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Military Strategy and Policy - Recent


Security strategy and policy are among the most important issues any state confronts, especially in a time of war. At SSI, research on these issues focuses on three primary areas: military and strategic theory; grand strategy; and the assessment and critique of critical national strategic documents:

National Security Strategy 2010 (NSS)
National Defense Strategy 2008(NDS)
Quadrennial Defense Review 2010(QDR)
National Strategy on Combating Terrorism 2006.

Dr. Robin Dorff is our Security Strategy and Policy specialist.

New References from the Military Education Research Library Network

Strategy and Policy

(10/16/06) Two new items have been added to the National Security Strategy MiPAL: an article on revitalizing public diplomacy from the Heritage Foundation, and a monograph from the Strategic Studies Institute containing essays on the U.S. response to the strategic challenges it faces in the 21st century. Please see the Recently Added Documents section for the latest on this topic - the newest updates are in bold. (View it at NDU)

Strategy and Policy

(10/11/06) Three new items have been added to the National Security Strategy MiPAL: articles from on a preemptive strategy for the 21st century, and on counterinsurgency strategies. Please see the Recently Added Documents section for the latest on this topic - the newest updates are in bold. (View it at NDU)

Strategy and Policy

(10/6/06) Four new items have been added to the National Security Strategy MiPAL: a report from the Congressional Budget Office on military recruiting, a Congressional hearing on the Defense Department's irregular warfare map, a Congressional Research Service report on information operations and cyberwar, and a Council on Foreign Relations report on foreign investment and national security. Please see the Recently Added Documents section for the latest on this topic - the newest updates are in bold. (View it at NDU)

Strategy and Policy

(10/4/06) Two new items have been added to the National Security Strategy MiPAL: a RAND report on the importance of air power in counterinsurgencies, and a report from the Stanley Foundation on U.S. strategy in response to failing states. Please see the Recently Added Documents section for the latest on this topic - the newest updates are in bold. (View it at NDU)

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    Added June 29, 2015

    Russian Ballistic Missile Defense: Rhetoric and Reality

    Authored by Keir Giles.
    View the Executive Summary

    Russia continues to oppose strenuously U.S. plans for missile defense in Europe, despite the fact that Russia itself seeks to develop comparable missile defense systems, that, by their own logic, would be equally destabilizing. This monograph reviews Russian plans and progress toward implementing them, to prepare the ground for inevitable future confrontation with Russia over the rollout of U.S. systems.

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    Added June 25, 2015

    The Strategic Lessons Unlearned from Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan: Why the ANSF Will Not Hold, and the Implications for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan

    Authored by Dr. M. Chris Mason.
    View the Executive Summary

    The wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan were lost almost before the first American shots were fired, not on the battlefield, but at the strategic level of war. This book explains why, and describes year-by-year, what will happen in Afghanistan from 2015 to 2019.

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    Added June 17, 2015

    The New Russian Engagement with Latin America: Strategic Position, Commerce, and Dreams of the Past

    Authored by Dr. R. Evan Ellis.
    View the Executive Summary

    Although overshadowed by China, Russia's re-engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean, which includes military deployments, arms sales, and the negotiation of base access agreements, impacts the regional security environment and potentially challenges U.S. national security. This monograph provides one of the first broad, in depth analyses of Russian engagement in the region, including an examination of its political and economic, as well as military activities, with an examination of implications for the U.S. and recommendation for U.S. policymakers.

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    Added June 04, 2015

    The Strategic Importance of the Global Oil Market

    Authored by Dr. Leif Rosenberger.
    View the Executive Summary

    The global oil market in 2015 is not what it used to be. This Letort Paper explains why there are new winners and losers both inside the United States, as well as globally, and how to respond to challenges to the international oil industry.

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    Added June 03, 2015

    Iraq’s Shia Warlords and Their Militias: Political and Security Challenges and Options

    Authored by Dr. Norman Cigar.
    View the Executive Summary

    The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has seen a resurgence of the Shia militias in Iraq and unprecedented prominence for the warlords who lead them. Given the presence of U.S. Landpower in Iraq as part of the fight against ISIS and the close links of some of the militias with Iran, understanding the militias’ role and capabilities is key for force protection and operational security, as well as for policy concerns.

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    Added May 29, 2015

    Gold, Blood, and Power: Finance and War Through the Ages

    Authored by James Lacey.
    View the Executive Summary

    Wars are won not by the state with the biggest war chest, but by the state with the key to opening it. This survey of the link between finance and war demonstrates the crucial importance an endless stream of money is for strategic success.

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    Added May 28, 2015

    From Cooperation to Competition - The Future of U.S.-Russian Relations

    Authored by COL Gregory K. Anderson, COL Gert-Jan Kooij, LTC Karen L.T. Briggman, LTC Joseph E. Hilbert, Lt Col Christopher T. Lay, Dr. James C. McNaughton. Edited by Dr. John R. Deni.
    Russian aggression in 2014 caught U.S. policy and strategy off guard, forcing reactive measures and reevaluation of the U.S. approach toward Russia. Moscow employed nonlinear methodologies and operated just beneath traditional thresholds of conflict to take full advantage of U.S. and NATO policy and process limitations. In light of this strategic problem, the U.S. Army War College (US - AWC), conducted a wargame that revealed four key considerations for future policy and strategy.

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    Added May 12, 2015

    From Frozen Ties to Strategic Engagement: U.S.-Iranian Relationship in 2030

    Authored by Roman Muzalevsky.
    View the Executive Summary

    The possibility of P5+1 and Iran reaching a nuclear deal and benefits of a U.S.-Iranian strategic détente prompt an assessment of a U.S.-Iranian strategic relationship over the next 15 years. This work identifies three possible types of such relationship, providing recommendations for the United States, Iran, and their partners to cultivate and prepare for a strategic shift that such a revised relationship entails.

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    Added May 04, 2015

    The Gulf Moment: Arab Relations Since 2011

    Authored by Dr. Florence Gaub.
    View the Executive Summary

    The Arab Spring has changed the region not only at the domestic level, it has set in motion a profound transition from how these regional states once related to each other to that of a new intra-regional dynamic. In diplomatic terms, it has entered a Gulf Moment, where regional decisions are now taken by the Gulf states themselves.

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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 15, 2015

    Parsing Chinese-Russian Military Exercises

    Authored by Dr. Richard Weitz.
    View the Executive Summary

    During the past decade, China and Russia have deepened their defense cooperation to include a range of bilateral and multilateral military exercises. These have multiple purposes and the potential to evolve into a more significant security development in coming years.

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    Added April 10, 2015

    The State-Society/Citizen Relationship in Security Analysis: Implications for Planning and Implementation of U.S. Intervention and Peace/State-building Operations

    Authored by Dr. Yannis A. Stivachtis.
    View the Executive Summary

    This monograph argues that the design and effective implementation of peacemaking and peace/state-building policies require that the U.S. strategists are fully aware of what constitutes a security issue for social groups and individuals in third countries. Consequently, in order to create strong states in post-conflict situations, U.S. strategic planning and actions should be based on the adoption of the broaden definition of security as well as the idea of human security

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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 02, 2015

    Strengthening Statehood Capabilities for Successful Transitions in the Middle East / North Africa Region

    Authored by Dr. Mohammed El-Katiri.
    View the Executive Summary

    The post-revolution political elites in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia are struggling to strengthen their legitimacy in the eyes of the public, but their attempts to gather support for much-needed new political institutions and reforms have made limited progress. This monograph explains why and suggests what can be done to help.

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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 March 26, 2015

    Project 1704: A U.S. Army War College Analysis of Russian Strategy in Eastern Europe, an Appropriate U.S. Response, and the Implications for U.S. Landpower

    Edited by COL Douglas Mastriano, LTC Derek O'Malley.
    View the Executive Summary

    The 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea and its ongoing war against Ukraine is a turning point in its relations with Europe and the United States. Yet, NATO and the United States are yet to offer a viable strategy on how it will answer this emerging threat. Project 1704 takes a hard look at the changing strategic environment in Europe and offers an approach to maintain stability in Europe.

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    Added February 20, 2015

    Breaking the Nordic Defense Deadlock

    Authored by Dr. Stefan Forss, Colonel (Ret.) Pekka Holopainen.
    View the Executive Summary

    Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark are urgently considering how best to optimize limited defense resources in the face of a newly assertive Russia. This monograph proposes enhanced defense cooperation, both regionally and with the United States, as a means to ensure the security of U.S. allies in a strategically vital region.

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    Added February 20, 2015

    Prospects for Iran's New Direction

    Authored by Keir Giles.
    View the Executive Summary

    This monograph, completed ahead of the November 2014 deadline, examines some of the underlying factors which will be constant in dealing with a nuclear capable Iran under President Hassan Rouhani, and which will help determine the success or failure of talks in 2015.

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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 11, 2015

    Always Strategic: Jointly Essential Landpower

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

    Why is Landpower always strategic? Is Landpower still Landpower when it is dependently joint?

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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 30, 2015

    Do Fewer Resources Mean Less Influence? A Comparative Historical Case Study of Military Influence in a Time of Austerity

    Authored by Dr. Mary Manjikian.
    View the Executive Summary

    The issue of how military resources should be reallocated after a military drawdown is not new. This monograph considers how this question was addressed in post-World War I Britain, and in the United States in the Post-Vietnam and Cold War environment, as well as making comparisons with the present environment.

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    Added January 23, 2015

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

    Authored by Jeffery 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 19, 2014

    Regionalizing East Mediterranean Gas: Energy Security, Stability, and the U.S. Role

    Authored by Dr. Mohammed El-Katiri, Ms. Laura El-Katiri.
    View the Executive Summary

    The tremendous economic and geostrategic significance of the East Mediterranean's newly discovered and potential future hydrocarbon resources also holds the potential for new grounds for conflict. The significance of these discoveries to the geopolitics of the East Mediterranean and Middle East Regions as well as potential U.S. strategic responses to these unfolding challenges is examined.

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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 05, 2014

    American Grand Strategy and the Future of U.S. Landpower

    Edited by Major Joseph V. Da Silva, Dr. Hugh P. Liebert, Professor Isaiah Wilson, III.
    View the Executive Summary

    As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wane, an era of budget austerity emerges and the U.S. strategic focus shifts toward the Pacific, what role should LandPower play in American grand strategy? This volume offers an authoritative set of responses to this question from leading experts in international relations and security studies.

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    Added November 26, 2014

    Re-examining the Roles of Landpower in the 21st Century and Their Implications

    Authored by Dr. William T. Johnsen.
    View the Executive Summary

    Despite over a decade of predominantly land warfare, American policymakers are unsure about the future relevance and utility of Landpower. An increasingly uncertain and ambiguous international security environment, combined with the complexities of modern warfare argues for greater clarification of what Landpower means in 21st century terms.

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    Added November 20, 2014

    Central Asia's Shrinking Connectivity Gap: Implications for U.S. Strategy

    Authored by Roman Muzalevsky.
    View the Executive Summary

    The U.S. global and regional role and capabilities will depend on how well it adjusts its grand strategy in response to current and projected trends in the era of rising powers. In this context, the rise of China, India, and the resurgence of Russia—all capable of challenging regional orders—calls for an engaged, long-term, and concerted U.S. global and regional strategy in Central Asia—the area that figures increasingly prominent in the grand strategies of the rising powers.

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    Added November 19, 2014

    Creating an Effective Regional Alignment Strategy for the U.S. Army

    Authored by Major Raven Bukowski, Major John Childress, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Michael J. Colarusso, Lieutenant Colonel David S. Lyle.
    View the Executive Summary

    Despite talk about regional alignment, the Army has taken few concrete steps to prepare for this dramatic change. While enormous in its implications, the Army’s current regional alignment plan seems to be little more than directing units to “focus regionally” and aligning them with the appropriate combatant command.

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    Added November 18, 2014

    Tribal Militias: An Effective Tool to Counter Al-Qaida and Its Affiliates?

    Authored by Dr. Norman Cigar.
    View the Executive Summary

    Since many of the societies in which Al-Qaida, its affiliates, and offshoots operate have a significant tribal component, tribally-based militias may be a critical tool in fighting against Al-Qaida, because such militias can provide a cost-effective mechanism and serve as a force multiplier for U.S. Landpower. However, tribal militias are no panacea, but can be a two-edged sword and, like any weapon, has to be understood and wielded with caution and skill in order to avoid unintended consequences.

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    Added November 18, 2014

    The Role of Leadership in Transitional States: The Cases of Lebanon, Israel-Palestine

    Authored by Dr. Anastasia Filippidou.
    View the Executive Summary

    Asymmetric leadership of radical organizations: necessary for the transition to stability, but also part of the problem.

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    Added November 10, 2014

    Stepping Up: Burden Sharing by NATO's Newest Members

    Authored by Dr. Joel R. Hillison.
    View the Executive Summary

    The burden sharing behavior of new NATO members is compared to that of old NATO members. Are new NATO members burden sharing at a greater rate than older NATO members?

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    Added November 06, 2014

    Nuclear Weapons Materials Gone Missing: What Does History Teach?

    Edited by Mr. Henry D. Sokolski.
    View the Executive Summary

    Ever since President Obama spotlighted nuclear terrorism as one of the top threats to international security, guarding and disposing of nuclear weapons-useable materials have become top international priorities.

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    Added October 28, 2014

    Maneuvering the Islamist-Secularist Divide in the Arab World: How the United States Can Preserve its Interests and Values in an Increasingly Polarized Environment

    Authored by Gregory Aftandilian.
    View the Executive Summary

    This monograph explores the growing Islamist-secularist divide in Arab countries, particularly in Egypt and Tunisia, which has polarized such societies and often led to zero-sum politics. It offers recommendations for U.S. policymakers to maneuver through this divide while preserving U.S. interests and values.

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    Added October 28, 2014

    U.S. Policy and Strategy Toward Afghanistan after 2014

    Authored by Dr. Larry P. Goodson, Prof. Thomas H. Johnson.
    View the Executive Summary

    What should the United States do about Afghanistan? After nearly 13 years and substantial U.S. national commitment, much has changed in Afghanistan, the United States, Afghanistan’s region, and the globe. This monograph answers six key questions for U.S. leaders regarding preparation of policy and strategy recommendations on Afghanistan.

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    Added October 16, 2014

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

    Authored by Jeffery 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 October 01, 2014

    United States-Gulf Cooperation Council Security Coopeeration in a Multipolar World

    Authored by Dr. Mohammed El-Katiri.
    View the Executive Summary

    Military and security cooperation with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states is of continuing importance for the United States given the region's pivotal location in the Middle East and proximity to Iran. This monograph examines recent developments in the political and economic dynamics in GCC countries and their neighbors, and the potential implications for this cooperation.

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    Added September 11, 2014

    After the Spring: Reforming Arab Armies

    Authored by Dr. Florence Gaub.
    View the Executive Summary

    The Arab Spring has returned Arab military forces and their necessity for reform to the forefront. Outside actors, such as the United States, are now asked to rethink their security assistance in broader terms, shifting toward comprehensive security sector reform. As several countries are facing large-scale security implosion, terrorism, politicization of the military and protracted instability, the time for reform was never more imminent than now.

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    Added September 10, 2014

    Turkey's New Regional Security Role: Implications for the United States

    Authored by Dr. Richard Weitz.
    View the Executive Summary

    Why is a partnership between Turkey and the United States important? What must be done to create and keep a partnership that is advantageous to both countries?

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    Added September 09, 2014

    Political and Socio-Economic Change: Revolutions and Their Implications for the U.S. Military

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

    Managing change in the international security environment—whether revolutionary or evolutionary in nature—is never an uncomplicated task. The authors address the military implications of political and social change in the Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America.

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    Added September 05, 2014

    The U.S.-India Relationship: Cross-Sector Collaboration To Promote Sustainable Development

    Edited by Dr. Michael J. Fratantuono, Dr. David M. Sarcone, John D. Colwell, Jr.
    View the Executive Summary

    Within the context of the U.S.-India Strategic Relationship and in light of the vital national interests shared by both countries, what factors will contribute to the success of cross-sector collaborative initiatives intended to address challenges associated with sustainable development? What implications do those insights have for strategic leaders in different sectors?

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    Added September 03, 2014

    A New Type of Great Power Relationship between the United States and China: The Military Dimension

    Authored by Professor Geoffrey Till.
    View the Executive Summary

    President Xi Jinping's recent suggestion that a newly empowered China and the United States adopt a relationship that is new and different from previous relations between the great powers provides an ideal opportunity for the United States to consider its strategic options in the region.

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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 August 08, 2014

    Strategic Retrenchment and Renewal in the American Experience

    Edited by Dr. Peter Feaver.
    View the Executive Summary

    Amid fiscal austerity and international crisis, should the United States seek to renew its global leadership, or retrench its geopolitical commitments? This volume brings historical and theoretical insights to bear on that question through a series of essays that examine the current debate as well as past episodes in which American leaders were confronted with similar choices.

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    Added August 06, 2014

    Strategic Implications of the Evolving Shanghai Cooperation Organization

    Authored by Henry Plater-Zyberk, Dr. Andrew Monaghan.
    View the Executive Summary

    The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has the potential to obstruct U.S. policy aims in Central Asia, but also to facilitate them. However, both of these potentials are imperfectly understood. This monograph explains the SCO, and its real implications for U.S. policy toward both Central Asia and the SCO’s dominant partners, Russia and China.

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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 July 21, 2014

    Revival of Political Islam in the Aftermath of Arab Uprisings: Implications for the Region and Beyond

    Authored by Dr. Mohammed El-Katiri.
    View the Executive Summary

    The rise to power of Islamist political parties in a number of North African states over the past 3 years has caused widespread concern over the future domestic and foreign policy directions of those states. This monograph explores political change in Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco, and concludes that despite political crises in each country, worst case scenarios have not been borne out and there is hope for optimism.

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    Added July 17, 2014

    European Missile Defense and Russia

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

    Strong Russian opposition to U.S. plans for ballistic missile defense (BMD) in Europe is likely to intensify further through 2015-16 as Phase III of the European Phased Adaptive Approach is implemented. This monograph examines a number of fundamental reasons—some valid, some spurious—why Russia is alarmed at U.S. BMD plans, and provides recommendations for managing the missile defense dialogue with Russia in the future in order to mitigate potentially damaging responses.

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    Added July 08, 2014

    Russia's Contribution as a Partner in the War on Terrorism

    Authored by Henry Plater-Zyberk.
    View the Executive Summary

    Russia and the United States have a common interest in fighting the threat of Islamist terrorism. In practice, however, efforts to achieve cooperation in this area have been hampered by differing concepts of terror and how to counter it, and institutional and procedural incompatibility between the two nations. This monograph explores counter-terrorism from a Russian viewpoint, in order to assess prospects for meaningful practical cooperation in this field with the United States.

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    Added June 26, 2014

    Democratization and Instability in Ukraine, Georgia, and Belarus

    Authored by Dr. Robert Nalbandov.
    View the Executive Summary

    Ukraine, Georgia, and Belarus have remarkable variance and incongruence between their levels of democratization, political stability, and economic development. This monograph by Dr. Robert Nalbandov explains the reasons for the different indicators in the three categories and explains the successes and failures of the democratization efforts in three post-Soviet countries.

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