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Volume 01 Issue 1 - Fall 2018

  • ARTICLES
  • US Navy and Australian forces

    Opening the Aperture

    Advancing US Strategic Priorities in the Indo-Pacific Region 
    Gen Herbert J. “Hawk” Carlisle, USAF, Retired
    Public discourse on US defense strategy in Asia is outdated, reflecting a fixation on legacy threats, disputes, and commitments of the last century rather than the emerging threats and opportunities of this century. The renaming of US Pacific Command (USPACOM) to US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) provides the United States with an opportunity to expand the aperture of US grand strategy and to engage the region clear-eyed. While the regional security map of the twentieth century prioritized Northeast Asia, the map of the twenty-first century demands strategic attention spotlight a wider landscape characterized by People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) hegemonic aspirations and a larger set of competing national interests.
  • Pacific Partnership

    A Short History of US Involvement in the Indo-Pacific

    Christopher L. Kolakowski
    In recent years, US strategy focuses more on Asia—first with the Obama administration’s “pivot” to the region and now with the Trump administration focusing on the Indo-Pacific. These initiatives continue a legacy of engagement dating back to the War of Independence, through the Civil War, World War I, World War Two, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, to the Post Cold War era. The United States has always been involved in the Indo-Pacific, and it will continue to be well into the future.
  • USAF and Indian Air Force

    Realignment and Indian Air Power Doctrine

    Challenges in an Evolving Strategic Context 
    Dr. Christina Goulter
    Prof. Harsh Pant

    With a shift in the balance of power in the Far East, as well as multiple challenges in the wider international security environment, several nations in the Indo-Pacific region have undergone significant changes in their defense postures. This is particularly the case with India, which has gone from a regional, largely Pakistan-focused, perspective to one involving global influence and power projection. This has presented ramifications for all the Indian armed services, but especially the Indian Air Force (IAF). Over the last decade, the IAF has been transforming itself from a principally army-support instrument to a broad spectrum air force, and this prompted a radical revision of Indian air power doctrine in 2012. It is akin to Western airpower thought, but much of the latest doctrine is indigenous and demonstrates some unique conceptual work, not least in the way maritime airpower is used to protect Indian territories in the Indian Ocean and safeguard sea lines of communication. Because of this, it is starting to have traction in Anglo-American defense circles. The current Indian emphases on strategic reach and conventional deterrence have been prompted by other events as well, not least the 1999 Kargil conflict between India and Pakistan, which demonstrated that India lacked a balanced defense apparatus. This article examines the evolving doctrinal thinking of the IAF and argues that the service is transformational in the way it situates the use of airpower in addressing India’s security environment.
  • Okinawan governor with USMC Gen

    US Military Liberty Restrictions in Okinawa—Falling on Deaf Ears?

    Maj John C. Wright, USAF
    The United States will continue working to minimize and forestall US personnel transgressions and crimes in Okinawa, as it always has. Japanese central government must bypass the Okinawan prefectural government and address the people directly. Okinawa really is important, and the people there really are critical to the US–Japan relationship. They have simply been disenfranchised by the central government and disappointed by US military mistakes to the point that they believe the closer they can get to “independence,” the better off they will be. Nothing is further from the truth. The more fragmented Okinawa is, the more danger Japan—and the US military forces stationed there—are in, which is bad for all three parties.
  • Indian Navy and US Navy train together

    Evolving Dynamics in the Indo-Pacific

    Deliberating India’s Position 
    Pooja Bhatt
    The current literature on the Indo-Pacific concept is still under deliberation regarding the actualization of its structure, organization, and purpose. The term is not just a hyphenation of two oceans but a construct connecting the economies across these oceans. The Indian Ocean is the backyard of various developing economies in contrast to the developed Pacific economies. India, being one of the largest regional countries, is seen as an important fulcrum and stakeholder in the operationalization of the Indo-Pacific from an academic concept to an institutional framework. Therefore, India stands in the epicenter of the region according to its geopolitical position as well as the alliances and threat perceptions existent in the region. This paper, hence, is divided into four parts, tracing the conceptual understanding of Indo-Pacific in official documents beginning with the appearance of the term in the white papers of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States since 2013 and then simultaneously in 2017. The second part discusses the economic and strategic issues contributing to the shaping of this new geographical construct and how it differs from the earlier established Asia-Pacific paradigm. The current developments that are shaping India’s approach toward the Indo-Pacific form the third part of the article. It attempts to draw the larger picture of India’s current position on the Indo-Pacific both as a socio-economic-political platform and at the strategic level better known as the “Quad.” The fourth part of the paper argues that though there are commonalities of interests among the countries on the former, the latter faces potential problems arising from two issues—one, finding a common ground for collective security, and two, the current understanding excludes the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as potential stakeholders in the Quad.
  • Coca Codo Sinclair

    Ecuador’s Leveraging of China to Pursue an Alternative Political and Development Pathy

    R. Evan Ellis, PhD
    This paper examines Ecuador’s use of financing, commerce with, and investment from the People’s Republic China (PRC) in its pursuit of a path independent of the United States and traditional Western institutions. The work details significant Chinese engagement with the country in the political, economic, and military arenas. It finds important differences in the dynamics and progress of Chinese companies in different sectors, as well as numerous challenges for Chinese companies, including both legal challenges to past contracts, as well as political mobilization against construction and extractive sector projects. Ecuador’s engagement with the PRC is compared to and contrasted with patterns of engagement between the PRC and two other ALBA countries: Venezuela and Bolivia. In all cases, populist elites changed the political system and accountability mechanisms, and isolated their country from traditional commercial partners in ways that helped Chinese investors to reach deals that personally benefitted the populist elites and the PRC-based companies at the expense of the country. The work concludes by examining the prospects for the evolution of the relationship under the country’s new leadership.

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