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The U.S. Army Professional Writing Collection showcases articles from a variety of professional journals that focus on relevant issues affecting The Army. This micro-site seeks to stimulate innovative thinking about the challenges that may face tomorrow's Army. It is further intended that the articles featured on this site cause reflection, increased dialogue within The Army Community, and in the best case, action by Soldiers. Updated biweekly, these articles are written by Soldiers, civilians, academics, and other subject matter experts. Links to various Army publications, Department of Defense journals and selected non-governmental defense-related publications are also provided on this site.

Relearning Counterinsurgency Warfare

Relearning Counterinsurgency WarfareThirty years after the signing of the January 1973 Paris peace agreement ending the Vietnam War, the United States finds itself leading a broad coalition of military forces engaged in peacemaking, nation-building, and now counterinsurgency warfare in Iraq. A turning point appeared in mid-October 2003 when US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's memo on the future of Iraqi operations surfaced. His musings about whether US forces were ready for protracted guerrilla warfare sparked widespread debate about US planning for counterinsurgency operations. Little attention has been paid to the theory and practice of counter-insurgency warfare in mainstream strategic studies journals. Discussions of the so-called revolution in military affairs (RMA) and RMA-associated technologies for battlefield surveillance and precision targeting dominated defense planning discourse in the 1990s.

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The Casualty-Aversion Myth

The Casualty-Aversion MythThat is the nature of the American public's sensitivity to U.S. military casualties? How does casualty sensitivity affect the pursuit of American national security objectives? The first question is easy to answer: There is no intrinsic, uncritical casualty aversion among the American public that limits the use of U.S. armed forces. There is a wide range of policy objectives on behalf of which the public is prepared to accept American casualties as a cost of success. Squeamishness about even a few casualties for all but the most important national causes is a myth. Nonetheless, it is a myth that persists as widely accepted conventional wisdom. The second question is more difficult to answer. Avoidance of casualties is an unassailably desirable objective. It is precisely the natural nobility of the argument that makes it susceptible to misuse in the policy-making process, potentially leading to ineffective or inefficient choices.


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The Egyptian-Yemen War (1962-67): Egyptian Perspectives on Guerrilla Warfare

The Egyptian-Yemen War (1962-67): Egyptian Perspectives on Guerrilla WarfareEgyptian military historians refer to their war in Yemen as their Vietnam. President Nasser began by sending a battalion of Special Forces and in the end committed 55,000 troops - all in an effort to sustain a revolution of Yemeni officers who brought an end to a tyrannical and medieval Hamiduddin dynasty. This five-year conflict offers many lessons from the Yemeni officers, who were sent to Egypt and Iraq for military training only to return with Nasserist, nationalist and Baathist ideas, to the underestimation of Egyptian Field Marshal Amer and his general staff, who felt that a battalion of Special Forces combined with airpower could score a quick and decisive victory. As the United States undertakes the crucial task of rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan, it is imperative that this new generation of American military planners gain an appreciation for the history, strategy and tactics of wars not usually studied in today's western war colleges. Despite massive manpower, airpower, armor and artillery, the Egyptian expeditionary forces could only hold onto a triangle of land from the capital Sana'a to the port of Hodeida to Taiz.


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Deconstructing Army Leadership

Deconstructing Army LeadershipA RECENT STUDY at the U.S. Army War College (USAWC) drew interesting conclusions about how the staff and faculty defined leadership, both individually and collectively; for example, the definition of the ideal leader is based on personal and cultural expectations of what each of us believe good leaders should be. Overall, the study revealed a healthy diversity of ideas. As an institution, however, the Army does not embrace this diversity. Despite the fact that "there is no universally agreed on definition of leadership," the Army seeks consensus on a single hierarchical theory of leadership. This theory is not necessarily the mental model each of us actually applies when entering the Army's leadership echelons. Although current Army doctrine might inform our personal convictions, most of us have developed our own theories of effective leadership, which are heavily influenced by our upbringing, experiences, education, and training.


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June 2003 | Volume 1.1
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