#Reviewing The Hooligans of Kandahar

#Reviewing The Hooligans of Kandahar

No general would ever suggest you read this book, and maybe that is why you should make time to do it. The first person perspective offered by Kassabian is unpolished, irreverent, and told from a soldier’s perspective. In a world full of strategic challenges it is, in my view, a good thing for those making the decisions and grappling with the consequences to get an appreciation for what the greatest of plans looks like when 18-year-old Americans are sent forth to implement them.

A Tradition Older

A Tradition Older

Navy culture builds on traditions of the sea and seafaring in a nearly unbroken line from the sailing fleets of the British Empire through today’s modern nuclear-powered  ships of steel. One common saying is that the United States Navy is “over 240 years of tradition, unhampered by progress,” a simultaneous indictment of conservatism and a celebration of history and tradition. While the statement is not fully true, however, tradition is a such a cornerstone of naval life that tradition is an unofficial fourth core value and the single most common rationale for any action. Sailors cite tradition in many ways and forms, often interchangeably with custom and routine.

Strategy from the Ground Level: Why the Experience of the U.S. Civil War Soldier Matters

Strategy from the Ground Level: Why the Experience of the U.S. Civil War Soldier Matters

The long-serving professionals of the modern U.S. Army may seem worlds apart from their citizen-soldier forebears. Yet, the lessons outlined here have echoes in the present. A growth in military marketing and benefits following the rise of the all-volunteer force in 1973 testifies to the ongoing effort to satisfy the motivations of prospective recruits.

The United Nations in Mali: A New Approach to Peacekeeping?

The United Nations in Mali: A New Approach to Peacekeeping?

It is questionable whether the UN can really afford to shift political responsibility to local actors while renouncing to vigorous political initiatives as a mediator. To leverage its global legitimacy, the UN will need to take into account the inherently partiality of military tools and to work around its implications, insisting that politics need to come first.

#Reviewing War and Remembrance

#Reviewing War and Remembrance

An unparalleled account of the American Battle Monuments Commission. He identifies heretofore nameless staffers of the agency and offers a more informed sketch of its commissioners. This is an incredible contribution to the history of the American Battle Monuments Commission, as no finding aid or guidebook of names to its records exists. However, the reverential and uncritical tone with which Conner treats the American Battle Monuments Commission is at times tiresome, and he offers sparse analysis beyond what the archive demonstrates—even when it reveals obvious prejudice.

Biotechnology and Human Augmentation: Issues for National Security Practitioners

Biotechnology and Human Augmentation:  Issues for National Security Practitioners

Over the last decade, military theorists and authors in the fields of future warfare and strategy have examined in detail the potential impacts of an ongoing revolution in information technology. There has been a particular focus on the impacts of automation and artificial intelligence on military and national security affairs. This attention on silicon-based disruption has nonetheless meant that sufficient attention may not have been paid to other equally profound technological developments. One of those developments is the field of biotechnology.

Is Mexico a Failing State?

Is Mexico a Failing State?

A kleptocracy and a vast narco-economy rot Mexico’s weak institutions. Continuous gun battles and the failing military and police force raise concerns over Mexico’s stability as a state. The power dynamic continues to shift where the state continues to lose any monopoly on the legitimate use of force, and there's a real possibility that Mexico can fail as a state and one that is on the United States’ border. The United States needs to take a hard look at Mexico and treat it as a growing security threat.

#Reviewing War Virgin: Liberation or Exploitation?

#Reviewing War Virgin: Liberation or Exploitation?

To a woman on active duty, constantly trying to prove her value—or, at the very least, that her mere presence isn’t destructive—the majority of Westley’s behavior is mortifying. I did not enjoy reading this book. But as Westley’s story developed, I stopped cringing as much over her exploits and started wondering more if she ever had much of a chance. Westley’s account reads extreme, but I’ve seen the basics too many times before.

Targeting Our Blind Spot of Trust: Five Impossibilities of Liberal Democracy in a Dangerous Digital Age

Targeting Our Blind Spot of Trust: Five Impossibilities of Liberal Democracy in a Dangerous Digital Age

An axiom of political theory is that any stable and sustainable polity must be able to express and renew a cultural and political form with broad legitimacy among its constituent communities. Already impoverished by market fundamentalism, this capacity is further endangered in the digital age by its attack on the cognitive conditions critical to the reproduction of historical memory.

#Reviewing The New Rules of War

#Reviewing The New Rules of War

Victory. That is why we are all here. But, does anyone know what victory in war looks like over the next several decades, or how to achieve it? There is no shortage of authors in the ever-growing literature on strategy and national defense telling us both what victory in war will look like and how to get there. Count me a skeptic. I find a whiff of moonshine and snake oil surrounds most in this crowded field, and I struggle to find thoughtful analysis among the raft of novelists selling books, technocrats fighting for budgets, and thought leaders peddling warmed-over and outdated scholarship. In a further turn of the screw, one often encounters real insight and snake oil in the same work.

Aces-High Frontier

Aces-High Frontier

You expect an electric crackle, the deep whine of machinery, a bolt of red across a planetary foreground, the roar of rocket engines. Wrong. When the United States Space Force (USSF) is in action, it really couldn’t be less cinematic. Anti-visual even. Yes, the Earth is still an astonishing sight from our perch at the Earth-Moon L4 Lagrange point, but battle itself is rather anticlimactic. No explosions. No starfighters careening this way and that.

#Reviewing Grand Strategy

#Reviewing Grand Strategy

The practice of grand strategy has been a staple of statesmanship since time immemorial. But only since the Napoleonic era has much ink been spilt analyzing and grappling with the grand strategic behavior of varied historical dynamos. Until now, scholars have largely demurred from trying to pin down the theoretical essence of what grand strategy actually is. By borrowing insights from fields as varied as strategic studies and cognitive theory, Layton has created an interpretation of how grand strategy could and should look in practice.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs: An Unequal Dialogue in Which Direction?

The Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs: An Unequal Dialogue in Which Direction?

Senators will soon be evaluating the President’s nominees to replace James Mattis as Secretary of Defense and General Joseph Dunford as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They will have no shortage of material from which to draw tough questions for each new nominee, but they may want to add relations between the two top staffs at the Pentagon to the list. In its recent report, the National Defense Strategy Commission raised concerns over the relationship between the civilians of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military officers under the Joint Chiefs of Staff.