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Strategic Studies Quarterly

Volume 09 Issue 4 - Winter 2015

Commentary


An Aerospace Nation

John P. Geis, II and Lt Col Peter A Garretson, USAF

The world is again at a place where US leadership can make a difference and where the nation’s grand strategy is an aerospace strategy. The recipe for success has not changed: first, have a vision for shaping the aerospace domain, and second, invest in preeminence in aerospace transportation. The future of the United States as an aerospace nation hangs in the balance. We are best as an aerospace nation when our brightest minds, our most innovative industries, and our most critical governmental agencies work together. The future economic prosperity and national security depend on the choices we make now.

FEATURE ARTICLE


America’s Machiavelli Problem: Restoring Prudent Leadership in U.S.
Damon Coletta and Paul Carrese

The end of President Obama’s first term coincided with the five hundredth anniversary of The Prince (1513) by Niccolò Machiavelli. Some analysts combined these milestones and praised the President’s foreign policy performance as heeding Machiavelli’s classic advice: The President, impressively, adapted lessons of The Prince in crafting a realistic and prudent first-term grand strategy. Avoiding major war or new commitments, he never agonized over legal or moral niceties when focused violence was necessary, as in the operation to eliminate Osama bin Laden. In the second term, however, the president’s highly cautious strain of defensive realism fared poorly, a verdict upheld by commentary from his former lieutenants. This unwelcome turn of fortune calls into question whether strategy pundits and scholars correctly interpreted Obama’s overcorrection, much less Machiavelli’s imprimatur, during the first term. Contrary to the administration’s recent justifications for “common sense” risk avoidance, Machiavelli’s sophisticated notions of realism and statesmanship demand a strategy that more astutely blends daring and caution, to include articulating an ambitious public purpose for U.S. power. A genuinely prudent strategy, according to Machiavelli, accepts some near-term military risk to do good—and do well—in the long run.

PERSPECTIVES

Deterrence Stability in the Cyber Age
Edward Geist

Technical and operational realities make it prohibitively difficult to adapt a Cold War paradigm of “deterrence stability” to the new domain of cyber warfare. Information quality problems are likely to forestall the development of a cyber equivalent of the strategic exchange models that assessed deterrence stability during the Cold War. Since cyberspace is not firmly connected to geographic space the way other domains are, it makes modeling extremely difficult as well as muddles neat conceptual distinctions between “counterforce” (military) and “countervalue” (civilian) targets. These obstacles seriously complicate U.S. planning for a credible cyber “assured response,” and also present substantial challenges to potential adversaries contemplating cyber attacks against U.S. interests. To create a maximally effective deterrent against cyber threats, the United States should seek to maximize the challenges for possible opponents by creating a cyber “strategy of technology” emphasizing resilience, denial, and offensive capabilities.

A Homeland Security Net Assessment Needed
Erik J. Dahl

The concept of net assessment has long been considered an important tool for American national security strategists, and the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment is widely regarded as a key influence in security planning. But despite calls by experts for the development of a similar net assessment office in the Department of Homeland Security, only a few tentative efforts have been made to use the concepts and methodologies of net assessment for the problem of ensuring American homeland security. This article argues that a homeland security net assessment is even more necessary today, since debates over the state of the nation’s security involve discussions not only about the seriousness of the threat, but also the legitimacy of the intelligence and other efforts employed to combat that threat. It proposes a new model for a homeland security net assessment process that should be undertaken by DHS, and suggests that such an assessment would expand the discussion of homeland security threats beyond terrorism and would encourage greater focus on civil liberties and disaster preparedness.

Resiliency in Future Cyber
Col William D. Bryant, USAF

The concept of net assessment has long been considered an important tool for American national security strategists, and the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment is widely regarded as a key influence in security planning. But despite calls by experts for the development of a similar net assessment office in the Department of Homeland Security, only a few tentative efforts have been made to use the concepts and methodologies of net assessment for the problem of ensuring American homeland security. This article argues that a homeland security net assessment is even more necessary today, since debates over the state of the nation’s security involve discussions not only about the seriousness of the threat, but also the legitimacy of the intelligence and other efforts employed to combat that threat. It proposes a new model for a homeland security net assessment process that should be undertaken by DHS, and suggests that such an assessment would expand the discussion of homeland security threats beyond terrorism and would encourage greater focus on civil liberties and disaster preparedness.

China-India Regional Dimensions of the Bilateral
Chietigj Bajpaee

While the Sino-Indian relationship has improved in recent years, it continues to oscillate between periods of cordiality and competition. This is exacerbated by a fundamental mismatch of threat perceptions between both states, rooted in the shifting balance of power and conflicting signals in the bilateral relationship. Moreover, the rise of both countries as major powers has provided them with new tools and platforms to interact with each other, contributing to a spill over of the Sino-Indian relationship from the bilateral to regional levels. Nowhere is this spill over effect or ‘nested security dilemma’ more evident than in the maritime domain amid the rise of both countries as major trading and resource-consuming powers. After charting the evolution of the Sino-Indian relationship, this article examines the implications of the changing nature of the Sino-Indian relationship on Asia’s expanding strategic geography and US policymaking toward Asia.

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