PRISM - The Journal of Complex Operations

PRISM - The Journal of Complex Operations PRISM, a part of the Institute for National Strategic Studies, is located at the National Defense University in Washington D.C. The congressionally mandated Center for Complex Operations (CCO) was established within the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) at the National Defense University in February 2009.
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Its purpose is to address a widely perceived need for improved interagency interoperability in analysis of, planning for, and intervening in complex operations worldwide.

Great power competition in Africa takes place not only in the economic dimension. China has emerged as a prominent playe...
08/06/2020
China Promotes Its Party-Army Model in Africa – Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Great power competition in Africa takes place not only in the economic dimension. China has emerged as a prominent player in the military domain as well, with a new military base in Djibouti, and extensive military-to-military relationships, especially in Southern Africa. China receives around 5,000 African military professionals each year in educational programs that indoctrinate the Chinese “party-army” model. In PRISM V.9,N.1 (forthcoming this summer) Katherine Zimmerman—"Does the United States Have Any Interests in Africa? Its Adversaries Do!”—argues that the United States must retain a robust military presence in Africa in order to compete for influence on the continent.

China’s party-army model is antithetical to the multiparty democratic systems with an apolitical military accountable to an elected civilian leadership adopted by most African countries.

“Zero trust” is one approach to countering penetration of sensitive communications networks by adversaries. For a deeper...
08/05/2020
Pentagon wrestles with adopting zero-trust security approach

“Zero trust” is one approach to countering penetration of sensitive communications networks by adversaries. For a deeper dive into “zero trust” keep your eyes open for “Don’t Trust Anyone: The ABCs of Building Resilient Telecommunications Networks,” by Andy Purdy, Vladimir M. Yordanov, and Yair Kler in PRISM V.9,N.1 (forthcoming this summer). These Huawei cybersecurity professionals argue that, “When it comes to managing risks in cyberspace, the best approach is to distrust everyone.

Work from home caused by the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated conversations about zero-trust, several IT officials have said recently.

In PRISM V.8,N.4 author Thomas Donahue argued strongly for choosing alternatives to Huawei in the development of 5G netw...
07/27/2020
To be competitive in 5G, the US must play offense, not defense

In PRISM V.8,N.4 author Thomas Donahue argued strongly for choosing alternatives to Huawei in the development of 5G networks in his article “The Worst Possible Day: U.S. Telecommunications and Huawei”

PRISM V.9,N.1 features a counter-argument by authors from Huawei (coming in August).

The U.S. squabbling with itself only yields an uncontested “win” for China.

In PRISM Vol. 9, No.1, Shanthi Kalathil offers a broader perspective on digital influence operations in “Evolution of Au...
07/24/2020
Divide et impera: A look at Russia’s information warfare activities

In PRISM Vol. 9, No.1, Shanthi Kalathil offers a broader perspective on digital influence operations in “Evolution of Authoritarian Digital Influence” (coming this August).

If you notice a looming crisis in a Western country, a Russian propaganda campaign may be waiting in the wings.

Despite U.S. national security pivot to great power competition, the salafi jihadist movement lives on.
07/20/2020
US Efforts to Deal Islamic State ‘Enduring Defeat’ on Hold

Despite U.S. national security pivot to great power competition, the salafi jihadist movement lives on.

Hopes of delivering the Islamic State a lasting defeat in Iraq and Syria have, for now, fallen by the wayside, according to officials with the U.S.-led coalition, despite a ramped-up crackdown on the terror group’s network of cells and facilitators. "It’s more about keeping down ISIS,” an offi...

As the National Security and National Defense Strategies state, the world has entered a phase of great power competition...
06/24/2020
PRISM Vol. 8, No. 4

As the National Security and National Defense Strategies state, the world has entered a phase of great power competition in which the United States is confronted by a rising China and a resurgent Russia. PRISM V.8,N.4 offers perspective on this competition with articles by Sir Lawrence Freedman, the Honorable Joseph Nye, and the Honorable Andrew Natsios.

As the National Security and National Defense Strategies state, the world has entered a phase of great power competition in which the United States is confronted by a rising China and a resurgent Russia. PRISM V.8, N.4 offers perspective on this competition with articles by Sir Lawrence Freedman, th...

Congress may unite on fighting China with $100B tech industry boost.PRISM began mapping the national security challenge ...
05/28/2020
Congress may unite on fighting China with $100B tech industry boost

Congress may unite on fighting China with $100B tech industry boost.

PRISM began mapping the national security challenge of emerging, disruptive technologies with PRISM V.8,N.3 (https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Journals/PRISM/PRISM-8-3/), which includes articles on artificial intelligence, neuroweapons, and 5G technology competition. Expect more on this in forthcoming issues.

Congress would pump $100 billion into the National Science Foundation for research into artificial intelligence, quantum computing, advanced communications, robotics and more under a bipartisan proposal led by the Senate’s top Democrat.

EU’s top diplomat warns against defense cutshttps://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2020/05/12/eus-top-diplomat-warns-...
05/13/2020
EU’s top diplomat warns against defense cuts

EU’s top diplomat warns against defense cuts

https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2020/05/12/eus-top-diplomat-warns-against-defense-cuts/

Unprecedented demands on government budgets worldwide to meet the COVID-19 challenge will put great pressure on security and defense budgets, especially in those states where governments are accountable to citizens. However COVID-19 has not eliminated real security threats facing those governments. For insight on a European defense vision, see “Taking Responsibility in a Dangerous World,” by former EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini in PRISM Vol. 8, No. 2; https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/1979751/taking-responsibility-in-a-dangerous-world/.

Talks between the 27 EU member countries over their next long-term budget have been blocked for more than a year, well before the coronavirus hit Europe.

Standards Bodies Are Under Friendly Fire in the War on Huaweihttps://www.lawfareblog.com/standards-bodies-are-under-frie...
05/07/2020
Standards Bodies Are Under Friendly Fire in the War on Huawei

Standards Bodies Are Under Friendly Fire in the War on Huawei
https://www.lawfareblog.com/standards-bodies-are-under-friendly-fire-war-huawei

“Is the U.S. shooting itself in the foot? Trump administration guidance that restrains U.S. technology companies from participating in international standards-setting efforts because of the presence of Huawei and other sanctioned companies could be self-defeating. Participation in such standard-setting is key to technological innovation, and an inability to participate could negatively affect U.S. competitiveness. For an in-depth analysis U.S./China competition, specifically in the 5G race against Huawei, as well as alternative options for the U.S government, see Tom Donahue’s article, “The Worst Possible Day” in PRISM V8 N3https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Portals/68/Documents/prism/prism_8-3/prism_8-3.pdf

The Commerce Department’s muddled guidance could put the United States’s technological advantage at risk and could decrease the likelihood that U.S. companies’ preferences will be incorporated in international standards.

In “What 9/11 Taught Us About Leadership in a Crisis” Stanley McChrystal and Chris Fussell argue that leadership is mold...
03/27/2020
Opinion | What 9/11 Taught Us About Leadership in a Crisis

In “What 9/11 Taught Us About Leadership in a Crisis” Stanley McChrystal and Chris Fussell argue that leadership is molded at every level in times of crisis ” (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/opinion/coronavirus-mcchrystal-leadership.html). Complex military operations and other crisis operations require adaptive thinking; this is relevant to managing the COVID19 crisis. Fletcher Professor Richard Shultz described McChrystal’s approach to crisis leadership in Iraq in "The Irreducible Minimum" An Evaluation of Counterterrorism Operations in Iraq” (https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/1983604/the-irreducible-minimum-an-evaluation-of-counterterrorism-operations-in-iraq/)

Sept. 11 changed how U.S. Special Forces operated — and offers lessons for today’s leaders.

In his recent article, “The Evolution of the Most Lethal Criminal Organization in Brazil—the PCC,” Brazilian Journalist ...
03/26/2020
The Evolution of the Most Lethal Criminal Organization in Brazil—the P

In his recent article, “The Evolution of the Most Lethal Criminal Organization in Brazil—the PCC,” Brazilian Journalist Leonardo Coutinho addressed the rise and importance of the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC), Brazil's largest criminal organization (PRISM V.8, No.1; https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/1943465/the-evolution-of-the-most-lethal-criminal-organization-in-brazilthe-pcc/). A recent report by Dr. Ryan Berg for AEI elaborates on the scale of the PCC's operations and describes how the firm-handed response (mão dura) is going under President Bolsonaro. Read his report to learn about his 10 policy solutions to combat the PCC: https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/breaking-out-brazils-first-capital-command-and-the-emerging-prison-based-threat/.

After more than a decade of denying its existence, Brazilian authorities have finally recognized the PCC—referring to Primeiro Comando da Capital, or First Capital Command—as a criminal organization

In an effort to counter advancements made in 5G by the Chinese telecommunications supplier Huawei, President Trump has s...
03/25/2020
Trump administration must produce 5G security strategy under new law

In an effort to counter advancements made in 5G by the Chinese telecommunications supplier Huawei, President Trump has signed a new 5G security bill requiring the development of a plan to address 5G security concerns, the establishment of 5G best practices, and an assessment of U.S. manufacturers. For an in-depth analysis of the role Huawei and 5G play in U.S. national security, as well as alternative responses to rising Chinese dominance in the industry, see Thomas Donahue’s “The Worst Possibly Day” in PRISM V.8N.4https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Portals/68/Documents/prism/prism_8-3/prism_8-3.pdf

The law requires the president to send a report to Congress on how the administration will address several 5G security challenges.

In her recent article, “Taking Responsibility in a Dangerous World,” former EU Minister for Foreign Policy and Security ...
03/18/2020
Taking Responsibility in a Dangerous World

In her recent article, “Taking Responsibility in a Dangerous World,” former EU Minister for Foreign Policy and Security Federica Mogherini addressed the importance of the EU taking on greater responsibility for its defense (PRISM V.8,No.2; https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/1979751/taking-responsibility-in-a-dangerous-world/). The small Baltic state of Estonia has made a strong commitment to defense cooperation. In a recent interview Estonia's Defence Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Martin Herem spoke on the gaps in defense and military mobility in the Baltics (https://www.defensenews.com/interviews/2020/03/16/estonias-top-military-officer-on-putting-aside-national-interests-for-regional-defense/). Herem emphasized that the Baltic states must develop capabilities to both defend, maintain, and in case of foreign occupation regain national sovereignty through resistance. In PRISM V.8, No.4 (forthcoming) authors Otto Fiala and Ulrica Pettersson describes the steps the Baltic region must take for its defense capabilities as a region (look for “ROC(K) Solid Preparedness Resistance Operations Concept in the Shadow of Russia” in PRISM V.8,N.4, for planning resistance).

The NATO partnership is indeed evolving, and some analysts describe a growing rift across the ocean. Yet transatlantic cooperation today is more important than ever. Beyond any disagreement we might

https://www.foxnews.com/tech/navy-arms-destroyers-with-new-laser-weapons  Just recently, the U.S. Navy installed a new c...
03/05/2020
Navy arms destroyers with new laser weapons

https://www.foxnews.com/tech/navy-arms-destroyers-with-new-laser-weapons


Just recently, the U.S. Navy installed a new counter drone laser weapon called the Optical Dazzling Interdictor (ODIN) aboard the guided missile destroyer, the USS Dewey. This is the first time a laser weapon has been placed on a destroyer as both an offensive and defensive weapon for the possibility of enemy drones who could track and surveil U.S. Navy ships. The ODIN laser weapon is configured to track and disable enemy drones to throw them off course by jamming their sensors. For a comprehensive description and analysis of what directed energy weapons are read “Directed Energy Weapons Are Real . . . And Disruptive” by Henry “Trey” Obering III in PRISM Vol.8, No.3; https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/2053280/directed-energy-weapons-are-real-and-disruptive/.

Enemy drones over the ocean could track and surveil U.S. Navy ships, designate targets for aircraft or maritime attacks, or even fire dangerous weapons themselves at surface ships.

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51576445Russia's hybrid-warfare tactics strike again, as the United States, the UK, ...
02/24/2020
A Small State Perspective on the Evolving Nature of Cyber Conflict: Le

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51576445
Russia's hybrid-warfare tactics strike again, as the United States, the UK, and Georgia confirm its attempt to undermine Georgia's sovereignty. Last year, Russia performed a significant cyber attack which knocked out more than 2,000 websites throughout Georgia. Two of the websites targeted in this cyber-attack were the Georgia Presidential website and the country's national TV broadcaster. This cyber-attack on a small state is one tool in Russia's great power competition toolbox. For a more in-depth look on how cyber conflicts affect small states see “A Small State Perspective on the Evolving Nature of Cyber Conflict: Lessons from Singapore” by Eugene E.G. Tan in PRISM Vol. 8, No. 3; https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/2054199/a-small-state-perspective-on-the-evolving-nature-of-cyber-conflict-lessons-from/.

Cyber conflicts among states are still largely driven by geopolitical and political considerations and should not be seen as separate from other kinds of conflict or political objectives. Brandon

“Russia says it's alarmed after a US Air Force visit to a remote Norwegian island in the Arctic” Russia said on Thursday...
02/18/2020
Russia says it's alarmed after a US Air Force visit to a remote Norwegian island in the Arctic

“Russia says it's alarmed after a US Air Force visit to a remote Norwegian island in the Arctic” Russia said on Thursday it was alarmed by a trip to a Norwegian outpost in the Arctic by a US Air Force unit and urged Oslo to refrain from what it said were de-stabilizing moves in the strategic region. https://www.businessinsider.com/russia-alarmed-by-us-air-force-visit-to-norwegian-island-2020-2?mc_cid=f59b5e29d0&mc_eid=3cda74b5fa

The Arctic region has emerged as yet another theater of possible confrontation in the increasingly bitter climate of global great power competition. In PRISM V.7,N.4 LtCol Michael Zimmerman (USMC) wrote of a strategic Norwegian Arctic outpost, “Svalbard’s ambiguous status as both fully Norwegian and yet completely open to the interests of 46 other nations, including the United States and Russia, make it a ripe target for Russian aggression.” High North and High Stakes: The Svalbard Archipelago Could be the Epicenter of Rising Tension in the Arctic, by LtCol Michael Zimmerman, USMC; https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/1983502/high-north-and-high-stakes-the-svalbard-archipelago-could-be-the-epicenter-of-r/

After a visit by Air Force personnel to Jan Mayen Island in November, Russia is urging Oslo to refrain from what it called de-stabilizing moves.

Last monday, President Trump revealed his budget proposal requesting a significant increase in funding for research and ...
02/13/2020
Trump budget proposal boosts funding for artificial intelligence, quantum computing

Last monday, President Trump revealed his budget proposal requesting a significant increase in funding for research and development of artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum technology. This significant boost, to about $2 billion, reflects U.S. prioritization of gaining strategic technological advancement over China and Russia. The budget proposal is one step towards technological overmatch against China and Russia. For a detailed look on the respective defense strategies and trajectories of China, Russia, and the U.S. read “Strategic Competition for Emerging Military Technologies: Comparative Paths and Patterns” by Michael Raska in PRISM Vol. 8, No. 3; https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/2053499/strategic-competition-for-emerging-military-technologies-comparative-paths-and/.

President Trump's budget proposal unveiled Monday includes significant funding increases for research and development of artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing.

In the battle over 5G, the United States lacks a native alternative to Huawei; supporting European telecommunications co...
02/12/2020
Do Europe’s champions need help in 5G tech battle?

In the battle over 5G, the United States lacks a native alternative to Huawei; supporting European telecommunications companies such as Ericsson and Nokia may help to outpace the Chinese supplier. For more on the importance of Huawei and 5G, as well as other options in the technology competition with China, see Thomas Donahue's article "The Worst Possible Day" in PRISM V.8 N.3https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Portals/68/Documents/prism/prism_8-3/prism_8-3.pdf

Proposed US takeover of Ericsson and Nokia has forced EU to consider stepping up

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PRISM, the quarterly journal of complex operations published at National Defense University (NDU), aims to illuminate and provoke debate on whole-of-government efforts to conduct reconstruction, stabilization, counterinsurgency, and irregular warfare operations. Since the inaugural issue of PRISM in 2010, our readership has expanded to include more than 10,000 officials, servicemen and women, and practitioners from across the diplomatic, defense, and development communities in more than 80 countries.

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PRISM, the quarterly journal of complex operations published at National Defense University (NDU), aims to illuminate and provoke debate on whole-of-government efforts to conduct reconstruction, stabilization, counterinsurgency, and irregular warfare operations. Since the inaugural issue of PRISM in 2010, our readership has expanded to include more than 10,000 officials, servicemen and women, and practitioners from across the diplomatic, defense, and development communities in more than 80 countries.

PRISM is published with support from NDU’s Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS). In 1984, Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger established INSS within NDU as a focal point for analysis of critical national security policy and defense strategy issues. Today INSS conducts research in support of academic and leadership programs at NDU; provides strategic support to the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, combatant commands, and armed services; and engages with the broader national and international security communities.

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Despite IS losses in the Middle East, specifically Syria and Iraq, attacks and IS influence have persisted throughout Southeast Asia. "ISIL Radicalization, Recruitment, and Social Media Operations in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines" by Nathaniel Moir (PRISM V 7.1) breaks down the ways in which encrypted messaging, social media, and propaganda dissemination have encouraged the continued radicalization of Southeast Asian civilians.
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Prism eh? I like it. Does PRISM represent multiple views of any single specific problem?
Can i contribute pls