Author: MWI Staff

RAND’s David Johnson Visits Modern War Institute to Discuss How to Fight Hybrid Adversaries

Dr. David Johnson, senior historian with the RAND Corporation, spoke to cadets on 7 October at a Modern War Institute event entitled “Minding the Middle: How to Fight State-Sponsored Hybrid Adversaries.” He argued that there are low-end non-state irregular threats such as the al-Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan’s Taliban that we have been accustomed to fighting. He also pointed to “high end” state adversaries, with sophisticated air defenses, such as the Soviet Union way back in the 1970s and 1980s. He predicted that future war will involve a hybrid of the two. These include groups like ISIS and the Russia-backed Ukrainian separatists – moderately trained, disciplined, and operating with moderate sized formations (up to battalion). They have risen from the ongoing turmoil in North Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine. Their weapons typically include those associated with irregular groups – small arms, RPGs, short-range rockets, IEDs, etc. – but slightly more sophisticated capabilities such as ATGMs, MANPADs and longer-range rockets. Dr. Johnson argued that we “may not fight the Russians or Chinese” directly but he thinks “we will surely fight their systems” in the form of what he called “state-sponsored hybrids.” He pointed to significant capability gaps in the U.S. Army and in NATO against these weapons systems and thus we are vulnerable to operational and tactical surprise. The difference between the current category of state-sponsored hybrid threats and...

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A Modern War Institute War Council Panel “Iran – After the Nuclear Deal”

On Tuesday, 6 October, the Modern War Institute (MWI) hosted a War Council multi-disciplinary panel to discuss the Iran nuclear deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and its wider implications for conflict in the region. Nearly one hundred cadets, staff, and faculty attended the panel, consisting of faculty from the Department of Law, Department of Physics and Nuclear Engineering, Department of Foreign Language, and the Defense and Strategic Studies program, explored this complex topic. Major Patrick Grant from the Department of Law opened the panel by providing the historical context of Iran’s nuclear program....

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MG NuGee Discusses ISAF Drawdown in Afghanistan

Royal Army Major General Richard NuGee briefed about one hundred cadets on the trick to drawing down forces in Afghanistan in a Modern War Institute (MWI) speaker series event on Wednesday. NuGee, the chief of staff of the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, also discussed the challenges of fighting a war with such a large and disparate coalition of nations, as well as the difficulty of navigating the delicate domestic politics of ISAF’s host country, Afghanistan. “The real issue is nobody thought we were going,” he said. He told cadets that despite the challenges of coalitions like ISAF,...

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A Modern War Institute Speaker Series Event: “Advancing US Interests in Europe”

LTG Ben Hodges, the Commanding General of US Army Europe and the Seventh Army, spoke to cadets and faculty on Thursday, September 17th as part of the Modern War Institute Speaker Series. He spoke about the challenges facing US Army Europe and our strategic interests in the region. LTG Hodges emphasized the challenge of making 30,000 troops look like 300,000 troops. He began with a brief video showing his forces current operations. The video, and subsequent comments, highlighted how companies are integrating with our Allied nations for training exercises. Companies and platoons are meeting with leaders from other states and militaries to show US support in the region. Hodges focused on our two strategic interests in the region. First, the need to help maintain security and stability in the region for our economic relations in Europe. Second, maintaining partnerships with our Allies in Europe. In contrast, he stated Russia’s objective as breaking apart the great Alliance (NATO) and reestablishing their zone of influence in the region. LTG Hodges is using five pillars of influence to increase the deterrence effects of his forces. Empowering Junior Leaders Mission command gives smaller formations the ability for larger effects  Leveraging the State Partnership Program with the National Guard and Reserves Guard and Reserve forces partner with a state and conduct operations throughout the year Improving Interoperability with Allies and Partners Ensure preparedness for...

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A Modern War Institute War Council Panel – “ISIS – Reviewing a Year of U.S. Military Involvement”

On Tuesday, 8 September, the Modern War Institute (MWI) hosted a War Council multi-disciplinary panel to discuss U.S. military efforts against ISIS. I was fortunate enough to be one of the speakers and panelists. As with past MWI events, the panel was well attended with well over 100 cadets, staff, and faculty gathered to join in a professional dialogue about one of the most significant threats facing the world today. To approach this complex issue, the panel included faculty from the Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS) program, the Department of Social Sciences, the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC), and the Department of History. MAJ Adam Scher from the Department of Social Sciences was the first to speak. MAJ Scher spent last summer attached to the 82nd Airborne Division and partnered with the Iraqi Ground Forces Command in Iraq. Drawing on his recent firsthand experience, he discussed the current geographic areas controlled by the multiple tactical combatants across Iraq and Syria, including ISIS, Sunni Militia Groups, Shia’ Militia Groups, the Iraqi Army, the Peshmerga, and the key contested areas. He also discussed how U.S. forces are currently supporting the Iraqi Army in its counteroffensive against ISIS through building partner capacity and the advise and assist mission. Following MAJ Scher’s remarks, Muhammad al-`Ubaydi discussed some of the CTC’s recent research on ISIS-controlled areas in Iraq and Syria post June 2014. He provided...

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