THINK TANK CENTRAL

Your single destination for high-quality content from top think tanks around the world. Fresh reports and analysis as they are released to ensure valuable thought leadership work isn’t lost in the daily noise.

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“In the past decade, tensions in Asia have risen as Beijing has become more assertive in maritime disputes with its neighbors and the United States,” the Center for Strategic and International Studies writes of its new report, “Countering Coercion in Maritime Asia: The Theory and Practice of Gray Zone Deterrence,” co-authored by Michael Green, Kathleen Hicks, Zack Cooper, PhD, John Schaus and Jake Douglas. “This study reviews deterrence literature and nine case studies of coercion to develop recommendations for how the United States and its allies and partners could counter gray zone activity.”

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In a new report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, co-authors Hal Brands and Eric Edelman attempt to break down the politics of a new political age, marked by the conclusion of “the post-Cold War era.” “The core characteristics of the emerging era are the gradual but unmistakable erosion of U.S. and Western primacy, the return of sharp great-power competition across all three key regions of Eurasia, the revival of global ideological struggle, and the empowerment of the agents of international strife and disorder,” CSBA writes in a press release about the report. “Moreover, the impact of these forces is magnified by growing uncertainty about whether the traditional defenders of the post-Cold War system will be able and willing to play that role in the future.

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In “The Afghan War: Key Developments and Metrics,” Anthony Cordesman, Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, examines the ongoing entanglement through the lens of data. “The report provides a survey of the metrics on several key aspects of the Afghan war,” CSIS writes. “These include the cost of the war, the trends in the fighting, the nature of the U.S. train and assist mission, the progress and problems shaping Afghan security forces, the lack of resources for civil-military operations, and the problems in Afghan governance, corruption, and popular support.” It also looks at the impact of socioeconomic and sociocultural factors on the engagement. Learn more about the report here.

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“In this report, RAND researchers analyze Russian views of the international order,” the RAND Corporation writes of its May 2017 report “Russian Views of the International Order,” co-authored by Andrew Radin and Clinton Bruce Reach. “They identify core Russian foreign policy interests, including defense of the regime, influence in its neighborhood, and status as a great power. The authors trace how these interests have led to growing Russian skepticism of the West and to Russia’s current view that the international order is dominated by the United States and is a threat to Russian interests and security.”

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READ THE REPORT — In a new Atlantic Council report — “NATO and Trump: A Case for a New Transatlantic Bargain” — Amb. Alexander Vershbow, NATO’s former deputy secretary general, and Fabrice Pothier, NATO’s former head of policy planning, argue “that the Trump administration could be the catalyst for long overdue changes for the Alliance.” “The central recommendations are that firstly; European allies and Canada should commit to a concrete plan and a tighter timetable for increasing defense spending by the end of Trump’s term – through a NATO 2020 investment plan and an enforcement mechanism to hold allies accountable for their commitments. Secondly, the US and European allies should agree to a substantially enhanced operational role for the Alliance in the wider Middle East – including playing a greater role in training local forces in the Middle East, and agreeing on a common fund of up to one billion dollars to help support NATO’s contribution to the fight against terrorism,” the Atlantic Council wrote in a May 23, 2017, press release.

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“Russia views cyber very differently than its western counterparts, from the way Russian theorists define cyberwarfare to how the Kremlin employs its cyber capabilities,” the Center for Naval Analyses’ Michael Connell and Sarah Vogler write in “Russia’s Approach to Cyber Warfare.” “The paper examines the Russian approach to cyber warfare, addressing both its theoretical and its practical underpinnings.”

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In “Generations of War: The Rise of the Warrior Caste and the All-Volunteer Force,” the Center for a New American Security’s Amy Schafer examines the relationship between the emergence of a so-called “warrior caste,” which she describes in the report as “a trend in which a large proportion of those who do choose to serve come from military families,” and the growing disconnect between civilians and service members within the US, as well as the future of “the All-Volunteer Force.”

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According to a new report from the Center for a New American Security, the globalization of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (or PLAN) is a potential threat to the US Navy’s open-ocean dominance. “China’s ability to conduct power projection and amphibious operations around the world will become a fundamental fact of politics in the near future, with significant consequences for the United States and its allies, all of which need to begin preparing for a ‘risen China’ rather than a ‘rising China,’ especially in the realm of maritime security,” CNAS writes. Learn more about the study, which offers “key judgements and recommendations for policymakers” to address this risk, here.

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In “Countering Coercion in Maritime Asia: The Theory and Practice of Gray Zone Deterrence,” a new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, authors Michael Green, Kathleen Hicks, Zack Cooper, John Schaus and Jake Douglas use “detailed analysis of both deterrence theory and recent incidents of gray zone coercion” to assemble lessons learned for legislators, and suggest “moving beyond tactical scenario analysis to a more strategic deterrence framework for countering Chinese coercion writ large.”

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“In recent years, some nations have shifted to more ambiguous activities for exerting global influence, in attempts to achieve benefits normally obtained through conventional war, but without triggering such a war,” The Center for Naval Analyses’ David A. Broyles and Brody Blankenship write in the abstract to their April 2017 report “The Role of Special Operations Forces in Global Competition.” Their report examines “a different way of thinking about these ambiguous activities and their implications, which suggested a need to shift U.S. focus away from preparing to win tomorrow and toward winning today,” describes “a different approach to U.S. activities in such competitive environments,” and makes the case for US Special Operations Forces being the best fit for carrying out said actions.

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