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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 Long Small War: Indigenous Forces for Counterinsurgency

The Long Small War: Indigenous Forces for CounterinsurgencyThe United States and its partners are prosecuting a protracted war against insurgents and terrorists who are animated by an ideology stemming from a radical fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. This so-called “long war” is seen by some as the defining struggle of our generation, one that shifts emphasis from large-scale conventional military operations to small-scale counterinsurgency operations. The long war may last for decades. The national strategy calls for American forces to leverage allies to help defeat insurgent and terrorist enemies in this perennial effort. The advantages in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere that indigenous forces bring to the lead country in a campaign to counter insurgents, whether as auxiliaries or integrated troops, clearly are of value. One notion for integrating indigenous forces in counterinsurgency today, across the gamut of special and conventional missions, might be a joint and combined interagency counterinsurgency task force headquarters that integrates elements from the armed services’ conventional forces, Special Operations Forces, the CIA, Department of State, and indigenous intelligence elements. This task force might then include relevant subordinate components.

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Massing Effects in the Information Domain: A Case Study in Aggressive Information Operations

Massing Effects in the Information Domain: A Case Study in Aggressive Information OperationsIf general expectations are that we should be able to compete and win the information battle in the global media environment—and this appears to be the general perception within our Army—then we must reshape our doctrine and develop ways to train in the new domains, ways that will evolve as the Information Age evolves. We should restructure the definitions of information operations and public affairs and the relationship between them and develop a considerable global mass-marketing and public relations capability. There is no other option because winning modern wars is as much dependent on carrying domestic and international public opinion as it is on defeating the enemy on the battlefield. This idea is not without controversy. The recent debate in the media concerning the use of the Lincoln Group to push written opinion-editorials to Iraqi news outlets by paying for their placement illustrates that there are no clean lines in this discussion. Despite this situation, innovation and the use of new techniques will help us win future campaigns. The new reality simply will not enable Cold War methods to figuratively outgun technologically able enemies unfettered by cumbersome processes for dissemination of information.


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The Decisive Weapon: A Brigade Combat Team Commander's Perspective on Information Operations

The Decisive Weapon: A Brigade Combat Team Commander's Perspective on Information OperationsSoon after taking command of my brigade, I quickly discovered that information operations (IO) was going to be one of the two most vital tools (along with human intelligence) I would need to be successful in a counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign. COIN operations meant competing daily to favorably influence the perceptions of the Iraqi population in our area of operations (AO). I quickly concluded that, without IO, I could not hope to shape and set conditions for my battalions or my Soldiers to be successful. It certainly did not take long to discover that the traditional tools in my military kit bag were insufficient to successfully compete in this new operational environment. As a brigade commander, I was somewhat surprised to find myself spending 70 percent of my time working and managing my intelligence and IO systems and a relatively small amount of my time directly involved with the traditional maneuver and fire support activities. This was a paradigm shift for me. The reality I confronted was far different from what I had professionally prepared for over a lifetime of conventional training and experience.


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Choosing Words Carefully: Language to Help Fight Islamic Terrorism

Choosing Words Carefully: Language to Help Fight Islamic TerrorismThe United States must do more to communicate its message. Al Qaeda terror leader Osama bin Ladin speaks in a language that his Muslim listeners understand. We, on the other hand, simply do not comprehend the meaning of many words that we use to describe the enemy. American leaders misuse language to such a degree that they unintentionally wind up promoting the ideology of the groups the United States is fighting. We cannot win widespread support throughout the Muslim world if we use terms that, to them, define the behavior of our enemies as moral. Because the war on terrorism—or more precisely the war against Islamic totalitarian terrorism—includes a war of ideas, leaders, journalists, authors and speakers must use the most accurate terms to describe those ideas. For those unfamiliar with Islamic doctrine, history and tradition, it may often be necessary to rely on scholars or other experts about the Islamic world to provide one with the necessary guidance to help convey the message correctly.


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