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  • Island Hopping—Feet Dry!: Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Indications and Warning in Austere Environments

    To increase technology’s capabilities and how it can be used requires innovation. Identifying how to fit emerging technology into the mission construct can be viewed as limiting; however, there has to be a starting point. The fictional vignette illustrates how such innovation might play out in our future.
  • The Case for Missile Defense and an Efficient Defense of the US Homeland

    In May 2019, the Pentagon first announced a pause on the years-long troubled efforts to redesign the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system’s interceptors. Since 2004, the GMD system’s mission is to defend the United States from ballistic missile threats. The EKV is a sensor-propulsion package that uses the kinetic energy from a direct collision with an enemy’s missile warhead to destroy its target. By August 2019, the Pentagon made the surprise decision to completely cancel the so-called Redesigned Kill Vehicle program of the GMD system. For many, the decision represented an inflection point for homeland missile defense in its entirety.
  • What Exactly is Venture Capital, and What Does It Have to Do with the Air Force?

    The initial cohort of AFVentures fellows recently finished their six-week immersion in Silicon Valley. This article outlines that experience and the lessons applicable to the Air Force writ large.
  • Reorganizing Missile Security at Malmstrom AFB: 341st Security Forces Group and the Missile Security Operating Concept

    From August 2017 through January 2019, the 341st Security Forces Group (341st SFG) planned and executed an internal reorganization of its missile security forces called the Missile Security Operating Concept (MSOC). By standing up the 841st Missile Security Forces Squadron (841st MSFS) and creating three identical squadrons out of the 341st Missile Security Forces Squadron and the 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron, each unit would deploy to the missile field under one commander’s control. This reorganization sought to make its defenders more effective and improve group morale. The 341 st SFG’s successful transition to MSOC required it to plan a 21-day schedule to provide its defenders a work/life balance, incorporate the Integrated Planning Cell into missile security operations to maximize missile field operational efficiency through long-range planning, and create a Troop Leading Procedures course to train its noncommissioned officers to lead their Airmen. At the squadron level, the 841 st MSFS faced some unique challenges. Given MSOC’s bottom-up planning, its commander had to operate without a clear legal authority to do so and build its Unit unit Manpower manpower Document document from scratch. While MSOC had a rocky start, both leaders and Airmen on-the-ground resolved those initial problems and believed it improved morale and made its defenders more lethal. In short, it worked. The lessons learned from this study provides a template for any group-level unit to plan and execute its own internal reorganization.
  • Wrong Time to Hack: How Deterrence Theory Informs Policy Options in a Time of COVID-19

    This article begins by highlighting the risks to the Internet, then presents a summary of deterrence theory to conceptualize a range of options available for senior leaders. A review of the research on the Internet, deterrence theory, national authorities, and limited criminal justice theory suggests that the Department of Defense, Department of State, Intelligence Community, and the interagency offices for public affairs should support the Federal Bureau of Investigation in making high-profile arrests of cyberhackers. By demonstrating a clear threat of punishment, deterrence theory suggests a significant percentage of future hackers will be deterred. By demonstrating capacity and will, the United States can use strategic and criminal justice deterrence theory to protect the American people during this period of increased vulnerability.
  • The Interminable Crusade: A New Framework for US Counterterrorism Strategy

    Terrorism is a sophisticated rhetorical act that is inherently abstract in nature; the attack itself is not the objective, and the victims are not the targets. A failure to adequately understand and address the discursive aspects of the current terrorist threat has hampered US policy. To correct these deficiencies the United States should employ a strategy focused on moving beyond the pervasive image of Western crusade against ways of life in Muslim countries informed by more fundamental interpretations of Islam. Instead, the new image should present an alternative narrative—one of apolitical, supranational humanitarian assistance—that erodes the long-term viability of these extremist organizations. This strategy will require a significant and concerted US diplomatic effort, ensuring the metarhetorical alignment—consistency between what is communicated by activities, force posture, policies, messages, images, and inactions—of the whole-of-government and international coalition response, wherein the military instrument is used sparingly, if at all.
  • The Strategy Web: A New Framework for Analyzing Military Strategy

    Warfare is a complex endeavor, and those tasked with planning and implementing military strategy must be equipped with a robust framework capable of incorporating theory, historical evidence, and truths. It is necessary to cultivate an entirely new framework for representing and analyzing strategy. Macroduction may be the foundation of this new framework. The term refers to the process of moving beyond linear links in causality or correlation and transitioning to a decision-making approach that incorporates ideas across the academic spectrum. The macroduction concept does not confine itself to explaining critical parts of a single theory. Instead, the model outlines many theories, the environment, the contributions of many individual and corporate decision-makers, the role of chance, and the threads of timeless truths naturally woven into a particular situation. The best method (or frame) for visualizing this model of military strategy is the well-known spider web. Thus, the strategy web can help organize the complex world of warfare and human behavior into something recognizable, usable, and valuable.
  • Multi-Domain Operations: Bridging the Gaps for Dominance

    This article will take a quick look at how warfare has evolved and why we have headed toward the multi-domain operations (MDO) doctrine. Additionally, the article provides a framework as a rudimentary way to understand basic MDO concepts that can be utilized to create offensive and defensive MDO objectives at the tactical and operational levels of war.
  • Biohazard: A Look at China’s Biological Capabilities and the Recent Coronavirus Outbreak

    Many have speculated that the coronavirus outbreak that begin in China in 2019 could have been an unintentional consequence of alleged bioweapon research in Wuhan. This article will look into the validity of such claims, the current coronavirus situation, China’s current alleged biowarfare capabilities, and the future of biowarfare.
  • Afghanistan Intelligence War

    A comparison between the way the pro-Soviet intelligence agencies carried out strategic interference against the political system in the past and the way the post-2001 pro-Western agencies are interfacing with the political process is important for understanding Afghan politics today. In some ways, there are remarkable similarities between the two periods, notably in the way that external and internal intelligence agencies continue to exercise considerable bearing on the political system in Afghanistan.
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