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
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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
Cities matter. They matter for fighting climate change, for fighting pandemics, and, as the Urban Warfare Project continues to demonstrate, they matter for the future of fighting itself. The heightened importance of urban spaces results from demographic developments, with the global population advancing toward 70 percent living in urban areas by 2050, and from recent trends in terrorism, counterinsurgency and stabilization efforts. Both people and the fight are converging on cities. But recognizing the importance of the urban domain is a very different thing from knowing a particular city, or even knowing urban areas more generally. After all, there...Read More
“My hands are freezing,” I thought as I cradled my cold rifle while trudging along toward the objective. It was also too dark and foggy to see beyond a few feet and the calf-deep mud I kept slipping in only reinforced the debate I was having in my head over my poor life choices. “Could this get any worse?” My experience in the Army proved time and again that it could. My empty stomach was only interrupted by the drowsiness that missing two nights of sleep could produce. I had to stay alert, however. My soldiers were relying on...Read More
In late 2017, a team of Polish climbers traveled to the Karakoram in an ambitious attempt to summit K2, the second-highest mountain in the world and the last of the fourteen great peaks higher than eight thousand meters to remain unclimbed in winter. Team cohesion was already fragile when the strongest climber departed the camp and set off on a forlorn solo push for the summit. Facing deteriorating weather conditions, the team accepted defeat shortly afterwards. Reflecting on the expedition, its leader Krzysztof Wielicki expressed skepticism regarding the role that internet access on the mountain played. Photographs posted online...Read More
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