The broadsides on America’s strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan are persistent given the indubitable lack of progress in both theatres for almost two decades. As both wars continue, not only are global powers like the United States still involved, but many small states remain engaged. Each keeps contributing to, and participating in, these ongoing conflicts. While the criticism of the American strategic effort is sweeping, and may be considered justified, this critique spills over as collateral to the small allied states who continue to contribute to both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
NATO has enabled and supported U.S. foreign policy since the early days of the Cold War and continues to do so today. Given the 2018 National Defense Strategy’s emphasis on the return of great power competition, NATO’s importance to the United States will grow as competition intensifies. The United States should consider reinforcing NATO and reassuring its NATO allies of continued American commitment.
The global women, peace, and security agenda exists to promote and fulfil the human rights of women and achieve gender equality, as part of efforts to build more peaceful and stable societies. The link between equality and improvements for women in the defence and security sector is clear and well researched. For many U.N. member states, national action plans provide the strategic framework to address gaps and deficiencies in the meaningful representation of women in national institutions and in peacekeeping. Given that conflict most often arises in countries with high levels of gender-based discrimination, a culture of valuing the contribution of women is an essential element of suitable peace and security efforts.
There are several bilateral and multilateral agreements among nations to support inter-intra agency coordination and cooperation. There are also global security institutions such as United Nations Counter Terrorism Centre and its sister agencies such as United Nations Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force. However, many of these agencies continue to operate independently. This is apparent in the case of the United Nations Security Council designated Counter Terrorism Directorate and the United Nations Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate that have few operational partners within the European Union and yet to begin meaningful interactions with NATO.
The question that must be faced is this: Can the EU manage its vast resources to maximise its information sharing with partner agencies and tighten its grip around radical Islamic factions returning to Europe? To answer this question and provide an appropriate response to various other underlying questions, we must better understand foreign fighter factions, their agenda, and their operational mechanism.
The importance of a gender perspective in peace and security operations and military affairs has long been established by feminist activists and researchers, and recognized in a number of UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) on women, peace, and security. UNSCR 1325, adopted in 2000, acknowledged for the first time the disproportionate impact of conflict on women and girls. It has become the internationally recognized legal framework for promoting gender equality and addressing issues affecting women’s peace and security at the local, regional, and international levels.
This work closes a gap in the historical research with a comprehensive and extremely detailed look at NATO consolidation during the 1950s. Beneath the surface of that project, the reader can find some fascinating and challenging presentations of a very different world which tempts one to wrestle with an of a number of could-have-beens.
Even if universal in human activities, uncertainty is often absent from weapons procurement studies. Despite pioneering works of Scherer and Peck that recognize uncertainty as a main characteristic of weapons acquisitions, academic works that follow often do not investigate this feature in depth. Indeed, weapons procurement studies generally do not consider uncertainty as a crucial factor in explaining why weapon programs fail completely or encounter costs overrun, delays, and deficiencies in delivered capabilities. Explanations range very often from technologically overly ambitious military service’s technological over-ambitions to the deficient procurement strategies of their respective bureaucracy’s deficient procurement strategy. In this paper, we will go further in explaining why some programs fail to produce new weapon systems with in terms of costs, delays and capabilities. As the majority of academic works about weapons acquisition consider the U.S. case, we will bring some change by focusing on the French military establishment.
Instead of simply meeting budgetary recommendations, an analysis of small state security potential and funding of smarter, more cost-effective contributions to the alliance is needed. Furthermore, using a few of NATO’s “minnows” as examples of how to make limited means count in the face of an expansionist Russia, it becomes apparent that the continued existence of the alliance is of paramount importance. Ultimately, conventional “hard power” alone is not an effective strategy for combating current Russian security challenge facing Europe. For the small, frontline states on NATO’s eastern flank, a focus on special operations forces and intelligence are a better use of limited resources.
The Next War series on The Strategy Bridge publishes decision games designed to help military professionals visualize and describe the changing character of war.
As the armies of the West begin a shift away from counterinsurgency (COIN) and the US Army, in particular, renews its focus on peer on peer warfare, the timing of the publication of Insurgencies and Counterinsurgencies by Jeremy Black could seem to have missed the COIN revolution. In the age of a resurgent Russia annexing the Crimea and threatening Baltic NATO members with a similar fate, is COIN still relevant or is it an idea to confine to a dusty shelf while the West learns how to confront Russian cross domain coercion and multi-domain battle? Despite the cognitive shift from COIN back to a paradigm of armor and mechanization, “wars amongst the people” - a phrase that popularized in Rupert Smith's The Utility of Force - are here to stay.
The Russian National Security Strategy establishes its military defense and status as a world power as two of its most enduring strategic security interests. It further notes, the top threats to its national security include North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), foreign militaries’ encroachment on its borders, and armed conflicts in neighboring countries. In response to these threats, Russia’s military doctrine prioritizes national defense, strategic deterrence, and the mobilization and deployment of forces in “dangerous strategic directions”. Given these interests, threats, and military priorities, the string of military outposts of the former Soviet Union from the Baltic to the Black Sea can serve either as defensive or offensive means. Assessing the defensive and offensive dispositions of these outposts aids in evaluating their role and utility in Russia’s military strategy.
Russian aggression has resulted from a combination of many different factors that created a situation where the benefits of aggression significantly outweighed their costs. While Russians certainly like using NATO expansion to justify aggression, this article describes facts suggesting Russia’s motives have little to do with fears over NATO expansion or military forces.
In response to Putin, NATO-building begins at home. We need NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division, fully focused on the Alliance’s core business, reaching out to the member states’ ordinary taxpayers. The changing European security environment requires an emphasis on the big messages: Defense, deterrence and security. Thus, zeitgeist-motivated campaigns should be stopped. In these times, NATO must tell the people what armies, air forces really are for and how our soldiers serve their countries and our Alliance.
NATO members have sacrificed a great deal in Afghanistan. They must resist the temptation to allow obvious slights and insults from driving policy and strategy to squander that sacrifice. Seeing Karzai’s persona from a balanced perspective is essential to reframing NATO’s policy and strategy in Afghanistan beyond the end of 2014. There is a way for the national interests of both Afghanistan and NATO member states to be jointly met, but it requires a long view, seeing the future in terms of generations and tempering our ambitions for immediate action and results.
I want to start this piece with a slight preface. In my last, and first, post I discussed the relative value of contributions made by the NATO assets involved in Operation Unified Protector. I discussed the relative values of their contributions in relation to the formation of the NTC. It occurs to me now that I wasn’t upfront about the manner in which I assessed relative contributions. When I rated the contributions of NATO’s combined airpower and the small but effective band of elite special operators on the ground I used the word significant. When seeking to emphasize the importance of the NTC’s establishment I used the word decisive.