Author: John Spencer

What Does it Mean to “Win” in Mosul?

With an increased defense budget on the horizon, it is important to keep in mind that we cannot spend our way to victory against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq or Syria. This was the logic behind owner George Steinbrenner’s New York Yankees outspending their opponents, yet still losing to Billy Beane’s upstart Oakland A’s in 2002. Similarly, when it comes to defeating violent groups such as ISIS, the military needs more “Moneyball” — that is, better data and metrics to assess what it means to achieve “victory.” Like Michael Lewis’s bestseller, the book “Moneyball...

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What an Army Megacities Unit Would Look Like

A few weeks ago, I published the article “It’s Time to Create a Megacities Combat Unit.” This article received both criticism and support. Some of the supportive messages suggested that I take the next step and offer an organizational solution. If trends in both global population movement and the nature of warfare—both of which I discussed in the previous article—do in fact warrant the establishment of a brigade trained and equipped for the full range of military operations in a megacity, the next question to be addressed is clear. What would such a unit look like? One of the...

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