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Of Interest

South Korea

Drs. Steven Metz and David Lai led an IRP team to Seoul, South Korea, from 14 – 20 January. The team had roundtable meetings at USFK, 8th Army, Sejong Institute, the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA), and the Asian Institute for Policy Studies.

Washington, D.C.

Professors Trey Braun and Nate Freier led an IRP team to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, on 31 January to participate in a Multidomain Battle IRP Expert Work Group review. The team provided update on MDB IRP conceptual framework, net assessment, and preliminary findings.

USAWC Research Plan AY 2018

The USAWC Research Plan is one part of a research program cycle that incorporates three interrelated documents: the Key Strategic Issues List (KSIL), the USAWC Annual Research Plan and the USAWC Annual Research Report. While the KSIL drives USAWC research, the Research Plan describes how directed resources will answer many of the questions posed in the KSIL. The Research Report serves as a compendium of research completed and a means to identify unanswered questions from the current KSIL, to assist in the next cycle’s KSIL formulation.

29th Annual U.S. Army Strategy Conference —"Strategic Leadership 2030: Transcending Challenges in a Time of Deep Change"

This year's USAWC Annual Strategy Conference (24 April — 25April) is available online for scholars, practitioners, policy-makers, and the informed public. World renowned speakers and panelists will explore today's security challenges and related landpower implications. Question and answer sessions will offer the audience a rare opportunity to directly engage senior leaders, policy-makers, and experts. A dedicated Twitter feed and a live webcast will offer viewers from around the world the opportunity to participate in the conversation as well.

The Winter 2017-18 issue of Parameters is available online, featuring two views of exploring war's character & nature, essays on learning from military transformations, and a forum on taking a closer look at developments in Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.

Recent Publications

Avoiding the Trap: U.S. Strategy and Policy for Competing in the Asia-Pacific Beyond the Rebalance

The rise of China is the 21st century’s pivotal event. The Obama administration’s response to China’s rise was the rebalance to the Pacific. The Trump administration announced its intentions to remain actively engaged in Asia, but is reformulating its approach. The reformulation of policy begs many questions: Is this a repeal of the bumper sticker “Strategic Rebalance,” typical of administration change? If so, what is its replacement? Moreover, if this change is just in name but not in substance, will President Trump stay the course? If not, what will be Trump’s policy toward the Asia-Pacific? What should be the new focus and priorities? In short, given the enduring U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific, what should be a sound and forward looking U.S. strategy toward this region?

Strategic Insights: Nuclear Posture Review: Three Reasons the Army Should Care

Debate over the Trump administration’s new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) is now in full and predictable bloom. While many of its conclusions demonstrate continuity with the Obama administration’s modernization plans, controversy has centered on two of the review’s recommendations: to deploy new low-yield weapons on sea-launched ballistic and cruise missiles; and to signal the potential for nuclear retaliation against an adversary’s non-nuclear strikes on certain critical targets. Critics accuse the new policy of lowering the threshold for nuclear use. The policy’s authors and their defenders argue to the contrary that Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal and strategies have lowered the threshold for nuclear use, and buttressing U.S. deterrence capabilities is the safest response.


Still Soldiers and Scholars? An Analysis of Army Officer Testing

Still Soldiers and Scholars? An Analysis of Army Officer Testing was written as a supplement to a series of monographs authored by members of the Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis (OEMA) and published by the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) in 2009 and 2010. In those monographs, the authors proposed an officer corps strategy based on the theory of talent management. Other observers have contributed to the discussion, most notably, Tim Kane, a research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, in Bleeding Talent (2012). This book focuses on one critical, yet neglected, aspect of the talent-based officer management system that performs four functions: accessing, developing, retaining, and employing talent. The book focuses on the cognitive testing and evaluation of officer aspirants, a critical element in the accession function. The book opens with an introduction in the first chapter, explaining the contemporary significance of the cognitive capability (and hence testing) of officers. Next, eight historical chapters are presented, which describe how the Army conducted cognitive testing for officers over time. The final chapter offers a conclusion in which the authors review their findings, highlight important conclusions, and offer recommendations for the Army to restore a system of rigorous and effective mental screening for officers.

Expert's Profile
Every quarter we take the opportunity to highlight one of SSI’s researchers and the projects on which he or she is working. Today’s issue features Dr. Leonard Wong.
LEONARD WONG is a research professor in the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College. He focuses on the human and organizational dimensions of the military. He is a retired Army officer whose career includes teaching leadership at West Point and serving as an analyst for the Chief of Staff of the Army. His research has led him to locations such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Vietnam. He has testified before Congress. Dr. Wong’s work has been highlighted in news media such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New Yorker, CNN, NPR, PBS, and 60 Minutes. Dr. Wong is a professional engineer and holds a B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Texas Tech University. Dr. Wong was interviewed on 15 February by Jack Murphy and Ian Scotto for a podcast on SOFREP Radio, the largest special operations military podcast on Apple Podcasts/iTunes. Dr. Wong discussed generational issues and the impact of an overload of requirements on the ethical culture of the Army. Check that out through this link.

To listen to the podcasts or subscribe, please click the image above.

Released 26 January 2018.
SSI Live 078 - The New National Defense Strategy — Earlier this year, the Trump administration released its first National Defense Strategy (NDS). What's new about this strategy and what does it tell us about the direction of U.S. defense strategy and policy? What does the new NDS get right, and where does it fall short? SSI Live host John R. Deni sat down with SSI colleagues Chris Bolan and Nate Freier to discuss these questions and more. Visit the site or click here to download.

Released 8 January 2018.
SSI Live 077 - Multi-Domain Battle and the Pacific Theater — In gross or raw potential, the United States remains the world’s leading global military power. At present though, American power is either dormant in or ill-adapted to many if not most of the world’s most important competitive spaces. American military position and influence are most immediately under duress in the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) Area of Responsibility. In PACOM, enduring U.S. defense objectives and the nation's most active, complex, and dangerous multi-domain security challenges converge. To discuss these issues and more, SSI host Dr. John R. Deni sat down with the SSI's Prof. Nate Freier. Visit the site or click here to download.

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The views expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. This newsletter is cleared for public release; distribution is unlimited.

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