The Army’s Strategic Wishlist

The Army War College just released this year’s Key Strategic Issues List (.pdf) which, as a call for academic research on key strategic questions, offers a peak into what problems the Army is looking to solve. It’s 171 pages of research topics, more than a few of which reappear from last year’s version. Here are a few (either new or that I didn’t flag last year) that caught my eye:

– Recognizing progress in counterinsurgency operations, and reinforcing it
– What proportion of U.S. land power should be focused on counterinsurgency operations and how should it be organized, trained, equipped, and deployed?
– Women in combat: laws and norms
– U.S. Africa Command as a case study for interagency integration — implications for other commands and agencies, measures of effectiveness, roles and responsibilities, etc.
– Integrating military and nonmilitary tools to achieve strategic objectives and avoid or resolve potential conflict
– Assessing the gap between civilian and military cultures
– Strategic implications of Chinese activity in Africa
– Strategic implications of increasing Chinese interests in Middle East oil, and arms sales and economic aid in the Middle East
– Will ISAF break NATO?
– Balancing U.S. security interests between India and Pakistan
– Role of India in world events and U.S.-Indian military-strategic relations
– Russian-China-U.S. competition in Central Asia
– What metrics should be used to gauge progress in the age of persistent conflict?

As you can see, COIN (coordinating civilian-military operations, metrics) seems to be on folks’ minds, as is China, as well as South and Central Asia. There’s plenty more, too, if you’re interested in knowing what the Army’s busy wringing its hands about.