Defense Institution Building Book

Effective, Legitimate, Secure: Insights for Defense Institution Building

Edited by Alexandra Kerr and Michael Miklaucic

Today, the United States faces a security paradox. On the one hand, the U.S. military is unrivaled in size, strength, capacity, and budget; on the other hand, the global operating environment of the 21st century is diffuse and complex, and threats are often asymmetric and transnational. Such challenges stipulate that no single nation, regardless of its traditional military might, can completely address its security objectives alone. Developing a network of competent partners that can share the burdens and responsibilities of global security is therefore vital to U.S. interests. The challenge is how to best invest resources to help establish strong and capable defense partners. To this end, traditional security cooperation and assistance approaches have proven insufficient to instate sustained improvements to partners’ defense sectors. Defense institution building (DIB) seeks to fill this gap by supporting partner stakeholders as they seek to develop the systemic capabilities and strong institutional foundations needed for legitimate, effective, professional, and sustainable defense sectors that are responsive to civilian control and contribute to the overall security and prosperity of the state—and in turn, to regional stability and U.S. national security. Effective, Legitimate, Secure: Insights for Defense Institution Building offers an introduction to the concept of DIB and argues that establishing effective and legitimate defense institutions to undergird a partner’s defense establishment is the only way to ensure long-term security.

Impunity Book Cover

IMPUNITY:  Countering Illicit Power In War and Transition

Edited By Michelle Hughes and Michael Miklaucic

A serious and effective effort to meet the challenges of illicit power in the 21st century will require technology,    global partnership, and an integrated, comprehensive campaign driven by international commitment and    broad political will. Of the many important lessons that emerge from these essays the most important is to be skeptical of concepts that divorce conflict from its political and human nature, particularly those that promise fast, cheap victories through technology while ignoring the need to confront illicit power in war and transition.

Beyond Covergence Book Cover

BEYOND CONVERGENCE:  World Without Order

Edited by Hilary Matfess and Michael Miklaucic

A follow-on collection of essays to the successful book Convergence: Illicit Networks and National Security in the Age of Globalization.  Since then, events around the world have evolved, confirming the threat posed against world order.  A range of new actors and emerging dynamics have rapidly evolved with in the global operating environment.  Beyond Convergence: World Without Order begins mapping these new actors and dynamics, providing evidence of collaboration, collusion, and coordination among diverse networked nonstate adversaries.  Illicit networks, including terrorists, insurgents, and transnational criminal organizations, pose an existential threat to many states, and cumulatively to the rule of law-based global system of states.  

Unity of Mission Book Cover

UNITY OF MISSION: Civilian-Military Teams in War and Peace

Edited By Jon Gundersen and Melanne Civic

While much has been written about civilian-military teams in Vietnam and, most recently, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the subject has not been addressed in a single, comprehensive publication containing historical context and reflecting a broad diversity of views. It is the intention of the coeditors of Unity of Mission to fill this gap. The authors are convinced that without unity among military and civilian actors, long-term mission success is difficult at best. They believe the essays contained in this volume attest to this assertion. They are also fully aware that civilian-military teams are not a silver bullet. Rather, at best, such teams serve as a useful tool in a more comprehensive security framework. Nevertheless, in an age of budgetary constraints, the need to coordinate military and civilian resources—hard, kinetic, and soft power—is clear. It is the opinion of the coeditors that civilian-military teams are critical to achieving the goals of sustainable peace, stability, and security.

Lessons Encountered Book Cover

Lessons Encountered: Learning from the Long War

Edited by Richard D. Hooker, Jr., and Joseph J. Collins

Lessons Encountered: Learning from the Long War began as two questions from General Martin E. Dempsey, 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: What were the costs and benefits of the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what were the strategic lessons of these campaigns? The Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University was tasked to answer these questions. The editors composed a volume that assesses the war and analyzes the costs, using the Institute’s considerable in-house talent and the dedication of the NDU Press team. The audience for this volume is senior officers, their staffs, and the students in joint professional military education courses—the future leaders of the Armed Forces. Other national security professionals should find it of great value as well.The volume begins with an introduction that addresses the difficulty of learning strategic lessons and a preview of the major lessons identified in the study. It then moves on to an analysis of the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq from their initiation to the onset of the U.S. Surges. The study then turns to the Surges themselves as tests of assessment and adaptation. The next part focuses on decisionmaking, implementation, and unity of effort. The volume then turns to the all-important issue of raising and mentoring indigenous security forces, the basis for the U.S. exit strategy in both campaigns. Capping the study is a chapter on legal issues that range from detention to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. The final chapter analyzes costs and benefits, dissects decisionmaking in both campaigns, and summarizes the lessons encountered. Supporting the volume are three annexes: one on the human and financial costs of the Long War and two detailed timelines for histories of Afghanistan and Iraq and the U.S. campaigns in those countries. The lessons encountered in Afghanistan and Iraq at the strategic level inform our understanding of national security decisionmaking, intelligence, the character of contemporary conflict, and unity of effort and command.  They stand alongside the lessons of other wars and remind future senior officers that those who fail to learn from past mistakes are bound to repeat them.

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Convergence Book Cover


Edited by Michael Miklaucic and Jacqueline Brewer

The Center for Complex Operations (CCO) has produced this edited volume, Convergence: Illicit Networks and National Security in the Age of Globalization, that delves deeply into everything mentioned above and more. In a time when the threat is growing, this is a timely effort. CCO has gathered an impressive cadre of authors to illuminate the important aspects of transnational crime and other illicit networks. They describe the clear and present danger and the magnitude of the challenge of converging and connecting illicit networks; the ways and means used by transnational criminal networks and how illicit networks actually operate and interact; how the proliferation, convergence, and horizontal diversification of illicit networks challenge state sovereignty; and how different national and international organizations are fighting back. A deeper understanding of the problem will allow us to then develop a more comprehensive, more effective, and more enduring solution.

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Monopoly of Force

Monopoly of Force

Edited by Melanne A. Civic and Michael Miklaucic 

The loss by many states of the monopoly of the legitimate use of force has contributed significantly to the proliferation of failed and failing states worldwide. In such states, a multitude of threats, including insurgencies, terrorist networks, transnational organized crime, and illicit shadow economies, flourish. These states often become trapped in cycles of violent conflict that threaten stability and security at home, in their neighborhoods, and throughout the world. States emerging from conflict are highly prone to return to conflict within the first few years of postconflict status. The widespread availability of lethal weapons exacerbates the tensions that already permeate conflict and postconflict environments. The mechanism of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) is widely acknowledged to be an essential component of successful peacekeeping, peace-building, postconflict management, and state-building. Security sector reform (SSR) has emerged as a promising though poorly understood tool for consolidating stability and establishing sovereignty after conflict. While DDR enables a state to recover the monopoly (or at least the preponderance) of force, SSR provides the opportunity for the state to establish the legitimacy of that monopoly. The essays in this book reflect the diversity of experience in DDR and SSR in various contexts. Despite the considerable experience acquired by the international community, the critical interrelationship between DDR and SSR and the ability to use these mechanisms with consistent success remain less than optimally developed. DDR and SSR are essential tools of modern statecraft, but their successful use is contingent upon our understanding of both the affinities and the tensions between them. These essays aim to excite further thought on how these two processes—DDR and SSR—can be implemented effectively and complimentarily to better accomplish the shared goals of viable states and enduring peace

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Commanding Heights Book

Commanding Heights

Edited by Michael Miklaucic

The CCO recently published the book “Commanding Heights” to provide strategic lessons learned in the complex ops arena. The PDF is attached below. 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.

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