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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.

French Algeria and British Northern Ireland: Legitimacy and the Rule of Law in Low-Intensity Conflict

Training for War-What We're LearningThe post-Cold War world, with its small wars of ethnic nationalism; tribal and religious conflict; and localized and global terrorism, is not so different from the era of decolonization in the late 1950s and 1960s. The ethnic and religious roots of many of the world’s current conflicts derive from the period when Europe shed its empires and much of the developing world gained independence. One critical lesson of the European wars of decolonization is the need to maintain legitimacy while conducting low-intensity conflict operations. Without legitimacy, a democratic nation cannot hope to prosecute operations to a successful conclusion. The critical importance of civilian control of the military, rigid adherence to the rule of law, and accountability of soldiers for their actions, are just a few of the lessons we can draw from a study of French Algeria and British Northern Ireland. In a low-intensity conflict, a key—if not the key—to operational center of gravity and balance is domestic public opinion and the retention of legitimacy. Soldiers and governments must remain true to legal principles and not descend into brutality.

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Joint Interagency Cooperation: The First Step

Winning WarsOn 9/11, the United States possessed superb military forces, unparalleled information-collection assets, and dedicated intelligence analysts. But it failed to use them effectively, suffering from an almost systemic and often self-imposed lack of coordination and information-sharing among governmental agencies. The new threat of well-planned and coordinated terrorist attacks requires the breadth of vision, speed of action, and management of resources. This can be accomplished only through synchronizing all the elements of national power. U.S. Central Command responded to the terrorist threat by creating a Joint Interagency Coordination Group. It was only a first step, but it was an order of magnitude greater than any prior attempt. Yet, there needs to be even better and more institutionalized interagency coordination at the operational level, using every tool in our arsenal to reduce the likelihood of future successful terrorist attacks. The primary challenge of interagency operations will be to achieve unity of effort, despite the diverse cultures, competing interests and differing priorities of participating organizations.


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Military Cultural Education

Fighting Terrorism and Insurgency: Shaping the Information EnvironmentOver the past decade, the Army has increasingly engaged in lengthy overseas deployments in which mission performance demanded significant interface with indigenous populations. Such interaction and how it affects military operations is important. In fact, engagement with local populaces has become so crucial that mission success is often significantly affected by Soldiers’ ability to interact with local individuals and communities. Learning to interact with local populaces presents a major challenge. For most long-distance operations, the Army attempts to instill in deployed forces an awareness of societal and cultural norms for the regions in which they operate. While these programs have proven useful, they fall far short of generating the tactile understanding necessary for today’s complex settings, especially when values and norms are so divergent they clash. Working with diverse cultures in their home element is more a matter of finesse, diplomacy and communication than the direct application of coercive power. Success demands an understanding of individual, community and societal normative patterns as they relate to the tasks Soldiers perform and the environment in which they are performed. Improved cultural education is now necessary as part of Soldier and leader development programs.


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U.S. European Command and Transformation

We Have Not Correctly Framed the Debate on Intelligence ReformThe United States is at war, but not the type of war we have trained, equipped, and planned for. Since it is not war in the traditional sense, it requires changes in the way we fight and think. It requires transformation. In the words of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, this “is about more than building new high-tech weapons. ... It is also about new ways of thinking ... and new ways of fighting.” Transformation is all-encompassing, it is here, and U.S. European Command is not just talking about it—it is doing it. The command has been directed to transform to better exploit the nation’s advantages, while defending its asymmetric vulnerabilities, thus maintaining its strategic position. According to the April 2003 Transformation Planning Guidance, we do that by developing and implementing innovative “combinations of concepts, capabilities, people, and organizations” across three broad areas: how we fight, how we do business inside the Department of Defense, and how we work with interagency and international partners.


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