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Recent ILW Publications
Unified and Joint Land Operations: Doctrine for Landpower
by John A. Bonin (Land Warfare Paper 102, August 2014)
This Land Warfare Paper looks at U.S. military undertakings in various locations during and since World War II—such as Normandy, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Kosovo and current operations in the Middle East. Using these examples as a backdrop, the author discusses the positive and negative methods of unified and joint operation doctrine implementation seen in recent history. The subsequent development of the theories of joint doctrine is a result of lessons learned in setbacks and in achievements. Looking to the future, the U.S. Army has reevaluated its doctrine for the employment of landpower; that reevaluation is comprehensively set out in a newly completed series of 15 Army Doctrinal Publications, which together provide the requisite guidance needed for successful land control operations.
Special Operations Forces in Unlit Spaces: Understanding the World's Dark Spots in the Context of SOF Operational Planning
by Joseph A. Royo (Land Warfare Paper 101, June 2014)
This Land Warfare Paper begins by examining how certain characteristics of unlit spaces impact SOF operational planning. These five characteristics—pertaining to aspects such as the stability of a nation’s governing body, internal infrastructure and overall development—occurring in varying degrees and combinations, are described in detail in the Framework for Unlit Spaces. Depending on the nature of any given unlit space, SOF operational planning and engagements will be affected in different ways and will have to be conducted with malleable methods. Finally, the author looks at two case examples—Afghanistan and Somalia—to demonstrate how the political environments in conjunction with the physical environments during two different time periods present altogether different planning considerations. Because of the potentially wide variance of circumstances within unlit spaces, SOF planners must fully understand the physical and cultural nuances of their operational environments if they wish to conduct successful operations.
The Resilient Defense
by Raymond A. Millen (Land Warfare Paper 100, May 2014)
This Land Warfare Paper begins with a discussion of the three pillars of the German Elastic Defense—dispersal and depth, establishment of the vacant battlefield and tactical agility—and the details of the practical application of this tactical military philosophy. Having laid a thorough foundation with his explanation, he shows how this German defense method can be suitably and beneficially adapted to meet the needs of both the Army and the Marines in the reorientation of operations that comes hand in hand with the drawdown in the Middle East. This study will be of particular interest to strategic landpower advocates.
The Army in Cyberspace
by Frank L. Turner II (National Security Watch 14-1, 5 May 2014)
This National Security Watch discusses the new challenges that the Army faces as the cyber domain grows in size and significance. The evolving and expansive nature of the cyber domain has created a complicated virtual environment that exists on a grand scale with complex interdependencies in the land, air, sea and space domains. The Army has made substantial progress developing cyber capabilities, but there is still work to be done to accomplish building the world’s most capable cyber force.
The Emergence of Feral and Criminal Cities: U.S. Military Implications in a Time of Austerity
by Robert J. Bunker (Land Warfare Paper 99W, April 2014)
This Land Warfare Paper considers the nature of the emerging global security environment. With the spread of economic liberalism that gained foothold after the conclusion of the Cold War, one might think that the 21st century is the perfect time for the modern democratic state to be a ubiquitous institution. However, between power vacuums developing in formerly autocratic states and economic troubles becoming more prevalent, the atmosphere of the world is increasingly toxic to the values upheld in Western democracy. With that being the case, nation building, and even city building, is presently beyond the scope of the diminishing resources and capabilities of the American military. Given the restrictions that the Army is facing in coming years, the author suggests limited policy objectives and operations and calls for further discussion of the implications that the changes in global politics demand of American foreign policy.
Cyberspace as a Weapon System
by Christopher R. Quick (Landpower Essay 14-1, March 2014)
This Landpower Essay explains how the environment of cyberspace has become weaponized—numerous actors seeking to gain advantage over the United States through its asymmetric exposure to the cyber domain are already maneuvering and employing the Internet as a weapons platform to achieve their own ends. In light of the pervasive nature of cyberspace and the numerous attacks and exploitations on all types of networks and services with exposure to the Internet, the Army must change the way it views the network from a set of provided services to a weapon system and warfighting platform capable of delivering operational effects across the full spectrum of combat operations. The Army must prepare its Soldiers with the commensurate training and education to operate, defend and maneuver in this environment of continual technological innovation.
★ ★ ★ 2013 ★ ★ ★
Remembering a Sine Wave: A History of Feast and Famine for the U.S. Army
by Frederick J. Kroesen (Special Report, October 2013)
This Special Report conducts a historical survey, beginning with George Washington’s Continental Army and progressing gradually into a discussion of concerns that the Army is currently facing in the 21st century. After every significant military engagement, funding and resources for sustainment of a ready and reliable force have been severely restricted. This has caused a centuries-old pattern of a hollow force and a lack of ability on the Army’s part to meet new challenges swiftly, adequately and economically—both in terms of financial concerns and in Soldiers’ lives. The best course of action, Kroesen argues, would be to learn from past mistakes and to move forward with a renewed and firmly established commitment to ensure the sustained capability of the Army in all future encounters.
Strategizing Forward in the Western Pacific and Elsewhere
by Huba Wass de Czege (Landpower Essay 13-4, October 2013)
This Landpower Essay argues that while there are some correct aspects of the AirSea Battle document, full adoption of its principles could lead to a brittle peace that would have the potential to easily tip into a long and expensive global warfare without winners—and the most undesirable version of a future China. Advocating a movement beyond outdated concepts—concepts that may have been functional and appropriate during the Cold War but are no longer—the author calls for a clearer understanding of warfare in the modern era and a capability of performing realistically and decisively when war does become the last resort in a desperate situation.
Army Adaptation from 1898 to the Present: How Army Leaders Balanced Strategic and Institutional Imperatives
to Best Serve the Nation
by Robert H. Simpson and Mark C. Smith (Land Warfare Paper 98, September 2013)
This Land Warfare Paper looks at the patterns of rising and falling support the Army has received, patterns which have accompanied every war that the United States has seen since the Spanish–American War. While it is natural that with the conclusion of each war support for the military should decrease, it is nonetheless vital that both civilian and military leaders provide for the uninterrupted sustainment of resources that will, at a minimum, allow for the optimal organization, training and equipping of Soldiers. When leaders invest excessive time and effort in changing external strategic policies, internal growth and structure will necessarily suffer. This will leave the Army ill-prepared to face inevitable military challenges, resulting in botched maneuvers that are costly not only in equipment but also in Soldiers’ lives. The authors posit that the strategic and institutional lessons learned from every major encounter that the United States has faced in the past 115 years all demonstrate a need for increased focus on internal Army improvement.
Design, Mission Command and the Network: Enabling Organizational Adaptation
by Todd A. Schmidt (Land Warfare Paper 97, August 2013)
This Land Warfare Paper addresses the unknown nature of the challenges that the Army will face in the coming years. As a result of significant and continual developments in technology, the ability to predict and plan for specific conflicts and encounters is increasingly marginalized. Technology can be used against American forces as well as utilized by them. Thus, the author advocates a cooperative functioning in movement forward among Army Design Methodology, Mission Command and the increasingly large breadth of capabilities provided to the Army in the developing network of the cyberspace world.
Institutionalizing Stability Operations: A Policy Analysis
by Michael Kelly McCoy (Land Warfare Paper 96, June 2013)
This Land Warfare Paper provides a policy analysis on how the U.S. Army can best institutionalize a stability operations capability. Drawing evaluation criteria from Army Doctrine Publication 3-0, Unified Land Operations, three possible policy options are reviewed with a specific focus on the effect of timeliness in the transition between combat and stability operations. The paper concludes with recommendations for future courses of action that should be undertaken in order to insure a proper transition.
Cavalry in the Movement and Maneuver Warfighting Function
by Frederic J. Brown (Landpower Essay 13-3, May 2013)
This Landpower Essay discusses the increasingly varied landscape that our Army faces as methods of modern warfare constantly evolve. The U.S. Army, unique as the nation’s landpower capability, is made up of a racially and religiously diverse population of Soldiers. Within the wider vision of improving training and leadership capabilities within Army culture, this diversity should be leveraged to improve national security in current and future conflicts. In addition to the requirements of organization and equipment that each mission requires, the human element of choosing the best individuals for each mission—with careful consideration of language capabilities, cultural understanding and ethnic origins of each Servicemember—should be a primary focus. As the Army works to face new challenges, two important variations, Special Forces and cavalry, have already evolved to address the expanding uncertainties of an increasingly disparate and turbulent world order.
Cyberspace Operations in Support of Counterinsurgency Operations
by David W. Pendall, Ronald Wilkes and Timothy J. Robinson (Land Warfare Paper 95, April 2013)
This Land Warfare Paper discusses the nature of cyberspace operations in general, the need for enhanced cyberspace operations and expresses a viable way ahead for future cyberspace operations in Afghanistan. The authors posit that additional research and coordination should be conducted to better define and develop requirements for cyberspace capabilities, command and control of cyberspace operations and integration of activities in a manner that supports the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) commander, the operations of regional commanders and related strategic shaping and global counter terrorism (CT) pursuit operations. This paper was designed to provoke additional thought about cyberspace operational relevance, suggest necessary change and enable future success in Afghanistan and future conflicts.
The Hard Truth about "Easy Fighting" Theories: The Army is Needed Most When Specific Outcomes Matter
by Huba Wass de Czege (Landpower Essay 13-2, April 2013)
This Landpower Essay states that defining “easy fighting” theories as conceptions that promise low-risk and high-gain solutions to complex world problems, criticizes the apparently unwise and unrealistic current trend of the military to shape the majority of its engagements as AirSea Battles. Since the First Gulf War, the belief has grown that the power to change intolerable situations on the ground can be achieved without hard and bloody fighting by Soldiers and Marines. However, the author posits that the inconvenient truth is that easy fighting theories cannot be relied upon to deliver high-stakes results.
Military Ethic and the Judge Advocate General's Corps: Legal Guardians of the Profession of Arms
by Mari K. Eder (Landpower Essay 13-1, April 2013)
This Landpower Essay cites numerous specific examples of officers who have been relieved of their duties because of improper or inappropriate behavior. This failure of our leaders to live within the strictures of honorable ethical habits causes problems down the chain of command; subordinates will not be inclined to follow the leadership of an officer who has proved himself to be morally derelict. The JAG Corps, in maintaining the functioning and fair military system in which such cases are handled, serves to support and sustain the Profession of Arms and the model of a Professional Soldier.
Misinterpretation and Confusion: What is Mission Command and Can the U.S. Army Make it Work?
by Donald E. Vandergriff (Land Warfare Paper 94, February 2013)
In this Land Warfare Paper, Donald Vandergriff elucidates that when Mission Command functions ideally, once subordinates understand the intentions of their commanders they are responsible for using their creativity and initiative to adapt to changing circumstances and accomplish their missions within the guidelines of those initial intentions. He questions the degree to which modern technology allows for too much oversight in mission execution and argues that unless the Army seriously examines its personnel system and the current force structure and implements necessary improvements, the vital principal of Mission Command will continue to be lost. With this necessity in mind, Vandergriff suggests the widespread use of Outcomes-Based Training and Education, as it provides a solution for how best to teach Mission Command in our 21st century world.
Strategy and Policy: Civilian and Military Leadership in the 21st Century
by Nicholas R. Krueger (National Security Watch 13-1, 18 January 2013)
This National Security Watch remarks on the technological advances both in communication and arms that have occurred in recent years. As this enables a growing number of potential adversaries to be more effective in their endeavors against the United States, there is an immediate and continued requirement for capable leadership and visionary strategy to combat hostile advances. Thus, it is necessary to review how the United States creates its security strategy and executes its security policy. Citing historical examples from the 20th century, the author examines past relationships between civil and military authorities, advocating that, based on past experiences, future relationships between these two authorities ought to be open and candid to ensure the enactment of effective policies.
Strategists Break All the Rules
by Adelaido Godinez (Land Warfare Paper 93, January 2013)
In this Land Warfare Paper, Adelaido Godinez argues that Upton’s proposed strict dichotomy is problematic, for while it is true that the Army should not be governed by political agendas, it must be aware of the relevant and vitally important policies of our nation. In addition to this first criticism, the author takes issue with Upton’s position that the problems encountered at a tactical and operational level are similar enough to be useful in solving problems at a strategic level.
The U.S. Army Capstone Concept: Defining the Army of 2020
(Defense Report 13-1, January 2013)
This Defense Report discusses the revised “The U.S. Army Capstone Concept” (U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Pamphlet 525-3-0), released in December 2012, which presents the Army’s initiative to transition into a continental United States (CONUS)-based expedition ready force. The Army Capstone Concept serves as a guide to how the Army will employ its resources to confront an uncertain future and offers an outline for comprehensive investment in Army force structure, modernization and readiness in accordance with national strategy guidance.
★ ★ ★ 2012 ★ ★ ★
Army Total Force Policy: Fully Integrating the Operational Reserve
(Defense Report 12-1, December 2012)
This Defense Report discusses the role and implementation of the Army Total Force Policy. Signed by Secretary of the Army John McHugh in September 2012, the document lends official and institutional permanence to the practice of AC and RC Soldiers fighting as one operational force—a practice already employed by Soldiers and commanders on the ground.
Leader Development, Learning Agility and the Army Profession
by Brian J. Reed (Land Warfare Paper 92, October 2012)
This Land Warfare Paper discusses the case being made by the current Army Profession campaign for a reevaluation and assessment of the Army as a profession and the attributes of the Army Professional. The author outlines a model for leader development anchored in learning agility and the notion that learning agile leaders apply previous learning and embrace opportunities for further learning in new, novel or ill-defined environments.
Just Don't Take Away My Smartphone
by Jeremy Rasmussen (Landpower Essay 12-1, October 2012)
This Landpower Essay presents the current dilemma that the military is facing in wanting to ensure efficient exchange of information using the advanced technology available, but at the same time needing to maintain information security.
Irregular Warfare: Counterterrorism Forces in Support of Counterinsurgency Operations
by William B. Ostlund (Land Warfare Paper 91, October 2012)
This Land Warfare Paper discusses the changes in the counterterrorism (CT) force profile and method of operating over the past ten years. As open coordination between battlespace owners and the CT force became necessary for the CT force's freedom of action, in January 2009 the CT force aggressively revamped its method of operating in Afghanistan. With this study, winner of the 2012 AUSA/Army Capabilities Integration Center writing contest, the author seeks to ensure that lessons learned regarding CT force transparency will be practiced and internalized.
Earned Deferred Compensation: Proposed Military Earnings Reforms Do More Harm Than Good
by Nicholas R. Krueger (National Security Watch 12-4, 15 August 2012)
This National Security Watch examines the potential changes to deferred compensation earned by U.S. Soldiers. The author describes the effects these changes could have on Soldier and unit readiness and posits that fee increases and military earnings reforms will have detrimental effects on Soldiers and their families. Moreover, the author writes that the revenue and savings resulting from these proposed changes will have only a very small impact on relieving the nation's budget crisis.
Profile of the U.S. Army—A Reference Handbook (2012 Edition)
(Special Report, June 2012)
A user-friendly reference book for people familiar with the Army and an easy-to-read introduction for family members, civilian employees, contractors and future Soldiers—takes a top-down approach, first describing the Army’s role as a key element in the national security structure and then flowing into the “why” and “how” of the Army’s organization. It also contains information and helpful graphics on the Soldier, the uniform, the Army’s command structure, Army families, installations and the Army’s current operations. For readers seeking more details, each chapter includes a list of relevant websites. Finally, Profile contains a glossary of acronyms and maps illustrating locations of current Army combat corps and divisions, Army National Guard divisions and brigade combat teams, and Army Reserve direct reporting commands.
General Matthew B. Ridgway: A Commander's Maturation of Operational Art
by Joseph R. Kurz (Land Warfare Paper 90W, September 2012)
This Land Warfare Paper is based on an examination of available primary sources—field orders, after-action reports and personal accounts—reinforced with secondary source analysis. It demonstrates that Ridgway achieved tactical success in World War II in Operations Husky, Neptune and Market but did not adequately apply operational art until Operation Varsity and the Battle of the Bulge. Although he completed all the military education available in his era, it was only after the intense crucible of three combat operations that he was able to apply operational art successfully.
Linking Latin America and the Pacific: A Strategy for the Long Term
by Douglas J. Schaffer (National Security Watch 12-3, 12 July 2012)
This National Security Watch examines DoD’s January 2012 strategic guidance, “Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense,” which “rebalances” the United States’ priorities toward Asia, particularly China. In this paper, the author posits that the United States could be better served by expanding its scope and considering the Pacific as defined by the ocean rather than just Asia. By connecting Western Hemisphere nations, especially in Latin America, with the Asia–Pacific region, the United States can form a broader, globally relevant, long-term strategic plan that better addresses the diverse security picture vis-à-vis the United States, China and the world.
Distilling the Demographic Dividend: Retaining U.S. Army Officer Talent for the 40-year Career?
by Kevin D. Stringer (Land Warfare Paper 89, June 2012)
This Land Warfare Paper posits that the Army would be better served if it transitioned to a system focused on keeping and developing selected senior field-grade officers for a 40-year career horizon. The paper explores the time, experience and energy required to develop the knowledge and expertise of officers to perform effectively in complex operations. In the author’s view, the Army should be stanching the tide of retirements of senior officers, who depart just when they offer the most value to the organization.
The Spider Webs and the Lion: How Energy and Environmental Issues Entangle China
by Mark Lee (Land Warfare Paper 88W, May 2012)
This Land Warfare Paper discusses seven distinct yet interrelated energy and environmental challenges currently facing China. The author discusses each of these challenges—energy demand, the water crisis, cumulative pollution effects, rapid urbanization, a must-grow-to-survive economy, the limitations of the central government and the long-standing attitude that humans can completely control nature—and their effects on China’s economic growth and stability. These issues already create unhealthy living situations and unsustainable energy sources and will soon test the legitimacy of China’s central government.
Historical Lessons Applied to the Current Technical Revolution in Military Affairs
by Benjamin Huebschman (Land Warfare Paper 87, March 2012)
This Land Warfare Paper discusses the development of future weapon systems, including those used by the dismounted Soldier, and proposes that future defense technology would benefit from a historical review of the evolution of weapons. The author presents the key stages in the development of weapon systems as case studies, examining each stage with sufficient detail and in its historical context. Each case study provides lessons that can then be applied to modern weapon development. The author’s analysis of these case studies leads him to propose an instantiation of a modern system with regard to Battlefield Operating Systems.
The Rationale for a Robust U.S. Army Presence in the Pacific Basin
by Nicholas R. Krueger (National Security Watch No. 12-2, 8 March 2012)
This National Security Watch examines four major components that, when taken together, build a strong strategic rationale for robust U.S. landpower in the Asia–Pacific region. The paper expands on each of the following observations: achieving the United States’ global strategic goals requires military coordination with Asian partners; the U.S. Army is an ideal security asset for pursuing mutual interests and developing a strategic hedge against future uncertainty; global trends toward increased uncertainty and complexity yield a wide range of foreseeable but undefined challenges in Asia; the U.S. Army stands ready to conduct full-spectrum operations; the United States is in a state of strategic military competition with regional powers. The U.S. Army can help the United States realize advantages in these contests; and the United States must be ready to fight and win in Korea—tonight if necessary.
Applying Natural System Metaphors to the Force Modernization Process
by K. Todd Chamberlain (Land Warfare Paper 86, February 2012)
This Land Warfare Paper relies upon recent research and findings in the fields of species evolution, ecosystem transitions and ecosystem management to provide recommended actions for the Army to take within each phase of its force modernization process: 1) operational environment and concept development; 2) capabilities integration and development; and 3) force development. By applying metaphors from genetic variability, natural selection, evolutionary strategies and natural system management activities, the Army could develop operationally adaptable forces that can survive and rapidly evolve to operate successfully in the current environment as well as in any potential future world that emerges.
Thinking About the 21st Century Security Environment: The Need for a Whole-of-Government Approach
by General Gordon R. Sullivan, USA Ret. (National Security Watch 12-1W, January 2012)
This National Security Watch examines how more interagency involvement in fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan might have led to an earlier conclusion and with a more satisfactory outcome for all participants. Perhaps the United States would not have been so slow to learn and adapt, as has been the case in both wars. More interagency involvement might also have encouraged a civil–military discourse at the strategic level that would have produced more reasonable U.S. strategic objectives, thus avoiding the second- and third-order difficulties in execution and in communication to the American people that we have witnessed. The paper also discusses how, operationally, the inadequate interagency effort made the stability, support and counterinsurgency operations much less effective than they could have been.
2011 ILW Publications
2010 ILW Publications