PRISM is published by National Defense University. PRISM is a security studies journal chartered to inform members of U.S. Federal Agencies, Allies, and other partners on complex and integrated national security operations; reconstruction and nationbuilding; relevant policy and strategy; lessons learned; and developments in training and education to transform America’s security and development apparatus to meet tomorrow’s challenges better while promoting freedom today.

Commanding Heights

The CCO published the book Commanding Heights to provide strategic lessons learned in the complex ops arena. CCO Director of Research, Michael Miklaucic, edited this compilation of essays from senior leaders to capture their most salient lessons learned from their personal experiences managing the challenges of such complex situations as the Balkans, Somalia, Haiti, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Case Studies

The Center for Complex Operations Case Studies Series provides classroom teaching case studies that focus on complex operations — stability, security, transition and reconstruction, counterinsurgency and irregular warfare. These teaching cases are provided with instructor guides and are relevant to the many disciplines needed to achieve stability goals — establishment of safe and secure environments, the rule of law, social well-being, good governance, and sustainable economic growth.The protagonists in the case studies include the many actors involved in a comprehensive approach to complex operations– governmental, nongovernmental, public and private, domestic and international.


This on-line lexicon is intended as a tool to help strip away one source of the endemic miscommunication and friction that now plagues both soldiers and civilians, government and non-government, who plan, coordinate, and execute the complex set of overlapping civil-military activities and tasks that have come to characterize armed conflicts and their aftermath. Part of that confusion stems from the widely varied vocabulary used by these many actors. Each organization possesses its own unique terminology, perfectly clear to its members, but foggy to others. Even when words look and sound familiar they often have quite different and sometimes alien meanings. Anyone who has attended an acronym and jargon-laced coordination meeting of military, civilian government, and NGO representatives knows the frustration of trying to interpret what is meant by words that have many different connotations.