AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITY: MAYBE IT’S NOT ALL YOUR FAULT, ARMY!

No amount of strategy, operational art, or tactics can overcome a lack of national will In the United States, the employment of military forces is controlled by the military’s civilian, political masters. Subordination of our military to the civilian power is in line with our finest political traditions. It is a keystone of our democratic […]

CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS & THE DANGERS OF BEING A HIGHLY TRUSTED INSTITUTION

Don’t love the military too much, and don’t love the other institutions too little It is well-known that poll after poll shows the military ranks as the most trusted institution in the U.S. And, it is equally known that the opposite was true a mere few decades ago. The numbers belie the persistent tensions that […]

THE TALE OF TWO GENERALS WHO BECAME SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

It might seem natural that retired flag officers would be considered for [Secretary of Defense]. Nonetheless, the U.S. tradition of civilian control is strong Flag officers are esteemed members of American society, both inside and outside the military. By and large, they exhibit the best qualities of leadership and character the nation has to offer. […]

MILITARY MIGHT AND THE DEFENSE MARKETPLACE

The promise of much of this outsourcing was to reduce cost. … but the total costs [of all contracts] have gone up. So contracts are not cheaper The joint force has long depended on the private sector to provide necessary goods and services to support and sustain the warfight. This has been true since the […]

GRAHAM CLEARS THE DOORWAY

Perhaps the most significant example of the tension between federal obligations and state loyalties in National Guard history occurred fifty-five years ago in Alabama. On the ABC television series Designated Survivor, a bombing kills nearly every leader in the three branches of the federal government, and the executive branch’s designated survivor, the soon-to-be-replaced HUD Secretary, […]

TOO MUCH WAR, NOT ENOUGH COLLEGE

Army leadership should inject more ‘college’ in the War College by hiring more civilian academic instructors. When I arrived at the U.S. Army War College in August 2017 as the Harold K. Johnson Chair in Military History I walked into an institution debating its future.  During my first weeks at the War College, I met […]

HYBRID WAR: ATTACKING THE ‘CIVIL’ IN CIVIL SOCIETY

Western military leaders have been operating “in the blind” because they never thought their liberal democratic societies with their firm legal basEs could be turned against themselves. While Western leaders were worried about hybrid warfare on their flanks, they have been blindsided at home. Civil society is under assault. The military characterizes hybrid warfare as a […]

MAX BOOT ON THE LURE OF SIMPLE MILITARY SOLUTIONS — A PODCAST

I would urge your listeners … Don’t fall under this illusion that there are easy military answers to difficult geo-political questions. WAR ROOM welcomes Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Boot is a critic of the Trump Administration, and during this […]

WHY IS THE VIETNAM WAR EXPERIENCE STILL RELEVANT?

The 2017 release of a television series on Vietnam War from director Ken Burns has renewed interest and controversy surrounding the purpose of the war and its effects. In this podcast, military historian, retired U.S. Army War College professor, and Vietnam veteran Len Fullenkamp presents his perspective on why the U.S. became involved. He also discusses the social and political change that happened at the same time, and how institutions such as education and political structures changed as a result. What does the Vietnam experience teach us about matters of national security policy today? What should military leaders learn from Vietnam so they may better render best military advice to their civilian overseers?

ON BEING A ‘DIFFERENT’ KIND OF COMMAND — AFRICOM AT 10 YEARS (PART 2)

In this War Room podcast, Ambassador Alexander M. Laskaris, current civilian deputy to the commander, reflects on the uniqueness of the command and growing importance of interagency cooperation, a hallmark of AFRICOM’s first decade.  Along with reflections on strategic leadership, Ambassador Laskaris discusses the challenges of AFRICOM’s identity between being a ‘hard power’ warfighting command and a ‘soft power’ organization focused on preventing war and building security capacity. War Room associate editor Ryan McCannell hosts.

LOOKING BACK AT THE 1988 NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY: WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?

Don Snider reflects on his experiences in the drafting of the 1988 National Security Strategy (NSS) and what purpose that document serves. With Matt Scalia interviewing, Don describes the political context within which the NSS was written and the five audiences that the NSS must serve. He also discusses the challenges facing new Administrations in building political consensus and forging strategies that reflect the preferred agenda of the President.

INDIA’S JOINT DOCTRINE: HOPELESS MUDDLE, OR THE START OF STRATEGIC ARTICULATION?

Indian civil-military relations enjoy the paradox of being applauded for robust civilian control in a region where that is not common, while being condemned for an absence of a constructive dialogue on strategic issues between civilian and military leaders In April 2017, the Headquarters of the Indian Integrated Staff – the equivalent to the U.S. […]