smith, Dr. Linda P. Brady.
The authors examine the challenges of the 21st century international security environment to which future strategic leaders and policy practitioners will need to respond.
Added June 01, 2001
Type: Book
Future Warfare Anthology, Revised Edition. Authored by Major General Robert H. Scales.
Throughout U.S. history the American military services have had an unfortunate penchant for not being ready be the next war. American military institutions have been surprisingly optimistic in weighting their preparedness as they embarked on the nation's wars. Military institutions have always had considerable problems in adapting and innovating during inter-war periods.