Writing for CSDS

  • Published

If you are interested in publishing on a specific topic for the CSDS, the Strategic Topics List (below) provides a starting point.  The issues are organized as a sub-set of the Air University's FY13 Strategic Issues List, and include selected topic areas from the USAF Institute for National Security Studies' FY15 list of research topics. 

Prior to submitting a manuscript, authors should provide information on the topic in a proposal and ensure the paper is written for Air Force senior leaders. Submissions from AU faculty and students will be considered before those authors external to AU. Submitted manuscripts must be complete (rather than proposals) and in an electronic format (preferably as an unformatted Microsoft Word document). Submissions are evaluated for originality, contribution to a significant national security issue, and appropriateness for the CSDS mission and goals.

Submissions for Trinity Site Papers should be between 3,000 and 5,000 words. Submissions for the Future Warfare Series should be between 15,000 - 30,000 words. Manuscripts submitted to the CSDS must not be under consideration for publication elsewhere. With the exception of contracted writing commissioned by CSDS or AU Press, no payment or royalty can be made to authors.

International Security Studies: This category includes the nature and causes of war and peace, patterns of change and major global and regional trends, and contemporary problems and issues. Special emphasis is accorded the non-military instruments of power—diplomatic, informational, economic—and how they relate to the military instrument of power and affect global, regional, and national security conditions, problems, and issues. It also includes the study of national security strategy and the national security decision-making process, civil-military relations, critical contemporary regional and functional problems/issues, and interagency processes.

  • Deterrence: Deterrence policy and strategy is being adapted to new forms and roles while also maintaining its traditional role in countering potential state use of nuclear weapons against the United States. Research and expanded thought leadership is needed to ensure the wisdom and credibility of new directions and dimensions of this foundational concept.  Specific topics include strategic deterrence; nuclear and conventional deterrence/assurance; targets and strategies; extended/limited/tailored/minimum deterrence; deterring sub-state actors; declaratory policy.
  • Unconventional Weapons: Studies on the future of conflict predict that Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) will continue to play a significant factor in military operations. How does national strategy direct the necessary ways and means to ensure that the United States is not deterred by adversarial use of unconventional weapons?  What is the appropriate DoD role for enhancing regional partnerships and stability ? Specific topics include definitions of WMD; foreign development of NBC weapons; nuclear-free regions; global response to CBRN terrorism; NATO CBRN defense; building partnership capability to strengthen allied defensive capabilities; regional presence/posture/basing; WMD interdiction; foreign consequence management
  • Homeland Defense/Civil Support: DoD has significant homeland defense responsibilities, all of which have complex and sensitive operational, legal, interagency, international, and command and control dimensions requiring near-term operational effectiveness balanced with long-term operational sustainability. This is especially true in developing an effective role for DoD forces in support of Homeland Security. Specific topics include federal response to WMD incidents; “whole of government” homeland security enterprise; defense critical infrastructure protection; resiliency; continuity of government; continuity of operations; nuclear survivability; civil defense/emergency preparedness; domestic consequence management; CBRN Response Enterprise.

Military Studies: This core area embraces the nature of war, general military history, history of the Air Force and air and space power, and military theory, doctrine, and strategy. It provides a solid foundation of the nature and theories of war and methods of warfare, yet draws these classic ideas into the present, as comparisons and contrasts are made with current operations.

  • Strategic Posture: As recent strategy reviews and arms control agreements play out, and as we adapt and deepen our understanding of future deterrence and strategic requirements, it is necessary to review and adapt our force composition and posture to the new and emerging conditions and tasks. Specific topics include U.S. nuclear posture/policy; conventional and nuclear weapon use; DoD roles and missions; DOE roles and missions; triad versus dyad versus monad concepts; modernization of U.S. nuclear weapons.
  • Proliferation: Proliferation of unconventional weapons is a constant challenge for the U.S. national security enterprise. Analysis is needed to address a range of policy questions: from dealing with rogues to possibilities of proliferation by friends; better addressing supply-side issues to effectively addressing demand-side concerns; integrating arms control imperatives to address proliferation drivers; and integrating policy and operational dimensions. Specific topics include nonproliferation activities; threat reduction and security cooperation; breakout of nation-state WMD programs; regional stability studies; domain awareness.
  • Unconventional Weapons: Although Weapons of Mass Destruction have been a significant part of the world’s concerns since 1945, U.S. forces have never been attacked by unconventional weapons since the end of World War I. Similarly, there has been no CBRN incident on U.S. soil caused by transnational sub-state groups. As a result, understanding the potential impact of WMD on military operations has been limited. Can we develop capabilities, doctrine, and plans for the range of military operations that may include WMD use without relevant experience? Specific topics include: counterproliferation strategy; ISR support to countering unconventional weapons; counterforce (counterstrike) operations; integrated air/missile defense; global situational awareness; WMD forensics and attribution.

Warfare Studies: The central focus here is on the art of employing military power across the spectrum of operations. Focus is on war fighting and knowing the strategies, tactics, and doctrinal underpinnings of how best to achieve victory over the enemy. Topics in this area would involve the force structure, organizational structure, planning processes, supporting doctrine, and operational concepts that enable the US military to engage as a joint team across the full range of military operations. Warfare Studies include national military strategy; roles and missions; force structure; joint planning and joint doctrine; joint, combined, and multinational operations; core competencies; tactics; and air, space, and cyberspace warfare among others.

  • Arms Control and Disarmament: As arms control and disarmament reclaim a spot at the top of the national security agenda, what are the issues and concerns for the Department of Defense and specifically the Services’ strategic forces? What are the potential directions of future arms control that particularly affect the United States strategic force posture? What comes next from the arms control regime? How does the expected long-term strategic force drawdown affect Service equities? Specific topics include national defense nuclear infrastructure; nuclear drawdown/disarmament; transparency/verification; non-strategic nuclear weapons; New START Treaty; chemical and biological arms control efforts.
  • Unconventional Weapons: The Air Force does not have a specific functional area that addresses the challenge of prevention of, protection against, and response to unconventional weapons. Because NBC weapons and CBRN hazards can be employed across the range of military operations, air and space operations can be significantly impacted. Operational analyses provide insights as to optimizing offensive and defensive capabilities, given limited resources and personnel, and within a conventional military construct and an “all hazards” approach. Specific topics include passive (CBRN) defense capabilities; installation CBRN preparedness; defense support of civil authorities; humanitarian assistance/disaster relief; health surveillance; medical countermeasures; emergency preparedness; threat reduction activities; WMD elimination; use of general forces or special operations forces.
  • Emerging Character of Conflict. Being able to discuss possible future areas of conflict and adversary response is necessary to facilitate moving DoD from old ways of thinking to best postures for future scenarios. What types of conflict will resemble previous conflicts, which will be employed simultaneously, and where are new battle grounds emerging? Identify and analyze emerging technologies and their potential influence on future conflict. Specific topics include: future technologies for new unconventional weapons; CBR terrorism; nuclear terrorism; electromagnetic pulse effects; collapse of a nuclear weapons state; nuclear Iran; anti-access/area denial; Air Force Operating Concept.

The Miller Award is presented to the individual who has researched, written, and published on the most immediately relevant and important Air Force counter-WMD or nuclear enterprise issue during the year. This award is limited to students at the Air Command and Staff College. 

Colonel Thomas "Dutch" Miller served in the Air Force for over 26 years. His last assignment was as the Division Chief of National Security Policy on the Air Staff (AF/XON) where he oversaw the development of Air Force policy on counterproliferation and arms control negotiations. During this time, Col Miller focused his personal efforts on establishing the AF Counterproliferation Program. He also sponsored the stand-up of the USAF Counterproliferation Center at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1998. Col Miller lectured at the Air War College, Harvard's Kenney School of Government, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's annual conferences, National Defense University, and the United Kingdom's Wilton Park conference series.  

Prior assignments include an extensive operational career as a B-52 Radar Navigator and Instructor/Evaluator to include assignment to Headquarters Strategic Air Command (SAC) as the B-52/B-1 Command Radar Navigator/OSO. Later, as the SAC Policy and Doctrine Division Chief, he led SAC's participation in the joint doctrine program and drafted the first Joint Nuclear Operations Doctrine and as the SAC's Strategy and Concepts Division Chief was both the lead planner for the creation of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and the Chief of the USSTRATCOM transition team. As Chief, Strategy and Concepts following USSTRATCOM stand-up, Col Miller formulated concepts and strategies for offense/defense integration and developed and implemented a plan consolidating all nuclear planning at USSTRATCOM. As the first Chief of the USSTRATCOM Theater Planning Support Division, Col Miller directed a joint organization preparing war plans to counter weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This included target development, weaponeering, mission planning, threat analysis, consequences of execution and the integration of DoD-directed special access programs.


  • 2022 - Maj Frank Perry - "How Western Mirroring Could Result in Inadvertent Nuclear War with Russia" 
  • 2021- Maj John LaMonica - "The Impact of Secrecy on Deterrence"
  • 2020 - Maj Scott Curtice - “Why Do States Build Nuclear Weapons?”
  • 2019 - Maj Jonathan Gibson - “USAF Posture: Impacts to Japanese Assurance in the Indo-PACOM AOR”
  • 2018 - Maj Aaron Baum - “South Korean Efforts to Counter North Korean Nuclear Aggression”
  • 2017 - Maj Jonathan King - “Bomber Assurance and Deterrence Missions: Effect on North Korean Discourse”
  • 2016 - Maj Allen Cohen - “Extending the US Nuclear Deterrence Umbrella to the Middle East”
  • 2015 - Major Timothy S. Biggs - "Broaden Our Horizons: Expanding Test Routes for Realistic Cruise Missile Flight Testing"
  • 2014 - Lt Col Bobby Woods - "Deterring Iran & Assuring Mideast Partners; A Look at the Key Elements for US Nuclear Assurance in the Middle East"
  • 2013 - CDR Christopher G. Bohner - "The Inadvertent Effect of Assurance on Nuclear Proliferation"
  • 2012 - Col Thomas G. Klopotek - "Loose Words, Not Nukes - The Impact of U.S. Nuclear Force Structure Debate on NATO Perceptions of Extended Deterrence"
  • 2011 - Lt Col Stephen G. Hoffman - "Bureaucracy vs. Bioterrorism: Countering a Globalized Threat"
  • 2010 - Lt Col David J. Baylor - "Considerations for U.S. Nuclear Force Structure Below a 1,000 Warhead Limit"
  • 2009 - Lt Col James C. Mercer - "Federal Response to a Domestic Nuclear Attack"
  • 2008 - Lt Col Joel T. Hanson - "Radiological Dispersal Device Primer: From a Terrorist's Perspective"
  • 2007 - Lt Col Fred P. Stone - "The "Worried Well" Response to CBRN Events: Analysis and Solutions"
  • 2006 - LTC (P) Richard A. Starkey - "Cruise Missile Threats to Our Homeland: Are We Ready?"
  • 2005 - Col Robert I. Miller - "The Impact of Quarantine on Military Operations"
  • 2004 - Lt Col James R. Ayers - "Crossroad of the Apocalypse: Al Qaeda's Pursuit and Possible Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction"
  • 2003 - Ms Dorothy L. Dubois - "Pointing the Finger: Unclassified Methods to Identify Covert Biological Warfare"
  • 2002 - Col Michael J. Ainscough - "Next Generation Bioweapons: Genetic Engineering and BW"

The Horner Award is presented to the individual who has researched, written, and published the most original contribution to the understanding of Air Force counter-WMD or nuclear enterprise issues during the year. This award is limited to students at the Air War College.

General Charles "Chuck" Horner served in the Air Force for 36 years, retiring in 1994 as a four-star general officer. His last assignment was as the Commander, North American Aerospace Command and U.S. Space Command; and Commander, Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base. He was responsible for the aerospace defense of the United States and Canada, and the exploitation and control of space for national purposes through a far-flung network of satelites and ground stations throughout the world.

General Horner, an Iowa native, entered the Air Force through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program and was awarded pilot wings in November 1959. He has commanded a tactical training wing, a fighter wing, two air divisions and a numbered Air Force. While Commander of 9th Air Force, he also commanded U.S. Central Command Air Forces, in command of all U.S. and allied air assets during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Prior assignments included Deputy Chief of Plans for Tactical Air Command; Commander, Air Defense Weapons Center; and command of a tactical training wing, a fighter wing, and two air divisions. He was a command pilot with more than 5,300 flying hours in a variety of fighter aircraft. During the Vietnam conflict he flew 41 combat missions over North Vietnam in the F-105 during a tour. He later flew more than 70 combat missions as an F-105 Wild Weasel pilot, deliberately drawing anti-aircraft fire to identify and destroy North Vietnamese defenses.

Horner Award Recipients

  • 2022 - Lt Col Benjamin Jensen - "The Realities of a US-China Cold War" 
  • 2020 - Lt Col Joseph Hank - “Credibility of U.S. Deterrence in the Baltic States after Crimea’s Annexation,"
  • 2019 - Dr. Lyndon McKown - “Examining Deterrence Options for a High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse Limited Nuclear Attack”
  • 2018 - Lt Col Benjamin Hatch - “Defining a Class of Offensive Destructive Cyber Weapons as WMD”
  • 2017 - Lt Col Robert Steward -“Assessing the Uncertainty of Nuclear Deterrence”
  • 2016 - Lt Col Robert Ewers - “Ensuring Strategic Stability in the Second Nuclear Age”
  • 2015 - Lt Col Matthew E. Dillow - "Nuclear Hell on Wheels: Examining the Need for a Mobile ICBM"
  • 2013 - Lt Col Stephanie J. Buffett - "Tacit Knowledge Involvement in the Production of Nuclear Weapons: A Critical Component of a Credible US Nuclear Deterrent in the 21st Century"
  • 2012 - Anton H. Tran - "An American Vital Interest: Preserving the Nuclear Enterprise Supplier Base""
  • 2011 - Lt Col Todd C. Ericson - "Towards a Fail-Safe Air Force Culture: Creating a Resilient Future While Avoiding Past Mistakes"
  • 2010 - Col Kenneth E. Hall - "The Dangerous Decline in the United States Military's Infectious Disease Vaccine Program"
  • 2009 - 2009 Winner - Lt Col David M. Mason - "Directed Energy Weapon System for Ballistic Missile Defense"
  • 2008 - Col Jonathan M. Owens - "Federal Response to a Domestic Nuclear Attack"
  • 2006 - Col Stephen E. Shea - "Analysis of USAF Counter-Chemical Weapons Concept of Operations Relative to Alternate Delivery Methods and Fourth Generation Chemical Warfare Agents"
  • 2005 - Lt Col Phillip R. Howard - "Making the National Response Plan Work: Force Integration and the National Guard"
  • 2004 - Lt Col Mark W. Ellis - "Preemptive and Preventive Strikes: a WMD Conundrum"
  • 2003 - Dr Roger Golden - "The Threat of Bioterrorism from Domestic U.S. Terrorist Groups"
  • 2002 - Lt Col Ross A. Victor - "The SOF Contribution to Counterforce: Desert Storm Case Study and Implications for the Future"