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Volume 01 Issue 2 - Winter 2018

  • ARTICLES
  • A long journey--Varyag under tow to China en route Istanbul. (Photo courtesy US Naval War College)

    The Chinese Aircraft Carrier Program and Its Influence in the Chinese Naval Strategy

    Alejandro A. Vilches Alarcón
    For two decades, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) immersed itself in an incomparable naval construction program. China is one of the world’s biggest economic powers—its firm decisions impacting at a global level, and its wishes aimed at reaching superpower status in the military realm. China is a terrestrial power—which is true of from historical, present, and future perspectives—with all that this entails when it comes to making decisions about its armed forces. Until the advent of its Strategic Rocket Forces, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) have always been the greatest recipients of China’s financial, technical, and human resources. After a series of political changes and overcoming technological thresholds, this trend has changed to favor its naval forces, as this article will try to show in the following pages—with special emphasis on the country’s recent development of aircraft carriers.
  • US–Indonesia Airmen talks enhance interoperability

    Southeast Asian Hedging and Indo-Japanese Strategies for Regional Balance

    Managing China’s Rise 
    Dr. Bibek Chand, Dr. Zenel Garcia, and Mr. Kevin Modlin
    The disruptive forces resulting from China’s reemergence as a global power has challenged the existing order in the Indo-Pacific. As its political, economic, and military capabilities have developed, China has become increasingly assertive along its maritime periphery in the East and South China Seas. Furthermore, it has begun to project power into the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific. This study demonstrates how these developments have resulted in hedging behavior from key Southeast Asian states, which has facilitated the emergence of an Indo-Japanese nexus in the region implicitly aimed at managing China’s rise. In other words, the behavior of small and middle powers in Southeast Asia has been crucial to the increased presence of extra-regional powers like India and Japan in the region. Additionally, this study aims to make a theoretical contribution by refining the concept of hedging as an optimal strategic behavior during periods where immediate existential threats are not present and incorporates components of soft balancing and engagement.
  • A MinAI ethical weapon

    Artificial Intelligence in Weapons

    The Moral Imperative for Minimally-Just Autonomy 
    Jai Galliott and Jason Scholz
    For military power to be lawful and morally just, future autonomous artificial intelligence (AI) systems must not commit humanitarian errors or acts of fratricide. To achieve this, a preventative form of minimally-just autonomy using artificial intelligence (MinAI) to avert attacks on protected symbols, sites, and signals of surrender is required. MinAI compares favorably to other maximally-just forms proposed to date. This article will examine how fears of speculative AI have distracted from making current weapons more compliant with international humanitarian law. Of particular focus is the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, Article 36.1 Critics of our approach may argue that machine learning can be fooled, that combatants can commit perfidy to protect themselves, and so forth. This article confronts this issue, including recent research on the subversion of AI, and concludes that the moral imperative for MinAI in weapons remains undiminished.
  • Intelligence unit-- American officers of OSS Detachment 101 with Gen Daniel Isom Sultan at an advanced ranger base in Burma, June 1945.

    Air Intelligence at the Edge

    Lessons of Fourteenth Air Force in World War II  
    Lt Col Kyle Bressette, USAF
    At the beginning of World War II, the Army Air Corps found itself without practical, operational, or tactical level air intelligence capability. Each numbered Air Force was principally left to independently organize and develop methods to collect, analyze, and disseminate the intelligence necessary to conduct effective air operations. Among the different numbered air forces’s efforts to organize intelligence activities during World War II, one of the most important occurred in the China, Burma, India (CBI) theater under the Fourteenth Air Force. Led by Gen Claire Chennault, Fourteenth Air Force intelligence developed as one of the most successful, original, and resourceful intelligence organizations during World War II. With a staff of less than ten Air Corps officers for most of the war, the Fourteenth Air Force intelligence developed a decentralized, forward-focused network which generated a level of effectiveness well above the sum of its parts.
  • The Cloud Shadow high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial system unveiled at the Airshow China 2016 exhibition held in Zhuhai, China

    In China’s Shadow

    The Strategic Situation in the Western Pacific 
    Lt Col Thomas R. McCabe, USAF, retired
    East Asia and the Western Pacific (WestPac) are undergoing what amounts to a strategic revolution because of the transition of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from the wheelbarrow age into an age where they are becoming a modernized superpower. China intends to change its security architecture—traditionally having been a land power, Beijing is now building a major Navy—and other major maritime powers should consider it a strategic warning. China also intends to establish itself as the dominant military power in the region. While Beijing’s current posture on totally excluding the United States is at least somewhat ambiguous, the Chinese would undoubtedly like our military presence there to cease and to reconstitute what amounts to a Chinese empire in the region. Meanwhile, the United States does not intend to leave, and as a rule, the rest of the region wants the United States to remain as a counterweight to China. Therein hangs a tale.
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