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Great Power Competition: The Changing Landscape of Global Geopolitics (edited by Dr. Mahir J. Ibrahimov)
Great Power Competition continues the discussion begun with the 2017 Cultural Perspectives, Geopolitics, & Energy Security of Eurasia: Is the Next Global Conflict Imminent?  This second volume undertakes a deep analysis beyond the obvious military strategic nexus to identify new spaces for planners and policymakers alike to consider. Similar to Cultural Perspectives, distinguished nationally and internationally known scholars in their respective areas discuss how emerging global and regional powers are trying to expand their influences in Eurasia, the Americas, and Africa, among other regions. The scholars, who bring a combination of academic and first-hand practical expertise, examine how the actions of adversaries such as Russia, China, and Iran in a greater Eurasia landscape and beyond have challenged the US National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy. These actions include continuous efforts to challenge US interests in the Middle East, Southwest Asia, the Western Hemisphere and Africa, especially in the changing homeland security landscape in light of COVID-19 and recent societal unrest.    Click Here for Publication Site
Russian Military Art and Advanced Weaponry (Timothy Thomas)

Russian General Staff Chief Valery Gerasimov has continually requested that the Academy of Military Science provide him with ideas about new forms and methods of warfare. One source defined “methods” as the use of weaponry and military art. Weaponry is now advanced and is characterized by new speeds, ranges, and agilities, which introduce new ways for Russian commanders to apply force. Military art takes into consideration advanced weaponry’s contributions to conflict along with a combination of both old and new combat experiences, the creativity and innovative capabilities of commanders, and new ways for considering or adding to the principles of military art (mass, surprise, etc.).

In its simplest form, Russian military art is the development of recommendations for the application of military and nonmilitary actions. Military art changes in accordance with contemporary developments. Proof of this statement lies in the various and unexpected ways that Russian forces can now disorganize an opponent’s command and control systems, are developing strategic aerospace axes for deep operations, are considering new forms of maneuver and geophysical weaponry, and are developing new applications of electronic warfare and military stratagems. In addition, Russian military art avoids stereotyping, which along with several other items have serious implications for commanders of multi-domain operations (MDO) to take into consideration.

This study expands discussion of all these issues. 


The Chinese Way of War: How Has it Changed? (Timothy L. Thomas)
The Chinese way of war has changed dramatically from what it was 20 years ago, but that does not mean everything is new. Some components of People's Liberation Army (PLA) historic thought (deception, stratagems, etc.) remain as important elements and are being integrated into technologies. However, China's intelligentization of operations and focus on joint and all-domain capabilities (to include some domains not currently under consideration in the US) create new challenges. Artificial intelligence (AI) is now being used to help design warfare and provide control over conflicts, ensuring that the PLA has a future deterrent force to confront other nations. It appears that China will remain a formidable opponent for many years to come.
Russian Private Military Companies: Their Use and How to Consider Them in Operations, Competition, and Conflict (Asymmetric Warfare Group)
Russia uses PMCs as a force multiplier to achieve objectives for both government and Russia-aligned private interests, while minimizing both political and military costs. Though Moscow contin­ues to see the use of Russian PMCs as beneficial, their employment also presents several vulnerabilities that include both operational and strategic risks to Russian Federation objectives. After observing the growth of PMC activity, AWG requested the Johns Hop­kins University Applied Physics Laboratory to conduct an in-depth study into available open sources of information on PMCs, and analyze differences between them and conventional armed forces. This analysis presents key findings from deep-dive research on this topic, including PMC uses, equipment, training, personnel, state involvement, and legal issues. These findings inform an analytical model to explore the operational challenges and considerations Russian PMCs could present to U.S. Army maneuver commanders.
Russian Combat Capabilities for 2020: Three Developments to Track (Timothy L. Thomas)

Russia’s military prowess has increased significantly ever since the appointments of Sergey Shoygu as Minister of Defense in 2012 and Valery Gerasimov’s assignment as Chief of the General Staff in 2013. They have diligently worked to fulfill President Vladimir Putin’s May 2012 edict that called for modernizing the Armed Forces by 2020 with a focus on electronic warfare and air-space defense capabilities, among others. The modernization effort offers three areas for Western analysts to track closely in the coming year: how it is being implemented – and lessons learned -- during the fighting in Syria, Russian developments in space, and Russian plans to disorganize a foe’s command and control system with electronic warfare. These areas appear to support the development of a new theory of warfare in Russia that, according to Shoygu and Gerasimov, relies on a combination of classical and asymmetric concepts.

Russian Military Thought: Concepts and Elements (Timothy L. Thomas)

 Technology has dramatically increased the speed at which decisions must be made, expanded the spectrum of military thought (from the strategic to the planetary), and focused more attention on innovative thinking and risk-taking.  This report, Russian Military Thought: Concepts and Elements, considers technology’s impact on military thought while also considering the latter’s historical legacy passed from the Soviet to the Russian period. Two issues are thus at play in the report, traditional ones and those associated with information-age advances. Initially, the report examines several concepts from the Soviet era still in vogue today, such as the forms and methods of warfare, forecasting, and the initial period of war, among others. The past remains important for the present and continues to affect the way Russia analyzes its situational context. Next, how these basic concepts are applied to information-age advances are examined. For example, there are Russian-authored articles on the forms and methods (traditional thought) of network-centric conditions, aerospace defense, and cyber issues (information-age thought), among others.  Forecasting must assess the impact on the nature of war from weapons based on new physical principles. The speed of cyber operations indicates that forces must be prepared now for the initial period of war (IPW). Planning tomorrow for a surprise attack is more than a day late, as the cyber IPW may result in the conflict’s end before it starts.  The report is of interest for its focus on purely Russian military thought. It attempts to avoid mirror-imaging Western concepts (hybrid, grey zone, etc.) onto Russian military thinking. It represents the first focused study on the topic of military thought since the edited 1981 book Soviet Military Thinking. The report in no way replaces that volume but rather supplements it.

The Russian Way of War: Force Structure, Tactics and Modernization of the Russian Ground Forces (Dr. Lester W. Grau and Charles K. Bartles)

 Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, activity in Eastern Ukraine, saber rattling regarding the Baltics, deployment to Syria, and more assertive behavior along its borders have piqued interest in the Russian Armed Forces. This increased interest has caused much speculation about their structure, capabilities, and future development. Interestingly, this speculation has created many different, and often contradictory, narratives about these issues. At any given time, assessments of the Russian Armed Forces vary between the idea of an incompetent and corrupt conscript army manning decrepit Soviet equipment and relying solely on brute force, to the idea of an elite military filled with Special Operations Forces who were the “polite people” or “little green men” seen on the streets in Crimea. This book will attempt to split the difference between these radically different ideas by shedding some light on what exactly the Russian Ground Forces consist of, how they are structured, how they fight, and how they are modernizing.

For DoD CAC card holders, this book is available in a briefing format (PowerPoint) on Intelink:

Kremlin Kontrol: Russia's Political-Military Reality (Timothy L. Thomas)

 Authoritarian regimes are, by their very nature, insecure. They tend to view Western democracies as an existential threat to their way of rule and they fear the development of any type of opposition or protests in the streets. In Russia’s case, the latter fear of protests leading to a “color revolution” often appears as important as the ISIS threat to its southern border. Lacking political legitimacy, they rely on two factors to sustain their leadership, patriotism and control. This study discusses the latter issue from both a civilian and military point of view. Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB operative, is all about control. In his excellent book The Invention of Russia, Arkady Ostrovsky recounted one conversation about Putin: “Anything you control is safe. Anything you don’t control by definition represents a threat—that is their mental framework, and a KGB officer is always a KGB officer.”

This work is divided into two parts. Part One looks at the system of control that Putin has either continued or developed anew in his twelve years as president. Part Two is focused on several military aspects of control. These include not only command and control issues but also the methodical manner in which Russian military analysts establish control parameters over their environment.

Winning Irregular War - 2017 Edit (Geoff Demarest)

Control over the granting of impunity is this book’s definition of winning. The geography of impunity is sanctuary. To control impunity and sanctuary, the book highlights attention to anonymity; inventorying as an indispensable knowledge activity; withdrawal and pursuit as key operational and strategic concepts; deception as a compulsory element of strategic thinking; geography as the academic discipline of choice; property analysis as tool for exposing the distribution of power; distance as a key variable in the measurement of relative power; civil engineering and construction as noble activities; personal dignity and honor as key quantities of a durable victory; adaptation of classic strategy as operational artistry; and formal property regimes as a basis of peaceful social compacts.

Cultural Perspectives, Geopolitics & Energy Security of Eurasia: Is the Next Global Conflict Imminent? (Mahir J. Ibrahimov, Gustav A. Otto, and Lee G. Gentile, Jr.)

Marking the anniversary of the Ukraine Revolution of 2014, the Army University Press is pleased to announce the publishing of "Cultural Perspectives, Geopolitics & Energy Security of Eurasia: Is the Next Global Conflict Imminent?" This anthology was written under the auspice of CREL Management Office (CRELMO), and provides insight and observations on the importance of the Eurasia region, including Russia and other countries of the former USSR. The articles that make up this work provide a detailed description of regional realities, including a contextual discussion of the current Ukraine situation, viewed through the prism of Russia’s traditional military-strategic culture. As with all countries in the Eurasian region, Russia’s traditional strategic interests play a critical role in the geopolitical and socio-cultural situation in that region. The observations and insights in this volume are important for Army professionals who lead Soldiers in a variety of missions across the globe. The anthology goes beyond the obvious military strategic nexus and seeks to identify new spaces for consideration by planners and policymakers alike. (From introduction by MG John S. Kem, Provost, Army University.)   Click Here for Publication Site

Russia Military Strategy: Impacting 21st Century Reform and Geopolitics (Timothy L. Thomas)

 This book is divided into three parts. Part one addresses President Vladimir Putin’s personality, Russian methods of developing strategy, and the Russian thought process for evaluating military affairs (forecasting, correlation of forces, forms, and methods of thought). Part two addresses the nature of future war, focusing on future war’s new weapons and organizations (to include aerospace, robotics, electronic warfare equipment, and unmanned aerial vehicles, among other pieces of equipment) and the DARPA-like organizations that have been created to increase Russia’s focus on science and technology developments. Part three address geopolitics, in particular the Russian militarization of the Arctic and the rationale behind their operations in Ukraine. All three parts help analysts in their attempts to uncover the vector (s) in which Russian military capabilities and actions are heading. The nation’s theorists have absorbed lessons learned from the contemporary conflicts of others and placed increased focus on the development of new technologies to protect their national interests and attain specific strategic goals.

Fangs of the Lone Wolf: Chechen Tactics in the Russian-Chechen Wars, 1994-2009 (Dodge Billingsley with Dr. Lester Grau)

Books on guerrilla war are seldom written from the tactical perspective and from the guerrilla’s perspective. Fangs of the Lone Wolf: is an exception. These are the stories of low-level guerrilla combat as told by the survivors. They cover fighting from the cities of Grozny and Argun to the villages of Bamut and Serzhen-yurt, and finally the hills, river valleys and mountains that make up so much of Chechnya. Dodge Billingsley, the primary author was embedded with Chechen guerrilla forces after the first war, so he knows the country, the culture, the key actors and the conflict. Yet, as a Western outsider, he is able to maintain perspective and objectivity. He traveled extensively to interview Chechen former combatants who are now in hiding or on the run from Russian retribution and justice. Commissioned by the USMC, the military professional will appreciate the book’s crisp narration, organization by type of combat, accurate color maps and insightful analysis and commentary. The book is organized into vignettes that provide insight on the nature of both Chechen and Russian tactics utilized during the two wars. The vignettes show the chronic problem of guerrilla logistics, the necessity of fighting positions, the value of the correct use of terrain and the price paid in individual discipline and unit cohesion when guerrillas are not bound by a military code and law. Guerrilla warfare is probably as old as man, but has been overshadowed by maneuver war by modern armies and recent developments in the technology of war. Fangs of the Lone Wolf provides a unique insight into what is becoming modern and future war.

China Military Strategy: Basic Concepts and Examples of its Use (Timothy L. Thomas)
Chinese retired Lieutenant General Li Jijun noted in 2006 that, from the vantage point of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), “Therefore, in war direction, understanding the adversary’s ideological culture and strategic thinking method is as important as finding out the adversary’s military deployment.” This book seeks to address the concept of China’s military strategy in order to help US analysts better understand PLA motives and intent. While the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is not an enemy, it has developed into a powerful competitor worthy of closer examination. If we (the US) are to follow the advice of PLA analysts, and do what they are doing, then we should be using peacetime to contemplate how their strategic thought is developed and implemented. Keeping a finger on the pulse of the PLA’s thought process as it proceeds with confidence (and some degree of arrogance) into the second decade of the 21st century will allow the US to assess the probable direction (or uncover purposeful misdirection) inherent in PLA strategy. Accordingly, any required adjustments to US military strategy can be formulated.  The analysis merely suggests a way of considering or thinking about PLA strategy and not necessarily the way. The discussion and conclusions are almost solely based on the use of translated Chinese documents and, as such, attempt to offer a purely Chinese perspective on the content, goals, and implementation of strategy.                                                          


Three Faces of the Cyber Dragon: Cyber Peace Activist, Spook, Attacker (Timothy L. Thomas)

 China’s cyber policy has become partly visible to foreign nations through observation, tracking, and inference. The policy appears to have three vectors. The first vector is in the public opinion or “soft power” arena, where China professes to be led by a policy of active defense and cooperation with other nations over cyber issues. The second and most prominent vector is China’s exhibited capability to conduct strong and stealthy intelligence and reconnaissance activities against nation’s worldwide, using the guise of anonymity to hide these efforts. The third vector is the offensive character of China’s cyber strategy. It contains the theoretical backing for preemptive cyber operations against other nations in times of crisis. These three aspects—peace activist, espionage activist, and attack planner—dominate China’s cyber policy. Some are always hidden from view while others are demonstrated daily. Three Faces of the Cyber Dragon is divided into sections that coincide with these vectors.

Mountain Warfare and Other Lofty Problems: Foreign Perspectives on High-Altitude Combat (Les Grau and Charles Bartles)

 There is long history of writings on mountain combat that include such luminaries as Clausewitz and Engels. Yet the allied force in Afghanistan frequently displayed a reluctance to go and remain in the mountains. Les Grau has been writing on mountain combat before the US invasion of Afghanistan. During a trip to Afghanistan, Les and Chuck Bartles decided to do a book on foreign perspectives of mountain combat. Their goal was to share this information with units deploying to Afghanistan and mountain training centers. This book is a collection of foreign articles and foreign source-based articles on mountain operations, tactics, movement, maneuver, training, artillery and aviation support, reconnaissance, communications and logistics. This book is not US Army doctrine, rather it offers alternative views to help forces adapt to a challenging environment and carry out their mission.

Recasting the Red Star: Russia Forges Tradition and Technology Through Toughness (Timothy L. Thomas)

 Recasting the Red Star describes Russia’s modernization effort in a comprehensive fashion. The Defense Ministry’s military reform effort and the operational environment implied in Russia’s national security strategy (2009) and military doctrine (2010) are described. The Soviet culture of military thought is examined to include a short history of Tsarist and Soviet military traditions. These chapters serve as a reference point for the traditions behind Russia’s modernization effort. Next the author examines technological developments, such as Russia’s concept of high-technology deception, information war, reconnaissance- and information-strike systems (a C4ISR equivalent), and resulting future war construct. Finally, the book closely examines the Russian-Georgian conflict of August 2008. These chapters question why Russia and Georgia went to war, how information warfare figured into the conflict, and, most important of all, “who set the bear trap.”

Passing It On: Fighting the Pushtun on Afghanistan's Frontiers (General Sir Andrew Skeen. Les Grau and Robert Baer)

 This is a reproduction of a 1932 book published by General Skeen, who began fighting the Pushtun in 1897. His military career took him to fighting Boxers in China, the “Mad Mullah” in Somaliland and Germans on the Western Front of World War I. He always returned to British India where fighting the fractious Pushtun continued to be a problem. He was a brigade commander during the Third-Anglo-Afghan War, commanded the Kohat-Kurran field force and fought in the Waziristan campaign. He commanded the Northwest Frontier District and in 1924-1928, served as the Chief of Staff of the Indian Army. He knew the Pushtun and frontier fighting better than almost any other British officer. He wrote this book as a guide for company-grade officers fighting the Pushtun. Les Grau had read General Skeen’s book during the Soviet-Afghan War and, after the United States invaded Afghanistan, decided that this would be a welcome addition to the field libraries of allied commanders who were fighting the Taliban-who are ethnic Pashtun. Les and Bob Baer added copious footnotes to General Skeen’s work to explain the “Britishisms” and terms and concepts. They also wrote an introduction to explain the history, context, geography and application of Skeen’s classic work.

The Dragon's Quantum Leap: Transforming from a Mechanized to an Informatized Force (Timothy L. Thomas)

 Chinese observations of warfare in the information age have resulted in a widespread transformation and metamorphosis of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from a mechanized to an informatized force. This transformation has affected nearly every aspect of China’s military from strategy to logistics to educational development.The Dragon’s Quantum Leap intends to peel back the transformation process and uncover the impact of new modes of thought on several key segments of military development (culture, stratagems, crisis management, deception, and reconnaissance among other elements) that digital-age thought is affecting. It expands the scope but not the basic theoretical theme of the author’s two previous works on Chinese information warfare concepts. They were Dragon Bytes, which covered Chinese IW activities from 1999-2003; and Decoding the Virtual Dragon, which covered Chinese IW activities from 2003-2006. The Dragon’s Quantum Leap updates these concepts and activities to mid-2009 and completes the author’s trilogy on the topic. As with the author’s previous works, this book primarily uses original Chinese source material.

Property & Peace: Insurgency, Strategy, and the Statute of Frauds (Geoff Demarest)

This book argues that the quality of foreign real property systems be made a priority issue in US diplomatic, military and intelligence thinking and strategy. The text does not argue that creating better land records will assure peaceful coexistence. Formal real property record systems correlate with peaceful societies, but the principle assertion here is in the negative. Even with formal records, functioning property courts, and a free and fluid market in land a place may still suffer violent dissention. However, a polity that does not formalize ownership rights and duties, especially rights and duties related to land, will not enjoy peace. Comprehensive, precise, transparent expression of real property is a necessary precondition of peace; places outside the lines of formal property necessarily slump toward possession by force. From this assertion others follow that bear on the way global security is pursued.

Decoding the Virtual Dragon: Critical Evolutions in the Science and Philosophy of China's Information Operations and Military Strategy (Timothy L. Thomas)

 This book expands upon Dragon Bytes, the author’s earlier work on Chinese information warfare (IW) activities from 1999-2003. Decoding the Virtual Dragon explains how Chinese IW concepts since 2003 fit into the strategic outlook, practices, and activities of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The book offers IW explanations directly from the pens of Chinese experts. There are few intermediate filters. In some cases direct translations of key Chinese terms are offered. The Chinese authors discuss the application or relation of IW to strategic thought, the transformation plans of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the revolution in military affairs (RMA), and the revolution in knowledge warfare and cognition. The book thus serves as a source for the fundamentals of Chinese military thought and demonstrates how IW/IO has been integrated into the art of war and strategy.

Future War (Makhmut Gareev and Vladimir Slipchenko)

In 2005, the Foreign Military Studies Office hosted a unique conference featuring two of Russia’s premier military thinkers, who provided their thoughts on the nature of future war. This publication is the bilateral, agreed-upon transcript of the lectures which answer the same question.  Major General Vladimir Slipchenko addresses the question “For what Kind of War Must Russia Be Prepared?” His observations capture technical and military-strategic context.  Army General Makhmut Gareev gives a historical and ideological perspective of “Russia in the Wars of the 20th Century.”  The introduction of these conference notes was authored by the Foreign Military Studies Office’s Director and moderator of the conference at that time, Dr. Jacob W. Kipp.  Slipchenko and Gareev’s comments here represent early insights and perspectives provided directly to their US military counterparts and remain foundational voices in Russian military science.

The New Great Game: Chinese Views on Central Asia (Charles Hawkins and Robert Love)

 In August 2005, ten top Chinese scholars traveled to the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) to share their ideas with American participants during a symposium that was hosted by the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office. These scholars brought with them their in-depth research and analysis on a host of topics that impact Central Asia, including energy security, border disputes, and the “three evils” (terrorism, separatism, and extremism), which have been a key objective in combatting by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). They also addressed the role other countries, such as China, Russia, India, and Pakistan, have played in the region. The book is a compilation of the papers that made up the presentation from the visiting scholars. It includes a chapter written by Brigadier General (retired) Feroz Khan from the Pakistan Army, a keynote speaker during the symposium. It is broken down into three parts. The first part offers a framework of understanding of China’s Central Asia policy and relations. Part two covers specific issues and concerns. Part three covers the way ahead. The authors’ unique foreign perspectives on the issues that have drawn concern over Central Asia, give readers a more insightful and diverse view on the region.

Cyber Silhouettes: Shadows Over Information Operations (Timothy L. Thomas)

 This book explores the impact of the Cyber Age on military thinking and operations worldwide. Four issues are examined: the contrast between the concept of “cyber operations” used by civilians, including criminals and terrorists, and the concept of “information operations” used by armed forces; the differences in information operations (IO) theory among the US, Russian, and Chinese militaries; the manner in which militaries use information operations in peace and in war; and the impact of cyber and information processes on the mind, the military machine, and their interface.

Dragon Bytes: Chinese Information War Theory and Practice (Timothy L. Thomas)

 This work examines China’s information-war (IW) theory and practice from 1995-2003. The effort rests upon the author’s sustained and diligent research in Chinese open sources. Some specialists among the international audience may be surprised by the themes addressed in these sources and the presentation of key issues. The Chinese openly discuss not only computer network attacks and electronic preemption but also the development of IW units and an “integrated network-electronic warfare” theory (which closely approximates the US theory of “network-centric warfare”).

The Other Side of the Mountain: Mujahideen Tactics in the Soviet-Afghan War (Ali A. Jalali and Lester Grau)

 In 1996, The USMC commissioned Ali Jalali and Les Grau to travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan to interview Mujahideen commanders about their combat experience in fighting in the Soviet-Afghan War. Ali was a former Afghan Colonel who attended the Soviet Frunze Academy, fought as a Mujahideen against the Soviets and was a radio journalist for the Pushtu and Dari Voice of America broadcasts. Ali is famous throughout the Afghan community and had amazing entre with all factions. Ali and Les conducted in-depth interviews of Mujahideen commanders in order to gain their tactical insights. This is not a history of the Soviet-Afghan War, although enough history is included to place the events by time and external factors. It is a series of combat vignettes related by Mujahideen participants that shows the good and the bad, the mistakes and successes of guerrillas fighting conventional forces. It is not about right and wrong, rather it is about surviving against the overwhelming firepower and technology of a superpower. It is the story of combat from the guerrilla’s perspective-the story of brave people who fought without hope of winning because it was the right thing to do. The book has been translated into Dari and distributed within the Afghan Armed Forces.

The Bear Went Over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics in Afghanistan (Les Grau)

 This book was written by Soviet officers who had served in Afghanistan and returned for the extensive Command and Staff course at the Frunze Combined Arms Academy in Moscow. While they were at the Academy, the History of the Military Art Department had the Afghanistan veterans write vignettes of their experience. They analyzed these, edited the best and added commentary as lessons learned for future war in mountain-desert terrain. The department published them as an in-house a book in 1991. The book was intended for internal use only, and, as such, shows both the good and the bad. Mistakes and successes both illustrate the hard lessons learned in fighting guerrillas on rough terrain. It is not a history of the Soviet-Afghan War, rather it is a series of snapshots of combat as witnessed by young platoon leaders, company commanders, battalion commanders, staff officers and advisers to the Afghan government force. It is not a book about right and wrong, rather it is a book about survival and adaptation as young men come to terms with a harsh, boring and brutal existence punctuated by times of heady excitement and terror. This book was part of a US/Russian military exchange following the collapse of the Soviet Union.