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Friday, April 29, 2016

Issue 31

How can U.S. military readiness meet America’s present strategic responsibilities at a time of budgetary shrinkage and growing isolationism?
Background Essay
Background Essay

The Readiness Vortex

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Friday, April 29, 2016

For the past several years, members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been painting a bleak portrait of the state of the armed services. Testifying to the senate Armed Services Committee in January 2015, recently retired Army chief Gen. Ray Odierno admitted that Army readiness “has been degraded to its lowest level in 20 years.” This year, Odierno’s successor, Gen. Mark Milley, went farther: the Army is not well prepared to engage a major power. “If we got into a conflict with Russia then I think it would place our soldiers’ lives at risk,” he said. 

Featured Commentary
Featured Commentary

Sustaining Military Readiness—The Devil is in the Details

by Admiral Gary Rougheadvia Strategika
Friday, April 29, 2016

Today’s global security crystal ball is murky, but a safe assumption is that the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe will remain unsettled and nests of terrorist activity, motivation, and recruitment; with sanctions lifted Iran’s conventional military re-emergence in the region will further challenge the security environment in the Middle East; Northeast Asian allies, China, and the U.S. will continue to react to an unpredictable regime in North Korea.

Featured Commentary

Readiness Writ Large

by James O. Ellis Jr. via Strategika
Friday, April 29, 2016

In the years immediately following the (first) end of the Cold War, the search for elusive readiness metrics in the Department of Defense was all-consuming. As the pressures mounted, first to write and then to cash the “peace dividend” check, policy pronouncements were made and working groups and war rooms were established, all asserting the existence of and searching for the Holy Grail: a suite of detailed readiness metrics that could precisely detail the impact of every procurement dollar cut and every training event curtailed. 

E.g., 6 / 3 / 2016
E.g., 6 / 3 / 2016
Friday, April 29, 2016

Issue 31

How can U.S. military readiness meet America’s present strategic responsibilities at a time of budgetary shrinkage and growing isolationism?

Background Essay

by Thomas Donnelly Friday, April 29, 2016
article

Featured Commentary

by Admiral Gary Roughead Friday, April 29, 2016
article
by James O. Ellis Jr. Friday, April 29, 2016
article
Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Issue 30

After the end of sanctions by the West, will Iran succeed in its efforts to find state legitimacy with Europe and the United States?

Background Essay

by Kori Schake Monday, March 14, 2016
article

Featured Commentary

by Angelo M. Codevilla Monday, March 14, 2016
article
by Max Boot Monday, March 14, 2016
article

Related Commentary

by Bruce Thornton Wednesday, March 16, 2016
article
Monday, February 1, 2016

Issue 29

Does ISIS really differ from other terrorist groups; if so, how does its singularity complicate U.S. efforts to defeat it?

Background Essay

by Mark Moyar Monday, February 1, 2016
article

Featured Commentary

by Peter R. Mansoor Monday, February 1, 2016
article
by Raymond Ibrahim Monday, February 1, 2016
article
Friday, December 4, 2015

Issue 28

Why is Germany a non-nuclear power and will it ever become one?

Background Essay

by Thomas Donnelly Friday, December 4, 2015
article

Featured Commentary

by Josef Joffe Friday, December 4, 2015
article
by Russell A. Berman Friday, December 4, 2015
article

Related Commentary

by Josiah Bunting III Friday, December 4, 2015
article

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Featured Commentary

Sustaining Military Readiness—The Devil is in the Details

by Admiral Gary Rougheadvia Strategika
Friday, April 29, 2016

Today’s global security crystal ball is murky, but a safe assumption is that the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe will remain unsettled and nests of terrorist activity, motivation, and recruitment; with sanctions lifted Iran’s conventional military re-emergence in the region will further challenge the security environment in the Middle East; Northeast Asian allies, China, and the U.S. will continue to react to an unpredictable regime in North Korea.

Featured Commentary

Readiness Writ Large

by James O. Ellis Jr. via Strategika
Friday, April 29, 2016

In the years immediately following the (first) end of the Cold War, the search for elusive readiness metrics in the Department of Defense was all-consuming. As the pressures mounted, first to write and then to cash the “peace dividend” check, policy pronouncements were made and working groups and war rooms were established, all asserting the existence of and searching for the Holy Grail: a suite of detailed readiness metrics that could precisely detail the impact of every procurement dollar cut and every training event curtailed. 

Background Essay

The Readiness Vortex

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Friday, April 29, 2016

For the past several years, members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been painting a bleak portrait of the state of the armed services. Testifying to the senate Armed Services Committee in January 2015, recently retired Army chief Gen. Ray Odierno admitted that Army readiness “has been degraded to its lowest level in 20 years.” This year, Odierno’s successor, Gen. Mark Milley, went farther: the Army is not well prepared to engage a major power. “If we got into a conflict with Russia then I think it would place our soldiers’ lives at risk,” he said. 

Related Commentary

Iran's War Against America

by Bruce Thorntonvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, March 16, 2016

For thirty years, we have misread the beliefs that motivate the mullahs. 

Featured Commentary

America Entered Into A Raw Deal With Iran

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Strategika
Monday, March 14, 2016

On January 16, 2016, governments in Europe and America ended the sanctions they had imposed on Iran (the U.S. since 1979, Europe since 2007 and increasingly since 2012) for reasons internal to themselves. Iran had not changed the behavior that had led to the imposition of sanctions—neither its nuclear program nor its leadership of the Shia side in the current round of the Sunni-Shia war. 

Featured Commentary

U.S. Elections And The Future Of The Iran Nuclear Deal

by Max Bootvia Strategika
Monday, March 14, 2016

January 16, 2016, was a milestone in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It was the day that the nuclear deal with the United States was implemented and most sanctions on Iran were lifted. Iran immediately received access to more than $100 billion in frozen oil funds, and that’s only the beginning of the bonanza. 

Background Essay

Legitimacy Rests In Iranian Hands

by Kori Schakevia Strategika
Monday, March 14, 2016

Whether Iran succeeds in gaining legitimacy with Europe and the United States after the end of sanctions by the West may have less to do with choices by the Western countries and more to do with internal Iranian politics. All of the parties to the Iranian nuclear deal want to provide that legitimacy; but Iran’s opaque internecine politics may get in the way.

Featured Commentary

Why ISIS Is Different—And Why It Matters

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Strategika
Monday, February 1, 2016

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is the modern face of terror. Unlike al-Qaeda, the Irish Republican Army, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Maoists in India, the Shining Path, and other traditional terrorist organizations, ISIS refuses to lurk in the shadows. Unlike Hezbollah, Hamas, the Tamil Tigers, or the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, ISIS is not content with controlling a limited amount of territory confined to a single nation-state. 

Background Essay

Typologies Of Terrorism

by Mark Moyarvia Strategika
Monday, February 1, 2016

The term “terrorism” is commonly understood as political violence outside the norms of conflicts between states. Terrorism’s victims can be innocent civilians, or they can be political officials or even soldiers. More controversial is the term “terrorist.” 

Featured Commentary

ISIS: The Latest Phase Of The Jihad

by Raymond Ibrahimvia Strategika
Monday, February 1, 2016

The best way to understand the Islamic State (ISIS) is to see it as the next phase of al-Qaeda. All Sunni Islamic jihadi groups—Boko Haram, ISIS, Taliban, al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda, even Hamas—share the same motivations based on a literal and orthodox reading of Islamic history and doctrine: resurrecting a caliphate (which existed in various forms from 632 to 1924) that implements and spreads the totality of sharia, or Islamic law.

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The Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict strives to reaffirm the Hoover Institution's dedication to historical research in light of contemporary challenges, and in particular, reinvigorating the national study of military history as an asset to foster and enhance our national security. Read more.

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Strategika is an online journal that analyzes ongoing issues of national security in light of conflicts of the past—the efforts of the Military History Working Group of historians, analysts, and military personnel focusing on military history and contemporary conflict.

Our board of scholars shares no ideological consensus other than a general acknowledgment that human nature is largely unchanging. Consequently, the study of past wars can offer us tragic guidance about present conflicts—a preferable approach to the more popular therapeutic assumption that contemporary efforts to ensure the perfectibility of mankind eventually will lead to eternal peace. New technologies, methodologies, and protocols come and go; the larger tactical and strategic assumptions that guide them remain mostly the same—a fact discernable only through the study of history.

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