Multi-Domain Battle (MDB) has become the flavor of the month. Pushed predominantly by the US Army and Marine Corps, it is the current iteration of various recent attempts to meld the services, the military missions, and the strategic environment into a coherent, all-encompassing concept. Jointness is no longer enough. As repeatedly seen since the end of World War II, however, the United States has a consistent record of losing wars, both on the battlefield, and as policy contests. The US military services’ institutional cultures—what Carl Builder called their “masks of war”—deserve a significant amount of blame for these failures,...Read More
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The strategic challenges posed by resurgent global powers have largely escaped the headlines of major news publications. Most citizens do not realize that Russia and China possess the technology capable of denying US forces the ability to operate uncontested in the western Pacific Ocean or eastern Europe. Given that preserving the current rules-based international order is a key security interest of the United States, this issue poses significant problems for the US military. Fortunately, members of the defense community are formulating ways to solve this new challenge. Planners and strategists within the institutional Army are underway developing the much-publicized...Read More
Operationalizing the multi-domain battle concept effectively will require significant changes to the Department of Defense that would likely constitute a second Goldwater-Nichols-style piece of legislation, altering the structure and operations of the defense community. As politically unlikely as it is to be implemented, that shouldn’t stop us from trying.Read More
Ben Buchanan, The Cybersecurity Dilemma: Hacking, Trust and Fear Between Nations (Oxford University Press, 2017) For the sanguine among us, last month’s NATO meetings were a success. President Donald Trump abandoned his formal charge of NATO’s obsolescence and—however belatedly—acknowledged the US commitment to mutual defense. But for many European leaders, Trump’s stint in Brussels did more to confirm anxieties over American disengagement than it did to assuage them. Speaking shortly after the G7 summit in Sicily that immediately followed the NATO meetings, German chancellor Angela Merkel made clear that America’s reliability could no longer be assumed. And the fight for...Read More
By First Lieutenant David Kearns
As the combat mission in Afghanistan winds down in favor of a strictly advisory role, the Coalition’s success and the long-term security for the struggling nation will depend heavily on the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). While ISAF Forces have been working with and fighting alongside ANSF for years now, the fruits of our labor will be most apparent as we increasingly take a backseat and allow the Afghans to plan, execute, and lead their own missions. Time is short, and while we may not be able to solve all of the Country’s problems, one realm that we can still positively affect is the training and preparation of the Afghan Soldiers and Police.
I was deployed in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM XI-XII with a Combat Engineer Company task organized as a Rifle Company. During our 11 month deployment we operated in multiple districts throughout Wardak and Ghazni Provinces. Throughout this time we were partnered with two separate Afghan National Army (ANA) Companies and one Kandak (Battalion), each with a different personality, strengths, and weaknesses. One of our primary goals was to train these ANA and help them become effective and successful. We were never under any illusion that we could turn these Afghan Soldiers into a fully trained and professional Army in 11 months, however, it was driven from our Company Command Team down to us, that investing in our Afghan Partners would be the most effective and enduring thing we could do. It would be our legacy. The way I viewed it, and what I tried to communicate to the leaders and Soldiers in my Platoon, was “We don’t have enough time to make them perfect, but we can teach them enough that they live long enough to learn everything else they need to know.” It may not be the most eloquent way to put it, but I believed, and still believe, that it was a realistic and achievable goal. By the end of our tour and all the lessons learned that came from it, our Company was successful in training and mentoring a very successful Kandak. There are four principals that embody what made us successful. They are; understand, train, empower, and trust.Read More
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