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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.

Networds: Terra Incognita and the Case for Ethnographic Intelligence

Networds: Terra Incognita and the Case for Ethnographic IntelligenceThree years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the fall of Saddam Hussein, confusion and controversy still surround the insurgency in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle. Part of this is due to the nontraditional character of the Sunni Arab insurgency, which is being waged by amorphous, locally and regionally based groups and networks lacking a unifying ideology, central leadership, or clear hierarchical organization. The ambiguities inherent in insurgent warfare also make insurgencies difficult to assess. In conventional military conflicts, we can compare opposing orders of battle, evaluate capabilities, and assess the fortunes of belligerents using traditional measures: destruction of enemy forces, capture of key terrain or seizure of the enemy’s capital city. Insurgents are often not organized into regular formations, making it difficult (even for their own leaders) to assess their numerical strength accurately. Usually, there are no front lines whose location could offer insight into the war’s progress, and at any rate, military factors are usually less important than political and psychological considerations in deciding the outcome of such conflicts. As a result, we need different analytic measures to assess the insurgency’s nature, scope, intensity and effectiveness.

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The Human Terrain System: A CORDS for the 21st Century

The Human Terrain System: A CORDS for the 21st CenturyTo successful fight the war on terror, our Army has found it necessary to undergo change of a magnitude not seen since World War II. Many factors have necessitated this change, including the changing nature of the threat, a retooled national military strategy, and the collective experiences of our deployed formations engaged against an elusive enemy in a protracted war of global scale. Each catalyst shapes the lens through which we view the Army’s mission, but one overriding thought remains: We must increasingly and consistently adapt to how we handle the challenges of full- spectrum operations in a protracted conflict. The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), as part of the generating force, is in the midst of transformation in today’s state of continuous operations. A symbiotic relationship is forming between generating and operating forces, and the traditional line between responsibilities is beginning to blur. TRADOC must establish better linkages to the operating forces it supports while simultaneously receiving constant feedback on adaptive solutions for current and future Army modular forces.

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American Military Performance in Iraq

American Military Performance in IraqDuring the last 30 months, the National Training Center (NTC) has experienced a period of profound and almost continuous change. While the specifics of change vary from rotation to rotation, the larger trend is toward refining the training experience based on feedback from the operational force. Today, the NTC as well as its sister, the combat training centers, are at the forefront of leading the Army through a second revolution in training—a process of continual change. Instead of training units to improve their readiness for possible deployment for worldwide contingencies, we are focused on creating a full-spectrum operational environment and learning experience that will prepare them for the harsh realities of imminent combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. In many ways, this might be the most important work the NTC has ever done. The leading advocates of this change are unit commanders faced with the realities of preparing their units for war. The leading agents of change are a new generation of observer/controllers and opposing forces who, with recent combat experience and an irresistible will to ensure victory and save lives, are helping train their brothers-in-arms for the changing requirements of war.

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The Widening Military Capabilities Gap between the United States and Europe: Does it Matter?

The Widening Military Capabilities Gap between the United States and Europe: Does it Matter?Within 48 hours of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s resignation and departure on February 29, 2004, Chilean forces deployed and integrated into a multinational interim force to help secure and stabilize the small, impoverished island nation. Days after the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1529, Chile, Canada, France, and the United States established a multinational force responsive to and capable of coordinating with international authorities and aid efforts in Haiti. The rapid reaction, deployment, and integration of coalition forces saved the lives of many Haitians, prevented mass migration during a time of rough seas, and facilitated transition to the process of restabilization. The U.S. Southern Command has been a key enabler of this growing capability, supporting a tailored exercise and theater security cooperation program that has encouraged partners such as Chile, Brazil, and El Salvador to develop skills in the conduct of integrated operations. The fruits of this program, borne out through examples such as the mission in Haiti and support to Operation Iraqi Freedom, also provide valuable lessons and extensive partner nation experience that may be drawn upon as the United States develops doctrine for integrated operations.

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