The Power of Truth: How to Compete with Information Warfare

Abstract: The United States Air Force (USAF) must leverage truth to defuse adversarial claims to plausible deniability. A fictional scenario of an RC-135 shootdown by a Russian private military company (PMC) conveys the implications of failure with information warfare (IW). Today, the USAF lacks the ability to counter plausible deniability in the information environment with the tempo and speed required to outpace and outthink its adversaries. Three recommendations are offered. First, the USAF should operate outside of current geographic constraints. Second, the USAF should shift to a problem-centric strategy independent of intelligence collection platforms. Lastly, the USAF should shift its information warfare posture from reactive to proactive in today’s dynamic information environment.

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What’s Old is New Again: Leveraging Lessons from the Battle of Britain

Abstract: In today’s rapidly evolving security environment, the traditional development and acquisitions system is falling short of meeting warfighter needs. Even as technology becomes increasingly disruptive, the U.S. Department of Defense should look to the lessons of the past to provide a foundational construct for on-boarding novel technologies and innovative concepts. The reemergence of dual use technologies is far from new; however, harnessing development efforts from the private sector and tech industry could slingshot multi-domain capabilities forward into the 21st century and address many of the shortfalls inherent to the DoD’s current bureaucracy.

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AF DCGS Next Generation: Transformation for Great Power Competition

Abstract: The AF DCGS is in the midst of the most significant transformation it has seen since its inception in the mid-1990s. Primarily driven by the need to find a way to more efficiently process the glut of data now available to the intelligence community, the AF DCGS transformation to the problem-centric model of analysis is already paying major dividends in the Enterprise’s ability to provide enhanced intelligence to its customers. This article discusses the transformation and describes in detail how the AF DCGS is now oriented to prepare the air component for great power competition.

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Should the U.S. Consider a Belarusian Defense Relationship?

Abstract: Belarus has long been perceived by the United States as a client state of Russia. Signs that President Lukashenko sought to normalize relationships with the U.S. and NATO through more neutral defense posturing seems to be quickly reversing. The fallout from the Belarusian election and mass government crackdown has caused an unstable domestic situation that now threatens Eastern European security. Russia is now intervening on behalf of its own national security interests to administer control of the region and ensure its strongest military ally does not cede to the West. The United States must now explore options to either normalize the Belarusian-U.S. defense relationship, or risk the territory being in complete Russian control, further changing the security implications and defense posture in Eastern Europe. The following article explores how the United States can still seek options to normalize the Belarusian-U.S. defense relationship amid domestic tensions as a way to work in solidarity with European partners, deliberately extend the competitive posture in Eastern Europe, and reaffirm the U.S. security guarantees for its European allies.

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DCGS Next Generation: Accelerating Change to Deliver Decision Advantage

By Kelly Borukhovich and Tyler Morton Approximate reading time: 11 minutes Abstract: The DCGS Next Generation (DCGS Next Gen) delivers

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Supply Chain Competition and All-Effects Warfare: Achieving Strategic Advantage (Part 2 of 2)

Executive Summary: Our previous article on supply chain competition and warfare explained how political, economic, and security issues unleash and restrain strategies of competitive advantage. China is waging all-effects warfare. Meanwhile, democratic states and the US compete with a self-imposed disadvantage: inferior operating strategy at the strategic level of significance. How can we compete and when necessary, wage superior complex warfare in kind?

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Supply Chain Competition and All-Effects Warfare: Fundamentals of Strategic Advantage (Part 1 of 2)

Executive Summary: In the hands of authoritarian powers, supply chains are systematically weaponized into broad warfare that subsumes democracies’ traditionally narrow military approach. This series analyzes supply chain competition, warfare, and strategy in two parts. Part I discusses fundamentals that set strategic parameters for achieving an “all-effects” advantage: globalization and protectionism; strategies of national security; incentives and risks; and political and technological change. This broad perspective on competition and warfare is necessary to implement the cooperative and confrontational competition prescribed in the US National Security Strategy. Part II identifies decisions and makes recommendations to combine superior “all-effects” using diplomatic, informational, military, economic, and social instruments of power. This integrative perspective is necessary to synergize strategic advantages derived from the US National Defense Strategy and sixteen other national security-related strategies.

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Do We Still Have a Coalition of the Willing? Reinforcing National Security through Dedicated Cultural Training

The U.S. has been working with collation partners for decades to address matters of global and national security. Alongside over 80 partner nations, the U.S. has accomplished milestones in the Global Fight against ISIS, which would not have been possible without such a combined front. Part of these successes are due to the DoD’s shift a decade ago to incorporate partner nations in our military processes to fuse holistic intelligence for decisionmakers through multiple coalition intelligence cells around the world. As the battlespace continues to shift from years of counterinsurgency to face revisionist powers and rogue states, the personnel identified to fill critical positions that interact with coalition members will determine the successes of future conflicts. This essay will describe some recent advances the US Air Force has made toward improving coalition intelligence operations and recommend ways to improve selection and training programs in the future.

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Building Bridges Instead of Breaking Glass: What Past Scientific Revolutions Suggest About Creating Collaborative Transformation

By: Peter Hickman Approximate Reading Time: 15 minutes The Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System is a transformative effort that

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Infrastructure Readiness In The United States Space Force

The men and women of the US military have been protecting and defending the space domain for decades—well before the existence of the United States Space Force. Evolving threats in space drive the country to think differently about how we protect and defend that domain to ensure freedom of maneuver for future generations. Protection begins in facilities supported by robust infrastructure systems that house command and control nodes for space operators worldwide. USSF’s civil engineers have created new standards and are implementing them to measure and track readiness of the facilities and infrastructure directly supporting and inextricably linked to mission success in space.

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Human-led Machine Learning & Advanced Threats: Case Method Inquiry and Visual Analytics Applied to COVID-19

In a pervasive and complex information environment, analytics are vital to understanding advanced threats. As we rely more on machine-learnt results, asking the right questions and visualizing deep analysis are key to grasping and solving problems. These skills are also vital 21st century leadership tools that can forge a common focus among otherwise stove-piped specialists.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents an urgent threat that requires both scientific understanding and decisive leadership. The cause of the disease is SARS CoV-2, a mutating virus that thrives in conditions difficult to control at scale. To counter this threat, this article demonstrates in detail the potential of human-led case method and machine-provided visual analytics.

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Artificial Intelligence in the Operational Information Environment: The Need for Proactive Doctrine

Joint operations doctrine omits the agency of artificial intelligence (AI) in the operational information environment, which is a problem. This commentary discusses why, and recommends effective changes. Key points are as follows. AI is becoming an autonomous cause of unanticipated effects. Humans are not the most effectively intelligent actors in all environments, yet our doctrine draws lessons from the past rather than anticipating emergent futures. Machines currently excel in experience-based learning and can discover relationships in data that we cannot discern. Humans can intuit, deceive, somewhat control, and manufacture and destroy machines. In time, AI will be able to perform those cognitive, informational and physical functions as well. As out-thought becomes out-fought, we need proactive doctrine now.

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A Bomber for the Navy

Rather that sending the B-1 Lancer into early retirement, the Department of Defense could transfer it to the Navy for duty as a land-based ship-killer.

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Outlining the Multi-Domain Operating Concept

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes Editor’s Note: This week we will be republishing a 3-part series focused on the idea

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***OTH Anniversary*** The Value of a Secret: Secrecy vs Innovation

This OTH Anniversary article takes a look at the need for increased information sharing across programs in order for multi domain operations to be successful.

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Russia-US Relationship: A Round Table Discussion

Approximate reading time: 20 minutes Editor’s Note: OTH sat down with three professors from Air University to discuss the Russia-US

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Podcast: Russian Strategy and Russia-US Relations

Three professors from Air University sit down to discuss the Russia-US relationship from a strategy and policy perspective. Welcome to

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The Cyber (EMS) Offset

Cognitive computing may have significant implications for future cyber and multi-domain operations.

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Strategic Design: Compiled

This article is an out of cycle publication in order to consolidate three previously published articles on Strategic Design.  The introduction makes the case for a “whole of community” approach to strategy and policy development, and parts I & II present the structural elements of Strategic Design.

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An Acquisition Offset: Exploiting the Time Dimension

Accepting increased product and process risk is necessary to facilitate the faster acquisitions timelines the future operating environment demands.

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Strategic Design Part II

Strategic design is not a strategy cure all, it is a means by which to go far beyond ill structured brain storming sessions and tactically rigid joint planning.

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Strategic Design Part I

Strategic design is a constructivist model focused on developing schemata to explore complex problem sets involving grand strategy and policy.

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Introduction to Strategic Design

A strategic design framework may be the point of origin for fostering “whole of community” solutions.

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Podcast 5 – Designing Future Security: An International Roundtable on the Military Design Movement

In OTH’s fifth podcast, Ben Zweibelson connects an international group of scholars and practitioners of design from Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Australia, and India to discuss: the military design movement.

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Drop Zone: Security by Design

In this upcoming week, OTH will turn its attention to design-thinking, featuring an article from Dr. Jeff Reilly and OTH’s fifth podcast!

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OTH Podcast 3: The Evolving Character of Risk in the Emerging Security Environment

Welcome to OTH’s third podcast! For this episode, we turn our attention to the evolving character of risk in the emerging security environment.

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Exploring the Russian Perspective with a Former U.S. Defense Attaché to Moscow

Team OTH asks a former U.S. Defense Attaché to Moscow about his experiences and Russia’s perspective on international security.

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The Value of a Secret: Secrecy vs Innovation

Everything ran in its own compartment. I think that far more than people realize, it was a tragedy of bureaucratic

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Energy: The Dominant Element of the National Instruments of Power

Economic globalization, industrial modernization, and the technological revolution have led to the emergence of an element of a nation’s power that underpins them all: energy.
By Mike Benitez, Prichard Keely, and Mark Nexon

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Multi-Domain Command and Control: The Air Force Perspective with Brigadier General B. Chance Saltzman (Part 2 of 2)

How do we need to organize as an Air Force to provide multi-domain capabilities? Second, how do we train our forces so they can provide multi-domain capability? Finally, how are we equipping our forces so they can do it?

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Bridging Startup and Military Cyber Cultures Part I: A Startup Chief Technical Officer Reflects on his Military Roots

The military cyber community lacks a solid culture to set the tone and expectations for how fusing cyber and kinetic operations should be conducted, central to enabling effective multi-domain operations.
By John Myers

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Deterrence in a Complex Nuclear Future

As the United States Air Force prepares itself for the future, it must look critically at the manner in which it achieves nuclear deterrence. The world in which we live and the adversaries whom we strive to deter are far different, and so our deterrence method must also evolve. In order to defeat our adversaries in the future, we must prepare now.
By Mary Yelnicker

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DROP ZONE: Time to Revisit Nuclear Deterrence Strategy?

US nuclear deterrence strategy must be revised to fit the nature of future conflicts. More coming next week.

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China: Case Studies on Geoeconomics

If America expects to maintain its economic and military advantages around the globe, it must also reinforce existing diplomatic, economic, and military relationships to avoid a premature end to US global primacy.
By Aaron Sick and Mark Nexon

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Singaporean Perspective on Building Partner Capacity in Southwest Asia – An Interview

China’s rise challenges the Asia-Pacific’s balance of power, making it difficult for relatively smaller Pacific nations. Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and others compete for natural resources and in fiscal markets with their larger neighbors.
By Allison Hardwick

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On the Precipice: The Future of Cyber & Intelligence with Vice Admiral Jan Tighe

“The Navy’s intelligence operations writ large and cyberspace operations, specifically, are on the precipice of being able to fully capitalize on the variety and velocity of data coming from both organic sensors and Open Source to create battlespace awareness and inform decision making in ways we never imagined in the past.”

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DROP ZONE: Naval Information Warfare in Multi-Domain Operations

The Defense community is only at the beginning of developing a common understanding and vision for multi-domain operations and strategy. Join us Monday for a special interview with VADM Tighe.

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Regional Command: A New “Whole of Community” Approach

A whole of government approach is lacking and therefore the United States restructure its regional leadership construct .
By Isaiah Oppelaar

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