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Coercion--the use of threatened force to induce an adversary to change its behavior--is a critical function of the U.S. military. U.S. forces have recently fought in the Balkans, the Persian Gulf, and the Horn of Africa to compel recalcitrant regimes and warlords to stop repression, abandon weapons programs, permit humanitarian relief, and otherwise modify their actions. Yet despite its overwhelming military might, the United States often fails to coerce successfully. This report examines the phenomenon of coercion and how air power can contribute to its success. Three factors increase the likelihood of successful coercion: (1) the coercer's ability to raise the costs it imposes while denying the adversary the chance to respond (escalation dominance); (2) an ability to block an adversary's military strategy for victory; and (3) an ability to magnify third-party threats, such as internal instability or the danger posed by another enemy. Domestic political concerns (such as casualty sensitivity) and coalition dynamics often constrain coercive operations and impair the achievement of these conditions. Air power can deliver potent and credible threats that foster the above factors while neutralizing adversary counter-coercive moves. When the favorable factors are absent, however, air power--or any other military instrument--will probably fail to coerce. Policymakers' use of coercive air power under inauspicious conditions diminishes the chances of using it elsewhere when the prospects of success would be greater.
This report identifies several important trends that are shaping regional security. It examines traditional security concerns, such as energy security and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as newer challenges posed by political reform, economic reform, civil-military relations, leadership change, and the information revolution. The report concludes by identifying the implications of these trends for U.S. foreign policy.
Religion, nationalism, ethnicity, economics, and geopolitics all are important in explaining Iran's goals and tactics in its relationship with the outside world, as are the agendas of key security institutions and the ambitions of their leaders. This report assesses Iran's security policy in light of these factors. It examines broad drivers of Iran's security policy, describes important security institutions, explores decisionmaking, and reviews Iran's relations with key countries. The authors conclude that Iraq is widely recognized as the leading threat to Iran's Islamic regime and Afghanistan is seen as an emerging threat. In contrast, Iran has solid, if not necessarily warm, relations with Syria and established working ties to Pakistan and Russia. Iran's policies toward its neighbors are increasingly prudent: It is trying to calm regional tension and end its isolation, although its policies toward Israel and the United States are often an exception to this policy. Iran's security forces, particularly the regular military, are often voices of restraint, preferring shows of force to overactive confrontations. Finally, Iran's security forces generally respect and follow the wishes of Iran's civilian leadership; conducting rogue operations is rare to nonexistent.
The most useful forms of outside support for an insurgent movement include safe havens, financial support, political backing, and direct military assistance. Because states are able to provide all of these types of assistance, their support has had a profound impact on the effectiveness of many rebel movements since the end of the Cold War. However, state support is no longer the only, or indeed necessarily the most important, game in town. Diasporas have played a particularly important role in sustaining several strong insurgencies. More rarely, refugees, guerrilla groups, or other types of non-state supporters play a significant role in creating or sustaining an insurgency, offering fighters, training, or other forms of assistance. This report assesses post-Cold War trends in external support for insurgent movements. It describes the frequency that states, diasporas, refugees, and other non-state actors back guerrilla movements. It also assesses the motivations of these actors and which types of support matter most. This book concludes by assessing the implications for analysts of insurgent movements.
This study examines how terrorist groups transition to insurgencies and identifies ways to combat proto-insurgents. It describes the steps groups must take to gain the size and capabilities of insurgencies, the role of outside state support, and actions governments can take to prevent potential insurgencies from blossoming. The most effective U.S. counterinsurgency action would be to anticipate the possibility of insurgencies developing; it could then provide training and advisory programs and inhibit outsides support.
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