Author: Adam Maisel

The Adviser’s Dilemma: Endemic Challenges and Unrealized Opportunities in the Training Mission in Afghanistan

As the Trump Administration prepares to roll out its Afghanistan policy, much remains unclear on one of the most critical functions: advising of Afghan defense and security personnel. Though preliminary plans recommended to the president call for an increase of between 3,000 and 5,000 US troops and loosening of Obama-era restrictions on military advisers’ proximity to the frontlines, little has been said to address the incoherence of advising efforts across the country. Between 2014 and 2017, I spent a total of twenty months deployed to Afghanistan—much of the time in a direct advising capacity to Afghan security forces. Teaching...

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Ghosts of Soviets Past: Do Bulgaria’s Historical Russian Ties Spell Trouble for NATO on the Black Sea Coast?

Editor’s Note: In September 2016, two Army intelligence officers set out on a cross-country expedition across Bulgaria to explore its rich history, its communist past, and what these can tell us about ongoing Russian influence in the NATO member state. In a previous series, they explored the mysterious remnants of Soviet occupation of the Baltic States. This article is the first in a series detailing their Bulgarian journey.   The November election of Rumen Radev as president of Bulgaria has contributed to growing concerns that several former Soviet satellite states are drifting back into the orbit of Putin’s Russia....

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An Outdated Message to Garcia: Why Hubbard’s Essay Needs to be Shelved for Good

Long a staple of military professional reading lists, “A Message to Garcia,” written by Elbert Hubbard continues to be considered among the most important literary works on leadership—and followership. It held a place of prominence on the Marine Corps Commandant’s reading list from the first list in 1989 all the way through 2015. We have both personally witnessed it being praised in various military education and professional development venues. And our experiences raised serious questions about the work’s enduring value. The lesson intended to be derived from the story is unclear, and its applicability to the modern military professional...

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