THINK TANK CENTRAL

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In a new report published by the Center for a New American Security, Cmdr. Tom Shugart, USN, former CNAS senior military fellow, and Cmdr. Javier Gonzalez, USN, former Navy fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, examine the threat that China’s People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force poses to American military installations in the Asia-Pacific region.  The researchers using geographic, photographic and military-strategic data available in the public domain, the researchers were able to pinpoint potential targets of Chinese missile attacks. “The results of our modeling and simulation, which show the potential for devastation of U.S. power projection forces and bases in Asia, are deeply concerning – and a call for action,” they write. 

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In a new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies entitled “U.S. Military Spending: The Cost of Wars,” Anthony Cordesman, CSIS’ Arleigh A. Burke chair in strategy, makes the case for a paradigm shift in US defense-spending analyses. “For the last several decades, there has been little real effort to examine the costs of key missions and strategic commitments and the longer term trends in force planning and cost,” he writes. “Both the Executive Branch and the Congress have failed to reform any key aspect of the defense and foreign policy budgets to look beyond input budgeting by line item and by military service, and doing so on an annual basis.” The report goes onto to break down the answers to some of these previously unasked questions and add new context to the nation’s war-related spending.

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In a new report from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School for Government, written by Greg Allen and Taniel Chan on behalf of Jason Matheny, PhD, director of the US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency, the authors propose a framework for developing policy for military and intelligence applications of artificial intelligence. “In this piece, we propose three goals for developing future policy on AI and national security: preserving U.S. technological leadership, supporting peaceful and commercial use, and mitigating catastrophic risk,” the project’s overview reads. “By looking at four prior cases of transformative military technology — nuclear, aerospace, cyber, and biotech — we develop lessons learned and recommendations for national security policy toward AI.” Learn more about the report here.

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n this new report, Jerry Hendrix, PhD, senior fellow and director of the Defense Strategies and Assessments Program at the Center for a New American Security, and Lt. Col. James Price, USAF, a CNAS senior military fellow, trace the history and evolution of the bomber aircraft, from the pre-World War I era to the present day. ” The authors will introduce the theory, doctrine, and technology behind their development, as well as the performance characteristics and trends that combined to provide ever-increasing range, payload (or volume of fires), and most importantly the ability to penetrate constantly improving defenses,” the report’s preface reads.

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In a new report by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, Lt. Gen. David Deptula, USAF Ret., the Institute’s dean, argues that 15 years of surging demand for remotely piloted aircraft for sensor and strike missions has “yielded a disjointed enterprise where effectiveness and efficiency are not what they could have been, or can be. With large wartime budgets dramatically shrinking, the military must make a host of important decisions regarding how best to meet valid requirements in a sustainable fashion.”

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In her new report entitled “2018 Defense Budget Defers Buildup for Austerity,” Mackenzie Eaglen, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute’s Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies, argues that President Donald Trump’s “overall federal spending blueprint” shortchanges the rebuilding of the US military in order to balance the federal budget. “Overall, Trump’s budget creates the troubling impression that the president is inclined toward a more muscular status quo regarding defense spending and policy,” she writes. “That would not represent enough of a change from his predecessor to build a military that can deter the wars the country does not want to fight and win the ones it must.”

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In “Meeting Security Challenges in a Disordered World,” Rebecca Hersman, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Project on Nuclear Issues, and senior adviser at its International Security Program, uses case studies to familiarize people with and equip them to function in evolving security environments which the US may face in the near future. “The United States must be prepared to operate in a range of complex environments to meet a range of security challenges and threats, such as humanitarian emergencies, terrorism and violent extremism, great power aggression, health security crises, and international criminal violence,” CSIS writes. “This study focuses on these five functional security imperatives and illustrates each imperative through regionally or subnationally defined operating environments.”

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In a new report entitled “A Strategy for Ending the Syrian Civil War,” the Center for a New American Security’s Colin Kahl, Ilan Goldberg and Nicholas Heras present a framework for US intervention in Syria. The proposed plan includes uniting the Turks and Kurds to fight ISIS, counterterrorism coordination with Russia, Iran engagement and the solicitation of support from Israel and the US’ allies in the Persian Gulf region. “With deft diplomacy, the Trump administration may be able to leverage growing U.S. influence in formerly ISIS-controlled territory to broker a broader national cease-fire and eventually a negotiated political solution,” their executive summary reads. “This option would defer the question of Assad’s fate but would avoid the breakup of the Syrian state and de-escalate the conflict through a governing system where most of the power is devolved outside of Damascus.”

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In its new report entitled “Stateless Attribution: Toward International Accountability in Cyberspace,” the RAND Corporation’s John S. Davis II, Benjamin Adam Boudreaux, Jonathan William Welburn, Jair Aguirre, Cordaye Ogletree, Geoffrey McGovern and Michael Chase tackle the topic of attribution for cyberattacks and credibility issues surrounding the identification of possible attackers. “This report reviews the state of cyber attribution and examines alternative options for producing standardized and transparent attribution that may overcome concerns about credibility,” RAND writes of the report. “In particular, this exploratory work considers the value of an independent, global organization whose mission consists of investigating and publicly attributing major cyber attacks.”

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In his new monograph entitled “The Future of Iran’s Security Policy: Inside Tehran’s Strategic Thinking,” J. Matthew McInnis, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, attempts to break down the Islamic Republic of Iran’s views of and approaches to things like military force, strategy, decision-making and more in order to bust the myth that the country’s security policy is beyond the scope of reason. “The Iranian leadership can be considered ‘logical’ if its decision-making patterns and worldview are well understood (as much as we oppose that worldview),” McInnis writes. “Western policymakers’ failure to understand this is the primary source of poor US strategy in the region since 1979. Hopefully, this monograph will lift the shroud on Iranian strategic thinking and guide better paths to a more stable Middle East.”

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