After civilians are injured or killed, the U.S. Defense Department isn't doing enough to learn from its own failures. The Pentagon needs to devote resources and senior leader attention to an issue that has historically lacked both. Civilian protection should become the singular priority for a critical mass of people across the organization.
There have been five coups in sub-Saharan Africa since August 2020. On a continent that was recently lauded for its democratic advancement, this backsliding suggests the military coup may be dangerously back in fashion. Why are more coups happening now?
Although Japan does not call the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) a military, externally it is widely respected as a modern armed force fielding advanced defense capabilities. Given the threats facing Japan, it may benefit the Japanese public to better understand the value of the SDF as an armed force and the military cooperation that takes place with the United States.
Deployed civilians often work alongside the military in combat zones or other high-stress, high-risk areas. But when they return, their experience is much different. They come home to support that is often incomplete and insufficient, and sometimes entirely nonexistent.
The Hampton Roads area in Virginia is home to more than 1.7 million people, a major port, and more military installations than anywhere else in the United States. Its rising sea levels and floods brought together civilian and military officials on a project to mitigate damage and foster resiliency.
Faure Gnassingbe was reelected in February to a fourth term as president of Togo. The result was no surprise. Due to the stacked system he and his father built, Faure is likely to rule until 2030 or beyond.
Africa's security forces most often make headlines when they commit atrocities, crack down on protesters, or seize power in coups. But Africa's troops can also contribute to democracy and peace when they lay down their arms or refuse orders to turn their guns against the people.
The U.S. military is a central element of America's power and history. It dominates discretionary spending and remains the country's most trusted institution. However, it is peripheral to the daily life of most citizens.
The way ahead for civil works capacity-building is not without its challenges. But in places that are plagued by extremist violence and irregular warfare, fostering civil society's trust and confidence isn't just an added benefit. It could instead be a targeted outcome.
There's good reason to hope that the forthcoming policy on stabilization in places like Iraq will get the United States to the right middle road. But this new effort will fall short if Congress doesn't maintain the necessary funding for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
As Beijing grapples with the realities of an economy increasingly susceptible to disruption from distant influences, experts debate how the Chinese military might protect overseas interests. Some have speculated that China may seek a military like that of the United States. Others have dismissed such a possibility.
The gap between Americans' confidence in the military versus its civilian counterparts has widened over the last several decades. This has led former military officers to play an increasingly prominent role in politics and changed the civil-military balance in potentially unhealthy ways.
Rather than characterize Robert McNamara's legacy as one of inefficiency, his economic, quantitative analysis of military problems should be portrayed as an innovative, if flawed, first adoption of more sophisticated methods for defense analysis.
China's military has undeniably made tremendous strides in recent years. You Ji's book provides a collection of interesting and often perceptive observations on political and intellectual aspects of a rapidly modernizing People's Liberation Army.
For civilian academics interested in bridging the political science–military gap, five recommendations to acquire basic information about the military could encourage improved interaction, better policy-relevant scholarship, and an enhanced policy process.
If senior military officers and academics find themselves divided, is there a way to build respect and trust earlier in their careers? A tabletop exercise suggested that the best way to bridge the civilian-military divide is not via large conferences or formal papers. Instead, it can be done by building trust, one person at a time, over time.
Recent analysis about how to defeat the Islamic State tends to be based on no more than intuition, a general sense of history, or a small number of cases of questionable comparability. A study of 71 historical cases of counterinsurgencies should help provide empirical evidence to this important debate.
As the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood reclaiming power recedes, it will become difficult for the new authorities in Egypt to hold together a coalition that is built solely on its members' shared antipathy for the Islamist group.
The Ukrainian crisis has taken a dangerous and deadly turn for the worse with violent clashes between protesters and Interior Ministry troops. The West should move quickly on an aid package conditioned on economic and political reform.
With little chance of a negotiated end to the fighting, the war in Syria is likely to drag on. And even if somehow the bloodshed were to end relatively soon, the war will leave a legacy of odium and thousands of fighters that will threaten the region and beyond far into the future.
Lost in the US defense budget debates are deeper issues about the relationship between the military and American society. In many ways, these issues are especially stark for the Air Force. Can the US Air Force improve this connection?
Early 2013 Afghanistan ranks among the historical counterinsurgency winners, but its score is equal to those of the lowest-scoring historical wins. This tenuous position points to several areas in need of improvement.
The historical importance of commitment and motivation and the need to overmatch insurgents suggest that Australia should weigh any commitment of support against existing conditions, those that can be changed and those that can't, writes Christopher Paul.
When a country is threatened by an insurgency, what efforts give its government the best chance of prevailing? A new update to a RAND 2010 study expands the data set of 30 insurgencies to 71 and compares all 71 of them begun and completed worldwide since World War II.
Some believe the Muslim Brotherhood should stay in the political game, adopting the role of loyal opposition. The Brotherhood would remain a minority party, but it could continue to hold offices, provide social assistance that the government does not, and demonstrate its continuing strength at the polls.
It's pretty clear that the U.S. administration is frustrated with the way Egypt is going, says Dalia Dassa Kaye. There are few good choices. What is unfortunate is the development of cutting economic assistance to Egypt. That is sending exactly the wrong message to the Egyptian people and the broader region.
As terrible as yesterday was in Egypt, things could get worse, says Jeffrey Martini, a RAND Middle East analyst. While the military-ruled government appears to be trying to break the neck of the Muslim Brotherhood, one shoe that hasn't dropped is the arrest of senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders.
While Egypt really is in trouble, what is needed is not a U.S. signal in the form of an aid cut off or another European mediation effort, it is for Egyptian liberals to stand up and condition their participation in government on genuine national reconciliation.
U.S. policy should not be hamstrung by a narrow focus on democratization, writes Seth G. Jones. More than ever, the United States and its allies should think first about protecting their vital strategic interests in Egypt and the region.
The military coup deposing Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, has sparked an important shift in the regional balance of power in the Middle East. Morsi's ouster deals a strong blow to the Turkey-Qatar-Egypt “pro-change” axis and to Turkey's hopes of playing a larger role in the region.
The establishment of a stable government in Egypt is an elusive goal that depends on finding ways to reduce seemingly intractable levels of political polarization, says Jeffrey Martini. There is little cause for optimism that polarization will diminish any time soon.
Critics advocate for acknowledging that what occurred in Egypt is a coup and shutting off the more than $1.5 billion that Egypt receives annually from the US government. But this position fails to appreciate the limits of the leverage Washington derives from its aid to Cairo and the potential consequences of halting it.
The Egyptian military, still bruised from its last stint in power, is likely to proceed with caution this time around. If it does intervene, it will likely seek some acquiescence from the Islamists and will want to quickly form an inclusive caretaker government.
Civilian oversight of support functions — the whole of the service secretary’s task — is currently done or repeated by existing elements in the offices of the undersecretaries of defense, writes former secretary of defense Harold Brown.
To prepare for the interventions to come in the next decade, the United States must adapt the lessons from its experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan and use them to generate a new, more realistic, and feasible doctrine, write Radha Iyengar and Douglas A. Ollivant.
The Afghans will have better prospects for defeating their insurgency with continued improvement, of course, and the United States can contribute to that improvement while American forces remain, writes Christopher Paul.
With U.S. troops out of Iraq, the U.S. presence there will fall to 5,000 private security contractors....The experience with private security contractors during the war was fraught with challenges that pose risks now, writes Molly Dunigan.
The SCAF's attempts to curtail dissent and the democratic process have fueled doubts about its true intentions. Will the military fulfill its promise to support democracy? Or will it seek to replace Mubarak's rule with its own or that of a friendly autocrat? write Jeffrey Martini and Julie Taylor.
In 2007 in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus and Amb. Ryan Crocker set a model for civil-military collaboration: They never let daylight show between their positions. General McChrystal and Ambassador Karl Eikenberry have diverged from this model, writes James Dobbins.
In academia and, increasingly, corporate America, sabbaticals are a time-honored way to step aside from the daily grind and intellectually reboot. The U.S. Army should embrace something similar, writes Laura Miller.
Kabul has slipped into a nervous tension. Early last week President Hamid Karzai surprised his fellow Afghans and foreign diplomats by choosing to drop Defense Minister Mohammed Fahim from his presidential ticket in favor of Ahmed Zia Masood, the brother of the late Ahmed Shah Masood, a well-respected mujahedin leader.