Beyond Borno: Islamic State’s Expansion into Southern Nigeria (Jacob Zenn) (February 2024)

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Key Takeaways:

  • Although the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) has historically been deeply
    rooted in northeastern Nigeria, recent patterns demonstrate that it is expanding operations
    to the more economically prosperous and majority Christian south.
  • The most plausible explanations for ISWAP’s move south are to “outbid” the rival Sunni
    Muslim Group for Preaching and Jihad (JASDJ); to follow Islamic State (IS) “core” directives
    to attract attention by attacking Christians and other high-profile targets; and to divert
    the Nigerian army’s attention from the north and relieve counterterrorism pressure near
    ISWAP’s main bases.
  • Beyond these heightened risks, ISWAP’s southern expansion threatens U.S. interests in
    Nigeria, Nigeria’s national security, and West African security more broadly.

Chinese-Tajikistani Security Cooperation Gaining Momentum (Matthew Stein and Peter Wood) (January 2024)

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Key Takeaways:

  • China and Tajikistan share a 477km border and have an estimated $1.78 billion in bilateral trade, which is significantly imbalanced in favor of China.
  • Recent years have seen a significant improvement in relations between China and Tajikistan, with China constructing a military base in 2016 near Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan and a November 2022 bilateral agreement to increase security cooperation.
  • China’s security cooperation with Tajikistan does not appear to conflict or cause friction with Tajikistan’s main security cooperation partner, Russia, but nevertheless advances Chinese interests in the region at a time when Russian support is limited due to its invasion of Ukraine.

The People’s Liberation Army’s Evolving Close Air Support Capability (Kevin McCauley) (January 2024)

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This monograph examines PLA close air firepower support based on authoritative PLA sources including internal publications, as well as PRC aviation industry research. The PLA Air Force (PLAAF), Army Aviation, and unmanned aerial vehicle close air firepower support, command and control, and the firepower support process are examined.


2023-06-08 An Assessment of the Initial Period of War: Russia-Ukraine 2022 Part 2 (Roger N McDermott & Lieutenant Colonel Charles K Bartles)

An Assessment of the Initial Period of War: Russia-Ukraine 2022 Part 2 (Roger N McDermott & Lieutenant Colonel Charles K Bartles). Click image to download.

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This study describes how Russian military theorists think about the initial period of war (IPW) concept and its relation to strategic operations, and posits that due to the nature of the special military operation, the IPW concept was likely in no way a part of the operational planning process. While there were likely political motivations for the use of the term “special military operation” instead of “war,” the term “war” was not used for the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, because it was not envisioned to meet the criteria for “war” as understood by Russian military theorists

An Assessment of the Initial Period of War: Russia-Ukraine 2022 Part 1 (Roger N McDermott & Lieutenant Colonel Charles K Bartles)

An Assessment of the Initial Period of War: Russia-Ukraine 2022 Part 1 (Roger N McDermott & Lieutenant Colonel Charles K Bartles). Click image to download.

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This study describes the historical evolution of the Russian concept of the initial period of war (IPW). The concept has evolved substantially since its inception, which can be traced back to at least the early 1900s, but it generally pertains to the decisive strategic operations that occur during the first few days of war, that set conditions for strategic success, and the activities that occur before the war (period of imminent threat or preparation period in Russian military parlance) that make these strategic operations possible;


Turkey as a Drone Superpower: A Case Study of a Mid-Size Power Driving the Operational Environment (Karen Kaya) (March 2023)

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

• Turkey has emerged as a drone superpower on the world stage. In just the past few years,
Turkey has become one of a select group of countries in the world that can produce, use
and export armed drones extensively, trailing only the United States, Israel, and China.
• Turkey’s innovative use of its cost-effective Bayraktar TB-2 drone involves using drone
squadrons effectively as a mobile air artillery, thereby achieving overmatch by emphasizing
quantity over quality. This strategy has impacted geopolitical outcomes in several regional
conflicts, and has provided a strategy for middle sized powers to emulate. Several such
powers—including Ukraine, Poland, Azerbaijan—are buying these cost-effective systems
from Turkey with a view to do so. Other midsize countries with limited defense budgets
are likely to replicate this approach, changing the nature of local conflicts and even the
calculations of larger observing nations.
• Drones and anti-aircraft technologies that merge ISR with strike capabilities will increasingly
impact the trajectories of conflicts. The entry barriers to these technologies are falling,
making it easier for geopolitical issues to turn to war.


The Evolutionary Russian View of Peacekeeping as Part of Modern Warfare (Matthew Stein) (March 2023)

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

• Russia views peacekeeping operations as a part of warfare, specifically that they can be
utilized to achieve strategic objectives beyond conflict resolution
• Russia’s past peacekeeping operations have shown how these involved ending the conflict
as quickly as possible and enforcing terms of any cease-fire agreement, including taking
action that favored one of the belligerents as long as Russia remains in the dominant position
• Russia’s Nagorno-Karabakh peacekeeping operation ended a conflict and helped the
Russian government maintain influence in the Commonwealth of Independent States with
a Russian military detachment in place for the foreseeable future, which can help explain
how conflicts involving Russia are likely to end.


Russian Battalion Tactical Group Mission Training in the Arctic

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28 A COLD, SOGGY, BOGGY SLOG: GROUND FORCES IN HIGHER LATITUDE
COMBAT
By Dr. Lester W. Grau

34 RUSSIAN BATTALION TACTICAL GROUP MISSION TRAINING IN THE
ARCTIC
By Dr. Lester W. Grau & Dr. Charles K. Bartles

40 POLAR NIGHTS, WHITE NIGHTS, AND NORMAL DAYS AND NIGHTS:
ARCTIC GROUND TARGET IDENTIFICATION AND ENGAGEMENT
By Dr. Lester W. Grau