International Security & Defense

627 Items

Four squares showing panel participants.

American Council on Germany

Analysis & Opinions

Defense Spending, the U.S. Military Drawdown, and More: Assessing the German-American Relationship at a Critical Juncture

| Aug. 11, 2020

There are a number of important issues on the transatlantic agenda. And, yet the relevance of the partnership between the United States and Germany has been called into question in recent years. From defense spending and the proposed U.S. military drawdown, to transatlantic trade and investment, to relations with other countries such as China and Russia, the German-American relationship has been charged. With the German presidency of the European Council, what can we expect for the transatlantic relationship in the months and years to come?On Tuesday, August 11, the ACG hosted a webinar with Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Senior Member of House Committee on Armed Services, and Bundestag Member Dr. Tobias Lindner (Die Grüne), Spokesman for Security Policy, Chairman of the Defense Committee; and moderated by Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, Executive Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project and Executive Director of The Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship at the Harvard Kennedy School and Co-Director of the ACG’s Eric M. Warburg Chapter in Boston.

Green Berets familiarizing themselves with foreign weapons systems such as the Rocket-propelled Grenade (RPG-7).

US Army Photo / 5th Special Forces Group

Paper

Modern Warfare Destroys Brains

| July 2020

This paper has two primary objectives. First, it will support the argument that blast related TBI is uniquely different from the more recognized brain injury known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) injury associated with impact trauma and therefore requires a different approach to both diagnosis and treatment. Second, it will provide recommendations for mitigating the effects of bTBI on the readiness and long-term health of special operators. 

Key recommendations will include identifying blast pressure thresholds, developing imaging technology, and blood markers to diagnose bTBI. It calls for the DoD to institute and sustain “baseline” health surveillance to detect patterns of injury and health distress early, promote awareness for the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine Brain Donation Awareness Program, and to establish an active Cross-Functional Brain Consortium. An additional recommendation will include changes to training plans that continue to prepare operators for combat but reduce their exposure to blast trauma. 

A nuclear advanced designated marksman assists in a launch facility exercise.

Beau Wade, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

A Sense of Purpose: The Bedrock of the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent

| June 2020

"The paradox of war is, the adversary will always move against your perceived weakness.  So a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent is there to ensure a war that can never be won, is never fought." Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis went on to say, "I am absolutely convinced that having this safe, secure, and effective deterrent is critical—the most critical piece of our nation's defense."  “At the end of the day, deterrence comes down to the men and women in uniform.” The question this paper addresses is: how do we motivate Airmen to give their best to perform this unsung duty, day after day, for years at a time?

 

A MQ-1 Predator and a MQ-9 Reaper assigned to the 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron remain ready for their next mission at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, May 5, 2015.

USAF Photo / Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr.

Paper

Ethical Imperatives for Lethal Autonomous Weapons

| June 2020

The fields of automation and artificial intelligence are broad, having applications in diplomatic, informational, military, and economic activities. Within this realm, lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS) are a new enabler for achieving political ends through the application of the military instrument of power. As the world is past the point of considering whether robots should be used in war, the goal of the discussion herein is to examine how autonomous systems can be used ethically. This article seeks explicitly to demonstrate that fielding and employment of lethal autonomous weapons systems can be done effectively and ethically by maximizing the advantages and minimizing the shortfalls of both technology and the human mind. 

A satellite view of Djibouti, showing the U.S. Navy’s Camp Lemonnier (bottom) and the People’s Liberation Army Support Base (top).

2020 Google Earth / Maxar Technologies, used with permission.

Paper

Cooperation, Competition, or Both? Options for U.S. Land Forces vis-à-vis Chinese Interests in Africa

| June 2020

This paper responds to a topic from the Army War College’s Key Strategic Issues List, 2018-2020: Evaluate the ramifications of China’s and/or Russia’s interests in Africa for U.S. land forces and suggest options, both to compete and to cooperate, to further U.S. interests.

While U.S. land forces may benefit from competition or cooperation with Chinese elements in Africa, I judge that they possess limited agency to compete or cooperate in the context of these definitions. Therefore, I will take a whole-of-government approach to furthering U.S. interests in Africa vis-à-vis China.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Analysis & Opinions - The New York Times

State Dept. Investigator Fired by Trump Had Examined Weapons Sales to Saudis and Emiratis

| May 18, 2020

The State Department inspector general fired by President Trump on Friday was in the final stages of an investigation into whether the administration had unlawfully declared an “emergency” last year to allow the resumption of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for their air war in Yemen.

Aerial image of the Pentagon.

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Think We Have Military Primacy Over China? Think Again.

| May 12, 2020

Brose explains a terrible truth about war with China: Our spy and communications satellites would immediately be disabled; our forward bases in Guam and Japan would be “inundated” by precise missiles; our aircraft carriers would have to sail away from China to escape attack; our F-35 fighter jets couldn’t reach their targets because the refueling tankers they need would be shot down.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, listens to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during their meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Thursday, May 17, 2018.

Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Russia’s Scavenger Diplomacy Is in Full Effect in the Middle East

| May 08, 2020

While most of the world has been on lockdown from the novel coronavirus, the wars and political machinations of the Middle East have continued. Amid this turmoil, Russia has been making steady progress in what State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus described as its “malign engagement” in the region.

President Donald Trump, extends a hand to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, as he speaks to media during a briefing with senior military leaders in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

How the Pentagon Is Struggling to Stay out of Politics

| Apr. 28, 2020

 Gen. Mark. A. Milley’s job is to provide sound military advice to the president. But at a deeper level, his responsibility is to safeguard the independence and integrity of the armed forces. The last thing the country needs is a military leadership that’s trying to curry favor with any commander in chief, particularly one who’s hungry for affirmation.