Analysis / Strategy

By Other Means – Part II: U.S. Priorities in the Gray Zone

Geopolitical competition is increasingly playing out in the gray zone—the space beyond diplomacy and short of conventional war. The nature of this compe­tition is forcing the United States to confront the liabilities of its strengths. This report assesses current U.S. government actions to deter, campaign through, and respond to competitors’ gray zone tactics.

Analysis / Strategy

By Other Means – Part I: Campaigning in the Gray Zone

With the significant costs of engaging the U.S. in combat and a growing range of non-military tools at their disposal, rivals threaten U.S. interests by operating in the “gray zone.” The U.S must employ a broad spectrum of tools and concepts to deter and compete in the gray zone.

Analysis / Acquisition, Budget, Forces, Strategy

What to Look for in the FY 2020 Defense Budget Request

Expectations have been building for the FY 2020 defense budget request, a budget that acting secretary of defense Shanahan has called the “masterpiece.” As the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) works on finalizing the request, experts from the CSIS International Security Program outline what to look for in the FY 2020 defense budget.

Opinion / Forces

Bad Idea: Sectored Air and Missile Defense Radars

In a world where unmanned aerial vehicles are plentiful, cruise missiles are becoming more abundant, and hypersonic boost glide vehicles are just over the horizon, air and missile threats are coming from all directions. To address the realities of this environment, effective defenses require an air and missile defense sensor architecture that looks in all directions as well.

Opinion / Strategy

Be Afraid? Be Very Afraid? — Why the United States Needs a Counterstrategy to China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Now in its fifth year of implementation, there is enough evidence to suggest that Belt and Road Initiative is much more than a liberal economic development plan. The United States needs a more comprehensive counterstrategy to BRI that looks after the interests of vulnerable nations and hedges against the geopolitical advantages China is gaining.

Analysis / Forces

Defense Buildup: Where Are the Forces?

The Trump administration increased spending for defense by $95 billion between FY 2016 and FY 2019, but even with such a large increase, there was no escaping the trade-off among readiness, modernization, and force structure. Readiness came first so that forces could meet a minimum standard. The next priority was to increase modernization by expanding

Analysis / Acquisition

The Year of the Industrial Base

The industrial base review coupled with policy and strategy documents gives DoD and its inter-agency network a great deal of homework for the upcoming year. While it is clear that the Department will be rigorously working toward supporting and reinvigorating industries as well as deeply engaging with its partners and allies, it will have to overcome the challenge of the competing interests associated with these two core strategic goals.

Analysis / Budget, Strategy

Security Cooperation as a National Defense Strategy Tool

The 2018 National Defense Strategy elevated security cooperation in stressing the importance of “Strengthening alliances and attracting new partners.” This has typically been an area of strength for the United States in ensuring U.S. superiority in an era of strategic competition. However, countervailing priorities in the current U.S. administration challenge this formulation.