ASPI suggests
6 Mar 2015|

Happy International Women’s Day from The Strategist team! The Center for New American Security last week hosted a conference on ‘Women and Leadership in International Security’ (recap here), where USAF Secretary Deborah James announced a push to recruit, retain and promote more women. The US Army has taken a similar initiative. Closer to home, we recommend The Saturday Paper’s December feature on Army Chief David Morrison, in which he outlined his vision to push forward gender equality in the Australian Army. His fundamental understanding of the equality project is worth quoting at length:

The reason I’m happy to say it is that I think there is a gender imbalance in our society. I think it holds us back. I think women are denied opportunities that are accorded to men as the birthright of their sex… What’s wrong with being a feminist? What’s wrong with saying, ‘If we want to go ahead as a society, if we want to realise talent across the board, we should be redressing that imbalance’?

Benjamin Netanyahu was stateside this week talking Iran and nukes. Analysis came from all quarters: Politico said it was all about votes as elections loom in Israel; Graeme Allison thought we’re asking the wrong question when it came to a nuclear deal; for Paul R. Pillar, it’s a case of ‘the pot calling the kettle black and in this case the pot is much blacker than the kettle’; and The Atlantic’s James Fallows took on Bibi’s 1938 analogy and mined the logic of his speech to Congress.

CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative this week released the latest issue of its web-based magazine, which focuses on Asia’s biannual military exercises. The interview between the Initiative’s director Mira Rapp Hooper and USN’s former Chief of Naval Operations Gary Roughead is well worth a look.

Twitter quietly took action this week to counter the distribution of messages from or in support of Islamic State. Two thousand accounts were shut down, including 13 of the 16 major players that led propaganda and recruitment efforts on the platform. On the research front, Brookings has released a study on IS’ use of Twitter and the Perth USAsia Centre recently released a top-notch paper (PDF) from Fergus Hanson that proposed an integrated ICT offensive to counter IS’ digital strategy in Southeast Asia and Australia.

So you think US defence cooperation isn’t up to scratch? Team Cronin (that is, Patrick and Audrey Kurth) is on the case over at War on the Rocks, calling for a more responsive, effective, and affordable cooperation model that has a focus on outputs.

Lockheed Martin has been running their new fibre-optic laser through its paces, showing its power to burn through a truck’s engine manifold a mile out. Drive slow.

DARPA continue to remind us that they’re up to some pretty amazing stuff, this week revealing that Jan Scheuermann, who’s paralysed, used only thought to control simulations of both a Joint Strike Fighter and single engine Cessna. And before you say it, we know that Clint Eastwood controlled the MiG-31’s weaponry with his mind in Russian back in 1982, but now it’s really happening.


If you missed the policy prescriptions that came out of the White House’s recent Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, the Council on Foreign Relations has you covered with their latest effort.


CNN’s Wolf Blitzer sat down with US Army head General Ray Odierno to talk the future of war, a contribution to New America’s recent focus on the topic. The video is here.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Robert Farley had IS in their sights in a recent discussion on Bloggingheads, where the pair mucked into theology, sovereignty, the foreign fighters issue and what a post-ISIS Iraq might look like. The foundation of the chat was a recent piece in The Atlantic that analysed ‘What ISIS Really Wants’. (The author, Graeme Wood, also kept an eye on the reactions to his work.)


Brisbanians should get along to the AIIA Queensland on Tuesday 10 March for Ian Hall’s presentation on Indian PM Narendra Modi’s record in government and foreign policy. Register online.

If you’re in Canberra next Wednesday 11 March, head along to the ANU to hear a talk on Changing patterns of support for ISIS and al-Qaeda in Indonesia hosted by Crawford School of Public Policy. Essential viewing for Indonesianists.

In Sydney, The Lowy Institute will be hosting a panel on ‘Women in Foreign Policy’ next Thursday 12 March in recognition of IWD. And in Canberra ASPI’s Women in Defence and Security Network will hold it’s first event of 2015 on 18 March. Details here.

Finally, join the Defence Minister, the Chief of Navy, the Commander of US Pacific Fleet and others at ASPI’s Australia’s Future Surface Fleet Conference (30 March–1 April). Tickets are selling fast so get in quick!

David Lang is an analyst at ASPI and an editor of The Strategist. Image courtesy of Twitter user Susan Rice.