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 “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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Hal Brands of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments writes “that although America’s alliances are a source of great geopolitical strength, the difficult reality is that shifts in global economic and military power have left many of America’s traditional allies with significantly diminished relative standing and capabilities. The monograph assesses the key trends that have marked this decline since the early post-Cold War era and discusses the increasingly severe strategic challenges this situation poses for American statecraft. It concludes with a series of practical recommendations for how the United States can manage its alliances amid ongoing changes in the global distribution of power, and how it can better position itself to compete in a global context in which its allies’ strengths-while still considerable-are not as great as they once were.”

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In “Costs of Building a 355-Ship Navy,” Dr. Eric Labs, the senior analyst for naval forces and weapons at the Congressional Budget Office, estimates that construction costs to build a fleet of 355 ships would average $26.6 billion (in 2017 dollars) per year over the next 30 years, which is 60 percent more than what the Navy has spent on average over the past 30 years.

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“This year’s study looks in depth at issues in research and development, acquisition reform in the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), performance of the defense acquisition system, the future of cooperative International Joint Development Programs, and major trends apparent in the activities of the major defense components,” the Center for Strategic and International Studies writes about its “Defense Acquisition Trends, 2016: The End of the Contracting Drawdown” report.

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“While the details for how and when the RD-180 will be replaced are not yet settled, the consensus within the U.S. Congress and executive branch remains that the United States must end its reliance on the RD-180,” the Center for Strategic and International Studies writes of its new report, “Beyond the RD-180,” written by Aerospace Security Project Director Todd Harrison, Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group Director Andrew Hunter, International Security Program Research Associate and Program Director Kaitlyn Johnson, and Aerospace Security Project Program Coordinator and Research Assistant Thomas Roberts. “This report explains the impetus for finding an alternative engine, explores the options that are available going forward, and describes the challenges that will be placed on the federal government and the private sector in doing so.” The report was released ahead of CSIS’ 2017 Space Security Conference, held on March 22, 2017.

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