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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.

Producing Victory: Rethinking Conventional Forces in COIN Operations

Producing Victory: Rethinking Conventional Forces in COIN OperationsThe combined arms maneuver battalion, partnering with indigenous security forces and living among the population it secures, should be the basic tactical unit of counterinsurgency (COIN) warfare. Only such a battalion—a blending of infantry, armor, engineers, and other branches, each retrained and employed as needed—can integrate all arms into full-spectrum operations at the tactical level. Smaller conventional forces might develop excellent community relations, but they lack the robust staff and sufficient mass to fully exploit local relationships. Conversely, while brigades and divisions boast expanded analysis and control capabilities, they cannot develop the street-level rapport so critical for an effective COIN campaign. Unconventional forces are likewise no panacea because the expansion of Special Operations Command assets or the creation of stability and reconstruction or system-administration forces will not result in sustainable COIN strategies. Recent experience in Iraq affirms previously forgotten lessons: “Winning the Peace” requires simultaneous execution along the full spectrum of kinetic and non-kinetic operations. While political developments in Iraq and the United States might have moved past the point at which our suggested COIN solution would be optimal, we argue that the maneuver battalion should be the centerpiece of the Army’s future COIN campaigns.

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Hezbollah's Employment of Suicide Bombing During the 1980s: The Theological, Political, and Operational Development of a New Tactic

Hezbollah's Employment of Suicide Bombing During the 1980s: The Theological, Political, and Operational Development of a New TacticAlthough Westerners, at least initially, viewed suicide bombing as pointless violence done in the name of Islam, they were mistaken. Hezbollah thought deeply about the theological implications of the weapon, its capabilities and limitations, the political and military goals that it could help achieve, and its propaganda value. Hezbollah’s favored tactic was far from being illogical. Had suicide bombing been the work of an irrational, irresponsible organization, the goals the organization sought to achieve would not have been so clear, nor would the organization have achieved as much militarily or politically as Hezbollah did in the 1980s.

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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?Military and political experts on both sides of the Atlantic assert that the widening military capabilities gap between the United States and Europe creates a more challenging environment for transatlantic cooperation. From the American perspective, arguments tend to suggest that the growing gap limits interoperability, dictates contradictory strategies between the United States and Europe, generates domestic burden-sharing accusations, and ultimately obliges the United States to pursue a more unilateralist foreign and security policy. On the other hand, from the European perspective, the capabilities gap may indeed seem to be somewhat irrelevant given today’s perceived low-threat security environment. Furthermore, to many European governments, the fiscal constraints required by Europe’s monetary union, coupled with a demographics trend that threatens many of Europe’s social programs, must make the capabilities gap appear to be insurmountable. Even if the closure of the gap were desirable, European leaders, as a whole, could hardly seek to make comparable expenditures in defense as the United States without causing a cataclysmic change to Europe’s social and political landscape.

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Unit Immersion in Mosul: Establishing Stability in Transition

Unit Immersion in Mosul: Establishing Stability in TransitionAs conventional U.S. forces transition from full combat to stability operations, they will likely assume responsibility for areas that have suffered significant war-related damage. In the wake of combat operations, the local people may be demoralized by their nation’s defeat, by the apparent lack of economic opportunity, and by shortages of critical needs such as electricity, water, and fuel. The establishment of any governmental authority supported by our military may also contribute to the disillusionment. Such situations are ripe for the development of an insurgency and must be quickly and decisively defused. Experience has proven that immersing tactical units in their assigned areas of responsibility offers the best chance for achieving stability. The growth of an insurgency relies heavily on unstable conditions. A few disgruntled community leaders can spark interest and offer financial backing to fuel insurgent recruitment efforts. When faced with such situations, U.S. forces must immediately begin counter-operations that simultaneously provide an accurate picture of the situation to the people, demonstrate the potential effectiveness of the government, and publicly defeat the insurgent element with direct action.

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