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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.

The Agile-Leader Mind-Set: Leveraging the Power of Modularity in Iraq

The Agile-Leader Mind-Set: Leveraging the Power of Modularity in IraqOver the last five years, warfighters have become reacquainted with the axiom that they need to be more agile than their enemy. We have revalidated and reemphasized the enduring value of issuing mission-type orders, empowering subordinates, and decentralizing planning and execution. Successful commanders have learned to exploit the power of information not by increasing centralized control of operations, but by decentralizing information flow so that those at the tip of the spear can access information directly and share it horizontally. Traditional walls between military and civilian stakeholders and between intelligence and operations have come down as inclusive, rather than exclusive, thinking has permeated our leader ethos. Without a doubt, the U.S. military is at a turning point in its history. We risk losing our status as the greatest military power in the world if we do not rapidly institutionalize fundamental changes in the way we train, fight, and lead. In short, we need to develop a force-wide agile-leader mind-set.

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Of Shoes and Sites: Globalization and Insurgency

Of Shoes and Sites: Globalization and InsurgencyA worldwide change in technology, information, mobility, culture and warfare has come about since the end of the Vietnam War. These changes, collectively defined as "globalization," have touched virtually every aspect of human conduct, counterinsurgency warfare included. Technology has assisted the insurgent by enhancing his ability to disseminate information and to survive and adapt so that the communication of the message can be continued. Disrupting the insurgent's advantage is a function of understanding the nature and organizational structure of the globalized insurgency, focusing efforts on targeting the civilian population with information, and continuing combat operations against insurgent cells. Globalization has enabled the distribution of a multitude of ideas and technologies, and in doing so it has, to some extent, empowered the insurgent. Nevertheless, if the counterinsurgent secures and facilitates the marketplace of ideas, insurgent violence and disorder will eventually give way to accord and prosperity.

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The Art and Aggravation of Vetting in Post-Conflict Environments

The Art and Aggravation of Vetting in Post-Conflict EnvironmentsOn 22 February 2006, insurgents posing as Iraqi police officers destroyed the Golden Mosque in Samarra, one of Iraq's holiest Shi'ite shrines. The attack set off a spasm of sectarian violence that has metastasized into what some consider an intractable civil war. Since then, the insurgent tactic of infiltrating the security forces and corrupting its personnel has become almost commonplace, with catastrophic results for Iraq. The populace distrusts Iraqi security forces, coalition forces distrust their Iraqi counterparts, the Iraqi Government is viewed as increasingly illegitimate, and the country has plunged into further chaos, delaying the safe transfer of security responsibilities to Iraqi forces. The undermining of the Iraqi police forces occurred, in part, because of negligible vetting-the investigation and selection of new recruits for the police force. Creating a professional indigenous security force is a mandatory component of any exit strategy in a costly post-conflict reconstruction mission. Yet creating such a force depends utterly on the competent vetting of candidates for that force. Failure to vet recruits to ensure they possess the "proper character" can result in the infiltration of criminals, insurgents, warlords, and other undesirables into the state's security apparatus, setting up the possibility of a coup d'etat or worse.

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Cows, Korans, and Kalashnikovs: The Multiple Dimensions of Conflict in the Nuba Mountains of Central Sudan

Cows, Korans, and Kalashnikovs: The Multiple Dimensions of Conflict in the Nuba Mountains of Central SudanWith continued massive human suffering and violence in Darfur, there is discussion about increasing U.S. and international military involvement in the Sudan. With this in mind, an overview of the 2002 cease-fire monitoring mission in the Nuba Mountains of central Sudan is illuminating. Singular, bounded, and often inchoate causes-"It is a religious conflict"; "It is a competition for diminishing resources"-are often given as explanations for the conflict there and in Darfur. These explanations are not wrong in themselves, but they are inaccurate and misleading, if one examines them in isolation. The discord in the Nuba Mountains, for example, predates the actual fighting that began in the 1980s and has roots more complex than ethnic or racial difference between the Arab (primarily Islamic) North and African (mainly Christian) South. The current conflict is the most recent product of historical enmities and clashes that coalesce along socioeconomic lines.

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