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The U.S. Army Professional Writing Collection draws from a variety of professional journals that focus on relevant issues affecting The Army. The views expressed are those of the author and do not represent the official position of 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 monthly, 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.

Medium Armor and the Transformation of the U.S. Military

Afghanistan: From Here to Eternity?The experiences of Afghanistan and Iraq appeared to confirm the belief in the wisdom of transformation to meet the threats of the 21st century. For instance, both the Army and Marine Corps found the need for more armor. In particular, the need arose for medium-armor units; those with armored vehicles heavier than the Humvee and M-113 Armored Personnel Carrier, but lighter than the Abrams Main Battle Tank or Bradley Fighting Vehicle. A first step in that transformation is the creation of medium-weight combat brigades built around a new fighting vehicle, the Stryker. It is intended to be a bridge between light infantry and the heavy-armored force. Another step in Army transformation is to begin creating the future Army, the so-called Future Force, with its Future Combat System (FCS). The FCS is not one platform, but a mix of fully networked manned vehicles, robots and unmanned aerial vehicles. It is expected that the Future Force will look very different from the current Army organization and will greatly facilitate the transformation process.

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Iran in Iraq's Shadow: Dealing with Tehran's Nuclear Weapons Bid

Iran in Iraq's Shadow: Dealing with Tehran's Nuclear Weapons BidWashington has to come to terms with the looming challenge of Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. The good news is that assertive multilateral diplomacy still has some running room for negotiating a stall or derailment of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The bad news is that the prospects are dim for achieving this end without the resort to force over the coming years. A grave concern is that Iran could transfer nuclear weapons to non-state actors, because for the past 20 years Tehran has consistently used non-state actors as instruments of statecraft to advance Iranian political interests and objectives. The prospects for the transfer of nuclear weapons to non-state actors is greater in the case of Iran than it was for Saddam’s regime, because Tehran has been much more active in the sponsorship of terrorist operations, particularly those of Hezbollah. American decision-makers have to weigh political ends against military means as a basis for formulating strategy. The United States now has a significant portion of its total ground forces committed to Iraq and would be hard-pressed to mount a comparable or larger operation simultaneously against Iran.

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Winning the Nationbuilding War

Winning the Nationbuilding WarConstruction is more difficult than destruction, and nation-building operations can be long, complex and expensive. America’s mission in Bosnia has lasted several years and U.S. forces are still in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, the United States probably doesn’t have the financial capability or the political will to occupy large segments of the world semi-permanently. Yet, the potential costs of not engaging in some nation-building efforts might be horrific. How can we shorten the commitments and reduce the cost of nation-building? The answer is to have the right tools, the right people and the right processes for the job. The ultimate goal of nation-building is to establish a self-sustaining country friendly to the United States. To do so, the U.S. military must use all its assets effectively. The United States should structure, man and employ forces to ensure the peace and optimize nation-building through quality interactions with civilian populations. At the end of combat operations, specialized nation-builder units, steeped in the culture and language of the country, would deploy to take over first-line responsibility. Combat units would be kept in reserve for a period of time in case of emergency.

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Who's Responsible for Losing the Media War in Iraq?

Who's Responsible for Losing the Media War in Iraq?The military laments that its successes in Iraq and Afghanistan have gone unnoticed, while any bad news is immediately set on by a national media intent on painting every U.S. commitment as a quagmire. This might be true, but the military is not without responsibility for this sad state of affairs. While it is easy to blame the media for failing to get the true story or to accuse journalists of a liberal bias against military operations, this fails to identify the true culprit. The reason the military is losing the war in the media is because it has almost totally failed to engage, and where it has engaged, it has been with a mind-boggling degree of ineptitude. Thousands of officers who spend countless hours learning every facet of their profession do not spend one iota of their time understanding or learning to engage with a strategic force that can make or break their best efforts. The media will always get a story out; it is the military’s responsibility to make sure that story is informed and correct.

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