Op-Eds & Essays
The Hill, June 13, 2021
It remains unclear whether a summit between President Biden and Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, is vital. Providing Putin a place on the stage next to an American president only enhances his legitimacy and soft power, domestically and abroad; why give the Kremlin an unearned gift? Nonetheless, there are two reasons why a U.S.-Russia summit makes for good policy and good politics at this moment.
The Atlantic Council, June 3, 2021
Good news: NATO’s Concept for the Deterrence and Defense of the Euro-Atlantic Area (DDA) may soon have the blessing of NATO-member leaders at this month’s summit in Brussels. But there’s bad news too: It is already time to update the DDA to address China.
The Hill, May 4, 2021
Given the potential for a swift Russian fait accompli invasion, as well as the West’s interest in a stable, independent Ukraine, the United States and its NATO allies should make its response to a Russian invasion crystal clear to Moscow. Ambiguity, although sometimes useful in national security, is counterproductive in this situation.
Foreign Policy Research Institute, April 19, 2021
The recently announced decision to increase the U.S. military presence in Europe by sending 500 additional troops to Germany in the coming months is the right move at the right time in the right place. But there’s more work to do regarding American boots on the ground in Europe, especially in the Baltic region, where small contributions of U.S. troops could go a long way to addressing ongoing shortcomings.
Defense One, March 4, 2021
Is Trump the reason why European defense spending has increased over the last four years? And if so, does that mean President Biden should replicate Trump’s methods, including making America’s pledge to defend European allies conditional on whether they’ve “fulfilled their obligations”?
The Hill, December 2, 2020
Europe’s debate over “strategic autonomy” from America recently has heated up, even though the man who described the European Union (EU) as a foe soon will vacate the White House. Ironically, just as America is about to inaugurate the most transatlanticist president-elect in a generation, some Europeans such as French President Emmanuel Macron are doubling down on promoting greater European independence from the United States.
War on the Rocks, October 16, 2020
Washington should endeavor to work with European allies to advance collective Western interests in the face of Chinese behavior that is predatory or exploitative. Maintaining and strengthening transatlantic solidarity, ensuring access to critical European infrastructure for operations in and through Europe, and preventing the loss of technologies vital to the development of allied and American military capabilities should provide plenty of impetus for Washington to lead the West
The Hill, October 15, 2020
Some have proposed a 21st century version of containment as an effective policy toward Russia. But containment still would leave the West vulnerable to Russian influence, pressure and intimidation. Instead, another Cold War-era approach may be more appropriate: rollback. By rolling back Russian power in diplomatic, political and especially economic terms, the West can more effectively reduce Moscow’s ability to hold Western interests at risk.
The Atlantic Council, October 14, 2020
After nearly twenty years, the NRF is like an antiquarian book—very expensive to acquire, but once purchased it rarely leaves the shelf. Instead of continuing to invest resources in the NRF, the Alliance ought to strengthen readiness and build capabilities by pursuing a more intensified form of interoperability.
Military Times, July 30, 2020
Does the withdraw of U.S. troops from Germany fulfill the “five principles” outlined by the SecDef in guidance provided to EUCOM following the June 2020 announcement? Will the moves be accomplished cheaply and quickly? Isn’t it cheaper and more effective to rely on rotational deployments?
Newsweek, June 10, 2020
Last week, the Trump administration announced its decision to withdraw about one-quarter of the U.S. troops based in Germany, ostensibly over Berlin's continued pursuit of a gas pipeline deal with Russia and what Washington views as still insufficient German defense spending. However, removing roughly 9,500 troops from Germany and capping U.S. forward-stationed presence in the country at 25,000 troops is short-sighted, likely to be ineffective and fiscally irresponsible.
Strategic Studies Institute, May 1, 2020
It’s reasonable to expect change following a global crisis, but the near breathlessness detectable in some of recent analyses evinces a lack of nuance or an appreciation for stasis. Moreover, few of these or other analyses have addressed the implications in a transatlantic context, or suggested specific mitigation steps. This brief essay reflects a more balanced attempt to fill these gaps, identifying recommendations for the U.S. Army and Department of Defense to leverage the crisis and mitigate the damage across the transatlantic community.
The Hill, April 30, 2020
Like several authoritarians elsewhere, the leader of ostensibly democratic Hungary — Prime Minister Viktor Orban — is taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to consolidate power at the expense of democratic values. Some have argued that the time is right to kick Hungary out of key international organizations such as NATO. But for several reasons, the transatlantic alliance isn’t the right vehicle for punishing Budapest. Instead, Washington and other like-minded allies ought to turn up the heat bilaterally.
Foreign Policy Research Institute, March 27, 2020
France once again is pushing for improved relations with Russia. For that to happen, Moscow would have to make major concessions, given its forcible change of European borders in 2014. While it may seem unlikely, particularly at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and during a U.S. election year, the shape of such a grand deal isn’t too difficult to flesh out—and the benefit of reduced tensions between Moscow and the West may be worth the effort.
The Washington Post, January 10, 2020
In his White House speech on Jan. 8 following Iranian ballistic missile attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq, President Trump announced he would try to get NATO more involved in the Middle East. A day later he reiterated this goal, even suggesting a new name — NATO-ME — to emphasize the Middle East (ME). While fairer transatlantic burden-sharing remains important, pushing NATO further into the Middle East is a recipe for failure. The alliance is not built to do much more than it’s already doing.
Newsweek, December 2, 2019
The NATO "Leaders Meeting" in London this week features a cast of presidents and prime ministers who have left the alliance without the leadership it needs to tackle today's security challenges, which are unlike any since the end of the Cold War.
RUSI, November 1, 2019
To respond effectively to the threats NATO faces in its eighth decade, and to safeguard the promise of collective defence enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, the Alliance must refocus time and resources on fighting its adversaries in the grey zone.
Newsweek, October 30, 2019
This month, two relatively small, obscure German ministries made a decision with strategic implications: They published draft set of rules for the construction of Germany's 5G network that permits Huawei to have an even greater role than it currently does. Reportedly, Chancellor Angela Merkel's office intervened to ensure Huawei would not necessarily be excluded. If left to stand, this decision represents nothing less than an abdication of German leadership in Europe, undermines long-term growth in Europe's most important economy and threatens the large American military presence in Germany.
The Washington Post, August 19, 2019
During national security adviser John Bolton’s recent trip to London, he argued that it was in the American interest to see Britain leave the European Union under a “no-deal” scenario — one in which Britain leaves without a negotiated agreement between London and the E.U. on the terms of withdrawal. Boris Johnson’s recent elevation to the office of prime minister makes such an outcome increasingly likely. In fact, Brexit in any form is clearly contrary to U.S. interests and could lead to the demise of the “special relationship” between Washington and London.
The National Interest, July 29, 2018
The apparent damage done to transatlantic solidarity during the recent North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit—in conjunction with the meager results of that summit—raises serious questions about whether and why there needs to be another such meeting for the foreseeable future. Given the significant costs and the paltry benefits, the alliance ought to forego summit meetings while President Trump remains in office. Instead, it ought to rely on ministerial-level meetings where most of the serious agreements are hammered out in any case.
Newsweek July 10, 2018
By most accounts, there’s great trepidation within Europe over this week’s summit meeting between President Trump and the leaders of America’s closest allies. Ostensibly, the 2018 NATO summit—the first formal summit in two years—will focus on a new initiative to promote military readiness, the streamlining of alliance decision-making during crises, and the creation of additional alliance command structures.
War on the Rocks June 27, 2018
The United States and its NATO allies have dramatically strengthened alliance deterrence against Russia in northeastern Europe through an initiative titled Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP). The initiative, which was born out of NATO’s 2016 Warsaw summit, provides a vital tripwire against a Russian attack. Now that NATO has been implementing EFP for just over a year, there have been a number of lessons learned – or at least encountered.
Strategic Studies Institute March 20, 2018
In January, the Trump administration released its first National Defense Strategy (NDS), which closely followed the December 2017 release of the new National Security Strategy (NSS).1 Both of these documents call for a fundamental shift in the U.S. approach to security, emphasizing competition against Russia and China at the expense of what some may argue has been a myopic focus on eradicating transnational terrorism. What the NSS and NDS are less clear about is how the United States will compete against Russia. Instead, an array of arguably vague policy objectives are all these documents seem to muster. There may be good reasons why these documents provide us little in the way of substantive ways and means, but that shouldn’t prevent a public debate about the many tools Washington can and should employ in competition with Russia in order to generate potentially novel policy options for decision-makers, clearly signal Washington’s intent and reassurance to allies, and convey a stronger deterrent message to Moscow.
The American Interest March 17, 2018
The president’s 2019 budget proposes a 30 percent increase—to $6.5 billion—for the European Deterrence Initiative, a program that pays for deployments of U.S. military units in Europe, exercises, and training events, and other initiatives designed to deter Russia and reassure allies. As part of the bargain with those allies, however, Washington is insisting that they show the same level of commitment.
Carnegie Europe March 8, 2018
The West is in the middle of an undeclared cyberwar with Russia. The problem is, few Western leaders want to publicly acknowledge this or, apparently, do much about it. If Washington hopes to get European allies on board with its new, more competitive approach to Russia, it will have to start by leading the West in a clear-eyed assessment of the situation at hand and taking concrete steps to turn the tide through offensive cyber operations.
Foreign Policy Research Institute February 22, 2018
Thanks to a near-myopic obsession with eradicating transnational Islamic terrorism, costly invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, and a zero-risk approach to homeland security, America’s competitive edge has eroded over the last 16 years relative to China and Russia. That’s the conclusion of the recently released National Defense Strategy (NDS), which recognizes—correctly, in our view—that the United States finds itself behind the curve today when it comes to this inter-state strategic competition and the threats it poses. However, the NDS falls short in identifying how America should best respond to it.
Carnegie Europe February 1, 2018
On January 19, the Trump administration released its first National Defense Strategy (NDS), or at least a relatively short, twelve-page summary of the presumably much longer classified version. In sharp contrast to the early months of the Trump presidency, this new strategy says all the right things about alliances such as NATO. Nevertheless, the strategy holds mixed implications for Europe—ultimately, the new NDS appears unlikely to salve all of the continent’s concerns over the transatlantic relationship.
War on the Rocks December 22, 2017
The Trump administration has decided to authorize the sale of lethal military assistance to Ukraine, including sniper rifles. There are significant downsides to arming Ukraine in this way, particularly fracturing consensus within NATO and provoking escalation by Russia. To reduce the risk of these negative repercussions and take the sting out of this major policy shift, the United States ought to lead NATO in admitting it made a mistake when it prematurely declared in 2008 that Ukraine (and Georgia) would become members of the alliance. Tying these two policies together will avoid the downsides associated with opening up the arms trade spigot while simultaneously strengthening the West’s position vis-à-vis Moscow.
Carnegie Europe November 23, 2017
Moscow is engaged in a hybrid war against the West. The West’s response amounts to muddling through.
Carnegie Europe October 26, 2017
Over the past several months, NATO has begun fundamentally changing how it provides security to its newest member states. But even as the alliance reembraces its commitment to territorial, collective defense, there are large hurdles standing in its way.
Carnegie Europe September 21, 2017
NATO must signal to Moscow that any attempt by Russia for a landgrab in the Baltics would be met with a swift and overwhelming response.
War on the Rocks September 12, 2017
Recent saber-rattling by North Korea as well as Russia’s upcoming Zapad military exercise have renewed discussion over the U.S. military’s forward presence in Asia and Europe. A rebalancing of the U.S. Army’s force posture is necessary to achieve deterrence and assurance effectively and at a reasonable, sustainable cost.
Newsweek August 28, 2017
As the United States attempts to assure allies and deter adversaries on the Korean Peninsula and in Europe, it’s clear the U.S. Army’s force posture is out of balance today, with insufficient units and soldiers stationed overseas.
Carnegie Europe August 3, 2017
Russia’s reactions—often overreactions—to diplomatic, economic, and military policy decisions by the United States and its allies are inevitable. However, Western oversensitivity to Moscow’s reactions is not. The West needs to increase its tolerance of Russia’s rhetorical hyperbole, diplomatic drama, and escalatory overreactions in response to even the most demonstrably defensive moves by the United States and its NATO allies.
Carnegie Europe June 29, 2017
The NATO-Russia Founding Act ought to be considered a dead letter—an agreement that remains in force in name only. NATO should ignore its provisions in order to more effectively and efficiently safeguard the security of its most vulnerable members. As it stands, some NATO allies insist on maintaining commitments to Russia made in a very different security environment. This approach risks undermining stability and security in Europe, all in the name of pursuing the chimera of Russian cooperation in the East.
Carnegie Europe May 18, 2017
The NATO meeting of heads of state and government slated for May 25 is certain to center on a handful of key issues, defense spending primary among them. On this matter, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump hopes to accelerate the achievement of defense spending goals to which the alliance has already agreed. For their part, European NATO member states are likely to parry such requests and avoid committing to anything more than they already have. Although not the worst in European NATO when it comes to burden sharing, Germany has recently been the focus of attention in the transatlantic debate over defense spending, primarily because of its large, prosperous economy and its position as first among equals in Europe. Unfortunately, Berlin appears to be hiding behind a number of specious arguments to avoid doing more than it has already announced.
Carnegie Europe April 27, 2017
Over recent days and weeks, NATO member states have begun implementing an enhanced forward presence across the Baltic states and Poland. For the first time, the alliance is basing combat forces east of the former East-West German border on a continuous basis. Admittedly, the deployments to northeastern Europe will be rotational, not permanent, but they represent a strengthening of the alliance’s deterrence and reassurance posture. However, while the enhanced forward presence in its current form is a necessary initiative, it’s not yet clear whether it is sufficient, especially in terms of its operational effectiveness and its response to the most likely security challenges of the next several years.
Strategic Studies Institute March 19, 2017
Questioning long-held assumptions and challenging existing paradigms in U.S. security policy can be a useful way to ensure that American leaders are not pursuing strategies that do not actually support and promote U.S. interests. However, on the question of whether the European Union’s (EU) existence is in U.S. interests, the evidence is consistently clear. It most definitely is, and undermining it—for example, by promoting Brexit or suggesting other countries would or should follow the United Kingdom’s (UK) exit from the EU—risks the further unraveling of the international order that is central to American prosperity and security.
Carnegie Europe March 10, 2017
Since the November 2016 U.S. elections, there has been a great deal of discussion in Europe over how Europeans need to take more responsibility for their security and defense, including by developing an EU nuclear deterrent. This is probably welcome news to U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, which has placed increased emphasis on more equitable burden sharing and may not be overly concerned about the spread of nuclear technology among U.S. allies. Although European deliberations over how to better provide for European security are positive, an EU nuclear deterrent wouldn’t solve inequitable burden sharing. In fact, it would do virtually nothing to enable Europe to deal with today’s most likely, most compelling security challenges on the continent and beyond.
Carnegie Europe Feburary 10, 2017
Since U.S. President Donald Trump personally and publicly stated on February 6 that his administration “strongly [supports]” NATO, the transatlantic community can finally turn to addressing the myriad challenges confronting European and North American security. In May, the alliance’s heads of state and government will gather in Brussels, where they’ll likely ratify recently implemented initiatives and attempt to patch over the tensions caused by Trump’s previous comments about the alliance. Although dramatically new initiatives are unlikely, the meeting will nonetheless be important—just how important will depend on the degree to which the alliance can look beyond 2017.
Real Clear Defense January 20, 2017
In the wake of the recent intelligence community report on Russian involvement in U.S. elections, it is clear the relationship between Russia and the United States needs a fundamental recalibration. A critical element of any new strategic approach toward Moscow is a diplomatic ‘reset’ to the U.S.-Russian relationship. Ironically, the most important reason for outreach to Moscow is not to effect fundamental change in the trajectory of Western relations with Russia but rather to maintain consensus and solidarity within the West. Indeed, there should be no illusions about the likely success of any new diplomatic engagement efforts. Thanks to Russia’s geopolitical orientation and its internal political dynamics, even the most successful reset will have a short shelf life, but that does not make it any less useful in the long run.
Carnegie Europe January 13, 2017
Most of what was in the U.S. intelligence community’s January 6 report on Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election came as no surprise to those who have followed this evolving story since last summer. Back then, it seemed clear that Russia had attempted to influence the campaign and ultimately the election, and that a robust American response was necessary—if not before the vote then certainly after.
Carnegie Europe December 2, 2016
It seems more and more obvious that Russia played a significant role in the 2016 U.S. elections. Meanwhile, officials in the Netherlands, France, and Germany are increasingly concerned about Russian government-backed efforts to influence upcoming elections in 2017. This kind of interference constitutes an attack on a state’s political independence and potentially on its stability and security.
Strategic Studies Institute November 14, 2016
European integration in defense and security makes great sense on a variety of levels and from many perspectives. However, it is naïve, and probably dangerous, to think that an “ever closer union” in defense and security affairs can precede a political union.
Los Angeles Times November 3, 2016
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is on a tear. In just the last two weeks, he has expressed a desire to separate his country from the United States, declared his intention to kick U.S. military personnel out of the Philippines, and appeared ready to drop territorial sovereignty claims in the South China Sea in return for investment guarantees from Beijing. Duterte’s behavior might be considered brazen, boorish, even occasionally entertaining. But what’s worth noting is what it tells us about the state of alliance politics in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.
Carnegie Europe October 28, 2016
Despite the clear need for a new, more competitive transatlantic strategy toward Russia, it looks increasingly unlikely that one will emerge before the end of 2017. The best that the more hawkish crowd can hope for is to maintain what cost-imposing policies are currently in place vis-à-vis Russia, as a stopgap, until the electoral season in the leading Western powers passes.
Carnegie Europe September 30, 2016
Recent commentary in the U.S. presidential election campaign on Washington’s commitment to the North Atlantic alliance has largely been a waste of time and effort. The United States and its allies face many important issues as they attempt to navigate challenges to transatlantic security and assess how NATO can best serve common interests. However, the facile debate over whether alliance membership and its responsibilities remain in U.S. interests has superseded more serious discussion of the alliance and its future.
War on the Rocks September 19, 2016
The recently released German defense white paper, or Weissbuch, represents a significant step forward in Germany’s ongoing transformation to a “normal” power. Although it has received limited attention in the Anglophone media, the Weissbuch marks a fundamental shift in several respects. Whether and how Germany follows through on the potential embodied in this historic document will determine the degree to which Europe is able to play a role in security and defense commensurate with its economic strength and its transatlantic responsibilities.
Strategic Studies Institute: Strategic Insights June 24, 2016
The momentous decision of British voters to leave the European Union (EU) is already having major repercussions in both economics and politics. In the former, investors fled uncertainty for more stable opportunities, while in the latter there are already calls for another Scottish independence referendum. In the worlds of defense and security, the implications are less clear, at least in the short run. What appears far more certain though is that the economic and political implications are likely to have profound long-term effects on NATO, U.S. national security, and the U.S. Army’s relationship with one of America’s closest allies. In response, and in order to mitigate the most damaging effects of the Brexit vote, the United States needs to intensify military cooperation with a longstanding UK rival – namely, France.
Carnegie Europe May 27, 2016
Starting in 2017, Washington plans to begin heel-to-toe rotations of an armored brigade from the United States in Eastern Europe. In some respects, this represents a significant improvement over the assurance and deterrence steps taken by the United States and several of its NATO allies since 2014. Media accounts have somewhat breathlessly claimed the United States is “fortifying,” “beefing up,” and “significantly” increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe. Although the administration’s plan is indeed a step in the right direction, it falls short of such hype. More broadly, the U.S. approach to reassurance and deterrence still suffers from some strategic shortcomings.re
The National Interest February 10, 2016
The NATO alliance is treating Poland and other allies in the region like a buffer zone, refusing to permanently station troops there and hence provide the same level of security that has long been accorded other allies to the west, according to a Polish official. Such undiplomatic comments weren’t those of a low-level functionary in the Polish Defense Ministry, or even the anonymous remarks of a “senior official.” Rather, they were the very public words of Andrzej Duda, the recently elected president of Poland. Unfortunately, major obstacles—political and economic—stand in the way of NATO establishing permanent troop concentrations in Poland or elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, Duda’s comments and his relentless, vocal pursuit of permanent NATO forces on Polish soil mean that, by diplomatic standards, the upcoming NATO summit in July is likely to be downright riveting.
War on the Rocks February 8, 2016
In recent years, the Obama administration’s foreign policy has emphasized precision strike stand-off capabilities, especially drones, as well as a policy of surging American military might from the continental United States (CONUS) after a crisis has already started, versus maintaining significant overseas force presence. In the face of the Great Recession and sequestration, these two policy tools were particularly attractive approaches for managing insecurity in a resource-constrained environment. However, with the economy in much better shape and the worst years of the debt crisis past, it is unclear whether the next administration will embrace these same tools.
War on the Rocks October 30, 2015
Despite a concerted effort, when viewed through several lenses it seems clear that demilitarization has failed and U.S. foreign policy remains very, perhaps overly, militarized. As a result, the Pentagon can expect to be handed messy military operations short of inter-state war that it may not be prepared, equipped, or organized to handle efficiently or effectively.
War on the Rocks August 18, 2015
Polish President Andrzej Duda is wrong when he argues that Poland and other NATO member states east of Germany are being treated like second-class allies.
War on the Rocks July 13, 2015
The primary reason that Russia poses the greatest threat to U.S. national security today is because of its proven ability to hold at risk vital U.S. interests in the three most strategically important regions of the world.
Carnegie Europe April 14, 2015
Sharing fairly the burden of defending the North Atlantic community is critically important, and policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic are right to seek a means to manage the free riding challenge. Unfortunately, though, the method chosen by NATO member governments—the so-called 2 percent goal—doesn’t do a good job of measuring burden sharing, and it certainly doesn’t help quantify risk sharing.
War on the Rocks February 2, 2015
NATO recently announced it will create six new command and control entities or units – NATO Force Integration Units (NFIUs) – on the territory of several Eastern allies — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria.
War on the Rocks January 13, 2015
Is the Obama Administration weakening America by decreasing the number of U.S. forces in Europe? That is what some critics will have you believe regarding Department of Defense plans to reduce and consolidate some military posts in Europe. These changes, however, appear to be driven in relatively equal measure by budgetary concerns and a clear-eyed assessment of the security situation on the other side of the Atlantic.
War on the Rocks December 17, 2014
The West’s 25-year effort to pull Russia into the circle of politically liberal, economically developed countries has failed. The time has come for a reassessment of the West’s strategy toward Russia, which ultimately must eschew cooperative tools in favor of a more competitive approach.
Defense One November 11, 2014
Is the Pacific pivot a dead letter? Despite President Obama’s Asia tour this week, that’s certainly the impression, as senior administration officials have delayed or cancelled visits to Asia and the United States becomes increasingly involved in security crises in Europe and the Middle East.
Defense One July 22, 2014
The security crisis that Europe now finds itself navigating has in many ways breathed new life into NATO. What had looked to be a self-congratulatory denouement in Wales has instead become a venue for recommitting NATO to its core purpose, while acknowledging that alliance interests may still compel it to remain ready for any array of challenges near and far. The alliance should not squander the opportunity the crisis provides to address some fundamental problems in where and how it provides security for its member states.
U.S. Army War College Press June 18, 2014
(With Robert Bunker) The annual convention of the International Studies Association (ISA) was held in Toronto, Canada, on March 26-29, 2014. The 55th annual convention theme was, “Spaces and Places: Geopolitics in an Era of Globalization.” This conference was a major academic gathering with 1,140 panels and round tables and over 5,300 participants drawn from North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and other countries from across the globe. In addition, an exhibition hall that ran concurrent with the convention contained over 100 book and journal publishers, government agencies, universities, and nonprofit organizations that were showcased.
The Diplomat June 12, 2014
Anachronistic basing arrangements are preventing the U.S. Army from achieving its full potential in the Indo-Pacific.
War on the Rocks May 29, 2014
It is no accident that forces from NATO member states can actually operate alongside or embedded with one another. Interoperability is, in large part, the product of a war, one that is soon ending: the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)’s campaign in Afghanistan. Later this year, though, NATO’s extensive involvement in operations in Afghanistan will come to an end, and with it, the alliance’s workshop for building and maintaining an unprecedented level of interoperability.
War on the Rocks May 6, 2014
Russia’s not-so-covert war against the interim authorities in Kyiv is beginning to take on the characteristics of a serious civil conflict, as tactics directed from Moscow appear designed to amplify or otherwise leverage discontent among a minority of ethnic Russians living across eastern and southern Ukraine. In response, the United States has deployed troops to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, sent air assets to Romania and Poland, and deployed a U.S. Navy ship to the Black Sea, all on a bilateral basis. Meanwhile, a multilateral response by NATO continues to unfold. Although some have referred to NATO’s efforts so far as “toothless,” the reality is that the alliance has contributed substantive assets to date while looking to do more. Nevertheless, Washington is confronted with the questions of whether, when, and how to leverage critical allies and other partners in safeguarding shared interests in the post-ISAF security environment. For example, how can the United States get European allies to shoulder their share of the defense burden in Europe and beyond? How will the United States work with Pacific allies and key partners to maintain their security and stability throughout Asia? And what policy tools, including Landpower, are most effective and most efficient at helping Washington to achieve these goals?
War on the Rocks April 23, 2014
Why would the U.S. rely on European allies in implementing its defense policy, when the conventional wisdom holds that most of those allies are unable and/or unwilling to contribute to the common defense? In reality, the data is more mixed than the 'Europe as freerider' narrative would have us believe. Nonetheless, there are steps Washington can take to help ensure Europe picks up the phone when the U.S. next goes looking for coalition partners.
The National Interest March 26, 2014
As leaders in western capitals continue to hope that Russian president Vladimir Putin will not extend his invasion further into Ukraine, or worse to the Transnistria region of Moldova, discussion has increasingly focused on what concrete measures the United States and its NATO allies might take in response. Certainly economic sanctions—stronger than what’s been done to date—must be part of the policy response, but U.S. leaders can also take other steps to bolster NATO allies now concerned with their own security, including deploying U.S. troops to Eastern Europe.
Strategic Studies Institute March 11, 2014
Some of the most likely security challenges that might threaten vital American interests over the next 5-7 years are readily discernible on the horizon today, including managing Iran’s nuclear ambitions or disrupting terrorist organizations with global intent and capability. What is likely not on that list, though, is managing a major conflict between the United States and China, for reasons that have largely to do with the latter. Therefore, at least in the short run, most of the military demands generated by the national security environment are likely to center on so-called “Phase 0," or shaping, activities, not on the necessity of fighting or even preparing to fight another great power.
Defense One March 4, 2014
The challenge confronting policymakers in Washington is how to safeguard and promote United States interests in Ukraine in a way that swiftly deters Russia from further escalation and compels President Vladimir Putin to stand down. Unfortunately, ejecting Russia from the G-8 or dispatching United Nations fact-finding missions is unlikely to move Moscow. Instead, inflicting costs on Russia for its intervention in Ukraine begins with using a tool very familiar to Moscow: energy.
The National Interest February 28, 2014
Twenty years ago today, NATO conducted its first combat operation in history. Since that precedent-setting event, the alliance has engaged in numerous ‘out-of-area’ combat operations, from Kosovo to the Khyber Pass. As the alliance prepares to end its combat mission in Afghanistan this year, doubts have been raised over whether NATO’s longest, largest operation beyond Europe’s shores might be its last. Such a view is long on the politics of today and short on strategic perspective though, and there is growing evidence to suggest NATO will remain as committed to defending its interests beyond its members’ territory, continuing a trajectory begun exactly two decades ago.
Defense One February 10, 2014
By aggressively leveraging Abbas’s embrace of a NATO-led peacekeeping operation as the starting point for additional negotiation and refinement, the United States might find that it not only gets its European allies to shoulder more of the security burden in defense of common interests, but that it does itself a significant favor in ensuring it will have allies capable of doing so well into the future.
The National Interest June 4, 2013
A robust, formidable U.S. Army is necessary to build capacity in regional partners, maintain interoperability with America’s most capable allies, and promote their expeditionary capabilities. In the event that our crystal balls aren’t as good as we think, a robust Army is the best insurance against major threats to U.S. interests.
Small Wars Journal September 7, 2012
Security cooperation is clearly a vital tool in ‘preventing’ conflict and ‘shaping’ the international environment, and it’s obvious the U.S. Army understands this. What’s less clear is whether the Army sees security cooperation as a means of ‘winning’ – indeed there’s evidence that the Army believes otherwise. Nonetheless, there are important reasons for viewing security cooperation efforts – especially exercises, training events, and multinational acquisition programs – as critical to building and maintaining multinational interoperability and hence as a key tool necessary for the Army to ‘win.’
The Los Angeles Times September 6, 2012
Squabbling Asian nations pose a threat to U.S.-led security efforts. As a result, the hub-and-spoke alliance system in the Asia-Pacific region between the U.S., Japan, Australia, SouthKorea, and so others is here to stay.
New Atlanticist March 8, 2012
Judging from the media and the blogosphere, there is panic among the Army staff in the halls of the Pentagon these days, as leaders cope with dramatic cuts in force structure and a new defense strategy that appears to favor naval and air power at the expense of the country’s ground forces.
New Atlanticist January 26, 2012
The recent announcement that the Obama administration plans to cut two of the four remaining US brigade combat teams (BCTs) in Europe is unlikely to result in any appreciable defense budget savings over time, and if they do they’ll likely prove highly damaging to US national security interests in the long run as it becomes more difficult to maintain interoperability with our most likely, most capable future coalition partners.
New Atlanticist January 12, 2012
In an era of shrinking military budgets and reduced force structures, DoD needs to more carefully target its security cooperation resources toward those allies that are full spectrum, or nearly so; that can project force across time and distance; and that are innovative and adaptive. The allies/partners that most closely fit the bill are primarily found in Europe -- the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands -- not in Asia, Latin America, or the Mid East.