THE CHALLENGES OF KEEPING SPACE SECURE (LEADER PERSPECTIVES)

There is nothing we do in the joint force that isn’t enabled by space. Nothing. A lot of attention is being paid to the space domain, and so A BETTER PEACE welcomes General John W. “Jay” Raymond, Commander of the U.S. Air Force Space Command, to the studio to discuss his perspectives on strategic leadership. […]

KNOWING WHEN A WAR IS UNWINNABLE — GENERAL FREDERICK C. WEYAND (GREAT CAPTAINS)

He realized that in a democracy, military success is not sufficient General Frederick C. Weyand served as the 28th Chief of Staff of the Army in the 1970s but, as Dr. Frank Jones of the U.S. Army War College explains, he earned the right to be considered a Great Captain from his efforts during the […]

A TALE OF TWO HILLS: THE MYTH AND REALITY OF THE BATTLE OF BAYONET HILL

Units have ignored clear evidence that Bayonet Hill actually took place more than a dozen miles away On February 8th, 2019, the Eighth U.S. Army Facebook page celebrated the previous day’s anniversary of the Battle of Bayonet Hill. Every year, army units stationed at Osan Air Base (AB) celebrate what historian S.L.A. Marshall called in […]

CLEARING THE BATTLEFIELD: WHY DE-MINING IS A POWERFUL U.S. CAPABILITY

Humanitarian Mine Action is one way for the DoD to really support the other three instruments of national power Explosive Remnants of War, or ERW, is a significant problem in former battlefields. For example, the landscape of Bosnia and Herzegovina after the Dayton Accords was littered with antipersonnel mines. Since 1996, more than 3,000 square […]

HOW A HOMING PIGEON SAVED THE LOST BATTALION OF WORLD WAR I (DUSTY SHELVES)

Pigeons were treated with very high regard in the military … much like working dogs are today Technological innovation has always been central to warfighting, and the advances made over the 20th century were especially important. During the First World War, battlefield communications were limited, and armies employed means–old and new–to communicate. They used old […]

FACING A FUTURE WITH ORGANIZED WEAPONIZATION OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Propagandists now exercise increasing sophistication in their communications In February 2019, in (Indian-administered) Southern Kashmir, a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist cell attacked an Indian paramilitary convoy with an improvised explosive device (IED). Two weeks later, when India launched airstrikes against a suspected JeM camp in Pakistan, it escalated the incident to a military crisis. Pakistan quickly […]

REBRANDING THE REBALANCE: ASSESSING U.S. INDO-PACIFIC STRATEGY (INDO-PACIFIC SERIES)

Three visions currently compete for American strategy in the region, but none are likely to succeed At the beginning of April, West Point pivoted to Asia. Though the Army’s rockbound highland home is 3,000 miles from the Pacific coast, the United States Military Academy recognizes change is afoot. Two recent conferences featured speakers from Asia. […]

HOW TO TELL THE STORY OF A WAR: THE OIF STUDY

[General Odierno] felt that we’d spent the first several years of the Iraq War re-learning many of the lessons of the Vietnam War In 2013, a team of authors was commissioned by then Chief of Staff of the Army General Odierno to write a study of Operation Iraqi Freedom to glean insights for immediate practical […]

FROM COMPETITORS TO COALITIONS: CAN ARMY SPECIAL OPS FORCES SHOW THE WAY WITH CHINA?

It is not hard to conceive various scenarios in which the U.S. and Chinese militaries would have to conduct combined operations History is replete with alliances among nations who were otherwise competitive with each other. For example, World War II brought together the U.S., Britain, France, and the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany. Today, strategic […]

“GOOD ALLIES”: INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON AFGHANISTAN

War is complex. States often have multiple objectives for sending their sons and daughters in harm’s way Editor’s Note: In February 2019, the Institute for the Study of War and Strategy (ISWS) of the University of St. Andrews and the U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) brought together 11 scholars, each representing the view of […]

CONVENTIONAL AND UNCONVENTIONAL WAR ARE NOT OPPOSITES

It seems that Western military forces are doomed to reinvent the wheel every time they are confronted with insurgencies Editor’s Note: In February 2019, the Institute for the Study of War and Strategy (ISWS) of the University of St. Andrews and the U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) brought together eleven scholars, each representing the […]

RELIVING THE CIVIL WAR THROUGH BATTLEFIELD STAFF RIDES

It’s natural to ask what can we gain from this ‘old war’? … You can read [history] in a book, but when you actually walk the field, it rams home into your head and stays there In an earlier episode of A BETTER PEACE, Learning Strategy by Walking the Ground, Andrew Hill and Len Fullenkamp […]

LEARNING PAINFUL LESSONS FROM AFGHANISTAN

Conflicts, both in Afghanistan as well as at home, will continue to have both a complex civilian and military character When the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) finally closed shop in Afghanistan in 2014, many participating nations professed a weariness with complex, civil-military, out-of-area operations. These operations demanded close, often awkward, relationships of cooperation, co-existence, […]

REMOTE WARFARE & RISKS OF RELYING ON LOCAL FORCES

‘Is Remote Warfare Cheaper?’ ‘So that’s a really hard question to answer. … We actually have very little data’ A BETTER PEACE explores the implications of NATO members’ ongoing shift away from large-scale coalition operations to smaller-scale operations that rely primarily on local forces, militias, or other groups supported by Western resources, training, and small […]

REFLECTIONS ON THE HUE CITY MASSACRE

It was the largest battle in the [Vietnam] war in terms of numbers of casualties, and politically it was the most important On the Anniversary of the start of the Tet Offensive of 1968, A BETTER PEACE welcomes retired U.S. Ambassador Jim Bullington to recount the story of the Battle of Huế in Vietnam which […]

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE “NEW” U.S. STRATEGY FOR AFRICA

The new strategy seems far less a “strategy” and much more akin to a “philosophy” for engagement in Africa The Trump Administration’s new “Africa Strategy” has gotten a lot of press, much of it negative, since National Security Advisor John Bolton announced it on December 13th, 2018 at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.  The […]

THE PARTNERSHIP OF ROBERT E. LEE AND STONEWALL JACKSON (GREAT CAPTAINS)

As the Campaigns of 1862 move forward, Lee turns to Jackson more and more for counsel A BETTER PEACE continues its Great Captains series with a look at a leadership team, rather than an individual. In this episode, U.S. Army War College Professor of History Christian Keller argues that the strategic teaming of Generals Robert […]

*SECOND* BEST FIELD ARMY COMMANDER: WHITEBOARD RESPONSE

attributes essential for field army command: professional competence, courage (physical and moral), initiative, self-confidence, and intuition, the ability to see and feel things in the context of time and space We thank all those who contributed entries to our latest Whiteboard where we asked the following question: State, with no explanation, who you think is […]

THE *SECOND* BEST FIELD ARMY COMMANDER — A WHITEBOARD

Destroying enemy armies provides the best litmus test for ranking great army commanders Who’s the ‘best’ football player of all time? Or entertainer? Or U.S. President? Many people would answer with strong opinions which are difficult to argue against. It’s a subjective call – ‘best’ might be interpreted as ‘favorite,’ rather than the highest rated […]

FIGHTING SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN WAR: CONTEXT MATTERS

Any efforts to reduce sexual violence in conflict are unlikely to succeed without addressing its socio-cultural roots. Alarming levels of sexual violence perpetrated by armed actors have earned the Democratic Republic of the Congo the infamous label “rape capital of the world.” Individual or mass rape, sexual slavery, sexual torture and other violations of people’s sexual […]