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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

MIRRORING VIETNAM’S FAILURES IN AFGHANISTAN: DOD’S DESCENT INTO WAR FATIGUE

Wars are expensive in terms of blood lost and treasure spent, but there are other, more subtle costs. The long road to the trilateral U.S.-Afghanistan-Taliban memorandum of agreement was wearisome on all fronts. Wars are expensive in terms of blood lost and treasure spent, but there are other, more subtle costs. They take an emotional […]

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 […]

DEMOBILIZING THE KHOST PROTECTION FORCE: PARAMILITARY GROUPS IN AFGHANISTAN

These groups, although a strategic and powerful asset for the U.S. mission in fighting terrorism, are disruptive to forms of justice of Afghan society and weaken Afghan institutions. The Khost Protection Force (KPF) is an Afghan paramilitary group that operates in the east along the border with Pakistan, primarily on covert, kill-or-capture operations referred to […]

THE LAST LION AND THE NEXT WAR: LESSONS FROM CHURCHILL (DUSTY SHELVES)

Churchill, an avid painter, ‘saw the beauty and vitality of details, and their effect on larger strategic issues, and demanded that they be scrutinized all the time.’ You have likely come across a quote, article, or visual media reference to Winston Churchill in the past couple of years.  The British statesman is one of the […]

THE MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION: ALEXANDRA RICHIE (ON WRITING)

A BETTER PEACE welcomes Alexandra Richie, internationally acclaimed and award-winning writer and historian, and one of the world’s foremost experts on World War II in Europe. Richie joined Michael Neiberg to discuss her studies and books on both German history as viewed from Berlin, and the Warsaw Uprising. Their conversation covered how she first started writing […]

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 […]

REFORMING INDIAN DEFENSE: IMPLICATIONS FOR NATIONAL SECURITY PROFESSIONALS?

Much of the structure is the same as it was in the late 1940s and early 1950s when the state achieved its independence. In early 2020, India became a greater subject of interest to American national security professionals as a result of the “Namaste Trump” presidential visit. Beyond the great tamasha, or spectacle, of the […]

OWING AND OWNING: LATIN AMERICA, CHINA, AND THE PANDEMIC

Most Latin American countries are resource-dependent, some excessively, meaning that their central governments rely on rents from the extraction of natural resources to finance a significant portion of their budgets. In addition to overwhelming healthcare systems almost everywhere, COVID-19 is on track to cause a severe economic contraction all over the globe. Recently, the International […]

LOSING THE STRATEGIC “BATTLE” AGAINST THE PRC (BUT NOT THE “WAR”): PT I – EMERGING CONFLICT DOMAINS

Despite facing innovative, global rivals, the U.S. military remains a downward-directed, personality-driven organization – one that lacks the flexibility it needs to meet current threats. The word “military” conjures images of rifle-bearing soldiers being yelled at by angry, loud, older leaders, imposing their proverbial ‘my way or the highway’ versions of order. Unfortunately, such images […]

WHOSE HISTORY? WHOSE HERITAGE? MEMORY AND MEMORIALS IN THE ARMED FORCES

I would venture to say that there are a lot of black troops that understand what those names mean and just have chosen not to take it up as an issue. Bragg, Benning and Hood are names that are universally known throughout the Army and most of the Department of Defense. They are some of […]

DIMINISHING TERRITORIAL CONTROL MAY INCREASE LETHAL POWER OF ISIS

In reality, the threat eventually became defined not only by ISIS’s ability to control territory, but also its ability to conduct and inspire acts of terrorism worldwide. United States President Donald Trump has declared the Islamic State (ISIS) defeated and the war won.  However, others argue the fight against ISIS is growing increasingly complex and […]

FACT AND FICTION: THE RECOUNTING OF WWII WITH JAMES HOLLAND (ON WRITING)

Suddenly I was distracted by this amazing roar…and I turned to the umpire and I said ‘What is that?’ absolutely dumbstruck by this vision and sound and he said ‘That’s a Spitfire’ A BETTER PEACE welcomes James Holland, internationally acclaimed and award-winning historian, writer, and broadcaster. A familiar and trusted face appearing in numerous WWII documentaries, […]

MILITARY SOCIETY IN EARLY MODERN EUROPE: ANDRÉ CORVISIER (DUSTY SHELVES)

The historical profession in the mid-twentieth-century decisively shifted its focus to social and cultural frameworks, which seemingly did not fit with military history and its main interests in politics, organizations, and institutions. André Corvisier was among the first military historians to open the field to social and cultural history. A pioneer of quantitative and statistical […]

NEGLECT AND ATTENTION IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE

There is no “Latin America” right? It is a region made up of independent sovereign countries, some with different histories, some with different languages…based on that they’re going to have different relationships with the United States. In the present day examination of global security, much of the United States’ attention is focused on the Middle […]

RUSSIA, LIBYA AND WEAPONIZING HUMAN MIGRATION

THE KREMLIN’S ABILITY TO UNLEASH MILLIONS OF MIGRANTS GIVES PUTIN STRATEGIC LEVERAGE OVER EUROPE SINCE EVEN THE THREAT TO UNLEASH MASS MIGRATION MAY DESTABILIZE ALREADY FRAGILE EU AND NATO ALLIANCES WITHOUT DIRECT CONFLICT. Russian deployment of private military companies to support the insurgent Libya National Army (LNA) supports the Kremlin’s ambitions to gain access to critical […]

IMPERIAL ECHOES AND CONTEMPORARY CONFLICT IN THE MIDDLE EAST

The old adage under Atatürk was zero problems with the neighbors; now the adage is zero neighbors without problems. You would be hard pressed to find a current member of the U.S. military who remembers a time in their service when the United States wasn’t involved in conflict in the Middle East. Forty years ago this […]