CNA Publication Archive: 2019

October 22, 2019

In light of the Navy's stated commitment to using AI, and given the strategic importance of AI safety, we provide the Navy with a first step towards a comprehensive approach to safety. We use a risk management approach to frame our treatment of AI safety risks: identifying risks, analyzing them, and suggesting concrete actions for the Navy to begin addressing them. The first type of safety risk, being technical in nature, will require a collaborative effort with industry and academia to address. The second type of risk, associated with specific military missions, can be addressed in a combination of military experimentation, research, and concept development to find ways to promote effectiveness along with safety. For each types of risk, we use examples to show concrete ways of managing and reducing the risk of AI applications. We then discuss institutional changes that would help promote safety in the Navy's AI efforts.

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October 9, 2019

In this CNA occasional paper, Richard Connolly provides a purchasing power parity (PPP)-based estimate of Russian military expenditure that (a) approximates the real scale of resources allocated to military expenditure in Russia and (b)is readily comparable with PPP-adjusted military expenditure in other countries. Connolly makes several keyarguments. First, the use of PPP-based estimates reveals the level of Russian military expenditure to be considerably higher than market exchange rate-based estimates. Second, PPP-based estimates show that the rate of growth ofRussian military expenditure is slower than that suggested by market exchange rate-based estimates. The rate of growth over the last decade was lower than in other "emerging" powers, such as China and India. Third, after adjusting PPP-based estimates of total military expenditure for imported military equipment, Russia has held asteady position as the world's fourth largest military spender behind the United States, China, and India. Fourth, although Russian military expenditure has grown quickly relative to the US and other high-income countries, such asthe United Kingdom, France, and Japan, it has grown at a slower rate than other low- and middle-income emergingpowers, such as China, India, and Saudi Arabia.

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October 9, 2019

In this CNA occasional paper, Aleksei Ramm, one of Russia's leading military journalists, discusses the evolution and modernization of the Russian Army over the past decade. This report examines the major reforms that redefined the Army's mission and capabilities, including the dramatic reconfiguration of the service's organizational relationships and management system and the extensive modernization of weaponry, C4ISR, and other capabilities. The paper outlines the evolution of Russian Army military technology and the associated changes in how the ground forces execute their tactics, techniques, and procedures today. The report also discusses the implications of these changes for the future operational readiness of the Russian military.

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August 14, 2019

This primer is an effort to address a gap in knowledge about cryptocurrencies and the cryptocurrency ecosystem among the policymaking community and advance the understanding of cryptocurrencies and consideration of their national security implications. Cryptocurrencies are strictly digital currencies, are typically overseen by a decentralized peer-to-peer community, and are secured through cryptography. We use clear, non-technical language to describe complex concepts and demystify overly technical terms in order to explain the technical and economic aspects of cryptocurrency, why they are used, and the benefits and drawbacks to cryptocurrencies compared to conventional currencies—like the US dollar. We conclude by considering some cryptocurrency-related issues of which greater exploration would benefit US national security.

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August 14, 2019

Cryptocurrencies are strictly digital currencies, are typically overseen by a decentralized peer-to-peer community, and are secured through cryptography. Cryptocurrencies have relative benefits for those who engage in illicit activity. This paper includes: (1) a detailed taxonomy and examples of nefarious activities involving cryptocurrencies, such as funding terrorist activity, money laundering, cybercrimes, and regulatory crimes; (2) a discussion of state-actor engagement in the cryptocurrency arena that explores Iranian, North Korean, Russian, and Venezuelan activity in skirting sanctions, mining cryptocurrencies, participating in exchange hacking and ransomware, and using cryptocurrencies to fund information operations; (3) analysis attempting to anticipate the mid-term future of the cryptocurrency ecosystem; and (4) the tactical and strategic challenges and opportunities of cryptocurrencies for US special operations forces.

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August 1, 2019

This report represents our plan for the Department of the Space Force (DSF), in satisfaction of the requirement mandated by section 1601(d)(3) of the FY18 NDAA. It details the drivers for creating a Department of the Space Force, our recommendations for the responsibilities and broad structure of the Department, the organizational and resource implications of this design, and the corresponding legislative implementation.

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July 24, 2019

Proxy warfare—that is, conflict in which a "major power instigates or plays a major role in supporting and directing to a conflict but does only a small portion of the actual fighting itself"—is receiving new attention from policymakers, analysts, and practitioners. This study uses a series of four case studies on US involvement in proxy war (the "Secret War" in Laos, the Contras in Central America, the African Union Mission in Somalia, and the Syrian Defense Forces) to develop a set of key themes. These themes, in turn, form the basis of a set of rules of thumb to guide senior decisionmakers as they contemplate the future use of proxy forces. Finally, this report discusses implications for U.S. Special Operations Forces, which are likely to play an increasingly important role in supporting U.S. proxies.

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July 1, 2019

This study examines the implications of offering service members noncontinuous caregiver leave (to care for infants or newly adopted children). House Report 115-676 directed the Secretary of Defense to submit a report assessing the feasibility of flexible parental leave. Policy subject matter experts and commanders across the Department of Defense provided key policy and operational implications. Before implementing a noncontinuous caregiver leave policy, we recommend (1) identifying the needs that can be satisfied by noncontinuous caregiver leave that are not met by other time-off options, (2) considering various types of flexible policies, and (3) assessing the benefits and drawbacks from two recent applications of noncontinuous caregiver leave (2015–2016 Department of the Navy policy and the current US Coast Guard parental leave policy). Taken together, these recommendations will increase the likelihood that any policy change will meet service member needs while balancing mission requirements.

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June 27, 2019

In this paper, Russian defense industry and arms trade expert Sergey Denisentsev looks at the history, current state, and outlook for defense cooperation between Russia and Venezuela. He notes that before the arrival of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela was not among the Russian defense customers. The attempted coup in 2002 and the ensuing restrictions on sales of US weaponry to the country opened up the Venezuelan defense market to Russian suppliers. This paper reviews the Russian arms transfers that enabled a major modernization of the Venezuelan arms forces under Chavez. Those transfers, however, came to an almost complete halt after Chavez died and an economic crisis broke out in Venezuela in 2013. The latest bout of political crisis that began in January 2019 has given a new lease of life to Russian-Venezuelan defense cooperation. That cooperation no longer involves large weapons contracts, but Russia is providing technical support and advice to the Venezuelan military and security services.

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June 11, 2019

On April 18, 2019, CNA hosted a National Security Seminar to examine Iranian military operations and influence activities in Syria and to discuss the potential ramifications of these actions for the United States and its regional allies. The event convened a panel of subject matter experts from the diplomatic, defense, and academic communities and featured an active audience of US government members. As the US prepares to downsize its Syrian presence to a cohort of 400 troops, Iran is redoubling its commitment to become a long-term power broker in Syria. Seminar participants reviewed how Iran has skillfully exploited the conflict in Syria, deploying hybrid warfare—including military action, influence operations, and diplomatic networking—to insinuate itself into local politics.

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June 5, 2019

In this CNA Occasional Paper, Anatoly Zak, a noted expert on the Russian space program, examines Russia's military and dual-purpose spacecraft. He discusses the resurgence of the Russian space program in the past two decades, both the military and civilian components. The paper identifies different satellite classes operated by both the country's military and the civilian space agency, providing a detailed overview of radar imagery and early warning technologies in service today. Zak provides a detailed description of antisatellite capabilities in Russian service, and goes over some of the significant detriments to further progress, such as corruption and quality control issue in the Russian space service. He argues that the "growing pains" of the Russian space industry in the post-Soviet period could eventually be resolved or at least mitigated, allowing more effective use of available resources, cutting the development time, and producing more reliable systems in the future.

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June 5, 2019

In this CNA Occasional Paper, Dr. Igor Delanoe, Deputy-Head, French-Russian Analytical Center Observo (Moscow), examines the development of Russia's Black Sea Fleet since the 2000s. Dr. Delanoe traces the origins of structural changes that affected the fleet through the State Armaments Program beginning in 2011, the Ukrainian crisis and Moscow's renewed emphasis on Black Sea defense. He examines the Fleet in the context of Russia's renewed presence in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, and discusses new concepts and technologies of growing importance to Russia's forward operating naval squadrons. Today, the Black Sea Fleet appears to be a more flexible and multipurpose naval formation. Its area of responsibility has evolved and is focused on the greater Mediterranean region, tasked with the protection of Russia's southern flank, from the Caspian region to the Levant. Dr. Delanoe also discusses transition from the quality naval procurement of the 2011-2020 plan to mass production in a context of financial pressure and sanctions, arguing that the modernization plan of the Black Sea Fleet has proved more resilient in the face of these challenges.

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May 31, 2019

The Emergency Response Information Exchange (ERIE) discussion was a Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) sponsored event at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, on February 12–14, 2019. It showed numerous ways in which forces of foreign militaries stationed in Djibouti can contribute to the government of Djibouti's disaster response operations and improve coordination with one another. ERIE explored coordination among the international military forces in Djibouti and the government of Djibouti to support disaster relief operations led by the government of Djibouti. The scenario examined humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) operations in the immediate aftermath of a large-magnitude earthquake that caused extensive damage in Djibouti City. Based on the discussion during ERIE, this research memorandum presents a series of insights and recommendations on the requirements and expectations for coordination and communication among members of the international community assisting in an HA/DR operation in Djibouti.

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May 20, 2019

Law enforcement agencies continue to develop new and innovative strategies to better support and police the communities they serve, from integrating gunshot detection technologies into dispatch systems to improve response times during shootings, to collaborating with local health and social service organizations to address issues such as homelessness or substance abuse in comprehensively ways. Over the past 10 years, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), in partnership with the CNA Institute for Public Research (IPR), has supported law enforcement agencies across the country in implementing innovative policing approaches through the Strategies for Policing Innovation Initiative (SPI, formerly the Smart Policing Initiative). SPI supports not only the development and implementation of innovative policing strategies, but also the research partnerships that result in in-depth analyses and rigorous evaluations of these strategies to advance what is known about effective and efficient policing practices. This report examines SPI's accomplishments since its inception in 2009 and explores some of the major themes across SPI initiatives in both policing and policing research, including the following: Reductions in violent crime, Improved crime analysis capabilities in police agencies, Evolution of research partnerships with SPI sites, Collaborative partnerships with agencies, organizations, and community stakeholders, and Integration of technology into policing.

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May 10, 2019

The 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) makes clear that competing effectively with state adversaries will be the primary focus of the Department of Defense (DOD) going forward. A key element of modern great power competition (GPC) is irregular warfare (IW), and our adversaries are deftly exploiting unconventional methodologies—particularly the use of information and intermediaries (i.e., proxies and surrogates)—as mediums of national influence. In March 2019, CNA hosted a cohort of academic, government, and military experts for a discussion on how special operations forces (SOF) can best lead or support US Government (USG) efforts to compete successfully on a global scale using information operations and intermediary partnerships. Our discussion addressed the following questions: How can past USG experiences of competing in the information space and engaging with proxy actors inform our approaches to GPC today? What lessons should we draw from unconventional activities used during the Cold War? How should the US conceptualize the use of information and intermediaries given modern advancements in communication technology and social media? What do trends in digital connectivity, along with technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, portend for the future of information and influence activities? How does the lack of a US lead agency for information operations affect the role of SOF in the information battlespace? Which aspects of global information activities should SOF seek, lead, and support? Are there aspects that SOF should avoid? If so, what are they and why? How should the USG envision the role of state and non-state proxy actors in the context of current and future global competition? Should this be a significant feature of future USG strategy and policy? Why or why not? To encourage a frank exchange of ideas, the conversations summarized in the following sections were held under the Chatham House rule of non-attribution. No source citations are included in this document, and no speakers are identified. In the instances where we include quotes from the event, the function is solely to capture compelling phrasing; these quotes should be considered closely paraphrased and should not be interpreted as official statements. The event consisted of three main sessions—a keynote and two panels, each with a subsequent question-and-answer segment—the key themes of which are synthesized and summarized here. All presentations and discussions were unclassified.

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May 8, 2019

For four years, the United States provided the Saudi-led coalition with military equipment and assistance used in its campaign in Yemen. During that time, the US has wrestled with and debated both the legality and wisdom of its support. After four years of conflict in Yemen, the US should be asking: what lessons can be learned from four years of support to the Saudi-led coalition? In light of the significant civilian protection concerns seen in Yemen, is there a way to get better outcomes from security assistance activities? This report aims to answer those questions. We analyze US support to the Saudi-led coalition and identify two gaps in policy and information, respectively. We also examine the timely issue of better protecting health care in the midst of armed conflict. In this report, we provide a policy framework for including civilian protection considerations as part of security assistance.

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April 30, 2019

The Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller) (ASN(FM&C)) sponsored a multipronged effort to explore the effects of actual and potential personnel policy changes on Department of the Navy (DON) personnel inventories and budgets. A primary focus of the study was the impact of changes in the gender mix of personnel on retention and manning, and on the costs associated with maintaining the desired levels of each. This document synthesizes the results of the various efforts undertaken for the study in a cohesive way that creates a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts. In addition to the recommendations associated with each analytical effort, we make two final recommendations: DON policy-makers and analysts should make conscious efforts to avoid cognitive bias when framing policy options and research questions, and they should continue to think outside the box to identify innovative approaches to personnel management.

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April 24, 2019

Wargaming, in what may be called its modern form, has been around for well over 200 years.1 Systems thinking and its more complex variant, systems dynamics, have been prominent techniques in management science since the late 1950s.2 This paper explores the connections between these two powerful tools. It addresses the questions of how wargaming can support those who develop and use systems models, and how such systems models can, in turn, help those who design, control, and play in wargames. These subjects are especially timely because today's theater commanders and their staffs are challenged to conduct—and assess the effectiveness of—"influence operations." The nature of these sorts of operations is always changing, and measures of their effectiveness are at best controversial and at worst, non-existent. Wargaming and systems thinking can help. Our research and analysis of this subject leads us to conclude that wargames and wargaming techniques can help those who develop systems thinking models of operational and strategic interest. Similarly, systems thinking techniques can help wargame designers construct better wargames and explore techniques related to social and political interactions among nations and groups. This paper is intended to help analysts and wargamers understand systems thinking and how it relates to wargaming. Because many in our target audience have at least a basic grasp of the nature of wargaming, but less understanding of the nuances of systems thinking, the first half of the paper is in the form of an overview or tutorial about systems thinking and how to do it. We present several examples and some simple guidelines for how to apply systems thinking to building models of human organizations and processes. The remainder of the paper explores the relationships among systems thinking and wargaming in practical terms. It describes how systems thinking can be used to enhance game design and execution, largely by providing a framework and approach for identifying important processes that a game must represent. A game is inherently a dynamic system model in which the game's players make decisions based on their pre-existing mental models, drawing on their internal experiences and understanding as well as both written and numerical databases. In all but the simplest games, the goal is to examine not only player decision-making processes, but also the dynamic relationships between the various decisions players make. Understanding the dynamics of an interacting system can lead to the discovery of things that would not otherwise be revealed by a linear, prosaic, investigation of the topic. These "perversions" of the expected, which arise in games more frequently than in other forums, stem from several different feed forward and feedback loops, along with unspoken or unanticipated player actions. It is here that systems thinking models can provide unique support for gamers. By depicting clearly the interwoven network of relationships and interactions among complex elements of the environment, systems thinking models can provide wargamers a basis for structuring key elements of the game design and the game mechanics. Systems thinking models can also support both the players and controllers of a game during execution. Wargaming and systems thinking are thus a matched pair of techniques, which, when used together, can help advance the state of the art of operational and strategic planning and assessment.

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April 19, 2019

This report documents an analysis of gender differences in misbehavior rates among enlisted personnel in the Department of the Navy (DON). Using indicators found in personnel data from the US Marine Corps (USMC) and the US Navy (USN), we show that, between fiscal year (FY) 1999 and FY 2015, male misbehavior rates were higher than female rates for every indicator, in every year for both services. Using data from FY 2015, we estimate that higher male misbehavior rates in the USMC (USN) resulted in about 1,400 (2,000) extra incidents of misbehavior and imposed about $57 ($197) million in extra costs. Based on these results, we conclude that excluding costs associated with higher rates of male misbehavior renders cost-benefit analyses of increasing gender integration incomplete. In addition, we recommend that the DON improve cost estimates of misbehavior to allocate resources toward prevention and response as effectively and efficiently as possible.

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April 17, 2019

In 2015, the Navy tripled the length of maternity leave from 6 to 18 weeks. In 2016, it reduced the length of leave to 12 weeks to match the other armed services. For most sailors who give birth, longer maternity leave will reduce the number of weeks they work. Additional leave could, however, also lead to higher reenlistment rates, thereby potentially increasing the net number of weeks of work for the entire enlisted inventory. We analyze the change in female sailors' reenlistment rates relative to those of male sailors before and after the change in maternity leave policy. Although we cannot prove a causal relationship, we estimate that the increase in maternity leave is associated with a 3.7 percentage point increase in female first-term reenlistment rates. We also estimate that higher reenlistment rates increase weeks of work by over three times the number of weeks lost because of the additional leave.

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April 17, 2019

On average, female enlisted sailors have lower continuation rates than male sailors, but the size of the difference varies by enlisted management community (EMC) and years of service. To fill requirements as the female share of accessions increases, the Navy can increase the overall number of accessions, increase retention bonuses, or both. The choices generate different costs for each EMC that depend on the required accession qualifications (e.g., recruiting effort and training intensity/time), the EMC billet structure, and the size of the gender differences in continuation rates. We present a prototype stochastic inventory projection model that helps make two main decisions for each of 5 EMCs independently: (1) number of accessions and (2) selective reenlistment bonus (SRB) levels. For different levels of the female share of accessions, the model minimizes cost while meeting manning requirements. We then employ a second cost minimization routine (i.e., a bi-level optimization) to find the cost-minimizing solution across the five EMCs. If expanded to all EMCs, the model could provide analytic support for finding cost-minimizing accession and SRB plans.

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April 1, 2019

The United States must prepare to compete with Russia without a treaty that verifiably constrains intercontinental-range nuclear weapons. This coming challenge stems from three changes in US-Russian relations. First, the United States has officially transitioned from strategic partnership to strategic competition as the basis for its Russia policy. By acknowledging Russia's revisionist intentions, the 2018 National Defense Strategy codified an assessment that took root in the United States and many other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) states after Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has garnered more support every year. This assessment is accompanied by growing appreciation that Russia's political-military strategy poses a full-spectrum foreign and defense policy challenge for the United States. "Russia is challenging US and NATO interests below the threshold of armed conflict, while simultaneously fielding high-end forces to make the barrier to entry for war extremely costly and dangerous for the United States," explains a former US senior defense official.1 In a major departure from the 1990s, 2000s, and part of the current decade, the United States is now developing a political-military strategy to counter Russia. Second, in another change from the past 25 years, Russia is in the final stages of its nuclear modernization program. It fields a modern force of intercontinental-range, commonly described as "strategic," nuclear forces, and is capable of increasing its deployed arsenal. The United States is also modernizing its nuclear forces, albeit on a different schedule. Both countries are expanding their strategic-military postures to include non-nuclear systems capable of achieving strategic effects. Strategic-military interactions between the United States and Russia in the next two decades will be markedly different than the previous two, with multiple acquisition, development, and deployment pathways available to both. Third, the nuclear arms control treaty framework the United States and Russia have built and sustained over decades is on the precipice. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) will expire next decade. It will reach its 10-year duration in February 2021, though the United States and Russia have the option of extending it for up to 5 years. As of early 2019, the prospects for New START extension are uncertain. Regardless of when New START expires, there is a strong possibility that a follow-on treaty will not be forthcoming. Recognizing these changing conditions, the report explores risks, uncertainties, and US policy options for a world in which there is significant competition between Washington and Moscow, but no bilateral strategic nuclear arms control treaty.

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March 29, 2019

Organizational Troop-to-Task (OT3) resource-management wargames allow players to assign personnel under their command to meet the tasking of a higher headquarters throughout the narrative storyline of the wargame. We outline the rules and requirements to assemble and execute an OT3 wargame and provide a simplified "print-and-play" example. We discuss the data that can be collected, as well as what can be gleamed from that data—namely, (1) as an assessment of whether the organizational staff is "right-sized" for the given narrative storyline and its explicit or implied tasking; (2) an assessment of the gaps and seams of the organization, exploring where the organizational design may impede required information flow; and (3) a broad understanding of how an organization might respond to a given sequence of events.

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March 1, 2019

There are no currently-known, formal studies of the frequency and use of common operational picture (COP) technology in law enforcement. This market review report is part of an overarching mixed-methods study that will include a national survey of law enforcement agencies to discern the types of COP technology used in the field and a set of case studies on the COP technology adoption process, lessons learned, and best practices for implementing and using COP technologies. This market review illustrates COP technology features and capabilities available to law enforcement agencies, though these technologies may not necessarily be in use.

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February 5, 2019

Over the past decade, China's presence in the Middle East and Indian Ocean has expanded significantly. While great attention has been paid to China's growing economic presence as part of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative, in reality, China's activities in the region had been increasing well before the start of Xi Jinping's signature policy initiative. Moreover, this growth has occurred across a wide range of domains, including military, diplomatic, economic, and even informational. How is China's presence in the Middle East and Western Indian Ocean evolving, and what does it mean for the United States and its equities in the region? This study examines China's growing presence in 23 states throughout the Middle East, East Africa, and Western Indian Ocean. It analyzes the drivers of China's growing presence in this region, as well as China's various diplomatic, informational, military, and economic domains. By doing so, this study seeks to move the discussion of China's growing global activities beyond discussions of Belt and Road, provide a more comprehensive understanding of how China's presence in the Middle East and Western Indian Ocean region is evolving, and improve our understanding of what these changes mean for the U.S. Navy and U.S. national security interests more broadly.

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February 4, 2019

A review of 30 years of analyses identifies military organizational "pathologies" that result in inefficiency, dysfunction and dissolution.

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