Small Wars Journal

Military Review - September-October 2016

Military Review - September-October 2016

North Korean Collapse or Korean Reunification: The Importance of Preparation over Prediction by Bryan Port. “Preparing for the collapse of North Korea or its reunification with South Korea is more important than predicting the manner or timing of those events. How the United States responds to such occurrences will have a tremendous impact on its future position in the region and elsewhere.”

 Strategic Acquisition for Effective Innovation by Lt. Col. Rafael Rodriguez, U.S. Army Maj. William Shoemate, U.S. Army Maj. Justin Barnes, and U.S. Army Karen Burke. “ A team from the Chief of Staff of the Army Strategic Studies Group recommends ways to make the Army’s cumbersome acquisition process more conducive to effective innovation.”

How America Will Be Attacked: Irregular Warfare, the Islamic State, Russia, and China by Dr. Sebastian Gorka. “A noted counterinsurgency scholar provides a primer on the roots of unconventional war theories behind the current Islamic insurgency being conducted by the Islamic State, Russia’s current approach to warfare, and the progress of Chinese unrestricted warfare.”

The Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Terrorism Threat from the Islamic State by Carole N. House. “The demonstrated ruthlessness and extensive resources of the Islamic State warrant an examination of the viability and probability of a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear attack by that non-state actor.”

Growing Army Professionals Closing the Values Gap by Lt. Col. Thomas R. Matelski, U.S. Army. “The author contends that new soldiers have difficulty identifying with the seven Army Values that are the foundation of the Army profession, and he describes a values-based training concept his unit implemented to bridge this gap.”

How the Army’s Multi-Source Assessment and Feedback Program Could Become a Catalyst for Leader Development by Col. Kevin McAninch, U.S. Army. “With certain changes, the Multi-Source Assessment and Feedback program could be a powerful means for enhancing leader development. The author describes the current unpopularity, misuse, and ineffectiveness of this program, then describes ways to improve its efficacy.”

Ten Lessons Learned about Host-Nation Construction in Afghanistan by Vikram Mittal, PhD.  “Working with Afghan construction companies means overcoming unique challenges for U.S. personnel in charge of designing or overseeing construction on U.S. military bases. A former brigade engineer shares lessons he learned while overseeing construction operations in the Kabul Base Cluster in Afghanistan.”

Training for Decisive Action by Maj. Will Shoemate, U.S. Army, and Maj. Benjamin Jensen, U.S. Army. “ The Army can provide training that ensures units are ready to conduct unified land operations through decisive action. Army leaders start by describing operations in terms of time, space, purpose, and resources.”

A Financial Comparison of the Blended (New) Retirement System and the Current (Soon to Be Old) Defined Benefit System by John B. White, PhD, professor of finance, U.S. Coast Guard Academy. “ Service members need to be informed of the advantages of the new Army retirement system versus the old system before making career decisions. A financial expert lays out the benefits of each to help military readers understand their retirement options.”

Download the full issue.


Re: "How America Will Be Attacked: Irregular Warfare, the Islamic State, Russia, and China" by Dr. Sebastian Gorka, note that there is no discussion of the actual, underlying conflict/strategic environment -- within which we find ourselves today -- one which finds, in all actuality:

a. The U.S./the West, having won the Old Cold War, adopting an "expansionist" mission similar to that which the Soviets/the communists adopted following World War II. (The goal of both the Soviets/the communists then -- and the U.S./the West today -- was/is to gain greater power, influence and control by spreading one's unusual and unique political, economic, social and value norms throughout the Rest of the World.) This, while

b. The Rest of the World adopts -- then as now -- and vis-a-vis these such similar threats -- (1) familiar strategies and (2) familiar ways and means employed in the service thereof. For example:

1. Strategies: "Containment" and "roll back." And

2. Ways and Means: "Political warfare" and "unconventional warfare" utilized in the service of same.

Once one accepts the above as the current, underlying conflict/strategic environment (one which I term, for obvious reasons, the New/Reverse Cold War), only then, I suggest, might we see not only:

a. "How American Will be Attacked: Irregular warfare, the Islamic State, Russia, and China." But also, critically,

b. "Why."

This such knowledge of the conflict/strategic environment, for example, helping us understand why the U.S./the West, now and itself, is having to consider the adoption of "political warfare" and "unconventional warfare" employed in the service of same.

In our case, this becoming necessary -- and re: our "expansionist" designs for the Rest of the World in the New/Reverse Cold War of today -- much as it was necessary for the Soviets/the communists and re: their similar "expansionist" designs of the Old Cold War -- to (a) successfully pursue and achieve one's "expansionist" goals; this, in the face of (b) the clear (and often conjoined -- then as now?) resistance being presented by the Rest of the World.

(Resistance which we -- due to our "universal values" blinders -- clearly did not anticipate post-the Old Cold War. But resistance which the Soviets/the communist, following World War II, readily accepted as being both "part" and, indeed, "parcel" to their conflict/their strategic environment?)

Bottom Line:

Q: Looking for a depiction of today's conflict/strategic environment; one which helps explain why Dr. Gorka might be able to lump such odd ducks as the Islamic State, Russia and China -- and their, common, use of "irregular warfare" today -- together?

A. Then look not further than the conflict/strategic environment (the New/Reverse Cold War) offered above? This such conflict/strategic environment helping to explain why not only state actors -- but indeed non-state actors (the Muj in the Old Cold War; AQ et al. today) -- and their common methods (often irregular warfare, then as now?) might be successfully lumped together, as Dr. Gorka does above?