20 June 2021

Water Security as Part of Non-Traditional Security: Threat - Implications for India

Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Like oil or data, water is an integral part of the world’s economy. Although about 71 per cent of the earth’s surface is water-covered, the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth’s water which is salt water. Freshwater, most of it is frozen in glaciers, accounts for the rest. That leaves less than 1 per cent of the world’s water available to support human and ecological processes. We withdraw 4.3 trillion cubic meters of freshwater every year from the earth’s water basins. We use it in agriculture, which accounts for 70 per cent of the withdrawals. Industry and households consume 19 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively. However, these percentages fluctuate widely across the globe. In the United States, industrial and agricultural usage is almost the same around 40 per cent. In India, agriculture uses 90 per cent of water withdrawals, while only 2 per cent is consumed by industry. Over the past century, rate of withdrawal of available freshwater resources have risen almost six times, outpacing global population growth.

China’s Nuclear and Missile Capabilities: An Overview

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Since China first conducted a nuclear weapon test in 1964, its nuclear doctrine has remained unchanged and is underpinned by two principles: a minimum deterrent doctrine and a No First Use (NFU) policy. China’s 2019 defence white paper states, “China is always committed to a nuclear policy of NFU of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones unconditionally.”

However, a recent U.S. Department of Defence (DoD) report claims that the scope of China’s nuclear modernisation and its lack of transparency “raise concern that China is not only shifting its requirements for what constitutes a minimal deterrence but that it could shift away from its longstanding minimalist force posture.” The data available show that China is modernising and expanding virtually every element of its nuclear forces, including each aspect of its nuclear weapons and missile, sea, and air delivery systems. What is not clear are China’s current and planned holdings of nuclear weapons, China’s future plans for deploying additional delivery systems, its commitment to some form of NFU, first preemption, or launch on warning, and the extent to which it will accept what might be called a form of ‘minimum assured destruction.

Choosing Offline: Why India’s ‘Other’ Insurgencies Have not Gone Digital

By Kabir Taneja

While majority of the debates in and around online extremism and radicalisation in India over the recent past have revolved around two major conflict theatres, i.e., Kashmir and the effects of the so-called Islamic State (IS) and its vast digital ecosystems, there are other insurgencies in the Indian subcontinent that have in fact chosen not to go online. Why these insurgencies thrive using simple and old school methods against the state offers an interesting glimpse into the role that technology plays for different extremist views, ideologies, and perhaps more importantly, geographies.

In 2009, the then Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, highlighted the far-Left Naxalism (Maoism) insurgencies in India as the greatest national security threat the country faces. As per research, Naxalism in India at its peak in mid-2000s had a dominating presence in over 200 districts of the country. Today, this influence is known to be shrinking. According to scholar Dr Niranjan Sahoo, Naxalism saw its roots in 1967 in the town of Naxalbari in the state of West Bengal, largely led by peasants, landless labourers, and adivasis (tribals), more than often led by far-Left ideologues taking inspiration from Chinese leader Mao Zedong, the lead up to him capturing political power and the general ideas of Marxist-Leninist ideologies. It is estimated that some wings of these insurgencies have over 20,000 cadres trained for guerrilla warfare against the state and have created full-fledged administrative infrastructure (parallel power) in parts of more than six Indian states (known as the Red Corridor).

Is India the New China in Africa?

Harsh V. Pant and Abhishek Mishra

This week, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar visited Kenya to co-chair, along with his Kenyan counterpart, Raychelle Omamo, the third meeting of the India-Kenya Joint Commission. His trip to the strategically located Indian Ocean neighbor highlights the importance India attaches to its relations with Kenya. Not only does New Delhi see the country as a gateway to continental Africa, but it is also home to 80,000 people formally categorized as Persons of Indian Origin (including 20,000 Indian citizens). Both India and Kenya are currently serving in the United Nations Security Council and are also members of the Commonwealth.

During the visit, the nations’ representatives discussed a variety of bilateral, regional, and global issues, including development partnership, health care delivery, and ensuring maritime security in the Indian Ocean region.

These talks came at a time when India is looking to consolidate its Africa outreach through sustained and regular high-level visits to reinforce its image as one of Africa’s foremost development partners. The fact that India kept its supply lines open for much of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensured that critical supplies of medicines and medical equipment reached countries in need in Africa is a testament to India’s desire to become a steadfast and reliable partner, even though by the end of March, when India was confronted by a devastating second wave of the virus, it had to halt the export of AstraZeneca vaccines. This dealt a major blow to African countries’ vaccination programs, which mostly relied on supplies from the global COVAX vaccine-sharing facility.

The force that could redraw the peninsula of India

Kamala Thiagarajan

If you try to think of somewhere calm and peaceful, you might conjure up an image of an idyllic sandy beach. But in South India, many of its much-loved beaches are anything but secure.

The sense of horror Ganeshan Vasudevan felt on that warm July morning in 2010 will always remain deeply etched in his mind. A former fisherman living on the Auroville beach not far from the South Indian city of Puducherry, he recalls watching in anguish as the swirling waters of the Bay of the Bengal swallowed not just his home, but the very land it stood on.

For many years, Vasudevan ran a modest guest house out of his family home, set 1.5km (1 mile) back from the coast. Here, he took on boarders who were lulled to sleep by the soothing thrum of the ocean. When the sea swept in to claim the coast after a storm, he wasn't alone in his loss. At least 200 acres (80 hectares) of land along this coastal stretch was completely eroded, displacing at least 7,000 families, according to community reports. The storm wasn't a particularly bad one and shouldn't have caused the damage that it did, Vasudevan says.

The United States Needs Central Asian Partners to Protect Afghanistan’s Future

Philip Caruso

As the U.S. government begins the final withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged that counterterrorism efforts as well as “diplomatic and humanitarian work will continue.” But it is unclear how the United States and the international community will make good on those promises. Although the Afghan government may be able to survive in the near term, the security situation is almost certain to deteriorate, limiting access for both military and humanitarian assistance. If the United States is to mount an effective counterterrorism effort and facilitate crucial humanitarian assistance from the United Nations, it must focus its diplomatic efforts on finding partners in the region. Those partners are in Central Asia.

In his announcement of the withdrawal, Biden promised the world: “We will not take our eye off the terrorist threat. The United States will reorganize our counterterrorism capabilities and assets in the region to prevent the reemergence of terrorist threat in Afghanistan.” The commander of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., subsequently testified before Congress that over-the-horizon operations against terrorists would be “difficult.” In practice, to confront terrorist threats, the United States will need to position forces and/or intelligence assets near Afghanistan. Even without the permanent presence of U.S. combat troops in neighboring countries, access to those countries would be needed to train and coordinate with partner forces, including Afghan military units, that could conduct the operations themselves inside the country.

Follow-up report to Pakistan's assessment of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures

APG 2nd Follow-Up Report Pakistan-2021

1. Pakistan’s second follow-up report (FUR) was prepared in accordance with the APG Third Round Mutual Evaluation Procedures 2021. The FUR was considered by the APG Mutual Evaluation Committee on 29 April, before being adopted by APG members without objection on 7 May 2021. 

2. The mutual evaluation report (MER) of Pakistan was published in October 2019. 

3. This FUR analyses the progress of Pakistan in addressing the technical compliance deficiencies identified in its MER. Technical compliance re-ratings are given where sufficient progress has been demonstrated. This report does not analyse any progress Pakistan has made to improve its effectiveness. 

4. The assessment of Pakistan’s request for technical compliance re-ratings and the preparation of this report was undertaken by the following experts:

The Utterly Predictable Demise of Nation-Building in Afghanistan: Lessons for the Future

by Andy Hira

As of this writing, the Taliban appear on the verge of retaking Afghanistan. After 20 years the U.S. has finally called it quits on its longest war. The Taliban now reportedly control more than 12 per cent of the country, with another 34 per cent being contested, according to official U.S. statistics, which are most likely highly underestimated. The Taliban are starting to inch towards the capital, Kabul, which remains the seat of government power. This, despite an investment of $18.8 billion in U.S. foreign aid, and a reported 2,352 U.S. deaths there.

While far from inevitable, the unravelling of the Western-oriented Afghan government seems likely, as its defence forces have relied so heavily upon U.S. air power and special operations forces. The idea that the U.S. can continue significant levels of support from outside the country, as well as the loss of on-the-ground intelligence, portends a significant degradation in Kabul’s ability to defend itself. In fact, the Taliban were never fully defeated, despite a wide variety of U.S. military strategies, including training the new national army, extensive use of aircraft superiority and drones, and major surges of troops.

Chinese-Russian Defense Cooperation Is More Flash Than Bang


The specter of a defense alliance between Russia and China is haunting U.S. discussions about great power competition and even made it onto the transatlantic security agenda during President Biden’s recent European trip. Relations between Moscow and Beijing are indeed at an all-time high, and the two neighbors are pursuing some high-profile cooperative defense ventures. But the relationship falls well short of an alliance and is not heading that way. Chinese-Russian defense cooperation is more notable for the message it sends to the world—and especially to Washington—than for its practical operational benefits.


The biggest benefit Russia and China gain from their partnership in the defense sphere is intangible: it frees both countries from the necessity of vast military deployments on their 4,000- kilometer border. During the confrontation with China during much of the Cold War, the Soviet Union deployed as many as fifty divisions and faced an even greater number of Chinese divisions—fifty-nine, according to a declassified CIA estimate—on the other side of the border. The disappearance of that requirement frees up Russia to face NATO in Europe and allows China to face the United States and its allies in the Asia-Pacific. It is impossible to overestimate the value of this post–Cold War strategic realignment for both countries.

The Challenges to China’s National Rejuvenation – Part Two: The Failure of China’s Foreign Relations

Lindsay Hughes

China’s foreign relations are deteriorating rapidly in the wake of its aggressive behaviour, which has led many democracies to enact measures to reduce China’s influence and, increasingly, to act together to counter it. As China becomes more isolated from developed countries, its economy is placed at further risk with the potential also to derail General Secretary Xi’s overall plan for national rejuvenation.

Key Points

China’s aggressive behaviour has caused its standing in many democracies to plummet.

It has also increased suspicion of China’s objectives in those countries.

Several countries are enacting measures to reduce China’s influence within their borders.

They are also beginning to act together to counter China.

Israel’s New Coalition Government Is More Stable Than It Looks

Aaron David Miller

If bookies in Las Vegas were laying bets on a long duration for the newly formed Israeli coalition government, the odds would probably be longer than the prospect of the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals meeting anytime soon in a Washington World Series.

Eight parties—spanning the right, center, and left and with the participation of an Islamist conservative Arab party for the first time ever—have come together to unseat the government led by outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The enterprise, which will face a determined Netanyahu leading Israel’s largest and most coherent opposition party, has all the appearances of living on borrowed time. That the confidence vote in the Knesset, which triggered the coalition’s formation, was decided by one vote—60 to 59—likewise doesn’t inspire.

And take your pick of potential coalition-wrecking crises: a fight over the budget; defections from incoming Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s hard-line, pro-settlement party; moves by Hamas or Israeli extremists to test the new government; and a bloody conflict with Palestinians that forced Mansour Abbas and his four-seat Islamist party, the United Arab List, out of the coalition. And even if the coalition somehow manages to survive, it would be a paralytic mess of opposing ideologies and interests certain to change nothing at all, right?

Israel’s New Coalition Changes Nothing for Palestinians

Barnaby Papadopulos

After 12 uninterrupted years in charge, Benjamin Netanyahu is no longer Israel’s prime minister. A new coalition government comprising eight ideologically diverse parties has ended a prolonged period of political gridlock, albeit with a razor-thin majority of just one seat in the country’s legislature, the Knesset. Netanyahu, who had earlier decried “the greatest election fraud” in the history of democracy, later took to Twitter to promise supporters, “We’ll be back—and quicker than you think.”

The final weeks of the Netanyahu era saw a huge upsurge in violence between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza. An 11-day conflict with Hamas and other militant groups left more than 200 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead, with thousands more injured and extensive damage to Gaza’s already fragile infrastructure. In the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israeli security forces used heavy-handed tactics to suppress Palestinian protesters, some of whom fought back by throwing rocks and other objects. And in Israel itself, Arab and Jewish citizens engaged in the most serious sectarian violence in years. ...

Lessons of the Gaza War

Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The IDF’s defensive achievements against Hamas in the most recent war were groundbreaking. Yet for all its operational superiority, it will have a hard time defending Israel within the 1967 borders, especially in the event of a multi-arena conflict.

During the recent war in Gaza, Israel was exposed for the first time to the strategy of Qassem Soleimani: encirclement in a ring of fire on all fronts, including the domestic one. This time the Gaza arena, which erupts into war from time to time, turned the al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem into a new focal point, thereby igniting nationwide riots by Israeli Arabs.

In his speech after the war, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said, “The campaign opened a door to new horizons.” Fortunately, these new horizons—and the full threat they represent—are yet to become a reality. Now that there is a ceasefire, Israel has the opportunity to assess them.

The EU-U.S. Summit Is a Test for New Transatlantic Cooperation


America is back, the West can still lead, and the transatlantic relationship is alive and kicking. This is the message delivered by some of the world’s leaders at the G7 and NATO summits. These will be followed by today’s EU-U.S. summit and the June 16 meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

Biden left Washington for his first trip abroad on a mission to rally partners to work together, “demonstrating the capacity of democracies to both meet the challenges and deter the threats of this new age.” These challenges include the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis—on both of which G7 leaders failed to be truly ambitious—as well as the need to “[confront] the harmful activities of the governments of China and Russia.”

The atmosphere at the G7 was of determination to show leadership and of warmth among leaders—with the exception of the host, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was under pressure from pretty much everyone to avoid a trade war with the EU over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Brexit yet again tainted the unity of the West.

Of these summits, the U.S.-EU appointment today, June 15, is the least glamorous and the most under-reported. Yet it is the first summit between the two sides since 2014 and the first test of what can be achieved through U.S.-EU cooperation.

America Is on the Road to Win in the Competition with China. What Should the Quad Do?

Satoru Nagao

Recently, China’s attitude toward its neighbors has been escalating. In the East China Sea, China has increased its activities around the Senkaku Islands of Japan. In the Taiwan Strait, China has also increased its deployment, causing US Indo-Pacific commander Adm. Philip Davidson to warn that China could invade Taiwan within six years. In the South China Sea, China has ignored the 2016 verdict of an international court and deployed both military and paramilitary forces and constructed seven artificial islands with three runways. While claiming that these artificial islands have no military purpose, China has started to deploy missiles and military planes on them. Chinese warship and unmanned vehicle activities have increased in the Indian Ocean too. And in 2020 on the India-China border, 5,000 Chinese troops entered Indian territory and clashed with Indian troops, causing 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese soldiers to lose their lives.

Is a U.S.-China War Destined to Happen?

by James Holmes

Here's What you Need to Remember: If rivals see their courses as preordained and Thucydides’ supposed trap as inescapable, both will gird for what they regard as inevitable.

A panel at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis once asked whether—as Professor Graham Allison’s book contends—China and the United States are “destined” for war. Indeed, Professor Allison numbered among the panelists who discussed the new China challenge.

Commentators have held forth on this topic from antiquity till the present day. The pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus taught that character is destiny. Herodotus maintained that custom is destiny. We hear that geography is destiny, or demographics is, or some other factor is. This time of year sports commentators even tell us football teams can control their destiny—chiefly by winning every game against opponents that also want to win. In that spirit, one literature specialist counsels that destiny goes by many names, including “God, gods, fate, accident, fortune, necessity, [and] circumstance.”

The Real Winner of Mexico’s Midterm Elections Wasn’t on the Ballot

Carin Zissis

Mexico’s June 6 midterm elections were widely framed as a referendum on President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s statist makeover of the country’s institutions. In the hours after polls closed, headlines pointed to a defeat for the president’s party, Morena. But despite its losses in the lower house of Congress, the results had a number of bright spots for Morena and for AMLO, as Lopez Obrador is popularly known.

On the other hand, there was one clear winner that wasn’t even on the ballot: the country’s electoral authority, the Instituto Nacional Electoral, or INE, which overcame significant challenges to successfully oversee the biggest election in the country’s history. ...

First Summit of the Anti‑China Coalition

Heribert Dieter

The 2021 G7 Summit of the heads of state and government of the seven leading indus­trial nations (Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Canada, United States, United Kingdom) will be held in Cornwall, UK, from 11 to 13 June. As host, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has placed future relations with China at the top of the agenda. That priori­tisation is reflected in the guest list: Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa. The Cornwall G7 has been set up to develop a broad alliance against an increasingly aggressive China. The German government tends to play up China’s economic signifi­cance and risks slipping into an outsider role, enabling a totalitarian state for eco­nomic gain.

The Summit’s motto “Build Back Better” sounds innocuous and constructive. As the Covid-19 pandemic becomes manageable, the leading industrial nations are thinking about the shape of the expected recovery and the question of tackling future pan­demics. While these are undeniably impor­tant, the crucial question for the 2021 G7 is: How should the other six position them­selves in the new Cold War between China and G7 member United States?

The question ensues from the massive transformation of China’s foreign and ex­ternal economic policy. President Xi Jin­ping’s line of reducing China’s dependency on the global economy has significant implications for the OECD countries. And the country’s push for economic autonomy presages another transformation of the international division of labour and dispels any illusion that it might be on the path to a market economy.

Countering disinformation and protecting democratic communication on encrypted messaging applications

Jacob Gursky and Samuel Woolley

Encrypted messaging applications (EMAs) that rely on end-to-end encryption (E2EE), like Signal, Telegram, and WhatsApp, offer a level of intimacy and security that have made them remarkably popular among activists and others who want to communicate without fear of government surveillance. These qualities also make them a useful vector for disinformation: they offer a means of spreading untraceable claims to users via trusted contacts in a secure environment. This policy brief argues that successfully countering disinformation on EMAs does not require undermining this stronger form of encryption.

Although EMAs typically end-to-end encrypt the content of private messages, they often do not encrypt the metadata of those messages. Interventions based on that metadata show particular promise. Metadata-based forwarding limits on WhatsApp, for instance, appear to have slowed the proliferation of disinformation in India and elsewhere. Third-party evaluations of such approaches are needed to develop and guide best practices for use on other platforms, particularly given criticism of, and broader worry surrounding, WhatsApp’s use of said metadata.

Disinformation campaigns on EMAs are successful primarily because of the intimacy and trust they afford. Regulatory responses to disinformation EMAs should therefore target how that trust is leveraged, rather than EMAs’ use of E2EE. For example, stricter advertising disclosure laws would prevent “influence farms” coordinating on EMAs from spreading untraceable political messaging.

Bridging the global digital divide: A platform to advance digital development in low- and middle-income countries

George Ingram

The world is in the midst of a fast-moving, Fourth Industrial Revolution (also known as 4IR or Industry 4.0), driven by digital innovation in the use of data, information, and technology. This revolution is affecting everything from how we communicate, to where and how we work, to education and health, to politics and governance. COVID-19 has accelerated this transformation as individuals, companies, communities, and governments move to virtual engagement. We are still discovering the advantages and disadvantages of a digital world.

This paper outlines an initiative that would allow the United States, along with a range of public and private partners, to seize the opportunity to reduce the digital divide between nations and people in a way that benefits inclusive economic advancement in low- and middle-income countries, while also advancing the economic and strategic interests of the United States and its partner countries.

As life increasingly revolves around digital technologies and innovation, countries are in a race to digitalize at a speed that threatens to leave behind the less advantaged—countries and underserved groups. Data in this paper documents the scope of the digital divide. With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world committed to reduce poverty and advance all aspects of the livelihood of nations and people. Countries that fail to progress along the path to 5G broadband cellular networks will be unable to unlock the benefits of the digital revolution and be left behind. Donors are recognizing this and offering solutions, but in a one-off, disconnected fashion. Absent a comprehensive, partnership approach, that takes advantage of the comparative advantage of each, these well-intended efforts will not aggregate to the scale and speed required by the challenge.

Army War College

Matthew Ridgway and the Value of Persistent Dissent

COIN Doctrine Is Wrong

Toward Successful COIN: Shining Path’s Decline

Europe: A Strategy for a Regional and Middle Power

Greater Security Cooperation: US Allies in Europe and East Asia

The Coercive Logic of Militant Drone Use

JDN 2-19: Hitting the Target but Missing the Mark

Integrated Planning and Campaigning for Complex Problems

On “The Politics of Oath-Taking”

Tracking Violent Extremism Online and the Challenge of Open-Source Intelligence

Lyria Bennett Moses, Dr. Andre Oboler and Lauren Parnaby

Understanding online behaviours of extremist groups requires observation, analysis and often dissemination. Academic researchers, government agencies, and civil society groups collect and analyse social media feeds, possibly through application programming interfaces (APIs), to understand violent extremist networks. This collection and use is subject to a range of legal requirements across various jurisdictions. Legal issues include contract law requirements around the enforceability of terms and conditions agreed to when accessing social media feeds, privacy and data protection requirements, and copyright law restrictions. This post provides an overview of the restrictions these legal requirements create concerning open-source intelligence activities aimed at understanding violent extremist networks.

Terms and Conditions, and Ways Around Them

The first legal obstacle pertains to restrictions researchers or government agencies agree to when accessing social media feeds on particular platforms. The public availability of a feed is often limited so that at least some ‘public’ information can only be accessed via a login and password authentication. This authentication is often tied to acceptance of a contract, limiting the permitted use of the service. These contracts, which may or may not be enforceable, make the legal position complex.

UK aircraft carriers: mix-and-match crewed and uninhabited air wings

Douglas Barrie

The Royal Navy is stepping up plans to develop a hybrid aircraft-carrier air wing. If these goals are met, uninhabited systems are likely to be substantial in role and number within each air wing, which will sustain and expand the utility of the navy’s carriers into the future, explain Douglas Barrie and Nick Childs.

The head of the Royal Navy, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Tony Radakin, confirmed on 19 May that his service is stepping up plans to develop a hybrid aircraft-carrier air wing. Admiral Radakin, speaking at the 2021 First Sea Lord’s Sea Power Conference, hosted by the IISS, said the aim is to begin trials of uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs) aboard one of the navy’s two Queen Elizabeth-class carriers, HMS Prince of Wales, by September.

This could be the first step to the Royal Navy fielding hybrid air wings of crewed combat aircraft, UAVs and helicopters for both of its carriers. If these goals are met, uninhabited systems are likely to be substantial in role and number within each air wing. The impact would be not only on the future development of air platforms for the carriers, but potentially also on how the ships are equipped to launch and recover aircraft.

Hacked Drones and Busted Logistics are the Cyber Future of Warfare

Bruce Schneier, Tarah Wheeler

"If you think any of these systems are going to work as expected in wartime, you're fooling yourself."

That was Bruce's response at a conference hosted by U.S. Transportation Command in 2017, after learning that their computerized logistical systems were mostly unclassified and on the internet. That may be necessary to keep in touch with civilian companies like FedEx in peacetime or when fighting terrorists or insurgents. But in a new era facing off with China or Russia, it is dangerously complacent.

Any 21st century war will include cyber operations. Weapons and support systems will be successfully attacked. Rifles and pistols won't work properly. Drones will be hijacked midair. Boats won't sail, or will be misdirected. Hospitals won't function. Equipment and supplies will arrive late or not at all....

Why They Fight: How Perceived Motivations for Military Service Shape Support for the Use of Force

Ronald Krebs, Robert Ralston, Aaron Rapport

What shapes public support for military missions? Existing scholarship points to, on the one hand, individuals' affiliations and predispositions (such as political partisanship and gender), and, on the other hand, factors that shape a rational cost–benefit analysis (notably, mission objectives, the prospects for victory, and the magnitude and distribution of costs). We argue that public opinion is also shaped by beliefs about why soldiers voluntarily enlist. Using novel survey data and an experiment, deployed to a nationally representative sample of Americans, we test how four conceptions of soldiering affect support for a prospective military operation. We find, in observational data, that believing that a soldier is a good citizen or patriot bolsters support for the mission, while believing that a soldier has enlisted because he wants the material benefits of service or has "no other options" undermines support. These results support our causal argument: Americans' attitudes toward military missions are shaped by their perception of whether the soldier has consented to deployment rather than by feelings of social obligation. This article has implications for debates on the determinants of public support for military missions and the relationship between military service and citizenship in democracies.