Limitations on defense spending in the context of emerging threats are creating a U.S. “security deficit.” How might policymakers adjust to bring resources into better alignment with strategic demands?
To meet potential challenges in the Baltics and Korea while at the same time countering the existing terror threat posed by the Islamic State group and dealing with other problems that will doubtless emerge, the United States would need more troops, not less.
While the latest confrontation between North and South Korea appears to be ending peacefully, it provides insight into future North Korean provocations. Words as weapons can work when they are aimed at North Korea's internal politics and backed up by a strong South Korean response supported by the U.S.
Changing demographics will force Japan and the “Asian Tigers”—Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan—to find ways to remain economically dynamic while increasingly looking after their elderly. How might public policy help accomplish this?
China's North Korea policy seems to suffer from inertia and fear of upsetting the fragile status quo. The enduring goal is to defend Beijing's vital interests by all necessary means. These include preventing domestic insecurity and maintaining a stable buffer state at the gateway to China's political and economic heartland.
What might it mean if the U.S. deploys the terminal high-altitude air defense missile system known as THAAD in South Korea? Chinese pressure on South Korea to not allow THAAD deployment has become a major regional security issue.
The United States needs to consider both the risk of further attacks like the Sony breach and also further ill-considered reactions that may arise if the problem of insecurity in cyberspace is shoved into the counterterrorism paradigm.
Is North Korea really sincere about wanting to negotiate improved relations with South Korea and the United States? Or is it seeking to undermine the strength and sovereignty of its neighbor, just as Germany did before World War II?
In a series of conferences, U.S. and Japanese experts explored the challenges for the U.S.-Japan alliance associated with China's military modernization drive and increasing foreign policy assertiveness.
Evidence points to North Korean involvement in the Sony hack. But it's impossible to know if top regime leaders sanctioned the attack or if it was carried out by another part of the government without their knowledge and consent. An unauthorized hack would only add to Kim Jong-un's worry over his regime's instability.
North Korea is likely testing the United States and its cyber community to see where vulnerabilities may exist. So this is not just an issue of how Sony Pictures responds—this is an issue of how the United States responds.
The failure of the United States and South Korea to prevent North Korea from gaining significant quantities of weapons of mass destruction saddles those governments with serious military responsibilities, should North Korea go to war or should its government collapse.
RAND researchers Bruce Bennett and Andrew Scobell hosted a media conference call on Thursday, October 9 to discuss the extended absence of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the regional implications of a sudden change in North Korea's government, and China's role in the region. Media relations officer Joe Dougherty moderated the call.
Joint force commanders should carefully consider requirements for eliminating weapons of mass destruction in their contingency and operational planning. And DoD policy decisions involving Army force structure should consider the conventional ground force requirements of such operations.
Currently, three U.S. citizens — Matthew Todd Miller, Jeffrey Fowle, and Kenneth Bae — are being detained in North Korea. It is likely that North Korea wants someone like a former U.S. president to come to North Korea instead of U.S. Ambassador Bob King, whose visits were cancelled.
With its collective self-defense policy, Japan assumes its responsibilities to support the defense of South Korea and regional security in general, an appropriate action given the economic and other independencies of the regional countries.
Whatever form of chest thumping comes next from Kim, it is clear that his goal is to put forward the appearance of strength and power, when in reality he faces instability at home and scorn from the international community.
If the North Korean government were to suddenly collapse, the consequences could jeopardize regional security in Northeast Asia and undermine U.S. interests. Preparation is needed now to convince the North Korean elites and others that South Korea-led unification in the aftermath of a collapse will be in their interests.