AUSA Studies

AUSA Studies

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. 

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Recent Studies

Army Modernization and Spatial Computing
by MAJ Daniel Eerhart, USA (Land Warfare Paper 161, May 2024)

Eerhart highlights that the Army Modernization Strategy does not adequately address spatial computing, despite its significant role in achieving modernization priorities; he notes that these research limitations are directly impacting major projects like the Integrated Visual Augmentation System. While modern ubiquitous technologies, such as smartphones, self-driving cars and virtual meeting technology, rely upon spatial computing, civilian adaptation and innovation outpace the Army’s willingness and ability to integrate. 


The Principles for the Future of Warfare and Stand-Off Warfare
by LTC Amos C. Fox, USA (Landpower Essay 24-4, April 2024)

The third in a series of articles examining the future of armed conflict, this essay examines the principles and inverse principles of warfare and their roles as we transition from a human-centric era of warfare into one that will likely be dominated by artificial intelligence, human-machine integrated formations and a multitude of autonomous systems. The author argues that concept developers, doctrine developers, science and technology experts and force designers must work together to develop pragmatic ideas and designs for future forces that integrate the key aspects of future technology without neglecting the enduring challenges of land warfare.


Welcome (Back) to the Jungle
by MAJ Karl Rauch, USA (Land Warfare Paper 160, April 2024)

Reflecting on the historical experiences of Australians and Americans during the New Guinea Campaign of World War II, Rauch highlights the vital need for armies to adapt their evolutionary tactics and operational approach toward jungle warfare—improving their strategies, operational planning and individual soldier resilience when faced with the multifaceted challenges of tropical environments. 


Cold War in Africa: Morocco and Algeria
by LTC Jay Figurski, USA (Landpower Essay 24-3, March 2024)

Morocco, a U.S. partner and ally since 1786, has had a long rivalry with its neighbor, Algeria, an anti-colonial, anti-Western partner to Russia and China. Their history of mutual mistrust has spawned a “cold war” in which both countries have embarked on sweeping military modernization programs and diplomatic maneuvering. The United States can help ensure the conflict doesn’t escalate by striking a balance between deepening cooperation with Algeria as it emerges from its self-imposed diplomatic isolation and continuing to support the UN-led process to resolve their dispute while upholding its recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the territory.


The PLA and Mission Command: Is the Party Control System Too Rigid for Its Adaptation by China?
by Larry M. Wortzel (Land Warfare Paper 159, March 2024)

Wortzel explains that even while some officers in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and military publications explore the benefits of mission command, the strict, top-down structure of the Chinese Communist Party, led by Xi Jinping, encourages innovation only in technology and weapon development and does not allow for flexible interpretation of military orders.


The Russo-Ukrainian War: A Strategic Assessment Two Years into the Conflict
by LTC Amos C. Fox, USA (Land Warfare Paper 158, February 2024)

Taking a close look at the ends, ways, means and risks of both actors in this conflict, Fox provides an examination of the strategic balance in the Russo-Ukrainian War, reaching the conclusion that Russia has the upper hand. In 2024, Ukraine has limited prospects for overturning Russian territorial annexations and troop reinforcements of stolen territory, and its ability to defend itself against Russian offensive action decreases as U.S. financial and materiel support decreases. Ultimately, Ukraine would need a significant increase in land forces to evict the occupying Russian land forces—and such an increase is not likely to materialize.


What Israel Can Learn from the U.S. Global War on Terrorism
by LTC Jay Figurski, USA (Landpower Essay 24-2, February 2024)

Starting with the premise that the attack against Israel on 10/7 is to Israelis what 9/11 is to Americans, Figurski draws parallels between the situations and so offers a path forward that is informed both by the difficulties and the successes of recent history—keeping in mind all the while that Israel has significantly fewer resources than the United States did during the Global War on Terror and that its relationships with its neighbors are far more precarious. He advises that Israeli leadership should look to the lessons the United States learned following 9/11: determine the end game; consider the war for hearts and minds and the cost of “going it alone”; avoid a multi-front war; and beware unintended consequences.


Contested Logistics: A Primer
by LTC Amos C. Fox, USA (Landpower Essay 24-1, February 2024)

Fox outlines that the concept of contested logistics presents Army forces with three discrete challenges: threat, environment and oneself. These must be addressed in consideration of one another to successfully operate through contested logistics. Because Army operations are almost always expeditious, it should look to build a force structure that allows for intra-theater transport across not only land, but also air and water. Ultimately, protection, deception and masking are key investments that the Army must take seriously to get contested logistics off the drawing board and into the field.


Bridging through Time: From River Crossing in World War II to Wet-Gap Crossing Today and in the Future
by MAJ Aditya Iyer, USA (Land Warfare Paper 157, February 2024)

Iyer highlights the fact that the U.S. Army has not undertaken contested wet-gap crossing operations against near-peer threats since World War II; he looks to that time period for case studies that provide well-documented lessons learned about doctrinal, organizational and materiel changes required to adapt to emerging conditions and threats. Given how the Russo-Ukrainian War has demonstrated the advancement of military technologies and specifically the challenges for wet-gap crossing operations, the U.S. Army would do well to consider how it must be prepared to conduct such operations now and in the future.


"Be All You Can Be" – The U.S. Army's Recruiting Transformation
by LTC Frank Dolberry, USA & Charles McEnany (Spotlight 24-1, January 2024)

The U.S. military faces its most severe recruiting crisis since the inception of the all-volunteer force in 1973, posing a risk to the Army and to U.S. national security. This paper frames the Army’s recruiting shortfall in its national context and details the actions that the Army is taking to overhaul its recruiting enterprise.


Maneuver and Breakthrough in 1940 France: Insights for the U.S. Army and the Russo-Ukrainian War
by LTC Nathan A. Jennings, PhD, USA (Land Warfare Paper 156, January 2024)

As conflicts in Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh indicate that positional and attritional trends are increasingly defining the contemporary strategic environment, Jennings looks back to a World War II German operational maneuver in France that can inform operational penetration at scale today. The Wehrmacht’s prioritization of tactical ground mobility, dedicated air interdiction, tailored sustainment, integrated operational design, credible military deception and a nested operational approach allowed them to attain fleeting and decisive advantage over the French and British defenders—something that the U.S. Army should consider as it reorganizes tactical echelons and adopts Multi-Domain Operations for future offensive campaigns.

★ ★ ★      2023      ★ ★ ★

Training Outside "The Box"
by CPT Daniel Eerhart, USA (Landpower Essay 23-8, December 2023)

Eerhart proposes that combat training centers (CTCs) should adopt infrastructure wargaming as part of their rotations to improve unit training; specifically, they should mimic the 3rd Infantry Division’s wargaming with the Army Cyber Institute. Additionally, CTC opposing force battalions should integrate an information warfare company to better reflect the challenges of a modern battlefield and should have publicly available information risk assessors for units that can provide individualized training to reduce Soldier risk.


Myths and Principles in the Challenges of Future War
by LTC Amos C. Fox, USA (Landpower Essay 23-7, December 2023)

As the second essay in an AUSA series examining the future of armed conflict, this installment scrutinizes certain myths, widely held, which the author argues inhibit the cognitive growth of Western militaries, handicapping their ability to address contemporary and future challenges. It also outlines principles of war and their inverses—first, to break the tyranny of the institutional hivemind, and second, to provide an intellectual stimulus and jumpstart a productive discussion.


Preserving Peace and Democracy in Taiwan
by Victoria Djou (Special Report 23-4, November 2023)

The outcome of the January 2024 presidential election in Taiwan between the incumbent Democratic Progressive Party and the center-right opposition Kuomintang will help determine the trajectory of Taiwan’s democracy in the face of tensions with China under the leadership of Xi Jinping. Victoria Djou explains why Taiwan must draw closer to other nations and form new partnerships with neighboring countries that have a mutual interest in restraining Xi and the PRC to maintain its peace and democracy.


Be All You Can Be: Suggestions for Implementation in the Army
by LTC Amos C. Fox, USA (Special Report 23-3, October 2023)

This paper looks at homesteading and career opportunities as ways to address retention and recruitment challenges.


An Ode to the Sagger Drill: Addressing the Modern Anti-Tank Guided Missile Problem Set
by LTC Michael B. Kim, USA; Phillip Webster; CPT Ismael M. Orozco, USA; and SFC David V. DeSantis, USA (Land Warfare Paper 155, September 2023)

This paper highlights the proliferation and effectiveness of ATGMs in recent and ongoing conflicts and provides recommendations for the Army’s current gaps in meeting this threat.


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.


The Army of 2040: An Extension of the 2030 Goals
by MAJ Roye Locklear, Jr., ARNG (Land Warfare Paper 154, March 2023)

This paper focuses on the anticipated environment and corresponding requirements that the Army will face in the coming decades.


Tenets of Army Modernization
by LTC Hassan M. Kamara, USA (Land Warfare Paper 153, February 2023)

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.


Underfunding the Army Has Risky Implications
by John E. Whitley (Special Report, January 2023)

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.


The U.S. Army's Security Force Assistance Triad: Security Force Assistance Brigades, Special Forces and the State Partnership Program
by Charles McEnany (Spotlight 22-3, October 2022)

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.


Army National Guard 4.0: A Transformation
by MAJ Roye Locklear, Jr., ARNG (Land Warfare Paper 150, October 2022)

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.


Army Readiness and Modernization in 2022
by Latashia Bates (Land Warfare Paper 146, June 2022)

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.


Major Theater War: Challenges for the U.S. Army
by R.D. Hooker, Jr. (Landpower Essay 22-1, January 2022)

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.