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Moral Choices Without Moral Language: 1950s Political-Military Wargaming at the RAND Corporation

Moral Choices Without Moral Language: 1950s Political-Military Wargaming at the RAND Corporation

The RAND Corporation was the site of early-Cold War knowledge production. Its scientists laid the foundations of nuclear deterrence, game theoretic approaches to international politics, defense acquisition, and theories on the future of war. The popularized…

The Political Effects of Social Media Platforms on Different Regime Types

The Political Effects of Social Media Platforms on Different Regime Types

American social media platforms can affect the political systems of different states in varying ways. The effect varies both between and within democratic and authoritarian states and depends mainly on three political actors: domestic opposition, external…

Erosion by Deference: Civilian Control and the Military in Policymaking

Erosion by Deference: Civilian Control and the Military in Policymaking

Delegating policymaking functions to members of the military profession can undermine civilian control in democracies, and yet democratic leaders continue to do just this. So why do leaders of democratic states delegate policymaking responsibilities to the…

The Truth About Tripwires: Why Small Force Deployments Do Not Deter Aggression

The Truth About Tripwires: Why Small Force Deployments Do Not Deter Aggression

A pillar of American grand strategy since 1945 has been the deployment of forces — sometimes smaller and sometimes larger — abroad. A key logic underpinning smaller deployments is that they serve as tripwires: Attacking them is assumed to inevitably…

An Episode of Existential Uncertainty: The Ontological Security Origins of the War in Donbas

An Episode of Existential Uncertainty: The Ontological Security Origins of the War in Donbas

Despite the fact that the war in eastern Ukraine has been ongoing for over seven years, there remains no satisfactory answer as to what prompted Moscow to invade Donbas in the first place. Explanations range from materialist to ideational — however, none get…

Keeping Norms Normal: Ancient Perspectives on Norms in Civil-Military Relations

Keeping Norms Normal: Ancient Perspectives on Norms in Civil-Military Relations

The norms that uphold democratic values are a vital part of a healthy system of civil-military relations, but they are not well understood in the United States today. Ancient political philosophers, however, developed rich analyses of what norms are and how…

The Future of Sino-U.S. Proxy War

The Future of Sino-U.S. Proxy War

Strategic thought in both the United States and China has focused on the potential for a Sino-U.S. interstate war and downplayed the odds of a clash in a foreign internal conflict. However, great-power military competition is likely to take the form of proxy…

From Citizen Soldier to Secular Saint: The Societal Implications of Military Exceptionalism

From Citizen Soldier to Secular Saint: The Societal Implications of Military Exceptionalism

For nearly 40 years, the American public has placed extraordinary trust and confidence in the military, celebrating heroism and service in diverse venues ranging from religious services to theme parks to sporting events. Survey after survey has shown that…

The Gulf War’s Afterlife: Dilemmas, Missed Opportunities, and the Post-Cold War Order Undone

The Gulf War’s Afterlife: Dilemmas, Missed Opportunities, and the Post-Cold War Order Undone

The Gulf War is often remembered as a “good war,” a high-tech conflict that quickly and cleanly achieved its objectives. Yet, new archival evidence sheds light on the extended fallout from the war and challenges this neat narrative. The Gulf War left…

What Is a Cyber Warrior? The Emergence of U.S. Military Cyber Expertise, 1967–2018

What Is a Cyber Warrior? The Emergence of U.S. Military Cyber Expertise, 1967–2018

How have military cyber operations, a diverse set of activities that often differ little from civilian cyber security work, achieved the status of “warfighting”? What activities have the greatest warfighting status, what activities have the least, and why?…

Citizens, Suspects, and Enemies: Examining Police Militarization

Citizens, Suspects, and Enemies: Examining Police Militarization

Concern about the increasing militarization of police has grown in recent years. Much of this concern focuses on the material aspects of militarization: the greater use of military equipment and tactics by police officers. While this development deserves…

A Crisis of Diverging Perspectives: U.S.-Russian Relations and the Security Dilemma

A Crisis of Diverging Perspectives: U.S.-Russian Relations and the Security Dilemma

Aspects of the relationship between Russia and the United States can be conceptualized as a security dilemma. Each side perceives a serious threat from the other and takes countermeasures that further provoke insecurity for the adversary. Bilateral ties have…