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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.

Afghanistan Four Years On: An Assessment

Marketing: An Overlooked Aspect of Information OperationsThere are grounds for optimism vis-à-vis the future of Afghanistan. As with any complex mechanism, however, the finer components may be damaged with wear and tear and not all the gears will mesh when we want them to. There is an argument to made in the age of information operations that the simplistic metrics applied by the media and those seeking to make political fodder out of Afghanistan will always leave us with a perception that the country is on the brink of failure. The lack of historical context to these arguments, the ignorance of the effects of the high level of damage caused by 25 years of war, an underestimation of what the Afghan people are capable of, and the ruthless hunt for apparent failure will obscure the realities and complexities of reconstruction in this vast and diverse country. Operation Enduring Freedom and the International Security Assistance Force continue to be critical instruments in buying the Afghan government time for security sector reform. NATO members, however, must live up to the high expectations they established in Istanbul.

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The British Army and Counterinsurgency: The Salience of Military Culture

Winning the Peace The Requirement for Full-Spectrum OperationsYears of experience in small wars and counterinsurgencies have over time imbued the British Army as an institution with certain principles about the use of force in such operations. As a result, the British have wholeheartedly accepted that they should use minimum force, but only when required. The British also seem to exhibit more patience when it comes to protracted internal security problems, which is probably attributable to a tradition of operating in small, autonomous units in isolated and far away places. Moreover, the British approach to casualties is best described as a stiff-upper-lip attitude. A history of taking a limited number of casualties in remote places for unclear reasons has made the British tolerable of casualties. The British Army does not try to avoid casualties, and it does not seem to be averse to taking them. Also, due in part to a history of limited resources, the British Army does not overrely on technology as a be-all and end-all solution.

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Tsunami! Information Sharing in the Wake of Destruction

The Origins of al Qaeda's Ideology: Implications for U.S. StrategyOn December 26, 2004, a powerful earthquake off the coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island, generated a tsunami that exploded across the Indian Ocean at 500 mph, bringing death and destruction to a vast area. U.S. Pacific Command rapidly responded to this humanitarian disaster by initiating Operation Unified Assistance, a joint and combined effort that also included numerous nongovernmental organizations. The success of the operation was due, in part, to the ability of the U.S. intelligence community to adapt and respond with agility. The operation validated concepts and initiatives that have been implemented in PACOM in recent months. Foremost among the new concepts was the establishment of the Contingencies Support Operational Intelligence Cell within Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific. This all-source operational intelligence cell was formed into a holistic structure to integrate analysis, collection, information management, intelligence campaign planning, targeting development, intelligence operations, and production. Within hours of the tsunami, JICPAC commenced round-the-clock intelligence operations to ascertain details on the magnitude of destruction, establish situational awareness for the theater commander and his operational forces, and lay the foundation for international and interagency information sharing.

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The Defense Readiness Reporting System: A New Tool for Force Management

Ultramicro, Nonlethal, and Reversible: Looking Ahead to Military BiotechnologyTen years ago, the growing U.S. involvement in Bosnia engendered discussions on how the Department of Defense measures the ability of the armed forces to execute a broad range of missions. Many recognized that readiness reporting systems needed to reflect a continuum of possible operations. Today this question takes on new significance as DOD wrestles with both the enormity and uncertainty of the present operational environment. The sustained demand for forces in Iraq and Afghanistan makes it challenging to find units that are both suitable and available for deployment. It also underscores the importance of understanding residual force capability should another crisis occur. The new environment requires both a thorough understanding of what military forces can do and the ability to adapt quickly to emerging requirements. The pressure of current operations is forcing unprecedented changes along these lines. Today’s force managers understand that uncertainty is unavoidable but not unmanageable. The question is not just what forces are ready for, but how well they can adapt to meet current needs. The approach is very different from the rigid structuring of the Cold War era.

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