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The Cutting Edge
Strategic Insights: Lost in Translation, by Dr. M. Chris Mason.
Released August 17, 2017

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 either Arabic or Pashto fluent...Read More.

Relive the experience

In April, we held the 28th annual strategy conference, The Changing Character of War. The two-day conference featured speakers such as Sir Hew Strachan, Professor of International Relations at the University of St. Andrews, and Lieutenant General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Director of J-5 Strategic Plans and Policy of Joint Staff. The second day opened up with moderated conversations around topics including International perspectives, strategy and policy implications, and social change. The Changing Character of War conference is available to view: .

Key Strategic Issues List

The 2017-18 Key Strategic Issues List (KSIL) has been released. 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

Of Interest

SSI's Dr. Evan Ellis testified before the House Western Affailrs Subcommittee, on the topic of the role of foreign actors in Venezuela, on the 13th of September.

Dr. Chris Bolan published two articles addressing nuclear options: and

The Summer 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.

Recent Publications

Strategic Landscape, 2050: Preparing the U.S. Military for New Era Dynamics, by Mr. Roman Muzalevsky

A series of megatrends will present major challenges to the United States in the coming decades, exposing it to crises and opportunities on the battlefield and in the market. The U.S. military should stand ready to harness these dynamics to retain its edge in an operational environment marked by increased complexity, speed, and intensity of global developments.

The Clash of the Trinities: A New Theoretical Analysis of the General Nature of War, by Major Daniel Maurer

This monograph reimagines war’s fundamental nature, extending Clausewitz’s theory of its political origin and “trinitarian” elements in a way that embraces alternative, sociological explanations like that of John Keegan. Ultimately, it proposes a new way to visualize the complexities of war’s intrinsic elements, operating at any scale, and expresses war with a completely new and universal definition.

Building Partner Capacity in Africa: Keys to Success, by Dr. Frank L. Jones, ed.

This book examines the implications for building partner capacity in Africa based on reform initiatives in the fiscal year (FY) 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. The legislation enacts sweeping changes to how the Defense Department (DoD), including the Army, conducts security cooperation activities. The study assesses this legislation’s impact on U.S. defense interests in Africa and recommends ways for the DoD to address these reform initiatives for the region, as a model for other regions, in some cases.

Rotational Deployments vs. Forward Stationing: How Can the Army Achieve Assurance and Deterrence Efficiently and Effectively?, by Dr. John R. Deni

The Department of Defense can achieve deterrence and assurance objectives more effectively and efficiently through a rebalancing of its force posture. The Army should reverse the trend of the last 2 decades and forward station additional heavy units in Europe and on the Korean Peninsula, while ending lengthy, heel-to-toe rotational noncombat deployments.

What's New?
This spring, the Army War College successfully transitioned its websites to the .edu format. Make sure you update your browser favorites with SSI’s new web addres,. And, check out the new Army War College publications repository,, for the latest trending articles and publications.
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. John Deni.
Dr. Deni is a Research Professor of Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational Security Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College. He has written many SSI Books and monographs on topics including: NATO, U.S. Foreign Policy, National Security and many more. He also leads relevant and thought-provoking conversations during his bi-weekly podcasts. Dr. Deni has recently published "Rotational Deployments vs. Forward Stationing: How Can the Army Achieve Assurance and Deterrence Efficiently and Effectively?" on 25 August. The work can be found here at His recent op-ed, “We Should Permanently Post More U.S. Troops Abroad” has been published in Newsweek. For more information on Dr. Deni, visit our website:

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

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 increasingly 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.

Released 25 August 2017.
SSI Live 074 - The Trump Administration's New Afghanistan Strategy — On 21 August, President Trump announced a new strategy toward the conflict in Afghanistan, America's longest war. What's new about the strategy? Does a renewed focus on Pakistan, and the role it plays in Afghanistan, have any chance of succeeding? And how will the new approach toward the war affect broader U.S. objectives with regard to Afghanistan? The SSI's Dr. Chris Mason, author of The Strategic Lessons Unlearned from Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, discusses these and related questions with SSI Live host Dr. John R. Deni.

Released 11 July 2017.
SSI Live 073 - At Our Own Peril: DoD & Risk Assessment — How does DoD go about defining, identifying, and mitigating risk? Are DoD risk assessment practices and procedures effective and useful to the Department and other stakeholdiers? SSI Research Professor Nate Freier joined Dr. John R. Deni to discuss the release of a major U.S. Army War College study on DoD risk assessment. Prof. Freier led an interdisciplinary team of faculty and student researchers in researching and writing At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World.

Highlights of the Quarter
We also highlight SSI’s Associate Professor of National Security Studies Nate Freier for his work on risk. At Our Own Peril, released last month, lays out the operational and future challenges that the U.S. Department of Defense may encounter in a more complex world. Read it here:

In June, SSI colleagues attended the Kingston Conference on International Security (KCIS). The conference featured high-level security and defense experts from around the world. SSI conducted this 12th annual conference in partnership with Queen’s University and the Armed Forces of Canada. Dr. Leonard Wong gave a presentation on Millennials and how the Army shows similar tendencies to society. The Army, like millennials, is not dealing well with risk and change and why it’s important to the Army to allow struggle while coaching soldiers to be leaders. Dr. Pfaff provided a presentation on the ethics of soldier enhancement and Professor William Braun served as a panel chair. Professor Lovelace gave the closing remarks on strategic national and international security topics, enhancing individual soldier performance.

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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