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PODCAST: More Irregular Warfare Fun

This is Part Two of my session with Lieutenant Colonel Brian A. Payne and David Kasten of the U.S. Army Irregular Warfare Center (AIWC) at the Jefferson Hotel bar here in Washington, DC.   Did you listen to Part One?  If not, you missed out on bands in Haiti, coffee in Bosnia, training for human based skills, …

Iraq’s Labors Lost

“Have you forgotten your labors so far?” -Theseus to Heracles, Euripides’s Heracles   In Euripides’s telling of Heracles’s pre-divine adventures, the playwright breaks from the narrative recorded by Diodorus and Cicero by inverting the two major events in the Heracles myth. Euripides’ Heracles, instead of going about his labors as penance for murdering his wife …

The New Normal: Instability after the Arab Spring

Thirty months after the events that kicked off the Arab Spring, the various countries that saw massive upheaval remain, well, in upheaval.  Egypt’s lauded democratization project has reached a stalemate with the military-backed ouster of Mohamed Morsi, whose tenure ended after barely reaching the one-year anniversary of his ascension to the presidency.  Hundreds have been …

In Search of an End-State for Syria, or Not

In a recent letter to Senator Carl Levin, General Martin Dempsey – the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – outlined a series of military options the U.S. and its partners could carry out in response to continuing violence in Syria.  This list of military options included: a mission to train, advise and assist Syrian …

Let Strategy Drive Procurement

Strategists are keenly aware of the necessity to match ends, ways, and means in times of war. Unfortunately, in peacetime, strategy is often subordinated to the politics of defense dollars going to Congressional districts or the inertia of programs of record.  Yet it is equally important to consider strategy in peacetime – particularly since it …

Podcast: Talking COIN with the folks from the Army Irregular Warfare Center

I recently sat down with Lieutenant Colonel Brian A. Payne and David Kasten of the U.S. Army Irregular Warfare Center (AIWC) at the Jefferson Hotel bar here in Washington, DC.  This is part one of that conversation.  Brian is the Director of AWIC and David is its Chief of Interagency Coordination. Our guests show that irregular …

Rumor Busting: Benghazi, the Brotherhood, and Interpretation of Data

A couple of weeks ago, I testified at a House hearing on the terrorist threat in North Africa. The hearing closed with a line of questions from one legislator about whether the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi might have been responsible for the notorious September 11th attack on the U.S. consulate in …

Admiral Xiao’s Influence and Beyond

Admiral Xiao Jinguang was the first commander of the PRC’s navy. He was in charge of the Navy from 1950 to 1980–a period even longer than Sergei Gorshkov (1956-1985). Xiao survived various purges, the machinations of Lin Biao (before Lin himself fell from power), and the Cultural Revolution. At one point, he was attacked, and …

Making the QDR a Success

Does the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) matter? Former Pentagon strategist and current CNAS Vice President Shawn Brimley recently commented, “With wars ending, budgets declining, technology proliferating, and other powers rising, a real window of opportunity to reshape U.S. defense strategy has opened for the first time since the end of the Cold War.” The Atlantic …

Walter Lacqueur on Europe’s Decline

Spiegel Online has posted an interview with Walter Lacquer and it’s the most pessimistic thing I’ve read this summer (and I read, think, and write about war all day, so that’s saying something). To say he doesn’t have a rosy view of Europe’s future is an understatement: “Europe will not be buried by ashes, like …

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