STUDYING SOFT POWER AT THE WAR COLLEGE (EISENHOWER SERIES)

In September 2019 we introduced you to the Eisenhower Series College Program (ESCP). Though we are approaching life as we remember it pre-COVID, travel limitations significantly limited the ESCP from visiting colleges and universities, interacting with audiences often unfamiliar with members of the U.S. Military. It is our hope at WAR ROOM to bring you a glimpse of what some of those presentations might have looked like via A BETTER PEACE.

In the second episode of academic year 2021 our podcast editor Ron Granieri is joined by War College students and ESCP members Ron Hawkins, Abdul Sami and Kate Sanborn. This time the conversation turns to the concept of soft power versus hard power. What do three War College students have to say about tackling the topic of soft power at the School of Strategic Landpower? Quite a bit. Each with a career’s worth of experience in the Department of State, the Pakistan Army and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, respectively, they have many examples where China has outpaced the United States in recent years. They each offer a hopeful view of how the United States has and must continue to engage nations around the world with diplomacy and all the tools in the soft power tool bag before ever resorting to the use of military force.

Transcript: https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/21-087-STUDYING-SOFT-POWER-AT-THE-WAR-COLLEGE-EISENHOWER-SERIES-Transcript.pdf

DOS 101: DECODING THE STATE DEPARTMENT PART 2

To many people the U.S. Department of State (DOS) is as foreign as the countries in which our embassies are placed. Fortunately, we here at A BETTER PEACE know some people, and on this episode we welcome back Alex Avé Lallemant to share his experiences as a career Foreign Service Officer. For this second installment in the series he once again joins our own Associate Editor Amanda Cronkhite to discuss the ins and outs of the State Department. Currently the Consular Section Chief in Harare, Zimbabwe, Alex has served overseas in every one of the State Department’s geographic bureaus, including multiple tours in Afghanistan. That experience makes him the perfect guest to conduct what we’re calling DOS 101.
Transcript – https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/21-076-DOS-101-DECODING-THE-STATE-DEPARTMENT-PART-2-Transcript.pdf

DOS 101: DECODING THE STATE DEPARTMENT

To many people the U.S. Department of State (DOS) is as foreign as the countries in which our embassies are placed. Fortunately, we here at A BETTER PEACE know some people, and on this episode we welcome Alex Avé Lallemant to share his experiences as a career Foreign Service Officer. He joins our own Associate Editor Amanda Cronkhite in this multi-part series to discuss the ins and outs of the State Department. Currently the Consular Section Chief in Harare, Zimbabwe, Alex has served overseas in every one of the State Department’s geographic bureaus, including multiple tours in Afghanistan. That experience makes him the perfect guest to conduct what we’re calling DOS 101.
Transcript – https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/21-061-DOS-101-DECODING-THE-STATE-DEPARTMENT-Transcript-2.pdf

GENERAL HISTORY: H.R. McMASTER (ON WRITING)

A BETTER PEACE welcomes H.R. McMaster, retired Lieutenant General, former National Security Adviser, and accomplished author. On today’s episode he joins our own Michael Neiberg to discuss his writing process and research techniques as he wrote Dereliction of Duty and his newest book Battlegrounds. The conversation takes them on a tour of McMaster’s time at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he transitioned from operational armored cavalry officer to PhD candidate. They share stories of their times studying with some of the greatest minds and mentors in the field of history and how that served him throughout his career.

RETHINKING THE QUAD 2.0 – A PARTNERSHIP OF DEMOCRACIES

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), which comprises of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, was formed due to the common concerns of a rising Chinese power in the Indo-Pacific. However, the partnership of democracies has been primarily focused on military objectives to confront China’s assertiveness in the region. WAR ROOM welcomes back Tony Palocaren to explain why the varying levels of economic interdependence between the members of the Quad and China, and the economic opportunity cost of provoking China will be dire and it could lead to the failure of the partnership. To succeed, he posits the Quad must focus on international development objectives to first shore up the partnership’s international credibility while challenging China’s soft power ambitions in the region.

THE DEEP FAKES ARE COMING

As if watching the news or social media wasn’t already complicated enough, now you have to deal with deep fakes. The stuff of information nightmares, deep fakes map the face of a celebrity, a political or military leader to another person’s head. The result is a video of the leader/celebrity enacting the facial expressions, behaviors, mouth and eye movement of the target individual, and even worse saying whatever the faker desires. And the deep fakes are getting tougher to spot. WAR ROOM welcomes Matthew Fecteau as he considers the implications for national security, information operations and propaganda in the modern age as deep fakes become even more sophisticated. He looks at the near and long term actions the United States has to take to harness the technology as well as guard against it.

ALL RAILS RUN THROUGH TSAVO

You’ve got to read the fine print. If you’re a heavily indebted, slightly underdeveloped nation and China knocks on your door with a loan that seems to good to be true you might want to hold off on signing the paperwork. That’s exactly what happened to resource rich Kenya except they signed when the PRC made the offer. WAR ROOM welcomes David Tillman to take a look at Chinese funded railways in Kenya. As the country faces down a $50 billion debt that comes due in 2024, it runs the real risk of losing the Mombasa Port to Chinese investors. David explains how this is all part of the Belt Road Initiative, the core element of China’s “100-Year Plan” and what it means to U.S. national power.

FORESHADOW IN THE PACIFIC: EXERCISING JOINT CAPES IN AN ERA OF AUSTERITY (DUSTY SHELVES)

The circumstances for both exercises centered on an imagined invasion and occupation of Oahu, including the naval base at Pearl Harbor and surrounding Army airfields, by an enemy coalition dubbed “Black” forces. In February 1932, the Army and Navy conducted concurrent training exercises, Grand Joint Exercise No. 4 and Fleet Problem XIII, respectively. These exercises, […]

INDIA: THE PRAGMATIC BALLISTIC MISSILE PARTNER

India’s partnerships throughout the last six decades have swung from East to West to suit the developmental needs of the nation’s nuclear program. It has capitalized on regional conflicts, its strategic location and a bipolar world to gain support, training and funding for its indigenous missile programs. WAR ROOM welcomes back Andrew Narloch as he takes a look at India’s path to nuclear powerhouse and a leader in manufacturing space-based technologies. He explains how the U.S. must maintain a close partnership while voicing opposition to India’s missile programs.

POWs IN AMERICAN MILITARY HISTORY

As long as there has been war, there have been prisoners of war (POWs). If you have served in the U.S. military in the last 50 years you know of the Law of Armed Conflict, the Code of Conduct and the extensive efforts the nation takes to recover U.S. and allied POWs and those listed as Missing in Action (MIA). But it might surprise many people to learn that throughout history often little preparation has been made by any nation to account for, feed, house and transport enemy prisoners. And it is only recently that historians of these conflicts have begun to study the topic of POWs. Professors Daniel Krebs and Lorien Foote are in the virtual studio for this episode to discuss their work in this field and their book Useful Captives: The Role of POWs in American Military Conflicts. They join podcast editor Ron Granieri to examine how the treatment of POWs has changed over time to include some of the most recent actions in the middle east regarding mistreatment and release of prisoners.

THE GRAND STRATEGY OF CARL VON CLAUSEWITZ

WAR ROOM welcomes Francis Miyata to demonstrate that Clausewitz provides an implicit definition of grand strategy in his magnum opus, On War. Francis argues that the definition is found not in his theory of war but extrapolated from his theory of the state, which is the bearer of multiple means of political intercourse, including war. He examines how the definition integrates all the tools of statecraft into a seamless whole, which today more than ever is an imperative of strategizing amidst the conditions of contemporary global politics.

THE SOUL OF BATTLE: DEMOCRACIES AT WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)

The DUSTY SHELVES series welcomes Mitchell Klingenberg to dust off Victor Davis Hanson’s The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny. Klingenberg examines Hanson’s analysis of the human personalities of Epaminondas of Thebes, William T. Sherman, and George S. Patton. Looking at the nature and character of war through the actions of these three leaders, Hanson illustrates the imperative of a nation to exercise moral authority through armed conflict when confronted with evil.

THE GRIT AND GROWTH MINDSET

Adversity and resilience are incredibly relevant topics in light of what’s going on in the world today. People around the world are facing challenges and adversity that they’ve never seen before and are seeking new ways to deal with it. A BETTER PEACE welcomes Jennifer Alessio to share her story of a potentially career-ending injury and how she found a path forward to not only survive but thrive. Jennifer joins podcast editor Ron Granieri in the virtual studio to discuss the grit and growth mindset. Based in the works of Dr. Angela Duckworth and Dr. Carol Dweck, Jennifer discusses how the mindset can benefit innovation, talent management, soldier development and even recruiting in the U.S. Army.

THE ART OF NON-WAR: SUN TZU AND GREAT POWER COMPETITION

As the joint force refocuses efforts to address state centric great power competition it must examine and develop strategic frameworks designed to be utilized in an operating environment where a myriad of systemic factors limit the effectiveness of kinetic military force. WAR ROOM welcomes James Micciche to take a new look at Sun Tzu’s teachings in the context of non-war. The “Art of War” provides the basic tenets for the joint force to enhance competitive efforts below levels of armed conflict.

COUNTERINTELLIGENCE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: THE NEED FOR INTEGRATION

Counterintelligence (CI) has existed in some form or fashion since humans first tried to take a peek at each others secrets. The CI field has changed and specialized throughout time ever adapting to newer technologies and techniques as they emerged. But specialization and regionalization leads to compartmentalization and often thwarts information sharing amongst agencies and allies. WAR ROOM welcomes Alan Cunningham as he makes a renewed call for integration across the military branches, law enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies, as well as other public and private sector entities. He makes the case that the United States CI enterprise must become more effective and efficient while maintaining information security in the face of rapidly changing threats.

THE INTERIM NSS: A TOUCHSTONE

Mandated by public law, the National Security Strategy (NSS) is the report that the President of the United States sends to Congress to communicate the administration’s strategy and vision regarding national security. It is to be submitted to Congress in a classified format no later than 150 days after the date on which a new President takes office. But Congress isn’t the only audience of the NSS as there is typically an unclassified summary that communicates the administration’s intent to the military, the citizenry, and friends and foes alike. Editor-in-Chief Jacqueline Whitt is in the virtual studio with podcast editor Ron Granieri to discuss the Interim NSS that the Biden administration released on 3 Mar 2021. Ron and Jacqueline take a look at what’s different in this document and perhaps more importantly what is similar to previous administration’s NSS reports.

REFRAMING THE MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN

If the western world truly seeks victory in Afghanistan there needs to be a better understanding of what that victory looks like. The ongoing peace talks with the Taliban are a necessary first step. And a wide look at history over many conflicts reveals that western nations have succeeded in the past at reaching political solutions through similar negotiations, patience, and international cooperation. WAR ROOM welcomes Tom Spahr to examine why a U.S. military exit from Afghanistan in May 2021, or shortly thereafter, is not feasible. He predicts getting to an acceptable agreement with the Taliban will take years, if not decades, and political and military leaders should plan for the long haul.

THE IMPENDING CLIMATE WAR WITH CHINA

Climate change is still a divisive topic and some countries are doing better at addressing it than others. China’s economy depends largely on “dirty energy” and their belligerent nature makes them an easy target for pundits to blame. At least one conservative commentator has facetiously suggested military action to curb their emissions. WAR ROOM welcomes back Pete Helzer as he examines why the United States needs to start taking diplomatic and economic steps to address climate change before it becomes an urgent matter that would require military intervention.

AFTERMATH: THE FIRST GULF WAR

“The Gulf War is often remembered as a ‘good war,’ a high-tech conflict that quickly and cleanly achieved its objectives.” That’s the opening line of Sam Helfont’s new article in the Texas National Security Review, and he’s in the virtual studio to discuss how the narrative might not match reality. Sam joins A BETTER PEACE editor Ron Granieri to discuss the fallout of the first Gulf War. As a Middle East historian, Sam offers a unique perspective on the realities of life after the shooting stopped. He talks about the political, economic, and humanitarian dilemmas it caused in the region as well as the divisions and harm it introduced into the western world and the United States.

USE WARGAMING TO SHARPEN THE TACTICAL EDGE

Although educational wargaming has become increasingly prevalent in professional military education, the employment of game-based learning remains underdeveloped and under-utilized within the operating forces. Sebastian Bae and Paul Kearney are back to take a look at the educational history and benefits of wargaming. This WARGAMING ROOM entry examines how the Joint Force can overcome its challenges of growing and maintaining educational wargaming at the tactical edge.