Jeff Bridoux, co-author of a new book on Democracy Promotion, discusses this controversial concept in the post-9/11 era following George W. Bush’s ‘Freedom Agenda’, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Arab Spring uprisings.
Lionel Beehner debunks the myth that territorial safe havens are necessary for terrorists to plan and carry out attacks.
Logan Isaac argues that shallow controversy around Michael Moore’s comments on the film American Sniper has not touched on the deeper issues of ‘Just War’ theory and morality in war, a discussion his fellow veterans are best equipped to lead.
Chris Miller says that the greatest challenge to America’s global position does not come from climate change, terrorism, China, or Russia, but rather from the broken, gridlocked system it rests upon that means it is adrift without a grand strategy.
Kate Cronin-Furman writes that on one key set of issues it’s not clear that regime change in Sri Lanka heralds progress: post-war reconciliation and accountability for crimes committed during the country’s brutal civil war.
Iraq War veteran and former U.S. Marine Scout/Sniper Matt Victoriano weighs in on the public debate surrounding Clint Eastwood’s interpretation of Chris Kyle’s story, American Sniper.
Dan Kaszeta reviews Roger Moorhouse’s book, The Devils’ Alliance, which sheds new light onto the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, creating an alliance between Stalin’s USSR and Hitler’s Germany, an agreement some in Moscow would rather forget today.
William Quinn, a former U.S. Army interrogator, on why, in the wake of the Senate report on CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Program, the United States should not use torture despite the arguments some make in its favor.
Jessie Daniels writes on the interaction of identity, society, and national security in France following the Paris attacks.
Peter Storey reviews Louis DiMarco’s ‘Concrete Hell’ on the history of 20th century urban warfare and finds the analysis wanting in respect to new contributions to the subject despite the author’s clear in-depth knowledge of the subject.
In his latest book, Lords of Secrecy, legal expert Scott Horton writes that government secrecy and lack of public input are undermining the democratic process of going to war.
Clint Hinote says if we focus only on the failures when it comes to preventing terrorist attacks like the one in Paris, we may miss some very important successes.
Colonel (Ret.) Philip Lisagor argues that America’s leaders and intelligence community missed the inevitable rise of ISIS because of organizational drift to from a ‘gatherer’ to a ‘hunter’ culture and a focus on ‘actionable intelligence’ to the detriment of analysis.
French terrorism expert Marc Hecker writes that it is neither reasonable to ask that French intelligence agencies foil all terrorist plots, nor that France become a police state.
Lionel Beehner worries that the “Je suis Charlie” solidarity mirrors the aftermath of 9/11, which gave rise to two needless wars. Maybe to prevent such hubris, we need less unity and more divisiveness.
Lt Col Paul Darling says the Army is rightfully committed to organic fixed wing aviation in combat operations, which would give it better capabilities at a lower cost in anticipation of future reduced fleets.
Jeff Danovich argues the controversial ICC system and its poor track record in war crimes prosecutions shows that only prosecutions in U.S. courts will send the message that America is serious about stopping torture from becoming government policy ever again.
Lieutenant Colonel Douglas A. Pryer calls Charles Krohn’s “The Lost Battalion of TET: Breakout of the 2/12 Cavalry at Hue” an Army “classic.”
Joseph Hammond reviews Robert Sander’s book, Invasion of Laos, 1971: Lam Son 719.
CFR’s Clint Hinote warns that demand for “Ebola Fighters,” the very heroes that Time Magazine has honored, may soon outstrip the supply.
Benjamin Kirkup argues that if an insurgent, much like a microbe, has a useful role to play in the community, there is ultimately no reason to remove it post-infection, which may explain why our COIN strategies often fall short.
Chris Miller discusses why the art of compromise, a strength among elected leaders, becomes a weakness when it comes to the art of war as illustrated by the course of America’s post-9/11 battles.
Commander (Ret.) John T. Kuehn argues that the operational benefits of a carrier group in the narrow Persian Gulf have caused America to overlook the risks this entails and that shifting the group to the Mediterranean allows for the same capabilities with less risk.
Colonel (Ret.) Philip Lisigor argues the exponential expansion of the Department of Defense, its corporatization, and embrace of management over warrior culture have contributed to a decline of the State Department and its inability to articulate foreign policy.
Flemming Rose on his book, Tyranny of Silence, and how a cartoon published in his Danish newspaper ignited violent protests throughout the Muslim world and an international debate about censorship and the boundaries of freedom of speech.
Lionel Beehner argues that an alliance of strange bedfellows against groups like ISIS may actually be helpful in the long-term to prevent countries from shirking or contributing only token support.
Marcos Farias Ferreira describes the ‘Human Security Agenda’, a discourse in international relations that seeks to describe, define, or quantify security and goals in more human terms.
Joseph Sarkisian argues that Washington needs to answer some very basic questions about America’s position and purpose in the world today before it can devise anything approaching a grand strategy.
Chris Miller argues America’s national leaders making policy decisions for the world’s most capable national security complex are woefully under qualified and this accounts for much of America’s post-9/11 experience.
Army Majors Matt Cavanaugh, Nathan Finney, and John McRae discuss ‘Milblogging’ forums that are driving online discussions on military leadership, doctrine, and innovation and providing valuable tools to today’s leaders.
Peter Storey evaluates Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S. military advisory mission to Iraq now several months in duration, and analyses the prospects of another quagmire or success.
With recent cases of religiously motivated violence in Jerusalem, Ottawa, and elsewhere, Jason Klocek finds that policymakers frequently use overwhelming force against insurgents motivated by religion.
Andrew Nagorski describes his latest book, Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power, and what lessons that period of history holds for totalitarianism today.
CBRN expert Dan Kaszeta argues that the possibilities, capabilities, and advantages of developing unmanned CBRN systems to perform reconnaissance, detection, and decontamination functions should not be ignored.
Joseph Sarkisian argues that even if the P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran do not bear fruit, the very idea of talking directly with Tehran is beneficial in and of itself.
Colonel (Ret.) Philip Lisagor explores classic war and strategy literature and more recent COIN offerings in an attempt to explain the course of America’s ‘War on Terror.’
Chris Miller explores the ‘politicization’ of intelligence and how and when it may occur in relations between intelligence and policymakers.
Yaniv Barzilai, author of 102 Days of War: How Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda & the Taliban Survived 2001, discusses our early missteps in the war on terror.
Arnold Isaacs reviews Frank Scotton’s Uphill Battle: Reflections on Viet Nam Counterinsurgency and finds the author’s first-hand account of who lost the war convincing.
In light of the sequestration debate, Colonel (Ret.) Eric Jorgensen explains what ‘Military Readiness’ is and why it is so vital to America’s national security.
IT security expert Richard Stiennon explains how the U.S. military’s adoption of Network-centric Warfare (NCW) set the stage for inevitable cyberwarfare in future conflicts between modern states.
Foreign Policy Magazine’s Rebecca Frankel discusses her new book, War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love.
Col. Clint Hinote argues that while the effect of sequestration on the military appears small now, it will have a greater impact on readiness in the future. There must be a better way to solve America’s budget issues.
Jordan Bravin explains how counterinsurgency operations, ‘hybrid war’, and asymmetric conflicts of the 21st century are leading to the development of new measures of how to define victory.
Chris Miller argues the Obama administration’s ISIS strategy is based on false conclusions and is likely to lead to yet another prolonged conflict for America in the Middle East.
Historian Jeffrey Bloodworth reviews Lawrence’s Wright’s Thirteen Days in September, a book about far-sighted peacekeeping and the hopes, however dim, for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Ron Capps discusses his memoir, Seriously Not All Right, which recounts his experience serving America as a soldier and civilian in five wars in ten years, his struggle with PTSD, and how he has coped and recovered.
Following a recent article, political revisionists are again arguing ‘Bush was right on WMD.’ Chris Miller recounts the history of how America went to war in Iraq and why President Bush is still wrong.
Afghan-American author Nadia Hashimi reviews Jenny Nordberg’s The Underground Girls of Kabul, an ethnographic account of the Afghan custom of dressing girls as boys.
Colonel (Ret.) Eric Jorgensen holds that we should not lose sight of the fact that the size and needs of the U.S. Army should be determined first and foremost by one factor: Victory.
John Kuehn on why the (possible) Russian submarine trapped off the coast of Sweden is Cold War history repeating and why the West should take notice when it comes to naval strategy.
Jeff Danovich argues that following the Ottawa attack, we should not hand ISIS a victory for their propaganda machine, keeping in mind that the goal of terrorism is to force change in how we live our lives.
In his latest book, Lives in Common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron, Menachem Klein describes how segregated these two communities have become.
Reviewing Barry Posen’s new book, Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy, Michael Page argues that the ability of the U.S. to extract itself from a leadership role in addressing regional conflicts like Syria appears unlikely.
Army Major John McRae explains why integrity is the bedrock value of military leadership and how drifting away from it can cause leaders and organizations to lose their moral bearings.
The CIA study commissioned by Obama that found that “arming rebels” is ineffective should be questioned, especially as it pertains to our inaction in Syria, argues Lionel Beehner.
Chris Miller explores the U.S. Intelligence-Policymaker relationship and explains why their different approaches and interests cause ‘friction’ which affects American national security policy.
Katrin Park argues that the UN should own up to its failures in Afghanistan’s postwar reconstruction and that unconditional spending has to end.
Air Force Colonel (Ret.) Eric Jorgensen counters critics of the F-22 and its use against ISIS over Syria, demonstrating the the aircraft’s efficiency and military effectiveness.
Jonathan Miller explains why the F-35 is destined to become America’s central combat aircraft and why it should see service over Iraq and Syria in the war with ISIS.
Bing West talks counterinsurgency policy and his latest book, One Million Steps, the story of a platoon of U.S. Marines he embedded with as they engaged in one of the most important and deadly battles of the war in Afghanistan.
Army Major John McRae argues that the military must take a balanced approach to the concept of “adaptive leadership,” understanding there is still a need for more traditional and technical leadership forms. Applying the right form at the right time is crucial to the force in war and in peace.
Koma Gandy, a Navy veteran, reviews Geoff Dyer’s Another Great Day At Sea and finds the book wanting.
Peter Storey discusses lessons learned in Iraq and elsewhere for airpower in urban warfare and how UAVs help mitigate its challenges, an issue relevant to today’s war with ISIS.
General (Ret.) Mohammed al-Samarae says that for the U.S. to successfully and decisively defeat ISIS, it must change the balance of power and momentum on the ground, something it cannot achieve with airstrikes alone.
Paul Staniland, author of Networks of Rebellion, discusses the organization of insurgencies, ways to fix COIN and fight ISIS, as well as recent accusations against IR scholars for not being policy-relevant.
In this book excerpt, Michael Levi identifies a ‘wild card’ that could force us to rethink the relationship between energy developments and the broader world: Great Power war.
Lionel Beehner explores whether good cuisine correlates with perpetual conflict in the world’s hotspots.
Chris Miller argues that the ‘No boots’ mentality and ‘economy of force’ have led to deeply unpopular and indecisive wars since 9/11, strategies President Obama seems determined to follow against ISIS. It’s time to bring back the Powell Doctrine.
Eric Jorgensen on how to take asymmetric advantage of the full range of U.S instruments of national power in a way that overwhelms our adversaries.
Robert Howse reexamines Leo Strauss in his own works and lectures and finds a ‘Man of Peace’ with a balanced philosophy as to use of force, not the ‘warmonger’ or intellectual forefather Bush-era Neoconservatives adopted him as.
Katrin Park believes that rather than establish a new UN counterterrorism body, existing structures should be made fit for that purpose. Getting members to agree on how to counter terror is yet another matter.
Dan Kaszeta says it’s time for the U.S. military to take chemical weapons more seriously. Creating CBRN brigades would be a useful start.
ISIS exists partially because of the president’s hands-off approach, a philosophy that has limited U.S. options for shaping outcomes. Eric Jorgensen assesses the risk ISIS poses.
Does the closing of a COIN institution at Ft. Leavenworth signal the end of the Bush-era doctrine? Whitney Kassel assesses what it means for our approach to future conflict.
Lionel Beehner argues we should not partner with Assad to defeat ISIS. That is a recipe for regional instability.
Helen Thorpe, author of Soldier Girls, discusses the male-dominated culture of the military, life for women deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and sexual violence in the military.
Avner Mandelman says hypocrisy is necessary for a civilized society and there’s a need for some “necessary evil” to be performed if society is to survive. That goes for torture as well.
UN expert Katrin Park argues that swarming the impoverished northwest corner of Africa with $5 billion of counterterrorism assistance will not solve the region’s security threats.
The problem with the president’s anti-ISIS strategy is that the ends, ways, and means are out of proportion, writes Col. S. Clinton Hinote.
Gen. (Ret.) Mohammed al-Samarae argues that a new ‘Sunni Awakening’ would help push ISIS out of Iraq, but U.S. needs to press Baghdad to grant the Sunnis meaningful gains–something the Maliki government refused to do.
Chris Miller argues Vladimir Putin is following Khrushchev’s “surface tension” strategy in Ukraine, bringing Washington and Moscow “eyeball to eyeball” again. But so far, the West is doing the blinking.
Huw Bennett, author of ‘Fighting the Mau Mau’, talks about the British COIN experience in 1950s Kenya and being called as a historian and expert witness in the landmark legal case brought by Mau Mau victims against the UK government.
Dan Southerland, who was a war reporter aboard the last helicopters out of Saigon in 1975, reviews Rory Kennedy’s new documentary about the event, “Last Days in Vietnam.”
Daniel Lakin asks: Is a new reactionary ‘Holy Alliance’ forming in the Middle East among Egypt, Saudia Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates?
Col. S. Clinton Hinote argues that by occupying territory and grabbing the world’s attention ISIS has also made itself vulnerable to attack, something the U.S. and its partners should take advantage of now.
Should insurgent groups like ISIS control territory? Jordan Bravin examines the pros and cons.
Eric Jorgensen writes on Full-Spectrum Engagement: The mindset necessary to pair both civil and military engagement to preserve strategic victories in the long term in the peace, or “space”, between wars.
Lionel Beehner ponders the inconsistent and indifferent reaction of the American public to massacres, genocide, and mass violence in places like Syria and Iraq and closer to home in Newtown, Aurora, and inner-city Chicago.
Laura Kasinof, author of Don’t Be Afraid of the Bullets, describes life as an “accidental war correspondent” in Yemen.
Michael Page writes that prevailing Realist rhetoric on ‘restraint’ and ‘containment’ coming from Washington underestimates the gathering threat ISIS poses to regional stability and international security.
Known for its hospitality, Turkey opened its borders to all Syrians fleeing the fighting. Now the refugee crisis may be hitting a tipping point, writes Melissa Harrison.
It’s doubtful Cicero would agree that Putin’s incursion into Ukraine constitutes a “just war,” argues Lionel Beehner. But there are commonalities between the Roman Empire and Putin’s Russia.
Christian Cooper believes America should broker a deal with Iran to confront ISIS and ease the transition of Iraq into three autonomous regions, rather than await a violent disintegration.
In her book, Humanity’s Law, New York Law School professor Ruti Teitel describes a shift in how power operates and is legitimated based on a new discourse of law and legalization.
Former U.S. Air Force strategic planner Eric Jorgensen argues that for the U.S. military, more is not always better, and decisions should be based on what we need, not on what we want.
As Russia rolls out aid convoys and the same R2P rhetoric it did before its 2008 invasion of Georgia, Lionel Beehner warns that the West must be clear in its support for Kiev.
Chris Miller argues that the roots of failure in Afghan nation building lie in an unfinished war and an underestimated will for independence among Afghans — mistakes America has made before.
Upon news that the ISIS slayer of James Foley may be a British hip hop DJ, Hisham Aidi writes that European hip hop is not new to jihadism.
Anjan Sundaram describes the dangers of being a press “stringer” in the Congo, the attraction of Africa and war, and the future of foreign journalism.
Kevin Russell writes that Iraq’s leaders, like Lincoln after the American Civil War, will need military progress and de-escalation to create space for political action.
To avoid nuclear proliferation in the region, the United States should stay out of Iraq and let Iran’s proxies and ISIS fight it out, argues Lt Col. Paul Darling.
Nicholas Seeley, author of A Syrian Wedding, discusses life inside Jordan’s largest Syrian refugee camp.
There are many ways to restructure our armed forces to match current budgetary conditions. Finding the right balance between risks and benefits poses challenges for policymakers, writes Eric Jorgensen.
Unlike al-Qaeda, ISIS has a true sanctuary in the heart of the Arab world. That is why the U.S. is right to intervene in Iraq, writes Colonel Clint Hinote.
Chris Miller writes that U.S. airstrikes to protect Kurds and Yazidis is the right thing to do, and we have a blueprint from 1991 on how to protect them and repel ISIS.
CIA spymaster Jack Devine sets the record straight about the agency’s controversial role during the Cold War in his new memoir, Good Hunting.
In Africa, America is again in search of amorphous monsters to slay. But this GWOT mindset has not made us, or Africans, any safer, writes Thomas Lansner.
To deter China from claiming the Spratleys, as Great Britain discovered with the Falklands, LTC Paul Darling argues we should more robustly arm our Pacific allies.
To reform the Air Force amid budget constraints, it needs to look more like Corporate America. FedEx offers a nice model, writes Eric Jorgensen.
Arnold R. Isaacs reviews Mary L. Dudziak’s new book, War Time, but finds that her misreading of history mars what is otherwise an important book on war.
Kayla Williams talks PTSD/TBI, veterans, and life and recovery in the aftermath of war in her new book, Plenty of Time When We Get Home.
Joshua Rovner of Southern Methodist University talks about his book, Fixing the Facts, on the intelligence-policy relationship and “politicization” of intelligence during the Iraq War and throughout U.S. history.
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Darling argues that the U.S. military must rethink its dated benefits system and how it attracts troops and structures their benefits in order to meet the nation’s fiscal challenges today.
CBRN expert Dan Kaszeta argues the terms “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and WMD are undefined, unclear, and unhelpful and should be retired from the lexicon.
WWI and the “July Crisis” of 1914 hold lessons for today’s conflicts in Gaza, Ukraine, and the Middle East, argues Chris Miller.
Russell Crandall talks about COIN and his latest book, America’s Dirty Wars, which explores America’s history of irregular warfare from the American Revolution to the War on Terror.
Lionel Beehner reviews Max Boot’s Invisible Armies and finds the author’s theories explaining insurgents’ recent success to be unconvincing.
As the world finds itself concerned with Russian missiles once again, Chris Miller revisits SNIE 85-3-62, the crucial–and wrong–U.S. intelligence estimate that Nikita Khrushchev would not place nuclear missiles on Cuba.
When it comes to the use of force, America cannot let bad decisions in Iraq stand in the way of decisionmaking in Syria, Ukraine and other conflicts today, especially if it wants to tackle obstacles in the larger strategic environment and pivot to the East.
Ahron Bregman talks about his latest book, Cursed Victory, on the history of conflict in Israel, Palestine, Gaza and the occupied territories, drawing on high-level sources and interviews revealed for the first time.
Chris Miller on the latest German-American spying scandal and why Berlin and Moscow considering going back to paper shuffling and typewriters to counter electronic intelligence gathering may not be as crazy as it sounds.
For today’s superpowers, strength in the art of hybrid warfare is found not on the front lines but on the fringe of international law and the grey regions of international policy, writes Jordan Bravin.
Arnold R. Isaacs reviews I Am The Beggar of the World, a new book of poetry on the war in Afghanistan by ethnic Pashtuns.
Military historian John T. Kuehn looks at what naval warfare ahead of World War I can teach us about avoiding conflict today in places like the South China Sea.
Chris Miller investigates which COIN strategies worked in Vietnam and why, providing valuable lessons for U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In an interview on his detailed new book, The Sword and the Shield, Kristan Stoddart talks about the U.S., Britain, and NATO nuclear policy and cooperation and how cyberwarfare may be the new Cold War.
Caleb Spencer explores how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan shaped American Exceptionalism and also Americans’ sense of morality during wartime.
Chemical weapons expert Dan Kaszeta writes that the presence of Hexamine implicates Bashar al-Assad and Syrian government forces in the August 2013 chemical attacks in Ghouta.
Following Edward Snowden’s NSA disclosures and renewed clashes between Washington and Berlin over espionage, Chris Miller discusses Cold War lessons in counterintelligence still applicable to national security challenges today.
Iraqi Kurdistan’s status as a buffer state may be its biggest attribute to eventual statehood, argues Lionel Beehner.
Séverine Autesserre says peacekeepers must reform their ‘everyday practices’ to avoid failure in her new book, Peaceland.
The dominant narrative of the Cold War focuses on the conflict in the West between Washington and Moscow, forgetting about the lessons learned in the “hot” war in Southeast Asia. These lessons are worth another look, argues Chris Miller.
Peter Storey reviews the book, Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerilla, by David Kilcullen.
In his provocative new book, War! What is It Good For?, Ian Morris discusses the Hobbesian role of the leviathan in reducing violence and why war is “sometimes good.”
John Wood argues looking at the “criminalization” of IRA terrorist violence during The Troubles may shed new light on COIN tactics in ethnic and sectarian conflicts in the 21st century.
Why do polls show Obama’s approval on foreign policy at record lows? Hint: It’s not because he is a realist, Lionel Beehner explains.
Peter Storey makes the case that the rise and fall of urban warfare studies should not mean we turn away from the literature, especially given that our planet is becoming more urbanized.
U.S. military advisors have a long history of “mission creep.” Don’t be surprised if the ones redeployed to Iraq serve in a combat role against ISIS, writes Chris Miller.
Christopher Coker, author of Can War Be Eliminated?, says we may be ‘sleepwalking’ into another Great Power war.
Chris Miller breaks down two philosophical approaches to intelligence analysis, but finds that the practice is still “informed guesswork.”
Robert Emmet Meagher writes that “just war” doctrine explains our inability to comprehend moral injury and to make sense of our military “heroes” marching off to take their own lives.
Jacquelyn Schneider and Julia MacDonald list the merits of manned versus unmanned aircraft, or drones, in military effectiveness. Neither is a silver bullet.
As the last of our World War II veterans leave Congress, the risk of losing the memory and lessons learned during a time of unparalleled global warfare is both present and real, argues Jordan Bravin.
With $2 trillion in trade, China may well win its second round in the scramble for Africa, writes Chris Miller.
For Russia, energy policy equals foreign policy. But the few pliant friends Russia has, writes Zoran Tihomirovic, could turn their back on Moscow if its energy becomes too expensive, financially or politically.
The second of a two-part feature, Lt. Col. Douglas A. Pryer examines the effects of moral injury on military culture and military suicide.
Lt. Col. Douglas A. Pryer, looking back at classical literature and his own experience in Iraq, makes the case that “moral injury” better explains some psychological symptoms than PTSD. This is the first of a two-part essay.
Chris Miller argues that Russia’s claim that NATO verbally agreed never to expand in the 1990s is nonsense. If NATO expansion was as vital an issue to Russia then as is claimed today, Moscow would have insisted on a clear statement of it in writing.
Morten G. Ender, coauthor of a new book that examines millennials’ attitudes on the military, says he is optimistic about future generations’ views on war and argues there is a narrowing of the civilian-military gap in this country.
The axing of an aging, likely strategically inconsequential aircraft like the A-10 ‘Warthog’ is a small price to pay in order to maintain top-flight armed forces for America’s future, argues Jonathan Miller.
Mike Matthews writes in a new book that “moral trauma” and PTSD are occupational hazards of combat, but that military personnel tend to be resilient. His research suggests that psychological wounds may be as medal-worthy as physical ones.
COIN theorists tend to hold up the British as exemplar counterinsurgents because of their successful operation in Malaya. But Peter Storey writes that operations in Ireland from 1916 to 1921 should receive greater attention from military historians.