Journal: US Strategy in Afghanistan Out of Balance

09 Terrorism, 10 Security, Military, Strategy
Dr. Steve Metz
America's Flawed Afghanistan Strategy
  • Added August 09, 2010  Op-Ed 2 Pages

The concluding paragraph:

Ultimately, then, the basic rationale of American strategy in Afghanistan is questionable. Certainly America cannot ignore that country as it did before September 11, 2001, and should continue supporting the national government and other Afghans opposed to the Taliban. But in strategy, balance is the key—the expected security benefits of any action must justify the costs and risks. Today, America's Afghanistan strategy, with its flawed assumptions, is badly out of balance.

Tip of the Hat to Dale Mark Benedict at Facebook.

Journal: DoD Mind-Set Time Lags Most Fascinating

10 Security, 11 Society, Government, Key Players, Law Enforcement, Military, Non-Governmental, Peace Intelligence, Strategy, Threats

Full Story Online

Pentagon Shifts Its Strategy To Small-Scale Warfare

By August Cole and Yochi J. Dreazen

Wall Street Journal  January 30, 2010  Pg. 4

The shift in strategy sets up potential conflicts with defense contractors and powerful lawmakers uneasy with the Pentagon's growing focus on smaller-scale, guerilla warfare.

In particular, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has come to think that the Pentagon's traditional belief that it needed to be able to fight two major wars at the same time was outdated and overly focused on conventional warfare. The new QDR moves away from that model, a mainstay of U.S. military thinking for more than two decades, in favor of an expanded focus on low-intensity conflict.

Phi Beta Iota: This is most fascinating; it is also not the last word.  Here is the timeline in short and long versions.  Short:  22 years from advance guard to leadership; 12 years from internal think tanks to leadership; probably further delay from leadership acceptance to bureaucratic implementation: another 20 years.

1988: Commandant of the Marine Corps Al Gray and the USMC Intelligence Center figure it out.  General Gray publishes “Global Intelligence Challenges in the 1990's,” American Intelligence Journal (Winter 1989-1990).

1992: USMC seeks redirection of one-third of the National Intelligence Topics (NIT) to Third World.  Across the board stone-walling by other services and the US Intelligence Community.

Continue reading “Journal: DoD Mind-Set Time Lags Most Fascinating”

Review: Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy

5 Star, Iraq, Strategy

Iraq MetzSerious Strategy–Serious Whole of Government Strategy, May 29, 2009

Steven Metz

I am disappointed to find so few reader reviews of this work. I read it in galley, and provided the following as it appears on the back jacket:

“Steven Mets is considered by many to be one of America's greatest strategists. It is no wonder, therefore, that this elegant book provided a balanced overview of the numerous ways in which America fails to devise strategy that can effectively guide inter-agency planning, capabilities development, and operations.”

I've known the author for over fifteen years now, and consider him along with Colin Gray (UK) to be among a tiny handful of strategists that have displaced the Cold War self-proclaimed strategists who totally hosed the planet in a 50-year spree of unilateral militarism–all brawn and no brains.

This book is as a graceful, elegant, diplomatic–all the stuff I don't do–a “reading” on where our flag officers failed to question illegal orders, down-right idiotic orders, all of which have led to an elective war that we won only because the Iraqi Army under Sadaam Hussein was totally incompetent, and we used up every air weapon in the inventory, a great many of which did not hit the target as advertised, and a disconcerting number of which did not explode at all.

Metz is the tip of the iceberg that lies quietly at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The Strategic Studies Institute is a jewel waiting to be noticed by the new National Security Advisor, who would do well to ask them to connect him with all those now being shut out by the “closed circle” that has captured President Obama and is feeding him pap–dangeously uninformed unintegrated pap.

See also, among the many books that I include in the annotated bibliography for the first book listed:
Election 2008: Lipstick on the Pig (Substance of Governance; Legitimate Grievances; Candidates on the Issues; Balanced Budget 101; Call to Arms: Fund We Not Them; Annotated Bibliography)
Modern Strategy
The Fifty-Year Wound: How America's Cold War Victory Has Shaped Our World
The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence and the Will of the People
War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier
Why We Fight
The Battle for Peace: A Frontline Vision of America's Power and Purpose
Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency

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