The CSS Blog Network

Empowering European Defense: A 21st Century US Army Strategy

Image courtesy of DVIDS/Bill Boecker

This article was originally published by the Small Wars Journal on 19 December 2018.

Since the close of the Second World War the United States has retained a significant ground force presence in Europe to defend against Russian aggression. While laudable during the halcyon days of the Soviet Empire, it is past time for this anachronistic policy to end. Europe now has the unrealized economic and political capacity to overmatch a weakened Moscow that can only provoke with economic and informational warfare while accosting weak states along its borders.[1] In the 21st century, the United States Army should accordingly adopt a more dynamic strategy for how it contributes to European security and would join a potential, though improbable, NATO war to defeat Russia.

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Artificial Intelligence and the Military: Technology Is Only Half the Battle

Image courtesy of Mike Mackenzie/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 25 December 2018.

What will advances in artificial intelligence (AI) mean for national security? This year in War on the Rocks, technical and non-technical experts with academic, military, and industry perspectives grappled with the promise and peril of AI in the military and defense realms. War on the Rocks articles discussed issues ranging from the different ways international competitors and military services are pursuing AI to the challenges AI applications present to current systems of decision-making, trust, and military ethics. War on the Rocks contributors added to our understanding of the trajectory of military AI and drew attention to critical remaining questions. A key takeaway is that technical developments in AI probably represent less than half the battle in attempting to effectively integrate AI capabilities into militaries. The real challenge now, both in the United States and abroad, is going beyond the hype and getting the right people, organizations, processes, and safeguards in place.

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Global Military Spending Remains High at $1.7 Trillion

Image courtesy of the Ignacio D. Perez/US Navy/Flickr. US government work.

This article was originally published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on 2 May 2018.

Total world military expenditure rose to $1739 billion in 2017, a marginal increase of 1.1 per cent in real terms from 2016, according to new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). China’s military expenditure rose again in 2017, continuing an upward trend in spending that has lasted for more than two decades. Russia’s military spending fell for the first time since 1998, while spending by the United States remained constant for the second successive year. The comprehensive annual update of the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database is accessible from today at www.sipri.org.

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A New Beginning for European Defence

Image courtesy of European Parliament/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

It is time to move past institutional integration and develop practical European security capabilities.

Europe is facing multiple security challenges. Russia aims to undermine the European security order and has shown its willingness to violate other countries’ sovereignty and increase its nuclear power. The Middle East and North Africa are on fire, homegrown terrorism threatens the streets of Europe, and cyber and information warfare are on the rise.

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Myanmar’s Military Holds Key to Further Reform

Image courtesy of brentolson/Flickr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

This article was originally published by Pacific Forum CSIS on 23 August 2017.

What does Myanmar need to push through a successful democratic transition? It must build strong institutions, transform the economy, and end decades of conflict between ethnic armed groups and government forces, among numerous other challenges. Yet, these enormous tasks seem trivial when compared to what is probably the biggest obstacle to further democratic reform: the role of Myanmar’s armed forces, or Tatmadaw.

No other institution is more powerful than the Tatmadaw in Myanmar. Over five decades of military rule, the armed forces became entrenched in politics and business. Not only does it occupy 25 percent of total seats in Parliament, granting it an effective veto over constitutional change, but it also controls three key ministries: Defense, Home Affairs, and Border Affairs. The president is not the commander-in-chief, and hence, has no official control of the Tatmadaw. Moreover, the constitution grants the military power to take charge of the country in times of emergency.

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