Landpower: Al-Qaeda, Russia, Army Culture and More
We hoped to get this together for your reading enjoyment.
The Syrian civil war has allowed al-Qaeda to recover from its setbacks up to 2010. Its main affiliate in the region seems to be testing a new strategy of collaboration with other Salafist-Jihadist groups and a less brutal implementation of Sharia law in areas it controls. The extent that the Syrian civil war offers the means for al-Qaeda to recover from its earlier defeats will determine whether the organization has a future, or if it will become simply an ideology and label adopted by various Islamist movements fighting their own separate struggles.
The Russian Armed Forces have been undergoing major structural reform since 2008. Despite change at the most senior levels of leadership, the desired endstate for Russia's military is now clear; but this endstate is determined by a flawed political perception of the key threats facing Russia. This monograph reviews those threat evaluations, and the challenges facing Russia's military transformation, to assess the range of options available to Russia for closing the capability gap with the United States and its allies.
In a profession as large as the U.S. Army, trying to influence the way organizational members think about specific issues can be a vexing proposition. Certainly new systems, policies, and procedures can force changes in behavior, but often what senior decision makers truly desire is a shift in attitudes—a culture change across the entire Army. Recent calls for Army culture change have emerged in areas as diverse as cyber security, resilience, sexual assault, leader development, language proficiency, and even energy conservation.
In examining the role of security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, the author draws broad lessons from which he provides concrete recommendations to improve the conduct of further missions. Rather than do away with contractors altogether, the author recommends limiting their roles, providing better oversight of their activities, and improving legal accountability for their wrong doing.
Truces among violent criminal organizations, like gangs and organized crime syndicates, which occur with national government support fall into a unique gap between understandings of crime and internal state violence. Recent national level gang truces in Central America and the Caribbean fall into this gap; the truces are designed to lower homicide rates and move some members of criminal groups towards legal activities.
We hope you will enjoy these insightful and thoughtful works and we always look forward to your feedback either through Landpower or directly to me.