Jan. 30, 2019

A Strategic Overview of Latin America: Identifying New Convergence Centers, Forgotten Territories, and Vital Hubs for Transnational Organized Crime

This paper outlines a number of critical strategic challenges in Latin America for U.S. policymakers, which were directly identified in the December 2017 National Security Strategy. However, despite this recognition, these issues are seldom featured in policy discussions about the region.

Jan. 23, 2019

Joint Doctrine Update

Joint Doctrine Updates.

Jan. 23, 2019

J 3-24 Counterinsurgency

The Joint Staff has revised JP 3-24, Counterinsurgency, which provides instructions and doctrine to plan, execute, and assess counterinsurgency operations. JP 3-24 is a priority publication, which supports the National Defense Strategy and National Military Strategy. JP 3-24 defines counterinsurgency (COIN) as comprehensive civilian and military efforts designed to simultaneously defeat and contain insurgency and address its root causes. Accordingly, JP 3-24 provides authoritative doctrine relative to counterinsurgency. Highlights include analysis of the COIN operational environment, the nature of an insurgency, considerations for COIN planning, and how to conduct a COIN assessment.

Jan. 23, 2019

Master and Commander in Joint Air Operations: Winning the Air War Through Mission Command

Much has been written on Mission Command and Control since 2012 when CJCS General Martin Dempsey released a white paper which encouraged this leadership style among his subordinates. Mission command is a proven concept in air operations, and will be required to face the challenges of future conflicts. Since the advent of satellite communications and the internet, however, command and control of joint air operations has become increasingly centralized. Mission command is essential to winning future air wars says, the author, which is feasible because new technology allows operational commanders to make tactical decisions from thousands of miles away.

Jan. 23, 2019

War in 140 Characters

How has social media reshaped the way war is fought? Brett Swaney reviews War in 140 Characters: How Social Media Is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century by David Patrikarakos. Every war, says the author, is essentially a clash of narratives. The author’s hypothesis that social media has reshaped not just the nature of conflict but also the entire discourse surrounding warfare remains an open question. Nonetheless, this book is required reading for national security professionals who seek a better understanding of the power of social media and the contemporary conflict increasingly shaped by homo digitalis.

Jan. 23, 2019

Just War Reconsidered

The greatest blind spot of Just War Theory is the accountability of senior civilian and military leaders for wartime decisions. Anthony Pfaff reviews Just War Reconsidered: Strategy, Ethics, and Theory by James Dubik. This book covers the responsibilities and obligations of civilians for the decision to go to war, and the higher obligations of military leaders and soldiers pertaining to unnecessary harm, impermissible weapons, the acceptance of surrender, and the treatment of combatants and noncombatants, among others. This book is critical reading for national security professionals in positions where they will make or advise decision-makers regarding warfare.

Jan. 23, 2019


This book tells the tragic story of the Vietnam War. Williamson Murray reviews Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945–1975 by Max Hastings. In this case, the word tragic is not an overstatement. Vietnam weaves the stories of American and Vietnamese soldiers and civilians on all sides of the struggle into a terrifying and impressive tale of both man’s inhumanity to his fellows, and the heroism of those on the sharp end. Perhaps the saddest result from the American point of view is that our political and military leaders learned so little from the high price we paid.

Jan. 23, 2019

The Drone Debate

Since the first drone strike outside of a conventional battlefield in 2002, the U.S. has carried out at least five hundred covert strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia killing 3,500 people, including civilians. Matthew Mueller reviews The Drone Debate: A Primer on the U.S. Use of Unmanned Aircraft Outside of Conventional Battlefields by Avery Plaw, Matthew Fricker and Carlos Colon. This book contributes to the growing literature on the use of drones outside of conventional battlefields, and deals with important ethical questions on the use of drones, which makes The Drone Debate ideal for classroom use.

Jan. 23, 2019

Building Militaries in Fragile States

Why does the U.S. have such an uneven record when it comes to building foreign militaries? John Hewitt reviews Building Militaries in Fragile States: Challenges for the United States by Mara Karlin. The U.S. has been involved in building militaries since World War II, which provides ample case material. Karlin surveys the nuts and bolts of building militaries abroad, and investigates alternative strategies. This detailed, informative and prescriptive book should elicit robust conversations, deeper analysis and decisive action among foreign policy analysts, policy wonks, military personnel and anyone interested in foreign affairs.

Jan. 23, 2019

The Ghosts of Kasserine Pass: Maximizing the Effectiveness of Airpower

The American defeat at Kasserine Pass during the 1943 North African Campaign illustrates the consequences of allowing technological development to outpace doctrine. This article reviews the doctrine that constrained airpower during the North African Campaign and traces the development and evolution of modern doctrine that followed. Ideas conceived in North Africa seventy years ago, such as centralized control, decentralized execution, responsiveness and flexibility have stood the test of time, says the author, and remain applicable to today’s Joint Force. To achieve even greater efficiencies, the author recommends updating doctrine continually and establishing a new command structure with global reach.