- Mad Dog, as in ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis: The Colorful History of a Great American Nickname by The Washington Post
"On Thursday, at a post-election victory rally in Cincinnati, President-elect Donald Trump announced his pick for secretary of defense."
- Latest Issue of Parameters Now Online by SWJ Editors
The Autumn 2016 issue of Parameters is now online. Continue on for links to all the articles.
- Democrats Uncertain They’ll Take Shot to Block Gen. Mattis From Trump’s Cabinet by The Wall Street Journal
“Mattis’s nomination to the position may effectively require 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a procedural hurdle, as well a separate vote in the House to grant him an...
- ‘They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals’ by The New York Times
Continue on for a graphic NYT multi-media look at Duterte’s Philippines.
- Does the Pentagon Really Waste $125 Billion on Pencil Pushers? by Mother Jones
"Hmmm. I have some doubts about this. For starters, that $125 billion is over five years. That comes to $25 billon per year."
- Trump’s Selection of Third General for Cabinet Fuels Concern About Military Clout by The Washington Post
"Despite making regular remarks on the campaign trail disparaging the nation’s generals, Trump has long shown an affinity for them."
- 'Warrior Monk' Mattis a Strong Voice at Defense by USA Today
“There is reason to believe that James Mattis would represent a desperately needed voice of reason in the Trump administration's national security team.”
- The State Department: No Longer the Gatekeeper by The Simons Center for Interagency Cooperation
"Ministries of foreign affairs are no longer the exclusive channel for international contacts."
- The U.S. Needs a New Approach to Counterinsurgency. This is What it Can Learn from El Salvador. by The Washington Post
“Using U.S. support to El Salvador during the country’s 12-year civil war as a case study, Ladwig evaluates Washington’s two main strategies for influencing local governments.”
- Then and Now: Comparing the Flow of Foreign Fighters to AQI and the Islamic State by Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
This CTC report evaluates how the make-up, scale, and scope of the Iraq- and Syria-bound foreign fighter problem has changed over the last decade.
- Visa Program for Afghan Translators Is Renewed, With New Restrictions by The New York Times
“Congress passed a measure on Thursday that would offer sanctuary to a fraction of the Afghan interpreters and translators who have risked their lives to help the military.”
- Russian Military Draws Lessons From Ukraine and Syria Ops by Foreign Policy
“After years of moldering away under post Cold war budget crunches, Putin has spent billions to modernize the Russian arsenal.”
- A Memo to the Next President on Winning in Afghanistan by War on the Rocks
"Neither you nor Secretary Clinton said much in the campaign about the war in Afghanistan. I don't blame you. It's a complex issue."
- Trump’s Generals, Hardened by War, See Militant Islam, Iran as Dire Dangers by The Washington Post
“Their views have been heavily influenced over the past 15 years by intensely personal battlefield losses, the country’s waning attention to the wars and an up-close view of a ruthless...
- Pentagon Prepares Tougher Options on Fighting Militants to Show Trump Team by The Wall Street Journal
“Proposals include limiting White House operational oversight and giving military more tactical authority.”
- A New American Grand Strategy by The Hoover Institution
This 2015 essay was adapted from statements made by General James Mattis before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
- Spotlight Turns to US Forces' Role as IS Fight Continues by Agence France-Presse
“As Obama prepares to step down, a flap has erupted over the secretive commandos who have become his go-to counterterrorist force across the globe.”
- Rex Tillerson, From a Corporate Oil Sovereign to the State Department by The New Yorker
"Tillerson’s life has been shaped to a profound extent by two institutions: ExxonMobil and the Boy Scouts of America."
- So You Want to Be a Diplomat? CEOs Need Not Apply by The Wall Street Journal
“Beltway elites scoff at Rex Tillerson’s background in business and his support of the Boy Scouts.”
- Islamic State's 'Battle Ready' Fighters Hit New Low by Voice of America
"New U.S. estimates put the number of IS "battle ready" fighters in Iraq and Syria at just 12,000 to 15,000, less than half of what the terror group was able...
- New Law Would Reorganize VOA, Other US Government Broadcasters by Voice of America
Control over U.S. government international broadcasting will be consolidated under a powerful chief executive, under legislation expected to soon be signed by President Obama.
- To Protect Civilians, Pentagon Tightens Rules on Combat by The New York Times
"The Pentagon has revised a 2015 manual for waging combat while obeying the international laws of war, tightening rules for when it is lawful to fire on a military target."
- Russian Special Forces Seen as Key to Aleppo Victory by The Wall Street Journal
“Low-profile ground deployments show importance of battle to Kremlin.”
- Assad’s Lesson From Aleppo: Force Works, With Few Consequences by The New York Times
"The message for autocratic leaders in the region and elsewhere is that force works — and brings few consequences."
- Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on Incident in South China Sea by SWJ Editors
Continue on for a short statement concerning China’s seizure of a US Navy unmanned underwater vehicle in international waters.
- How to Wage Hybrid War on the Kremlin by Foreign Policy
“President Obama has been shamefully derelict in making Putin pay a price for his aggression. It’s time to give Vladimir a taste of his own medicine.”
- Russia’s Influence Has Risen But Iran is the Real Winner in Aleppo by The Guardian
“Tehran’s help in securing Syria’s second city is much less to do with re-establishing state sovereignty than about asserting its own agenda.”
- Obama Confronts Complexity of Using a Mighty Cyberarsenal Against Russia by The New York Times
“The question is how subtle do you want it, how damaging do you want it, how do you try to end it here rather than just ratchet it up?"
- Rep. Hunter Warns Army to Back Off Whistle-Blower by USA Today
The latest concerning the Army’s Human Terrain System, now renamed the Global Cultural Knowledge Network.
- Trump Taps Billionaire West Point Grad for Army Secretary by Stars & Stripes
"Billionaire New York businessman and Army veteran Vincent Viola is President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to serve as the Army’s top civilian."
- Special Operations Forces in the Gray Zone: An Operational Framework for Employing Special Operations Forces by American Enterprise Institute
"As the US military’s primary tool for addressing conflict 'outside of war,' SOF are at particular risk for misuse if current operational models are used as a guide."
- The Central African Republic: $2.2 Billion Won’t Buy Peace by Marcel Plichta
The EU’s lukewarm support is a step in the right direction, and a source of sorely-needed funding, but it is only one step in the CAR’s marathon to peace and...
- When Air Power Works, And When It Doesn’t by The Washington Post
“In recent months, US and allied officials have sought to accelerate air operations in the IS campaign, but the pace remains slower than that of other recent conflicts.”
- Bugs, Beasts and Things by Keith Nightingale
Grunts live close to the earth. They become part of it. They see, feel and sense as others do not.
- Can Mattis Make Peace Through Technology? by The Washington Post
"The next secretary of defense, retired Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, has the most difficult management challenge in American government."
- Pentagon Heritage Display Honors Foreign Area Officers by DoD News
The Defense Language and National Security Education Office dedicated the Foreign Area Officer heritage display on Dec. 12.
- US-Supplied Drones Disappoint Ukraine On Front Lines by Reuters
"Millions of dollars' worth of U.S.-supplied drones that Kiev had hoped would help in its war against Russian-backed separatists have proven ineffective against jamming and hacking."
- A New Development in the Fight Against Online Extremism by Georgetown Security Studies Review
"The new initiative seeks to fill some of the gaps in social media and tech companies’ policies toward online extremism."
- Colombian Army Counter-Narcotics Brigade Honors US Special Forces by Army News Service
Every December 7 for the past 16 years, Colombian soldiers from the National Army's Special Anti-drug Brigade (BRCNA) have gathered in Larandia, Florencia for an end-of-year ceremony.
- Special Operations Forces: Let SOF Be SOF by Center for Strategic & International Studies
A willingness to place more agency in the hands of operators could provide breakthrough opportunities and flexibility for Special Operations Forces as they continue to combat terrorism.
- Rethinking the Threat of Islamic Extremism: The Changes Needed in U.S. Strategy by Center for Strategic & International Studies
“Far too much of the US effort is centered around the immediate threat from ISIS, and the external threat it poses to the US homeland and Europe. Far too few...
- We Have a Stake in Syria, Yet We Have Done Nothing by The Washington Post
Senator John McCain: “Obama has borne witness to all of this, and more, and done nothing to stop it.”
- Aleppo and American Decline by The Washington Post
"The fall of Aleppo just weeks before Barack Obama leaves office is a fitting stamp on his Middle East policy of retreat and withdrawal."
- Berlin Attack Echoes ISIS Propaganda Shift by The Wall Street Journal
"Embattled Islamic State is still managing to maintain a propaganda machine that inspires violence among its far-flung followers."
- Boxes by Keith Nightingale
During Christmas, it’s quite common to receive a gift in a box. An Infantryman’s life is defined by boxes. They carry, they feed, they arm, they sustain and they contain.
- U.S. Forces Embedding More to Help Iraqis Retake Mosul by Reuters
“U.S. forces assisting Iraqi troops to retake Mosul from Islamic State are embedding more extensively, a move that could accelerate a two month-old campaign.”
- Grunts and Gifts by Keith Nightingale
Our greatest gifts are the faceless, nameless Grunts that have made and kept our history and propelled us to our present situation of unparalleled prosperity and security.
- Fears Growing Islamic State Successfully Weaponizing Refugees by Voice of America
Western security officials are increasingly worried that the Islamic State terror group may be a step ahead of their renewed efforts to stop terrorist infiltration of their countries.
- Trump Team Seeks Names of Officials Working to Counter Violent Extremism by Reuters
"U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's transition team has asked two Cabinet departments for the names of government officials working on programs to counter violent extremism."
- Weakened Militarily, ISIS Still Has Power to Sow Mayhem by The New York Times
"At the core of the Islamic State’s global success - and vulnerability - is a peculiar blend of theological boldness and criminal opportunism."
- Top US General: Two More Years to Beat ISIS by The Daily Beast
“It wasn’t that long ago that the Pentagon was talking about taking down ISIS’s strongholds ASAP. Now, victory might not come until late 2018. Maybe.”
- They Served an Abusive Regime. The U.N. Made Them Peacekeepers Anyway. by The Washington Post
"As the world body scrambles to fulfill its commitments, it is recruiting some peacekeepers from militaries that have records of abuse or serve repressive governments."
- IS's Looming Death Could Be Hiding Bad News by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Islamic State is arguably more dangerous and effective than Al-Qaeda ever was. It is also potentially the next stage of evolution for a radical, violent form of Salafism that has...
- Why ISIL Fights in Europe by Politico
“Don’t buy their propaganda of ‘retaliation’ for Western strikes in Syria. The jihadist group has larger ambitions in Germany and France.”
- Insurgency and Deterrence on NATO’s Northeastern Flank by The Modern War Institute
“Make insurgency a core mission for Baltic ground forces. Instead of training and equipping their soldiers to fight like NATO units, prepare them to fight asymmetrically.”
- Will Trump Break the Special Forces? by The Atlantic
“The president-elect’s plans to defeat ISIS will rely heavily on elite soldiers already on the verge of burnout.”
- Full Text of Speech by Japanese PM Abe at Pearl Harbor by SWJ Editors
Continue on for a translation of the full text of a speech given by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 27, 2016.
- Kerry: Israeli-Palestinian Two-State Solution in 'Serious Jeopardy' by Voice of America
Kerry unveiled broad guidelines Wednesday for an eventual peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, warning that a two-state solution to the conflict is in "serious jeopardy."
- A Rare Visit to Raqqa Front Line Shows How Defeat of Islamic State is So Close and Yet So Far by The Washington Post
“A Kurdish-Arab force is closing in on the Islamic State’s capital in Syria, but there is still no plan to seize it.”
- Kerry's Blunt Words for Israel Denounced by Lawmakers in Both Parties by The New York Times
"Secretary of State John Kerry’s rebuke of the Israeli government on Wednesday set off a wave of criticism from lawmakers in both parties."
- Kerry’s Rage Against Israel by The Wall Street Journal
“The Secretary doesn’t understand why his peace talks failed.”
- The COIN Conundrum: The Future of Counterinsurgency and U.S. Land Power by The Strategic Studies Institute
“COIN continues to be a controversial subject among military leaders. Critics argue that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have made the U.S. military, particularly the Army, "COIN-centric."
- Iraq Shifts Tactics in Mosul as Forces Advance on New Fronts by The Wall Street Journal
“Federal police are joining fight after counterattacks by Islamic State inflict heavy casualties.”
- The Fable of Edward Snowden by The Wall Street Journal
“As he seeks a pardon, the NSA thief has told multiple lies about what he stole and his dealings with Russian intelligence.”
- Moscow’s Cyber Strategy Crystallized in 2013 Article by The Wall Street Journal
“A 2013 article by Russian Gen. Valery Gerasimov emphasized importance of cyberwarfare.”
- U.S. Special Operations Numbers Surge in Africa’s Shadow Wars by The Intercept
“We are not at war in Africa - but our African partners certainly are.”