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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.

The Current Revolution in the Nature of Conflict

Strategic Scouts for Strategic CorporalsThe nature of conflict changes constantly. But every so often the economic, social, political and technological pressures which force that change build up, and the suddenness, the pace, breadth and extent of change reach such a pitch that we can call it a ‘revolution’ rather than evolution. Such revolutions in the nature of conflict include the years 1648 (the peace of Westphalia and the coming-of-age of the nation-state), 1789 (The French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars) and 1914 (the industrialization of warfare). Today, we are currently experiencing just such a revolution in the nature of conflict. The main drivers of today’s revolution in the nature of conflict are: (a) the growing gap between rich and poor countries, (b) the uncontrollable proliferation of technology, and (c) the information explosion. The major source of problems for us in today’s revolution lies in bad governance--the incompetence of governments in weak or failing states, which cannot cope with their internal pressures or resolve local and regional disputes, and our own inability to change our national and international systems of governance to cope with the new challenges.

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Paradox or Paradigm? Operational Contractor Support

Strategic Scouts for Strategic CorporalsFor almost a decade, the military has been shifting supply and support personnel into combat jobs and hiring defense contractors to do the rest. Over the past decade, the number of contract civilians performing work the military used to do has increased tenfold. A number of important issues have surfaced regarding the relationship of contractors and the military. Personnel turbulence associated with the frequent turnover of military supervisors can severely affect the efficiency and effectiveness of contractor planning, monitoring and supervision. A contractor’s status in a hostile-fire area is of concern, but more troubling is the ambiguity of international law concerning the status of contractors. If the Army outsources more combat and combat service support, should it consider planning for and integrating contractors into current and emerging organizations? At present, and for the foreseeable future, contractor readiness is becoming more, not less, critical in today’s high-tempo, deployment-intensive environment. To prevent the “pick-up game” mentality of contract support, the Army must develop contractor relationships that promote readiness, training, mutual respect and confidence, which is but one measure that can lead to a more predictable relationship when conflict arises.

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Saving the All-Volunteer Force

Anthropology and Counterinsurgency: The Strange Story of their Curious RelationshipThe military’s and especially the Army’s desired end strength has become a subject of major concern. Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and other deployments have heightened military manpower demands, and great apprehension exists that reserve components especially are experiencing severe recruitment and reenlistment problems. The most practical way of alleviating shortfalls and excessive reliance on reserve components is to introduce a short-enlistment option targeted at college students and recent college graduates. The enlistment option would require 15 months of active duty. Such 15-month enlistees could perform many of the roles reserve components and some active-duty personnel now perform. Without attracting significant numbers of college graduates, military recruitment will most likely experience a lowering of entrance standards, higher entry pay and larger enlistment bonuses, an expanded recruitment force, increased contracting-out of military functions, and more recruitment of non-American citizens. We should also keep in mind the long-term benefits for the country if military service becomes more common among “privileged” youth. We will have future civilian leaders who have had a rewarding military experience and who might be future part-time recruiters, which can only be to the advantage of the armed forces and the nation.

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The Fight for Samarra: Full-Spectrum Operations in Modern Warfare

War Policy, Public Support, and the MediaShortly after midnight on Oct. 1, 2004, Iraqi and 1st Infantry Division Soldiers attacked insurgents in Samarra, Iraq. The operation was deliberate, precise and struck the enemy simultaneously from multiple directions. By noon, Iraqi security forces controlled key government and religious sites. In slightly more than two days of fighting, more than 125 insurgents were killed, 60 wounded and 128 detained. The success of Operation Baton Rouge is that soldiers, noncommissioned officers and leaders throughout the 1st ID combat team understood the nuances of stability, support and combat operations and simultaneously executed them in such a manner that they: reduced support for the insurgency; enabled a rapid, precise kinetic operation with minimal loss of innocent life and damage to civilian property; facilitated a quick transition to the decisive phase; and created an environment in which the most difficult tasks, those associated with transitioning to Iraqi control, of the decisive phase could be tackled. Coalition forces are still working the decisive phase of Operation Baton Rouge. A true victory— long-term security and stability under competent civil and police authorities—will require persistence and patience.

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How Joint Are We and Can We Be Better?

Force Protection Lessons from IraqBecause of the nature of its mission, the Army depends on the other services for help. But the U.S. military does not have a system in place to institutionalize, direct or even require regular joint tactical training. Discussions with numerous former and serving battalion and brigade commanders and former combat training center observer/controllers indicate that joint tactical training is simply not happening often enough. There are several options for improving joint tactical training ranging from redesigning the entire Department of Defense as “purple-suiters” to maintaining the status quo. One is to align all tactical Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force combat elements for training with each other based on a regional alignment under the combatant commanders of the unified commands. Combatant commanders would direct multi-echelon joint training and issue training development guidance to the service commands. Commanders of each of the aligned service component commands would then develop, resource, coordinate and execute multi-echelon joint training. Another option is to charge the Joint Forces Command commander with synchronizing assets to ensure that joint tactical training is taking place.

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