Institute of Land Warfare Publications

Institute of Land Warfare Publications

Institute of Land Warfare

The Institute of Land Warfare (ILW) extends the influence of AUSA by informing and educating its members; local, regional and national leaders; and the American public on the critical nature of land forces and the importance of the United States Army. The Institute carries out a broad program of activities including the publication of professional research papers, newsletters, background briefs, essays and special reports. 


Recent Publications

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)

The technological overmatch that the U.S. military once enjoyed over potential peer adversaries has waned since the turn of the century, and it continues to do so. Over time, the competitive advantage held by the U.S. Army over the armies of potential peer adversaries has eroded; its overmatch is being challenged in all domains. Consistent with the Army Chief of Staff’s intent for a command that could effectively “combine elements of Army Futures, concept development, requirements and acquisition to ensure we remain the preeminent ground fighting force well into the future,” this paper studies the potential utility of activating an Army Combat Developments Command. Drawing historic lessons and insights from the United States Army Combat Developments Command (USACDC, 1962–1974), this study highlights how activating a Combat Developments Command today could help the Army to modernize—build overmatch capabilities coupled with mission-effective operational concepts and organizational changes—better and faster than potential peer adversaries in peace and to 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.


Fighting for the Land—from the Sea
by Brian J. Dunn (Land Warfare Paper 116, December 2017)

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.


Your Soldier, Your Army: A Family Guide
by Vicki Cody (ILW Special Report, September 2017)

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.


Conventional Munitions Industrial Base
by Scott S. Haraburda (Land Warfare Paper 113, August 2017)

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.


★ ★ ★      2016      ★ ★ ★

Characteristics of Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Leader Development
by Steven Estes, Joel M. Miller and Marcus D. Majure (Land Warfare Paper 111, November 2016)

In this Land Warfare Paper, the authors look at two ROTC programs in the light of two models of leader development over a period of eight years to assess leader development characteristics and the effectiveness of program implementation. The models of leader development referred to—the Army Leader Development Program and the Higher Education Research Institute’s A Social Change Model of Leadership Development: Guidebook Version III (Astin and Astin, 1996)—were both observed as being properly implemented at the two ROTC programs, resulting in characteristics of commitment, values, cultural orientation, experiential learning, intellectual self-development, mentoring and leader assessment. Based on these observations, it is arguable that Army ROTC leader development curriculum is meeting the needs of both Army officer training and higher education leader development goals.


Is India’s Military Modernization Evidence of an Aggressive National Security Policy?
by Christopher L. Budihas (Land Warfare Paper 110, October 2016)

In this Land Warfare Paper, Budihas looks back to six years ago when a group of defense policy analysts studied and wrote about India’s status and projected growth. Collectively, these authors claimed that India was increasing its military capacity commensurate with its rising economic power, and they suggested that the United States could influence India to use its modernizing military to support U.S. goals vis-à-vis China. Current evidence, however, in contrast with the events forecasted by these writers, reveals that India has shown neither the political fortitude nor the military capability to prosecute aggressive security strategies. In point of fact, India gives its domestic economy priority over military spending. Ultimately, then, it would be a miscalculation for the United States to rely on India to counterbalance China in the Asia–Pacific.


2016 Profile of the United States Army
(ILW Special Report, July 2016)

Profile of the United States Army takes a top-down approach, first describing the Army’s role as a key element in the national security structure and then laying out the “why” and “how” of the Army’s organization. It also contains information and helpful graphics on the Soldier, the uniform, the Army’s command structure, Army families, installations and current operations. Finally, Profile contains a glossary of acronyms and also a series of maps that illustrate locations of current Army combat corps and divisions, Army National Guard divisions and brigade combat teams and Army Reserve direct reporting commands.


The State of the Cavalry: An Analysis of the U.S. Army’s Reconnaissance and Security Capability
by Amos C. Fox (Landpower Essay 16-1, June 2016)

In this Landpower Essay, Major Amos C. Fox calls for an overhaul of Army R&S capability. As it currently stands, the Army is in a position where its ground R&S capabilities are inadequate to conduct their inherent mission. The Army’s global commitments over the past 15 years are largely to blame. However, there are other critical failures exacerbating the problem, including the Army’s approach to training and educating R&S leaders; the manner in which leaders have been allocated to the R&S formations; the absence of division- and corps-level ground R&S capabilities; and disjointed doctrine. The Army must take a deliberate approach to fixing these deficiencies to be able to fight and win during the next ground war.


The Uncertain Role of the Tank in Modern War: Lessons from the Israeli Experience in Hybrid Warfare
by Michael B. Kim (Land Warfare Paper 109, June 2016)

In this Land Warfare Paper, Kim presents a case study of the Israel Defense Forces’ experience during Operation Protective Edge (2014) in order to inform the role of the M1 Abrams by analyzing hybrid threat trends, examining Army force-structure challenges and assessing the relevancy of combined-arms maneuver—in which the M1 Abrams tank is a key element—in the future operating environment. Based on this case study, the author argues that the role of this tank in the Army of 2015–2025 is to provide a mobile and survivable precision firepower platform to execute effective combined-arms operations against a sophisticated hybrid threat in urban and conventional environments. Given the nature of the military profession and the increasingly limited resources provided by our nation to execute combat, the responsibility to properly allocate resources, direct training and develop force structure is great. The Army must consider modernizing its armored platforms with an active armor protection system and improved munitions.


Strategic Readiness: The U.S. Army as a Global Force
(Defense Report 16-3, June 2016)

This Defense Report calls on events in recent military history that demonstrate the serious cost across multiple spheres that occurs in times of shortfalls and capability gaps. As the nature of operations over the past 25 years has forced the military to focus on particular theaters—in Operation Desert Shield, in Operation Enduring Freedom and in Operation Iraqi Freedom—consistent training for rapid contingency operations has fallen too much by the wayside. The pursuit of meeting short-term needs in the midst of conflicts has come at the expense of overall readiness. Now, to reconstitute the expeditionary mindset and capabilities, the Army has initiated Total Army emergency deployment readiness exercises (EDREs) and companion sea deployment readiness exercises (SEDREs) as a core competency to ensure that the Army is strategically ready and responsive. The first SEDRE in several years, involving an entire brigade combat team of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), occurred in Jacksonville, Florida, in April 2016.


Delivering Materiel Readiness
(Torchbearer Issue Paper, June 2016)

The 21st century security environment—volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous—presents enormous challenges to the joint force. Future trends forecast a continued migration of the world’s populations to urban areas and megacities, a reemergence of nationalistic and religious fervor, a direct or indirect transfer of technology from governments to terrorist organizations and an extension of conflict into cyber and space domains. Ensuring national security continues to require a whole-of-government approach involving not only the military element of power but also economic, diplomatic and informational elements.


Sustaining the All-Volunteer Force: A Readiness Multiplier
(Torchbearer Issue Paper, April 2016)

This Torchbearer Issue Paper postulates that demand for Army forces is high and requires commensurate levels of readiness. Budget reforms threaten to undermine quality of life compensation—in Soldier pay and retirement, in health care, in Basic Allowance for Housing, in Military Construction and in support for the commissaries—to such a degree that the viability of an AVF in the future is called into question. Readiness requires recruiting and retaining the best and the brightest—fit and resilient men and women of character—to volunteer and serve. The quality of life of Soldiers and those who support them is inextricably linked to readiness; ultimately, these reforms, aimed at maintaining readiness in the short term, have the potential to mortgage the military’s future readiness.


National Commission on the Future of the Army: A Potential Blueprint for the Total Army
(Defense Report 16-2, February 2016)

This Defense Report explains that the NCFA was established by Congress to address two major concerns: first, how best to organize and employ the Army despite a decline in resources; and second, whether the Army should consolidate all AH-64 Apache helicopters into the Regular Army. The commission released its report on 28 January 2016, providing 63 recommendations for the President, Congress, the Department of Defense and the Army to consider. Historically, declining resources following the end of a major conflict have invoked reticent response to overcoming challenges. The NCFA report is the beginning, not the end, of the process to determine how the Army will adjust in the next five to ten years. The majority of the recommendations require the Total Army to conduct detailed analysis to implement the suggested changes. The force structure changes are based on the current threat environment, which is constantly changing within the globalized world. Recommendations to better integrate Regular Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve forces are critical to sustaining and maintaining the all-volunteer force.

Until They All Come Home: The Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency
(Defense Report 16-1, February 2016)

This Defense Report explains that three separate organizations—the Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel Office, the Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command and the Air Force Life Sciences Equipment Laboratory—were merged over the last year to form a single organization, the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Action Accounting Agency (DPAA). In laying out the particulars of some of what the DPAA has accomplished, this paper demonstrates how the merger has allowed for better oversight of case research, recovery operations and family communications. Americans owe a great deal to the servicemembers who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect their freedom; DPAA is dedicated to ensuring that they are not forgotten.

African Horizons: The United States Army Working Toward a Secure and Stable Africa
by Douglas W. Merritt (National Security Watch, 1 February 2016)

In this National Security Watch, Merritt notes that while much-deserved attention is given to uncertain situations in the Middle East, the Asia–Pacific and Europe, volatile conditions in Africa are not given the real attention that they require. The size and diversity of the African continent results in a complex environment that requires not only a whole-of-government approach but a synchronized one. With embassies in more than 45 countries on the continent, the Department of State leads the U.S. effort in developing partners in Africa. Although the military solution in Africa is a joint one, the U.S. Army is the primary service building partner capabilities. The Army is partnering with more than 18 countries and is present in every region of Africa conducting engagements in support of U.S. interests. As the cornerstone of the joint force, requiring the capability and capacity to accomplish its mission and facilitate expansion from the other elements of national power, the U.S. Army in Africa must be sufficiently resourced to continue making and improving strategic impacts.