SSI

Articles & Editorials

Articles and Editorials are published by SSI and distributed to our readers in the Army and Department of Defense, the military educational system, Congress, the media, other think tanks and defense institutes, and major colleges and universities. SSI Articles and Editorials are created by our research professors and use history and current political, economic, and military factors to develop strategic recommendations.

Strategic Insights: Five Myths Associated With Employing Private Military Companies

Author: Dr Edward Mienie, Dr C. A. Pfaff In August of 2017, Blackwater founder Erik Prince offered a plan for privatizing the war in Afghanistan, where he would replace the approximately 23,000 multinational forces (of which 15,000 are U.S. troops) and 27,000 contractors with 2,000 special forces and 6,000 security contractors who would embed with …

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Strategic Insights: Better Late Than Never

Author: Dr M Chris Mason Seventeen years ago this November, in a conference room in the Pentagon, I explained that, in whatever form it took, the new Government of Afghanistan would require some sort of provincial or territorial forces under Afghan Army command to augment the regular national army, which the interagency working group was …

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Strategic Insights: Learning from the Military’s Weinstein Moment

Author: Dr Leonard Wong In early October 2017, The New York Times reported multiple allegations of sexual harassment against powerful Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein. A few days later, The New Yorker revealed more allegations against the movie executive to include accusations of sexual assault and rape. After more than 80 women stepped forward to accuse …

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Brexit and Transatlantic Security

Author: Dr Author I. Cyr An article from the Spring 2018 issue of “Parameters”. This article discusses the regional and international security implications of the June 2016 referendum vote that Britain leave the European Union. This essay proposes Brexit creates opportunities for greater cooperation within the NATO alliance and bilaterally with the United States. Download …

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Strategic Insights: The Assad Regime and Chemical Weapons

Dr. Robert J. Bunker On April 7, 2018, insurgents and civilians in a rebel enclave in Douma, east of Damascus, Syria, were subjected to a chemical weapons attack during an offensive conducted by Assad regime and allied Russian and Iranian-linked ground forces. At least 42 individuals were reported to have been killed in the attack …

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Strategic Insights: After the Smoke Clears in Syria: Dilemmas for U.S. Strategy Remain

Author: Dr Christopher J Bolan In the wake of recent U.S. and Israeli military strikes, the potential for expanded U.S. military engagement in the Syrian civil war is growing and U.S. policymakers will need to plot a smart strategic course ahead. In doing so, they will need to conduct an honest appraisal of America’s interests …

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Strategic Insights: After the Smoke Clears in Syria: Dilemmas for U.S. Strategy Remain

Dr. Christopher J. Bolan In the wake of recent U.S. and Israeli military strikes, the potential for expanded U.S. military engagement in the Syrian civil war is growing and U.S. policymakers will need to plot a smart strategic course ahead. In doing so, they will need to conduct an honest appraisal of America’s interests in …

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Strategic Insights: Making Good on the NSS and NDS: Competing with Russia in Europe and Beyond

Author: Dr John R Deni In January, the Trump administration released its first National Defense Strategy (NDS), which closely followed the December 2017 release of the new National Security Strategy (NSS). Both of these documents call for a fundamental shift in the U.S. approach to security, emphasizing competition against Russia and China at the expense …

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Strategic Insights: The Strategic Relevance of Latin America in the U.S. National Security Strategy

Dr. José de Arimatéia da Cruz The much-anticipated National Security Strategy of the United States of America was released in December 2017 by President Donald J. Trump. The National Security Strategy is composed of four pillars and is applied in a regional context. How does the National Security Strategy view the Western Hemisphere? What are …

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Will War’s Nature Change in the Seventh Military Revolution?

Author: Dr. F G. Hoffman Parameters 47, no. 4 (Winter 2017–18). This article examines the potential implications of the combinations of robotics, artificial intelligence, and deep learning systems on the character and nature of war. The author employs Carl von Clausewitz’s trinity concept to discuss how autonomous weapons will impact the essential elements of war. …

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Strategic Insights: Nuclear Posture Review: Three Reasons the Army Should Care

Author: Dr Michael Fitzsimmons Debate over the Trump administration’s new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) is now in full and predictable bloom. While many of its conclusions demonstrate continuity with the Obama administration’s modernization plans, controversy has centered on two of the review’s recommendations: to deploy new low-yield weapons on sea-launched ballistic and cruise missiles; and …

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Strategic Insights: Challenges in Using Scenario Planning for Defense Strategy

Dr. Michael Fitzsimmons Lawrence Freedman and Colin Gray are two of the most famous contemporary scholars of military strategy. Within the past few years, each published a book addressing different aspects of the same practical problem of strategy: defense planning.1 Considered to be strategy’s mundane cousin, defense planning revolves around how a nation designs its …

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Strategic Insights: Revolutionary Change Is Coming to Strategic Leadership

Dr. Steven Metz Clausewitz famously observed that war has an enduring nature and a changing character that evolves over time as technology, society, economics, and politics shift. This observation also applies to strategic leadership: it too has an enduring nature and a changing character. The enduring nature manifests itself as characteristics that define a skilled …

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Strategic Insights: Proxy War Norms

Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff Current trends in international relations suggest the United States will place a greater reliance on international partners in securing vital national interests. Growing assertiveness by regional state actors, increasingly capable nonstate actors, and a “war-weary” American public suggest the emergence of a “polyarchic” world order that will strain the United States’ …

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Strategic Insights: Lost in Translation

Author: Dr M Chris Mason In a change from the Vietnam War—where the U.S. military trained at least 45,000 deploying service members to speak Vietnamese and probably twice that number—for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, apart from some remotely-based intelligence specialists doing classified work, the U.S. military trained almost no deploying personnel to speak …

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Strategic Insights: U.S.-China Relations: Avoiding the Traps

Professor John F. Troxell Much has been written about the rise of China and the tensions that this has put on the international system. The potential for conflict between the United States and China can be compared to the Peloponnesian War, as told by the ancient historian Thucydides, and the inevitability of that war because …

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Strategic Insights: Speed Kills—Enter an Age of Unbridled Hyperconnectivity

Mr. Nathan P. Freier This month, a team of U.S. Army War College (USAWC) researchers concluded a yearlong study on enterprise-level risk and risk assessment inside the Department of Defense (DoD). At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk and Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World argues for a new Department-level risk concept for describing, identifying, assessing, …

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Strategic Insights: Caribbean Security Issues

Dr. R. Evan Ellis INTRODUCTION Outside of military, law enforcement, and some academic circles, security issues are rarely part of the discourse about the Caribbean. Yet, during the Cold War, the region’s contiguity with the United States made its largest island, Cuba, the focal point of the world’s closest publicly known approximation to nuclear war. …

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Strategic Insights: Strategic Questions Loom Large for President Trump in the Middle East

Dr. Christopher J. Bolan “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu The primary shortcoming of U.S. policymakers since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, has been a consistent inability to translate tactical and operational military successes into sustainable strategic political outcomes. This …

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Strategic Insights: Getting Comfortable with Conflicting Ideas

Prof. William G. Braun, III Dealing with other states, whom the United States has a hard time categorizing as a threat, rival, competitor, or partner requires a new way of approaching national security decision-making. China is a partner in trade, but a rival regarding territorial rights in the South China Sea. Russian support may stabilize …

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