THINK TANK CENTRAL

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In June 2014, the Center for a New American Security released “Creative Disruption: Technology, Strategy and the Future of the Global Defense Industry.” The paper argued that the United States military risks losing its technological advantage if the Department of Defense and its industry partners do not adapt to widely recognized strategic, technological, and business trends.

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With a new administration set to begin in a just over a month, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) has released a new report laying out practical steps the next administration can take to make surveillance protect national security, respect critical civil liberties, and bolster the American economy. The report, “Surveillance Policy: A Pragmatic Agenda for 2017 and Beyond,” makes more than 60 concrete recommendations. CNAS Senior Fellow Adam Klein, CNAS CEO Michèle Flournoy, and CNAS President Richard Fontaine authored the report. The report is the product of dozens of meetings over the course of a year with security professionals, privacy advocates, and technology experts.

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Rapid advances in mobile computing offer the Department of Defense significant benefits. Leveraging the capabilities of leading-edge mobile devices within DoD could amplify the positive impact of workforce mobility, enhance information security, and instigate the modernization of aging information technology infrastructure within the Pentagon. Yet the department’s risk-averse culture and intractable acquisition policies likely will cause it to squander these opportunities in favor of outdated, more expensive, and less effective mobility solutions.

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During the next administration, DoD needs to continue to implement business reforms that save money and improve effectiveness. Not long after the new administration’s senior staff is in place, the deputy secretary of defense (who currently serves as the department’s chief management officer) will probably call a meeting to formulate an agenda. Similar meetings may occur in the military departments. This paper seeks to assist those meetings by providing a menu of higher-priority candidates for business reform, defined here as changes in business practices rather than the termination or restructuring of lower-priority programs. Business reforms are particularly important because they can save money while improving, or at least not reducing, mission effectiveness. The paper draws on research from many organizations. It also reflects my own experience with DoD financial and reform initiatives, experience that spans four decades and included service as DoD’s comptroller and chief financial officer from 2009 to 2014.

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The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) convened groups of experts from The American Enterprise Institute (AEI), The Cato Institute, The Center for a New American Security (CNAS), The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and CSBA to explore alternative defense strategies for a post-BCA world. CSBA asked the teams to answer three core questions without the burden of artificial constraints on defense spending: What should American defense strategy be? What capabilities, investments, and force structure might that strategy require? What would such a military cost? Their answers to these questions drive this report.

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The space environment is of great importance to the United States. However, space remains just unfamiliar enough to decision makers so as to introduce hesitation in those charged with strategic decisions. One useful way of addressing the strategic oddity of space is to examine it anew through the familiar lens of sea power theory. In particular, studying the works of Alfred Thayer Mahan and Julian Corbett can provide essential guidance, informing the strategic, commercial, and military aspects of space. President John F. Kennedy turned to such an analogy in 1962 when he outlined his vision for why the United States should undertake manned exploration of the moon. “We set sail on this new sea,” he declared, suggesting that pioneering efforts in space could be understood within the more familiar context of nautical achievement. 1 President Kennedy understood the importance of space power, and so must defense policymakers today. To do so, they would be well advised to review the theories of sea power as a means of developing a framework for space.

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The CNAS Asia-Pacific Security Program released a new edited volume on the future defense of Korea. The volume, edited by CNAS Asia-Pacific Security Program Director Dr. Patrick M. Cronin, is entitled Breakthrough on the Peninsula: Third Offset Strategies and the Future Defense of Korea and makes a series of recommendations for the next Administration

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The CSIS Commission on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) was formed to develop a comprehensive and actionable blueprint on how to effectively combat the growing appeal of violent extremism within the United States and abroad. Specifically, the Commission considered what the next U.S. administration must do, in close collaboration with governmental and nongovernmental partners, to diminish the appeal of extremist ideologies and narratives.

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In their report, “Advancing Beyond the Beach – Amphibious Operations in an Era of Precision Weapons,” Bryan Clark and Jesse Sloman of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments examine the changing environment for amphibious operations, new operating concepts needed to be effective in the emerging environment, and implications for ships, surface and vertical connectors, naval aviation, unmanned systems, sensors, communications and weapons.

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Since the September 11, 2001, attacks, the U.S. government (USG) has used security assistance programs with partner nations to advance its counterterrorism (CT) objectives. These programs serve two main purposes: first, to build the capacity of partners, who are best positioned to address local security and governance challenges; and second, to incentivize actions in these areas and others that advance U.S. counterterrorism interests.

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