News outlets have been trickling out the story of a possible agreement reached between the United States government and representatives of the Taliban in Afghanistan finally to broker a peace deal in the longest war in United States history. Therefore, it is rather appropriate that I have recently finished reading Ahmed Rashid’s Descent into Chaos: How the war against Islamic extremism is being lost in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia. We need to review some basic questions and assumptions. How this conflict and the occupation of Afghanistan rate in length and expense to other conflicts with which the United States has been involved. Has the blood and treasure expended by the United States and its coalition allies in this conflict truly been wasted? Is it possible that the United States and NATO forces' use of different tactics or strategic goals would have changed the situation on the ground in Afghanistan in 2019?
Terrorism and terrorism studies seem to have taken a back seat in the public consciousness of late. At least it appears to have in regards to the subject of National Security. Most governments have shifted focus back to great power confrontations and the desire to escape from the long wars we have been fighting for the last 18 years and focus instead on the more familiar aspect of state on state traditional maneuver warfare. However, terrorist and terrorist attacks still occur and we are likely to see an undercurrent of terrorism studies persist.Open Source Jihad takes a meta-analysis of the academic pursuit. Not looking at terrorism itself but attempting to quantify our attempts to study this phenomenon effectively.
Insurgencies and Counterinsurgencies: National Styles and Strategic Cultures should be taken as a cautionary text by those involved in all aspects of national security; from the tactical level of the Lieutenant in charge of a platoon, through the field grade officer in charge of operational concerns, through to those who create the national strategy followed by all.
Two forces - the global economy and the nature of conflict changing and shifting - are the most likely aspects of ongoing change that will affect United States joint and multinational military operations. These changes will require the United States military to be a more dynamic and a more flexible force.
Since its discovery by Western scholars The Art of War by Sun Tzu has influenced and shaped military education, strategy, and tactics. Its impact has reached beyond military applications to affect business and social life as well. However, it seems that some of the basic tenets of the book and the lessons it teaches need are seldom accurately remembered and need to be constantly relearned by western leadership. It would serve them well to remember the words of Sun Tzu.
On October 31 2018, the Justice Department of the United States issued charges against two Chinese nationals for being intelligence operatives for the Chinese Ministry of State Security. The activities of the MSS highlight the precarious and desirous position that American knowledge, industrial secrets, and ingenuity still hold as the pinnacle of intellectual know-how. For the Soviets, after the horror of the First World War and the shocking self inflicted damage of their own civil war, the stakes must have seemed even higher.
November marks the centenary of the end of the First World War. Living in the United Kingdom, as I do at the moment, this is a significant event. The Spy Net by Henry Landau, would seem to help fill the gap. One would expect to find the stories of daring patriots risking life and limb to provide information to the Triple Entente to stop the plans of the vile Huns.
79 years ago this month, Nazi troops faked an attack on a German Radio station. By the end of September 1939 the world was in the grips of a second world war.
Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein My rating: 4 of 5 stars I was never a big fan of military science fiction growing up. Oh, I was a huge fan of Star Trek, and still am, but never a fan of “hard” military science fiction. Star Trek, although inarguably set in a military situation, was …
Anticipating Surprise: Analysis for Strategic Warning by Cynthia M. Grabo My rating: 3 of 5 stars Fair warning here, no pun intended, Anticipating Surprise: Analysis for Strategic Warning is a difficult book to get through. It is based on a previously classified book by Cynthia M. Grabo to teach CIA analysts how to conduct warning …