Paper #44. China’s Belt and Road Initiative as Combined-Effects Strategy: How Democracies Can Compete

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Leadership, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

ICSL Paper #41 developed “concepts of influence,” a critical component to effective strategy. Concepts of influence are the ways and means that act on will and capability to bring about the ends of strategy. They may be entirely human created, or assisted or created by artificial intelligence. This paper applies concepts of influence to show…

Paper #43. AI-assisted Confrontational-Physical Strategies: Human-directed Savant X Seeker

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Commercial, Cyber, Leadership, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Continuing our march through the eight basic combinations of strategy introduced in Paper #39 (The Strategy Cuboid), we focus on confrontational-physical competitions (preventive and causative). We‘ll use Savant X Seeker’s hyper-dimensional relationship analysis as a research assistant.  The text corpus continues to expand as I add more curated reports and articles. The sample, however, is…

Paper #42. AI-assisted Cooperative-Physical Strategies: Human-directed Insights from Savant X Seeker

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Commercial, Cyber, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

The Strategy Cuboid introduced in Paper #39 offers eight basic combinations of strategy in three dimensions: cooperative-confrontational; psychological-physical; and preventive-causative. We focus here on the two combinations that are cooperative-physical (preventive-causative), such as defense and economic infrastructure. As an exploration of competitive strategies, we’ll use the Savant X Seeker hyper-dimensional relationship analysis platform introduced in…

Paper #39. Information Intelligence & Assessment for All-Effects Warfare: A Competition that Subsumes Combined Arms & Deterrence

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Leadership, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Our previous paper offered an assessable definition of “information“ to address two persistent problems in US security strategy: (1) the mismatch between narrow military doctrine and its broad effects; and (2) a “competition continuum“ below armed conflict. Why does this matter? The Information Environment is expansive, accessible and dynamic, characteristics that enable competitors to exploit…

Paper #38. What “Talk-Fight” Ideologues Understand About Warfare: All-Domain, All-Effects in the Information Environment.

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Leadership, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Prevailing in an operational environment does not matter if one loses in the information environment. Vietnam Workers Party nationalists understood this. Taliban religious fundamentalists understand this. Why do we not, and what to do about it?

Paper #37. The Strategy Cuboid: Elements, Dimensions, and Targets in the Global Information Environment

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D, Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Cyber, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

The need for a comprehensive approach to strategy that’s relevant to the global information environment is made clear by recent cyber and information attacks. The Solar Winds and Hafnium attacks from US data centers occurred in a context of persistent disinformation campaigns (Russia, China). Yet the US cyber, info ops and law enforcement communities have…

Note #21. Narratives as Social Strategies in the Information Environment

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Cyber, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Narratives present advantages in any conflict because they influence resolve and if ignored, can reverse operational victories. What are they?

Note #20. Iraq & Iran: Agile Strategies or More Missteps?

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Middle East & North Africa, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

As in Note #19, this thought-piece refers to agile strategies as those that can adjust ends, ways and means. Missteps are changes without strategic advantage. How will the Biden administration perform with respect to Iraq and Iran?

Note #19. Afghanistan: The Need for Strategic Agility, Not Missteps.

  • TD
  • Eurasia, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Agile strategies are able to change in all three definitional dimensions—ends, ways and means. Missteps are changes without strategic advantage. What’s the Biden administration’s strategy for Afghanistan?

Paper #34. Cyber Security-Resilience: Compliance & Competitiveness in the Information Environment

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Commercial, Cyber, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Manipulating information over cyber networks has become a societal weapon of choice. Compared to traditional military, diplomatic and economic instruments of state power, cyber information power has competitive advantages. 

Note #18. a Veterans Day Sequel to “Planning-to-Win”

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Plan with a winning strategy. Follow through with activities to bring about superior effects. Anticipate what competitors will do. Reimagine and repeat.

Paper #33. Special Ops Command-Africa Strategy: Analysis & Recommendations (Part II)

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Middle East & North Africa, Security, Strategy, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • No Comments

Following our historical context review of ten African states in Part I (Paper #31), this section begins Part II with linkage analysis, focusing on strategy in Somalia.

Paper #32. A Case for Peace

  • former government official
  • Middle East & North Africa, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Abraham, 4 millennia ago, was not placed favorably into the contested region on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. No wonder. As the first monotheist guided by the instructions of Yahweh, he was rejected by all sides.

Paper #31. Special Ops Command-Africa Strategy: Analysis & Recommendations (Part I of II)

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Middle East & North Africa, Security, Strategy, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • No Comments

Security challenges on the African continent are diverse and acute. Threats are more than military, requiring all of the skill sets and partnerships that special operations forces possess.

Stick & Rudder #5. A Basic Strategy Toward China: Rules-based Competition that Cooperates & Confronts

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Commercial, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Competing effectively with the authoritarian regime in Beijing requires a superior blend of cooperation and confrontation.

Stick & Rudder #4. A Basic US Strategy Toward Russia: more than Deter & Defend

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Americas, Eurasia, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

If strategy means anything, it should have definition and purpose. US strategy toward the current Russia regime, and just about any competitor, continues to be described simplistically as deter and defend.

Note #16. Transparency Attack: Launch of the Mekong Infrastructure Tracker

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Commercial, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

The Mekong Infrastructure Tracker launched today, providing a public platform that creates transparency on nearly 4000 ongoing or planned infrastructure projects in this strategic region.

Paper #22. War: What is it Good for?

  • Dr Brett L. Mers and Dr Corinna A. Robinson
  • Security
  • No Comments

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse…

Stick & Rudder #3. An All-Effects Strategy Against COVID-19: Secure & Induce, Persuade & Dissuade, Defend & Deter

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Commercial, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

COVID-19 is an advanced threat against humanity, requiring a broad-based combination of effects to defeat.

Paper #17. Comparative Threats and Integrated Effects in East Asia: the Koreas

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Using complex warfare concepts from Papers #13 (East Asia), #14 (China) and #16 (Japan), we apply and compare that holistic approach to Korean security strategies. 

Paper #16. Comparative Threats and Integrated Effects: Japan

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Using complex warfare concepts from Papers #13 (East Asia) and #14 (China), we apply that approach to Japanese security strategy, with comparisons to China and Russia.

Paper #14. Comparative Threats and Integrated Effects: China

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

This paper uses concepts of complex warfare established in ICSL Paper #13 to analyze the world view, threat assessment, and combined effects strategy of China.

Paper #13. Comparative Threats and Integrated Effects: Concepts for Complex Warfare in East Asia

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Complex warfare is a high stakes competition in learning and we are being out-thought.

Paper #8. How to Integrate National Defense & Security Strategies: A Detailed Analysis

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Americas, Commercial, Leadership, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

As a detailed follow-on to The US National Security Strategy Needs Combined Effects, this paper integrates combined effects with the US National Defense Strategy (NDS), too.

Paper # 7. Intelligence Analytic Insufficiency: Fixing the Cognitive Problem

  • Michael D. Phillips, Col USAF ret.
  • Americas, Leadership, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

In response to chronic shortcomings, the President, Congress, and senior leaders of our intelligence agencies and service components demand original, prescient and accurate analyses.

Note #5. Mastering the Spectra of Competition

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Commercial, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Previous notes introduced combined effects strategy for complex warfare. We can understand this form of warfare as a competition that blends cooperation and confrontation.

Paper #3. Defeating Authoritarian Warfare: The Case of Russia

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Eurasia, Leadership, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

While teaching sense-making in the information environment, I began to apply previous work on complex warfare strategy in East Asia to other regions. Russia is a critical case — a declining nuclear power using combinations of effects to regain a perceived loss of prestige.