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  • Author: Dr. Christopher Sims
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The Human Terrain System embedded civilians primarily in brigade combat teams (BCTs) in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2007 and 2014 to act as a collection and dispersal mechanism for sociocultural comprehension. Set against the backdrop of the program’s evolution, the experiences of these social scientists clarifies the U.S. Army’s decision to integrate social scientists at the tactical level in conflict. Based on interviews, program documents, material from Freedom of Information Act requests, and secondary sources, this book finds a series of limiting factors inhibiting social science research at the tactical level, common to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Complexity in integrating civilians into the military decision-making cycle, creating timely research with a high level of fidelity, and making granular research resonate with brigade staff all contributed to inhibiting the overall effect of the Human Terrain System. Yet, while high operational tempo in contested spaces complicates social science research at the tactical level, the author argues that there is a continued requirement for a residual capability to be maintained by the U.S. Army.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, United States of America
  • Author: Dr. M. Chris Mason
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Events on world battlefields over the past two years should give the U.S. Army pause to reconsider the entire Foreign Internal Defense (FID) mission. The seemingly unarguable axiom that "good training makes good soldiers" has been proven to be not always true. Good training does not always make good soldiers. If the definition of a good soldier is "a member of the armed forces who stands and fights for his or her country," then a good deal of money has been spent in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere without measurable and sustainable success. More than a third of all Afghan defense forces trained with U.S. taxpayer money desert in Afghanistan each year, and in Iraq they simply disappear.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Education, Nationalism, Military Strategy, Labor Issues, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Steve Tatham
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The author explains how sophisticated social science research and behavioral profiling can be used to warn us of impeding issues and how that information might be used by senior strategy makers as a tool for testing and refining strategy. He makes a compelling case that the science of Target Audience Analysis (TAA) is now so well advanced that it must become a key component of future strategic decision-making. The author views social media as just another communication conduit, and sees this as a continuum of wrong activities being undertaken. In Iraq and Afghanistan, he saw how big public relations and marketing companies cost the U.S. taxpayer millions of dollars in ultimately failed communication and propaganda campaigns. Social media, he argues, has become yet another blank checkbook for companies who rely on creative energy rather than empirical understanding to produce communications campaigns. Instead, he argues for far greater resource in TAA and greater understanding by federal agencies of what is and is not possible or desirable in their communication efforts. To this end, he looks in particular at the U.S. Agency for International Development relief work in Pakistan and argues that the communication objectives set at the start of the projects are almost unattainable, even naive in their presumptions.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Social Media
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq
  • Author: Dr. M. Chris Mason
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan were lost before they began, not on the battlefields, where the United States won every tactical engagement, but at the strategic level of war. In each case, the U.S. Government attempted to create a Western-style democracy in countries which were decades at least away from being nations with the sociopolitical capital necessary to sustain democracy and, most importantly, accept it as a legitimate source of governance. The expensive indigenous armies created in the image of the U.S. Army lacked both the motivation to fight for illegitimate governments in Saigon, Baghdad, and Kabul and a cause that they believed was worth dying for, while their enemies in the field clearly did not. This book examines the Afghan National Security Forces in historical and political contexts, explains why they will fail at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war, why they cannot and will not succeed in holding the southern half of the country, and what will happen in Afghanistan year-by-year from 2015 to 2019. Finally, it examines what the critical lessons unlearned of these conflicts are for U.S. military leaders, why these fundamental political lessons seem to remain unlearned, and how the strategic mistakes of the past can be avoided in the future.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Politics, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam
  • Author: Azeem Ibrahim
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The Syrian civil war has allowed al-Qaeda to recover from its setbacks up to 2010. Its main affiliate in the region seems to be testing a new strategy of collaboration with other Salafist-Jihadist groups and a less brutal implementation of Sharia law in areas it controls. In combination, this might allow the Al Nusrah Front to carve out the sort of territorial control of a region (or state) that al-Qaeda has sought ever since its eviction from Afghanistan. On the other hand, Syria has also seen a civil war between two al-Qaeda inspired factions (Al Nusrah and the Iraq based Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIS]) and indicates there are limits to its ability to cooperate with other anti-Assad factions and gain popular appeal. The extent that the Syrian civil war offers the means for al-Qaeda to recover from its earlier defeats will determine whether the organization has a future, or if it will become simply an ideology and label adopted by various Islamist movements fighting their own separate struggles.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Thomas R. Mockaiti
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Private contractors have become an essential but highly problematic element in the U.S. military's total force structure. The Army in particular relies heavily on contractors to perform duties that free up Soldiers for combat roles. The vast majority of these civilian employees provide logistical and technical support. They build facilities, do laundry, and staff dining halls on U.S. bases at home and abroad. While some of these contractors have been involved in issues of waste, fraud, and abuse, these issues do not have a significant Effect on the conduct of contingency operations, especially counterinsurgency (COIN) campaigns.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: John R. Deni
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: As the United States and its allies prepare to withdraw most of their military forces from Afghanistan and following the end of the war in Iraq, fundamental questions have arisen over the future of American Landpower. Among them are the role of allies and partners in terms of contributing to the safeguarding of shared global interests, the implications of the Pacific rebalancing for American alliances worldwide, and the role of Landpower in identifying, developing, and maintaining critical alliances, partnerships, and other relationships. To examine these and other questions, as well as to formulate potential solutions to the challenges facing U.S. national security in the coming decade, the U.S. Army War College gathered a panel of experts on alliances and partnerships for the 24th Annual Strategy Conference in Carlisle, PA. Conducted on April 9-11, 2013, the conference explored American Landpower implications associated with an evolving national security strategy. Chaired by the Strategic Studies Institute’s Dr. John R. Deni, the panel devoted to alliances and partnerships featured expert presentations based on the papers in this edited volume by Dr. Sean Kay, Dr. Carol Atkinson, and Dr. William Tow. Their analyses provided the U.S. Army and the U.S. Department of Defense with invaluable strategic assessments and insights.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, National Security, Military Affairs, Global Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, United States of America