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  • Operational Plan Orange: American Strategy in a Western Pacific War

    While the likelihood of conflict between the United States and China is presently low, it cannot be completely excluded. The days of Western military superiority over China are ending, if not already over. China’s deployment of numerous ballistic missiles, modern aircraft, and cruise missiles amount to a strategic revolution in the western Pacific (WestPac), since China can now plausibly threaten a devastating surprise attack against American and allied bases and ships in the region. This means our bases and the oceans there are no longer sanctuaries, and the opening phases of such a war are all too likely to resemble the opening phases of World War II. This being the case, we need to think through a strategy for such a war in the WestPac—an Operational Plan Orange.
  • Techno-Fetishism and Meta-Rhetoric: Assessing the Nature and Character of Past and Future Warfare

    What will future war look like? Answering this question requires first reflecting on wars of the past. Warfare, from antiquity to present, has been defined by a constant nature and evolving character heavily influenced by the technology-theory interaction. Future war portends more of the same; however, the continued threat posed by ideologically driven extremists and gray zone conflict will reduce the role of the military and significantly alter the operational domains as they are currently understood. As a result, the military that eschews the established patterns of techno-fetishism and embraces a strategy—which this article refers to as meta-rhetorical alignment—to win in the emerging perceptual domain, will ultimately have the greatest chance to achieve victory.
  • Congratulations to the US Space Force

    A congratulatory message to the US Space Force from Major General Mark C. Dillon, USAF, retired
  • Building Partnership Capacity and Logistics

    The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency administers Building Partner Capacity programs funded with US appropriations and administered as cases within the foreign military sales (FMS) infrastructure. One of these programs enables the agency to provide logistics solutions to allied countries. Moreover, the Defense Contract Management Agency accepts FMS cases as requirements from the US military. These programs are a major source of defense services for government agencies and departments under the auspice of the Economy Act, as it is the primary purpose of building our partners’ capacity in support of the nation’s security forces. Further, it increases the nation’s capability to counter drugs, conduct counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations, and ensure the stability of multilateral peace programs.
  • Caught in the Crossfire: The Impact of US–China Trade Tensions on Taiwanese Direct Investment in Mainland China

    As the world’s manufacturing center, mainland China imports large amounts of intermediate goods from its Asian neighbors, particularly Taiwan. As the key component supplier for mainland China, will Taiwan suffer from the increasing trade tensions between the United States and China? Since Taiwanese foreign direct investment (FDI)—primarily conducted by Taishang, Taiwanese business people—in mainland China is mostly export-oriented, and the United States is one of their major markets, would the potential trade war reduce Taiwan’s FDI in mainland China? How does the movement of Taishang during the trade war influence Taiwan’s economy, domestic politics, and the cross-strait relationship? Given the important strategic importance of Taishang for mainland China, have Beijing’s Taishang-preferential policies been helpful in neutralizing the negative impact of the trade war on the Taishang? Through descriptive analysis of the official Taishang data, we found that despite the trade war’s effects, there is a general increasing trend of Taishang projects in China. However, we also found that the number of Taishang in the manufacturing sector has been decreasing during the past several years and continues to decrease with the outbreak of the trade war. We also found an increasing trend for Taishang to invest in the non-manufacturing sectors in mainland China.
  • The US Withdrawal and the Scramble for Syria

    Amid an outbreak of protests and recriminations against the Trump administration for its “betrayal” of the erstwhile allies in the struggle against the Islamic State (ISIS), the following questions must be answered: (1) could such a situation have been avoided; (2) how will this policy impact on the power and prestige of the United States in the Middle East and beyond; (3) what does this incident indicate about the use of proxies by the United States in the Middle East and beyond; and (4) how does this affect the regional balance of power in Syria? With the benefit of painstaking research on the relations between the United States and the Syrian Kurds, this short article will endeavor to examine a situation is still unfolding and offer answers to the above four questions, while attempting also to identify winners and losers.
  • “It’s the People, Stupid!”: Step One of Fixing the DOD’s Software Challenges

    The Department of Defense (DOD) is full of flawed software applications that create a frustrated workforce and result in countless hours wasted. In 2018, Congress was fed up and directed the Defense Innovation Board (DIB) to conduct a Software Acquisition and Practices Study to root out the problem. I led the smallest, but arguably the most important piece, of the study: the workforce subgroup. Our charge was to examine recruitment and retention hurdles of the workforce. In May 2019, the DIB published our final report, and what follows is a summary of our workforce subgroup. The accompanying article highlights the five major roadblocks we uncovered starting with the failures of the DOD to implement past recommendations to workforce development challenges. The article concludes with a set of concrete recommendations to put the department back on the right track and a real-world vignette to demonstrate the frustrations of the workforce. The desired end state is an empowered workforce capable of delivering software and technology in real-time to the men and women of the DOD.
  • China and the Issue of the South China Sea

    In this brief policy commentary, China’s “land reclamation efforts” and the historic origins of the international issue of this territorial dispute are discussed. Following an examination, various possible solutions are examined. Ultimately, a peer-level partnering with China may ultimately smooth the negotiating space to revisit the issues surrounding the South China Sea. However, without engendering a sense of trust, further progress that avoids escalation may be problematic in obtaining.
  • Japan Reborn: Rearmament for Pacifism

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks a bold and unprecedented constitutional amendment to expressly acknowledge Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and their limits. But why? Abe’s proposal embodies one of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) central political platforms, yet according to public opinion polling in Japan, such a proposal is very unlikely to pass in a referendum, assuming it first passes in both chambers of the Japanese Diet, as constitutionally required. This article supports a broader SDF mission but proposes an abandonment...
  • Thinking through the Unthinkable: Reducing Terrorist Threats in and around the Straits of Malacca and Singapore

    This article describes how the United States government can help shape a common sight picture of maritime threat detection in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (Straits) by working cooperatively with Singapore’s Information Fusion Center to identify, target, and eliminate or reduce the threat of maritime terrorism. The geography of the Straits and the volume of shipping trade that passes through its waterways make the Straits a prime target for terrorists, and an ongoing security concern for the Indonesian government. Despite multi-nation coordination, joint maritime patrols and even local information or fusion centers, there remains much to improve Indonesia’s security posture and counterterrorism capabilities in and around the Straits.
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