Authors | Editors: Elder, R. (George Mason University); Lewis, A. (George Mason University)
With support from GTRI, GMU worked with Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to assess strategic risk to U.S. and partner interests in the Middle East caused by great power competition in the region. Strategic risk was decomposed into key risk influence factors which were then aligned with potential causal activities of China, Russia, Middle East countries, and the United States and its partners. These were used to construct a Timed Influence Net (TIN) model which provided a means to identify opportunities for the U.S. military and its inter-organizational partners to integrate military efforts and align military and non-military activities to avoid unacceptable strategic outcomes in the Middle East while pursuing U.S. national interests. Analysis using the TIN model suggests that economic (and to a lesser extent, political) shaping activities would appear to provide the greatest benefit to reduce U.S. strategic risk from great power competition, particularly actions that demonstrate long-term U.S. commitment to the region. From a military perspective, multinational, multi-agency response preparation exercises offer opportunities to improve regional security, promote western values and institutions, counter China and Russia influence, and demonstrate U.S. and western commitment to Middle East security. Potential Middle East cooperation opportunities (which could include China and Russia) include maritime security, counter-terrorism, counter-radicalism, anti-piracy, and counterproliferation.