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Great discussions with security, defense, and foreign policy experts recorded over drinks.

From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-29 08:45:21

The Question of Succession in Al-Qaeda

We are seeking to fill two positions on our editorial team: An editor/researcher and a membership editor. Apply by Oct. 2, 2022.   Two months after a U.S. Hellfire missile posted a “Now Hiring” sign for al-Qaeda’s CEO position, experts continue to debate potential contenders while waiting for al-Qaeda to make an announcement. Some believe that the group’s silence […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-29 08:44:01

Military Lessons from the War in Ukraine

The Net Assessment crew discusses possible military lessons from the war in Ukraine. It is too early to take away any definitive lessons from the war, but it is possible to start identifying and asking some key questions. Melanie, Chris, and Zack debate recent work by Rob Lee and others about why Russia’s army, air […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-28 08:45:26

In Search of an Air Force Meritocracy

We are seeking to fill two positions on our editorial team: An editor/researcher and a membership editor. Apply by Oct. 2, 2022.     In theory, every officer in the military with skill or merit should be able to compete for promotion on a level playing field, with only the best and the brightest getting picked each year to […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-28 07:50:10

The Kremlin in Command, Part II: Syria and the First Assault on Ukraine

Lawrence Freedman and Michael Kofman walk us through the post-Cold War history of the Kremlin as commander. In the second episode of this multi-part series, they focus on Russia’s intervention in the Syrian Civil War and its first assault on Ukraine in the aftermath of Euromaidan. In Syria in particular, Moscow thinks it makes major […]

The post The Kremlin in Command, Part II: Syria and the First Assault on Ukraine appeared first on War on the Rocks.

From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-27 08:46:13

Airpower and Interdiction: Overcoming Defender Advantages

We are seeking to fill two positions on our editorial team: An editor/researcher and a membership editor. Apply by Oct. 2, 2022.   On October 8, 1973, the Israel Defense Forces launched a major counterattack on Egyptian positions in the Sinai spearheaded by three armored brigades. Israeli commanders expected to repeat their rapid 1967 victory over the Egyptians, but […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-27 08:45:48

More Than a Bicycle Brake on a Missile: AI Ethics in Defense

We are seeking to fill two positions on our editorial team: An editor/researcher and a membership editor. Apply by Oct. 2, 2022.     The first casualty of future warfare may very well be AI ethics. The AI-enabled digital transformation of the defense sector will clearly not stop. In the United States, the Silicon Valley culture of rapid technological […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-26 08:46:59

Russia’s Plan to Stay in the War

After Ukraine’s stunning Kharkiv counter-offensive, Vladimir Putin has doubled down on his war against Ukraine, announcing a large military mobilization, threatening nuclear use, and pressing ahead with referenda in territories Russia has seized from Urkaine. Can Putin salvage his campaign? Michael Kofman helps us understand these issues and more, encouraging people to think more temporally […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-26 08:45:14

Keep MQ-9 Pilots Flying

We are seeking to fill two positions on our editorial team: An editor/researcher and a membership editor. Apply by Oct. 2, 2022.   Imagine a 1st lieutenant with 3.5 years on active duty who has amassed over 1500 combat hours, executed multiple air-to-ground kinetic weapons strikes, supported special operations and conventional forces, and spurred innovation and positive change within […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-23 12:30:43

An Overview of Strategy Down Under

In this week’s episode of Horns of a Dilemma,  Charles Edel, the inaugural Australia chair at CSIS in Washington, DC, discusses Australia’s “strategic revolution,” which focuses on building diplomatic, economic, and military capacity to resist coercion by China. The recent AUKUS nuclear submarine deal is one manifestation of this effort, but as Edel explains, the […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-23 08:45:39

Getting Serious about the Threat of High Altitude Nuclear Detonations

We are seeking to fill two positions on our editorial team: An editor/researcher and a membership editor. Apply by Oct. 2, 2022.   Aurora Borealis is the scientific term given to the natural light phenomenon of the Northern Lights. On July 9, 1962, the light phenomenon that Hawaiians watched was anything but natural. On that day, the Atomic Energy […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-22 08:45:49

A Tale of Two Wargames: An Entirely Fictitious Tale of Wargaming Woe and Tragedy

We are seeking to fill two positions on our editorial team: An editor/researcher and a membership editor. Apply by Oct. 2, 2022.   The following tale, while fictionalized to protect the guilty, happened largely as described. Which of the two main characters in the tale should you listen to? Once upon a time, not too long ago, there was […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-21 15:43:59

The Kremlin in Command, Part I: The Chechen Wars and Georgia

Vladimir Putin’s role as supreme commander has been center stage, offering a floundering and frightful performance. To understand the present, we reach back to the past. In the first of a multi-part series of episodes, Lawrence Freedman and Michael Kofman walk us through the post-Cold War history of the Kremlin and especially Putin as commander, […]

The post The Kremlin in Command, Part I: The Chechen Wars and Georgia appeared first on War on the Rocks.

From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-21 08:45:29

Defeat China’s Navy, Defeat China’s War Plan

We are seeking to fill two positions on our editorial team: An editor/researcher and a membership editor. Apply by Oct. 2, 2022.   Washington has already lost the war for Taiwan – at least according to the most recent war games organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The think tank’s simulation of a conflict between the […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-20 08:45:45

Are Green Berets Turning Pink? Integrating Women into Special Forces

We are seeking to fill two positions on our editorial team: An editor/researcher and a membership editor. Apply by Oct. 2, 2022.     Is advancing women’s interests worth destroying America’s most elite military units? One can hardly peruse media (social and otherwise) without hearing histrionic tales of plummeting standards and woeful urban legends of the crumbling of our […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-19 08:50:56

ESCALATION MANAGEMENT AND NUCLEAR EMPLOYMENT IN RUSSIAN MILITARY STRATEGY

We are seeking to fill two positions on our editorial team: An editor/researcher and a membership editor. Apply by Oct. 2, 2022.   Editor’s Note: After the Russian military collapse in and around Kharkiv Oblast, there is now renewed concern that Russian leaders could behave unpredictably and use nuclear weapons to halt the Ukrainian offensive, or to intimidate the leadership in Kyiv […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-16 11:20:09

Ideology and America’s View of the World

Ideologies help people understand the world around them. They provide a lens through which we arrange events and images into patterns, and they offer a menu of actions that seem appropriate in response to that pattern. Although leaders and states often subscribe consciously to certain ideologies, some ideas–such as religion or a belief in the […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-15 08:56:19

Only Democracy Can Bring Stability to the Balkans

We are seeking to fill two positions on our editorial team: An editor/researcher and a membership editor. Apply by Oct. 2, 2022.   Sovereignty is an abstract concept. License plates are not. In late July, the Kosovo government demanded its Serbian citizens replace the plates on their cars, prompting protests among those who continue to reject Pristina’s sovereignty. International […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-15 08:45:05

Galvanizing America’s Defense Industrial Policy

This week, Chris, Zack, and Melanie talk about a new report, “Rebuild: Toolkit for a New American Industrial Policy,” from the Center for a New American Security. The United States government has a number of ways to intervene in the economy to advance the national interest. The use of tariffs and the Defense Production Act […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-14 08:37:37

Walking the Talk in International Engagement and Security Cooperation

We are seeking to fill two positions on our editorial team: An editor/researcher and a membership editor. Apply by Oct. 2, 2022.   An old saying tells us that “actions speak louder than words.” Over the years, this aphorism has been transformed into catchy slogans such as “your walk talks and your talk talks, but your walk talks […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-13 08:55:45

What Does the Weaponization of Global Finance Mean for U.S. Dollar Dominance?

$300 billion is a big number, even for a country the size of Russia. The United States and its allies froze roughly that amount belonging to Russia’s central bank’s foreign currency reserves (equivalent to about 35 percent of Russian GDP), froze assets of a wide range of individuals and Russian banks, and severely limited Russia’s […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-13 08:45:59

Call the Maritime Cavalry: Marine Corps Modernization and the Stand-in Force

Genghis Khan and Napoleon Bonaparte used cavalry units and combined arms to wreak havoc in Europe and Eurasia long before debates about the future of the Marines Corps and maneuver warfare. Today, the Marine Corps can also apply these time-tested tactics to develop a “maritime cavalry” and provide an essential maneuver element that complements the […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-12 13:12:42

Ukraine’s Kharkhiv Operation and the Russian Military’s Black Week

On a foggy morning in August 1918, Allied forces commenced the Battle of Amiens and the ‘Hundred Days Offensive’ that ended the Great War. A German general later called it “the black day of the German Army.” The Russian military has had a black week ever since Ukraine launched a counter-offensive in the Kharkiv Oblast. […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-12 08:45:42

Sustainment of the Stand-In Force

After a congressional visit to Taiwan, the People’s Republic of China rapidly and without warning begins to ramp up military activity. Beijing launches missiles into the South China Sea and deploys ships around the island. In response, Washington reaches out to key partners in the region such as Japan and Australia to negotiate storage, sustainment, […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-09 12:55:01

Afghan Crucible

Phrases such as, “history is written by the victors,” while often cycnical, hint at a fundamental truth: Historical events assume different significance depending on the perspective from which they are viewed. In this week’s episode of Horns of a Dilemma, Professor Elisabeth Leake of Leeds University discusses her book, Afghan Crucible, which examines the war […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-09 08:45:18

How Much Multipolarity Does a Strongman Need?: Why Erdogan Has Benefited From Russia’s Failure in Ukraine

This week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeatedly threatened to invade Greece, then, without missing a beat, condemned the West’s provocative approach to Russia. And yet, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ankara has been eager to tout its unique success in balancing between both sides of the conflict to the benefit of Turkey, NATO, […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-08 08:55:38

Not So Fast: Insights from a 1944 War Help Explain Why Invading Taiwan Is a Costly Gamble

If you click on enough articles, watch television, or read testimony by military leaders, you might think an invasion of Taiwan is imminent. Think tank panels spring up daily discussing how Beijing is learning from Russia’s war in Ukraine. Speculation abounds with worst-case scenarios imagining Xi Jinping using the West’s distraction in Ukraine to invade […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-08 08:45:27

Reliance on Dual-Use Technology Is a Trap

As currently executed, the U.S. military’s embrace of dual-use technology will not repel the Russians from Ukraine and it will not deter China from invading Taiwan. Instead, it risks ceding America’s technological advantage to its adversaries. I have been working at the nexus of national security and technology for many years. Initially, I served as […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-07 08:41:49

Beating the Authoritarian Legacy: Upgrading Conscription in Greece and Taiwan

As democracies seeking to deter attacks from much larger neighbors, both Greece and Taiwan face challenges stemming from their histories of authoritarian rule. In both cases, authoritarian regimes have poisoned civil-military relations, with lasting consequences for their countries’ national security. In Greek and Taiwanese politics, there is an enduring and internalized resistance to trusting military […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-06 10:00:58

To Support and Defend: Principles of Civilian Control and Best Practices of Civil-Military Relations

We are in an exceptionally challenging civil-military environment. Many of the factors that shape civil-military relations have undergone extreme strain in recent years. Geopolitically, the winding down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ramping up of great power conflict mean the U.S. military must simultaneously come to terms with wars that ended […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-06 08:45:22

The Tank Is Not Obsolete, and Other Observations About the Future of Combat

After six months of war in Ukraine, some observers have insisted that “we are seeing the very nature of combat change” and that tanks, along with fighter jets and warships, “are being pushed into obsolescence.” But it is too soon to write off the tank, and we should resist jumping to other sweeping conclusions about […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-02 12:45:23

Compassion, Control, and Complications: 19th-Century British Anti-Slavery Efforts

The British empire embarked on a successful and far-reaching anti-slavery campaign in the first half of the 19th century, one of the first global humanitarian efforts of its kind. Professor Maeve Ryan of Kings College London joins Texas National Security Review editor in chief and Clements Center executive director Will Inboden for a fascinating discusion […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-02 08:55:20

Funding the Indo-Pacific Pivot

In recent years, lawmakers on the Armed Services Committees in Congress have attempted to work with Republican and Democratic administrations to strengthen the posture of the United States military in the Indo-Pacific and confront the challenge posed by China. Yet U.S. efforts to truly align resources accordingly have been frustrated since President Barack Obama’s administration […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-02 08:45:50

How to Make Yemen’s Truce Last

After more than seven years of war and humanitarian crisis, there is a small glimmer of hope for peace in Yemen. For the first time since 2016, a United Nations-mediated truce has been extended from two to six months, and has largely held. The warring parties agreed to halt offensive operations, allow commercial flights into […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-02 08:20:31

Into the Breach: Ukraine’s Counter-Offensive Begins

Join us for another discussion with Michael Kofman on the war in Ukraine. The main focus of this episode is the southern counter-offensive launched by Ukrainian forces early this week. Mike explains what has happened so far in this operation, centered around Kherson, and how observers should think about it as it unfolds. The two […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-01 08:45:33

Not Their Plane to Land: Generals Thwarting the Chain of Command?

Chris, Melanie, and Zack discuss Doyle Hodges’ recent article scrutinizing Gen. Mark Milley’s behavior in the waning months of the Trump administration. Journalists have rendered a relatively favorable treatment of Milley’s insubordination, but Hodges questions the long-term implications for civil-military relations. Should senior military officers be expected to follow lawful orders, even if they are […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-09-01 08:45:22

Hedging with Humility: Reassessing China’s Power Projection Capabilities Against Taiwan

“Andrew Higgins is the man who won the war for us. If Higgins had not designed and built those [landing craft] we never could have landed over an open beach. The whole strategy of the war would have been different.” -President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a 1964 interview The Marine Corps tested the first Higgins […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-31 20:33:33

We’re Hiring an Editor for Our Membership Community

War on the Rocks (https://warontherocks.com) is looking for a detail-oriented editor who is committed to the clear communication of sophisticated ideas and is excited to work in the field of national security. This is a full-time position (40 hours a week), beginning in fall 2022. Living in the Washington, DC-area is not a requirement, but you […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-31 08:45:47

The Grand Race for Techno-Security Leadership

In the perilous race between the United States and China for dominance of the global technological and security commons, the recent passage of the CHIPS and Science Act adds a powerful and much-needed instrument in the U.S. arsenal to revitalize its ageing techno-security system. But China is constantly upgrading and expanding its toolbox, often in […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-30 08:35:28

The United States Is Behind the Curve on Blockchain

The price implosion of digital images of cartoon gorillas and the collapse of the cryptocurrency market led to head-scratching and finger-wagging. The headlines generated by these crashes belie the significance of their technological infrastructure — blockchain. (Blockchain is distinct from the popular Bitcoin cryptocurrency: Blockchain is the broad, foundational technology while Bitcoin is a single […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-29 08:55:05

Getting the Taiwan Policy Act Right

When it comes to Taiwan, Beijing and Washington are talking past one another. So too are Americans themselves. Last month, infighting between Congress and the Biden administration spilled into public view before Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan. As one of us discussed in a recent War on the Rocks podcast episode, the same pattern […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-29 08:45:16

Cooperation Can Make the NATO Lake a Reality

In May, Finland’s former intelligence chief declared that when his country and Sweden join the alliance, “The Baltic Sea Will Become a NATO Lake.” Nordic defense professionals have since highlighted how the two countries will provide the alliance sophisticated weapons and well-trained forces, as well as shorter routes to potential flashpoints and a significantly reinforced […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-26 12:45:33

Protecting Civilians in War: Law, Politics, Strategy, and Morality

A cynic might argue that a Venn diagram of good legal compliance, good politics, good strategy, and morally good behavior has no space where all four elements intersect. This week’s guests on Horns of a Dilemma argue that these virtues coincide in the protection of civilians from harm during war. Sahr Muhammedally and Dan Mahanty, both of […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-26 08:55:03

Reduce Friction in Space by Amending the 1967 Outer Space Treaty

Is space becoming “the wild, wild west” that some, including top U.S. national security officials, fear? Or does the fact that we have several international treaties on space provide the necessary rule of law framework to maintain peace in space? The answer likely lies somewhere in the middle. If so, the international community might consider […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-26 08:50:58

France, Egypt, and India Can Help to Spread Security from Mediterranean to the Indo-Pacific

In March 2021, the container ship Ever Given got stuck in the Suez Canal for six days, triggering a worldwide supply-chain crisis with extensive economic consequences. This incident was a powerful reminder of how intertwined the Mediterranean Sea and the Indo-Pacific are. Yet, these two maritime areas are often seen as separate regions despite a […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-25 17:21:11

We’re Hiring an Editor and Researcher

War on the Rocks (https://warontherocks.com) is looking for a detail-oriented editor and researcher, who is committed to the clear communication of sophisticated ideas and is excited to work in the field of national security. This is a full-time position (40 hours a week), beginning in fall 2022. About the Publication War on the Rocks is focused on […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-25 08:50:05

Ending the Ideology of the Offense, Part II

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of an essay. The first was published last week. What if the ages-old military maxim that “the best defense is a good offense” is false? What if the “best defense is a good defense”? This was Lt. Gen. James Longstreet’s belief, a view he could not get Gen. […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-24 08:50:20

The Accelerating Threat of the Political Assassination

When Shinzo Abe was slain weeks ago by an assailant wielding a homemade firearm, it sent shockwaves rippling around Japan and beyond, prompting a bewildered public to ask how such a disaster could be possible and, more importantly, what would happen in the aftermath. The unthinkable murder of a popular former G7 leader will lead […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-23 08:55:41

To Defeat Autocracy, Weaponize Transparency

The gap between what governments know and what members of the public can discover is shrinking. The proliferation of high-quality, open source data and the diffusion of analytic tools and skills outside of government have democratized what were once unique capabilities held exclusively by our national security institutions. This will require a paradigm shift in […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-23 08:45:35

The Sword, the Shield, and the Hedgehog: Strengthening Deterrence in NATO’s New Strategic Concept

When NATO leaders gathered in Lisbon in 1952, the Alliance hoped to have 50 divisions available to deter Soviet attack. By the end of the Cold War it had over 100. At the end of June, with war raging in Ukraine and a revanchist Russia making nuclear threats towards its members, NATO’s leaders gathered a […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-22 08:55:58

The Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis Is Just Starting

The Chinese military exercises that began on Aug. 3, 2022, have initiated the Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis. The most immediate reason for this was Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei. But this is a bigger crisis, driven by bigger factors. There has been a steady erosion in Sino-American relations and — not unrelated — a […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-22 08:45:41

Strengthening the Black Sea Grain Agreement Short of War

The agreement to open the Black Sea to Ukrainian grain shipments previously blockaded by Russia floats on rough seas. Russia has shown itself to be an unreliable partner, striking the port of Odesa less than 24 hours after inking the deal. Among Russia experts, there is little consensus that the agreement will prove lasting. On […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-20 18:13:27

Awaiting a Ukrainian Counter-Offensive

Mike Kofman joins Ryan once again to update us all on the war in Ukraine. The big thing that everyone is watching for is evidence of an impending Ukrainian counter-offensive. Mike explains that we don’t see that yet. He also discusses fighting around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, some events that surprised him, Ukrainian strikes […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-19 12:45:43

Storm Center? The Future of U.S.-Chinese Relations

In this week’s episode of Horns of a Dilemma, Charles Edel discusses the big questions in U.S.-Chinese relations. He examines efforts under the Biden administration to deal with these questions, and projects what questions may define the relationship going forward. As Edel makes clear, the relationship between America and China is long, and has often […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-19 08:50:21

Precise and Popular: Why People in Northwest Pakistan Support Drones

On May 26, 2012, a missile from a drone hit the top floor of a two-story bakery in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal agency, killing four al-Qaeda members. A couple of weeks later, a similar strike took place when a drone launched two missiles at the upper level of a grocery store in Miramshah Bazaar, killing […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-18 08:55:59

An Alliance Division of Labor in East Asia

Leaders in Washington understand that a strategy for the Indo-Pacific rooted in alliances is critical to meet the challenge presented by China. But such a strategy seems slow in coming together in East Asia. Why is this the case? Two years ago, we argued that the fundamental reason for the lack of security cooperation between […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-18 08:45:58

Generation Killed: The Challenges of Routinizing Global Jihad

In the past year, U.S. forces killed the top leaders of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in bold over-the-horizon raids: Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul earlier this month and Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim in Syria last February. In addition to their leadership roles, these men were also members of the founding generation of their respective […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-18 08:00:40

Is U.S. Support to Taiwan Substantive or Symbolic?

Melanie and Zack are joined by the RAND Corporation’s Mike Mazarr for a discussion about Taiwan. They examine an article by Matt Turpin for the Aspen Institute and debate what is driving increased tensions, and why both the United States and China blame the other for changing the status quo. Melanie calls out onerous education […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-17 17:09:40

Troubled Waters Around Taiwan

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit was met with fury and condemnation in Beijing, as well as new Chinese military exercises in the seas surrounding Taiwan. In the aftermath of the visit, Ryan invited three experts to talk about relations between the United States, Taiwan, and China. They discuss why the visit generated such a fierce reaction […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-17 08:50:14

Before Deploying More U.S. Forces to Europe, Consider the Consequences

In 1983, 1.3 million West Germans took to the streets in one of the largest protests the country has ever witnessed. Their goal was to impede the decision to deploy new intermediate-range nuclear forces to West Germany. Similar protests took place in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, where the missiles were planned […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-16 08:55:32

Pushing Back Against China’s New Normal in the Taiwan Strait

It would be a mistake — perhaps a deadly one — for Washington to dismiss Beijing’s reaction to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as just another temper tantrum. China’s military response might have failed to drive a wedge between the United States and Taiwan, but it carries real risks. It could normalize aggressive Chinese […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-16 08:45:29

Strategic Outpost’s Seventh Annual Summer Vacation Reading List

How can the summer be ending already?? Temperatures are soaring, vacations are wrapping up, and many of you are realizing that you have only a couple of weeks left to rest and relax before the new national security school year begins after Labor Day! Luckily, your loyal Strategic Outpost columnists are happy to present our […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-15 08:55:11

Ending the Ideology of the Offense, Part I

We have already stated what defense is — simply the more effective form of war: a means to win a victory that enables one to take the offensive after superiority has been gained; that is, to proceed to the active object of the war. -Carl von Clausewitz  “Would you rather be Ukraine and be on […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-15 08:45:47

A K-Arsenal of Democracy? South Korea and U.S. Allied Defense Procurement

In 1940, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously declared that the United States must become “the great arsenal of democracy.” Today, that label might also apply to South Korea. As U.S. allies and partners around the world build up their defense capabilities in the face of Russian and Chinese military threats, a growing number are […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-12 12:45:52

Everything You Wanted to Know About History and Foreign Policy (But Were Afraid to Ask)

In this episode of Horns of a Dilemma, chair of the Texas National Security Review editorial board Frank Gavin speaks about the role of history in foreign policy, previewing his forthcoming book. Gavin’s talk is both a personal and a disciplinary reflection, as well as a penetrating analysis of how history influences the choices of […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-12 08:55:41

People Win Wars: A 2022 Reality Check on PLA Enlisted Force and Related Matters

Editor’s Note: One of the authors of this article is protected with a pseudonym. Regular readers of War on the Rocks know that we allow this in only the rarest of cases. Please see our submissions guidelines to read more about how we make these judgments.  Modeled after the Soviet Red Army at its creation from its name to […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-12 08:45:02

Send NATO Troops to Help Stabilize Bosnia and Herzegovina

While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put the Balkans back on the West’s radar, transatlantic malaise on security issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina threatens peace in the country once again. High Representative Christian Schmidt’s warning from the end of 2021 still looms: “[T]he prospects for further division and conflict [in Bosnia and Herzegovina] are very […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-11 08:55:42

Amateur Hour Part II: Failing the Air Campaign

An air campaign is the controlled conduct of a series of interrelated air operations to achieve specified objectives. The conduct of effective air campaigns is the hallmark of all successful air forces. Effective air campaign planning is founded upon the professional mastery of air force personnel which includes an understanding of the interface between military […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-11 08:45:24

Breadbasket Diplomacy: Preserving Wheat as a Tool of American Statecraft

Is the world facing “a potential mass starvation event” due to the war in Ukraine? It is starting to look that way. Vladimir Putin is weaponizing food and America is losing wheat as a tool of statecraft to counter it. The invasion and Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea has created unprecedented […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-11 07:00:33

The Task Force at the Bleeding Edge of the Marine Corps

Maj. Gen. Frank Donovan of the U.S. Marine Corps sat down with Ryan to discuss the recent mission and exercises of Task Force 61/2, from Greece and Turkey to the Baltic Sea. Aside from playing an important role during a delicate moment in European security affairs, this task force was kicking the tires on Force […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-10 08:55:12

Necro-Aeronautics: Raising Undead Aircraft for War

Recent news reports document Russia converting various An-2 passenger and cargo aircraft — old Soviet biplanes that first flew in 1947 — into drones, possibly as decoys to trigger air defenses. China has caught on too, converting 1950s Soviet jets into drones to serve as either decoys or for overwhelming an adversary. This is not […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-10 08:45:58

Doctrine for Diplomacy: To Remain Relevant, the U.S. State Department Needs a New Statecraft

Picture a seasoned American diplomat preparing to lead a ceasefire negotiation to end a violent civil war. You might imagine her carrying a dog-eared manual that describes a variety of negotiation techniques, guidelines for assembling a well-rounded team, and a summary of best practices for achieving success. As her jet lands in a war-torn country, […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-09 08:55:37

An Alternative History of AirLand Battle, Part II

Editor’s Note: Do not miss the first part of this essay. We hope, to paraphrase Santayana, that are we not doomed to repeat our alternative histories. That is our purpose as an answer to those who might ask why we engaged in this exercise when we know what really happened. The first part of our […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-09 08:45:19

Prescribing a New Paradigm for Cyber Competition

Michael P. Fischerkeller, Emily O. Goldman, and Richard J. Harknett, Cyber Persistence Theory: Redefining National Security in Cyberspace (Oxford University Press, 2022). Predictions about cyber war have ranged from the apocalyptic to the reassuring over the past decade, and the current war in Ukraine — beyond its horrific violence, dislocations, and criminality — provides a test case […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-08 08:55:41

Moving On After AUKUS: Working with France in the Indo-Pacific

“We have a reason to ask ourselves questions about the strength of the alliance with the U.S. In a real alliance, you talk to each other, you respect each other. This has not been the case here.” These were the words used by Jean-Yves Le Drian, then the French minister of foreign affairs, when he […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-08 08:45:06

Despite Rhetoric, Biden is Continuing Trump’s Weapons Sales

Before taking office, President Joe Biden proudly announced that under a Biden-Harris administration, America would not “check its values at the door to sell arms.” In July 2020, Biden tweeted, “No more blank checks for Trump’s favorite dictator,” referring to Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi. And in February 2021, Biden announced an end to U.S. […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-08 08:00:18

Great Expectations? The Next Phase of the Russo-Ukrainian War

Michael Kofman joined Ryan for yet another conversation about the unfolding tragedy of the Russo-Ukrainian War. In this episode, they focus largely on the potential for a Ukrainian counter-offensive on Kherson. They also discuss Russia’s repositioning of forces, continued (albeit smaller) Russian offensives in the east, the role of HIMARS, Russia’s personnel strategy, and whether […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-05 16:10:00

Healthy Worry About Healthy Civil-Military Relations

“Civil-military relations” is a term that covers a multitude of sins. Scholars of civil-military relations write on topics ranging from recruiting and retention to military coups to norms of professional military behavior. This week’s Horns of a Dilemma speaker, Dr. Kori Schake, argues that civil-military relations in the United States have historically been strong and […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-05 08:00:45

Shinzo Abe’s Legacy in Japan and on the World Stage

Shinzo Abe, Japan’s former prime minister, was gunned down by an assassin earlier this summer. He is credited with having paved the road to his country’s far more more prominent role in global affairs. Mireya Solis of the Brookings Institution and Sheila Smith of the Council on Foreign Relations discuss Abe’s story and legacy in […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-04 15:23:59

Is NATO’s Vision for Its Future Right?

Chris, Zack, and Melanie sit down to talk about the NATO’s new 2022 Strategic Concept, the first update since 2010. A lot has changed since then. What does the new concept get right or wrong? What missions should NATO be focused on at this time? Is the United States a sucker for continuing to carry […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-04 08:55:11

An Alternative History of AirLand Battle, Part I

Early in the morning on Feb. 11, 1974, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command headquarters is abuzz with activity. Gen. Creighton Abrams, Army chief of staff since October, is coming to Fort Monroe for a meeting with all the Army’s three- and four-star generals. The focus of the session is on the initial lessons learned […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-04 08:45:43

New Winners, New Losers: Toward a New Energy Security

We are in the midst of the biggest global energy crisis in history. Old playbooks are not up to the task. The climate crisis and the horrors of the war in Ukraine are adding considerable urgency to the task of building a new paradigm for energy security. But allowing the war in Ukraine and its […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-03 08:50:28

Aim Higher: The U.S.-Philippine Alliance Can Do More

Over its 70-year lifespan, the U.S.-Philippine alliance has proven itself to be among the most adept survivors in world affairs. Despite frequent periods of discord, the alliance has successfully undergone several evolutions and remained a regional fixture across multiple geopolitical eras. Recent assessments have centered on the electoral victory of Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Jr. and […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-02 08:50:10

Reviving the Petroleum Administration for War: A Case for Government-Industry Partnership

The Russo-Ukrainian War is exposing deep fissures in global energy networks and finally forcing Western capitals to address their energy security. The prices for crude oil and natural gas in the United States have risen approximately 50 percent and 100 percent respectively since December 2021, with even higher prices for U.S. allies in Europe. Combined, […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-01 08:55:34

“Win the War Before the War?”: A French Perspective on Cognitive Warfare

It is 2050, and society is divided into an archipelago of community-based alternative reality zones. The French armed forces are tasked with “securing reality” in the face of an adversary capable of modifying collective behavior on a large scale through actions of deception and subversion. This was the scenario proposed last summer to the French […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-08-01 08:45:37

Dereliction of Duty: The Abandonment of the Defense Sector in Colombia and How to Fix It

Five years after a peace accord ended the long-running conflict between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia is again in the midst of a severe security problem. Multiple criminal organizations are present in approximately a third of the country’s territory, one that remains shaped by violence, lack of economic […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-07-29 08:55:05

At the Seam of of Three Regions: The Case for More Basing and Access in Greece and Cyprus

At the dawn of the Cold War, President Harry Truman argued in favor of major security investments in Greece and Turkey, suggesting that an investment in regional security would pay dividends for American security. 75 years later, anti-American communists in Greece still chafe at the American presence in the country, but both Athens and Washington […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-07-29 08:55:05

At the Seam of Three Regions: The Case for More Basing and Access in Greece and Cyprus

At the dawn of the Cold War, President Harry Truman argued in favor of major security investments in Greece and Turkey, suggesting that an investment in regional security would pay dividends for American security. 75 years later, anti-American communists in Greece still chafe at the American presence in the country, but both Athens and Washington […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-07-29 08:50:16

AI, Autonomy, and the Risk of Nuclear War

Will emerging technologies like AI increase the risk of nuclear war? We are in an era of rapid disruptive technological change, especially in AI. Therefore, the nascent journey to reorient military forces to prepare for the future digitized battlefield is no longer merely speculation or science fiction. “AI technology” is already fused into military machines, […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-07-28 08:55:06

Ukraine’s Window of Opportunity?

With military circles abuzz that Ukraine might be preparing to launch a counter-offensive against Russian-held Kherson, Michael Kofman of CNA’s Russia team helps us parse the facts. What has been happening on the battlefield since our last episode? How are the two forces faring as they struggle with various problems in mobilizing manpower and equipment […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-07-28 08:45:28

Kessel Run Shows How to Bridge the Gap Between Development and Operations

Everyone seems to agree that the U.S. military needs to rapidly update its weapons by harnessing information technologies — software, computing, and data transmission — to make both systems and humans more effective. This consensus position is entrenched in the forthcoming National Defense Strategy, which directs the military to accelerate force development with a focus […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-07-27 08:50:58

Real Friends Twist Arms: Taiwan and the Case for Conditionality

Reports that Speaker Nancy Pelosi intends to go to Taiwan next month have introduced the newest twist in an increasingly fraught U.S.-Chinese relationship. Beijing reacted with predictable outrage and a dramatic response cannot be ruled out if she goes through with the trip. Meanwhile, the White House appeared less than thrilled by the news, yet […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-07-26 09:30:53

Remembering Robert Jervis, Part II

This episode is the second part of a conversation between four people who knew the late Robert Jervis well: Francis Gavin of the Kissinger Center and chair of the editorial board of the Texas National Security Review; Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl; Mira Rapp-Hooper, a member of the staff of the National […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-07-26 08:55:25

You Go to War with the Watercraft You Have

The U.S military is at risk of repeating Russia’s logistics failures in Ukraine during a war in the Indo-Pacific. One of the enduring images from Russia’s disastrous invasion of Ukraine will likely be the convoy parked northeast of Kyiv for weeks, dozens of miles long, unable to bring its combat power to bear with an […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-07-26 08:50:39

South Korea Needs a Wake-Up Call On Its Reservist Crisis

As the war in Ukraine unfolds, some countries have started to take a closer look at the readiness of their military reserve forces, and what they are finding under the hood has given some a cause for concern. In the case of South Korea, recent budget allocation trends that emphasize fourth industrial revolution initiatives and […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-07-21 20:46:24

Active Denial or In Denial?

Melanie, Chris, and Zack debate the Quincy Institute’s new report on U.S. defense strategy in Asia. They applaud the report for presenting a detailed plan and for highlighting the areas of both agreement and disagreement among the authors. They question the political feasibility of the strategy and whether it is sufficient to address the challenges […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-07-21 08:55:32

Assess Russia’s Cyber Performance Without Repeating Its Past Mistakes

Many observers saw Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine as the first case in modern history of a great power with near-peer cyber capability waging a major conventional war. Moscow’s cyber operations to disable Ukrainian satellite communications, wipe data from several of its state and civic organizations, and peddle disinformation to its public provide ample data […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-07-21 08:50:59

The United Nations Hasn’t Been Useless on Ukraine

Media coverage of the United Nations’ response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has focused on the Security Council’s failure to halt Moscow’s aggression. The United Nations has presented an obvious target for criticism. In February, Russia vetoed a U.S.-backed resolution deploring its assault. In April, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the council via video link […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-07-20 08:55:46

Whose Version of the War on Terror Won?

With the Global War on Terror so widely discredited in Washington, it is striking that the city still can’t agree on why. Was the mistake simply thinking that the United States could shape foreign societies by force, or was it an overly ambitious conception of the country’s role in the world? In the immediate aftermath […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-07-20 08:45:31

Colombia’s New President and the Challenges to the Bilateral Relationship

Across from Colombia’s Congress and about two blocks away from the Casa Nariño, Colombia’s presidential residence, stands the nation’s Supreme Court building, the Palace of Justice. Across from the court itself is a plaque memorializing the “Holocaust of the Palace of Justice,” when in 1985 the guerilla movement M-19 seized control of the building. In […]

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From War on the Rocks at 2022-07-19 08:50:54

Sabotage and War in Cyberspace

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a terrible throwback to attrition warfare. Having failed in their opening salvo against Kyiv, Russian forces have settled into a grinding campaign in other parts of the country, using artillery bombardments in advance of slowly moving infantry. There is nothing elegant about their approach. After years of speculation about hybrid […]

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