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From the Director
Welcome to SSI’s Strategic Insights newsletter. The information-rich world in which we live 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 high 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.

The expert of the quarter is Dr. Christopher J. Bolan, Professor of Middle East Security Studies, with the Strategic Studies Institute. Dr. Bolan has written many books, monographs, and articles on topics and policies dealing with the Middle East and South Asia. He also spent six years as a senior foreign policy advisor and analyst on Middle Eastern and South Asian affairs for Vice Presidents Gore and Cheney, preparing hundreds of policy briefings, and too much more to list.

We have opened the search for my successor and hope to bring her or him onboard prior to my July 31, 2018 retirement date. You can find the job opportunity announcement at

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.

Of Interest

Dr. Samut Ganguly

Visiting research professor Dr. Samut Ganguly was selected for a prestigious fellowship by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in Cambridge, MA on Oct, 7. His expertise in US-India security relationship, defense, and foreign policy paved the way for his membership. SSI and the USAWC salute Dr. Ganguly for his contributions and congratulate him on becoming a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Dr. Max G. Manwaring

Longtime SSI Research Professor of Military Strategy, Dr. Max G. Manwaring, was presented with a lifetime achievement award at the 2017 Western Hemisphere Security Forum on Nov. 16 in Washington, DC. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa was also presented an award for her achievements…the 2017 Manwaring Award.

Key Strategic Issues List

The U.S. Army War College's Key Strategic Issues List (KSIL) for academic year 2018. The KSIL informs students, faculty, and external research associates of strategic topics requiring research and analysis.

The Autumn 2017 issue of Parameters is available online, featuring, among other things, an essay by Sir Lawrence Freedman on strategic surprise and a forum on Army Expansibility.

Coming Events
March 15, 2018: Russia Strategic Initiative Workshop with the Atlantic Council: Current Russian Military Affairs.

April 23–24, 2018: USAWC 29th Annual Strategy Conference: Strategic Leadership 2030: Transcending Challenges in a Time of Deep Change.

June 11–13, 2018: Kingston Conference on International Security: The Return of Deterrence.

Please check our website after the New Year for more information.

Recent Publications

Still Soldiers and Scholars? An Analysis of Army Officer Testing, By Dr. Arthur T. Coumbe, Steven J. Condly, Lieutenant Colonel William L. Skimmyhorn.

This monograph provides important evidence and advice for the Army as it seeks to sustain and improve the performance of its officer corps. This book adeptly reviews the key developments, assumptions, and forces that have guided and shaped Army officer testing over the years. It then provides thoughtful and practical recommendations regarding how the Army might ensure a more solid intellectual base on which to build its officer corps.


Armed Robotic Systems Emergence: Weapons Systems Life Cycles Analysis and New Strategic Realities, by Dr. Robert J. Bunker

Armed robotic systems—drones and droids—now emerging on the battlefield portend new strategic realities not only for U.S. forces but also for our allies and future potential belligerents. Numerous questions of immediate warfighting importance come to mind with the fielding of these drones and droids that are viewed as still being in their experimental and entrepreneurial stage of development. By drawing upon historical weapons systems life cycles case studies, focusing on the early 9th through the mid-16th-century knight, the mid-19th through the later 20th-century battleship, and the early 20th through the early 21st-century tank, the monograph provides military historical context related to their emergence, and better allows both for questions related to warfighting to be addressed, and policy recommendations related to them to be initially provided.

Evaluation of the 2015 DoD Cyber Strategy: Mild Progress in a Complex and Dynamic Military Domain, by Mr Jeffrey Caton

This monograph focuses on events and documents from the period of about 1 year before and 1 year after the 2015 strategy was released. This allows sufficient time to examine the key policies and guidance that influenced the development of the strategy as well as follow-on activities for the impacts from the strategy. This inquiry has five major sections that utilize different frameworks of analysis to assess the strategy:
1. Prima Facie Analysis: What is its stated purpose and key messages?
2. Historical Context Analysis: What unique contributions does it introduce into the evolution of national security cyberspace activities?
3. Traditional Strategy Analysis: Does it properly address specific DoD needs as well as broader U.S. ends in a way that is appropriate and actionable?
4. Analysis of Subsequent DoD Action: How are major military cyberspace components—joint and Service—planning to implement these goals and objectives?
5. Whole of U.S. Government Analysis: Does it integrate with the cyberspace-related activities of other U.S. Government departments and agencies?
The monograph concludes with a section that integrates the individual section findings and offers recommendations to improve future cyberspace strategic planning documents.

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. Chris Bolan.
CHRISTOPHER J. BOLAN is the Professor of Middle East Security Studies with SSI. Dr. Bolan recently arrived at SSI after 11 years of teaching graduate courses on U.S. national security, international relations, strategy formulation, and the Middle East at the USAWC. He retired from the U.S. Army as a colonel after serving 30 years with tours in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, the Pentagon, and the White House. From 1996-2002, he served as a Middle East foreign policy advisor to both Vice Presidents Gore and Cheney. He has a Master of Arts degree in Arab studies and a Ph.D. in international relations from Georgetown University. He tweets on national security issues @DrChrisBolan. His latest op-ed, “Waltzing Toward a Two-Front Global War,” published by DefenseOne, made Aspen Institute’s Top Five Best Ideas of the Day. You can also listen to his recent SSI podcast on the Iranian Nuclear Deal with Dr. Deni in the link below. You can see him in action during his Noon-Time lecture on “The Rise and Fall of ISIS” on YouTube. For more information on Dr. Bolan, please visit his bio on our website:

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

Released 17 October 2017.
SSI Live 076 - Decertification of the Iranian Nuclear Deal — On 13 October, President Trump announced his intention not to certify Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and threatening to leave the nuclear deal altogether if it was not amended in various ways. Why did the President announce this? Meanwhile, there are reports that some of his senior advisors opposed this move -- what were their counterarguments? More broadly, what is the outlook with regard to Iran's nuclear program? To discuss these issues and more, SSI host Dr. John R. Deni sat down with the SSI's Middle East expert, Dr. Chris Bolan.

Released 15 September 2017.
SSI Live 075 - Rotational Deployments vs. Forward Stationing — Continuing security challenges in Eastern Europe as well as saber rattling on the Korean Peninsula have raised questions once again about the capabilities, posture, and positioning of U.S. overseas forces. In this podcast, SSI Live host Dr. John R. Deni examines the reasons why the Army has become an increasing U.S.-based force, assesses the shift toward rotational peacetime deployments over the last several years, and offers a series of practical recommendations for returning balance to the Army's posture. This podcast is based on Dr. Deni's recent study on forward presence.

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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