- Pentagon Budget Focuses on Evolving Challenges by Voice of America
Secretary of Defense Carter has laid out his military spending priorities for the 2017 budget, reflecting efforts to counter Russia's assertiveness and fight Islamic State militants.
- 6,500 Coalition Troops in Iraq; U.S. Wants More by Voice of America
Seventeen coalition member countries have sent more than 6,500 soldiers to Iraq to help in the fight against IS – and the U.S. is calling for more.
- Army Faces a "Crisis of Relevance," Rand Expert Warns by Minneapolis Star Tribune and RAND Corporation
"The Army now faces a 'crisis of relevance' for its future enemies."
- The United States Should Admit It No Longer Has a Middle East Policy by Foreign Policy
“One thing is clear: The playbook we’ve been using since the 1940s isn’t going to cut it anymore.”
- Afghanistan Fight Requires Unwavering Commitment by Voice of America
“Now, more than ever, the United States should not waiver on Afghanistan,” General Campbell, the outgoing commander of Operation Resolute Support told lawmakers.”
- If Russia Started a War in the Baltics, NATO Would Lose - Quickly by RAND Corporation and Foreign Policy
“If Russian tanks and troops rolled into the Baltics tomorrow, outgunned and outnumbered NATO forces would be overrun in under three days.”
- PLA Reforms: Toward Winning 'Informationised Local Wars' by The Interpreter
“China announced a series of major comprehensive reforms for the People's Liberation Army that will likely shape China's military modernisation trajectory for the next decade.”
- Obama Is Pressed to Open Military Front Against ISIS in Libya by The New York Times
“President Obama is being pressed by some of his top national security aides to approve the use of American military power in Libya to open up another front against the...
- The Most Valuable Player List by Keith Nightingale
This Sunday the Nation will be transfixed with Super Sunday Super Bowl #50.
- The Islamic State is Still on the Rise by The Washington Post
“Though IS has lost about 25 percent of the territory it held at its peak, it has meanwhile established an international presence, on the ground and in cyberspace.”
- Fewer Fighters in Iraq/Syria as IS Focuses on 'Third Capital' by Voice of America
“Some US officials are heralding new intelligence on the number of IS fighters as a sign the tide is starting to turn in the battle against the group but there...
- Assad Regime Gains in Aleppo Alter Balance of Power in Northern Syria by Institute for the Study of War
“Battlefield realities rather than great power politics will determine the ultimate terms of a settlement to end the Syrian Civil War.”
- Paradoxes of the Gray Zone by The Foreign Policy Research Institute
“Gray, it seems, is the new black. The concept of ‘gray zone’ conflict has generated significant attention and controversy recently.”
- COIN Scorecard Update by RAND Corporation
“With the transition of responsibility for COIN operations to Afghan security forces, the United States should continue to both bolster Afghan COIN capabilities.”
- Islamic State No Longer So Formidable On The Battlefield by The Washington Post
“The Islamic State’s recent defeats on the battlefield signal that its once-vaunted militia army has been hobbled.”
- Who’s Out of Control? by Colin Griffin
The rigidity of the military’s career system has consequences far more dire than dissatisfied junior officers or talent flight.
- Academics in Foxholes: The Life and Death of the Human Terrain System by Foreign Affairs
“And yet for all of its promise, the Human Terrain System failed to deliver.”
- Navy, Air Force Lag Behind in Professionalism, Top Pentagon Official Says by Military Times
“A force-wide look at misconduct among senior military officers — and the efforts to prevent it — found significant differences among the services’ cultures.”
- Moderate Syrian Rebel Factions Face Wipe-Out by Voice of America
"Some forecast an implosion of secular and less religious-based militias aligned with the Western-backed Free Syrian Army in northern Syria."
- Marine Corps Gazette Twofer: IW Evolution and a Response by Marine Corps Gazette
Continue on for “Evolving the Marine Corps for Irregular Warfare” and “Sprinting to Fight the Last War: A Response to “Evolving the Marine Corps for Irregular Warfare”
- NATO Adapts to More Subtle Warfare Techniques by The Wall Street Journal
“A new hybrid warfare playbook would attempt to lay out the kind of assistance the alliance would provide should a member state come under outside pressure from Russia.”
- Pentagon Orders Commanders to Prioritize Climate Change in All Military Actions by The Washington Times
No, this is not a Duffel Blog piece.
- DNI’s 2016 Worldwide Threat Assessment by SWJ Editors
Continue on for a link to the prepared assessment dated 9 February.
- Intelligence Officials: IS Determined to Strike U.S. this Year by Associated Press
“Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and other officials described the Islamic State as the ‘pre-eminent terrorist threat.’”
- See Something, Say Something (About Benghazi - 13 Hours) by G. Murphy Donovan
Who, what, where, when, and why are the traditional elements of both exposition and fiction. Cinema is often a little of both.
- U.S. Envoy: ‘A Long Way to Go’ in Fight Against the Islamic State by The Washington Post
“We have a long ways to go, given the enormous complexity of this challenge.”
- Why the West is Standing by Amid Russia's Campaign in Syria by The Christian Science Monitor
“No one in the West has the appetite to confront Russia as it pursues its interests in the Middle East.”
- Russian Intervention in Syrian War Has Sharply Reduced U.S. Options by The New York Times
“There may be a military solution, one senior American official conceded Wednesday, ‘just not our solution.’”
- Russia Pitches Syria Cease-fire, West Skeptical by Voice of America
“Russia is proposing talks about a cease-fire in Syria, but European diplomats are skeptical about the offer.”
- Thoughts as I Watch My Army Walk Away from Counterinsurgency Once Again by Foreign Policy
“The ability to win the big one is vital, but so is the ability to win the small wars. We paid a price for forgetting what we learned in Vietnam.”
- Syria: Cessation of Hostilities to Begin in a Week by Voice of America
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday major powers have agreed to seek a cessation of hostilities in Syria to begin in one week’s time.
- Syria Peace Talks: What Assad and the Rebels Say by SWJ Editors
The players that count say…
- Russia Plays Familiar Hand in Syria by The Wall Street Journal
“Russia’s strategy is negotiations from the position of strength for pro-Assad forces.”
- The North Korean Threat: Where Do We Go From Here? by Vocativ
“After its latest test of a long-range rocket, the nuclear threat from North Korea has re-emerged as a major global challenge.”
- Absentee Ballot Precincts by Keith Nightingale
When you leave your house to vote, remember that the most important precincts are the ones you can't see.
- Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War by Voice of America
While world powers gathered to negotiate a cease-fire, forces on the ground grew increasingly desperate, resorting to shifting strategies and alliances to survive.
- Academic Journal "Defence Strategic Communications" by NATO Strategic Communications
Continue on for information concerning NATO's new journal "Defence Strategic Communications" and a link to the first issue.
- On Syria: Thank You, Russia! by The Boston Globe
"Once again, Moscow has shown itself better able to make strategic choices than we are."
- An Analysis of the Candidates on National Security and Defense Issues: Senator Bernie Sanders by Gary Anderson
This is the first in a series of analyses of the candidates’ national security positions based primarily on information gleaned from their web sites.
- Global Radical Islamist Insurgency by SWJ Editors
“Global Radical Islamist Insurgency: AL QAEDA AND ISLAMIC STATE NETWORKS FOCUS: A Small Wars Journal Anthology”
- On Service and the F-35 by William Herbert
To examine where the drive for the F-35 has gone astray we can look at the second of the Air Force’s core tenets: service before self.
- Is Canada Training a Separatist Army in Iraq? by Radio Canada International
"In the millennia-old history of Kurds, there has never been a time when this ancient people of the Middle East were so tantalisingly close to statehood."
- The Commander in Chief’s Constituents by Keith Nightingale
Lincoln recognized both the inequity and the meaning of this circumstance and he established the first absentee voting system for those engaged in our Civil War.
- An Analysis of the Candidates on National Security and Defense Issues: Donald Trump by Gary Anderson
This is the second in a series of analyses of the candidates’ national security positions based primarily on information gleaned from their web sites.
- U.S. Had Cyberattack Planned if Iran Nuclear Negotiations Failed by The New York Times
"The plan, code named Nitro Zeus, was designed to disable Iran’s air defenses, communications systems and key parts of its power grid."
- From Stalemate to Settlement by RAND Corporation
From Stalemate to Settlement: Lessons for Afghanistan from Historical Insurgencies That Have Been Resolved Through Negotiations by Colin P. Clarke and Christopher Paul, RAND Corporation.
- An Analysis of the Candidates on National Security and Defense Issues: Hillary Clinton by Gary Anderson
This is the third in a series of analyses of the candidates’ national security positions based primarily on information gleaned from their web sites.
- Putin Hasn’t Given Up His Designs on Ukraine by The Wall Street Journal
“Russian-backed separatists have sharply increased their attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk—a stark reminder that President Vladimir Putin hasn’t given up his designs on eastern Ukraine.”
- U.S. Airstrikes Have Destroyed IS Cash Worth Hundreds of Millions by Stars & Stripes
“The United States has been able to identify buildings as key financial centers for the Islamic State through intelligence collected.”
- David Kilcullen: Rise of Terror, Displacement is the "New Norm" by The Australian
"The world must adjust to the growth of Islamic State and the displacement of millions of people from the Middle East as the 'new normal'."
- An Analysis of the Candidates on National Security and Defense Issues: Ted Cruz by Gary Anderson
This is the fourth in a series of analyses of the candidates’ national security positions based primarily on information gleaned from their web sites.
- Russia Seizes Upper Hand as U.S. Flounders in Syria by Stars & Stripes
“Unity between air and ground forces and a clear objective have enabled the Russians to turn the tide of the Syrian civil war.”
- Video: Anonymous Soldiers - How Terrorism Undermined Britain's Rule Over Palestine by Georgetown University Center for Security Studies
Dr. Bruce Hoffman, Director of the Georgetown University Security Studies Program, presents "Anonymous Soldiers: How Terrorism Undermined Britain's Rule Over Palestine".
- Overhauling the Army for the Age of Irregular Warfare by The Wall Street Journal
“The U.S. military isn’t prepared to wage long fights against Islamic State and other enemies.”
- Mad Scientist Speaker Series: Megacities and Dense Urban Areas by SWJ Editors
Please join the TRADOC G2 for an online discussion of Megacities and Dense Urban Areas in 2025 and Beyond with Frank Prautzsch on 23 February 1400 EST. Continue on for...
- Afghanistan is in Bad Shape, and it Could Get Worse by The Interpreter
“Overshadowed by the violence in Syria, news from Afghanistan rarely makes headlines unless it is a reminder of the dire situation there.”
- An Analysis of the Candidates on National Security and Defense Issues: Marco Rubio by Gary Anderson
This is the fifth in a series of analyses of the candidates’ national security positions based primarily on information gleaned from their web sites.
- How IS Has Been Making Enemies in Afghanistan by The British Broadcasting Corporation
"No Afghan will be surprised that Kunar was one of the first places where IS - or Da'esh as we call it - appeared. The region has always had a...
- When Peacekeepers Come Home by The New York Times
“The current environment - many conflicts at once - has created a seller’s market for peacekeepers.”
- Echoes of 1991 Gulf War Linger on in Mideast by Associated Press
"25 years after the first U.S. Marines swept across the border into Kuwait, American forces are battling the extremist Islamic State group, born out of al-Qaida."
- A Fast-Growing Club: Countries that Use Drones for Killing by Tribune News Service
“The United States and Britain fly U.S.-made armed drones and Israel builds its own. Three newcomers — Nigeria, Pakistan and Iraq — all took advantage of China's growing exports.”
- An Analysis of the Candidates on National Security and Defense Issues: John Kasich by Gary Anderson
This is the sixth in a series of analyses of the candidates’ national security positions based primarily on information gleaned from their web sites.
- Is the Powell Doctrine Dead and Gone? by The Modern War Institute
"Is it still a useful or even relevant way for junior officers to think about the U.S. Army as a global force prepared to win in an increasing complex world?"
- CTC Sentinel - February 2016 Issue Now Online by Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
Continue on for links to the February 2016 issue of the CTC Sentinel.
- President Obama on Closing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center by SWJ Editors
Continue on for the President’s statement.
- The Exotic New Weapons the Pentagon Wants to Deter Russia and China by The Washington Post
“Little noticed amid the daily news bulletins about the Islamic State and Syria, the Pentagon has begun a push for exotic new weapons that can deter Russia and China.”
- Reversal of Fortunes Written on Syrian Map by Voice of America
"Syrian rebel commanders acknowledge they are in an existential, make-or-break moment of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad."
- FY 2016 Weapon Systems Factbook by Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
Includes aircraft, air and missile defense, communications and electronics, ground systems, missiles and munitions, nuclear forces, shipbuilding, and space systems.
- Russia’s Hybrid War and How to Bog Down Putin in Syria by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times
“It is not by crude force alone that Russia twists events to its advantage… Mr. Putin has managed... to “weaponize” information.”
- “A Bipartisan National Security Agenda for an Election Year” by The Center for a New American Security
CNAS commentary - what the Center calls a “a tall order”.
- Video Explainer: In Syria, Who's Fighting Whom by Voice of America
VOA explains who is fighting in the Syria conflict, who the outside influencers are and what their allegiances are.
- MWI Podcast: Are We Headed for Limited War? by The Modern War Institute
Modern War Institute Podcast: Are We Headed for Limited War? With Dr. Jakub Grygiel.
- Guantanamo at Bay by The Wall Street Journal
“Americans won’t close a terror prison when the terror threat is rising.”
- Video: The Changing Nature of Terrorism and Counterterrorism by The International Institute for Strategic Studies
Video of 24 February IISS discussion meeting featuring Daniel Byman and Bruce Hoffman. Chaired by Donald Daniel.
- Remarks by the President on Progress Against ISIL by SWJ Editors
“The situation in Syria and Iraq is one of the most complex the world has seen in recent times. ISIL is entrenched…”
- Obama Orders National Security Team to Ramp Up Fight Against IS by Voice of America
President Obama says although the U.S.-led effort to combat Islamic State has made progress, the fight “remains difficult” and he has instructed his security team to ramp up efforts.
- Toward Operational Art in Special Warfare by RAND Corporation
“The U.S. requires new approaches for exerting influence between the limitations of distant strike and the costly, indefinite commitment of conventional forces.”
- Syrian Cease-Fire Generally Holds, Some Violence Reported by Voice of America
"The cease-fire in Syria that began Saturday has mostly held, but there have been some incidents of violence."
- The Pentagon's 'Force of the Future' Plan Just Got Trashed in Congress by Military Times
Defense officials' hopes for sweeping personnel reforms were crushed by Senate Republicans on Thursday who attacked the ideas as “an outrageous waste of time”.
- The Libya Gamble Part 1: Hillary Clinton, "Smart Power" and a Dictator's Fall by The New York Times
“The President was wary. The Secretary of State was persuasive. But the ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi left Libya a failed state and a terrorist haven.”
- 30 Years of Continuous Fighting Against the VC and NVA by Keith Nightingale
This is Major Nguyen Hiep. He was my counterpart in the 52d Ranger Battalion 67-68. I hold him in great regard.