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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.

Fourth Generation Warfare Evolves, Fifth Emerges

Fourth Generation Warfare Evolves, Fifth EmergesSeventeen years ago, a small group of authors introduced the concept of "Four Generations of War." Frankly, the concept did not get much traction for the first dozen years. Then came 9/11. Some of the fourth-generation warfare (4GW) proponents claimed that the Al-Qaeda attacks were a fulfillment of what they had predicted. However, most military thinkers, for a variety of reasons, continued to dismiss the 4GW concept. In fact, about the only place 4GW was carefully discussed was on an Al-Qaeda Web site. Essentially, one of Al-Qaeda's leading strategists stated categorically that the group was using 4GW against the United States-and expected to win. Even this did not stimulate extensive discussion in the West, where the 9/11 attacks were seen as an anomaly, and the apparent rapid victories in Afghanistan and Iraq appeared to vindicate the Pentagon's vision of high-technology warfare. It was not until the Afghan and Iraqi insurgencies began growing and the continuing campaign against Al-Qaeda faltered that serious discussion of 4GW commenced in the United States.

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The Shia Revival

The Shia RevivalThe most significant development in the Middle East today is the rise of sectarian conflict. This is a process that has begun in Iraq, but it will not end there. In Iraq it has become the single most important determinant of that country's future. However, it has already spread beyond Iraq, threatening stability in Lebanon as it shapes regional alignments and the regional balance of power. The rise of sectarianism is an outcome of the Shia revival that followed the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. The war broke down the Sunni minority regime that had ruled that country for decades and empowered Shias, producing the first Arab Shia government in history and setting in motion a region-wide Shia revival. What began in Iraq quickly translated into a regional political dynamic as Shias everywhere looked to Iraq with hope for positive changes in their own countries. In the wake of regime change in Iraq, the Shia have made their mark on regional politics. From Lebanon to the Persian Gulf, through peaceful elections and bloody conflicts, the Shia are making their presence felt.


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Ethics Training and Development in the Military

Ethics Training and Development in the MilitaryIt is one thing to say that Soldiers will have to undergo ethics training, it is quite another to ensure that they learn the right lessons. Indeed, if incorrectly carried out, ethics training might even be counterproductive. It is clear from a survey of ethics training programs in various national militaries that there is no uniformity of approach between them and a lack of coherence within them. There is also disagreement as to the degree to which such programs are necessary in the first place. Given the fact that few Western nations now send their military forces on operations independently, the lack of uniformity about what constitutes ethical behavior and how best to educate Soldiers is potentially a cause for alarm. Having said that, ethics training by itself will not produce morally perfect Soldiers. A few extra lectures on "warrior values" are unlikely to transform the behavior of Soldiers in Iraq and elsewhere.


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How to Negotiate in the Middle East

How to Negotiate in the Middle EastIt is now common during civil-military and combat operations for Soldiers of all ranks to become involved in negotiations, dispute resolutions, or bargaining for individual or collective advantages. This is particularly true during sudden, unexpected confrontations. The values of people from other organizations and nationalities directly affect their understanding of any given situation. The success of military operations calls for Soldiers and leaders to be culturally aware when negotiating with persons from other cultures.

We Americans have an ethnocentric belief in our superiority, an attitude that may be helpful in winning wars on the field of battle, but can often work against us in sustaining the peace. I have observed the U.S. military training for negotiations with local Iraqi leaders and seen firsthand a negative trend in the cultural preparation of our leaders and Soldiers. Simply put, we don't seem to take culture training very seriously. A brigade combat team at a joint readiness training center even cancelled its scheduled culture training (a decision it came to regret later in Iraq). We need to do better.


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