This memoir serves as a powerful work laying bare what it is like to experience a terrorist attack. It also serves as a fitting warning of our need to learn, and sadly often re-learn, the lessons of the past to prevent future failures from occurring.
NATO has enabled and supported U.S. foreign policy since the early days of the Cold War and continues to do so today. Given the 2018 National Defense Strategy’s emphasis on the return of great power competition, NATO’s importance to the United States will grow as competition intensifies. The United States should consider reinforcing NATO and reassuring its NATO allies of continued American commitment.
Most wars are limited wars, with significant political restraints on military force. Such restraints create conundrums for military strategists. “The less intense the motives,” wrote Carl von Clausewitz, “the less will the military element’s natural tendency to violence coincide with political directives.” Yet, as Allied Force illustrates, the savvy strategist can maximize the effectiveness of the air weapon even when political will is weaker.
Civilian and military leaders have sought the ability to anticipate the nature of future conflicts and prepare for them for millennia. Robert H. Latiff gives us his vision of future war in his recent book Future War: Preparing for the New Global Battlefield. In a concise volume, he presents his assessment of where the U.S. military is now, the challenges ahead, and the way forward.
The premise of Michael Pillsbury’s controversial book is alarming yet straightforward. Western strategic thinkers have been the victims of a massive deception campaign perpetrated by a group of Chinese hardliners who have convinced the West that China’s intentions are benign, but who are, in fact, driven by one overriding goal, to overthrow the U.S. as the world’s sole superpower. If this conjures up images of a thriller from the pen of Dan Brown, it may be the intent of the author.
Why, one might ask, is the late Victorian British army of any relevance to the U.S. military in 2019? Simply put, many of the ideas and themes discussed by Beckett are of timeless interest to those concerned with the ways in which professions ought to, and actually do, function. In fact, there are a striking number of analogies between the British Empire during the late Victorian and Edwardian period and the current geopolitical situation of the United States.
Scholars of civil-military relations sometimes have a bad habit of grounding their debates in the theories of the past instead of revising those theories or developing more appropriate frameworks that could inform our understanding of the recent past and prepare us for the future. In his recent book, Four Guardians: A Principled Agent View of American Civil-Military Relations, however, Jeff Donnithorne attempts to buck that trend.
Marine Major Ian Brown, who like all Marine officers of the past three decades heard stories of John Boyd and the reforms he sparked while at The Basic School, undoubtedly from instructors with little more than a cursory familiarity with the subject matter. Boyd’s contributions piqued Brown’s interest and encouraged him to dig deeper into the story.
Without Gerhard von Scharnhorst, it is unlikely there would be a Carl von Clausewitz. An officer with extraordinary talents and intellect, and an even more remarkable fate, Scharnhorst forever changed the path of the Prussian Army, molded the idea of the Prusso-German General Staff, and forged some of the most influential concepts in the realm of military theory and practice. Yet, he is primarily known as a teacher and mentor to the West’s most influential strategic thinker, Carl von Clausewitz...especially among those less versed in German language and history. With this series, The Strategy Bridge strives to fill this gap.
Giangreco’s study fills a vacuum in the literature on Truman. There are many biographies of him, but they deal only briefly with his life before the end of World War I. Giangreco provides thorough coverage of Truman’s career in the military, both as a citizen soldier and then later after the U.S. government federalized his National Guard unit.
Fifty years ago, Vermont Royster wrote that “it may seem cruel, this tradition of asking good and well-intentioned men to account for their deeds.” This accounting should not stop with the commanders at sea, but should also go to actions ashore, including how incidents like this are handled, and learned from.
The collapse of the Soviet Union has created an ideological and identity crisis in Russia. Prior to the collapse, the U.S.S.R was a multinational, multicultural state with the ideological mission to be the vanguard of a worldwide Communist revolution. Afterwards, Russians foundered to find out who they were, what ideology they should embrace, and where they fit globally. Initial attempts at liberalization seemed to have been a spectacular failure, and attempts to define themselves have bred a new form of nationalism that is not necessarily compatible with Western ideals.
Operations in the information environment will be a critical part of future joint force operations and should be baked in to those operations as a fully valued tool in commanders’ combined arms toolboxes. Reaching that goal will require greater acceptance and understanding of information across the joint force, new structures for information forces, and the evolution of how operations in the information environment are handled within the staff.
Frontier zones are the most complex and interesting of regions. They have been explored as wild badlands of smuggling and insurgency in the international system in many recent books from Niall Ferguson, George Friedman, Robert Kaplan, and David Kilcullen. In this vein, Scott MacEachern takes a microscopic view of one relatively small frontier area around the Mandara Mountains on the Cameroon-Nigeria border and describe its’ inhabitants’ cultural evolution over seven millennia.
The widening rift between the Pentagon and Silicon Valley endangers national security in an era when global powers are embracing strategic military-technical competition. As countries race to harness the next potentially offsetting technology, artificial intelligence, the implications of relinquishing their competitive edge could drastically change the landscape of the next conflict. The Pentagon has struggled—and continues to struggle—to make a solid business case for technology vendors to sell their products to the Defense Department. Making the economic case to Silicon Valley requires process improvement, but building a strong relationship will necessitate embracing the ethical questions surrounding the development and employment of artificial intelligence on the battlefield.
The concern here, however, is not that death by robot represents a more horrible outcome than when a human pulls the trigger. Rather it has to do with the nature of morality itself and the central role respect for persons, understood in the Kantian sense as something moral agents owe each other, plays in forming our moral judgments.
The experiences of American soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, sometimes over and over again, are central to this story, including consideration of the lasting impact of their time abroad. American culture is already rife with conversations about post-traumatic stress, veterans’ services, and treatments following deployments. Unfortunately, the voice of the veterans themselves is seldom heard with clarity in these conversations.
The Russian military is developing the doctrine and capabilities for gaining and contesting battlefield awareness that will pose a significant challenge to U.S. forces in any future conflict with Russia. The military’s focus on information dominance extends from a broader belief among Russian leadership that information confrontation is one of the fundamental ways in which states compete. While the Russian military has always been adept at bringing tremendous firepower to bear during combat operations, it has also been a brawler, needing to get in contact with its opponent before being able to fight.