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    Sharpening the Blunt Tool: Why Deterrence Needs an Update in the Next U.S. National Security Strategy
    (The Strategy Bridge, 2021) Wolfley, Kyle J.
    The 2017 U.S. National Security Strategy appeared to bring deterrence back: departing from its predecessor, the document prioritized the concept by including “preserving peace through strength” as a vital national interest. From nuclear weapons to cyberspace, the strategy emphasized the logics of denial and punishment, which were hallmarks of the classical deterrence theory that emerged after World War II. However, recent thinking on deterrence has evolved beyond these simple logics. Now emerging concepts such as tailored deterrence, cross-domain deterrence, and dissuasion offer new ideas to address criticisms of deterrence in theory and practice. Therefore, the most vital question for the new administration is: how should the U.S. revise its deterrence policy to best prevent aggression in today’s complex environment? A review of the problems and prospects in deterrence thinking reveals that in addition to skillfully tailoring threats and risks across domains, U.S. policymakers should dissuade aggression by offering opportunities for restraint to reduce the risk of escalation.
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    Military Power Reimagined: The Rise and Future of Shaping
    (National Defense University Press: Joint Force Quarterly, 2021) Wolfley, Kyle J.
    The belief that the U.S. military finds itself in a “complex environment”—one in which conventional war is rare, but Great Power competition has returned, coupled with the persistent threat of violent nonstate actors—is so commonplace that it can now be considered a truism. The United States, China, and Russia are engaged in a security competition below the threshold of open violence, yet scholars and practitioners struggle to articulate how these states’ militaries attempt to achieve their goals through ways other than warfighting or coercion. This article better conceptualizes a type of military operation that is often misunderstood and understudied and that has the potential to become one of the most frequent tools of interstate competition in the coming decades.
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    ESTIMATING VARIABILITY IN THE IMPLEMENTATION COST GROWTH OF MILITARY BASE REALIGNMENTS AND CLOSURES USING HISTORIC DATA
    (Naval Postgraduate School, 2019) Martin, Sarah A.; Dell, Robert F.
    The Department of Defense (DoD) periodically conducts a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round to improve the stationing of its force structure, eliminate excess infrastructure, and attain cost savings. The most recent BRAC round in 2005 far exceeded its estimated cost to implement; in a 2012 report, the Government Accountability Office reported that the 2005 BRAC implementation cost grew from the original estimate by 67%. The DoD requires an improved cost estimate and understanding of inherent uncertainty. Using data from 58 observations of BRAC 2005 recommendations, this thesis examines trends in cost growth. The thesis does not find any statistically significant differences in cost increases among subsets of data analyzed by type of DoD recommending agency, presence of Commission amendments, BRAC action complexity, or size of estimate. Variation in implementation cost growth is mildly narrower for BRAC actions that were amended by the Commission and for actions that were more complex. The analysis detects a bias in estimating large BRAC actions, which indicates a systematic hesitancy or inability to fully estimate the most expensive BRAC actions. The distribution of BRAC 2005 actions’ cost increases is used to inform an improved, three-point estimate for future BRAC rounds. Under conditions comparable to BRAC 2005, this thesis shows that the true mean of future BRAC actions’ cost increases may be expected to be 93% with a 95% confidence interval of [57%, 129%].
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    Deriving a Solution to Venezuela: Civil-Military Relations Can Help
    (Small Wars Journal, 2019) Fust, George
    How does one define “healthy” civil-military relations? The simplest definition would suggest a nation’s military is subordinate to its ruling body. In other words, the guys with all the guns listens to those without any. So how then would we evaluate this relationship in a country like Venezuela? The military has remained loyal and subordinate to the ruling body, so does it meet the criteria? It is providing the only real stability for the country despite the questionable legitimacy of this government. Our starting definition is thus far too simple. And yet, when you add layers of complexity or depth to the discussion, it becomes difficult to grade the health of a particular nation’s civil-military relations. Comparative analysis is difficult if not impossible in the field of civil-military relations.
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    Bridges at Panmunjom
    (Wilson Quarterly, 2020) Morrow, Sean
    I am not a civil engineer. I am an infantryman. However, over two years leading the combined battalion, I learned a lot about bridges. Bridges are central to the geography and the psyche of the United Nations Command Security Battalion – Joint Security Area (UNCSB-JSA). You must cross a bridge to get to the southern boundary of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), where the soldiers of the UNCSB-JSA live and work. You travel along Old Highway 1, which once connected the southern tip of Korea across the peninsula to the border with China. As you approach Panmunjom, you cross the Imjin River over the Tong-il Bridge.
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    Why Do Bureaucrats Make Campaign Contributions to Presidential Candidates?: Evidence from 2004 to 2012
    (Presidential Studies Quarterly, 2018) Limbocker, Scott
    Like other citizens, federal employees commit time and money to presidential candidates seeking federal office. However, unlike other citizens, federal employees work in an executive establishment governed by a person to whom they may donate. Are the contributions the collective will of the agency or an incorrect aggregation of individual action? By merging two original surveys of federal employees with all Federal Election Commission records of individual donations, this study examines the contribution behavior of federal employees to presidential candidates in 2004, 2008, and 2012. I find that the rate at which federal employees contribute to presidential candidates varies depending on the bureaucrat’s political beliefs, characteristics about the job the individual performs, and career values of the individual federal employee. I find little evidence that contributions vary systematically from agency-wide characteristics.
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    Russian Society and Foreign Policy: Mass and Elite Orientations After Crimea
    (Taylor & Francis, 2019) Sherlock, Thomas
    Most Russians applaud the official narrative that Russia has reemerged as a great power. Yet they increasingly disagree with the assertion of the Kremlin that the United States is a looming external danger and a subversive force in Russian domestic politics. In line with these opinions, many Russians balk at the costs of confrontation with the West, demonstrating the initially limited and now waning political significance of the “Crimea euphoria” (or “Crimea effect”) and “rally ‘round the flag” phenomena. Russian elites often differ from the general public in their stronger backing for a more assertive foreign posture. Nevertheless, such preferences are frequently moderated by the apprehension that Russia will neglect domestic modernization indefinitely if its foreign policy is confrontational.
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    Prisoners and Politics: Western Hostage Taking by Militant Groups
    (Taylor & Francis, 2017) Loertscher, Seth; Milton, Daniel
    Hostage taking of Westerners by militant groups has increased since 9/11. Despite this rising problem, there has been little academic research on how a hostage’s individual characteristics influence the outcome of the incident. Using a newly collected dataset of over 1,000 individuals taken hostage in incidents involving terrorist groups since 2001, this article evaluates how individual, national, and group characteristics influence the likelihood that hostage incidents end with the release or execution of the hostage. The findings show that a hostage’s nationality and occupation are significant individual-level drivers of outcomes, while the nature of the militant group itself also matters.
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    Iraq, 2003–2011: succeeding to fail
    (Taylor & Francis, 2019) Godfroy, Jeanne; Collins, Liam
    This study examines the US experience during the Iraq war, from the planning phase that began in 2001 to the withdrawal of US forces in 2011. It reveals a dearth of planning and intelligence leading up to the invasion; reluctance by conventional coalition military forces to conduct reconstruction, political and security capacity-building; and, later, full spectrum counterinsurgency operations. These forces took on some missions traditionally reserved for special operations forces, and they increasingly assumed diplomatic roles as they interfaced with the Iraqi leadership and local kingpins. Although these efforts yielded some impressive organizational learning and limited operational successes, they were hampered by lack of adequate preparation, a poor understanding of the human terrain, shortsighted strategies, and ultimately a dearth of political will to stay the course. The outcome was far from the model Middle East democracy envisioned by the invasion’s architects, and the American experience in Iraq instead became a cautionary tale for military intervention.
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    Military Statecraft and the Use of Multinational Exercises in World Politics
    (Foreign Policy Analysis, 2021) Wolfley, Kyle J.
    Although multinational military exercises have become a common foreign policy tool over the last three decades, our understanding of their purpose and variation is limited. Why do major powers conduct multinational exercises, especially with non-allies, and why did exercises increase after the end of the Cold War? I argue that a rise in strategic uncertainty—when adversaries and allies become less obvious—led major powers to increase their use of “shaping” exercises: training events designed not to threaten or prepare to use force, but to change the characteristics of or relationship between militaries. Textual sentiment analysis and regressions of over a thousand multinational exercises from 1980 to 2016 reveal that major powers reacted to an increase in strategic uncertainty by using these types of exercises to manage ambiguous threats and partners. This study highlights why and how major powers implement diverse tools of military statecraft—that is, the use of military organizations to achieve foreign policy goals—to reduce the threat of violent non-state actors and undermine one another in a competitive international system.
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    Controlling Agency Choke Points: Presidents and Turnover in the Senior Executive Service
    (SSRN, 2017) Doherty, Kathleen; Lewis, David E.; Limbocker, Scott
    If presidents wish to see their policy priorities implemented, they need control over career executives occupying key decision-making positions. This paper examines the extent to which new presidential administrations marginalize high level career executives and whether political conflict with a new administration drives executives from their positions. Once in office, presidents are more likely to target individuals with whom they conflict and those in important policymaking positions. Turnover is also affected by the choices of career executives. Some anticipate conflict and strategically exit before a new president takes office. To assess our theory, we use unique new data that combines individual survey responses with personnel records to analyze the probability that an agency executive departs her position from March 2015 to July 2017. Given our findings that turnover is driven both by presidential marginalization and strategic exit by bureaucrats, we conclude with implications for presidential efforts to control the bureaucracy.
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    Extra Credit as a Spaced-Study Motivator
    (International Journal of Studies in Education, 2023) Rocha, Michael; Reynolds, Margaret; Park, Si
    A big challenge in academia is motivating students and helping them store information long-term. One known method to help students retain information is spaced learning, which allows for certain time intervals in which concepts are re-tested versus waiting until the end of a block to test a learning objective. One method to motivate students is implementing bonus opportunities that keep students engaged in the material. We combine these methods via a spaced daily versus bulk review program incentivized with bonus points. To investigate this method, we designed and implemented a classroom research experiment during Fall of 2022 at the United States Military Academy in three courses. We found that students who were incentivized to do either daily or bulk review bonus opportunities were primarily those who already were doing well in the class. We also found that those who did not pursue bonus opportunities, regardless of section, indicated that time was their limiting factor. We present our findings including quantitative and qualitative results via course grades, mid-semester and end-of-semester surveys, and anecdotal experiences with our students. We then discuss the merit and potential improvement of the experiment to better understand the relationship between student motivation and long-term information retention.
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    Examination of Faculty Development in the Departments of Civil & Mechanical Engineering and Geography & Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy
    (ASEE, 2020) Barron, Jes; Pfluger, Andrew; Pegues, Kathryn; Bazemore, Thomas
    This study is submitted as part of a special joint panel session between the Environmental Engineering Division and the Faculty Development Division on innovative development for tenured/tenure-track faculty and professional faculty. This study presents findings from an institutional-level evaluation of professional faculty development practices. The United States Military Academy (i.e., West Point)’s unique faculty composition consists of professional military faculty, permanent military faculty, and civilian faculty is known as the “blend of excellence”. The majority of West Point faculty (~55%) are military officers serving for a two-to-three-year period. These military faculty are professional faculty members serving in a capacity similar to adjunct faculty or non-tenured teaching faculty at other universities. Each type of faculty member brings unique skills and talents to the faculty team that contribute to the overall development of West Point’s undergraduates who serve as military officers upon graduation. In spring 2019, West Point faculty members were asked to share their thoughts and perspectives on the faculty development of junior civilian (defined as instructors or assistant professors) and rotating military faculty. Areas queried included developmental approaches and best practices, developmental areas (e.g., research, teaching), and defined developmental outcomes. This study subsets responses from two departments, Civil & Mechanical Engineering and Geography & Environmental Engineering, providing a focused examination of faculty development methods applicable and beneficial to civil and environmental engineering programs that have adjunct and/or non-tenure track faculty. Response rates were similar for each department (24% and 34%). The study identified three major findings that are generally applicable to all universities: (1) institutions can benefit from discussion and shared understanding regarding the definition and intent of faculty development; (2) our faculty prefer to handle development of more junior faculty at the department-level while leveraging university-level resources; (3) several distinct practices were most beneficial to professional faculty development, to include: a structured on-boarding program, unstructured mentorship throughout the academic year, and classroom observation with feedback. While West Point is somewhat unique in mission and faculty composition, the finding from this study can be beneficial to all institutions with non-tenure track professional faculty.
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    Key Ingredient in Army Leader Development
    (Military Review, 2020) Fust, George
    Developing adaptive leaders is the bridge to overcoming readiness shortfalls and the unpredictability of future conflicts, and the increasingly ambiguous nature of threats in the con-temporary operating environment coupled with finite resources makes leader development a reasonable goal. However, leader development as employed by the Army is ambiguous and vague. What type of leader is the Army striving to develop?
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    Play to Win: Sticking to a Playbook in the Competition with Russia
    (USMA, 2019) Fust, George
    Russia docks a warship in Havana knowing it will provoke a response from the United States. How dare they. The US Navy dispatched a destroyer to shadow the vessel; after all, the United States has the Monroe doctrine to enforce. A few weeks prior, Russia sent around a hundred troops to Venezuela. This also provoked a response, albeit rhetorical. Despite these US reactions, Russia continues to play strategic games.
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    Multi-Domain Operations, bad for civil-military relations?
    (USMA, 2019) Fust, George
    Is it possible that the U.S. military’s newest warfighting concept is bad for civil-military relations? The current lexicon for this new concept is multi-domain operations, or simply MDO. For an in-depth discussion of this concept refer to a recent War On The Rocks article, “A Sailor’s Take on Multi-Domain Operations” or The U.S. Army in Multi-Domain Operations 2028...
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    Highland Falls is America
    (USMA, 2019) Fust, George
    In 1957 Samuel Huntington published a highly influential book called the Soldier and the State. In the last paragraph he famously wrote “Highland Falls [represents] the American spirit at its most commonplace…today America can learn more from West Point than West Point from America.” This passage was controversial at the time and even cost Huntington tenure at Harvard. The book would go on to influence generations of civil-military relations scholars. While the sentiment may have been accurate in the 1950s, today’s Highland Falls represents everything America should be. It is true that West Point is the core of the Army’s values. It is also true that they are the guardians of freedom...
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    Good for the Military - Bad for the Nation?
    (USMA, 2019) Fust, George
    The purpose of this article is to consider the possibility that we are moving toward a world of "garrison states"-a world in which the specialists on violence are the most powerful group in society. From this point of view the trend of our time is away from the dominance of the specialist on bargaining, who is the businessman, and toward the supremacy of the soldier. We may distinguish transitional forms, such as the party propaganda state, where the dominant figure is the propagandist, and the party bureaucratic state, in which the organization men of the party make the vital decisions. There are mixed forms in which predominance is shared by the monopolists of party and market power.
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    Deriving a Solution to Venezuela: Civil-Military Relations Can Help
    (USMA, 2019) Fust, George
    How does one define “healthy” civil-military relations? The simplest definition would suggest a nation’s military is subordinate to its ruling body. In other words, the guys with all the guns listen to those without any. So how then would we evaluate this relationship in a country like Venezuela? The military has remained loyal and subordinate to the ruling body, so does it meet the criteria? It is providing the only real stability for the country despite the questionable legitimacy of this government. Our starting definition is thus far too simple. And yet, when you add layers of complexity or depth to the discussion, it becomes difficult to grade the health of a particular nation’s civil-military relations. Comparative analysis is difficult if not impossible in the field of civil-military relations.
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    Evaluating Our Evaluations: Recognizing and Countering Performance Evaluation Pitfalls.
    (Military Review, 2020) Evans, Lee; Robinson, G. Lee
    Selecting the right person for the right job at the right time is a persistent challenge faced by organizations. Performance evaluations are a fundamental component of selection processes, and their use in the Army is nearly as old as the service itself. Some early evaluation systems consisted of a list of officers in a regiment with observations noted for each ranging from “a good-natured man” to “merely good—nothing promising” to “a man of whom all unite in speaking ill.”1 While our current evaluation form adds a bit more science to the art of performance evaluation, a constant in the Army’s performance evaluation system is the reliance on raters to render their judgment on the potential of a subordinate for service at higher levels.