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  • Author: Amy Zalman
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: The title of Moises Naim's newest book is an apt summary of its basic thesis. The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn't What it Used to Be is about exactly that: how the large institutions and bureaucracies that have controlled territory, ideology and wealth for the last several hundred years have been compelled to cede this control to numerous smaller players.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: When I looked at the intelligence system, as the Chief Intelligence Officer for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S. Forces Afghanistan in 2009, I realized that for us to be successful with President Obama's new population-centric strategy we had to refocus on the right aspects of the environment. We were focused to a large degree – I would say 95 percent – on the enemy networks (e.g. Taliban, the Haqqani Network, etc.). We had tremendous fidelity on those issues because we had been studying them for years. What we quickly realized was that we had no knowledge, no real understanding of the various tribal elements within Afghanistan. We had to understand the cultures that existed, the dynamics of the type of government that we were trying to support and the population centers in which we were actually operating. We honestly did not have any deep understanding of any of that. We were trying to figure out who was who, from the local governments on up to the national government, and we did not have any captured data, information or knowledge. We did not have that real depth of understanding that we had in other places – in Iraq it took us a while to get there. Those conditions led me and two colleagues to sit down and put our thoughts together to say we needed to do something different. We needed to completely realign our focus to the population and to the build out of the Afghan National Security Forces. We outlined the color system: the red, the white, the green, and the blue. The red was the enemy; white was the population; green was Afghan National Security Forces; and blue was us. We had a really good picture of the red and the blue, but we had no picture of the green or the white, and it was really stunning. So, we decided to put our thoughts down on paper.
  • Topic: Government, National Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Stuart W. Bowen, JR., Craig Collier
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: From 2004-2012, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) conducted 387 inspections and audits of U.S.-funded projects and programs that supported stabilization and reconstruction operations in Iraq. Most of SIGIR's reviews focused on large-scale projects or programs. In a recent special report, SIGIR accomplished a novel study examining a particular part of the rebuilding effort. That report reviewed the remarkably diverse spectrum of programs and projects executed in a crucial geographic area in Iraq, the Rusafa Political district, delving into who built what and at what cost. The nature of this new report opens the door to deeper perspectives on what was actually achieved – and how it was achieved–by various U.S. government agencies operating during operation Iraqi Freedom (oIF). SIGIR elicited seven lessons-learned from the study, which conclude this article.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: What lessons have you personally drawn from the decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan? Blair: The decade of war is really two decades of war–from the time the Cold War ended in about 1989 through the disappearance of the Soviet threat and the involvement of the United States in a series of individual military actions. What I've learned is that we need to do a better job thinking these conflicts all the way through before we engage in them. Because it turns out that we are relearning an old lesson, which is the use of military force is only a part of improving a situation and protecting American interests in a particular country or region. Too often, we think that a military victory itself will cause the desired result. In fact many other factors come in to play; economic development, social development, government improvement. These are not accomplished by the U.S. alone, and certainly not by American military force alone, but often with allies and other partners, and with other civilian capabilities. I think we have not thought them through carefully as to the end state that we are trying to achieve. Next we need to be realistic about the resources that are required; military, civil, and other. I'm afraid these are old lessons that need to be relearned, not new lessons, but they certainly have been borne out as some of the shortcomings of the interventions we have made in recent years. I would add, by the way, that I am not one who says our military interventions since 1989 have all been disasters. I think on the whole they have made the world a better place; bad people who were around then aren't around now, from Manuel Noriega to Saddam Hussein through Slobodan Milosevic and others; so it is not that our military interventions have been wasted. On the contrary–but we need to make sure that we get the maximum possible benefit from them and intervene in a smart way.
  • Topic: Cold War, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Robert Hoekstra, Charles Tucker Jr.
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: Drawing on the lessons learned from coalition interventions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, by mid-2004, a consensus developed within the executive branch, Congress, and among independent experts that the U.S. Government required a more robust capacity to prevent conflict (when possible) and (when necessary) to manage “Stabilization and Reconstruction Operations [SROs] in countries emerging from conflict or civil strife.”
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kosovo
  • Author: Phil Williams
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: After the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the United States encountered a series of strategic surprises, including the hostility to the occupation, the fragility of Iraq's infrastructure, and the fractious nature of Iraqi politics. One of the least spectacular but most significant of these surprises was the rise of organized crime and its emergence as a postconflict spoiler. This development was simply not anticipated. Organized crime in Iraq in the months and years after March 2003 emerged as a major destabilizing influence, increasing the sense of lawlessness and public insecurity, undermining the efforts to regenerate the economy, and financing the violent opposition to the occupation forces. In 2003, the theft of copper from downed electric pylons made the restoration of power to the national grid much more difficult. In 2008, the capacity to generate funds through criminal activities enabled al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) to continue resisting both the U.S. military and the Iraqi government. Moreover, with the planned U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, organized crime in the country will continue to flourish by maintaining well established crime-corruption networks. It might also expand by exploiting the continued weakness of the Iraqi state.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq