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LESSONS ENCOUNTERED: Learning from the Long War 
Lessons Encountered: Learning from the Long War began as two questions from General Martin E. Dempsey, 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: What were the costs and benefits of the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what were the strategic lessons of these campaigns? The Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University was tasked to answer these questions. The editors composed a volume that assesses the war and analyzes the costs, using the Institute’s considerable in-house talent and the dedication of the NDU Press team. The audience for this volume is senior officers, their staffs, and the students in joint professional military education courses—the future leaders of the Armed Forces. Other national security professionals should find it of great value as well.

IMPUNITY: Countering Illicit Power In War and Transition 
Edited by Michelle Hughes and Michael Miklaucic  
A serious and effective effort to meet the challenges of illicit power in the 21st century will require technology, global partnership, and an integrated, comprehensive campaign driven by international commitment and broad political will. Of the many important lessons that emerge from these essays the most important is to be skeptical of concepts that divorce conflict from its political and human nature, particularly those that promise fast, cheap victories through technology while ignoring the need to confront illicit power in war and transition.

Unity of Mission: Civilian-Military Teams in War and Peace

Edited by Melanne Civic and Jon Gundersen
While much has been written about civilian-military teams in Vietnam and, most recently, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the subject has not been addressed in a single, comprehensive publication containing historical context and reflecting a broad diversity of views. It is the intention of the coeditors of Unity of Mission to fill this gap. The authors are convinced that without unity among military and civilian actors, long-term mission success is difficult at best. They believe the essays contained in this volume attest to this assertion. They are also fully aware that civilian-military teams are not a silver bullet. Rather, at best, such teams serve as a useful tool in a more comprehensive security framework. Nevertheless, in an age of budgetary constraints, the need to coordinate military and civilian resources—hard, kinetic, and soft power—is clear. It is the opinion of the coeditors that civilian-military teams are critical to achieving the goals of sustainable peace, stability, and security.

Reconfiguring USAID for State-Building/USAID Should Become the Department of Nation Building
22 June 2016 by Michael Miklaucic and Max Boot in CFR and Foreign Policy
Nation-building abroad has become a neuralgic term in American politics. Opposition to nation-building abroad is one of the few things that President Barack Obama and Donald Trump can agree on. And yet, at the same time that U.S. leaders proclaim their opposition to nation-building, they acknowledge that failing states pose a serious threat to American interests. As Obama said in his 2016 State of the Union address, "Even without ISIL … instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world—in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan, in parts of Central America, in Africa, and Asia. Some of these places may become safe havens for new terrorist networks. Others will just fall victim to ethnic conflict, or famine, feeding the next wave of refugees. The world will look to us to help solve these problems."

SOF Role in Combating Transnational Organized Crime
Center for Complex Operations' Michael Miklaucic authored the concluding chapter on World Order or Disorder: The SOF Contribution in a new Joint Special Operations University publication titled, SOF Role in Combating Transnational Organized Crime, edited by William Mendel and Dr. Peter McCabe.  

Learning from Iraq and Afghanistan: Four Lessons for Building More Effective Coalitions
By Nathan White in Journal on Baltic Security 
Despite many tactical and operational successes by brave military and civilian personnel, post-9/11 operations by U.S. led coalitions in Iraq and Afghanistan did not achieve their intended outcomes. Although many efforts are underway by discrete organizations within coalition countries to identify and learn their own lessons from these conflicts, comparatively less attention is paid to broader lessons for successful coalitions. Given that the U.S. and its allies will most certainly form coalitions in the future for a range of different contingency scenarios, these lessons are equally deserving of close examination. This article identifies four interrelated lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan that can be utilized to inform more effective coalition development and employment.

More Lessons from a Long War
1 May 2016 - By Dr. Joe Collins in Small Wars Journal 
This short essay is an attempt to encapsulate lessons from the Long War beyond the timeframe operative in the NDU book.  Once again, the lessons may not be new. They are often simple, but nevertheless profound.  As with all strategic lessons, they are context dependent.
To begin, who could forget where they were in August 2011 when the last American combat units convoyed without incident from a mostly peaceful Iraq into Kuwait?  For many of us, it was a relief to imagine that somehow ---unlike Humpty Dumpty--- all the King’s horses and all of his soldiers had somehow found a way to put a shattered Iraq back together again.  The boldness of the Surge and the Sunni awakening had reduced violence in Iraq by 90 percent. The U.S. and its allies helped to rebuild a competent Iraqi Army.  The Surge enabled the Coalition to begin to withdraw and for Iraq to hold a second round of apparently successful elections.  In some ways, the peaceful U.S. departure from Iraq diminished the pain of an expensive, bloody campaign, a preventive war built on faulty premises.

Bringing Back Chibok Girls Only Start of Nigeria's Challenge 
25 April, 2016 - By Hilary Matfess in The Global Observatory
More than two million people have fled their homes throughout northeast Nigeria since 2009, largely as a result of Boko Haram raids on their communities. The majority of the able-bodied displaced population are women and girls. Female-headed households have also become more common, as the males are being killed by violence. In light of renewed advocacy for the more than 270 girls abducted from the town of Chibok two years ago, it must be recognized that the task at hand is much larger than rescuing this one group. Boko Haram is holding many more women and girls captive, and those who escape or are rescued lack adequate humanitarian assistance, and are often subjected to sexual abuse and face significant obstacles to re-entering society.

How the Left Blew it in Latin America
21 April, 2016 - By Doug Farah in the Miami Herald
In the end, the populist revolutionaries who swept to power in Latin America a decade ago proved to be worse than the corrupt oligarchs they replaced. Instead of ushering in a new day of good governance and transparency, the Bolivarian revolution is fizzling out under the weight of its own massive corruption, ties to organized crime, intolerance and megalomania.

Read more here:

Chibok Girls - Do we really care?
March 31, 2016  - By Hilary Matfess in IRNI
The world united in a campaign to demand #BringBackOurGirls after the abduction of the Chibok school girls two years ago by the Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram. But there has been next to nothing in the way of support to the women that have managed to escape the militants.

Unbroken Boko Haram
March 21, 2016 - By Hilary Matfess, Peter Lewis and Nathaniel Allen in Foreign Affairs.
After less than a year in office, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is claiming significant progress against Boko Haram. Buhari has shifted the base of military operations from Abuja, the capital, to the northeastern city of Maiduguri, coordinated military efforts with other armed forces in the region, and sought better cooperation with the United States and the United Kingdom on intelligence and assistance. His administration has also attempted to crack down on corruption in the security establishment. 

Interorganizational Cooperation III of III
2nd Quarter JFQ 2016 - By James McArthur and Dale Erickson et al.  
This article completes a trilogy on interorganizational cooperation—with a focus on the joint force perspective. The first article discussed civilian perspectives from across the U.S. Government and their challenges in working with the military and highlighted the potential benefits of enhancing unity of effort throughout the government.1 The second article presented humanitarian organization perspectives on interfacing with the military and served to illuminate the potential value of increased candor and cooperation as a means to develop mutually beneficial relationships.2 In this final installment, the discussion focuses on how the joint force might assess and mitigate the issues raised by the first two articles through application of the joint doctrine development process.3 This article also explores how joint doctrine can assist in developing and sustaining the relationships that are essential for building effective and cooperative processes in the operational environment. Although the authors accept that cultures and missions vary widely among different types of organizations, we suggest there is a mutual benefit to be achieved from deep understanding of not only one’s own organization but also each other’s perspectives, methods, and structures.

Call For Papers

We are pleased to announce a Call for Papers for a forthcoming 2016 issue which will be focused on Africa. 

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