Matters Military features commentary, analysis, and opinions on developments related to military technology, policy, and affairs around the world. In the modern era, the world's militaries are evolving in a host of multifaceted and complex ways, and Matters Military seeks to help interested readers understand these developments by situating them in international and historical contexts.


Drone Warfare: How ‘Precision Engagement’ Enhances the Legal Dialogue

MQ-9 Reaper, an unmanned aerial vehicle designed by General Atomics. Image: U.S. Air Force, Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson.

Geoffrey S. Corn is Presidential Research Professor of Law, South Texas College of Law (Houston), Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Retired). His last position in the Army was as senior law of war adviser. He is the lead author of The Law of Armed Conflict: An Operational Approach, and The War on Terror and the Laws [...]

Continue reading Drone Warfare: How ‘Precision Engagement’ Enhances the Legal Dialogue by Geoffrey S. Corn

Forget the Troop Buildup: What the Next Invasion of Ukraine Might Look Like

Russian special forces: Spetsnaz.

Russian special forces: Spetsnaz.

 

Any further Russian annexation of parts of eastern or southern Ukraine will follow the Crimea model. The fevered discussion about massed troops on the Ukrainian border misunderstands Putin’s operational model. Notably, the most interesting element of Putin’s takeover of Crimea was that, needing a [...]

Continue reading Forget the Troop Buildup: What the Next Invasion of Ukraine Might Look Like by Matthew Schmidt

Cloaks of Invisibility: The Latest Frontier in Military Technology

An artist's rendition of the new light-bending metamaterial, as published in a National Science Foundation press release, October 2007.
Image: Keith Drake.

An artist’s rendition of the new light-bending metamaterial, as published in a National Science Foundation press release, October 2007.Image: Keith Drake.

Fiction and reality have meshed to incredible extents in the past decades, and it is no longer a surprise to see sci-fi-inspired inventions used in everyday life. The military field has [...]

Continue reading Cloaks of Invisibility: The Latest Frontier in Military Technology by Nayef Al-Rodhan

Can the United States Retain its Hegemony in the Asia-Pacific?

Image: Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC)

Image: Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC)

Last Monday, I spoke on South Korea’s air strategy at the 7th Asia-Pacific Security Conference (APSEC) in Singapore, where the participants discussed the future of Sino-American relations and the strategic implications of air power in Asia.

The majority of the panelists in the question-and-answer session seemed [...]

Continue reading Can the United States Retain its Hegemony in the Asia-Pacific? by Jeong Lee

Cyberwar: In Need of a Theory

Image: Thomas Rid.

Image: Thomas Rid.

The increasing ability to access and distribute information through cyberspace is profoundly changing how people and societies interact. The pace of these changes, particularly with regards to malicious behavior, can seem rather alarming. Reports of network intrusions, stolen data, website defacements, and phishing scams are daily fodder for local [...]

Continue reading Cyberwar: In Need of a Theory by David Fahrenkrug

The Manas Transit Center: End of an Era?

On March 14, 2012, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited the Manas Air Base Transit Center, Kyrgyzstan, greeting U.S. service members in transit into or out of Afghanistan. 
Image: U.S. Department of Defense.

On March 14, 2012, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited the Manas Air Base Transit Center, Kyrgyzstan, greeting U.S. service members in transit into or out of Afghanistan.Image: U.S. Department of Defense.

Later this year, it is expected that the United States will hand the Manas Transit Center in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, [...]

Continue reading The Manas Transit Center: End of an Era? by Roger Kangas

Rubles for Rifles: Examining Putin’s Call for Increased Defense Spending

Russian President Vladimir Putin in the cockpit of a TU-160 Bomber before the beginning of military exercises, 2005. 
Image: Presidential Press Service.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in the cockpit of a TU-160 Bomber before the beginning of military exercises, 2005.Image: Presidential Press Service.

Few aspects of President Putin’s recent state of the nation address electrified international media attention as much as his commitment to augmenting defense spending and securing Russia’s prominence in world affairs. [...]

Continue reading Rubles for Rifles: Examining Putin’s Call for Increased Defense Spending by Joseph Cheravitch

NATO’s Post-Afghan Security Role

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates meets with NATO Ministers of Defense and of Foreign Affairs in October 2010 at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
Image: U.S. Department of Defense.

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates meets with NATO Ministers of Defense and of Foreign Affairs in October 2010 at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.Image: U.S. Department of Defense.

The recent support by Afghanistan’s Loya Jirga of an Afghan-U.S. bilateral security agreement marks the end of an era for NATO. While [...]

Continue reading NATO’s Post-Afghan Security Role by Erik Brattberg

A New Anti-Terrorist Law in Russia: Feeding the Insurgency through Corruption and Police Abuses

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with members of the Alpha Group, a counter-terrorism task force within Russia's Federal Security Services.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with members of the Alpha Group, a counter-terrorism task force within Russia’s Federal Security Services. Image: SpetsnazAlpha.

With the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in mind, Russian President Vladimir Putin recently signed a new and harsher anti-terrorism law. The first part of this new law is [...]

Continue reading A New Anti-Terrorist Law in Russia: Feeding the Insurgency through Corruption and Police Abuses by Jean-François Ratelle

Euro-Skepticism and the Future of the Common Security and Defense Policy

The heads of state or government of the EU member states. Image: Council of the European Union

The heads of state or government of the EU member states. Image: Council of the European Union

Recent public opinion surveys in Europe show an increase in Euro-skepticism and declining optimism for European integration. According to Eurobarometer, 46 percent of Europeans see themselves as Euro-skeptics and 49 percent as Euro-optimists. This trend [...]

Continue reading Euro-Skepticism and the Future of the Common Security and Defense Policy Dieter Dettke