Small Wars Journal

Correlations Between U.S. Military Basing Operations and Conflict Termination

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 4:08am

A Small Wars Journal and Military Writers Guild Writing Contest Finalist Article

Correlations Between U.S. Military Basing Operations and Conflict Termination

James G. Lake


After World War II and the Korean Conflict a direct correlation existed between the United States’ military contingency basing footprints to how and when its conflicts typically terminated.  In the 50 years since U.S. military involvement in Vietnam began, history is rife with empirical data demonstrating that a heavier basing footprint begets protracted conflict.  Ongoing basing requirements during a conflict, coupled with base closure/transfer protocols are long and laborious endeavors.  Although mission and objective also have some impact, one needs to look no further than the Long War in Iraq and Afghanistan to see a symbiotic relationship between basing footprints and protracted conflict.  War termination typically occurs through achieving military victory when one opposing force renders an enemy incapable of continued resistance, requiring capitulation and cessation.  However, within the realm of asymmetric war, stabilization, security, transition, and reconstruction operations, the aforementioned basing endeavors inevitably prolong the conclusion of conflict and troop redeployment.  Furthermore, U.S. military doctrine mandates an incremental, closely coordinated approach to base closure. 

The following analysis describes U.S. wartime basing doctrine, consider base closing impacts on myriad stakeholders, and provide historical examples of how conflict termination comports with basing footprints.  Additionally, this paper provides a personal experience monograph outlining the complexities of a base transition prior to conflict termination.  Such events occurred during pre-conflict termination in Kabul, Afghanistan while the author served as a Garrison Commander charged with vacating and closing a U.S. base and transferring it to the Afghan military.  Finally, several of General Zinni’s fundamentals and considerations are entwined within the essay such as command and control, mission analysis, commander’s intent, end state, personalities and relationships, and communication.

U.S. Military Basing Doctrine

The term ‘base’ holds a plethora of meanings depending upon the strategic and tactical situations, missions, timelines, etc.  For the arguments made herein, the two categories of bases discussed derive from the U.S. Central Command Sandbook No. 415-1.  The types of bases within the Sandbook are permanent and contingency.  Permanent bases are established for long term operations, while contingency bases support short-term, immediate contingency operations which are dictated in size and scope by the operation itself.[i]  Further defined by Clausewitz, ‘billets’ are akin to permanent bases whereas troops are housed and resourced longer term.  Conversely, Clausewitz describes ‘camps’ as tactical locations designed to maintain a position and house troops, but support readiness and indicate a “willingness to fight wherever they may be.”[ii]  Therefore, camps are similar to the Sandbook definition of contingency bases (referred to as camps or bases henceforth).  Used to provide stand off against the enemy, camps are doctrinally used to temporarily house troops, as well as an impetus for movement to contact and to support military engagements.[iii]  A recent study concluded that if combat operations include substantial basing increases, then operational reach and freedom of maneuver increase, thus prolonging the conflict timeline.[iv]  Therefore, camps have both tactical and strategic importance in extending operational reach, which impacts war termination.  

Events routinely occur during the conduct of a war which may considerably alter the achievement of victory, particularly with the advent of asymmetrical warfare.  The nature of modern warfare against burgeoning non-state actors makes it very difficult to forecast events either near term, nor long term.  Furthermore, “in counterinsurgency, there is frequently no distinction between forward and rear, especially when logistic bases form a hub and spoke system.”[v]  Basing operations have a distinct impact on the strategic and operational outcome of conflict.  The “end of the conflict, and the termination of it, shapes the basing”[vi] and vice versa.  Applying the Clausewitzian axiom of considering the last before attempting the first,[vii] basing decisions should be prominent within the planning process, not merely perfunctory afterthoughts.  Although impractical and extreme, the famed tactician Sun Tzu warned against encampment altogether in many situations.  Sun Tzu stated “when in difficult country, do not encamp…join hand with your allies…do not linger in dangerously isolated positions.”[viii]  It appears that Sun Tzu understood that the strategic and operational conduct of a war, coupled with basing footprints, dictate the way in which it ends. 

A base closure’s impact on the Host Nation (HN) must be given extensive consideration.  The economic and political impacts alone of a base closure are sensitive in nature given the myriad local nationals (LNs) and other country nationals (OCNs) routinely employed therein.  Close coordination, strategic communications, and fulsome planning are paramount to successful base transitions when considering the HN population amid ongoing military operations.  Such endeavors take time, impacting the overall termination timeline depending on the number of contingency bases required to transition.  For example, base transition processes require a series of intractable actions (outlined below in the monograph section).  The process can take anywhere from 90 days to a year depending on the size, scope, and type of camp transition (closure, transfer, or partial/hybrid).  Strategic, permanent bases require a 365-day timeline, whereas most contingency bases require 180 days.[ix]  For example, at its peak the Iraq Joint Operations Area (IJOA) contained over 600 basing contracts costing $17B and averaged 150 days for contract terminations and base closures.[x]  Furthermore, security and risk mitigation measures must be considered as well amid a pre-war termination base transition within an uncertain and complex combat environment.  When bases begin vacating personnel, combat power, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets, the enemy is observing, which creates the most dangerous base transition situations.

As evidence that a heavy basing footprint hinders the advancement of war termination, GEN David Petraeus penned a command memo articulating the concepts of basing operations within the Iraq counterinsurgency (COIN) surge.  Commencing the surge, Petraeus directed his troops to operate and live amongst the people and to retain that which was secured.[xi] Petraeus’ directives broke the existing paradigm of big base footprints on the outskirts of towns with troops daily commuting back and forth to their areas of operation (AOs).  The large, remote forward operating bases (FOBs) undermined the mission and objectives and “separated the troops from the population.”[xii]  Understanding GEN Zinni’s consideration that personalities are highly important, Petraeus’ efforts changed the basing posture of the pervasive surge troop numbers.  His directives “made an enormous difference in the fight for Baghdad and other areas in Iraq,”[xiii] thus precipitating and accelerating the U.S. troop withdrawal in 2011.

Afghanistan provides yet another example of how basing operations impact decisions regarding war termination.  In late 2009/early 2010 senior U.S. strategic planners were contemplating the number of troops needed and the counter terrorism (CT) approach to take regarding a final surge.  One option posited by Vice President Biden was to redefine and rescope U.S. objectives in Afghanistan with a greater emphasis on small scale, low intensity CT operations.  The plan called for an increased reliance on special operations, drone strikes, and targeting high value threats.  Ultimately the plan was dismissed due to the perceived risk exposure to troops from consolidating into fewer bases and consulates, whereby decreasing the overall footprint.[xiv]  As such, a larger troop and basing footprint occurred instead due to an expansion in the operation and, therefore, prolonged U.S. troops presence in Afghanistan to date.

Historical Examples of Basing & War Termination Correlations

It is difficult to analyze the thesis against empirical data from WWII and the Korean Conflict due to the expansive volume of coalition troops, bases, and data.  From 1940-1945, Allied operations during WWII followed a global strategic initiative with worldwide primary and subsidiary theaters of operation across both active and passive fronts.  Critical thinking regarding basing operations sought “firmer long-range bases upon which to plan for victory in the multifront coalition war.”[xv] Also, countless terrestrial, naval, and air bases were utilized during the three year Korean Conflict within the Korean Base Section and throughout Japan.[xvi]  The United States military committed troops for a United Nations mission to bolster South Korea after North Korea invaded in 1950.  However, in the last 50 years since WWII and Korea, U.S. military war operations provide contexts for the thesis proffered herein, six examples are articulated below.  Regardless of the duration or troop numbers in past conflicts each example shows (along with Figure 1 summation below) a link between the military basing footprint and the timeline for conflict termination:

Vietnam:  U.S. involvement in the Vietnam Conflict lasted from approximately 1964-1974 with a peak of approximately 200,000 boots on the ground (BOG).  During that time, nearly 200 air and naval bases, firebases, patrol bases, and camps were utilized in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.[xvii]

Persian Gulf War – Desert Shield/Desert Storm:  The United States military was involved in the liberation of Kuwait after the Iraqi Army invasion from 1990-1991.  During that conflict over 500,000 troops were deployed to approximately 20 bases.  The bulk of the troops during Operation Desert Shield/Storm occupied 7 Logbases, [xviii] 2 Corps Tactical Assembly Areas (AAs), 2 Corps Forward AAs (all in Saudi Arabia), and 2 Forward Support Bases in Southern Iraq.  Upon completion of the mission, the troops fell back into Saudi Arabia and closed in on designated aerial ports of embarkation (APOEs) and seaports of embarkation (SPOEs).[xix]

Somalia – Operation Restore Hope:  From December 1992 to March 1994 approximately 30,000 U.S. troops supported the United Nations humanitarian mission to mitigate civilian suffering during the Somali civil war.  Approximately 12 coalition bases were used to house not only the U.S. troops, but approximately 10,000 more of the entire UN contingent.[xx]

Bosnia - Operation Joint Endeavor:  The United States supported the NATO allied peacekeeping mission to support Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1995-2004 with 30,000 troops[xxi] supported by 38 bases, 23 of which were Brigade and below level base camps.[xxii]

Afghanistan - Operation Enduring Freedom:  The United States invaded Afghanistan in September 2001 in retaliation for the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland.  At its peak, Operation Enduring Freedom employed 100,000 troops across 175 bases.  Today, approximately 9,000 troops are housed on two dozen bases and camps across Afghanistan.[xxiii]

Iraq – Operation Iraqi Freedom:  U.S. forces invaded Iraq in March 2003 to topple the Saddam Hussein regime and establish a democratic government, as well as dismantle Iraq’s suspected weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs.  In November 2008, at the zenith of the troop surge, the U.S. military forces encompassed 341 bases with 140,000 troops and 125,000 contractors.[xxiv]  Additionally, until their largest withdrawals in 2011, U.S. troops processed through one of 7 logistical bases and/or Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.[xxv]

Figure 1. Comparison of U.S. Military Wartime Troop Numbers, Bases, and Durations since 1964. Data sorted from largest to smallest first by number of bases, then by duration of the conflict.

Afghanistan Base Closure Personal Monograph


The following is a detailed account of how the U.S. tactical base Camp Blackhorse was transferred to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) from October to December 2013.  Camp Blackhorse was a U.S. base on the eastern edge of Kabul, Afghanistan enveloped by an Afghan National Army (ANA) base, further complicating coordination and transportation of materiel and personnel off the base.  Two predominant documents were used extensively to navigate the base transition process.  The two guiding manuals were the United States Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) Base Closure and Transfer Policy/SOP (4th Edition - April 2013) and the USFOR-A Base Transition Smartbook (1st Edition - January 2012).  Three of General Zinni’s considerations[xxvi] are prevalent within the lessons learned below.  First, a thorough mission analysis, centers of gravity, and end state must be established to set conditions for success within the base transfer endeavor.  Second, establishing an open dialogue and including all involved parties was critical to seamless base closure operations; this principle was a germane to the successful closure of Camp Blackhorse.  Finally, recognizing that personalities are more important than processes proved immensely helpful.  These core principles are clearly articulated in the paragraphs below.

General Insight

“History has shown that the act of retrograding while in contact is one of the most difficult tactical maneuvers.”[xxvii]  The leapfrog concept of breaking contact wherein one element maintains contact with the enemy while another element prepares to leave the battlespace[xxviii] is akin to retrograding from a base while still engaged.  While daunting in nature, base closure procedures must be deliberate and considered, requiring abundant planning, coordination, and resources; mainly time.  Unity of effort[xxix], returning to an expeditionary posture, and starting the retrograde process early ensures closure decisions are devoid of emotional attachments to the base which slows the process.  All stakeholders must be included in the base transfer planning and execution process, however an intrepid garrison staff should take lead.  The key is to garner a collective buy-in, collaborating and communicating routinely with all vested parties on the camp.[xxx]  Establishing and utilizing a functioning, active, full-time Base Closure Support Team (BCST) is an absolute must.  The Blackhorse BCST enablers were subject matters experts on FEPP (Foreign Excess Personal Property) and FERP (Foreign Excess Real Property), which routinely served as a combat multiplier for the Blackhorse Camp Support Group (CSG).  FEPP was a living document which was constantly changing and required routine updates for risk of having an incorrect document with which to conduct the joint US/ANA inventory just prior to transfer.  Managing FEPP/FERP and your installation property book is too much to ask of your installation Supply Sergeant/Officer, regardless of how logistically adept he or she might be.

Establish Command & Control (C2), Commander’s Intent, & End State – Zinni’s Considerations

One of our greatest initial challenges was conducting mission analysis, establishing mission command (C2), and maintaining a clear end state on a camp with well over 1,000 tenants and daily visitors.  Our commander’s intent and end state were clear and steadfastly emphasized: the timely, efficient, and safe transfer of the camp to the proper ANA officials.  The camp’s tenant population comprised of a mix of U.S. & Coalition Soldiers, Civilians, LNs, and OCNs.  We conducted weekly information meetings to ensure all camp tenant units had a voice in closure and to better synchronize closure operations with ongoing mission requirements while sharing information top-down.  We identified over 30 different major tenant units with vastly different higher headquarters, reporting chains, and missions.  Routine and frequent tenant communications enabled the de-conflicting of base closure with their ongoing operations, allowing for timely decisions affecting emerging closure concerns.  We developed a BCST Command Post and Mayor Cell/BDOC (Base Defense Operations Center) to conduct routine synchronization and security meetings.  This entity looked at emerging de-scoping projects, status of ongoing de-scope projects, and assessments/ lessons learned of completed projects.  Key principals in the projects included:  assigned unit footprints and cleared units from the camp, ensuring efficient and orderly retrograde of tenant personnel, equipment, vehicles, containers, etc.  Each tenant unit was responsible to sanitize their work sites for military equipment, ammunition, OPSEC, uniforms, etc.  Each unit also coordinated for U.S. and/or escorted LN labor to clear their footprint of trash/debris prior to out-processing with Mayor Cell.

Key Personnel – Zinni’s Consideration of Important Personalities

LOGCAP Logistics Support Officer (LSO):  Ensured buildings were removed from the Fluor Density/MSOW, approved funding for cessation of services, change order, LOTDs (Letters of Technical Direction), etc. Military Network/G-6 Representative:  removed any government equipment and re-routed the strategic network as applicable.  Expeditionary server terminal for basic connectivity was installed at D-30.  Fire Department:  removal/cross-leveling of all Fire Safety & Suppression equipment.  MPs:  ensured the work sites were cordoned off and traffic re-routed as appropriate.  Additionally, MPs provided routine convoy escorts to ensure safe transport of equipment.  Base Closure Assistance Teams/Material Relocation Teams provided advice and support as required.  Fluor Site Manager provided additional assessments as required for power/water/sewage concerns.  Establishing a close working relationship with the Fluor Site Mgr. routinely proved useful.  Fluor was our largest non-military tenant and was heavily involved in the de-scoping and transfer process.

Ending Missions and/or Re-Basing – Maintaining Focus on End State

Tenants are inherently resistant to change and will not want to leave your base, no matter how much you attempt to involve them in the process.  You cannot properly and efficiently close/transfer your base with numerous tenants occupying it, daily consuming space and services. As previously stated, until approximately D-30, we resisted daily and repeated attempts from tenants to expand and would-be new tenants from arriving on camp and forestall our de-scoping and footprint reduction efforts.  Many units operating out of Camp Blackhorse needed constant reminders of their immediate need to effectively end their mission on the camp and either be redeployed home in conjunction with the closure or be based in another location to continue their missions. There were several units on Camp Blackhorse that waited for their unit’s disposition and many assumed that they would be allowed to stay until the end and final transfer.  Tenants were given a no later than date to be completely vacated from the camp (D-45) and we had to constantly deny and resist their efforts to extend the deadline.  We were driven to implement certain Expeditionary standards (DFAC, MWR, Laundry, etc.) earlier than planned to serve as a forcing function to motivate tenants to leave.  This is a decision not easily made when you know the reduced services and stricter standards will impact your soldiers who must endure until the end, however, it was necessary in our case to prompt tenants to action.  Realistically, only a few tenants remained until transfer date due to the scant logistical support footprint remaining and the need for some combat power and camp sustainment personnel to remain until the end. 

Communicate and Build Personal Goodwill and Trust – Zinni’s Considerations

The primary GIRoA stakeholders for the Camp Blackhorse transfer were the Commander and S-3 for the ANA Garrison that surrounded the camp.  Early on we established a great rapport and working relationship with our ANA partners.  We fostered a climate of mutual trust, cooperation, and open dialogue which endured throughout the base transfer process.  This greatly supported our efforts to conduct joint inventories and transfer over assets in a timely and efficient manner.  Furthermore, Camp Blackhorse planned, resourced, and hosted a LN Job Fair (assisted by the Kabul Chamber of Commerce) attempting to support LNs, build goodwill, and longevity by matching Afghan LN workers looking for jobs due to base transfer with Afghan employers looking for skilled workers. 

Manage Expectations of Enduring Bases Requesting Base Infrastructure

Representatives of enduring bases will assuredly contact you upon learning of your impending base closure.  They will request all manner of items from your base to bolster the infrastructure and support they can provide on their base (i.e. barriers, t-walls, gym and other MWR equipment, billeting furniture, office furniture, containers, etc).  Take great care in what you commit to providing and ensure a clear understanding by both parties of the exact support you are providing and what, if any, movement and transportation support they are expecting from you.  If you have MHE such as a crane and/or trans. capabilities such as trucks, trailers, etc., they will assume that you are going to provide that support when they show up to retrieve the items they have requested.  Unless you carefully plan, coordinate, and communicate a clear understanding of the scope of work and set timelines and deadlines, you will quickly get bogged down supporting other camps and the mission creep will significantly detract you from what should be your primary focus of closing your base.

Enforce Accountability

To ensure camp retrograde, de-scoping, and transfer operations remained on a glide path, we were required to develop systems to enforce accountability and serve as a forcing function across the full spectrum of closure.  Additionally, we validated the existing camp PERSTAT data by meeting individually with each of the unit points of contact (to de-conflict duplicate or omitted reporting). We added requirements for the tenant units to provide weekly PERSTAT updates, as well as projected unit and container departure dates and their needs for Materials Handling Equipment (MHE) support from the CSG.  We developed a tenant departure/out-processing checklist.  The checklist required a Mayor Cell rep. to conduct a joint footprint walkthrough inspection and assess if all Rolling Stock, TEUs, NTVs, retrograde equipment, trash/debris, interpreters, etc. were properly cleared from their assigned footprint prior to the unit’s departure.  We developed a camp census team to validate unit footprints.  The team coordinated with each unit footprint representative to check for health and fire concerns, to conduct a footprint inventory, issue meal cards, and validate Sand Book standards, etc. The Mayor cell representative also checked contractor badges for fidelity and validated head counts.

Shape the Transition of Essential Services to Expeditionary Conditions

On Blackhorse, Fluor provided most of the camp’s daily essential life support services (Power, Water, Sewage, Maintenance, Dining Facility, etc).  We quickly identified a need to work with LOGCAP and Regional Contracting Command (RCC) to develop a services transition/cessation plan.  To assist Fluor with reducing their footprint on the camp, we removed buildings from the Building Density List (BDL) as quickly as possible (you cannot wait for all your tenants to depart; remove buildings from the BDL as soon as they are vacated).  Fluor is required to have personnel and equipment on hand for every building they are required to maintain on the BDL. We continually identified buildings for Fluor to remove from the BDL.  For Fluor to remain on track for departure and maintain our camp on schedule for transfer, it was imperative to maintain a sense of urgency with respect to removing buildings from the BDL.  Regardless of the potential for generating friction points with them, tenants must be forced to consolidate billets and offices to free up more facilities to remove from the BDL sooner rather than later in the de-scoping process.


United States contingency base posturing has a direct relation to the duration of the conflicts it operates within.  From Vietnam to the current Long War in Afghanistan and Iraq, history illuminates myriad examples of the prevalent correlation between contingency basing and war termination timelines.  Furthermore, U.S. military basing doctrine facilitates a link between basing operations and how and when a conflict terminates.  Regardless of the length nor of the troop numbers deployed, the heavier the basing footprint the more protracted the wars have been over the last 50 years.  Using a base closure historical analysis from Afghanistan proves the thesis as it gives the extensively detailed steps required to close or transfer a base and how it impacts the termination of a contingency operation.  Fundamental principles and considerations always endure regarding contingency basing operations.  Such core concepts are mission command, commander’s intent, end state, personalities and relationships, and communication.

End Notes

[i] HQ U.S. Central Command, Regulation Number 415-1, The Sand Book, April 15, 2009; 3-1-3-2.

[ii] von Clausewitz, Carl; On War, Book II, Chapter 1; Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976.

[iii] Poenca, Domicio Junior and Duarte, E. E; “The Concept of Logistics Derived from Clausewitz: All That is Required So That the Fighting Force Can be Taken as a Given,” The Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 28, No. 4, August 2005; 662-664, 675.

[iv] Parker, William J. III; Basing and Operational Reach, School of Advanced Military Studies, United States Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS, 2012; 73.

[v] Myklebust, Martin and Ordeman, Tom Jr.; “Six Requirements for Success in Modern Counterinsurgency,” Small Wars Journal. 11 July 2013,

[vi] Spiller, Roger; “The Proceedings of the War Termination Conference – War Termination: Theory and Practice, USMA, West Point, NY”, Combat Studies Institute Press, June 21, 2010; 8, 210.

[vii] Clausewitz; On War, Book I, Chapter 1.

[viii] Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1963; 43.

[ix] U.S. Department of the Army, Center for Army Lessons Learned, Senior Leader’s Guide to Transition Planning: Observations, Insights, and Lessons, Version 2.0, No. 13-01, October 2012; 44-45.

[x] United States Forces-Iraq, Base Closure in the IJOA: Lessons Learned, Operation Iraqi Freedom, August 17, 2010; 7.

[xi] Petraeus, David H.; COMISAF’s Counterinsurgency Guidance, Memorandum for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Civilians of NATO ISAF and US Forces-Afghanistan, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 1, 2010.

[xii] Ricks, Thomas E.; Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003 to 2005, Penguin Publishers, New York, NY, 2006; 255-256.

[xiii] Mansoor, Peter R.; Surge: My Journey with General David Petraeus and the Remaking of the Iraq War, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2013; 73.

[xiv] Hooker, Richard D. Jr. and Collins, J. J., eds.; Lessons Encountered:  Learning from the Long War, National Defense University Press, Washington DC, September 2015; 115-117.

[xv] U.S. Department of the Army, Center for Military History (CMH) Publication 30-1, Army Historical Series, American Military History, Washington, DC, 1989; 446.

[xvi] Houston, James A.; The Sinews of War: Army Logistics, 1775-1953, U.S. Department of the Army, Center for Military History, 1997, Washington, DC, 640, 685.

[xvii] “U.S. Escalation in Vietnam,” Alpha History.

[xviii] Pagonis, William G.; Moving Mountains: Lessons in Leadership and Logistics from the Gulf War, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA, 1992; 146-147, 208.

[xix] U.S. Department of the Army, Center for Military History (CMH) Publication 70-117-1, War in the Persian Gulf: Operations Desert Shield & Desert Storm, August 1990-March 1991, Washington, DC, 1992; 30-31, 35-37.

[xx] “Operation Restore Hope,” Global Security. hope.htm.

[xxi] U.S. Department of the Army, Center for Military History (CMH) Publication 70-977-1, Bosnia-Herzegovina: The U.S. Army’s Role in Peace Enforcement Operations, 1995-2004, Washington, DC, 2005; 3.

[xxii] Parker III, “Basing and Operational Reach,” 46-47.

[xxiii] Martinez, Michael. “Graphics Tell Story: U.S. Troops Remain in Afghanistan Through 2016,” CNN. 15 October 2015,

[xxiv] “Base Closure in the IJOA”, 11.

[xxv] Parker III, “Basing and Operational Reach,” 64.

[xxvi] Dilegge, David. “General Zinni’s Considerations Revisited (Again),” Small Wars Journal. 13 February 2016,

[xxvii] Feeney, Thomas and Hertlein, Ross. “Leaving Afghanistan: Base Closure at the Tactical Level”, Small Wars Journal. 21 June 2013,

[xxviii] Rawlings, Nate. “In Afghanistan, The U.S. is the Most Difficult of Maneuvers,” TIME World. 28 January 2013,

[xxix] “Lessons Encountered:  Learning from the Long War,” 9-10.

[xxx] Feeney and Hertlein, “Leaving Afghanistan”


About the Author(s)

LTC James G. Lake began his military career in 1992 as an Enlisted Soldier in the Headquarters Company of the 31st Armor Brigade (Bde), Alabama Army National Guard (AL ARNG).  He became a Commissioned Officer through Marion Military Institute Army ROTC in 1995.  His military education includes the Military Police (MP) Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Combined Arms Services Staff School, the Support Operations Course, and the Command & General Staff College - Intermediate Level Education and Advanced Operations and Warfighting Courses; he is presently enrolled in the United States Army War College curriculum.  His present assignment in the AL ARNG is as Deputy Commander of the 31st Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Bde in Tuscaloosa, AL.  Additionally, LTC Lake concurrently serves as a Logistics Management Specialist at U.S. Army Materiel Command G-3/4, Redstone Arsenal, AL.