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From the Director’s Desk
Welcome to SSI’s updated Strategic Insights newsletter. The information-rich world in which we live in today often overwhelms us with a seemingly endless number of emails to open and read. With that in mind, we aspire to provide you a higher quality product, with the most up-to-date information, on a quarterly basis. Of course, visit our website for continually updated publications and information. I also recommend following us on Twitter and liking our SSI page on Facebook.

This month we will conduct our 28th Annual Strategy Conference on "The Changing Character of War." This conference will take an in-depth look into the political, technological, and social trends of the emerging security environment and their implications for U.S. national security policy and military strategy. We will live-stream the conference to provide the broadest possible access to our military, government and public audiences. We will provide real-time Q&A opportunities with the panelists and speakers. For more information on this conference, visit

Every quarter I will highlight one of SSI’s researchers and the project on which he or she is working. Today’s issue focuses on Dr. R. Evan Ellis. Dr. Ellis is a Research Professor of Latin American Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College. He has written many books, monographs and articles on topics such as Latin America’s relationship with China, transnational organized crime and populism. Recently, Dr. Ellis released a monograph on the how India and China are actively engaging in Latin American and Caribbean countries through economic sectors, including military sales and high tech trade. This article is included in this newsletter as a recommended read for this quarter.

Thank you for subscribing to the Strategic Insights newsletter. Please remember to visit our website,, follow us on Twitter @SSINOW, and like our page on Facebook –

Very best wishes,
Professor Douglas C. Lovelace, Jr.

The Cutting Edge

Save the Date!

April 26 and 27 the Army War College Strategic Studies Institute will be broadcasting a live stream of the annual Strategy Conference, Changing Character of War. This year's conference will focus on Contemporary politics, technology, societal norms, and military objectives and strategies which influence the character of war. Our Keynote Speakers are General Joseph F. Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Sir Hew Strachan, Professor of International Relations, University of St. Andrews. For more information please visit our Strategy Conference website:

Key Strategic Issues List

The 2017-18 Key Strategic Issues List (KSIL) will be released in June 2017. If you have a strategic issue recommendation, please send them to COL Todd Key, Chairman of Strategic Research and Analysis, at View the current recent KSIL at

Recent Publications

Project 1721: A U.S. Army War College Assessment on Russian Strategy in Eastern Europe and Recommendations on How to Leverage Landpower to Maintain the Peace, By Douglas Mastriano

Since its occupation of Crimea, Russia has adopted an aggressive and often belligerent approach to the nations on its borders. The on-going war against Ukraine and its occupation of large portions of Georgian territory demonstrates this increasingly hostile foreign policy. However, far more dangerous to the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the Kremlin's use of a strategy of ambiguity. In this, Moscow keeps hostilities at a low boil, leveraging a Russian diaspora, a web of complex information-campaign-trolls, to stir ethnic unrest that has the potential to destroy NATO and end the unparalleled post-World War II peace experienced in Europe. Yet, there are actions that the United States and NATO can take to prevent Russian aggression from turning into a war and Project 1721 provides the answers to this complex and dangerous security dilemma.

Indian and Chinese Engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Comparative Assessment, By Dr. R. Evan Ellis

This monograph comparatively examines the content and country focus of high-level diplomacy for each of the two actors, as well as the volume and patterns of trade, the activities of Indian and Chinese companies in the region, and their relationship to their respective governments in eight sectors: (1) petroleum and mining; (2) agriculture; (3) construction; (4) manufacturing and retail; (5) banking and finance; (6) logistics and port operations; (7) technology such as telecommunications, space, and high technology; and, (8) military sales and activities.
This monograph finds that Indian engagement with the region is significantly less than that of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and concentrated on a more limited subset of countries and sectors. In the commercial and military sector, it finds that the efforts by the Indian government to support their companies in the region are generally more modest and less coordinated than those of the PRC. Nonetheless, despite such limitations, the nature of Indian companies and their engagement with the region create opportunities for significant advances in the future, in a manner that is relatively well received by Latin American governments and societies.

China's Interests and Goals in the Arctic: Implications for the United States, By Dr. Elizabeth Wishnick

China has been elaborating its position on the Arctic at the same time as the United States has been refining its own Arctic strategy as Chairman of the Arctic Council through April 2017. This Letort Paper examines the geopolitical implications of China’s growing involvement in the Arctic for U.S. interests. First, the evolution of U.S. Arctic strategy is discussed, including its political and military components. Next, China’s interests and goals in the Arctic are addressed. A third section examines the Arctic in China’s relations with Canada, Russia, and the Nordic states. This Letort Paper then evaluates the consequences of China’s expanding Arctic presence for U.S. security interests and concludes with policy recommendations.

What's New?
The Strategic Studies Institute has a new website! The same content, just a new address! Be sure to update your bookmarks:
Expert's Profile
Each quarter we will take a moment to highlight SSI's researchers. This quarter we are featuring Dr. R. Evan Ellis, Research Professor of Latin American Studies
Dr. Ellis is a research professor of Latin American Studies at the U.S. Army War College (USAWC) Strategic Studies Institute (SSI), with a focus on the region’s relationships with China and other non-Western Hemisphere actors, as well as transnational organized crime and populism in the region. Dr. Ellis has published more than 170 works, including: China in Latin America: The Whats and Wherefores (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2009); The Strategic Dimension of Chinese Engagement with Latin America (William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, 2013); and, China on the Ground in Latin America (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2014). Dr. Ellis has presented his work in a broad range of business and government forums in 26 countries throughout four continents, and has given testimony on Chinese activities in Latin America to the U.S. Congress. Dr. Ellis has discussed his work regarding China and other external actors in Latin America on a broad range of radio and television programs; he is cited regularly in print media in both the United States and Latin America for his work in this area. Dr. Ellis holds a Ph.D. in political science with a specialization in comparative politics.

To read more from Dr. Evan Ellis please visit:

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

Released 14 April 2017.
SSI Live 064 - Strategic Questions Loom Large in Middle East — Last week's chemical attack by Bashar al Assad and the U.S. military response brought to the fore questions about the American approach to not simply Syria but the broader Middle East as well. Can the Trump administration pull together a multi-faceted strategic approach to complement tactical and operational successes? SSI Live host Dr. John R. Deni invited his colleague Dr. Chris Bolan to discuss the latter's just-published essay on this topic.

Released 29 March 2017.
SSI Live 063 - The 2017 USAWC Strategy Conference — On 26-27 April 2017, the U.S. Army War College will host its annual Strategy Conference in Carlisle, PA. Professor Trey Braun, the conference director this year, discussed the conference theme – the Changing Character of War – as well as the panels and keynote speakers with SSI Live host John R. Deni. Prof. Braun also explained how those outside the War College can observe and participate.

Released 15 March 2017.
SSI Live 062 - Comparing Indian and Chinese Engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean — Both India and China actively engage Latin American and Caribbean countries in a great variety of economic sectors, including military sales and high tech trade. Where is Indian and Chinese engagement similar in terms of countries engaged, sectors emphasized, and priorities pursued? Where are they different? And what are the broader implications of those similarities and differences with respect to future development in Latin America and the Caribbean and with respect to American interests in the region? SSI Live host Dr. John R. Deni invited his colleague Dr. Evan Ellis to discuss the latter's just-published monograph.

Highlights of the Quarter
Our researchers and their work have been featured in other publications!

John Deni, Carnegie Europe: An EU Nuclear Deterrent Won't Serve Western Interests
To read more from John Deni, please visit:

Leonard Wong and Stephen Gerras, War on the Rocks, Beware the Romance of Leadership
To read more from Leonard Wong, please visit:

Chris Bolan, Defense One, The US and Iran are Not Yet on a Course to War
To read more from Chris Bolan, please visit:

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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