Reports & Papers

50 Items

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.

Spc. Alec Nitollama, a combat engineer with 65th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, directs his squad through a breach point in the wire during a Bangalore wire breach range August 30, 2019 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

US Army

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

Urban Blind Spots: Gaps in Joint Force Combat Readiness

| November 2019

The Joint Force needs to develop capabilities, doctrine, and training that will give it an advantage in this extremely complex environment at the tactical and operational levels. Historically, the military has adapted conventional capabilities to develop advantages in an urban environment, but the size, ubiquity, and complexity of today’s urban terrain require dedicated analysis and preparation.  This paper offers military planners and policy makers a starting point for understanding the need for developing a cohesive strategy to ensure the Joint Force is able to successfully reduce its urban blind spot and effectively conduct urban operations in support of US national security interests.  Given the rapid urbanization of the 21st century and how cities are increasingly the dominant social, political, diplomatic, and economic centers, the Joint Force must take measures to address shortfalls across all services and echelons to be ready to meet future urban challenges in all warfighting domains. To continue the status quo is simply unacceptable.

KFOR Multinational Battle Group-East Soldiers fire the M9 pistol from the firing line during the weapons qualification event for the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, Dec. 12, 2017. (U.S. Army Photo / Staff Sgt. Nicholas Farina)

U.S. Army / SSG Nicholas Farina

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

No Exceptions: The Decision to Open All Military Positions to Women

| December 2018

As Secretary of Defense, my overwhelming priority was ensuring that we had the strongest possible military force today – and tomorrow. Building this force meant finding the most qualified person to fill any position. Yet at the time I became SecDef in February 2015, nearly 10 percent of all military positions—220,000 in total—were barred to women. My decision exactly three years ago to open all roles to women without exception was not a social experiment. It was a professional responsibility to draw from our nation’s entire pool of talent, and to recruit and retain high-performing women in our armed services. Though consequential, the decision has enjoyed broad and lasting support. Service members and policymakers alike share the view that the policy change reflected military needs, not political desires.
 
I’m proud of the decision we made – and even prouder of the remarkable women who’ve since earned their way into our most demanding assignments. In this report, which you can download at the link below and read in full below my signature, I detail the steps we took to make sure this decision reflected the military’s mission-critical thinking.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (left) and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin (right) shake hands on a Marine Corps V-22 Osprey as they depart the USS Stennis after touring the aircraft carrier as it sails the South China Sea April 15, 2016.

SMSgt Adrian Cadiz / DoD

Report

Reflections on American Grand Strategy in Asia

| October 2018

To understand how I approached China during my time as Secretary, it’s important to note that I don’t see U.S. strategy in Asia as centered on China at all. I said many times: We don’t have a China policy, we have an Asia policy. The heart of that policy is a mesh of political, diplomatic, economic, and military relationships with many nations that has sustained security and underwritten an extraordinary leap in economic development.

During my time as Secretary, I referred to this structure over and over as the “principled, inclusive network.” Enunciating and reinforcing its strategic and military dimensions in a rapidly changing security environment was my constant priority as Secretary of Defense. Even amid pressing challenges such as the fight against ISIS and the need to confront Russian aggression, no other issue I dealt with had such lasting implications for our national security and prosperity.

My three-word title for this policy was admittedly not very catchy. But my counterparts in the region understood it. They understood that all three words have been essential to its success and will remain essential to its future.

Panel: What does Brexit mean for Europe's security architecture?

Thomas Lobenwein

Report

Brave new world? What Trump and Brexit mean for European foreign policy

| Dec. 08, 2016

On 24 and 25 November 2016 experts from politics and academia, including FDP Executive director Cathryn Clüver, discussed the impact of Brexit on several policy areas in a series of workshops at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. All events took place under Chatham House rules.

Paper

2015 Military Reform in the People’s Republic of China

    Author:
  • Andrei A. Kokoshin
| October 2016

The military reform in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), announced by China’s supreme party and state officials in 2015, is unprecedented in scale and depth. It aims to add a new dimension to China’s armed forces - to provide for more a compelling strategic deterrence and ability to win a local war, if such war breaks out. This reform is also a demonstration of a critical stage of development of China’s political system.