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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.

Terrorism and Domestic Response: Can DoD Help Get It Right?

Terrorism and Domestic Response: Can DoD Help Get It Right?While the Department of Defense has ample manpower and equipment for both its overseas operational needs and any likely domestic response, its organizational structure and lack of integration with other domestic preparedness and response agencies may have the unintended consequence of an ineffective mass casualty reaction in the homeland. As the response to Hurricane Katrina demonstrated, there are problems in local, state, and federal responses and in communicating needs and expectations between the levels of government. When Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, once a military response was appropriately requested and authorized, National Guard and federal military forces were on the scene within hours, evacuating critically ill patients by helicopter and providing other life-saving support. Although DoD is not a first responder, it earned good grades for its capabilities when the local first responder infrastructure was overwhelmed. Katrina exposed larger systemic problems, however, with local, state, federal, and military coordination—problems that would be more apparent and have far more negative consequences in a terrorist attack on multiple cities.

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Learning Counterinsurgency: Observations from Soldiering in Iraq

Learning Counterinsurgency: Observations from Soldiering in IraqThe insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan were not, in truth, the wars for which we were best prepared in 2001; however, they are the wars we are fighting and they clearly are the kind of wars we must master. America’s overwhelming conventional military superiority makes it unlikely that future enemies will confront us head on. Rather, they will attack us asymmetrically, avoiding our strengths—firepower, maneuver, technology—and come at us and our partners the way the insurgents do in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is imperative, therefore, that we continue to learn from our experiences in those countries, both to succeed in those endeavors and to prepare for the future. Some observations from soldiering in Iraq: (1) Do not try to do too much with your own hands; (2) Act quickly, because every army of liberation has a half-life; (3) Money is ammunition; (4) Increasing the number of stakeholders is critical to success; (5) Analyze costs and benefits before each operation; (6) Intelligence is the key to success; (7) Everyone must do nation-building; (8) Help build institutions, not just units; (9) Cultural awareness is a force multiplier; (10) Success in a counterinsurgency requires more than just military operations; (11) Ultimate success depends on local leaders; (12) Remember the strategic corporals and strategic lieutenants; (13) There is no substitute for flexible, adaptable leaders; and (14) A leader’s most important task is to set the right tone.


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"Over By Christmas": Campaigning, Delusions and Force Requirements

Why the Strong LoseHighly competent warfighting forces may indeed prove effective in “winning” in some phases of a campaign, but may be ill-suited to succeed in operations which are defined by various, more complex political, economic and social endstates, not merely military destruction and victory. If during the peacekeeping or nation-building phase a force finds itself warfighting, it is likely to be a measure of failure, while the reverse is true the sooner it can start to nation- build in a warfighting phase. If there is a new “imperial mission,” which has yet to be clarified but should be, it is clear that this requires a “long view” and forces trained for all aspects of “imperial policing.” If this prospect is too daunting, culturally unacceptable or morally repugnant, then it may well be tempting to follow common historical precedent: Regret the nature of current operations, determine not to undertake them on those terms again, define the types of operations that would be preferred, design, finance and equip a force to satisfy that craving and then be surprised when that force is significantly ill-suited to what transpires to be required of it in future operations.


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A Hundred Osamas: Islamist Threats and the Future of Counterinsurgency

Is There a Deep Fight in a Counterinsurgency?If America’s pursuit of a global war on terror is strategically and politically well-grounded, then why are Islamist insurgencies and extremist movements continuing to operate, generating parallel cells that terrify the world with violent attacks from Iraq to London? While analysts debate the intensity and longevity of the latest round of terrorist attacks, we would do well to consider whether U.S. long-term goals in the war on terror—namely diminishing their presence and denying terrorists the ability to operate, while also altering conditions that terrorists exploit—are being met. If we are not pursuing the proper strategy or its implementation is not decreasing support for terrorists, then we should adapt accordingly. Jihadist strategy has emerged in a polymorphous pattern over the last 30 years, but many Americans only became aware of the intensity of this problem post- 9/11, and through observation of the 2003-2006 insurgency in Iraq.


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