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.
Looking at the development and the future of Joint All-Domain Operations (JADO) through the lenses of competition, conflict and change, Gwon argues that, of all the Services, the Army is best suited to serve as the lead integrator for JADO in DoD.
The Siege of Ilovaisk: Manufactured Insurgencies and Decision in War
by MAJ Amos C. Fox, USA (Landpower Essay 21-2, April 2021)
Examining Russian tactics during the Russo-Ukrainian War, Fox provides a case study on the successful use of insurgencies and on what decisiveness in warfare means—and how to achieve it.
Civil Affairs Issue Papers, Volume 7 - Civil Affairs: A Force for Influence in Competition
by the Civil Affairs Association (Special Report, March 2021)
In collaboration with the Civil Affairs Association, AUSA has published the annual Civil Affairs Issue Papers. In addition to five award-winning scholarly papers on various aspects of the contemporary civil affairs environment within the larger context of military and geopolitical considerations, this publication provides a comprehensive Report of the 2020 Civil Affairs Association Symposium: A Force For Influence in Competition.
Laying out the current state of development, recent advances and increasing usability of drones, Pledger emphasizes the difficulties in countering them and their easy accessibility to the general public—including terrorists.
This paper, published in partnership with the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, describes the reemergence of the Corps echelon as the keystone linking the operational and tactical level of war and its vital role enabling MDO in future NATO operations.
Specifically addressing the Army’s long reliance on the M1 Abrams tank, Fernandes argues that limited resources could be more efficiently directed at several alternative options that are more suited to modern warfare.
★ ★ ★ 2020 ★ ★ ★
Noting that military mobilization has historically been a strength of the Chinese military, Wortzel looks at five case studies that demonstrate this ability and delineates Xi Jinping’s current efforts to improve it.
Modern Problems Require Ancient Solutions: Lessons From Roman Competitive Posture
by MAJ John Dzwonczyk, USA (Landpower Essay 20-6, December 2020)
In this paper, Dzwonczyk argues that if the United States refers back to Roman methods of operational reach and coalition partnerships, it will be able to meet the requirements of future war, i.e., extracting maximum competitive benefit from minimal military force.
Discussing various practical advantages of the Synthetic Training Environment (STE), Rozman highlights how STE aims to bridge training gaps for close combat units that are operating as part of an MDO-capable force.
First outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the Russian military as compared to the U.S. Army, Hooker presents a fictional conflict scenario to see how these elements could play out in real life.
In this essay, which was the winner of the Lieutenant General (Ret) Theodore J. Stroup JROTC Achievement Award, the author examines three areas in which individuals’ ethical codes can be compromised and how that can play out in the life of a Soldier.
The Chemical and Biological Attack Threat of Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems
by LTC Claude A. Lambert, USA (Spotlight 20-5, October 2020)
This paper argues that the United States needs a comprehensive strategy to counter the proliferation of intrusive, undetectable and potentially lethal commercial UAS.
Profile of the United States Army (2020)
by AUSA Education & Programs (Special Report, September 2020)
Updated and published every two years, Profile is an easy-to-read introduction to the structure, purpose and activities of the entire Army; it serves as a useful guide to long-time Soldiers, new recruits, veterans, civilians and Army families.
Keeping Peace with a Different Drum: A Note on Military Music
by SFC Joseph D. Hart, Jr., USA (Land Warfare Paper 134, August 2020)
Tracing the history of music, especially its role in conflicts, and its place in contemporary militaries, the author examines its psychological, neurological and emotional aspects to demonstrate the tangible value that it has for the U.S. Army.
Expanding Multi-Domain Operations to Win Moral Competition
by COL Christopher Holshek, USA, Ret. (Spotlight 20-4, August 2020)
In this paper, the author asserts that the Army needs to manage its capabilities in the moral dimension—in Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations and Information Operations—with the same rigor that it does for capabilities in the material dimension; the Army needs to invest in people more than platforms.
Looking at recent missed targets in Army recruiting numbers, the author calls attention to the fact that the Army needs to revise its methods if it wants to be successful in recruiting a new generation.
The Army on Point: A Detailed Summary of Current Operations and Responsibilities
by COL George P. Coan, Jr., USA, Ret. (Special Report, July 2020)
Excerpted from the upcoming edition of Profile of the United States Army, a reference book published every two years that provides a top-to-bottom understanding of the Army, this selection focuses on current exercises, activities and concerns that the Army is undertaking around the world.
Describing U.S. Army equities in space, Formica proposes guiding principles for identifying which service-specific capabilities should be transferred to the U.S. Space Force (USSF) and which should remain with their respective service; the starting point should be identifying how USSF provides and employs particular capabilities. Getting this right, he stresses, is as important to the Army as it is to the Space Force.
Getting Multi-Domain Operations Right: Two Critical Flaws in the U.S. Army's Multi-Domain Operations Concept
by MAJ Amos C. Fox, USA (Land Warfare Paper 133, June 2020)
Praising the development of the MDO concept thus far, Fox nonetheless argues that unless the architects of MDO makes some essential changes, namely in respect to dominance and to an accounting of hard constraints and frontage problems on the corps and field army level, the MDO concept will be unsuccessful.
Mission Command and Armed Robotic Systems Command and Control: A Human and Machine Assessment
by Robert J. Bunker (Land Warfare Paper 132, May 2020)
Tracing the development of mission command and its central role in Army doctrine, Bunker examines the extent to which autonomous and semiautonomous weapon systems can—or cannot—be utilized in cooperation with the seven principles of mission command and the seven Cs to execute mission command. As war is an essentially human endeavor, how can machines, devoid of feeling, integrity, compassion, love or self-sacrifice, be incorporated both ethically and optimally?
Integrated Air and Missile Defense in Multi-Domain Operations
by Jeremiah Rozman, PhD (Spotlight 20-2, May 2020)
Arguing that U.S. air and missile defense (AMD) capabilities are inadequate to defeat growing threats, including complex, multi-pronged attacks and hypersonic missiles. Rozman assesses U.S. Army and defense community AMD initiatives to defend the Homeland and prepare for great-power competition. These include: developing joint command and control, investing in critical emerging technologies and building tiered, layered and integrated AMD.
Expanding the Battlefield: An Important Fundamental of Multi-Domain Operations
by LTG Eric J. Wesley, USA, and COL Robert H. Simpson, USA, Ret. (Land Warfare Paper 131, April 2020)
Highlighting the renaissance of thinking about great-power competition and warfare that is occurring in response to the current environment, the authors focus specifically on the discussion surrounding the development of Multi-Domain Operations (MDO). Seeking to increase the depth of understanding of MDO in general and to describe some specific implications for modernizing the U.S. Army, the authors note that this doctrinal shift represents a corresponding dramatic shift in the Army’s focus from counterinsurgency operations, throughout almost 20 years of war, to an emphasis on high-end competition and conflict against adversaries with the potential to put American vital interests at risk. The Army, as a profession, is relearning the doctrine of large-scale combat operations. The Futures and Concept Center at Army Futures Command is doing the math to ensure that the Army can fight and win on the MDO battlefield; the type of military dominance that the United States has enjoyed for the past 30 years is historically rare. Such dominance is also short-lived. This is especially true of great powers that miss major changes to the character of war. If the Army wants to avoid returning to a historical tendency to lose its first battles, it must transform.
Massed Fires, Not Organic Formations: The Case for Returning Field Artillery Battalions to the DivArty
by COL David E. Johnson, USA, Ret., and LTG David D. Halverson, USA, Ret. (Spotlight 20-1, April 2020)
Tracing the history of U.S. field artillery since its inception, the authors demonstrate that the force structure change the Army has undergone in the past two decades, namely, modularization, while well-suited for the counterinsurgency campaigns in which it was engaged, has resulted in fire support that is not suited for large-scale combat operations against peer competitors. They argue that having field artillery battalions organic to brigade combat teams violates one of the fundamentals of fire support: never keep artillery in reserve. Finally, they call for these battalions to be returned to the DivArty, hand-in-hand with increasing maximization, training and competency of fire support capabilities across the Army.
Looking at the environment that the Army has faced through the operations of the past two decades, Wallace examines the circumstances that gave rise to the concept of Multi-Domain Operations (MDO). As MDO is not a mature doctrine, his insights, especially his discussion of Operation Iraqi Freedom I, are aimed at informing current discussions of MDO and so assisting in the intelligent development of this nascent doctrine.
In collaboration with the Civil Affairs Association, AUSA has published a new volume in its now annual Civil Affairs Issue Papers. In a collection of five papers, authored by various civil affairs (CA) subject-matter experts, readers can explore the role of CA in today’s global environment, examine practical steps being taken to ensure that its relevance is taken seriously and, perhaps most important, improve their understanding of future warfare by studying recommendations for the continued and increasing role of CA across the entire joint force. Introduced by an Executive Summary and Workshop Report that discuss not just the papers themselves, but also give detailed coverage of the conversations and progress made at the 2019 Civil Affairs Symposium, this publication is sure to stimulate productive thought and action for the CA Corps throughout the defense community.
Examining the potential effects that future high-intensity warfare will have on civilians and the roles that international organizations and nongovernmental organizations will have in conflicts settings, this paper describes relevant issues in humanitarian affairs and the current policy guidelines for handling them. Finally, the author provides seven frameworks—ways of thinking about civilians affected by combat—to facilitate dialogue, debate and coordination surrounding these issues.
The Mosul Study Group and the Lessons of the Battle of Mosul
by MAJ Amos C. Fox, USA (Land Warfare Paper 130, February 2020)
After briefly describing the events of the battle itself, Fox turns his attention to evaluating the report that TRADOC commissioned—a report that was intended to communicate the lessons learned from this pivotal event. However, Fox convincingly argues that the Mosul Study Group’s report was critically flawed, primarily because it was rushed. In its haste to provide narrative reinforcement and so support current doctrinal predilections, the report missed that the Battle of Mosul was decisive, that the use of precision strike caused what the author terms the Precision Paradox and, finally, that this was a block-by-block positional battle of attrition whose ultimate outcome was decided by blood, sweat and tears, not by social media. Reports likes this, Fox warns, tell the Army what it wants to hear instead of what it needs to hear.
A Strategy for the Development of Principled Professionals
by MAJ Chaveso Cook and CPT Alison Aman, USA (Landpower Essay 20-2, January 2020)
Explaining how and why military professionalism is eroding, the authors argue that the services need a common framework for professionalism across all domains. They provide an example base using the Army’s “three Cs” of character, competence and commitment as well as adult developmental theories. Cook and Aman conclude with suggestions for how all members of the military machine—civilians and servicemembers alike—can embody the principles needed to build, maintain and lead credible and reliable units of professionals.
In this paper, Geist explains the concept of grand strategy using definitions from American historian and author Hal Brands and British military historian Sir Basil Liddell Hart. He describes both the U.S. and Chinese grand strategies, showing how they conflict. Geist concludes with suggestions for how the United States should proceed in its approach to China.
★ ★ ★ 2019 ★ ★ ★
Reserve Component Employment in Strategic Competition
by MAJ Robert A. Behrman, PhD, USA (Landpower Essay 19-4, December 2019)
Briefly explaining how America’s adversaries are engaging with the United States today, Behrman moves on to the importance of the U.S. military’s reserve components in that fight. He lays out the challenges of the environment and the capabilities of the reserve components and shows how current joint planning limits the options available for use of those components. Behrman concludes with recommendations to better employ reserve component forces for competition below the level of armed conflict.
Understanding Assets: Teaching Senior Leaders How to Identify and Engage Stakeholders
by LTC Alex L. Carter, USAR (Landpower Essay 19-3, December 2019)
Borrowing heavily from techniques used in the private sector, Carter explains how to identify relevant stakeholders and how to prioritize the most important ones with which to engage. He talks about the link between critical thinking and gathering information from myriad sources, including stakeholders. Carter also advocates for an elective at all senior service colleges that would be devoted to this topic and explains why it matters.
Risking Nuclear Escalation: The Characteristics of War from the Sino-Soviet and Kargil Wars
by MAJ Zachary Morris, USA (Land Warfare Paper 129, October 2019)
Conducting a thorough retrospective of the only two instances when nuclear powers came into direct conflict with each other, the author extrapolates five key characteristics of nuclear warfare that should be considered by today’s military leaders. Warning that current doctrine covers the subject of nuclear warfare insufficiently, Morris calls for Army and Defense leadership to consider the implications that are born from this historical analysis; overlooking lessons learned can come at a perilous cost.
In partnership with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), AUSA’s National Security Studies team has recently produced “European Allies in U.S. Multi-Domain Operations,” co-authored by Dr. Jack Watling of RUSI and Colonel (Retired) Daniel Roper of AUSA. The authors assess the challenge of full allied integration into U.S. Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) examining likely U.S. military needs of its allies, capability gaps that may impede interoperability and policy considerations that may be hurdles for MDO in its execution. They highlight MDO’s key tenets and the many dependencies upon allies embedded within the MDO concept including permissions required to maintain a calibrated force posture, local expertise needed to compete effectively below the threshold of armed conflict and niche capabilities that only European allies can provide. Watling and Roper recommend that the U.S. Army and its European allies fully leverage each nation’s unique capabilities to exploit the existing window of opportunity to build an MDO-capable multinational force with sufficient readiness, authorities, interoperability and force posture to effectively compete below the threshold of armed conflict, to deter and to prevail in conflict should deterrence fail.
Precision Logistics: Sustainment for Multi-Domain Operations
by MAJ Bradley Cooper, USA (Spotlight 19-4, September 2019)
Describing the U.S. Army’s progress toward a survivable, agile sustainment enterprise, Cooper highlights how U.S. Army Materiel Command’s seven focus areas—Installation Readiness; Soldier and Family Readiness; Industrial Base Readiness; Munitions Readiness; Strategic Power Projection; Supply Availability and Equipment Readiness; and Army Logistics Information Readiness—will deliver sustainment capabilities required to support Multi-Domain Operations (MDO). Highlighting emerging enabling capabilities that can help in the delivery of precision logistics, Cooper describes existing capability gaps that could limit the Army’s ability to sustain the force in an MDO environment. Finally, he notes that optimal sustainment can only occur through a Total Army effort with Regular Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve and Department of the Army civilians and contractors working in concert to support Army forces from fort to port to foxhole in MDO.
Urbanization and Megacities: Implications for the U.S. Army
by Jeremiah Rozman (Spotlight 19-3, August 2019)
Defined as a metropolitan area in which more than 10 million people live, megacities across the globe are increasing in number; they have doubled in the past two decades and are expected to double again in the next two. With more than half of the world’s population living in these areas, and with these population trends increasing each year, megacities are becoming a more likely setting for military engagements, meaning that successfully conducting operations—specifically Multi-Domain Operations (MDO)—within their limits is a growing concern for the U.S. Army. Highlighting the strategic, operational and tactical challenges facing MDO in these settings, Rozman examines the increased need for competence in executing mission command, discusses what megacity warfare means for the Army’s six modernization priorities and calls for the Army to leverage the civilian experiences of the reserve component in urban areas to successfully counter current and future threats. Drawing to the conclusion with a discussion of current training practices that can prepare Soldiers for successful operations in megacity engagements, Rozman ends with a reminder that timely and predictable funding for the defense community is a vital part of ensuring readiness for this and all environments.
Taking a Look under the Hood: The October War and What Maintenance Approaches Reveal about Military Operations
by COL James S. Powell, USA (Land Warfare Paper 128, August 2019)
This essay suggests what might be learned from an examination of a potential adversary’s logistical system and its approach to maintenance—namely, its pattern of adaptation, its capacity for prolonged operations, how it seeks to guard against the exploitation of perceived vulnerabilities and how it might compensate for deficiencies in the technical skill of its personnel. An understanding of how a military conducts maintenance sheds light on the extent to which it will be able to improvise in wartime; it serves as an indicator for how fast and how frequently new techniques can be developed and implemented and whether the expertise exists to apply them widely across the force as it fights. As U.S. analysts endeavor to understand current threats from global players, they would do well to appreciate how the maintenance practices of a competitor’s military indicate their overall competence and so the seriousness of the threat they pose.
Citing some specific examples of instances where talent in Army personnel was managed poorly, Gingrich follows Secretary of the Army Mark Esper’s lead in calling for an honest look at Army talent management and the need for a revision of current policies. The Integrated Personnel and Pay System–Army (IPPS-A) and the Talent Management Task Force provide technological and institutional structure to impact change; the immediate approach to address this change must incorporate business principles. The Army must leverage these principles in marketing, data analysis and incentive alignment to develop a holistic approach to talent management, implementing a framework for understanding an individual’s talents and decisionmaking processes. With these tools in hand, the Army would be able to account for the needs of its Soldiers and its own needs, and, as a consequence, would allow for the placement of the right individual in the right position at the right time.
What the Chinese People's Liberation Army Can Do to Thwart the Army's Multi-Domain Task Force
by Larry M. Wortzel (Land Warfare Paper 126, July 2019)
Briefly laying out the development of Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) in the U.S. Army, Wortzel moves on to a more thorough examination of how the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has worked to counter American efforts in their own version of MDO doctrine development. While this has naturally occurred in a number of areas, the PLA has made the most significant advances in hypersonic weapons, missiles, naval gunfire, air attack and sophisticated forms of cyber and electromagnetic attack. U.S. defense leaders can take some comfort in the knowledge that while the PLA is well-acquainted with the theories of MDO, they have in many ways fallen short of putting these theories into practice. Nonetheless, the American military and Congress must consider this real and growing threat from the PLA in current and future deliberations of national defense issues.
"Cyborgs at Little Stalingrad": A Brief History of the Battles of the Donetsk Airport, 26 May 2014 to 21 January 2015
by MAJ Amos C. Fox, USA (Land Warfare Paper 125, May 2019)
Delving into the particulars of these two battles and the events that comprised them, Fox then moves on to an analysis that reveals, among other things, the depth of Russian motivation in the Russo-Ukrainian War and the incredible amount of practical experience that a large percentage of Russian troops have gained in that conflict. This real-world experience, he warns, cannot be matched in U.S. Soldiers’ exercises at combat training centers. The Russian acumen, foresight and resolve that led to their victory at the Second Battle of the Donetsk Airport are indicative of significant skill and ability that other great power competitors—including the United States—may find that they underestimate to their peril.
Military Personnel Policy: An Untapped Modernization Opportunity
by MAJ Isaac Wisniewski, USA (Spotlight 19-2, April 2019)
Arguing that in response to the reemergence of great power competition the Army is focusing more on equipment modernization than on reforming some of its legacy personnel policies, the author describes the opportunities provided by the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to mitigate some of the limitations of the 1980 Defense Officer Personnel Management Act (DOPMA). While most of the key tenets of DOPMA remain in place today, Wisniewski advocates that the Army should take full advantage of the provisions included in the 2019 NDAA, present evidence to Congress of its ability to identify, manage and cultivate its talent in order to remove the restrictions of DOPMA, and man a force that fully leverages the skills, behaviors, and talents of its leaders and Soldiers.
Campaign Streamers of the United States Army
(Special Report, March 2019)
First published by the Institute in 1995 and updated in 2009, this latest edition has been compiled by retired Command Sergeant Major Dan Elder. Providing a thorough explanation of how the Army has classified and honored military campaigns throughout America’s wars, Elder goes on to share a succinct history of each of these campaigns, including our nation’s most recent efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Global War on Terrorism.
Manning the Army of 2028: Recruitment Modernization
by MAJ Bradley Cooper, USA, and Michael Wang (Spotlight 19-1, March 2019)
As a people-centric force, the Army needs to preserve its competitive edge over the nation’s adversaries by modernizing personnel policies. Cooper and Wang examine how incentives are necessary to attract and retain qualified people to serve in sufficient numbers, as well as to educate the American public on the importance and benefits of military service. While modernizing technology is important, the ultimate solution is combining technological advances and people with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time. Innovative personnel policies are as critical as weapon system modernization. Sustaining the quality of the All-Volunteer Force is a national priority.
The U.S. Army, the Nuclear Posture Review and Nuclear Deterrence: A European Historical Context
by David R. Dorondo, PhD (Land Warfare Paper 124, March 2019)
Looking first at the temporary suspension of the United States and Russia to the adherence of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and then at the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, Dorondo discusses from a mostly historical context the role that nuclear capabilities have played in ensuring effective deterrence. In light of the United States’ long-standing role on behalf of NATO and the countries of Western Europe, Dorondo emphasizes the need for U.S. nuclear policy to remain firm if deterrence of Eastern powers—notably Russia—is to remain effective.
Operational Energy: A Decisive Enabler and Critical Liability in 21st Century Warfare
by LTC Benajamin A. Bennett, PhD, USA and Lt. Col. Ron Owens, USAF Ret. (Landpower Essay 19-2, March 2019)
Tracing the role that armies’ reliance on energy has played and how it has shaped battlefields from the days of ancient warfare through modernity, the authors look specifically at the demands on energy that are currently required by American forces. This dependence means that energy has become a critical liability, one that consumes resources, strains logistics and increases exposure to adversaries. In today’s climate, that emphasizes technology, standoff, precision and overwhelming fires, current practices have laid us open to operational and strategic risks. The U.S. military must continue to integrate with industry and academia and drive the rapid implementation of innovative solutions to emphasize energy effectiveness and reduce sustainment demand.
In recent years, the U.S. Army has routinely found itself in wars being waged through intermediaries, or proxy forces. At the same time, the Army does not speak frankly about these proxy wars but instead speaks indirectly about the character of these environments and its relationship with its partnered force. It does so by arguing that those environments are one in which it operates by, with and through partners in a security force assistance capacity in pursuit of common objectives. While this approach softens the coarseness of proxy warfare, it also degrades understanding of proxy warfare by not speaking frankly about its environmental and relational character. In examining proxy warfare, one finds that it is dominated by a principal-actor dynamic, power relationships and the tyranny of time. Taking those ideas a step further, this examination yields two models of proxy warfare—the transactional model and the exploitative model. The goal of setting forth this theory of proxy warfare is to generate better conceptual understanding, allowing the U.S. Army to more effectively manipulate proxy environments toward its own ends.
A Case Study of Politics and U.S. Army Doctrine: 1954 Field Manual 100-5: Operations
by Dr. David C. Rasmussen (Land Warfare Paper 122, January 2019)
In 1954, the U.S. Army significantly modified its capstone doctrine, Field Manual (FM) 100-5: Operations, in an effort to offset the fulfillment of campaign promises President Eisenhower made to secure and maintain the support of the right wing of the Republican Party—a 30 percent cut to the defense budget and the withdrawal most U.S. troops from Europe. This paper looks at how politics influenced national security decisions and the 1954 change to Army doctrine. The case study highlights the specific doctrinal changes and shift to nuclear warfare and examines the effect that domestic, international and bureaucratic political factors had on that shift. The author hopes to inform current and former Army and defense leaders about the dangers of making doctrinal decisions based on politics rather than national security considerations.
Training the Machines: Incorporating AI into Land Combat Systems
by LTC Stephan Pikner, USA (Landpower Essay 19-1, January 2019)
Recent developments in artificial intelligence (AI), or machine learning, have the potential to revolutionize how humans interact with technology. Rather than merely responding to direct inputs in predefined ways, systems that can sort through vast amounts of data and refine their network structures are rapidly improving their ability to predict and categorize. These advances are driven primarily by the massive quantity of information that can be captured and correlated. The more data that is integrated, the more precise the model becomes—whether it is driving patterns on city roads, overhead imagery of farm fields or medical scans of disease-prone organs. AI also has broad military applications, ranging from cybersecurity to aviation maintenance diagnostics to higher echelon military intelligence analysis. Its potential in military applications, however, is sharply limited by the rarity of war. Lacking real-world data to train on and unable to draw from historical cases, AI-enabled land combat systems may be severely limited in their effectiveness, especially in the critical opening phases of war.
★ ★ ★ 2018 ★ ★ ★
Maneuver Robotics and Autonomous Systems: Enhancing Tactical Maneuver
by Tyler Wesley (ILW Spotlight 18-5, November 2018)
Recognizing the decades-long dominance of U.S. land forces in the conventional close fight as demonstrated in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, near-peer adversaries have embraced evolving technologies and tactics in pursuit of tactical standoff against these formations. In the more than 17 years since 9/11, the U.S. Army has been heavily focused on waging counterinsurgency and counterterrorism campaigns against low-tech but lethal forces. During this timeframe, near-peer competitors have developed capabilities with the potential to degrade the U.S. advantage in close combat by disrupting U.S. forces before they can close with and destroy them. The U.S. Army is seeking to counter adversary standoff by addressing critical capability gaps and through the conduct of multi-domain operations that involve, in part, the use of robotics. The use of maneuver robotics and autonomous systems (MRAS) can increase the reach of U.S. Army forces from the battalion to the squad levels and addresses the threats of a more lethal battlefield enabled by technologies that are employed by near-peer competitors.
Seizing the High Ground - United States Army Futures Command
by COL Daniel S. Roper, USA, Ret., and LTC Jessica D. Grassetti, USA (ILW Spotlight 18-4, October 2018)
Providing strategic context and rationale for the establishment of Army Futures Command (AFC), the authors describe its mission and structure, outline the Army’s modernization priorities and the Cross-Functional Teams (CFTs) that will support the mission of AFC and identify keys to success for Army Modernization and AFC. Asserting that the Army requires a coherent, credible, consistent and compelling narrative with which to gain and maintain support—and that it must keep Congress fully apprised of modernization progress, pitfalls and potential—the authors delineate how establishing AFC contributes to unity of effort across disparate modernization efforts and increases accountability, transparency and stewardship of the nation’s resources. Finally, they urge recognition of the fact that sustained and predictable funding is key to ensuring full support of Army’s industry partners, who are critical in delivering innovative capabilities.
The Influence Machine: Automated Information Operations as a Strategic Defeat Mechanism
by MAJ Christopher Telley, USA (Land Warfare Paper 121, October 2018)
Examining the convergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Information Operations (IO), Telley outlines in compelling—and sometimes chilling—words the strategic liability confronting America’s Army and people. Drawing a historic parallel between the hitherto unseen extent of influence able to be exerted because of the printing press during the Protestant Reformation, the author warns that the Influence Machine, enabled by AI and IO and already functioning in the hands of bad actors, has an exponentially growing ability to surreptitiously color reality and motivate people with compelling misinformation, as the American people experienced in the Russian hacking of the 2016 presidential election. Telley argues that current Pentagon efforts to meet this challenge are insufficient; if these problems are not addressed with the attention and resources that they should be, America will continue to lie exposed to unacceptable threats and malicious actions.
Profile of the United States Army (2018 Edition)
(ILW Special Report, September 2018)
Updated every two years, Profile describes the structure and priorities of today’s Army, serving as a reference handbook for people familiar with the Army and an easy-to-read introduction for family members, civilian employees, contractors and future Soldiers. This latest edition of Profile discusses the Army’s role in preserving the country’s security and national interests; it also describes the history behind the Army’s current organization. Profile contains pertinent information and helpful graphics on the Soldier, the uniform, the Army’s current operations, Army families and the Army’s command structure and installations. Notably, this edition introduces Army Futures Command, activated in 2018. Profile also contains a glossary of the military acronyms used in this text and an index of maps illustrating locations of current Army commands, corps and divisions, current Army National Guard divisions and Army Reserve divisions and functional commands.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization: Dubious Political Will to Defend Baltic Allies
by MAJ Zachary Morris, USA (Land Warfare Paper 120, August 2018)
With an eye on tensions in Eastern Europe, Morris examines the components that define political will, with a caveat that it is best defined by its absence rather than its presence. After outlining what political will looks like in theory, Morris moves on to identifying it, and the lack of it, in the specific instance of NATO allies and their attitudes toward contemporary Russian aggression. He concludes that many key allies are not as firm in their resolve to protect the Baltic states as they might be, signaling potentially serious weaknesses in the efficacy of the NATO alliance as a whole.
Energy Resilience: An Imperative for a More Lethal, Agile and Strategically-Relevant Force
by COL Daniel S. Roper, USA, Ret. (ILW Spotlight 18-3, August 2018)
Warning that, with the shifting character of war, the reach of adversarial power now threatens domestic installations as well as forward deployed forces, Roper calls for a modernization of energy generation, management and consumption. Without energy resilience, he argues, the growing sphere of cyber, space and physical warfare can undermine the Army’s ability to sustain forward based operations; if energy security is compromised at home, how can installations provide support for forces overseas? If the Army wishes to maintain readiness and lethality, energy modernization must be among its top priorities.
Army Combat Developments Command: A Way to Modernize Better and Faster than the Competition
by MAJ Hassan M. Kamara, USA (Land Warfare Paper 119, July 2018)
Warning of the decreased and continually diminishing technological overmatch of the U.S. military over potential peer adversaries, Kamara, an Army acquisitions officer, looks to historical precedent for a solution. In the 1960s, U.S. Army Combat Developments Command was established to ensure that the Army’s modernization efforts of the day were researched efficiently and implemented effectively. Calling for a contemporary activation of a Combat Development Command—one that would work in concert with the newly-established Army Futures Command—Kamara argues that such a step could help the Army to modernize in peace and adapt equally well for combat superiority in future war.
The Reemergence of the Siege: An Assessment of Trends in Modern Land Warfare
by MAJ Amos C. Fox, USA (Landpower Essay 18-2, June 2018)
Looking back over the last 30 years, the author, Major Amos C. Fox, USA, cites two events that have definitively shaped the character of modern warfare: the fall of the Soviet Union and the 9/11 attacks. Although they happened a decade apart, these events together directed the Army to move beyond high-end, major land wars and instead focus on precision-strike and smaller, more agile forces. Motivated by this expected shift in the nature of warfare, the U.S. military has been guided by a philosophy that restraint and prudence could make warfare something that happens on a small scale rather than demanding large land forces as it has in the past. This almost-quixotic outlook, however, does not factor in the truth that while high-end wars between nations have decreased, war has neither gone away nor decreased in violence. Land warfare, demonstrably utilized again and again in recent years, has reemerged in the modern employment of the siege. While today’s sieges are not replete with trebuchets and battering rams, they are nonetheless a prominent fixture of contemporary warfare; the modern siege is firmly extant, and so it ensures the continued relevance of land forces.
Velcro Soldiers: Global Professionalism in the Reserve Components
by COL Clarence J. Henderson, USAR (Landpower Essay 18-1, June 2018)
Examining the evolving character of reserve component citizen Soldiers in today’s Army, the author, Colonel Clarence J. Henderson, USAR, discusses their advanced abilities and experiences in a business world that is both global and technologically advanced. As they justifiably move forward in their civilian careers, the education and skills that they have built ought to be put to good use in their participation with the reserve component. Too often, however, this dual track incurs a conflict rather than a mutually-beneficial complementary symbiosis. The Army is missing out on the knowledge and capabilities of this burgeoning class of global professionals because it is not adequately facilitating their dual careers or intelligently harnessing the skills they offer to the appropriate assignments. Concepts and policies to amend this shortcoming must be implemented, or the Army will lose this pool of talent.
Regaining Tactical Overmatch: The Close Combat Lethality Task Force
by COL Daniel S. Roper, USA, Ret. (ILW Spotlight 18-2, April 2018)
This ILW Spotlight explains the factors that led to the establishment of the Secretary of Defense Close Combat Lethality Task Force in February 2018. The Secretary of Defense directed the task force to improve combat preparedness, lethality, survivability and resiliency of close-combat ground formations, which make up about 4 percent of the military but since World War II have accounted for about 90 percent of U.S. combat deaths. The Spotlight focuses on political, strategic and moral implications of this dynamic and describes complementary U.S. Army initiatives to regain close combat overmatch in order to make its infantry dominant on tomorrow’s battlefields.
The Sergeants Major of the Army: On Leadership and the Profession of Arms (2018)
(ILW Special Report, February 2018)
Originally compiled by Marianna M. Yamamoto and later Danielle Giovannelli, this compilation of words of wisdom from the Army’s Sergeants Major was first published by AUSA’s Institute of Land Warfare in 1996. This latest edition, compiled by Command Sergeant Major Dan Elder, USA, Ret., includes the words of the three SMAs who have served since that time. The quotations included in the book—ranging in topic from Discipline to Trust, from Teamwork to Courage, and everything in between—make it an essential item for every NCO’s professional library.
Modernization for Industrial Age U.S. Army Installations
by COL Patrick M. Duggan (ILW Spotlight 18-1, February 2018)
Duggan, Commander of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Washington, DC, argues that military installations are no longer the sanctuaries that they were in days past; they are vulnerable soft-targets for a growing host of sophisticated threats that seek to degrade U.S. Army combat capabilities long before they deploy. As the U.S. Army pursues a comprehensive modernization strategy to update and innovate its combat capabilities, it must undertake a complementary effort to modernize its Industrial Age installations, or it will risk losing combat readiness.
Walks in the Midst of Trouble: Allied Patrols in War Zone C, October 1966
by John M. Carland (Land Warfare Paper 118, February 2018)
Diving into a thorough analysis of After Action Reports from American and North Vietnamese records, Carland, a former historian with the State Department, examines the details of Operation Fondulac in October of 1966. The narrative of eight Allied reconnaissance patrols that were inserted into War Zone C (a hostile environment northwest of Saigon) suggests that Special Forces teams in such instances failed to rise above the tactical and operational in terms of roles and achievements, despite exhibiting skill, bravery and resourcefulness in carrying out their missions. This paper also calls into question judgements and assessments made in Operation Fondulac’s After Action Report.
The Importance of Land Warfare: This Kind of War Redux
by David E. Johnson (Land Warfare Paper 117, January 2018)
In this Land Warfare Paper, Johnson looks back at developments in U.S. military operations over the past 16 years. The United States, he argues, was not fully prepared for the irregular and protracted wars in which it has been engaged since 9/11; this has resulted in the rapid evolvement of new concepts and capabilities, adaptations which have most significantly affected land forces. The current generation of Soldiers, while at this point well-versed in what it takes to counter irregular forces, is not adequately prepared to face more competent, well-armed adversaries. U.S. domain supremacy is eroding, if not ending, with the renewal of great power competition with state actors—principally China and Russia—who can contest U.S. operations to some degree in all domains. While this generational gap allows our Soldiers to believe that their experiences of the past 16 years are relevant to the challenges they will face against very different kinds of enemies, the truth is that significant adjustments need to be made to the status quo to ensure that our land forces are ready to meet future conflicts.
★ ★ ★ 2017 ★ ★ ★
Securing the Army's Weapon Systems and Supply Chain against Cyber Attack
by LTG Larry Wyche, USA Ret., and Greg Pieratt (ILW Spotlight 17-3, November 2017)
In this ILW Spotlight, the authors describe emerging cyber threats to the Army’s supply chain and their potential impact on force generation, deployment, sustainment, and combat operations. Although the United States is making significant headway in the integration of both offensive and defensive cyber into its operations, the cyber capabilities of America’s potential enemies increasingly are improving as well. To counter this threat, the same level of effort currently invested in safeguarding the Army’s networks and information systems must now be committed toward protecting its armaments and its ability to sustain them. This paper describes potential adversary sabotage venues as well as emerging countermeasures to defeat them. Lastly, this Spotlight provides recommendations for inclusion in a policy roadmap to better secure the Army’s critical, yet vulnerable, supply chain.
In this Land Warfare Paper, Dunn begins by tracing the historical events that occurred in the Pacific during the conflict between Japanese and American forces as each side fought for possession of the strategic island of Guadalcanal. From there, he launches into a discussion of the new Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons. While he does allow that it is in some areas a definite improvement, overall he believes that this new concept fails to envision significant landpower in line with the Army’s core competencies of combined arms maneuver and wide area security in a way that can build a true multidomain campaign. As tensions today continue in the Asia–Pacific, Army leaders would do well to learn from our past successes in that region. The multidomain victory won by the joint force at Guadalcanal is not just a matter for the history books; it ought to be a paradigm for U.S. Army campaigns now and in the future.
Satellite and Ground Communication Systems: Space and Electronic Warfare Threats to the United States Army
by MAJ Andrew H. Boyd (Land Warfare Paper 115, November 2017)
In this Land Warfare Paper, Boyd argues that the Army’s dependence on satellite and ground communication systems leaves it vulnerable to an irresponsible degree. Given the limitations that come with these communication systems—limits that arise from bandwidth availability, terrain variations, potential enemy interception and natural disaster interference—the Army is ill-prepared to face the future as a competent player in the realm of electronic warfare (EW). Across the fields of doctrine, training and equipment, military leaders should look back to the emphasis that was placed on EW during the Cold War Era and revise current methods and education accordingly. Due to waning threats and an apparent technological superiority, disciplined electronic protection has deteriorated over the past 25 years. Given the threats to satellite and ground communication systems, the U.S. Army is unlikely to be successful in a conventional war against a comparable adversary without significant change.
Reconnecting Athens and Sparta: A Review of OPMS XXI at 20 Years
by COL Susan Bryant and COL Heidi A. Urben (Land Warfare Paper 114, October 2017)
In this Land Warfare Paper, the authors posit that although the underlying logic of OPMS XXI remains sound, its implementation in conjunction with the past 16 years of war and the Army’s cultural preference for tactics over strategy have produced serious unintended consequences for the development of Army strategic leaders and so for the entire force. Exploring the tensions created by the dual requirements for specialization and broad strategic understanding within today’s Army officer corps, Bryant and Urben offer recommendations to cope with these competing demands. Finally, they call for the Army to recommission an OPMS task force aimed at creating a new talent management system that not only better aligns skillsets with requirements, but also purposefully earmarks officers with strategic leadership potential earlier in their careers.
In this ILW Special Report, Mrs. Cody draws on her own experiences of being an Army wife and mother for over three decades to impart hard-earned wisdom and gentle guidance to any and all family members—spouses, parents, siblings, children and in-laws—who have a loved one serving in the Army. Covering everything from the first deployment to the day that retirement orders are read, Cody talks her readers not only through many of the practical details they will face (including some of the Army jargon they will become familiar with), but also the oftentimes very emotional side of the long deployments, rocky reintegrations, difficult losses and joyful homecomings that are all a part of what it means to be in the Army family.
Afghanistan: A Historical Analysis of Mission Command and its Effect on our Current Security Environment
by MAJ Chaveso Cook, CPT Awbrey Lowe and CPT Matthew Perovich (Landpower Essay 17-2, September 2017)
In this Landpower Essay, the authors examine the use of mission command—and the failure to use it—in two battles in the adjacent provinces of Paktia and Khost in Afghanistan. While the details of the Second Battle of Zwahar in the 1980s provide ample evidence of the catastrophes and embarrassments that occur when the principles of mission command are ignored, events that occurred in 2002 in the Shahikot Valley point to the contrasting phenomenal successes that can be gained when mission command is actual put into cooperative practice. The potential for overall military success in this region of the world and the details of what that would look like remain uncertain, even after decades of persistent conflict over the same lands. What is certain, however, is that if U.S. Army is to persist and win, it must heed the lessons of the past in implementing mission command as an essential component of any engagement.
This Land Warfare Paper begins by tracing the supply process of munitions throughout every major war of America’s history, starting with the American Revolution. As the author delves into lessons learned from past failures and successes, he crafts an evidenced-based and historically-supported thesis: Today’s Conventional Munitions Industrial Base (CMIB) faces several challenges that could negatively impact munitions readiness to Soldiers in the future. Considerations such as the maintenance of manufacturing facilities, retention of multiskilled workers and the storage and age of much of the Army’s current munitions supply are all problematic issues in need of serious attention. Over the past two and half centuries, and despite deadly munitions disasters, tragedies and stresses in times of war, the CMIB has supported the U.S. military successes from the nation’s initial sovereignty to its undisputed global superpower position today. Looking to the future, the CMIB must be ensured the necessary resources to stay sufficiently responsive, dependable and reliable to be able to continuously support and guarantee Army readiness.
Integrating Army Robotics and Autonomous Systems to Fight and Win
(ILW Spotlight 17-2, July 2017)
This Spotlight begins with the thesis that after two long-term low-intensity wars in the Middle East, U.S. military dominance has suffered. When compared to the strides that Russia and China have made in developing their own indigenous robotics and autonomous systems over the past decade, it is clear that the United States has some catching up to do. From a technology perspective, the primary near-term investments underpinning U.S. RAS strategy are the pursuit of Artificial Intelligence and autonomy development. To support the near-term integration of unmanned systems, the Army has significantly increased resources to meet the demands for expedited fielding, more than doubling the planned expenditure for RAS programs between fiscal years 2018 and 2023. The overall RAS strategy will evolve over time, but it will remain focused on the fundamental objective of maintaining overmatch and pursuing new technologies to protect Soldiers, reshaping how the Army fights in the future.
Putin's Multipolar World and What it Means for U.S. Strategy
by Elihugh M. Abner (Landpower Essay 17-1, June 2017)
In this Landpower Essay, Captain Elihugh M. Abner identifies four ways that Putin is seeking to assert Russian military and diplomatic dominance: regaining control over Ukraine; expanding interests in the Middle East; strengthening partnerships with China; and undermining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Abner cautions that Western planners need to be aware that the past three decades have been an anomaly in world history—never before has one power, such as the United States, held global hegemony. With Putin’s advances, the world is returning to a state of normalcy, a state in which multiple powers are in competition with one another for finite resources. The West must learn to adapt to this reality rather than investing countless lives and resources in a futile attempt to hold the inevitable at bay.
Army Intelligence: Focus Areas for Science and Technology
(ILW Spotlight 17-1, April 2017)
Faced with a complex and evolving security environment, Army Intelligence requires a directional and provisional blueprint for the future. This Land Warfare Spotlight describes the Army’s blueprint and discusses how to leverage innovative concepts and Science and Technology (S&T) to: adapt to current and emerging threats while informing the design of the future Intelligence force and systems; to target and develop the right technologies to support the future force envisioned in the Army Operating Concept; and to address long-term requirements beyond 2035. Most significantly, it stresses that Army Intelligence must partner with industry, academia, Department of Defense initiatives, the joint community and the Army’s acquisition community to develop the capabilities required to support the future force envisioned in 2025 and beyond.
Making Sense of Russian Hybrid Warfare: A Brief Assessment of the Russo–Ukrainian War
by Amos C. Fox and Andrew J. Rossow (Land Warfare Paper 112, March 2017)
In this Land Warfare Paper, the authors look specifically at the Donbas campaign of the Russo–Ukrainian War to showcase innovations in Russian land warfare. Most notably, these innovations include the development of a battalion tactical group working in tandem with a reconnaissance-strike model to create siege warfare opportunities for Russian and separatist forces. These opportunities allow them to generate high levels of destruction while operating beneath the notice of the international community. In their discussion of this campaign, the authors highlight the unique problem that Russian hybrid warfare—known to Russians as New Generation Warfare—presents to contemporary and future-minded military leaders.