Sept. 14, 2017

Developing a Western Logistics Course for Kazakhstan

Operational logisticians are in high-demand across the globe, irrespective of country, since their specialty is a critical enabler of military capability. It is difficult, however, to design relevant training and to develop the next generation of logisticians who are skilled in the art of planning and managing logistics at the operational level. Within the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) the questions of what to teach, how to optimize student learning, and even who to teach are all difficult to answer—across the armed services and joint organizations there is very little agreement. Coursework design for other nations must accommodate differences in culture, language, and teaching methodology from that of the United States, and relate instruction to the host country’s national security strategy and defense priorities.

Sept. 14, 2017

Learning from the Struggle to Assess Counterinsurgency and Stabilization Operations in Afghanistan

American assessment practices proved to be inadequate for U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan. The type of conflict in which America and its allies would eventually find themselves engaged did not necessarily fit neatly within any of the primary civilian and military mission sets. U.S. military assessment practices are largely meant to support a traditional conventional war paradigm in which Joint Force combat overmatch and the defeat of a state adversary’s military forces has been increasingly treated as the definitive factor in achieving victory. The assessment practices at U.S. civilian agencies, in particular the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), generally are designed to measure success in activities, projects, and programming associated with their traditional missions such as development, diplomacy, democracy promotion, human rights, and disaster relief.

Sept. 14, 2017

Reinventing Social Science in the Military: Lessons Learned from the United States and New Zealand

At first glance, the relationship between social science and the military may not be clear. A closer analysis of the opportunities that social science offers the military shows, however, that it provides a variety of research and educational capabilities to address the human dimensions of military organizations and their operational contexts. For instance, psychological and human performance criteria are firmly rooted in social science constructs within the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

Sept. 14, 2017

Reflections on Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Can you tell us how your view of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan evolved during your various leadership assignments? GEN Petraeus: When we were getting ready for what became the invasion of Iraq, the prevailing wisdom was that we were going to have a long, hard fight to Baghdad, and it was really going to be hard to take Baghdad. The road to deployment, which was a very compressed road for the 101st Airborne Division, started with a seminar on military operations in urban terrain, because that was viewed as the decisive event in the takedown of the regime in Iraq—that and finding and destroying the weapons of mass destruction.

Sept. 14, 2017

The Big Stick: the Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force

The Big Stick is an excellent book that does what its title advertises. Eliot Cohen, a dean of American strategic thought and a former counselor to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, dissects American military power, analyzes the threats that power faces, and the rudimentary rules for its usage. This is a rare book that appeals to both the expert and the dedicated citizen looking for a guide to future strategy. It reminds us that “to go far” in this world, we must “speak softly and carry a big stick,” a saying popularized by Theodore Roosevelt before he became President. Cohen analyzes the stick and tells the reader how and when to swing it with a tenor and vigor that President Roosevelt would appreciate.

Sept. 14, 2017

War and the Art of Governance: Consolidating Combat Success into Political Victory

War and the Art of Governance is an important book for looking beyond the frequently cited mistakes of Afghanistan and Iraq to put the very serious problems of stabilization and governance into a larger historical framework. The book is somewhat weakened by an almost total focus on the military and organizational aspects of the problems without adequately exploring the political dimensions of the many case studies it focuses on. Nevertheless, its concentration on the need to radically alter certain deeply ingrained habits of both the Army and of policymakers is an important contribution to policy and doctrine.

Sept. 14, 2017

Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?

It is conceivable that one day the United States and the People’s Republic of China will go to war. There are a number of possible scenarios involving a disturbing range of countries—Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Japan, and the Koreas—that could draw the two countries into a fight. None of this is news, as tension has been evident for some time. Whether or not there is a conflict will depend on how far China pushes to assert its interests, for example in the South China Sea. In other cases, the risks revolve more around actions that might be taken by others, for example a formal secession by the Republic of China (Taiwan) from China.

Sept. 14, 2017

A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order

Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, is an innovative thinker in the field of American foreign policy and international relations. In his recent work, A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order, Haass proposes updating the current world order—that has been with us seemingly since time immemorial, having originated with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648—to help alleviate world disorder.

July 1, 2017

Webcast: The Problem of Police

Together with international policing experts Mark Kroeker and David Beer, security sector reform expert Michelle Hughes discusses the unique challenge of effective policing development. Using several real-world examples, Hughes, Kroeker, and Beer provide guiding principles for program design and a roadmap for creating policing accountability within the rule of law.

May 16, 2017

A Reply to Jerome Lynes’ Critique

Dear Editor:In reference to a recent critique of the article “Special Operations Doctrine: Is It Needed,” by Jerome M. Lynes (12/21/16), we acknowledge the existence of Joint Special Operations doctrine. Upon reflection, we could title the article “Special Operations Doctrine: It Is Needed!” The intent of this article was to capture, share, and