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Unified Iran: NSA Dr. Ostovar on Iran’s Strategic Decision Making
December 2, 2019

An article, titled “Iran, Unity of the State,” by NSA Professor Ashon Ostovar appeared in the 18 October 2019 edition of Foreign Affairs. In the article, using the September 2019 drone strikes on two major Aramco oil facilities in Saudi Arabia as a launching point, he addresses the question what drives Iranian strategic decision making. A number of experts believe factions (e.g., moderates and hardliners) within Iran drives its strategic behavior, including the decision to attack the oil refineries. However, Dr. Ostovar argues this is problematic as “it misunderstands how decision making works in the Islamic Republic.” Rather, he argues, “Western policymakers must accept the reality that Iran conducts its security policy as a unified state actor.” 

To read the article, click here

 

 


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NSA Student Article in MC Gazette Calls for Technology in Moderation
November 5, 2019

Former NSA student, Captain YiCheng Garrard, has written an article titled “Technology: Revolutionary in Moderation, Fatal in Excess,” published in the October 2019 version of the Marine Corps Gazette. In the article, Capt. Garrard contends that “the most pressing challenge facing the Marine Corps in future operating environments—and that exposes it to detection and targeting—is its over reliance on networked-enabled command and control (C2).” Not only are data-heavy applications of technology logistically taxing, they increase emission of signals, which can make Marines vulnerable to detection and targeting by the enemy. Garrard isn’t suggestion abandoning technology; rather, he suggests shifting the usage and installation paradigm.

Capt. Garrard is in the Foreign Area Officer Program and is currently studying at the Defense Language Institute. Once he completes his studies in December 2020, he will graduate from the program.

To read the article, click here.  

 


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Prof Covell Meyskens Article in Nonproliferation Review on Chinese Views of North Korea
October 15, 2019

In his article “Chinese Views of the Nuclear Endgame in North Korea” just published by Nonproliferation Review, NSA Professor Covell Meyskens examines the Chinese views on the North Korean nuclear program under the current US presidential administration. He finds China portrays itself as a responsible country promoting regional stability, in contrast to the current US brinkmanship with North Korea. The article explores several varying views of Chinese foreign policy experts. In the conclusion, Dr. Meyskens offers an explanation of “how Beijing’s recent, more positive view of Pyongyang is likely to affect its support for American efforts to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear-weapon program.”

To read the article, click here

 

 


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Foreign Policy Article by Professor Meierding
September 19, 2019

NSA Professor Emily Meierding has written a new article titled, “The Real Reason Trump Won’t Attack Iran,” published in Foreign Policy on 18 September 2019. In the article, Dr. Meierding considers various courses of action Iran or the United States could take and what conflict escalation would mean. She warns, “A war in the Persian Gulf would profoundly destabilize the global oil system" and "jeopardize many states' energy interests," not just for the region but also for places like Europe and China. The consequences mean the current administration “has strong incentives to avoid conflict escalation.” In addition to destabilization in the region and in the oil market, war would mean an increase of prices at the pump.

To read the article, click here

 


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Two New Articles from Prof. Young: NATO Sea Blindness and Central and Eastern Europe Defence
July 22, 2019

Professor Thomas-Durell Young has recently published two new articles, “NATO’s Selective Sea Blindness: Assessing the Alliance’s New Navies” by U.S. Naval War College Digital Commons and “What are Governments in Central and Eastern Europe not Buying with their Defence Budgets? The Readiness Clue” by the RUSI Journal. In the first article, “NATO’s Selective Sea Blindness,” Young argues that NATO countries are guilty of a sea blindness where modernization of their navies is concerned. Their deficiencies lie “in building integrated capabilities, ensuring common operating procedures, projecting battlespace awareness, and accomplishing interoperability in all maritime combat domains.” These shortcomings are particularly perilous in light of Russian aggression (e.g., seizing the Crimea and its challenges to the international order). In the article, he concludes it is not just NATO countries that need to transform their navies but also western governments.

In “What are Governments in Central and Eastern Europe not Buying,” Young examines why readiness has not been accepted as a critical element of defense governance by defense institutions in Central and Eastern Europe. He uses success cases to identify factors for lessons learned that can be replicated elsewhere. He also looks closely at the Slovenian armed forces.

To read “NATO’s Selective Sea Blindness,” click here

To read “What are Governments in Central and Eastern Europe not Buying,” click here

 


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Professor Tom Johnson’s Book Released in Farsi
July 15, 2019

NSA Professor Tom Johnson’s book, Taliban Narratives: The Use and Power of Stories in the Afghanistan Conflict, has been released in Farsi/Dari by the Afghan Institute of Strategic Studies. The panel for the release, for which Prof Johnson Skyped a presentation, was attended by senior Afghan government officials, US military officials, and also a few members of the Taliban. The decision was driven by demands for the book by members of the Afghan government and others. The government is likely using the book to improve its information campaign against the Taliban, which as carried out very successful operations, particularly in the rural areas of Afghanistan where 75 percent of the population lives. In the book, Professor Johnson explores why the Taliban been so much more effective in presenting messages that resonate with the Afghan population than the United States, the Afghan government, and their allies have been. The effectiveness of the Taliban message is in start contrast to the US and Afghan governments’ results in the “battle of the story.” 

To read more on the book launch, click here

For a video of the launch, click here

 


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New Article on Iran by NSA Professor Afshon Ostovar
June 18, 2019

A June 2019 issue of Foreign Policy features NSA Professor Afshon Ostovar’s most recent article, “The Islamic Republic of Recklessness.” The article discusses Iran’s motivations behind its likely attack on two oil tankers earlier in June near the Strait of Hormuz. In the article, he asks, “If Iran were responsible for the attack, what would its strategy have been? Why would Iran risk alienating neutral states and further antagonizing its neighbors—much less provoking a potential open war with Washington—by committing such acts?” His article explores possible motivations for Iran, and how the attack might advance Iran’s interests.

To read the article, click here

 

 


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NSA Prof. Naazneen Barma Addressed Local World Affairs Council on Afghanistan
June 5, 2019

On 23 May 2019, NSA Dr. Naazneen Barma addressed the World Affairs Council, Monterey Bay, on Afghanistan’s Political Order and Peace Prospects. In her talk, Dr. Barma assessed the prospects for peace in Afghanistan and the current draft framework as well as the governance challenges that would follow any peace deal. The political realities with which international peace deals must contend have been forged in decades of conflict. In her talk, she drew on her recent book, The Peacebuilding Puzzle: Political Order in Post-Conflict States (Cambridge, 2017).  

To read more about the talk, click here

 

 


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NSA Professor Jasper Spoke at Three Cyber Forums in Prague
June 3, 2019

NSA Dr. Scott Jasper has just returned from Prague in the Czech Republic where he spoke at three civilian and military forums at the invitation of the US Embassy in Prague. First, on 23 May, he presented as a panel member at the International Visitor Leadership Program Conference on Propaganda and Its Tools in Post-Soviet Bloc: How to Fight It (see photo). Then later in the day, he spoke on cyber enabled information operations at the US Embassy’s American Center. The Prague Security Studies Institute hosted the evening event as part of the embassy public speaking program. The next day, on 24 May, Dr. Jasper personally hosted a six-hour workshop for the National Cyber Operations Center, which was attended by select military, intelligence, and security officials at the villa of the former president. He presented on hybrid warfare and cyber deterrence with an automated cyber defense demo. That event was highlighted by lunch-time discussions with the commander of the military cyber command.

 


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Former NSA Student LCDR Frost's New Article, “How to Fight Like a Small Navy and Win”
May 29, 2019

Former NSA student LCDR Jeffrey Frost has written a new article titled, “How to Fight Like a Small Navy and Win: Developing a Black Sea Strategy,” published on the U.S. Naval Institute blog on 28 May 2019. In the article, Frost discusses strategy in the Black Sea. He notes five elements of an approach for the development of a winning naval strategy for a possible future conflict with Russia in the Black Sea and its environs: Allied anti-access area denial (A2AD) posture, pushing the limits of the Montreux Convention, addressing the Turkish question, naval mining, and cost. He concludes, “By improving the A2AD concept—refining it with Western material, training, and skill—and then turning it against the Russian threat, an effective defense can be built for NATO allies in Southeastern Europe, and strategic stability on the continent can be preserved until the atmosphere of antagonism between Moscow and the West clears.”

LCDR Frost is currently stationed with U.S. Sixth Fleet in Naples, Italy. He graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School in December 2017. His thesis is on the assessment of possible improvements in NATO’s non-strategic nuclear force.

To read the article, click here

 


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NPS and MIIS Exchange Program Partnership Resumes
March 21, 2019

A recent article release by the Naval Post Graduate School (NPS) Public Affairs Office highlights the student exchange program between the NPS and Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS), which has resumed after an eight-year hiatus. The renewal comes after a 2018 visit to NPS during which the Secretary of the Navy, Richard V. Spencer, emphasized the importance of NPS expanding its partnerships in academia. NPS students, such as foreign area officers (FAOs), enrolled in the program take classes in a foreign language, classes in which all work, discussion, and readings are completed in a foreign language.  

According to NSA Associate Professor Erik Dahl, the partnership with MIIS helps NPS maximize its capabilities and provides a better education to its students. The experience is valuable in that it enables an exchange of fresh perspectives between student of both institutions. NSA’s Program Officer CMR Paul Rasmussen is quoted in the article as noting, “Being taught master’s level courses in a foreign language adds a whole new dynamic of complexity to their studies.”  

To read the article, click here

 


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NSA Prof Tom Johnson’s Two New Articles Afghanistan Politics and Democracy
March 8, 2019

NSA Professor Tom Johnson has recently had two new articles on Afghanistan published. The first is coauthored with Dr. Larry Goodwin and titled “Political Legitimacy: Why We Are Failing in Afghanistan,” published by Strategy Bridge. In the article, the authors review the history of Afghanistan from the 1970s on as background for the state’s problems with legitimacy. They also discuss U.S. strategic and governance efforts in Afghanistan. Finally, the authors conclude that the country “needs a serious anti-corruption campaign, effective service delivery, and national security institutions that see themselves as protectors of the people and not just an ethnolinguistic group or political faction” as well as breathing room and greater internal revenue.

The second article, “The Myth of Afghan Electoral Democracy: The Irregularities of the 2014 Presidential Election,” Professor Johnson systematically assesses the 2014 Afghanistan presidential election, the first transfer of power from President Hamid Karzai to an elected successor, using provincial voting data as well as explicit data from polling centers. He finds some “extremely strange voting patterns.” In combination with other analyses, his results raise the very real possibility that the Afghan 2014 election results were illegitimate.

To read the article “Political Legitimacy,” click here

To read the “The Myth of Afghan Electoral Democracy” and its accompanying appendix of data, click here

 

 

 


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NSA Professor Clay Moltz Releases New Article: Changing Dynamics of 21st Century Space Power
February 28, 2019

Strategic Studies Quarterly has published a new article by NSA Professor Clay Moltz titled “The Changing Dynamics of 21st Century Space Power.” In the article, Dr. Moltz argues that recent pessimistic assessments of space power predicting the decline in U.S. space power vis-à-vis China and Russia are only part of the picture. In the article, Dr. Moltz argues that the emergence of a new form of bottom-up, net-centric, commercially led space innovation promises cheaper and more timely technological developments to those nations that can effectively tap into them, thus reshaping traditional definitions of space power. As he shows, these new forms of space power could improve the position of the United States more than countries relying on innovation and development controlled by states.

 

To read the article, click here.

 


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NSA Professor Baylouny Delivers Talk to World Affairs Council
February 25, 2019

NSA Professor Anne Marie Baylouny spoke to the World Affairs Council (WAC) of Monterey Bay luncheon on February 25, 2019, on the topic of the Syrian refugee crisis. Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, over seven million people have fled Syria to seek safety in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, and beyond in places such as Europe. Additionally, millions more are displaced inside Syria. Most are living in extreme poverty, and humanitarian groups are unable to access many who live in the areas of conflict. Professor Baylouny discussed this humanitarian crisis, policy options for the international community and the United States, and prospects for an end to the conflict.

Professor Baylouny is Associate Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School where she specializes in Middle East politics, grassroots organizing, and Islam. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Baylouny has lived in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan and has traveled extensively in the Middle East.

To read more about the talk, click here

 

 


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Article by NPS Graduate Draws Praise from Air Force COS
February 21, 2019

The Daily Republic of Solano Country, CA, recently featured an article by NPS graduate Lt. Col. Paul Pawluk titled “Team Travis: How Do You Define Inspirational Leadership?” In his article, the NPS alum discusses inspirational leadership, and the importance culture plays in this. In the article, Pawluk argues, “Anyone can copy your strategy, but no one can copy your culture. Thus, culture is our strategy in building resilient and ready squadrons in the face of great-power competition with peer competitors like Russia or China.” The article caught the attention of the Air Force Chief of Staff (COS), General David Goldfein. The COS declares himself a “big fan” of Pawluk’s commentary and notes, “We see eye-to-eye on several points, including the value of professional writing by military leaders, and more importantly, the role of inspirational leaders and unit culture in the success of our mission.”

In September 2013, Lt. Col., then a major and student of the NSA Department, received his Master of Arts in Security Studies (Europe and Eurasia).

To read the “Team Travis” article, click here.  

 


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NSA Professor Hafez Co-Authors Two New Articles on the Syrian Rebel Movement
January 18, 2019

The Journal of Peace Research and the Journal of Conflict Resolution have published articles co-authored by NSA Professor Mohammed Hafez (along with Emily Kalah Gade and Michael Gabbay). In their research, the authors explore hypotheses concerning how differences in power, ideology, and state sponsors between rebel groups impact their propensity to cooperate and clash using data from the Syrian civil war. The authors found strong evidence that ideologically distant groups have a higher propensity for infighting than ideologically proximate ones as well as support for power asymmetry, meaning that pairs of groups of disparate size are at greater risk of infighting than pairs of equal strength. They also find that ideologically similar groups are more likely to cooperate than ideologically distant groups, regardless of power differences between them. 

To read the article on rebel infighting, click here.

To read the article on rebel cooperation, click here


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Stanford Publishes Book by Former NSA Student
December 1, 2018

After earning his master’s in the NSA Department in 2006, Ty Groh, U.S. Air Force, went on to complete his doctorate at Georgetown University in 2010. NSA Associate Prof. Anne Clunan served as the external member of his committee. Stanford University Press has just published his doctoral dissertation as a book, Proxy War: The Least Bad Option. While the United States has indirectly intervened in international conflicts on a relatively large scale for decades, little is known about the immediate usefulness or long-term effectiveness of contemporary proxy warfare. When neither direct military involvement or complete disengagement are not viable, Groh finds that proxy warfare is the least bad of the bad options available. He explains the hazards and rewards of this strategy and how to deploy it effectively through an examination of ten understudied and uncommon cases. Also, he presents a complete theoretical model of proxy warfare that can be applied to a wide range of situations. Proxy warfare is increasingly likely, and Groh provides the necessary insight to understand how and when to deploy it.

To read more about the book, click here.

 

 


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NSA Professor Thomas Bruneau Talk on Future of Military Contractors
October 18, 2018

NSA Professor Thomas Bruneau has been featured in the Monterey Herald because of his talk on 19 October 2018 at the luncheon to the World Affairs Council of Monterey. The focus of Dr. Bruneau’s talk is contracting security support in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the interview with the Herald, Dr. Bruneau said, “As working for the U.S. Government, and especially the Defense Department, there are a whole series of constraints, trainings and general oversight on what we, even as civilians, let alone uniformed military can and cannot do” —constraints that do not necessarily apply to security contractors. However, according to Dr. Bruneau, downsizing in the military has left the Department of Defense (DoD) with little choice but to turn to contractors. And it has. In fiscal year 2017, DoD spent “obligated more money on federal contracts than all other government agencies combined,” a total of $320 billion (more than half its budget). Dr. Bruneau has previously published a book on the topic, Patriots for Profit (Stanford University Press, 2011).

To read the Herald article, click here.

 


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NSA Professor Ostovar’s New Article: The Grand Strategy of Militant Clients: Iran’s Way of War
October 15, 2018

NSA Professor Afshon Ostovar has had a new article titled “The Grand Strategy of Militant Clients: Iran’s Way of War” in a recent edition of Security Studies. In the article (from the abstract), Dr. Ostovar argues that militant clients should be understood as a pillar of Iran’s grand strategy and an extension of its military power. He examines why Iran has relied on militant clients since the 1979 revolution and the benefits and costs of its client approach. In evaluating these, he identifies five main areas where Iran has gained from its client strategy: 1) maintaining independence from the West; 2) successfully exporting its religio-political worldview; 3) extending its military reach and power; 4) reducing political costs of its foreign activities; and 5) establishing needed regional allies. He further identifies the main dangers that Iran faces by continuing its strategic behavior: 1) increased pressure from the United States and a broader US military regional footprint; 2) more unified regional adversaries; 3) the risk of unintended escalation with the United States and regional adversarial states; and 4) enduring regional instability and insecurity, and 5) the exasperation of domestic political tensions and economic challenges.   

To read the article, click here


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NSA Department Appoints a New Chair: Professor Clay Moltz
September 19, 2018

Professor Clay Moltz will assume the duties of the Chair of the Department of National Security Affairs effective 24 September 2018. From 2012–16, Prof. Moltz served as the NSA Department’s Associate Chair for Research, while also directing the Center on Contemporary Conflict (CCC) and the Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (PASCC). He is the recipient of the 2015 Carl E. and Jesse W. Menneken Award for Significant Research and Sustained Contributions to the Navy and the Department of Defense as well as the 2010 Richard W. Hamming Award for Interdisciplinary Achievement. Prof. Moltz joined NPS in 2007, and he holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.A. and B.A. from Stanford University. 

 



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Latest News

Unified Iran: NSA Dr. Ostovar on Iran’s Strategic Decision Making
Dr. Afshon Ostovar has published an article, titled “Iran, Unity of the State,” in the 18 October 2019 edition of Foreign Affairs. Read More

NSA Student Article in MC Gazette Calls for Technology in Moderation
Former NSA student, Captain YiCheng Garrard, has written an article titled “Technology: Revolutionary in Moderation, Fatal in Excess,” published in the October 2019 version of the Marine Corps Gazette. Read More

Prof Covell Meyskens Article in Nonproliferation Review on Chinese Views of North Korea
NSA Professor Covell Meyskens has a new article, “Chinese Views of the Nuclear Endgame in North Korea” just published by Nonproliferation Review. Read More

Foreign Policy Article by Professor Meierding
NSA Professor Emily Meierding has written a new article titled, “The Real Reason Trump Won’t Attack Iran." Read More

Two New Articles from Prof. Young: NATO Sea Blindness and Central and Eastern Europe Defence
NSA Professor Thomas-Durell Young has recently published two new articles, “NATO’s Selective Sea Blindness” and “What are Governments in Central and Eastern Europe not Buying with their Defence Budgets? The Readiness Clue.” Read More

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