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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.

Insights from Colombia's "Prolonged War"

Insights from Colombia's "Prolonged War"Colombia is the second oldest democracy in the Western Hemisphere after the United States, but political violence has plagued its history since independence. The causes lie in the unique geography, demographics and history of the nation. Since the end of World War II, Colombian violence has been dominated by insurgencies. Though the insurgents have used terror, that has only been one of the tactics employed in pursuit of their larger aims. Colombia faced fairly small insurgencies before the 1980s. At that point, unable to mobilize popular support, the insurgents began funding their revolutions through criminal enterprises such as drug trafficking, extortion, and kidnapping. These activities proved lucrative beyond all expectations. As a consequence, the insurgents began to ignore popular mobilization completely, relying increasingly on terror to force the people to obey their will. The combination of these factors led one of the insurgent groups, the FARC, to develop a strategy to take power. It was only after the military understood the insurgent strategy and designed its own strategy to defeat this plan that the war began to turn in the government’s favor.

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Implementing the Transformation Vision

Implementing the Transformation VisionA great deal has been accomplished over the past four years in regard to defense transformation, including the creation of a new strategic framework, a valuable transformation roadmap process, promising new concept and technology pairings, and the endowment of a generation of commissioned and noncommissioned officers with the education, training, and experience to understand, appreciate, and adopt these changes. Yet transformation is a continual process, and much remains to be accomplished. We should view this prospect as both necessary and exciting. Today’s national security challenges demand nothing less than an uncompromising commitment to continue improving the DOD planning and budgeting process, the roadmap process, concept/technology pairings, and cooperation and coordination among defense components, government agencies, and multinational partners.

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U.S. Special Operations Command and the War On Terror

U.S. Special Operations Command and the War On TerrorSince 9/11, Iraq and Afghanistan have been the most visible battlegrounds in the war on terror. However, Special Operators have been heavily engaged in less publicized ventures. In the Philippines and the Pacific Rim, they are working closely with and training partner nations’ forces to track, locate, and neutralize the terrorist threats within their borders. In the tri-border region of South America (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay), they are helping bring law and order to an area long known for its illicit activities and now associated with terrorist organizations. In the Pan-Sahel region of Africa, Special Operators, along with conventional forces, are training and assisting new partner nations in developing capabilities to deny terrorists freedom of movement and a new sanctuary. This fight is global, and Special Operators are leading the way in every engagement they undertake. Utilizing their unique training, skills, and cultural awareness, they are doing what they do best: developing links within the population that will provide ongoing intelligence and personal relationships that will cement ties with allies around the world. With such capabilities and a global perspective, Special Operators will have an enduring role in defeating terrorism.

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The Future of Canada's Role in Hemispheric Defense

The Future of Canada's Role in Hemispheric DefenseCanada’s military role in hemispheric defense could become more marginalized as the United States slowly begins to abandon Canada as trusted partner and follows a unilateral approach if the situation warrants such action. Currently, there is evidence to indicate such a change in attitude. One instance in particular involves Canadian military personnel assigned to NORAD, working in offices responsible for missile defense. For political reasons, Canada has been forced to remove its staff officers from those agencies. Additionally, as the work on missile defense moves forward, national politics could have serious implications for the 24/7 work centers contained within the Cheyenne Mountain Complex—the nerve center for defense of the North American continent. Various work centers within the complex, such as the Command Center, Missile Warning Center, and Air Operations Center, have both Canadian and U.S. military personnel assigned. If a missile defense event occurs either in training, testing, or as a real-world attack, Canadian personnel working in these centers could be asked to leave until the event is over.

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