Small Wars Journal

Landpower: Looking Out and Looking In

Landpower: Looking Out and Looking In

Scott Forster

In this update we present an external view of Russia after Putin, then we turn inward to examine the Culture, Character, and Trust in the Profession within our Army, and finally we turn to external sources examining the role of Europe in American Defense Strategy. All three were written by USAWC staff and faculty as we take both external and internal looks at our Army and the application of Landpower.

EUCOM: Russia After Putin. Despite many obstacles, the leadership in Washington and Moscow must find ways to address security threats even as the United States rebalances toward Asia. Moreover, he agrees with prominent statesmen like Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger that ultimately, Russia must be integrated into a Euro-Atlantic security system. The unexpected events of September 2013 that have resulted in a United Nations resolution compelling Syria to surrender its chemical weapons and a re-start of the Geneva negotiations to find a diplomatic resolution to the Syrian crisis offers evidence that a partnership, even if limited and fragile, is plausible. A major consideration of the U.S. national security establishment must include how to operationalize the partnership. For all intents and purposes, the United States and Russia now have taken responsibility for resolving the Syrian crisis and in the process have reached a new chapter in the reset of relations. If they succeed in finding a diplomatic solution to it, further cooperation on other shared security concerns will follow. If not, they will take a turn for the worse. Note: This research was completed in the fall of 2013, which was obviously prior to the recent crisis in Crimea and Ukraine.

PROFESSION: A Soldier’s Morality, Religion, and Our Professional Ethic: Does the Army’s Culture Facilitate Integration, Character Development, and Trust in the Profession? The authors argue that an urgent leadership issue has arisen which is strongly, but not favorably, influencing our professional culture--a hostility toward religion and its correct expressions within the military. Setting aside the role of Chaplains as a separate issue, the focus here is on the role religion may play in the moral character of individual soldiers--especially leaders--and how their personal morality, faith-based or not, is to be integrated with their profession's ethic so they can serve in all cases "without reservation" as their oath requires.

DISCOURSE: The Role of Europe in American Defense Strategy. Dr. John R. Deni acknowledges that there are reasons to doubt European defense capabilities, but then asserts that there is more to the story.  For example, in some European countries defense spending is actually rising.  Such countervailing data points do not receive much attention in the United States, however, because they do not fit the standard narrative of Europe as a free-rider.  John recommends ways for the United States to leverage those data points and thus nurture a more productive and balanced partnership with European allies--a goal articulated in the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review.   [In case you’re unfamiliar with War on the Rocks, it is a high-quality web magazine devoted to analysis, commentary, and debate on foreign policy and national security issues.  The editors view these issues through a realist lens.]

We hope you will enjoy these insightful works and we always look forward to your feedback either through Landpower or directly to me.

Scott