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. And 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 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.
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!
In early 2018, Defense & Security Analysis published an article by NSA Professor Thomas-Durell Young titled “Programming Challenges and Impediments to reform: Identifying Pragmatic Solutions.” Using two of his recently published essays, Professor Young assesses the dismal record of performance of Planning, Programming, and Budgeting System in enabling communist legacy defense institutions in both Central and Eastern Europe to develop viable defense plans, and he argues the need for deep reforms in the region’s defense institutions. To guide this reform effort, he suggests pragmatic solutions to improve these organizations’ ability to produce viable defense plans.
Also in early 2018, the journal Comparative Strategy published an article by Professor Young, titled “Can NATO's ‘New’ Allies and Key Partners Exercise National-level Command in Crisis and War?” In the article, Professor Young posits that most post-communist members of NATO and key partners continue using communist concepts of command, such as hyper-centralizing decision making, collective decision making, and unclear chains of command and alignment of authority with responsibility, at the national level of governance. He also argues that these weaknesses could have the unexpected consequence of compromising “new” allies’ national sovereignty in crisis and war.
To read the article in Defense & Security Analysis, click here.
To read the article in Comparative Strategy, click here.
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, click here.
To view the complete conference, click here.
Recently, NSA Professor Rachel Sigman has had two new articles published. The Political Science Research and Methods has published “Democracy for All: Conceptualizing and Measuring Egalitarian Democracy” (co-authored with Staffan Lindberg of the University of Gothenburg) and The Washington Post blog Monkey Cage has published “Will ‘Ghana First’ Protests Threaten a U.S. Military Agreement?” According to the abstract of the “Democracy for All,” the authors explore the concept of egalitarian democracy as a regime providing de facto protection of rights and freedoms equally across the population, distributing resources in a way that enables meaningful political participation for all citizens and fosters an environment in which all individuals and social groups can influence political and governing processes.
In the “Ghana First” article, Professor Sigman discusses the Ghanaian protests over the United States and Ghana updating their 1998 Status of Forces Agreement, which protestors fear could compromise Ghana’s sovereignty. To understand the protests, she examines Ghana’s internal politics and the question as to whether the protests could spread to other countries.
To read “Democracy for All,” click here.
To read the Money Cage article, click here.
US News recently ranked the Naval Postgraduate School at number one in the area of homeland/national security and emergency management, even topping schools such as Harvard. This is because of the programs of Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS), housed under the School of International Graduate Studies, Department of National Security Affairs. Established post 9/11 with funding from U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a means to educate senior level homeland security officials across the different levels of government, the crown jewel of CHDS programs remains its 18-month hybrid master’s degree program. In response to the news, SECNAV tweeted, “I am proud to announce that @NPS_Monterey has been ranked as the #1 graduate school for Homeland/National Security & Emergency Management by #usnews, above Harvard & Columbia, & continues to be a center of excellence for the DoD and USCG."-#SECNAV76.”
NSA Professor Anne Marie Baylouny and former NSA student LT Steve Klingseis have written a joint article titled, “Water Thieves or Political Catalysts? Syrian Refugees in Jordan and Lebanon,” which has just been published in the spring 2018 edition of the Middle East Policy. In the article, they discuss the water crisis in Lebanon and Jordan, which has been exacerbated by the influx of a huge number of Syrian refugees. The authors caution about the consequences of inaction regarding the water crisis, noting “water is not a luxury, and its lack holds long-term implications for health, sanitation, development and social movements.”
LT Klingseis has graduated from Naval Postgraduate School and will soon be attending Department Head School at the Surface Warfare Officers School in Newport, RI. Previously, he taught navigation, seamanship, and ship handling.
Click here to read the article.
The journal Ethics and International Affairs has just published a new article by NSA Professor Anne Clunan, titled “Russia and the Liberal World Order.” In the article, Professor Clunan discusses three forms of liberalism and Russian views on the “liberal world order.” She concludes that while Russian leaders are obviously not satisfied with the United States and the European Union, they are not inherently opposed to a liberal world order.
Click here to read the article.
The journal International Security has published a new article by NSA Professor Christopher Darnton, titled “Archives and Inference: Documentary Evidence in Case Study Research and the Debate over U.S. Entry into World War II.” In the article, Professor Darnton critiques the use and misuse of primary sources in international relations research, including arguments over whether public opinion constrains presidents with respect to the use of force. In the article, he offers several recommendations for how to execute more rigorous and persuasive case studies. He argues that instead of cherry-picking evidence to support an argument, scholars and students need to think strategically about the selection and deployment of primary sources.
For more information, click here.
The journal Small Wars & Insurgencies recently published an article by NSA Professor Tom Johnson titled “The illusion of Afghanistan's Electoral Representative Democracy: The Cases of Afghan Presidential and National Legislative Elections.” In the article, Professor Johnson examines structural problems including fraud, ethno-linguistic block voting, and the single non-transferable vote, which have all impacted the development of Afghan democratic elections. He argues that the challenge of the current Afghan government and future elections is to the Afghan people while not repeating the electoral mistakes of the past—a daunting task, especially given “the context of massive government corruption and a continuing, significant Taliban insurgency wrapped in the narrative of jihad.”
To read the article, click here.
NSA student graduate, MAJ William D. Swenson (US Army), is a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, which is the highest and most prestigious military decoration awarded for exceptional valor. MAJ Swenson made it a point that he did not want this news out while he was attending NPS, so the department waited until his graduation ceremony to recognize him for earning such a distinction as a captain. Click here for more information.
Colonel Michael Fenzel (US Army), who defended his Ph.D. dissertation in the NSA Department in 2013 ("No Retreat: the Failure of Soviet Decision-making in the Afghan War, 1979-1989"), has been promoted to brigadier general (BG). His next assignment will be in Afghanistan. Based on the dissertation, his book, No Miracles: The Failure of Soviet Decision-Making in the Afghan War is being published by Stanford University Press (November 2017).
In his book, BG Fenzel explores why and how that although the Soviet Union's senior leaders had become aware that their strategy in Afghanistan was unraveling, their operational and tactical methods were not working, and the sacrifices they were demanding from the Soviet people and military were unlikely to produce the forecasted results, operations in Afghanistan persisted for four more years. For more information about his book, click here.
In a chapter titled “Building a Dam for China in the Three Gorges Region, 1919–1971” in the forthcoming book Water, Technology and the Nation-State (Routledge, June 2018), NSA Professor Covell Meyskens highlights three notable features of Chinese efforts to build the Three Gorges Dam between the 1910s and 1970s. First, Chinese leaders exhibited the late developer’s penchant for state-led industrialization. Second, Chinese elites conceived of the Three Gorges Dam as the centerpiece of a program to technologically re-engineer the Yangzi River to boost national power and overcome China’s position of international weakness. Lastly, due to insufficient domestic capital, elites formed partnerships with more technologically advanced countries. These three trends resulted in two technological styles. The dominant technological style was technocratic. Only during the Great Leap Forward did a Maoist technological style gain prominence, putting more stock in mass mobilization and national voluntarism than technical expertise and industrial equipment.
To read more, click here.
Given the ongoing interest in organized crime within the Republic of Turkey, NSA Professor Ryan Gingeras offers analysis of major controversies affecting the Turkish state today. Grounded in deeper historical research, he contributes to the broader conversation about the mechanics of Turkish politics and society today, and the current trajectory of the country's main civil and political institutions. His contributions are featured in three new publications: “An Empire Redeemed: Tracing the Ottoman State’s Path towards Collapse” in The Oxford Handbook of the Ends of Empire; a co-authored report titled Power and Corruption in Erdogan’s Turkey: Context and Consequences for the Bipartisan Policy Center; and an “Is Turkey Turning into A Mafia State? The Case of Reza Zarrab and the Rise of Organized Crime” in Foreign Affairs.
Click here for more about “An Empire Redeemed.”
Click here for more about Power and Corruption in Erdogan’s Turkey.
Click here for more about “Is Turkey Turning into A Mafia State?”
The NSA department if proud to report that Professor Afshon Ostovar, a new hire and resident expert on Iran, has been recognized with a distinguished book award. His book, Vanguard of the Imam: Politics, Religion, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, has received the Bronze Medal in the Washington Institute’s 2017 Book Prize competition. The judges hailed the book as “the first comprehensive history of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in English.” They went on to say, Professor Ostovar “masterfully marshals information from a wide variety of sources, including Iranian publications. He traces how the IRGC evolved from a rag-tag militia established in the midst of revolutionary upheaval into a formidable military.” Congratulations to Professor Ostovar on this professional feat and for elevating NPS’s academic standing with his meritorious scholarship.
For more on the competition and prize, click here.
For more about Professor Ostovar's book, click here.
Professor Mohammed Hafez, Chair of the Department of National Security Affairs, published his research on rebel-on-rebel fratricide and its consequences for jihadi movements seeking to win their civil wars. He finds that jihadis that deploy fratricidal violence against civilians and rival rebel groups often end up failing to achieve their objectives because they alienate their supporters, drive away external sponsors, and fragment the ranks of their movement. Professor Hafez uses the cases of Algeria, Iraq, and Syria to illustrate how puritanical ideologies facilitate fratricide and preclude learning from past mistakes, resulting in defeat after defeat. He also discusses the implications for fighting future iterations of the Islamic State.
To read Professor Hafez's article in the CTC Sentinel, click here.
To read Professor Hafez's article in Terrorism and Poltical Violence, click here.
NSA Professor Jessica Piombo has been awarded one of the Minerva Initiative University Grants. It is part of the full grant program that OSD Minerva runs, rather than the defense institution program, which means that this is an award for three years for a project that she will conduct with Professor Pierre Englebert from Pomona College. The two will split the $780k grant between their two institutions. The basic topic asks why states respond to international intervention in different ways. More specifically, why do some states cooperate with international statebuilding interventions as passive recipients of external action, while others are much more controlling of the processes of international intervention, and yet others seem to go along with the goals and programs of international actors, yet undermine the implementation of programs.
The project will look at interventions in fragile and post-conflict states are often designed and implemented by outside actors as technocratic responses to situations of political disorder, state weakness, and civil unrest. The interventions, often built on international best practices, rarely unfold in the ways initially conceived by their designers, however, because in reality, these are highly political processes. The awardees propose to investigate how the ways that local actors and institutional environments engage with these projects during implementation significantly changes their nature, by proposing two related questions. First, how do local political dynamics explain variations in the degree and type of engagement of African regimes with outside actors, particularly in conflict-affected countries where international and local agents share sovereignty? Second, how do these variations condition the course of the intervention and the actions of the interveners?
For a fuller description of the project, click here.
The NSA Department extends a warm welcome to its newest faculty member and alumnus, Colonel Uwe Hartmann, PhD from Germany. Prior to coming to back to the Naval Postgraduate School, COL Hartmann as the branch head of Principles Military Doctrine and Command and Control of Land Forces at Army Command in Strausberg, Germany and more recently a course member at the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy. In 2001, he received his Master’s Degree in National Security Affairs (an NSA program) from NPS. COL Hartmann’s teaching interests include NATO, the European Union, strategic thinking and leadership. He has published extensively over the years and has served as the co-editor of Yearbook on the Leadership Philosophy of the German Armed Forces (Jahrbuch Innere Fuehrung).
For more on COL Hartmann, click here.
NSA Professor Scott Jasper recently had an article published in The Diplomat and another in The National Interest, both on cyber defense. In the article in The Diplomat, titled “Russia Sanctions Are Insufficient: Use Active Cyber Defense,” he advocates the use of active cyber defense as an answer to cyber threats, such as those emanating from Russia or North Korea. A strategy of active cyber defense combines internal systemic resilience to halt cyber attack progress with external disruption capacities to thwart a malicious actors’ objectives. Jasper argues active cyber defense will be more effective than economic sanctions or diplomatic expulsions.
Recently, Professor Jasper spoke at CyCon US in Washington, DC as part of a panel on cyber deterrence; he spoke on about the insufficiency of current strategies. He offered in response the use of automated cyber defenses that halt attacks before damage is inflicted. Based on defeating global ransomware attacks, his arguments are presented in an online article in The National Interest titled “Russia and Ransomware: Stop the Act, Not the Actor.”
To read the article in The Diplomat, click here.
To read the article in The National Interest, click here.
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