AUSA Writing Program
The Association of the United States Army’s professional education program is designed to identify, discuss and influence the outcome of significant issues that affect the U.S. Army and national defense. AUSA accomplishes this goal through the sponsorship of writing programs, for which quality manuscripts are needed.
Western Military Thinking and Breaking Free from the Tetrarch of Modern Military Thinking
by LTC Amos C. Fox, USA (Landpower Essay 23-6, August 2023)
This paper—first in a five-part series—discusses the differences among strategy, concepts, doctrine, plans and theory to show that institutional thinking is well represented in contemporary military thinking, but independent ideas are underrepresented.
Bittersweet New Member: Finland-Russia Border Vulnerabilities to NATO
by Maj. Brennan M. Gallagher, USAF (Landpower Essay 23-5, July 2023)
The admission of Finland to NATO strengthens the alliance’s eastern flank and increases the available military resources, but the expanded border between Russia and NATO makes defense against a military incursion far more challenging. Officials from NATO must be aware of these border weaknesses and implement countermeasures in order for the advantages of Finland’s participation to outweigh the strategic dangers of an expanded border with Russia.
Move, Strike, Protect: An Alternative to the Primacy of Decisiveness and the Offense or Defense Dichotomy in Military Thinking
by LTC Amos C. Fox, USA (Landpower Essay 23-4, June 2023)
Taking an unflinching look at the development and the historical and current use of the term “decisive,” LTC Fox argues that its current use limits the conversation of military theory to an outdated way of thinking, to a strictly dichotomous understanding of only offensive or defensive scenarios. As an alternative, he offers Move, Strike, Protect (MSP), a significantly more agile and flexible approach better suited to the organization of contemporary warfare—warfare in which combatants engage with each other primarily through positioning and roving.
Implementing the Strategy to Deter China Hinges on Landpower
by GEN Charles Flynn, USA, & MAJ Tim Devine, USA (Landpower Essay 23-3, May 2023)
Using the tenets outlined in the 2022 National Defense Strategy (NDS) to inform their position, GEN Flynn and MAJ Devine argue that implementation of that strategy in the Indo-Pacific fundamentally requires landpower to practically integrate the necessary joint and combined military operations. While the region is often considered primarily an air and maritime theater, landpower has historically been and continues to be essential to the successful execution of operations. Three signature Army efforts in the Indo-Pacific—the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center, Operation Pathways and Joint Interior Lines—best illustrate how the Army is enabling DoD to implement the three pillars of the 2022 NDS: integrated deterrence, campaigning and actions that build enduring advantage.
Stalemate: Are Changes in Warfare Leading to a New Age of Indecisive War?
by MAJGEN Christopher R. Smith, Australian Army, & MAJ Ben Flores, USA (Landpower Essay 23-2, April 2023)
The authors look at six characteristics of modern warfare, most recently apparent in the on-going Russia-Ukraine War, but also prevalent over the past few decades of conflict in various theaters around the world, and which carry implications for potential conflict in the Indo-Pacific region. They argue that these characteristics suggest that we are entering a new age of indecisive warfare characterized by stalemate, close-quarter fighting and limited war aims (despite advancements in technology)—and that armed forces will still be useful in an age of indecisive warfare, both to achieve limited war objectives against an unprepared adversary and for deterrence by denial.
The Russia-Ukraine War One Year In: Implications for the U.S. Army
by Charles McEnany & COL Daniel S. Roper, USA, Ret. (Spotlight 23-1, March 2023)
At its one-year mark, the Russia-Ukraine war provides insights regarding selected characteristics of warfare and the trajectory of U.S. Army and joint force transformation for large-scale combat operations. This Spotlight provides land warfare implications impacting the U.S. Army, the joint force and Congress—as well as allies and partners—based on observations from the conflict.
The War for the Soul of Military Thought: Futurists, Traditionalists, Institutionalists and Conflict Realists
by LTC Amos C. Fox, USA (Landpower Essay 23-1, March 2023)
Fox identifies four schools of thought currently at play in military dialogue, three of which—those of the Futurists, the Traditionalists and the Institutionalists—generally share the limelight and are all problematic. Arguing for the advancement of a fourth and often overlooked and dismissed school of thought, namely, that of the Conflict Realists, he explains what their general thesis is: that armed conflict today is decidedly urban and attritional and it involves ubiquitous proxy war.
This paper focuses on the anticipated environment and corresponding requirements that the Army will face in the coming decades.
This paper offers a framework for understanding the development of Army Modernization through a DOTMLPF-P lens in an effort to further constructive dialogue and conversation among military thinkers of today.
Analysis of "Lessons in Followership: Good Leaders Aren't Always Out Front"
by Cheyunne Ahn, JROTC (Special Report, January 2023)
This essay comes from the winning contestant of the 2022 Lieutenant General (Ret.) Theodore J. Stroup JROTC Achievement Award, a scholarship program hosted by AUSA’s Education & Programs for the benefit of JROTC cadets. In her essay, Ms. Ahn analyzes an article from Army Magazine to inform her examination of the definitions and dynamics among of followers, managers and leaders.
Whitley takes an in-depth look at the overall budget that has been allocated to the Army in recent decades, contrasting it to budget allowances made for the sister services. While the Army is continually tasked with the lion’s share of responsibilities from DoD—responsibilities that cost the most in blood and money—it is given a disproportionately small amount of the defense budget to get the job done.
★ ★ ★ 2022 ★ ★ ★
The 1973 Arab-Israeli War: Insights for Multi-Domain Operations
by LTC Nathan Jennings, PhD, USA, & LTC Kyle Trottier, USA (Land Warfare Paper 152, December 2022)
Looking back to the 1973 Yom Kippur War and reflecting on parallels with more recent conflicts—the 2017 Siege of Mosul, the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War and the on-going Russian-Ukrainian War—the authors posit multiple implications for joint-combined arms maneuver and key factors to consider as the Army moves forward in transforming Multi-Domain Operations from theory to practice.
People Who Know, Know MDO: Understanding Army Multi-Domain Operations as a Way to Make It Better
by COL Marco J. Lyons, USA, & COL David E. Johnson, PhD, USA, Ret. (Land Warfare Paper 151, November 2022)
Together, the authors argue that future operational warfighting concepts should be grounded in intelligence about the future battlefield, the adversary and the adversary’s primary weapon and other combat systems; they urge the Army and joint concept developers to present MDO in as simple and as clear terms as possible for optimal performance in future combat operations.
McEnany argues that Security Force Assistance is integral to the Army’s modernization for strategic competition—including Multi-Domain Operations—in its ability to advance U.S. influence, strengthen U.S. deterrence and maximize the economy of force.
This paper frames the current transformation of the National Guard within the larger picture of an organization that has been transformational from its beginning. He also focuses on some issues that this most recent iteration of the Guard—such as a changing social contract and critical installation shortfalls—must address.
Profile of the United States Army (2022)
by AUSA Education & Programs (Special Report, September 2022)
Updated every two years, this top-to-bottom reference handbook lays out everything you need to know about how and why the Army works—and what it’s doing around the world right now.
Reflections on Russia's 2022 Invasion of Ukraine: Combined Arms Warfare, the Battalion Tactical Group and Wars in a Fishbowl
by LTC Amos C. Fox, USA (Land Warfare Paper 149, September 2022)
Fox analyzes the Russian methods of warfare in Ukraine over the past seven months and offers cogent explanations for the surprising difficulties that the Russians have encountered.
Ukraine and Proxy War: Improving Ontological Shortcomings in Military Thinking
by LTC Amos C. Fox, USA (Land Warfare Paper 148, August 2022)
Fox discusses the nuances of proxy war, identifies the different forms it can take and emphasizes that understanding it is critical to crafting policy, strategy, plans and doctrine—in Ukraine and elsewhere.
The Army on Point: A Detailed Summary of Current Operations and Responsibilities (2022)
by COL George P. Coan, Jr., USA, Ret. (Special Report, August 2022)
Excerpted from the upcoming September 2022 edition of Profile of the U.S. Army, a reference handbook that is updated and published by AUSA every two years, Coan’s chapter on current Army commitments provides an unparalleled and comprehensive explanation and guide for the missions and activities of our Army in every corner of the globe.
Tanks in the Surf: Maintaining the Joint Combined Arms Landing Team
by MAJ Matthew W. Graham, USA (Land Warfare Paper 147, July 2022)
Looking at three historical campaigns for precedent, Graham argues that, to ensure the future of the joint force combined arms landing team, the Army must re-energize its doctrine, training and organization around amphibious operations and, specifically, the role of armor within them. It must also further re-conceptualize how it views amphibious operations to focus on the more extensive land campaign that historically follows Army amphibious landings.
A look at how the People First initiative is being implemented, talent management and force rotations, and the details of current progress in the Army’s six modernization programs.
National Commission on the Future of the Army after Six Years
by COL Rickey E. Smith, USA, Ret., & MG Raymond W. Carpenter, USA, Ret. (Landpower Essay 22-2, May 2022)
Although the Report from the National Commission on the Future of the Army was issued six years ago, much of it is still relevant today. Notably, the Army needs: an updated Total Force Policy to build cohesion; to plan and exercise full mobilization; and to transform its personnel system.
Considering the Penetration Division: Implications for Multi-Domain Operations
by LTC Nathan Jennings, PhD, USA (Land Warfare Paper 145, April 2022)
Seeing the Penetration Division as a cornerstone of the emerging Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) doctrine, the author argues that its adoption represents a continuance of an American way of war that prizes firepower, maneuver and technology at the expense of time and attrition.
The Future Installation Management Enterprise: Is the Army Equipped with the Right Capabilities?
by MAJ Roye Locklear, Jr., ARNG (Land Warfare Paper 144, April 2022)
Offering a thorough analysis of the current state of Army Installations, Locklear identifies current shortfalls in their funding, leadership, operations and doctrine, and he proposes solutions for their improvement—solutions that will support the Army’s people, increase recruitment and retention and, ultimately, enhance Army capabilities and readiness.
Hypersonic Weapons Development in China, Russia and the United States: Implications for American Security Policy
by Larry M. Wortzel (Land Warfare Paper 143, March 2022)
Laying out recent developments in Russian and Chinese hypersonic capabilities, Wortzel discusses the burden of defense that falls on the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command. Responding to these new threats will be costly and time consuming and will require cooperation among the Army and the Departments of Defense and Energy.
Civil Affairs Issue Papers, Volume 8: Building a Global Civil-Military Network
by the Civil Affairs Association (Special Report, March 2022)
Comprised of an extensive report of the 2021 Civil Affairs Symposium and five award-winning papers selected by the Civil Affairs Association, this volume contributes to fostering a learning organization that must go beyond military command structures and the CA Corps to include allied and counterpart civil-military organizations and interorganizational partners.
Multi-Domain Task Forces: A Glimpse at the Army of 2035
by Charles McEnany (Spotlight 22-2, March 2022)
The author describes the structure, role and value of the Army’s MDTFs to joint force counter anti-access/area-denial capabilities across the spectrum of competition, crisis and conflict, and he identifies challenges and considerations for their employment in both the Indo-Pacific and Europe.
Charismatic Leadership as the Bulwark Against Unit Disintegration
by MAJ Karl Umbrasas, PsyD, USA (Land Warfare Paper 142, February 2022)
The author discusses examples and components of both effective and ineffective leadership, including a call to rational authority, internal and external group incentives and the personal charisma—or lack thereof—of military leaders. He covers the Soviet’s abysmal Politruks, iconic fighters such as Chesty Puller and Douglas MacArthur, and such controversial and tragic events as happened in the Chosin Reservoir and in the 2012 Benghazi Embassy attack. With his knowledge of the human mind and his ability to apply those functionings specifically to the ins and outs of what makes effective military leaders and capable soldiers to follow them, Umbrasas paints a striking and succinct picture of what it will take to enable the leadership necessary to serve the nation.
Achieving Decision Dominance through Convergence: The U.S. Army and JADC2
by LTC Brittany Lloyd, USA, & 2LT Jeremiah Rozman, USA, PhD (Spotlight 22-1, February 2022)
The authors posit that data management and sharing across a common operating environment are critical to the military’s ability to achieve the necessary convergence of capabilities; they argue that Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) requires transformational changes within DoD and the Army. JADC2 is about getting the data and connections right—it is not about a particular platform.
In addition to necessary improvements to capabilities in fires, short-range air defense, electronic warfare and the overall size of the force, the Army should work with the Air Force to acquire the A-10 and should arm the assault helicopter fleet. Ultimately, decisionmakers need to be aware that prioritizing future modernization at the expense of current readiness risks near-term defeat; they should revise current priorities accordingly.