There are several government and military documents from 2014 whose reading will stimulate debate and enhance understanding of political, diplomatic, and military issues. I strongly recommend the minority report of Senate Intelligence Committee Republicans on the CIA’s controversial enhanced interrogation program. Congressional committee minority reports are written by members of a these committees who strongly disagree with the conclusions reached by the committee’s majority members in their legislative or oversight reports. The majority report of the Senate Intelligence Committee on this topic consists of infantile spasms on how the CIA and the Bush Administration allegedly strayed from our “highest moral values” in permitting this program to occur. What the soon to be intelligence committee minority members repeatedly forget is that Islamist terrorists are not responsive to western legal norms, are contemptuous of those norms, and that we need to take highly coercive measures to extract actionable intelligence from them to prevent their engaging in further terrorist attacks against Americans and the nationals of allied countries.
I enjoy reading futuristic geopolitical analyses of emerging and potential strategic trends and developments. In this regard I recommend the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds and the 5th edition of Global Strategic Trends Out to 2045 published by the British Ministry of Defence’s Development, Concepts, and Doctrine Center. While works such as these have both strengths and weaknesses, they feature cutting edge multidisciplinary analysis on what may affect domestic and international political, public health, economic, and security environments in the decades to come.
I am currently doing some research on the F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter program involving the U.S. and several allied countries. The Air University study International Armament Cooperative Programs: Benefits, Liabilities, and Self-Inflicted Wounds: The JSF as A Case Study provides useful insights on the strengths and weaknesses of cooperative defense acquisition programs. Besides U.S. military journals such as Air & Space Power Review, Strategic Studies Review, Naval War College Review, and Parameters: U.S. Army War College journal, I also enjoy reading foreign military journals. I particularly enjoy the Australian Army Journal and the Australian Defence Force Journal. Air University Press’ Defending Air Bases in an Age of Insurgency also contains useful insights on this often overlooked arena of counterinsurgency warfare. The Army War College’s Turkey’s New Regional Security Role: Implications for the United States examines this important country’s emerging strategic importance in the Black Sea, Central Asia, and the Middle East and the opportunities and complications it can pose for the U.S. and our strategic interests in these regions.
Best wishes for 2015.