Author(s): Astorino-Courtois, A. (NSI, Inc.); Buckley, C. (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign); Clem, R. (Florida International University); Collison, J. (USSOCOM, J59); Elder, R. (George Mason University); Forrest, C. (USAF); Gibson, K. (Retired); Herron, E. (West Virginia University); Lane, D. (USSOCOM, J59); Lewis, J. (Center for Strategic and International Studies [CSIS]); Lin, D. (Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology); Lyle, D. (LeMay Center for Doctrine and Education, Air University); Mazarr, M. (RAND); Montgomery, D. (University of Maryland); Nagata, M. (CACI International); Rubin, L. (Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology); Seligman, A. (Boston University); Stulberg, A. (Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology)
The future operating environment will present US military leaders and planners with both familiar and unfamiliar problem sets that will test the DoD and partner nations’ ability to maintain strategic stability. These future challenges are anticipated to be significantly different from those of recent decades. The two overarching challenges are contested norms and persistent disorder. It is expected that adversaries will continue to pursue their national objectives by creatively combining conventional and non-conventional methods to operate below a threshold that they believe would invoke a direct military or other damaging response from the United States or its allies.
This white paper advances the concept of taking action to establish and maintain strategic stability in periods that vary between competition and cooperation. The objective is to create conditions that encourage an adversary to conduct activities that promote cooperation and avoid escalation towards conflict by offering a range of alternative actions that the US and/or another actor can take that will protect the vital interests of both.
Topics addressed include:
Bottom line: There is a clear need for a “new” security concept that is a blend of legacy deterrence thinking, expanded thoughts on escalation management, and the concept of managing activities along a cooperation-competition-conflict continuum, with the purpose of maintaining strategic stability while promoting US national objectives. To do this requires discussions focused on understanding how the US and its partners should implement recent research about actor behaviors during periods of competition.
Join SMA with this companion two-day event to be held virtually on 24 & 25 August 2021. This SMA Perspectives Virtual Discussions will feature four panel conversations among the authors. We will conclude with a summary session with panel moderators that will draw out key insights from, and connections between panels. For more information, go to the event page.