Dec. 1, 2010

The Surge: General Petraeus and the Turnaround in Iraq

When General David H. Petraeus, USA, took command of Multi-National Force–Iraq (MNF–I) on February 10, 2007, beginning his 3d tour and 28th month in Iraq, the situation was grim. Increasing sectarian violence had led to an escalation of killings of civilians in Iraq, with up to 150 corpses being found daily in Baghdad.1 The government of Prime Minister Nouri alMaliki was viewed by almost everyone as ineffective at best, and the U.S. military strategy was not well defined and clearly not working. Iraq appeared to be sliding out of control toward civil war or disintegration, and the United States appeared to be headed inexorably toward defeat— another Vietnam. Popular sentiment held that the best course of action was to cut our losses and disengage from a fight we were losing. General George Casey, USA, the outgoing commander of MNF–I, had supported a gradual drawdown of U.S. forces and a handoff of security tasks to Iraqi forces even as the situation got worse

Nov. 4, 2010

Letter to the Editor

As a technologist who advises major mining companies, wrote two books on metal-mining and a 445-page text on efficient drivesystems, did rare-earth (RE) physics research at MIT Lincoln Lab, and consulted for the MIT National Magnet Lab, I welcome Cindy Hurst's JFQ 59 article on China's RE resources, activities, and expertise. However, like many such supply-side stories, her article's relative neglect of demand-side alternatives could stimulate already-widespread but exaggerated concern about REs.

Nov. 1, 2010

DTP-079: Bio-Inspired Materials and Devices for Chemical and Biological Defense

This report addresses materials for synthetic matrices of chemical and biological defense using a conceptual platform known as the abiotic networked threat system (ANTS). This system is based on lessons learned from biology, incorporating abiotic homologues to biological recognition events and metabolic pathways to provide programmable capabilities to sense and respond to environmental threats.

Oct. 1, 2010

Bio-inspired Innovation and National Security

Despite various treaties and protocols, offensive biological weapons use has continued to this day, with the anthrax attacks of 2001 being the most recent incident. Such activity has led to a strong defensive program, with medical science developing numerous countermeasures that have benefited both civilian and military populations.

Oct. 1, 2010

DTP-078: Hours of Boredom, Moments of Terror: Temporal Desynchrony in Military and Security Force Operations

The authors examine resultant psychological and behavioral implications for combatant and security personnel performance as viewed through application of a traditional human psychological stress model. Inadequate recognition of the implications resulting from long lull periods, combat pulses, and the need to recover from stress can lead to dysfunctional soldiering as well as poor individual and small unit performance.

Oct. 1, 2010

Private Contractors in Conflict Zones: The Good, the Bad, and the Strategic Impact

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the use of contractors reached a level unprecedented in U.S. military operations. As of March 31, 2010, the United States deployed 175,000 troops and 207,000 contractors in the war zones. Contractors represented 50 percent of the Department of Defense (DOD) workforce in Iraq and 59 percent in Afghanistan. These numbers include both armed and unarmed contractors. Thus, for the purposes of this paper, the term contractor includes both armed and unarmed personnel unless otherwise specified. The presence of contractors on the battlefield is obviously not a new phenomenon but has dramatically increased from the ratio of 1 contractor to 55 military personnel in Vietnam to 1:1 in the Iraq and 1.43:1 in Afghanistan.

Sept. 1, 2010

Nuclear Politics in Iran

This collection of analyses on the unintended consequences of Iran’s nuclear policy for its domestic and international relations is the first in a series of papers that will examine the impact of critical issues and developments on key countries in the Greater Middle East and on U.S. security interests. Succeeding papers will identify similar emerging issues in Turkey, Iraq, Yemen, and the Persian Gulf region. For the most part, the papers will represent the independent research and opinions of academic scholars and regional experts prepared for and presented at the National Defense University.

Sept. 1, 2010

Redefining Success: Applying Lessons in Nuclear Diplomacy from North Korea to Iran

The United States has no good options for resolving the North Korean and Iranian nuclear challenges. Incentives, pressures, and threats have not succeeded. A military strike would temporarily set back these programs, but at unacceptable human and diplomatic costs, and with a high risk of their reconstitution and acceleration. For some policymakers, therefore, the best option is to isolate these regimes until they collapse or pressures build to compel negotiations on U.S. terms. This option has the veneer of toughness sufficient to make it politically defensible in Washington. On closer scrutiny, however, it actually allows North Korea and Iran to continue their nuclear programs unrestrained. It also sacrifices more achievable short-term goals of improving transparency and securing vulnerable nuclear materials to the uncertain long-term goal of denuclearization. Yet these short-term goals are deemed critical to U.S. national security in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR).

Sept. 1, 2010

The 71F Advantage: Applying Army Research Psychology for Health and Performance Gains

This book grew out of paper presentations and discussions at the Army Research Psychology Biennial Conference held April 24–25, 2008, in Bethesda, Maryland. It provides a snapshot of groundbreaking research currently being done by Army research psychologists around the globe. The book illuminates the many contributions of Army research psychologists to supporting Soldiers and their families, as well as enhancing their performance and wellbeing.

Sept. 1, 2010

DTP-072: Assessing the Health of Army Laboratories: Funding for Basic Research and Laboratory Capital Equipment

In this paper, the authors respond to requests from the office of the Army S&T Executive to address the adequacy of the funding provided to equipment and basic research in an effective S&T laboratory.