Cambria Press Publication Review – A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia

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Cambria Press Publication Review for A New Strategy for Complex Warfare

Congratulations to Colonel Thomas Drohan (PhD, Princeton University), Head of the Department of Military & Strategic Studies at the United States Air Force (USAF) Academy, on the outstanding review by the journal Parameters of his book, A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia.

This book, which is part of the new Cambria Rapid Communications in Conflict and Security Studies (RCSS) Series (general editor: Dr. Geoffrey R. H. Burn), was published by Cambria Press in 2016 and launched at the ISA and AAS conferences.

The review notes that “in placing weapons-centric strategic changes front and center, policymakers are putting the cart before the horse. Thankfully Drohan, a scholar with a doctorate from Princeton who now heads the Department of Military and Strategic Studies at the US Air Force Academy after years of his own military service, is in a unique position to bridge this gap between academic theorists and policy practitioners, a task he successfully accomplishes.”

It commends the book because it “does much of the heavy lifting required for acquiring a proper understanding of Asian security cultures. Few works have succeeded as much as this one at succinctly explaining centuries of Asian cultural history and contextualizing that history to current security issues in the region. Members of the security community will greatly benefit from this unique perspective.”

The review also emphasizes how “Drohan does not simply provide policymakers with pages of historical detail and no guidelines for determining its relevance. He excels in explaining the implications cultural histories have for US security strategy and prescribes both philosophical and pragmatic changes practitioners should make.”

Buy A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia for only $29.95 today on Amazon.

China’s Response to Territorial Disputes

The Economist recently reported that “the Permanent Court of Arbitration, an international tribunal in The Hague, has declared China’s “historic claims” in the South China Sea invalid. It was an unexpectedly wide-ranging and clear-cut ruling, and it has enraged China.” As the region and the United States anxiously await China’s response, Colonel Thomas Drohan’s new book, A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia, provides useful insights in gauging China’s possible reactions.

East Asia Warfare Strategy

The book’s concept of combined effects warfare shows how Chinese strategy in East Asia is so effective against the combined arms-heavy approach of the US such as in recent “rebalancing,” relative weaknesses in the key US-Japan alliance and mounting Chinese capabilities account for the timing of Chinese actions; and Chinese security culture explains why China pursues a strategy of blending confrontation with cooperation. It explains contemporary China’s combined-effects approach to complex warfare, specifically which includes the kind of persistent reexpansion we are seeing in the South China Sea:

“Current operations seek to fragment rivals on China’s borders and occupy China-claimed territories with complex invasions…Party operations play an existential role in constructing and justifying both an intuitive moral order and a central authority. Major combined-effects offensives include:

  1. a) Military, economic, and political operations to reorient Taiwan toward the mainland
  2. b) Diplomatic partnering with the Soviet Union, then conducting ideological warfare against it
  3. c) Support of Vietnam, and then warfare against it to ensure cliental loyalty to China
  4. d) Seizure of disputed Southeast Asian territory while expanding ties with claimants
  5. e) Incursions in Japan-claimed territory while increasing ties with Japan and the U.S.
  6. f) Maritime reclamation (dredging) operations create, occupy, and militarize new territory.

China’s leaders value holistic, sustainable operations, consistent with the assumption that threats are permanent and any elimination of them are temporary…”

The book also explains how how the limitations of of the US-Japan alliance empower China’s combined-effect strategy in the South China Sea.

“However, the limits of the US-Japan alliance–such as restricting Japanese defense to its own territory– facilitate China’s desired combined effect. Thus, China does not have to integrate its problematic effects of masking its predatory intent while increasing its military-economic strength, stirring anti-Japanese nationalism that does not empower Chinese democracy, and isolating Japan from US intervention, as long as Japan and the United States are complying with these effects anyway.”

In addition, the book helpfully explains why China’s strategy emphasizes military and economic confrontation (in the South China Sea)– while at the same time claiming to be all about harmony and peace as China follows up the UN Tribunals ruling again them with threats to establish an ADIZ and use all of that to “negotiate” its expanding new normal.

“Chinese security culture can help us understand continuity in Chinese strategies and why elites cannot afford to fold in the face of foreign pressure if they are to retain domestic influence. Confrontational sovereignty claims trump tangible benefits of cooperative interdependence. Moral order, central authority, and territorial integrity persist as highly valued interests, particularly among China’s single-Party leadership. So while modernization has strengthened national capabilities, it has also increased national willpower. When China has had the capability to engage other powers as an equal or more, it has done so. We can infer that military equality is the PLA’s precondition for expanding military-to-military relations with the U.S. The loss of ideological sovereignty in the past has become the consensus threat to national security. Ideological sovereignty is closely connected to economic nationalism.”

A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia is part of the  Rapid Communications in Conflict and Security (RCCS) Series, headed by Dr. Geoffrey R. H. Burn.

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The Necessary Evil of Preventive Detention in the War on Terror

The Chronicle of Higher Education just published an online article “My Student, the ‘Terrorist'” by Jeanne Theoharis, professor of political science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and co-founder of the group Educators for Civil Liberties. As seen, there are still many questions surrounding the preventive detention in the War on Terror.

Security Studies Cambria Press publication author review book

In her book The Necessary Evil of Preventive Detention in the War on Terror, praised by Professor Alan M. Dershowitz, Harvard University as “compelling and informative,” Dr. Stephanie Cooper Blum explores the underlying rationales for preventive detention as a tool in this war on terror; analyzes the legal obstacles to creating a preventive detention regime; discusses how Israel and Britain have dealt with incapacitation and interrogation of terrorists; and compares several alternative ideas to the administration’s enemy combatant policy under a methodology that looks at questions of lawfulness, the balance between liberty and security, and institutional efficiency.

Dr. Blum noted that:

“The United States was completely unprepared on 9/11, and the resulting enemy combatant policy seems to be an ad hoc response to insecurity. In comparing other countries’ approaches to preventive detention, the question should not be how does the United States create a perfect regime—because that cannot happen—the question is how does the United States create a regime that can at least provide some meaningful judicial review, some access to counsel, some congressional oversight, and some balance to unilateral executive discretion. While Britain’s and Israel’s approaches to preventive detention are not perfect—and frequently lambasted by their own human-rights groups—they do demonstrate that democracies facing serious and long-term terrorist threats can provide more overall due process and substantive rights to detainees than America’s years of incommunicado and indefinite executive detention. Israel and Britain had the advantage (if it can be called that) of decades of dealing with terrorism before 9/11. It only makes sense that the United States should look to their experiences to see if any of their principles can be applied to the United States’ unique kind of government.”

About the author: Stephanie Cooper Blum holds a JD from The University of Chicago Law School, a BA from Yale College, and will be receiving a MA in security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security in December 2008. She has worked in the private sector and served as a law clerk to three federal judges. She is an attorney for the Transportation Security Administration.

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