Weekend Reading: Vive La France Edition


France and its friends and allies are still reeling from yesterday’s Mumbai-style assault on multiple targets across Paris.

Last night in Paris, gunmen laden with explosive belts attacked a concert hall, the Stade de France sports stadium, and restaurants in the 10th and 11th arrondissements. At least three suicide bombers detonated their devices outside the stadium. The current death toll stands at 128. The largest bloodbath of the night was at the concert hall, the Bataclan, where approximately 80 people were killed.  The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack. The French president has also claimed that the Islamic State was behind it. For the most up to date information on what we know (and what we do not know), Reuters has a useful live feed, coverage by France 24 has been high quality, and CNN is also pulling in a lot of data quickly.  We also recommend the Twitter feeds of Will McCants, Thomas Hegghammer, Clint Watts, Petter Nesser, and BuzzFeed News.

Earlier this year, of course, Paris suffered another terrorist assault. See the advice that these American counterterrorism experts then gave for France’s war on terrorism. And read this article by Clint Watts on what the Islamic State-al Qaeda split means for jihadist attacks in the West.

We need art to understand war. That’s the argument the folks at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center have been making to great effect with their Art of Future Warfare project. They have released a pathbreaking collection of war stories from the future with a foreword by none other than General Martin E. Dempsey, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Want more? Also check out Joe Byerly making the case for including fiction on military reading lists (and no, not just Once an Eagle).

We don’t want to bring back the draft, but the All-Volunteer Force does have some negative consequences that should be addressed. Kenneth Allard, himself a former draftee, gives his take at RealClearDefense.

Check out these charts on American wars over at The Bridge. Where has the United States fought, for how long, and how? These charts lay it out for you.

The Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) has been making a lot of news lately. The ~$80 billion contract for 100 of these new bombers (meant to replace these platforms) was awarded to Northrop Grumman. This decision was promptly challenged by the losing parties, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, and the contract is now under review. There have been a number of high-quality LRS-B articles at the Atlantic Council’s blog, The Defense IndustrialistWar on the Rocks has run a series of articles on the LRS-B over the last year or so:

What you missed from WOTR this week: