Articles & Editorials

Articles and Editorials are published by SSI and distributed to our readers in the Army and Department of Defense, the military educational system, Congress, the media, other think tanks and defense institutes, and major colleges and universities. SSI Articles and Editorials are created by our research professors and use history and current political, economic, and military factors to develop strategic recommendations.

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

Author: Dr Michael Fitzsimmons 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 …

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Strategic Insights: Challenges in Using Scenario Planning for Defense Strategy

Dr. Michael Fitzsimmons Lawrence Freedman and Colin Gray are two of the most famous contemporary scholars of military strategy. Within the past few years, each published a book addressing different aspects of the same practical problem of strategy: defense planning.1 Considered to be strategy’s mundane cousin, defense planning revolves around how a nation designs its …

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Strategic Insights: Revolutionary Change Is Coming to Strategic Leadership

Dr. Steven Metz Clausewitz famously observed that war has an enduring nature and a changing character that evolves over time as technology, society, economics, and politics shift. This observation also applies to strategic leadership: it too has an enduring nature and a changing character. The enduring nature manifests itself as characteristics that define a skilled …

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Strategic Insights: Proxy War Norms

Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff Current trends in international relations suggest the United States will place a greater reliance on international partners in securing vital national interests. Growing assertiveness by regional state actors, increasingly capable nonstate actors, and a “war-weary” American public suggest the emergence of a “polyarchic” world order that will strain the United States’ …

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Strategic Insights: Lost in Translation

Author: Dr M Chris Mason In a change from the Vietnam War—where the U.S. military trained at least 45,000 deploying service members to speak Vietnamese and probably twice that number—for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, apart from some remotely-based intelligence specialists doing classified work, the U.S. military trained almost no deploying personnel to speak …

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Strategic Insights: U.S.-China Relations: Avoiding the Traps

Professor John F. Troxell Much has been written about the rise of China and the tensions that this has put on the international system. The potential for conflict between the United States and China can be compared to the Peloponnesian War, as told by the ancient historian Thucydides, and the inevitability of that war because …

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Strategic Insights: Speed Kills—Enter an Age of Unbridled Hyperconnectivity

Mr. Nathan P. Freier This month, a team of U.S. Army War College (USAWC) researchers concluded a yearlong study on enterprise-level risk and risk assessment inside the Department of Defense (DoD). At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk and Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World argues for a new Department-level risk concept for describing, identifying, assessing, …

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Strategic Insights: Caribbean Security Issues

Dr. R. Evan Ellis INTRODUCTION Outside of military, law enforcement, and some academic circles, security issues are rarely part of the discourse about the Caribbean. Yet, during the Cold War, the region’s contiguity with the United States made its largest island, Cuba, the focal point of the world’s closest publicly known approximation to nuclear war. …

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Strategic Insights: Strategic Questions Loom Large for President Trump in the Middle East

Dr. Christopher J. Bolan “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu The primary shortcoming of U.S. policymakers since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, has been a consistent inability to translate tactical and operational military successes into sustainable strategic political outcomes. This …

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Strategic Insights: Getting Comfortable with Conflicting Ideas

Prof. William G. Braun, III Dealing with other states, whom the United States has a hard time categorizing as a threat, rival, competitor, or partner requires a new way of approaching national security decision-making. China is a partner in trade, but a rival regarding territorial rights in the South China Sea. Russian support may stabilize …

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