Defense Strategy

Must Read

The Rise of the Pasdaran: Assessing the Domestic Roles of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps

Authors: Frederic Wehrey, Jerrold D. Green, Brian Nichiporuk, Alireza Nader, Lydia Hansell, Rasool Nafisi, and S. R. Bohandy

Never solely a military organization in the traditional sense, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)—also known as the Pasdaran (Persian for "guards")—has seen a significant expansion and diversification of its domestic roles since the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005.

See more in Defense Strategy; Iran

Primary Sources

U.S. Coast Guard: Arctic Strategy

Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp released this maritime governance document on May 21, 2013, which will "guide our efforts in the region over the next 10 years" based on "three key objectives: improving awareness, modernizing governance, and broadening partnerships."

See more in Arctic; Defense Strategy; Oceans

Op-Ed

America's Best Options in Syria

Author: Gregory D. Koblentz
Atlantic Monthly

Gregory Koblentz argues that the United States' best option for a response to the conflict in Syria is not simply arming the rebels, pushing for UN sanctions, indicting Assad, or pressuring Russia—rather, it is a combination of all four.

See more in Syria; United States; Defense Strategy

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U.S. Armed Forces White Paper: Strategic Landpower

Authors: Raymond Odierno, James F. Amos, and William H. McRaven

U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Special Operations formed a task force on January 28, 2013 to study the application of landpower to achieve national objectives and focus on engagement and preventing war. In May 2013, the task force released a white paper that emphasized the need to understand the physical, cultural, and social environments involved in conflict.

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Ask CFR Experts

Will China extend its influence in the Indian Ocean by building a naval base in Gwadar, Pakistan?

Asked by Hassan, from National University Of Sciences and Technology

To date, Chinese officials have asserted that their interest in Gwadar is strictly a commercial effort to provide another energy corridor for Middle East oil, and Pakistani government officials stridently affirm this position. New Delhi, on the other hand, has expressed "concern" about the true motivations in developing Gwadar, suspecting that it is a Sino-Pak effort at encirclement.

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See more in China; India; Pakistan; Defense Strategy

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French Government: White Paper on Defense and National Security

The French government published a white paper on June 17, 2008, which, according to its introduction, "substantially redefines French strategy in a 15-year perspective, embracing both defense and national security." On April 29, 2013, the government released its fourth defense reform paper, which freezes the budget, further reduces personnel and equipment in addition to 2008 cuts, and focuses on intelligence gathering, cyberwarfare, and drones.

See more in France; Defense Strategy