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The Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) is the U.S. Army’s institute for geostrategic and national security research and analysis. SSI conducts global geostrategic research and analysis that creates and advances knowledge to influence solutions for national security problems facing the Army and the nation. SSI serves as a valuable source of ideas, criticism, innovative approaches, and independent analyses as well as a venue to expose external audiences to the U.S. Army’s contributions to the N ...
 
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Released 12 October, 2021.PROLOGUE: In the wake of the Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia, on October 3-4, 1993, in which 19 American servicemembers were killed and 73 injured, I was tasked to lead an effort to discern the strategic lessons to be learned from the ill-fated US intervention. The study highlighted several shortfalls: the absence of a clear …
 
Released 7 October, 2021.Statistical evidence suggests that Army battalion commanders are significant determinants of the retention of their lieutenants—especially high-potential lieutenants. Further, this so-called Battalion Commander Effect should be included in brigadier general promotion board assessments and used to inform officer professional…
 
Released 6 October, 2021.The reemergence of great power competition, conflict with near-peer competitor states below the level of armed conflict, and persisting threats from nonstate actors with transnational ambitions and global reach pose challenges for strategists planning, executing, and assessing military operations and strategy. Building on c…
 
Released 1 October, 2021.Global health engagement, an underutilized strategy rooted in the strengths of soft power persuasion, can lead to more military-to-military cooperation training, help establish relationships that can be relied on when crises develop, stabilize fragile states, and deny violent extremist organizations space for recruiting and…
 
Released 29 September 2021.The concept of hybrid war has evolved from operational-level use of military means and methods in war toward strategic-level use of nonmilitary means in a gray zone below the threshold of war. This article considers this evolution and its implications for strategy and the military profession by contrasting past and curren…
 
Released 27 September 2021.Looming budget cuts will necessitate adept management to retain a military capable of competing and winning by avoiding the mistakes made in prior drawdowns. This article presents a framework for government and defense leaders to prepare for the coming drawdown and plan for the necessary capacity of tomorrow across the di…
 
Released 21 September 2021.Drawing on Samuel P. Huntington’s three phases of self-regulation used to determine if an occupation qualifies as a profession, this article focuses on the third phase of policing and removing those who fail to uphold the standards set forth in the first two phases. It reviews how the Army implemented this phase following…
 
Released 16 September 2021.Identifying the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol as an inflection point, this article analyzes the historical relationship between White supremacy and the US military from Reconstruction after the Civil War to the present. The article posits causes for the disproportionate number of current and former members of t…
 
Released 16 September 2021.Using US military aid as a lever to achieve human rights reforms has proven only marginally effective. This article examines the approaches employed by the Obama and Trump administrations to US military aid to Egypt and proposes practical steps that can be taken by policymakers and the military personnel on the ground to …
 
Released 27 July 2021.While unmanned aerial systems can serve as a force multiplier for militants, these systems do not embody a transformation in modern insurgent warfare or enable militants to engage regularly in strategic coercion. Instead, drone use is consistent with a militant group’s relative capabilities and broader strategic objectives. Co…
 
Released 12 July 2021.Shortfalls and inefficiencies in traditional planning and campaigning have become increasingly clear in the current hyperconnected security environment. US military planners can mitigate these deficiencies by embracing integrated planning and campaigning approaches including the development of new organizational structures and…
 
Released 7 July 2021.Growing Sino-Russian coordination necessitates greater security cooperation between US Allies in Europe and East Asia. US Allies in both regions face remarkably similar threats requiring similar operational concepts, capabilities, and technologies. Further, these Allies must hedge against the specter of US abandonment. An explo…
 
Released 28 June 2021.Counterinsurgency does not increase the legitimacy of, or support for, central governments engaged in internal conflicts. Recent research shows quantifiable degrees of government legitimacy, national identity, and population security are necessary precursors and accurate predictors of a government’s ability to outlast a civil …
 
Released 28 June 2021.The rapid decline of the Peruvian left-wing insurgent organization Sendero Luminoso was not only the result of the arrest of its leader. An analysis of the precipitous weakening of the organization using two social movement theories finds other factors were involved in the demise of the organization as well. These factors—part…
 
Released 22 June 2021.Army General Matthew Ridgway’s actions throughout his career provide a valuable example of the appropriate time and place for serious dissent by military leaders. Ridgway demonstrated the importance of selectively and pragmatically expressing open disagreement in response to operational decisions a military leader deems unnece…
 
Released 22 June 2021.Predoctrinal deliberations about the employment of the US armed forces, captured in Joint Doctrine Notes, remain critically understudied. Using comparative text analysis, this article identifies changes in recent Joint Doctrine Note depictions of military strategy. These changes risk distorting the logic of military strategy, …
 
Released 04 June 2021.As the European Union deals with yet another crisis— the COVID-19 pandemic—it must adopt a grand strategy based on unity, policy, and proportionality: cohesion over inaction, policy over process, and regional imperatives over global ambitions. An analysis of past strategy documents and a study of current international trends s…
 
Released 20 April 2021.In an era of great power competition centered on warfighting domains other than land, the US Army faces difficult and likely painful choices. This reality, coupled with looming budget cuts, means the Army must reconsider its approach to capabilities and total force structure, its role in homeland security, and the relationshi…
 
Released 9 April 2021.In 1971 Dr. John R. Thomas documented the involvement of the Soviet Union in the Middle East from the start of the Cold War. Like its name and borders, the motivations for that country’s involvement in the region have changed. Russia today promulgates relationships with the governments of the Middle East in a nonideological, m…
 
Released 7 April 2021.In 1971 Colonel Duane H. Smith analyzed the unified command structure, examined an existing proposal for change, and suggested improvements. He illustrated how this structure must account for the challenges of the contemporary strategic environment and balance several tensions, such as effectiveness versus efficiency, flexibil…
 
Released 26 March 2021.A look back at F. Gunther Eyck’s assessment of reforms enacted under US Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson may reveal as much about the historiography of the early 1970s as it does about Stimson’s reform efforts themselves. Eyck’s 1971 evaluation, among the first in a decade of scholarship examining successes and failures of P…
 
Released 25 March 2021.Writing in 1971, economist Dr. John P. Hardt assessed the trajectory of the Soviet economy arguing the need for reform and evaluating the willingness of key actors in the Soviet bureaucracy to support such policies. Fifty years later, Hardt was remarkably prescient with regard to structural difficulties such reform posed and …
 
Released 23 March 2021.The dilemmas posed by coalition warfare were a subject of academic interest in the inaugural issue of Parameters in 1971. Lieutenant Colonel James B. Agnew examined the unified command model pursued by the Allies during the First World War. Agnew’s assessment of the challenges faced by French Marshal Ferdinand Foch speaks to …
 
Released 19 March 2021.Differences between the academic and military communities and the dysfunction that occurs when these communities comingle can have disastrous consequences for foreign policy. Donald Bletz, writing on the subject in 1971, details this dynamic as it related to the Vietnam War. His observations can be applied to wars since and s…
 
Released 19 March 2021.The failure of liberal internationalism in the post–Cold War period requires the United States to adopt a clear-eyed approach to competition that promotes regional balances of power, emphasizes reciprocity, and creates mission-driven coalitions. Click here to read the article.By US Army War College Press
 
Released 12 July 2021.Regaining the military advantage in the Indo-Pacificregion requires renewed thinking about the US military footprint there, particularly the role of the US Army. The Army’s deterrence and partnering capabilities will be best utilized by engaging its long-range and precision-strike capabilities in a regional “Ring of Fires” con…
 
Released 4 February 2021.Today, two-thirds of soldiers depart the US Army with a disability rating. Unfortunately, some soldiers are exploiting a generous disability system overextended beyond its original purposes and potentially damaging trust in the military, jeopardizing Army readiness, and encouraging a culture that erodes the Army’s notions o…
 
Released 3 February 2021.The novel coronavirus is only the latest in a series of global crises with implications for the regional order in the Middle East. These changes and the diverging interests of actors in the region have implications for US strategy and provide an opportunity to rethink key US relationships there. Click here for the article.…
 
Released 22 January 2021.The US military must prepare for the realities of densely populated areas as it plans and conducts campaigns. This planning must include considerations of soldiers’ health and wellbeing. An engaged analysis of urban battlespaces in the mid-twentieth and early twenty-first centuries highlights the need for essential updates …
 
Released 4 January 2021.The stability achieved by the US military in the European Theater of Operations after D-Day was the direct result of good military governance concurrently deployed with combat operations. The role of civil affairs in securing this stability has been under-emphasized in analyses of these operations. But an examination of the …
 
Released 15 December 2020.US military Joint and Army civil affairs doctrine have failed to consider the operational relevance of gender, posing a risk to mission accomplishment and force protection. A comparison of NATO and Australian Defence Force doctrine reveals gender considerations have been included in Allied doctrine in recent years. US land…
 
Released 11 December 2020.Statistics behind reported suicide rates in the military are often insufficiently analyzed and portray a distorted picture of reality. Several models for identifying individuals at risk for suicide have been proposed but few show adequate predictive power to be actionable. Instead, a collaborative and consistent effort to …
 
Released 25 September 2020.US security force assistance missions to Arab partner states have had limited success, due in part to a tendency to impose American doctrine, which embodies American cultural values and norms, on Arab armed forces. Accordingly, US security force assistance missions should train Arab partners to fight in a manner better su…
 
Released 23 September 2020.The theory of social stigma provides a context for the subjective experience of African American servicemembers in World War II. Those experiences reveal the paradox the military faces when addressing racial discrimination. An examination of these experiences suggests only a collective response by African American service…
 
Released 21 September 2020.Technological revolutions affecting state power are either open or closed. The precursor to the digital age is not the twentieth century, with state-controlled programs yielding nuclear weapons, but the late nineteenth century, when tinkerers invented the radio, airplane, and high explosives—all crucial to subsequent wars…
 
Released 14 September 2020.The framework of Enduring Information Vigilance will help ally and partner governments deny advantages adversaries gain through their use of information operations in our new global perpetual information environment. This approach recognizes the persistent threat, unifies responses within and between governments, and reso…
 
Released 08 September 2020.The DoD can exploit weaknesses in Chinese military attempts at political warfare, or “enemy disintegration,” most recently observed in PLA media on the subject of the pandemic. Targeted information efforts will signal the United States’ refusal to be intimidated, expose untruths in Chinese government messaging to its citi…
 
Released 04 September 2020.The lessons of counterinsurgency have deeper implications for cyber conflict than previous research has identified. Two decades of experience in Iraq and Afghanistan provide insights into the cyber strategy of defending forward including treating major cybersecurity and technology companies as host-nation partners and foc…
 
Released 01 September 2020.The US military has a historical precedence for dealing with a pandemic while simultaneously conducting largescale combat operations. Two twentieth-century examples assess the extent to which the military adapted operations following an influenza outbreak, and make clear military and civilian leaders must balance strategi…
 
Released 28 August 2020.Racialized structural inequalities and related social biases in US society and replicated in the military hinder diversity and inclusion efforts necessary to maintain a ready force. Examining the history of Blacks in the military through a social science lens helps explain this challenge and reveals the military must both pr…
 
Dr. Christopher J. BolanIn 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 Syria and wrestle with th…
 
Dr. Robert J. BunkerOn 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 due to suffocation…
 
Dr. C. Anthony PfaffCurrent 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 or…
 
Dr. R. Evan EllisIn the 2016 U.S. presidential debates, as on other occasions, the theme of Latin America and the Caribbean was remarkably absent. Important events in the region occasionally insert themselves into the U.S. consciousness through the mainstream media, including: the arrival of thousands of Central American child refugees at the U.S. …
 
Dr. Leonard WongIn the preface to the Army’s Operating Concept, General David Perkins, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, counsels that as the Army prepares for the future, “We must not be consumed with focusing solely on avoiding risk, but build[ing] leaders and institutions that recognize and leverage opportunities…
 
Lieutenant Colonel Michael A. AdelbergA collection of social and security trends are at play in Europe that may threaten the peace and stability of the continent. The array of challenges, threats, and frictions could converge at such a point that an unintentional spark could ignite a major crisis or even a regional war of some type.The most obvious…
 
Dr. R. Evan EllisFrom February 15-23, 2016, I1 had the opportunity to travel to Mexico to conduct interviews with Mexican security experts about the evolution of transnational organized crime in the country and the work of Mexico's current government to combat it.My trip to Mexico coincided with the February 12-17 visit to Mexico by Pope Francis. T…
 
Dr. Robert J. Bunker Key Insights: A number of definitions for autonomous systems exist. One of the working definitions used at the colloquium was that in which their key feature is viewed as the ability of a given system to perform certain functions independently. Autonomous systems can support military operations by contributing to force protecti…
 
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