Small Wars Journal

national security strategy

Building Partner Capability and Capacity Post-NDAA 2017: A Practical Approach

If DoD is serious about building viable partners, it must step back and reevaluate how it is currently viewing the future state of those partners and developing plans to move that partner towards the desired future state. SC is no longer a side mission, the mission in-between wars to shape, it has moved to the steady-state across the Range of Military Operations and is now a critical strategic tool that can provide us advantages over our adversaries if applied correctly.

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The National Defense Strategy A Year Later: A Small Wars Journal Discussion with Elbridge Colby

Elbridge Colby is Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security. He was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development from 2017 to 2018, during which time he served as the lead official in the development of the 2018 National Defense Strategy and the principal DOD representative in the development of the 2017 National Security Strategy.

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Rule of Law Wins in the Overlap of Law and Culture

Several months after the Niger ambush, the President of the United States issued the 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS). The 2017 NSS strategy toward Africa reiterates the rule of law as a priority. Rule of law is integral to the military’s mission, but rule of law requires an understanding of operational law, particularly local law and cultural norms.

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Special Forces at the Lion’s Tail: Managing Risk in the Use of Special Operations Forces and the Application of Law

The 2017 NSS allows undue risk. A parsing of the NSS strategy toward Africa helps make the point: the NSS defers to ends and means and leaves ways unclear. The Lykke model of military strategy (ways to apply means to ends) is brilliant in its simplicity. But this model fails as a construct of national strategy.

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Strengths of the Current National Security Strategy

The strengths of the current national security strategy in comparison to its two predecessors are: the comprehensive understanding of how the United States fits into the structure of the international system and the recognition that developing culture-specific solutions for state actors in the international system is better than forcing systems to conform to U.S. standards and values.

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