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  • Author: Michael Miklaucic
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: The hardest call during my first year in the Senate was my vote to authorize military force in Syria to punish President Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons against his citizens. When I was sworn in on January 3rd, 2013, I expected difficult votes. But I did not anticipate such a profound vote within my first nine months. Only the 18 Senators who serve on he Foreign Relations Committee had to take that vote on September 4, following President Barack Obama's decision to ask Congress to formally authorize a military response. But as tough as the vote was, I am glad the President brought it to Congress instead of proceeding on his own.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: It's an honor to return to the National Defense University. Here, at Fort McNair, Americans have served in uniform since 1791– standing guard in the early days of the Republic, and contemplating the future of warfare here in the 21st century.
  • Topic: Cold War, Terrorism, Law
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, America, Europe
  • Author: Douglas Farah
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: Over the past decade the Northern Triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) has earned the unenviable position as one of the world's most violent and lawless regions.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: America, Mexico
  • Author: James Dobbins
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: Last summer, in response to a directive from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey, the Joint Staff issued a short summary of lessons learned from the past decade of military operations. The document, entitled Decade of War, Volume 1 frankly and cogently acknowledges mistakes made over this period, and particularly during the first half of the decade, that is to say between the invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001 and the surge of troops into Iraq in early 2007. Among the admitted deficiencies were the failure to adequately grasp the operating environment, a reliance on conventional tactics to fight unconventional enemies, an inability to articulate a convincing public narrative, and poor interagency coordination. The document is testimony to the capacity of the American military for self-criticism and eventual correction, albeit not always in time to avoid costly setbacks.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, America
  • Author: Jeff Rice
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: Fred Kaplan's The Insurgents is a highly successful and compelling intermingling of three stories: the rise and eventual fall of General David Petraeus; the intellectual history of counterinsurgency; and the broadening of the learning culture within the United States Military during the Iraq war. Indeed, the heroes of the book are the “insurgents” within the U.S. Army who all but overthrew the dominant paradigm of kinetic warfare in favor of ideas derived from England and France during the end of the colonial era.1 Kaplan's book picks up on the story told by Tom Ricks in The Gamble2 about how this intellectual insurgency transformed the way the U.S. fought the war in Iraq, preferring the counterinsurgency (COIN) approach to protecting civilians from insurgents and lowering their casualty rate, and building alliances in order to reduce the number of insurgents. For Kaplan this is nothing short of a profound alteration of the American way of war, one that caused enormous consternation amongst certain sectors of the military who were wedded to a more conventional approach to war.
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, America
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: After a career at the Department of State, and now serving as Deputy Administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development [USAID], how would you characterize the differences in organizational culture between State and USAID?
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Andrea Barbara Baumann
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: American-led interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan are drawing to an end and the political climate inside the Beltway has turned decidedly hostile toward large deployments of U.S. troops and civilians overseas. Consequently, stability operations have dropped off the radar for many analysts and commentators. The policy community that once feverishly tackled questions over how to stabilize foreign countries through the extended deployment of military and civilian capabilities under various labels (most prominently state- or nation-building and/or population- centric counterinsurgency) is shifting its gaze elsewhere. With growing hindsight, the entire endeavor is often declared as flawed from the start. In addition to this sense of strategic failure, a drop in political attention now heightens the risk of losing hard-earned insights from these operations. This is therefore a crucial time to evaluate the institutional developments that operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have spurred.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, America
  • Author: Dov S. Zakheim
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: The United States has been fighting wars, to a greater or lesser extent, for the better part of the past 20 years. Indeed, hardly a year has passed during that period in which American forces were not involved in combat somewhere in the world. At the same time, the extent to which the United States and its military should be involved in nation-building, which increasingly was tied to the outcome of American military operations, became a major issue during the 1990s. In fact, there were two aspects to this issue, both of which were, and still are, hotly debated.
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Michael J. Williams
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: Using history to understand the present can be a useful tool, but it is also a limited one. Historical cases are not identical to contemporary ones, and there is a danger of conflating challenges in such a manner that, rather than illuminating a present challenge, history obfuscates it. This problem tends to be evident in the inaccurate use of analogies by policymakers, commentators, and analysts. Such may be the case in the contemporary American debate over the state of U.S. engagement in Afghanistan. Since President Barack Obama came to office in 2009 and deployed an additional 60,000 troops to Afghanistan in the first year of his administration, the debate over continued U.S. involvement has been dogged by analogies to Vietnam. But it is not readily apparent that Vietnam is an appropriate analogy for understanding the current challenge the United States faces in Afghanistan.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, America
  • Author: Antulio J. Echevarria II
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: Our understanding of the American way of war begins in 1973 with the publication of historian Russell Weigley's classic work, The American Way of War: A History of U.S. Military Strategy and Policy. Weigley maintained that after the Civil War, American military strategy essentially narrowed from the practice of two types, annihilation and attrition, to one, annihilation. as the united states experienced a “rapid rise from poverty of resources to plenty,” he argued, so too the American way of war tended to opt for strategies of annihilation, largely because it could. as a consequence, however, the further evolution of strategies of attrition was cut short, and American military strategy became unidimensional, or imbalanced. that, according to Weigley, was part of the problem with the Vietnam conflict. the other part of the problem, in his view, was that the era of using military force rationally to achieve the aims of policy was nearing its end.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Vietnam