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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.

Dealing with the Iraqi Populace: An Arab-American Soldier's Perspective

Dealing with the Iraqi Populace: An Arab-American Soldier's PerspectiveAlthough coalition forces have been in Iraq for over three years, some commanders still do not fully understand how important cultural and human factors are to the success of the counterinsurgency. Commanders need to realize that the unconventional fight primarily revolves around the Iraqis, not the insurgents, since the Iraqis are the center of gravity in this war. As long as coalition forces continue to measure their daily progress solely on the number of terrorists killed and the number of suspects in custody, real progress will be delayed. If coalition forces react only to the insurgency and fail to mobilize the Iraqi people, then the insurgency potentially will be a long one. How can we get the Iraqis to support us in the counterinsurgency fight? The answer is very simple—improve the quality and increase the quantity of our cultural training prior to deployment, so that Soldiers and commanders will be able to understand and respond to the needs of the Iraqi people.

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Theater Civil Affairs Soldiers: A Force at Risk

Theater Civil Affairs Soldiers: A Force at RiskThe future of the joint civil affairs (CA) force looks bleak. If drastic measures are not taken, this unique capability will soon be a shadow of its former self. To make it relevant for the nation building operations of the future, the active force needs to be greatly expanded while the reserve component must be right-sized and realigned to reflect recruiting and membership realities that are part of reserve life. Establishing a habitual relationship with a combatant command is the way ahead for this expanded CA force, without all the bureaucratic layers of headquarters that get in the way. The best proposal to fix the civil affairs force is an active component expansion to five larger battalions assigned to the combatant commands, and the creation of a smaller, more capable reserve CA force aligned with these battalions. Without steps to alleviate the stress on the reserve component civil affairs force, it will cease to be relevant or effective.


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Volunteer Military Organizations: An Overlooked Asset

Volunteer Military Organizations: An Overlooked AssetWith the current operations tempo for federal forces, the availability of manpower for homeland security is a major concern. Today’s missions are full spectrum: traditional operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, peacekeeping in the Balkans and the Sinai, and defense support to civil authorities in hurricanes Katrina and Rita. President George W. Bush’s National Security Strategy makes it clear that “defending our nation against its enemies is the first and fundamental commitment of the federal government.” With the gradual reduction in force and increased deployments, however, commanders are asked to do more with less. As troops engage in overseas operations, for example, they are tasked with additional short-notice contingencies that further exacerbate the problem. Given the needs of the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Northern Command, the increased use of National Guard and Reserve units, and the many and varied asymmetrical threats confronting the nation since 9/11, it is questionable whether sufficient forces will be available. Therefore, a serious study of expanding the use of legitimate volunteer military organizations is long overdue.


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Targeting the American Will and Other Challenges for 4th-Generation Leadership

Targeting the American Will and Other Challenges for 4th-Generation LeadershipThe U.S. military is currently focused on deliberate transformation to meet the challenges of the contemporary operating environment and the requirements of future wars, but something might be lacking in the military’s rush toward transformation: true transformation is more than reorganization and reequipping; it is a process of creation in which things are made anew. The most important transformation the U.S. national security apparatus must make as it prepares for future conflict is not limited to organizational or technological change; it requires transforming the military culture to manage the complex tasks of counterinsurgency and to avoid endangering the most cherished American values. Furthermore, the fourth-generation threats we will face during the next decade will effectively negate our technological superiority in weapons systems, sensors, and even communications. Paradoxically, our current opponents are at once immune to many of our technological advantages while they themselves leverage the nature of the information age in their attempts to defeat us.


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