US Army Home Page ""
Main Menu Index of Publications Resources Archives ""
U.S. Army Professional Writing Series


Military Review


Army Leaders' Speeches

Combat Studies Institute Publications

U.S. Army Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL)

U.S. Army Center for Military History

Air War College

Army War College

Brookings Institution Federal Executive Fellowships

Foreign Service Institute Senior Seminar

Harvard International Security Program Fellowship

Marine Corps War College (pdf)

National War College

Naval War College

Industrial College of The Armed Services

Armed Forces Medical Library

Army Library Program (ALP)

Army Management Staff College Library

Army War College Library

General Dennis J. Reimer Training and Doctrine Digital Library

Joint Electronic Library

Library of Congress

Pentagon Library

United States Military Academy Library


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.

Waiting for GODOT in Iraq

Waiting for GODOT in IraqIn Samuel Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot, the two protagonists passively await Godot, a tramp who will give direction to their lives. Godot, of course, never shows up. Similarly, the leaders of the Army and Marine Corps cannot wait for policy direction or a strategic clarity about Iraq that is not going to show up. Supposedly, the current mission is to establish a stable and democratic Iraq. But Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno, about to assume command of Multi-National Corps–Iraq, has said he did not know whether insuring a Western-style democracy will remain the mission, telling a New York Times reporter, “notice I left out a few things, such as a democracy in the sense that we see a democracy in the United States.” The immense challenges facing our ground forces demand leadership with clear focus. For the next several years, our forces will remain engaged in combat in Iraq, with the ambiguous mission not enjoying the support of the majority of the American body politic. This tension between the military mission and political goals will affect battlefield performance, strategic credibility, the social contract between the people and our Army, and budgets.

Read Article

Strategic Imperative: The Necessity for Values Operations as Opposed to Information Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan

Strategic Imperative: The Necessity for Values Operations as Opposed to Information Operations in Iraq and AfghanistanAmong the many epiphanies the military has experienced pursuant to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is the dramatic, albeit late, realization that it needs an intimate understanding of indigenous culture as well as well-developed cultural skills (such as linguistic capabilities) to operate successfully in such environments. As a result, culture has become a hot topic of discussion in military circles, resulting in a rapidly expanding body of literature that provides various prescriptions for obtaining and developing cultural capabilities. However, the major problem with the current thesis of most such literature—indeed, the entire thrust of interest by the military in culture as a dimension of the battlefield—is the unfortunate but prevailing assertion that culture is merely a kind of human-terrain obstacle that one must negotiate like any other factor impeding successful operations, similar to dealing with adverse weather or topography. If that is as far as we get in our appreciation of culture within the overall context of the kinds of conflicts we face in Iraq and Afghanistan, we will never develop the proper sets of skills, much less the appropriate policies, required to help attain the nation’s political objectives.

Read Article

Breaking the Tether of Fuel

Breaking the Tether of FuelDuring the advance on Baghdad, senior Marine and Army field commanders had many significant interdependent variables to contemplate in addition to the capability and intent of the Iraqi forces before them. In order to maintain both the velocity and operational tempo of their highly mobile forces located across a wide battlespace, the subject of fuel was an ever-present consideration. Much time, energy, and continuous analysis was put into determining when, or if, a culminating point would be reached due to this vital resource. The most telling characterization of fuel usage came from the Marine Corps 2003 Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Study. This study showed that almost 90 percent of the fuel used by MEF ground vehicles would accrue to tactical wheeled vehicles (TWVs), including HMMWVs, 7-ton trucks, and the logistics vehicle system. Moreover, the study showed conclusively that combat vehicles (e.g., M1A1 tanks, light armored vehicles, and assault amphibious vehicles), although fuel guzzlers individually, as a fleet consume a relatively minor fraction of the fuel. Consequently, TWVs became the primary target for fuel economizing.

Read Article

Energy and Force Transformation

Energy and Force TransformationEarly in the 20th century, First Sea Lord Sir John Fisher implemented a radical transformation that both altered the British Navy’s force structure and diversified its energy sources. Although military and strategic considerations loomed large in this transformation, the overriding driver was the problem of limited government finances. Because oil was a more efficient form of energy than coal, the British admiralty judged that it could secure savings in its most critical problem area—manpower—by shifting from a coal-based to an oil-based energy infrastructure. As the Royal Navy diversified its energy sources to include both coal and oil, its logistical infrastructure changed as well. Because Britain lacked domestic supplies of oil, some of the key issues that challenged this energy transformation were the diversification of suppliers, storage of the oil, and transport. Despite the peacetime innovations, the navy still found fuel consumption to be its greatest logistical challenge in World War I. The U.S. military can learn from the Royal Navy’s pre–World War I energy transformation. Like the Royal Navy a century ago, DOD is faced with the problem of limited resources due in large part to our energy infrastructure. Fuel represents more than half of the DOD logistics tonnage and over 70 percent of the tonnage required to put the U.S. Army into position for battle.

Read Article
bottom stripes