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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
NSA Dr. Naazneen Barma has received the NPS Academic Year 2018 Richard W. Hamming Teaching Award in recognition of her exceptional teaching. Professor Barma excelled in all three criteria for the Hamming award: outstanding teaching, excellence in thesis supervision, and strength of contribution to NPS students beyond the classroom. She has worked with nearly 50 completed theses (as either advisor, co-advisor, or second reader), including some theses that have won awards. Additionally, Dr. Barma has served as academic associate for three different curriculum and certificate programs for the department. She has also supported non-traditional programs such as the Center on Civil-Military Relations and the Pacific Fleet Regional Security Education Program. Dr. Barma also contributes lectures at conferences and workshops.
For example, in May 2018, Professor Naazneen Barma joined an impressive lineup of scholars and practitioners recently at a conference in Washington, DC to discuss the changing nature of warfare and possible new strategies for the U.S. and its allies. Hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the conference was titled “The Future of Force.” The conference featured all-female panels as part of a new initiative by CSIS and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies to connect female scholars and leading national security officials.
For more information on the conference, click here.
To view the complete conference, click here.
NSA Professor Robert E. Looney is editor of a new handbook published through Routledge, titled Handbook of International Trade Agreements: Country, Regional and Global Approaches. The handbook explores international and regional preferential trade agreements through which countries with similar interests can benefit from economic liberalization and expanded trade. It also explores the strengths and weaknesses of these agreements as well as how agreement members can sustain growth and prosperity given the perpetual challenges of the global economic environment.
Also, NSA Professor Anne Clunan contributes a chapter titled “Neoliberal Globalization and its Opponents."
This is the 100th book published by the current NSA faculty members! To see the complete list, click here.
NSA Professor S. Paul Kapur, a leading specialist on India-Pakistan relations, recently published a book chapter titled “India’s Wars” in The Oxford Handbook of India’s National Security. This handbook is the first comprehensive analysis of India’s national security challenges. It focuses on India’s external as well as internal security challenges and traditional as well as non-traditional challenges to India’s national security. The handbook also focuses on the major theoretical approaches to India’s national security and on the relationship between national security and state-making. In his chapter, Professor Kapur discusses the claim that “Indian national security policy has been characterized by passivity, emphasizing caution over risk taking, and often achieving indecisive outcomes” and argues this is not the whole story as India has been reactive, proactive, or chosen not to respond to provocations. Inconclusive outcomes resulted not necessarily from caution but political goals seeking to maintain status quo in the region.
Professor Kapur also has a new article in East Asia Forum titled, “Asia’s Nuclear Nemeses.” In the article, he discusses how China and Pakistan view India’s nuclear developments, including the most recent test of its Agni V intermediate-range ballistic missile, in the context of strategic competition. Moreover, in discussion about the South Asian nuclear developments, he argues, “the greatest regional danger stems from Pakistan’s emergent battlefield nuclear capability.”
For more on the handbook, click here.
To read "Asia's Nuclear Nemeses," click here.
NSA Professor James Russell has just contributed a chapter titled “Environmental and Urban Security Risks: The Looming Symbiotic Crises of the Mediterranean Rim Cities” to Eckart Woertz’s new monograph, “Wise Cities” in the Mediterranean? Challenges of Urban Sustainability, which Barcelona Centre for International Affairs released recently. Overall, the work looks at common urban challenges, such as “environmental degradation, gentrification and growing inequality, climate change, provision of services, mass urbanisation, migration, and the fourth industrial revolution” that Mediterranean cities face. Professor Russell’s chapter focuses specifically on the impacts of the pressures of systemic environmental changes and persistent political instability, which create challenges in urban environments bordering the Mediterranean. He argues, “combined pressures could manifest themselves as unrest against city and state governance around the rim of the Mediterranean as these cities cope with the strains of population movements that will only gather momentum as the environmental pressures of higher temperatures, sea level rise and fresh water scarcity collide with inadequate urban infrastructures.” He also cautions that these impacts are likely to fall mainly on the city governments, with little support or relief from their states.
Click here to read the chapter.
SIGS Dean James Wirtz and NSA Professor Erik Dahl each contributed a chapter to a new book published by Brookings Institution Press titled The Future of ISIS: Regional and International Implications. The book is the first major study to consider the future prospects for the Islamic State, and to examine what the global community can do to counter it.
Dean Wirtz and Professor Dahl both address the challenges that the rise of ISIS has posed for the American Intelligence Community. Although some intelligence officials have warned of the threat ISIS poses, senior leaders have acknowledged that they underestimated the speed of ISIS’s rise. Dean Wirtz argues that ISIS represented a qualitatively different kind of threat than the United States has faced before, which has made it especially difficult for intelligence agencies to provide “actionable” intelligence. Professor Dahl suggests that the failure to properly understand ISIS illustrates the growing challenges faced by American intelligence as it grapples with threats from nonstate actors and from intangible events such as the rise of social movements and increasing regional instability.
For more information on the book, click here.
Professor Clay Moltz will assume the duties of as the new Chair of the Department of National Security Affairs effective 1 October 2018 and continue to 30 June 2021. He was strongly recommended by the search committee in his department after the current chair, Professor Mohammed Hafez, announced that he will be stepping down after five years of service to take sabbatical next year. In his announcement on the subject, NPS Provost Steve Lerman said, “I thank Mohammed for his great work, and I am confident that the department’s tradition of excellent leadership will continue under Clay.” Thank you Professor Hafez and congratulations to Professor Moltz!
Professor Mohammed Hafez, NSA Department Chair, has published two new articles illuminating the ideological vulnerabilities of Islamist extremism. In “Apologia for Suicide,” he explains how jihadists violate Islamic jurisprudence through their tendentious rationalization of suicide attacks. This article is part of a 2018 Oxford University Press book, Martyrdom, Self-Sacrifice, and Self-Immolation, comparing suicide across multiple religious traditions. In his recent article, “Fratricidal Jihadists,” Professor Hafez explains how extremists are prone to recurring strategic errors that alienate their supporters and drive a wedge with potential allies. It appears in this summer 2018 issue of Middle East Policy.
In addition to the recent publications, on 31 May, Professor Hafez appeared on stage with Rukmini Callimachi, New York Times investigative journalist, to discuss Inside ISIS and the making of the Caliphate. The event was hosted by the San Francisco Commonwealth Club.
Professor Hafez will be turning over responsibilities as NSA Chair in September 2018 and will begin a sabbatical at the Institute of International Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
To read “Apologia for Suicide,” click here.
To read “Fratricidal Jihadists,” click here.
To watch the panel discussion, click here. After an intro by the host, the panel discuss starts about 8 minutes in, and Professor Hafez appears after that.
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