Review: Uncomfortable Wars Revisited (International and Security Affairs Series) (Hardcover)

5 Star, Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Insurgency & Revolution

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Top Ten Book. Moral Legitimacy, Inter-Agency Unity of Effortt, Deep Language & Cultural Skills,

March 17, 2006
John T. Fishel
Max Manwaring is one of my heroes, and it upsets me to see the publisher do such a lousy job of posting information about this book, which is a gem. This book was a classic when it was first published, and it is even better now that it has been updated and the SWORD model slightly refined. Along with The Search for Security: A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century and Max’s other edited work, which I cannot find on Amazon, “Environmental Security & Global Security,” this book is about all any professional needs for a good clear appreciation of how to address low intensity conflicts, complex emergencies, and operations other than war.

The authors understand what Will and Ariel Durant emphasized in their summative The Lessons of History when they said that morality is a strategic value. The heart of this book is about the non-negotiable value of moral legitimacy to govern as the precursor to addressing root problems and preventing terrorism and instability. Winning uncomfortable wars is an IO/psychological and sociological challenge, but you cannot win them, regardless of how much might, money, or message you put on target, if you are not moral in the first place (and if your supported government is not moral).

The other two core messages in this book focus on the urgency of unity of effort across all agencies and the coalition, and the desperate need for LONG-TERM operations with LONG-TERM funding and LONG-TERM commitments from the leaderships of the nations as well as the United Nations and other NGOs. The authors are damning of both the US Congress and the UN for failing to be serious about budgeting for long-term stabilization and reconstruction operations.

The SWORD model has seven parts: unity of effort; legitimacy of the coalition and the supported government; interdiction of support to the belligerents; effective supporting actions by the coalition; military actions by the coalition; interactions between the coalition and the belligerents; and finally, actions tailored to ending the conflict.

Ambassador Corr could easily be credited with being the third author. His forward provides a sweeping review of history while his conclusion emphasizes that we cannot win without first having “a deep understanding of the cultures and languages…”

A few case studies round out the book. Colombia, where my mother was born, has long been one of Max’s special interests. His identification of the three wars (narcos, insurgents, and paramilitaries) reminds me of Tony Zinni’s elegant distinctions among the six Viet-Nam wars a) Swamp War, b) Paddy War, c) Jungle War, d) Plains War, e) Saigon War, and f) DMZ War.

Max is far more polite and diplomatic than I am, but his message is clear: US policy is in la-la land when it comes to crop eradication. On pages 197-198 he points out that farmers make four times more from narcotics than from the next available legal crop, and that they are trapped in circumstances where even if they had a profitable legal crop, there is no credit, there are no roads, there is no market, there is no security, for them to evolve legally. Credit, roads, market, security–for the LONG TERM.

Another book that really drives home the ineptitude of our short-term interventions is the one by William Shawcross, Deliver Us from Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlords and a World of Endless Conflict Two other nuanced books I recommend with this one are Robert McNamara and James Blight’s Wilson’s Ghost: Reducing the Risk of Conflict, Killing, and Catastrophe in the 21st Century and Jonathan Schell’s The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People.

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2003 Manwaring (US) War & Conflict: Six Generations

Historic Contributions, Military, Peace Intelligence
Max Manwaring
Max Manwaring

Col Dr. Max Manwaring is one of America’s greatest scholar-warriors and especially valuable to all of us for his understanding of gangs and other asymmetric froms of organization that are vastly more adatable, imaginative, and resources than any bureaucracy.

He has been among a handful of patriotic souls speaking truth to power about the urgency of getting a grip on emerging threats that are non-state in nature.  Below is his presentation of the six generations of warfare–on a good day the US is lucky to get past fourth generation warfare, and completely unsuited–not trained, equipped, or organized–for generations five through seven (we added the seventh, see Graphics).

Max Manwaring
Max Manwaring

Review: The Search for Security–A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century

6 Star Top 10%, Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Culture, Research, Force Structure (Military), Future, History, Military & Pentagon Power, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Security (Including Immigration), Stabilization & Reconstruction, Strategy, Survival & Sustainment, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), War & Face of Battle, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Coherent, Holistic, and Above All, Sane,

July 4, 2003
Max G. Manwaring
This book is a gem, and it is worth every penny, but it is a pity that it has not been priced for mass market because every U.S. citizen would benefit from reading this superb collection of chapters focused on how to keep America both safe and prosperous in a volatile world of super-empowered angry men, ethnic criminal gangs, mass migrations, epidemic disease, and water scarcity.President David Boren of the University of Oklahoma, himself a former Senator and former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, provides a non-partisan foreword that clearly indicts both Democrats and Republicans for what he calls a “zig-zag” foreign policy that is guided by TV images and weekly polls, rather than any coherent and calculated evaluation of ends, ways, and means.

Divided into three parts, the book first addresses the Global Security Environment (2 chapters), then discusses elements of a grand or total strategy (5 chapters), and concludes with a prescription (2 chapters). Every chapter is good.

Chapter 1 by Richard Millet does an outstanding job of discussing the global security environment in terms that make it crystal clear that the highest probability threats are non-traditional threats, generally involving non-state actors in a failed state environment. These are not threats that can be addressed by a heavy metal military that is not trained, equipped, nor organized for humanitarian or constabulary operations. Among his most trenchant observations: America can not succeed when the local elites (e.g. Colombia) are not willing to pay the price for internal justice and stability; sometimes the costs of success can exceed the costs of failure (Afghanistan?); what America lacks today is any criteria by which to determine when to attempt coalition building and when to go it alone; the real threat is not any single government or non-state organization, but the millions of daily decisions (e.g. to buy cocaine or smuggle medicine) that incentivise crime and endless conflict.

Chapter 2 by Robert Dorff dissects existing U.S. national security “strategy” and shows clearly, in a non-partisan manner, that the U.S. does not have a coherent inter-agency capability for agreeing on ends, ways, or means. He calls what we have now–both from the past under Clinton and in the present under Bush, “adhocery” and he makes the compelling point that our failure to have a coherent forward-looking strategy is costing the U.S. taxpayer both money and results.

Chapters 3-7 are each little gems. In Chapter 3 Max Manwaring suggests that our existing assumptions about geopolitics and military power are obsolete, and we are in great danger if Americans cannot change their way of thinking about national security issues. He suggests five remedies, the most important of which is the establishment of a coherent inter-agency planning and operational control process for leveraging all sources of national power–political, diplomatic, economic, military, and informational–simultaneously and in balance. In Chapter 4 Edwin Corr and Max Manwaring offer a fine discourse on why legitimate governance around the world must be “the” end that we seek as a means of assuring American security and prosperity in the face of globalization. Chapter 5 by Leif Rosenberger addresses the economic threats inherent in globalization, including free flows of capital, concluding that fixed exchange rates divorce countries from reality, and that the US must sponsor a global early warning system dedicated to the financial arena. Chapter 5 by Dennis Rempe is good but too short. He clearly identifies information power as being the equal of diplomacy, economics, and military power, going so far as to suggest an “International Information Agency” that could eventually become a public good as well as an objective arbiter of “ground truth.” I like this idea, in part because it is consistent with the ideas I set forth in NEW CRAFT, to wit that we need to migrate from secret intelligence intended for Presidents (who then manipulate that intelligence and lie to their people) toward public intelligence that can be discussed and understood by the people–this makes for sounder decisions. Chapter 7, again by Edwin Corr and Max Manwaring, discusses deterrence in terms of culture, motive, and effect–they are especially good in pointing out that traditional deterrence is irrelevant with suicidal martyrs, and that the best deterrence consists of the education of domestic publics about the realities of the post-Cold War world.

The book concludes with 2 chapters, the first by Edwin Corr and Max Manwaring, who discuss how values (education, income, civic virtue) must be the foundation of the American security strategy. They then translate this into some specific “objectives” for overseas investments and influences by the U.S., and they conclude that the ultimate investment must be in better educating both domestic and international audiences. They recommend the legitimacy of all governments as a global objective; End-State Planning (ESP) as the way to get there; and a new focus on holistic and long-term programs rather than “adhocery” as the best way to manage scarce means. One can only speculate how differently Afghanistan and Iraq (and Haiti, now discarded for a decade) might have turned out if the US had rolled in with a Marshall Plan or Berlin Airlift equivalent the minute organized hostilities ceased. Robert Dorff closes the book by pointing out that state failure is not the root cause, but rather the symptom, and that the U.S. must intervene before a state fails, not after.

I recommend this book, together with Colin Gray’s “Modern Strategy” as essential reading for any national security professional. The publishers should consider issuing a more affordable paperback (books cost a penny a page to produce, perhaps a penny a page to market, so anything over $5 on this book is pure profit). This is a book, like Harry Summers on strategy, that should be available for $15 in paperback–if it were, I would buy 200 for my next conference.

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Review: Environmental Security and Global Stability–Problems and Responses

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Complexity & Resilience, Environment (Problems), Environment (Solutions), Security (Including Immigration), Strategy

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars

May be “Ref A” for New National Security Focus,

May 24, 2003
Dr. Col Max Manwaring
Vice Admiral Paul G. Gaffney II
This book is very original and very helpful in exploring an area of national security conceptualization and doctrine that has been long neglected–that of the relationship between environmental security and stability, and all the bad things that happen when this is lost–ultimately causing poverty, mass migrations, disease, crime, and war.The contributing editor, Dr. Max Manwaring (Col USA Ret) uses an interview with General Anthony Zinni, then Commander-in-Chief of the Central Command, to examine key issues such as the desperate need for inter-agency coordination and information sharing, the looming catastrophic problems with rain forests, seabed resources, and inland water scarcity, ending with the urgent need for a national security “game plan” for dealing with this non-traditional threat over time and across all nations including the 32 failed states where many of the problems will not be addressed without outside intervention.

All eight of the chapters, the last being a conclusion by the contributing editor, make provocative, documented cases for the urgency of this non-traditional threat. Throughout the book it is clear that the US Department of Defense has some extremely bright uniformed and retired (teaching) officers who are thinking great thoughts, and it is equally clear that they are not being listened to. This book is probably ten years ahead of its time, and it will be ten years before this book is read and understood by a Secretary of Defense (or ten years before someone reading the book today will be eligible for that position).

I recommend this book be read together with Andrew Price-Smith’s book on “The Health of Nations” (on re-emerging infectuous diseases), Laurie Garrett’s book “Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health”, Marq de Villiers’ book “WATER: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource”, David Helvarg’s “BLUE FRONTIER: Saving America’s Living Seas,” and Brian Czech’s “Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train” (on errant economists and shameful spenders).

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2002 Creveld (IL) Twenty-Four Theses on Intelligence

Analysis, Briefings (Core), Collaboration Zones, Communities of Practice, Historic Contributions, History, Methods & Process, Policy, Strategy
Martin van Creveld
Martin van Creveld

Along with Colin Gray, Steve Metz, and Max Manwaring, Martin van Creveld is among the intellectual giants of our era with respect to strategic reflection, and he stands alone at the intersection of strategy, logistics, technology, command & control, and the art of decision-making under conditions of great uncertainty.

His contribution to OSS ’02 was created especially for this multinational group, and we believe it will stand the test of time as a seminal work for those who seek to transform intelligence from a bureaucracy that measures inputs to a cosmic force that determines outcomes favorable to all concerned.

Martin van Creveld
Martin van Creveld

2002 Manwaring (US) Asymmetry, Conflict, and the Need to Achieve Both Vertical and Horizonal Integration

Historic Contributions, Military, Peace Intelligence, Strategy
Max Manwaring
Max Manwaring

The outline below does not do justice the rich spontaneous presentation that Col Dr. Max Manwaring of the Strategic Studies Institute shared with OSS ’02.

Dr. Manwaring may well be America’s top authority on both “uncomfortable small wars” and on “gangs against governments.”

He is the originator of the six generations of warfare (the US still fights 4th generation warfare at best) and inspired the definition by Robert Steele of the seventh generation,  Information Peacekeeping at “total war” using information and intelligence as the sole munition.

Click on the photograph to access his rich biography and many publications, most free online.  Click below to read the outline.

Max Manwaring
Max Manwaring