SWARM GAMING: REGAINING THE STRATEGIC INNOVATION INITIATIVE (WARGAMING ROOM)

Adversaries will deliberately create situations for which U.S. military leaders have not been educated, trained, or equipped to overcome. The United States’ enemies are smart, dedicated, and determined. They will not attack strengths; they will attack weaknesses at times and places of their choosing and seek to do so in ways for which the DOD […]

IMAGINING OVERMATCH: CRITICAL DOMAINS IN THE NEXT WAR (A WHITEBOARD)

As global politics and the international order destabilize, planners, strategists, and warfighters the world over are reminded that the threat of armed, large-scale conflict is a central feature in the histories of states. Recent conflict between China and India in the Galwan Valley and ongoing military buildups in that region testify to this fact. While […]

WOMEN IN PEACE AND SECURITY

On October 31st, 2000, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1325, which reaffirmed “the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace building, the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase […]

WHAT’S IN A WAR PLAN?

A war plan develops a concept to win a war militarily and politically; it is the detailed ways and means of an overarching strategy. The Department of Defense has no definition of “war plan” according to its own doctrine. There are the Unified Command Plan, campaign plans, theaters of war, and regional theater strategies. There […]

CHINA’S RECIPE FOR INSURGENCY

China’s treatment of the Uighur population in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region has been covered widely in the world news arena. Many around the globe have called for an end to what has been deemed human rights violations. WAR ROOM welcomes Alden Leader to examine the issue through the lens of a counterinsurgency. Leader points out that while there may be some extremist bad actors, China’s heavy handed tactics will only gain them short term success and risks fanning the flames of a full fledged insurgency.

GETTING WAR (GAMING) BACK INTO THE WAR COLLEGE (WARGAMING ROOM)

Before we get too far, let’s address some of the baggage that comes with wargaming. “SHALL WE PLAY A GAME?” These are the iconic words from the 1983 movie WarGames, in which a high school student unknowingly hacks a government computer system to play a game called “Global Thermonuclear War.”  The protagonist sets off a […]

TOWARDS A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF OTHER PEOPLES

Born of an idea first uttered in October 1960 at an impromptu speech by then Senator John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps was officially established on 1 March 1961. In its first year Peace Corps volunteers served in just 5 countries. Six short years later 14,500 volunteers had served in 55 countries around the world. […]

THAT ONE MOST IMPORTANT THING: (A WHITEBOARD)

War College students are at a point of significant departure in their careers, as their post-study assignments will generally put them in rapid-paced, constantly shifting circumstances.   For this Whiteboard we reached out again to several scholars with the following prompt: What is the most important thing a war college student should learn in their year […]

AN ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE: INNOVATION AND TERRORIST DRONES

In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, characters who increase in wisdom are those who ascend from the cave’s darkness (ignorance, crudeness) to the surface’s daylight (knowledge, sophistication). In early 2018, 13 small drones armed with explosives swarmed the Russian-occupied Hmiemim airbase in Syria. Russian forces accused the United States of launching the attack, citing the […]

THE INTERFACE: REESTABLISHING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TACTICS AND POLITICS

Considering the mutual relation between strategy and tactics helps establish the extent of what is possible, or necessary, in strategic competition.   Marco Polo describes a bridge, stone by stone. “But which is the stone that supports the bridge?” Kublai Khan asks. “The bridge is not supported by one stone or another,” Marco answers, “but […]

NOT YOUR FATHER’S NATIONAL GUARD

The citizen soldiers of the Army’s National Guard component often lead different lives from their active duty counterparts. Geographically tied to their state units, they often live out their entire career in their home states spared of the constant moves the rest of the military endures. Guard units in years past have been overlooked for […]

REFLECTIONS ON MILITARY STRATEGY: KILLING ANNIHILATION VS. ATTRITION

There is no good reason to think that there are only two forms of strategy, or that they are annihilation and exhaustion. It is long past time to kill the idea that the basic strategic approach is between annihilation and exhaustion or attrition. For Americans, the problems started with a single chapter in an edited […]

IT’S WORLD WAR THREE ALL OVER AGAIN (DUSTY SHELVES)

Today, as the United States once more finds itself in a situation of near-peer competition with China and Russia, this four-decade old novel seems relevant once again. Sir John Hackett’s 1978 novel The Third World War was one of the best-selling books of the decade. The retired British General’s fiction debut sold three million copies […]

THE MAGIC OF THE INTERWEBS

If anyone still doubts how integral the Internet is to daily life then shut off your modem or put your phone in airplane mode in the midst of the current pandemic social distancing exercise. Now try and pay a bill, study for a course, contact friends or family, stream a movie — you get the […]

SHALL WE PLAY A GAME? (WARGAMING ROOM)

All games can be used to understand how humans make decisions in environments shaped by competition. While this is a Whiteboard post we thought it would be a great way to introduce our readers to the Wargaming Room, a new recurring series focused on the design, development, and playing of wargames. The articles and podcast […]

LIKE A FISH OUT OF WATER: A SAILOR AT THE ARMY WAR COLLEGE

The J in JPME stands for joint. In order to qualify for joint accreditation each senior service college and the National Defense University are mandated by CJCS instruction to include a proportional number of students and faculty from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Each year hundreds of senior officers attend the college of […]

HOW PEACE TREATIES CAN TRUMP UN MANDATES FOR PEACEKEEPERS

More important than the number of troops or their force capability is the authority the Blue Helmets are granted… A headline about one of the many of today’s ongoing wars will almost inevitably be followed by a headline tomorrow calling for the United Nations to send in the Blue Helmets, as UN peacekeeping troops are […]

MULTI-COMPONENT UNITS: MAXIMIZING THE TOTAL FORCE

In the last decade the U.S. Army reserve component has moved from a strategic to an operational reserve. This has driven a clear requirement for greater reserve integration amongst the active component. To accomplish this the Army and the Joint force have expanded the use of multi component units (MCUs) to improve efficiency and readiness […]

SARS-COV-2 AND THE WAR AGAINST WMD (COVID-19 SERIES)

Any attempt to securitize a pandemic response must of course be mindful that a ‘war’ framework cannot be the only approach to fighting a pandemic, especially as our ‘fight’ is also against the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19. The virus SARS-COV-2 may not be a biological weapon, but the effects of the disease it causes, known […]

EFFECTS AND OPERATIONAL DESIGN: LEARNING FROM WWI CAMPAIGNS

While joint doctrine and most service-specific doctrines have banished EBO as a concept, effects remain one of the elements of operational design. For a time, effects and Effects-Based Operations (EBO) were at the center of U.S. Joint Doctrine, promising an omniscient understanding of the adversary and how to produce its defeat. EBO advocates claimed it […]