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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Read the Report, Check Out the Presentation – In “Restoring American Seapower: A New Fleet Architecture of the United States Navy,” Bryan Clark, Peter Haynes, Jessie Sloman and Timothy Walton of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments joined by Bryan McGrath of the Hudson Institute and Craig Hooper of Gryphon Scientific argue the Navy will need to take a new approach to deterring great power competitors than it did against regional powers such as Iraq. The study found that the Navy needs between 340 and 380 ships — depending on ship counting rules — and is one of three mandated by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act 2016 to help shape Navy shipbuilding and force structure. The other two are the Navy’s own internal study, “Alternative Future Fleet Platform Architecture Study,” which found a need for 355 ships and the “Navy Future Fleet Platform Architecture Study” by the MITRE Corporation – one of America’s federally funded research and development centers – that concluded the Navy needs 414 ships to support US strategy and confront threats in 2030. Links to all three reports can be found at the Defense & Aerospace Report website.

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In “Designing and Managing Successful International Joint Development Programs,” Andrew Hunter, Gregory Sanders and Samantha Cohen of the Center for Strategic and International Studies argue international joint development programs are important because of their potential to reduce costs and increase partnership benefits such as interoperability, economies of scale, and technical advancement.

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Read the Report – In “Getting Defense Acquisition Right,” Frank Kendall, the Obama administration’s under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, discusses how to improve the defense acquisition.

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Preserving the Balance: A Eurasia Defense Strategy by Andrew Krepinevich, distinguished senior fellow and president emeritus of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, focuses on the United States’ long-standing interest in preventing the rise of a hegemonic power on the Eurasian land mass capable of dominating its human, technical and material resources. Such a development would represent a major threat to U.S. national security. With this core interest in mind, the strategy presented in this paper calls for major changes in the U.S. defense posture. Among them: shifting to more of a forward defense posture; according top priority, in deed as well as word, to the Western Pacific Theater; taking on greater risk in the European and Middle East theaters than has been the case since the Cold War’s end; developing a competency in the ability to compete based on time; emphasizing new concepts of operation and a different division of labor between the United States and its allies; and last, but far from least, according high priority to the social dimension of strategy, to include developing and advancing persuasive strategic narratives to the American people, the citizens of allies and prospective strategic partners, and the revisionist powers’ populations. This paper is the first in a series of papers that CSBA will be releasing in coming weeks. Upcoming reports will include strategies tailored to Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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The “Non-State Strategy for Saving Cyberspace,” by Jason Healey, nonresident senior fellow of the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative and senior research scholar at Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs, starts with the clear goal: a sustainable cyberspace so that the Internet and connected technologies will at least as free, open and secure for our kids and grandkids as it is for us. In cybersecurity, the way to do this is to try to shift the balance so defenders have the advantage over attackers. To do this, the lever must be placed not in government, but in the private sector which has the agility, subject matter expertise, and ability to directly change cyberspace in ways the government cannot.

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The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Middle East Security Program today released a new report by United States Central Command Commander General Joseph L. Votel and a number of contributing authors, “#Virtual Caliphate: Defeating ISIL on the Battlefield Is Not Enough.” In the report, Gen. Votel makes the case that even after it loses its territory, ISIL will still retain a virtual safe haven, and that it is critical to pursue a long-term strategy to defeat ISIL online, as well as on the physical battlefield.

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The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Strategy and Statecraft Prorgam has released a new report on U.S.-Russia relations and steps the next Administration can take to counter Russian expansionism. In the report, “The Future of U.S.-Russia Relations,” CNAS Strategy and Statecraft Program Director Julianne Smith and former Research Intern Adam Twardowski argue that the next Administration must invest in the U.S. ability to counter Russia’s capabilities in cyber and information warfare and champion a robust transatlantic approach toward Russia. It must also, however, remain open-minded when opportunities for pragmatic security and economic cooperation with Russia arise.

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In The Enduring Dilemma of Overseas Contingency Operations Funding, Todd Harrison, the director of the Aerospace Security Project and Defense Budget Analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, writes that the practice of using Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding for base budget activities may become a significant issue in the new administration.

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What should the United States and its close allies do about China’s strategic expansion into the South China Sea?

Beijing now has an overwhelming presence of military, coastguard, and maritime militia forces in this theater, and it has seized numerous reefs and dredged up new islands in operations that the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration has determined are illegal. Major military installations are being built in several locations. Three of these new islands, towards the middle of the South China Sea, will soon be capable of housing regiments of fighter-bomber aircraft and supporting sustained operations of significant numbers of ships. The rapidly changing strategic balance in Southeast Asia and the flat-footed response of the Western allies is encouraging several regional states to re-evaluate their long-standing security relationships.

This report argues that it is time for the United States and its close allies to clarify their goals in this theater and develop a coherent strategy to counter China’s expansionist operations. It describes a surprisingly broad range of strategy and operational options that are potentially available for the Trump administration to pressure Beijing to moderate its behavior, retrace some of its steps, and deter the Chinese leadership from embarking on new, potentially more dangerous adventures.

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