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.

NATIONAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE: THE BENS REPORT

Business Executives for National Security (BENS) a nonprofit comprised of senior business and industry executives commissioned a study and produced a report it refers to as “A CALL TO ACTION” to strengthen U.S. emergency response for sustained, widespread events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. BENS President and CEO, Joseph Votel, joins our own Editor-in-Chief in the virtual studio to discuss the findings of the report. Their conversation reviews the recommendations of federal, state and local government responsibilities and relations and the need for a national strategy for emergency response. Not surprisingly, as in any large scale operation, the need for clear communication and information sharing is highlighted as one of the crucial factors for success.

THE ARMY’S ROBERT E. LEE PROBLEM

On 5 February, 2021, newly confirmed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin directed military leaders to lead a one-day stand-down within the next 60 days to address extremism within the nation’s armed forces. That same afternoon our Editor-In Chief, Jacqueline Whitt sat down with Ty Seidule in the virtual studio to record this episode. Seidule, a prominent figure in the conversation about extremism, has long fought against the veneration of Robert E. Lee and the Confederate cause in the Army, specifically at the United States Military Academy. His 2015 video on Prager University, “Was the Civil War About Slavery?” has been viewed over 34 million times. And his newest book Robert E. Lee and Me is drawing both praise and anger. Their discussion ranges from his childhood in the south to his time at West Point as the Head of the Department of History, and what he’s been doing since his retirement as a brigadier general in 2020.

AN OUNCE OF BLOOD

All too often U.S. political rhetoric calls into question the resolve of its allies. Have they contributed enough to the ongoing conflicts? Are their defense budgets meeting the threshold of 4% GDP? It’s easy to forget that the young men and women of allied nations are serving, being disfigured and dying on the same battlefields as U.S. service members. WAR ROOM welcomes Todd Johnson as he looks at just one ally, Denmark, and considers its contribution to the Afghanistan war. He remind us that U.S. allies are standing, and falling alongside their American partners and that “the collective blood shed among friends fighting for each other creates a bond unique in its depth and durability.”

URGENT: PUT THIS IN YOUR PURSE (DUSTY SHELVES)

In October 1962, during what become known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Navy evacuated nearly 3000 dependents from its base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in less than five hours. The hastily written yet elegant instructions given to those dependents – mostly the wives of Officers and Sailors station there – is the stuff of stories. WAR ROOM welcomes J. Overton to the DUSTY SHELVES series to examine the instruction and the evacuation procedure it enabled.

A CORNERSTONE OF PEACE: WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. ― Desmond Tutu In November 2001, just one month after the United States […]

LESSONS FROM SYRIA’S LOW-PROFILE NARRATIVE WAR

These accounts and portraits exemplify a conflict fought parallel to, but distinct from, the fight for physical territory… As the threat of disinformation enters the public consciousness, the scale of the problem already confounds the effective implementation of counterstrategies. There is evidence of incremental progress within the ongoing information arms race against high-profile, government-led disinformation […]

LIKE YOUR BRAIN HAS JUST GONE TO THE GYM (WARGAMING ROOM)

A BETTER PEACE welcomes Chris Dougherty and Becca Wasser from The Gaming Lab at the Center for New American Security (CNAS). Chris and Becca join host Ken Gilliam in our special series the WARGAMING ROOM to discuss the efforts and contributions of CNAS to the gaming world. The three discuss how strategic gaming is used […]

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: WHY THE ALLIES WON (DUSTY SHELVES)

With such overwhelming numbers, how could the Allies not win? The numbers in World War II are striking. The Allies, who in many ways had not prepared properly for conflict, produced just over 20,000 aircraft in 1939, a number already almost double that of Germany and Japan. By 1943, the Allies manufactured about three and […]

AFTER 2020, WHAT’S NEXT? A WHITEBOARD

Managing homeland security challenges requires practitioners to engage in a discursive space that regularly increases in complexity and scope. For this Whiteboard we reached out to several skilled practitioners in collaboration with the Homeland Security Experts Group (HSEG) with the following prompt: What do you envision as the greatest challenges facing homeland security and domestic […]

RUSSIAN EXPANSION AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF HYBRID WARFARE

Cyber-attacks intentionally targeted the information systems of the Georgian government, where the flow of communications revolved around particular websites. In 2008, during the Summer Olympics in Beijing, the Russian armed forces began an invasion of Georgia through South Ossetia. The war with Georgia lasted only five days, and there were less than 1,000 battle deaths […]