Dr. Steven Metz
The author would like to thank Frank Hoffman of the National Defense University for major contributions to this report.
The 21st-century security environment compels the United States to develop more effective and efficient ways to promote its national interests. This includes refining methods for developing and applying landpower. One of the most important aspects of improving American landpower is augmenting the ability of the U.S. military in the human domain of conflict.
While discussion of the human domain is new for the U.S. military, it reflects long-standing ideas. Skilled military leaders have always understood that war has both a physical and a psychological dimension. The physical dimension allows an army, navy, and air force to compel enemies and noncombatants to act in a specific way. By contrast, effects in the psychological dimension are indirect, leading both enemies and noncombatants to choose to act in a specific way, either by fear of what will happen to them if they do not or the promise of reward if they do. The two dimensions clearly overlap: physically compelling enemies to do something, or killing them, has psychological effects on anyone who observes or hears about it. But skill in one dimension does not automatically equate to success in the other.
History’s greatest military strategists have capitalized on this intersection to amplify their influence beyond what they can physically affect and to make the most efficient use possible of their resources. As Sun Tzu, the Chinese theorist of war, wrote more than 2,000 years ago, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” Although he used different words, Sun Tzu was talking about the psychological dimension of armed conflict. And the past 10 years have shown that, in 21st-century conflict, the psychological dimension is as important as the physical, and often more so.
Landpower is particularly important in the human domain largely because it puts U.S. forces in direct contact with those they seek to influence; whether by deterring enemies or convincing them to stop what they are doing, or by convincing civilian policymakers and populations that they share objectives and priorities with the United States. In the contemporary security environment, strategic success requires an ability to understand, influence, or control the human domain. This can be expressed graphically:
Figure 1. Human Domain.
This is the context for developing the concept of Strategic Landpower: the application of landpower toward achieving overarching national or multinational (alliance or coalition) security objectives and guidance for a given military campaign or operation. This represents an effort within the U.S. military to better integrate the psychological dimension of conflict into military thinking and planning, and to institutionalize lessons about the human domain learned at great cost in Iraq and Afghanistan and now playing out on new battlegrounds in Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere. The objective is a more effective and efficient application of U.S. military power.
To do this, the U.S. Army, U.S. Special Operations Command, and U.S. Marine Corps created the Strategic Landpower Task Force. Its mission is:
• To study historic, contemporary, and emerging military, human, and strategic considerations;
• To study the enduring relationship between the land domain and the human domain;
• To generate ideas, and develop concepts for operations on land and among populations; and,
• To posture those forces to provide Strategic Landpower in an increasingly complex and evolving operational and strategic environment.
This report summarizes the analytical literature related to Strategic Landpower. It demonstrates that there are significant gaps and shortcomings in recent research and analysis on landpower. There are three reasons for this. First, unlike the 1990s which saw a relatively expansive literature on the strategic role of landpower, much of it written by Marine and Army officers, the land forces have been so heavily engaged over the past decade that they had limited time for reflection, strategic thinking, and writing. Second, outside of counterinsurgency and peacekeeping, few national security scholars or research institute analysts write about landpower. This is specifically true of futures-focused assessments rather than historical ones. Third, the idea persists in the American strategic culture that landpower is something to be generated in time of emergency and largely abandoned once the emergency passes. Americans have always accepted the need for a relatively robust peacetime navy but felt than they could create an army for a specific war and then get rid of most of it afterward. To some extent, this tradition has limited the interest that scholars and analysts have in landpower after Iraq and Afghanistan.
The limits of the analytical literature on landpower have meant that the Strategic Landpower Task Force largely had to fill the gaps on its own as much as possible. If its work continues, whatever organization assumes the mission of advancing landpower must develop a comprehensive and focused research program, both within the armed forces and in the wider community of national security scholars and analysts. This should be supported by wargaming, experimentation, and network-building, both among national security experts and with other communities of expertise relevant to Strategic Landpower including cultural studies, psychology, organizational development, technology, and long-range futures. Until then, this report will summarize selected recent analysis and suggest priorities for future research.
The Strategic Environment.
A number of trends are driving change in the global strategic environment and in the way the United States approaches it:
• The world has become so interconnected that every major conflict has cascading, long-term effects. They destabilize and damage the economy of not only the region where they occur, but the world as a whole.
• World events, including conflict, the cascading effects of conflict, and military operations, are transparent. They are “live cast”—made available to a global audience in real or near real time (Metz, December 19, 2012). This makes collateral damage less acceptable than in the past, and undercuts support for protracted military operations.
• Budgetary pressures have increased the need for efficiency in U.S. strategy. In the years immediately after the Cold War and after the September 11, 2001, attacks, the United States had such a surplus of military power and money that it could focus on strategic effectiveness with only minimal regard for efficiency. That has now changed.
• Power, technology, and information have become highly diffused. This empowers a wider range of political, economic, criminal, social, and military groups than in the past and, in some situations, allows them to challenge governments and government organizations.
• As the world becomes more crowded, most of the opponents faced by the U.S. military will operate within civilian populations in order to protect themselves and hide from security forces. The continued urbanization of the world will further increase the chances that future U.S. military operations will be, in the words of British General Rupert Smith (2005), “amongst the people.”
• Most, if not all, U.S. military operations will continue to be cross cultural. Often the cultures in which the U.S. military operates will be radically different than American culture.
While is it not clear where these trends ultimately will lead, it is possible to identify key implications and points of consensus within the community of strategic futurists. For instance, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command contends that the strategic environment will be:
characterized by multiple actors, adaptive threats, chaotic conditions, and advanced-technology-enabled actors seeking to dominate the information environment. The Army must be operationally adaptive to defeat these complex challenges and adversaries operating within this environment (Operational Environments to 2028, 2012).
The most common threat will be a hybrid which may include military forces, nation-state paramilitary forces, insurgent organizations, guerrilla units, and criminal organizations.
A report from the National Intelligence Council (Global Trends 2030, 2013) concluded that four “megatrends” are most important: individual empowerment; the diffusion of power; demographic patterns dividing the world into zones of population growth and others with stable or even declining populations; and a food/water/energy nexus that will lead to increasing competition for these commodities in places. The Council defined four “potential worlds” by 2030:
• “Stalled Engines” (a worst case scenario in which the United States draws inward, globalization stalls, and the risks of interstate conflict increase);
• “Fusion” (the most plausible best-case scenario in which the United States and China collaborate on a number of issues leading to broader global cooperation);
• “Genie-Out-of-the-Bottle” (inequalities within and between nations explode and the United States no longer manages world order); and,
• “Nonstate World” (driven by new technologies, nonstate actors surpass states in confronting global challenges).
Few nongovernment reports attempt a comprehensive analysis of the future strategic or operational environment. While there is an extensive community of futurists (and even a futures industry), those concentrate on technology, social trends, or economics. One major exception is the Atlantic Council’s Envisioning 2030: US Strategy for a Post-Western World (2012). Relying on the work of the National Intelligence Council concerning “megatrends,” “game-changers,” and “potential worlds,” this report suggests specific policy actions to augment the chances of a preferred future world rather than a worst case one.
One of the most important issues related to the future strategic environment is the nature of the opponents or threats that the United States will face. Some national security experts contend that other nations, particularly China, will pose the greatest threat in the future. Hence the U.S. military should be optimized to deter or defeat other state militaries.
An alternative perspective—and one reinforced by most comprehensive studies of the future strategic environment from the intelligence community and the Department of Defense (DoD)—is that the primary opponents faced by the U.S. military will be hybrid compositions of militaries and nonmilitary entities (e.g., Hoffman, 2007; Hoffman, 2009; Hoffman, 2010; Hoffman, 2012; Murray and Mansoor, 2012) or “evolved irregular threats” (Flynn, 2011). They will be highly complex, adapt rapidly, rely on asymmetric methods, and often operate in congested urban areas. Their tactics, operations, and strategies may entail swarming by autonomous cells (Faggard, 2013; Metz, 2012; Libicki, 1994; Robb, 2007; Arquilla and Ronfeldt, 2001).
This concept of fourth or fifth generation warfare sees nonstate actors as the primary opponent rather than as part of a coalition of nonstate and semi-state or state forces (e.g., Hammes, 2006; Coerr, 2009). While not universally accepted or codified in service or joint doctrine and contested by some strategic analysts such as Echevarria (2005), the idea is widely used, particularly in the U.S. Marine Corps.
U.S. Grand Strategy and Strategic Guidance.
With no peer enemy and massive government budget deficits, some policy experts argue that the United States faces strategic “overstretch” and should downgrade its role in managing global security (e.g., Posen, 2013; Parent, 2011; Walt, 2011; Kupchan, 2010; Mearsheimer, 2011; Preble, 2009). Although there is a wide range of positions within this group of scholars, most advocate a U.S. strategy based on “offshore balancing” in which military force was only used to prevent a hostile power from gaining control of an important region.
While most policymakers and political leaders have not fully accepted this idea, it is growing. A few leading figures like Senator Rand Paul, the Libertarian Party, and parts of the “Tea Party” political movement support it. The idea of strategic overstretch and the need for disengagement is promoted by the Washington-based Cato Institute and by publications like The American Conservative. Together, they make the most powerful call for strategic retrenchment since the period immediately after the Vietnam War (which was also characterized by war weariness, the perception of a declining threat, and economic challenges.)
Despite advocacy for strategic retrenchment, the President and Secretary of Defense have directed DoD to reduce defense spending, but do so in a way that “preserves American global leadership [and] maintains our military superiority” (Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership, 2012). Strategic guidance instructs the Joint Force to be prepared to confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world and be able to surge and regenerate forces and capabilities. It identifies 10 primary missions of the U.S. armed forces:
1. Counterterrorism and irregular warfare;
2. Deter and defeat aggression;
3. Project power despite anti-access/area denial challenges;
4. Counter weapons of mass destruction;
5. Operate effectively in cyberspace and space;
6. Maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent;
7. Defend the homeland and provide support to civil authorities;
8. Provide a stabilizing presence;
9. Conduct stability and counterinsurgency operations; and,
10. Conduct humanitarian disaster relief and other operations.
Most post-Cold War strategic guidance did not establish a clear priority among the regions of the world. The current strategic guidance, though, indicates that the Middle East and Asia Pacific are the priority regions.
Following this idea, Joint Publication 1 (2013) summarizes the activities of the U.S. armed forces as:
• Secure the homeland;
• Win wars;
• Deter adversaries;
• Provide security cooperation to partners and allies;
• Support civil authorities; and,
• Adapt to a changing environment.
The new Secretary of Defense, Charles Hagel, has instigated a review of the 2012 strategic guidance in light of the declining defense budget (Alexander, 2013). As of the writing of this report, that review is underway. Most policy experts do not expect a major change in the 2012 strategic guidance, particularly the commitment of the United States to global engagement and leadership with a focus on the Asia Pacific region and the Middle East, but do expect some economizing steps.
The Role of Landpower in U.S. Strategy.
While the United States has always had an army, landpower is not as deeply ingrained in the American strategic tradition as sea power. In part, this was a result of geography, specifically the absence of major enemy nations nearby. But it also reflected an aversion to casualties growing from America’s reliance on citizen soldiers when it mobilized for war. The tradition, then, was to maintain a small peacetime professional army for territorial defense and to provide the core of wartime mobilization.
When the United States obtained overseas possessions after the Spanish-American War, the Army undertook its first long-term overseas presence as a provider of colonial defense. To an increasing degree in the 20th century, the United States augmented its landpower by using the Marine Corps for expeditionary operations, small wars, and, during World War I, for major campaigns as the equivalent of the Army.
Immediately after World War II, the United States once again dismantled much of its landpower other than what was needed for occupation duty. But the Korean War and the emergence of a Soviet military threat to Europe demonstrated the importance of landpower for containment strategy. In addition to deterring Soviet and Chinese aggression by forward presence in Europe and Asia, the land forces also played an increasing role in helping foreign states counter communist-based insurgents.
Following the end of the Vietnam War, the end of the Cold War, and the end of major U.S. responsibility for the counterinsurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the land forces again were cut. In each instance, policymakers and military leaders had to decide how much the land forces could be cut, while continuing to promote global stability and allowing expansion or mobilization if necessary. They also had to identify the types of capabilities to retain as the land forces were downsized by assessing the future security environment. Like the current downsizing, these past ones were driven by the belief that U.S. air and sea power, in combination with allied or partner ground forces, diminished the need for American landpower. They offer insights into what worked and what did not (Killibrew, 2013).
In the current downsizing, policy experts and scholars from the “retrenchment” school who believe that current U.S. strategy is unsustainable advocate a diminished reliance on landpower in U.S. global strategy. One variant proposes a radically different approach that focuses on protecting the “global commons,” standoff strikes, and limited raids rather than on building and maintaining regional stability. This idea is most common within the Navy and Air Force. This line of thinking often portrays U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as the paradigms for the major use of landpower. Since most Americans do not want to repeat those experiences, the argument is that the United States will not undertake a large-scale use of landpower in the coming decades.
One example of this school of thought is Roughead and Schake (2013). They advocate cutting land forces by about half, while keeping air and sea forces at their current levels. Less radical ideas such as Barno, Bensahel, Irvine, and Sharp (2012) recommend reducing the Army and Marine Corps to pre-September 11, 2001, levels. Roughead and Schake, along with Stringer and Sizemore (2013), contend that future applications of U.S. landpower will consist solely or primarily of short-term expeditionary operations, raids, or security force assistance. Thus, they conclude, American landpower should consist primarily of the Marines and Special Operations Forces (SOF), with some mobilization capability in the Army’s reserve component.
Other analysts believe that landpower will be as, or even more, strategically important in the emerging global security system (e.g., Metz and Lovelace, 2013; Lacey, 2013). Wass de Czege (2013) points out that the Army is important when the United States wants a specific outcome to a conflict. What he calls “easy fighting” theories relying on long-range strikes cannot attain this.
One of the most powerful cases for the sustained strategic relevance of landpower is Freier (2011). The result of a study project undertaken by the influential Center for Strategic and International Studies, this assessment concluded that ground forces will remain strategically relevant and in demand during the coming decade. Capabilities related to forcible entry and armored maneuver will be important, and building partner forces and undertaking stabilization can be done without adding specialized capability to the U.S. ground forces.
Freier (2013) assesses the future ground force requirements of U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) and U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM). The report concludes that ground forces will more commonly face a much wider variety of contingency missions. While these may include conventional military operations, they are likelier to emerge from a state’s weakness than they are from a hostile state’s inherent strength. Reductions in ground force capability without a thorough understanding of the operational implications associated with this conclusion could undermine the effectiveness of future U.S. responses. This is especially relevant to USCENTCOM and USPACOM.
From a broader perspective, Milevski (2012) offers a rare scholarly analysis of the strategic rationale for landpower. He argues that landpower is necessary for a strategy based on exercising control rather than one that simply aims to deter or defeat enemy militaries.
Goure (2012) applies a similar logic to the United States and contends that the major regional contingency force sizing paradigm which dominated U.S. military strategy in the 1990s remains “the measure of a superpower” and hence should be the basis of U.S. strategy. He advocates retaining a force which includes 10 active and eight reserve Army divisions, and three Marine Expeditionary Forces. Unless the United States is willing to do this, Goure argues, it will be forced to abandon the role of global superpower. There is little indication, though, that Dr. Goure’s argument in favor of a two major regional contingency (MRC) force sizing construct has deep support in Congress or among policymakers.
In making a case for sustaining the size of the U.S. Army, Goure (2013) wrote:
The most powerful strategic argument for the U.S. Army may simply be this: it is the last army standing in the Western World. Economics teaches us that scarcity tends to increase the value of a good. Large, capable, expeditionary land forces are becoming a scarce commodity.
Chamberlain (2013) makes a similar argument with a specific focus on Asia. He contends that only the Army and Marines can provide a security commitment to America’s partners in Asia that does not simultaneously threaten China. Landpower is the only avenue by which America can enhance regional security and stability, deter Chinese militarism, and encourage Chinese commitment to the global status quo.
The issue of exactly what U.S. landpower will be asked to do remains open. In broad terms, there are at least six scenarios that could lead the United States to become involved in its next war:
1. Provocation or proliferation from a rogue state compels regime change;
2. A large state attempts to conquer a small one, and the United States elects to prevent it;
3. The United States is compelled to intervene in an ongoing war to stop a humanitarian disaster, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or spread of the conflict;
4. Insurgency again becomes a form of proxy conflict and the United States undertakes either counterinsurgency support or support to an insurgency movement;
5. The United States is compelled to contain or remove a criminal state; and,
6. The United States intervenes to support a partner or ally facing civil war or aggression from a neighboring state.
Many national security scholars argue that large-scale, state-on-state war is highly unlikely, perhaps even impossible (e.g., Mueller 1989; Van Creveld, 1991; Smith, 2005). A few like Colin Gray (2005) believe that it may return some day. But most national security experts believe that if this happens, there will be enough strategic warning to expand or rebuild the American capability for protracted ground combat.
The argument that large-scale ground warfare is unlikely grows from the absence of an opponent committed to conventional aggression. North Korea is probably the greatest possibility. Even though South Korea could defeat the North, the U.S. Army would be heavily involved in regime change and occupation if the United States opts for it. A few writers such as Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin (2012) assert that Iran is the most important security threat the United States faces. While conventional aggression from Iran is unlikely, if the United States decided that it must eradicate the Iranian nuclear weapons program, this might entail large-scale ground operations.
This type of analysis—seeing no impending large-scale ground operations and thus concluding that U.S. landpower could or should shrink—overlooks two major points. One is that the existence of effective U.S. landpower is one reason that conventional aggression by states like North Korea or Iran is unlikely. The other is that the United States sometimes became involved in wars it did not anticipate. There is at least the possibility that a major war might break out in the future which does not initially trigger a U.S. alliance commitment, but which the United States feels compelled to join at some point. After all, this was the way the United States became involved in both world wars in Europe, in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq in 1991. Potential examples might include India/Pakistan, India/China, China/Russia, and any number of Middle Eastern scenarios.
The United States is also likely to continue to use landpower to strengthen partners and allies, and build stable post conflict security systems, but do so with a smaller commitment of U.S. troops than in Iraq and Afghanistan. This often serves U.S. national interests while limiting the costs. For instance, Watts et. al. (2012) examined a number of cases of what they called “minimalist stabilization” and concluded that this can increase the chances that the partner will avoid defeat. Freier (2009) and Lujan (2013) also argue in favor of small footprint applications of U.S. landpower to support stability.
One gap in the analytical literature concerns methods of using landpower outside the traditional phase I-III construct focused on decisive operations. Hodne (2013) does offer some ideas in this direction, arguing that irregular warfare led by U.S. Army Special Forces can or should be the initial phase of a strategic offensive. This reflects the original purpose of Army Special Forces during the Cold War.
The Human Domain.
One of the primary objectives of the Strategic Landpower Task Force was to study the confluence of land, human, and cyberspace domains to better inform the national security establishment’s thinking on integrating the “human domain” into the planning and execution of military operations.
At this point, there is no agreement on precisely what the human domain is, whether the advantages of institutionalizing it outweigh the disadvantages or costs, and exactly how this institutionalization should take place. While analysts like Vincent (2013) argue that it should be pushed even further as the basis for a true revolution in thinking, others like Douglas (2013) believe that the time, money, and efforts spent on pursuing the “human domain” is wasteful and should cease immediately. He concludes that it is an invalid term and not equal to the other domains used in the joint lexicon.
The most comprehensive treatments of this issue are Hoffman and Hammes (2013) and Hoffman and Davies (2013). After explaining the use and evolution of the term within the U.S. military and exploring multiple ways of conceptualizing the idea, the authors recommend integrating the human domain and related human environment into Joint doctrine and using it as a framework for DoD investment. Cleveland and Farris (2013) assess the human domain within the context of the evolution of operational concepts.
While not specifically advocating the institutionalization of the human domain, Womble (2013) also assesses the importance of improving human considerations in order to make landpower more effective and offers detailed analysis on exactly what is meant by “domain.”
In an unpublished and undated paper written for the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, Major General Robert B. Brown and Major Ronald W. Spring adopt a definition of the human domain developed by the Army Special Operations Capabilities Integration Center: The “totality of the physical, cultural, and social environments that influence human behavior to the extent that success of any military operation or campaign depends on the application of unique capabilities that are designed to fight and win population centric conflicts.” They argue that, “The Human Domain cannot be controlled or managed by technical means or capabilities; it requires human contact—person to person interaction—with duration and persistence over time. . . .” They conclude that success in the human domain is vital for decisive military outcomes.
Institutionalizing the concept of the human domain would have two objectives: to make the U.S. military more effective by reinforcing the primacy of human effects during campaigns and operations, and to provide a framework for investment, leader development, doctrine development, training, education, wargaming, and experimentation. The first of these objectives could probably be attained without formally institutionalizing the concept of the human domain (although perhaps not as effectively). Doing so would significantly increase the chances of attaining both objectives.
Cultural Factors and Expertise.
Culture shapes the way people react to ideas or actions. To be effective in the human domain, the U.S. military must possess or have access to cultural understanding, and use these to shape operations, campaigns, and strategies. Traditionally, Army Special Forces were the component of the U.S. military that placed the greatest emphasis on cultural understanding but as a larger segment of the military became involved with population-centric counterinsurgency over the past decade, programs to develop and sustain cultural expertise have spread more widely. During the past decade, DoD developed a number of programs to instill greater regional and language expertise in the military (Regional and Cultural Expertise, 2007). Several government studies and reports monitored this effort (e.g., Building Language Skills and Cultural Competencies in the Military, 2010). They concluded that it was insufficient or incomplete. The emphasis at this time, though, was on language skills (e.g., DoD Needs, 2009).
One important innovation during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan was the development of human terrain teams of social scientists which embedded with military units to provide a level of cultural expertise not resident in the force (McFate and Fondacaro, 2011). But as Kusiak (2008) notes, the use of civilian scholars to augment the sociocultural expertise of the military is controversial within the scholarly community and is likely to remain so.
As the concept of Strategic Landpower develops, military leaders will need to identify the types and extent of cultural expertise which must be resident in the military, ways to acquire cultural expertise that is not already resident in the military, and ways of sustaining the needed type and extent of cultural expertise.
Rasmussen and Sieck (2012) suggest a number of practical ways to do that within the military. Robinson (2013) does the same, specifically for SOF. Simons (2013) approaches the problem differently, arguing that non-Asian, non-Western opponents, which will be primary opponents of the U.S. military in the future, better understand U.S. culture and psychology than Americans understand theirs, thus giving them an advantage which might, under some conditions, undercut U.S. advantages.
Special Operations Forces/Conventional Forces Interdependence.
During the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, SOF and conventional forces developed an unprecedented level of interdependence and cooperation. Preserving, institutionalizing, and expanding this is an important component of effective Strategic Landpower.
The SOF have a number of initiatives and programs underway to do precisely this. So far, though, there has been little analysis of this by scholars, national security experts, or military officers. Exceptions include Robinson (2013), Expanding the Nation’s Option Set (2013), Kirila (2013), Lujan (2013), Sacolick and Grisby (2012), Salmon (2013), and Stringer and Sizemore (2013). This analytical gap should be filled as the Strategic Landpower initiative moves forward.
In one of the most detailed independent analyses of the strategic role of SOF, Thomas and Dougherty (2013) argue that reshaping SOF in the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review should focus on:
• Enhancing the Global SOF Network;
• Disaggregating SOF for persistent engagement;
• Improving SOF language proficiency;
• Updating authorities for preventive action; and,
• Developing new capabilities to address emerging challenges.
Unlike the post-Vietnam innovations in the U.S. military such as the development of AirLand Battle and the “revolution in military affairs” of the 1990s, much of the innovation of the past decade was bottom-up as things that worked in Iraq and Afghanistan spread throughout the force and were sometimes institutionalized. The Strategic Landpower initiative is designed to capture and formalize many of these.
This makes case studies of recent tactical and operational innovation important for strategic redesign. There is a massive literature from the scholarly community, the community of national security experts, and the military profession on Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the best is Malkasian (2013).
As the Strategic Landpower initiative moves forward, it is important to look at other case studies as sources of strategic innovation, including non-U.S. cases, where militaries were effective (or ineffective) in the human domain. Phrased differently, the U.S. military must never assume that it alone has mastered human effects and must be open to learning from others. Rabasa et. al. (2011) offers good comparative analysis of success in multiple counterinsurgency campaigns, some involving the United States, others not. A comprehensive body of case study research would also examine historical instances of success in the human domain.
Like any new concepts, Strategic Landpower will require continued refinement. This and its institutionalization into the U.S. military and DoD will require several parallel efforts, all supported by rigorous research. This, in turn, must be validated by wargaming and experiments. Issues for future research include:
• How has the role of landpower changed so far in the 21st-century security environment?
• How would the role of landpower change in alternative U.S. grand strategies?
• How is the role of landpower likely to change over the next 2 decades?
• How has the emergence of a cyber domain of conflict affected the development and application of landpower?
• What alternative methods are there to use landpower? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
• What are the advantages, disadvantages, costs, and risks of defining the human domain as a separate warfighting domain?
• What changes in service and joint doctrine are needed to integrate and institutionalize success in the human domain? Is new doctrine needed?
• What skills sets are needed for success in the human domain?
• What type of experimentation and wargaming would success in the human domain require?
• What changes in training would success in the human domain require?
• What changes in leader development and education would success in the human domain require?
• What tactical, theater strategic, and national strategic organizational changes are needed to maximize the chances of success in the human domain?
• What technology would optimize military operations in the human domain?
• How would military operations in the human domain interact with traditional media?
• How would military operations in the human domain interact with new media?
• What other fields of knowledge can be mined for the understanding of conflict in the human domain and psychological effects? What insights from them have the greatest relevance?
• How would Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM have been different if the U.S. military had been optimized for the human domain and psychological effects?
• What are historical examples of effectiveness in the human domain and maximum psychological effects?
• What interagency concepts and organizations would maximize effectiveness in the human domain?
• How can U.S. forces best operate with partners and allies in the human domain?
• What types of partnerships and alliances will be most effective in the human domain?
• What are the major trends and changes in the human domain?
• Will new violent ideologies emerge? If so, how can landpower contain, control, or defeat them?
• What psychological effects are cross-cultural and what are culture-specific?
• What are the most effective and efficient methods to train and educate the U.S. military for cross-cultural operations?
• How would success or victory be defined and measured in the human domain?
• How does deterrence function in the human domain?
• What ethical and legal frameworks are needed for military operations in the human domain?
• Will the development of Strategic Landpower and optimal effectiveness in the human domain require changes to or the creation of new legislation?
Documents marked * are unpublished papers prepared specifically for the Strategic Landpower Task Force. Documents marked ** are student research papers from the U.S. Army War College prepared for the Strategic Landpower Task Force.
A New US Defense Strategy for a New Era: Military Superiority, Agility, and Efficiency, a summary of the Findings of the Defense Advisory Committee. Washington, DC: Stimson Center, 2012. Develops the concept of “strategic agility” to exploit the flexibility, agility, and reach of the U.S. armed forces to promote U.S. national interests in a rapidly changing international environment.
Abramowitz, Jeffrey David. The Future of the Army’s Reserve Components. Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College, 2013.** Considers proposals for reducing inefficiencies between the Reserve Components and recommends that the most politically expedient, operationally focused, and fiscally efficient way to streamline the Reserve Components is to maintain each with clearly distinct missions and priorities.
Aelkus (nom de plume for Adam Elkus). “Reinventing Landpower.” Post on the Abu Muqawama blog of the Center for a New American Security, October 3, 2012. A new vision of landpower is needed to give America a say in what happens in unstable regions of interest to American national security, protect American diplomats and commercial interests from the predations of states and substate groups, and attack nonstate organizations that threaten American lives.
Alexander, David. “Defense Chief Orders Strategy Review in Response to Budget Cuts.” Reuters, March 18, 2013.
Arquilla, John, and David Ronfeldt. Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2001. Path breaking study which predicts that “netwar” against networked opponents will dominant the future security environment.
Barno, David W., Nora Bensahel, Matthew Irvine, and Travis Sharp. Sustainable Pre-eminence: Reforming the U.S. Military at a Time of Strategic Change. Washington, DC: Center for a New American Strategy, 2012. To sustain U.S. military preeminence, the Department of Defense will need to organization and manage the armed forces in new, more efficient ways.
Beaudette, Fran. Philippine Counterinsurgency Success: Implications for the Human Domain of Warfare. Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College, 2013.** The counterinsurgency strategy used by the Philippine armed forces after 2009 illustrated the success of an approach anchored in the human domain.
Benson, Bill. “Unified Land Operations: The Evolution of Army Doctrine for Success in the 21st Century.” Military Review, March-April 2012, pp. 47-57. Explores the logic behind the Army operating concept of unified land operations.
Brown, Robert B. and Ronald W. Sprang. “Human Domain: Essential to Victory in Future Operations.” Unpublished paper, no date.
Building Language Skills and Cultural Competencies in the Military: Bridging the Gap. Washington, DC: U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, 2010.
Capstone Concept for Joint Operations. Washington, DC: The Joint Staff, 2012.
Chamberlain, Robert M. “Back to Reality: Why Landpower Trumps in the National Rebalance to Asia.” Armed Forces Journal, May 2013. Argues that only the Army and Marines can provide a security commitment to America’s partners in Asia that does not simultaneously threaten China. Landpower is the only avenue by which America can enhance regional security and stability, deter Chinese militarism and encourage Chinese commitment to the global status quo.
Cleveland, Charles T. and Stuart R. Farris. “Strategic Landpower.” Army, July 2013, pp. 20-23.
Coerr, Stanton S. “Fifth-Generation Warfare: Warfare Versus the Nonstate.” Marine Corps Gazette, January 2009, pp. 63-69. Explains that fifth generation warfare against nonstate opponents will be the dominant security threat faced by the United States.
Collins, Joseph J. “Counterinsurgency and Common Sense.” Armed Forces Journal International, January/February 2013, pp. 17-32. While Americans are disillusioned with counterinsurgency after a decade of involvement, it will not go away as a strategic threat. Therefore, the United States needs a common sense approach to shape how irregular warfare should fit in U.S. strategy.
_______. “Of Groundhogs and Ground Combat.” Small Wars Journal, April 11, 2012. Predicting that that ground wars are improbable and the utility of ground forces is declining has been common in recent American history and is now recurring. Experience suggests that it is wrong.
Contours of Conflict in the 21st Century: A Cross-Language Analysis of Arabic, Chinese, English and Russian Perspectives on the Future Nature of Conflict (The Hague: Centre for Strategic Studies, 2011.
Deni, John R. Does Forward Presence Still Matter? The Case of the Army in Europe. Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2012. Argues that forward military presence in Europe remains strategically important.
_______. “Landpower Is Still Necessary.” The National Interest, June 4, 2013.
DoD Needs a Strategic Plan and Better Inventory Requirements Data to Guide Development of Language Skills and Proficiency. Washington, DC: General Accounting Office, 2009.
Donnelly, Thomas and Frederick Kagan. Ground Truth: The Future of U.S. Landpower. Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute, 2008. Written at the height of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, anticipated that large scale counterinsurgency and stabilization would remain the core of American strategy and require an even large ground component in the U.S. military.
Douglas, Roy F. Pursuing Human Domain Risks: Reinvesting on the Basics. Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College, 2013.** The time, money, and efforts spent on pursuing the “Human Domain” is wasteful and should cease immediately. The “Human Domain” is an invalid term and it is not equal to the other domains used in the joint lexicon.
Dummar, Frederick Charles. Building the Human Domain Multi-Tool: Recruiting for Special Forces. Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College, 2013.** The emerging human domain concept will help refine Special Forces recruitment and doctrine development.
Eastman, Michael R. “American Landpower and the Middle East of 2030.” Parameters, Autumn 2012, pp. 6-17. Analysis of changing strategic role of U.S. landpower in the Middle East.
Echevarria, Antulio. Fourth-Generation Warfare and Other Myths. Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2005. Contends that the concept of fourth generation warfare is not useful for the U.S. military.
Envisioning 2030: US Strategy for a Post-Western World. Washington, DC: The Atlantic Council, 2012.