Small Wars Journal

strategy

“It’s Time to Stop Using the Term Exit Strategy”

Thu, 11/04/2021 - 2:10am
In recent decades every time the United States’ political and military leaders discuss the use of force to deal with complex issues in the international security environment the conversation inevitably turns to the need for an exit strategy.[i]  Such discussions of exit strategies have had a deleterious effect on the development of strategy because the exit has become an end unto itself.  Thus, senior leaders have lost sight of the need to win when using force in order to secure political objectives.  The focus on exit strategy ignores the need to conduct messy consolidation operations to secure victory and ultimately translate this into political success.  Once military victory has secured the stated political objectives, then it is appropriate to discuss redeploying committed forces.  This essay offers that the focus on exit strategies is a factor that has led to strategic incompetence and therefore, it is time to discard the use of the term exit strategy as a necessary step to regain strategic competence.  This paper will discuss the origin of the term exit strategy, how it has affected policy and strategy formulation, and offer suggestions for regaining strategic competence.

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Afghanistan’s continuing role in U.S. Strategic Competition in the absence of U.S. troops

Thu, 07/15/2021 - 1:57pm
The nature of American overseas military operations is once again shifting, this time away from Counterterrorism (CT) and Counter Insurgency (COIN) Operations toward an era of Strategic Competition and Large-Scale Combat Operations (LSCO). After nearly two decades of major operations in the Middle East, few are taking positions against the shift or promoting costly so-called “forever-wars”. But consensus on what the U.S. will no longer do does little to inform what the U.S. ought to do. 

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The Strategic Realities of Twenty-First Century “Small Wars”— An Opinion Essay

Sat, 05/22/2021 - 2:36pm
The traditional distinctions between crime, terrorism, subversion, and insurgency are blurred.  This new dynamic involves the migration of the monopoly of political power (i.e., the authoritative allocation of the values in a society) from the traditional nation-state to unconventional actors such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), transnational criminal organizations, Leninist-Maoist insurgents, tribal militias, mafia organizations, private armies, cartel enforcers, third generation gangs (3GEN Gangs), and other modern mercenaries and entrepreneurs. These actors conduct some form or level of war against various state and non-state adversaries and promulgate their own rule of law—within alternatively governed spaces—within the societies they control.  That activity creates an ambiguous bazaar of violence where criminal entrepreneurs fuel the convergence of crime and war.

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The Kingston Consortium on International Security: Beyond Direct Action: A Counter Threat Finance Approach to Competition

Article: https://www.queensu.ca/kcis/kcis-insights/insights-1-3

 

The Politics of Special Forces Podcast: https://www.queensu.ca/kcis/podcasts

Riley.C.Murray Fri, 04/09/2021 - 3:09am

U.S. Army Arctic Strategy – March 16, 2021

Sat, 03/20/2021 - 1:08pm

US Army Document - Regaining Arctic Dominance: https://api.army.mil/e2/c/downloads/2021/03/15/9944046e/regaining-arctic-dominance-us-army-in-the-arctic-19-january-2021-unclassified.pdf

 

The U.S. Army has announced its new arctic strategy. The strategy outlines how the Army will generate, train, organize, and equip its forces to secure U.S. national interests and maintain regional stability.

 

Objectives: 

  • Establish a two-star headquarters with specifically trained and equipped combat brigades
  • Improve material readiness of Arctic-capable units
  • Improve individual and collective training in mountainous and high-altitude environments
  • Improve quality of life for Soldiers, civilians, and families living and working in the Arctic region

 

SOF News Analysis on the New Strategy: https://sof.news/defense/army-arctic-strategy-2021/

 

United States Nuclear Strategy: Deterrence, Escalation and War

Tue, 01/28/2020 - 9:01am
Above all, such planning ought never be just a calculable contest of "mind over matter," never just a vainly reassuring inventory of comparative weaponization or presumptively superior "order of battle." Unless this point is more completely and quickly understood by senior US strategic policymakers, the next change of hands on the "Doomsday Clock" (at The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists) could take place at three seconds before midnight.

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Targeting Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: Pertinent Issues of Law and Strategy

Mon, 10/28/2019 - 11:00am
The US targeted killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on 26 October 2019 raises both tactical and legal questions. Although it is by no means certain that such "decapitation" tactics can tangibly diminish Jihadist terrorist threats to the United States, there is little reason to doubt their permissibility under pertinent international law. In the final analysis, such permissibility derives from our world's still-decentralized legal structure.

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Integrating National Defense and Security Strategies to Win Complex Wars

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 5:34pm
As a follow-on to "The US National Security Strategy Needs Combined Effects", this paper shows how combinations of US National Security Strategy (NSS) effects can integrate US National Defense Strategy (NDS) objectives to create strategically significant advantages.

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U.S. Grand Strategy is Alive and Well - The Evidence is Happening All Around Us

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 9:08am
A multipolar view of the world inclines far more towards justice than one in which the U.S. jealousy protects her position. The British and French are firmly in the U.S. and NATO camps, and are defending their democracies, not docile parroting of the U.S. position. In Asia, Liberalism is anchored by Korea, Japan and Australia in a grand arc. This is not the work of Trump, but the sum of endless work over decades to make the U.S. safer. Recent events are vindication of this ‘offshoring’ strategy.

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Pursuing a Strategy for Yesterday’s War

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 12:08pm
Exploiting America’s openness and diversity, various state and non-state actors have encouraged large segments of the population to mobilize against one another and the government to address a wide range of social and political grievances. These efforts have increased civil unrest and created extensive polarization that now defines the American social and political landscape. Not only have they effectively chipped away at any semblance of national unity, they have created conditions that make it socially and politically unacceptable to cooperate or engage in meaningful dialogue with people who hold opposing views.

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