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Remembering 9/11, 20 Years Later

Perspectives and insights from USAWC SSI faculty reviewing the events prior to and following September 11, 2001.
  •  Blind or Confused: The Impact of 9/11 and Its Aftermath on Risk | Freier

    Blind or Confused: The Impact of 9/11 and Its Aftermath on Risk | Freier

    STRATEGY WITHOUT RISK IS NOT STRATEGY In a defense and military security context, the United States has at times been “risk-blind” and, at others, “risk-confused” over the last two decades.1 These conditions likely predate the 9/11 attacks. But 9/11, the post-9/11 period, and the United States’ current struggle to adapt to post-primacy indicate defense and military leadership have yet to employ (or maybe are just now employing) risk effectively in their most important strategic decisions.2 If and when leadership begins to routinize risk-informed strategy development...
  •  The Best-Laid Plans Upended | Deni

    The Best-Laid Plans Upended | Deni

    The American national security establishment is shifting from nation building to addressing the challenge of rising great powers, from a near obsession with the United States Central Command geographic area of responsibility to an emphasis on the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Sound familiar? This shift both reflects the trajectory of US policy today and echoes where the United States wanted to go 20 years ago, before the September 11 attacks derailed Washington’s intentions. As the United States embarks on a new national security approach, the nation would do well to remember events have a way of undermining the best-laid plans and strategies.
  •  The Lessons of 9/11 for Defense Planning | Cliff

    The Lessons of 9/11 for Defense Planning | Cliff

    On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was working at the Pentagon in the office of the deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy. The DoD was preparing to issue a report documenting the findings of the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review, an eight-month-long, comprehensive review of the department’s plans and programs. The theme of the report was the need to “transform” the armed forces of the United States to ensure they would continue to hold a dominant advantage over any potential, future challenger. Although never named in the report, the challenger DoD leaders had in mind was China.
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Special Commentary COVID-19

SSI research professors and faculty consider the COVID-19 pandemic and its long-term, strategic implications for the U.S. Army and national security.  Each essay provides an independent, specialized view on a particular aspect of the challenges posed by COVID-19 and includes recommendations on how the Army and DoD should address those issues.

  •  The Impact of COVID-19 on Civil-Military Relations

    The Impact of COVID-19 on Civil-Military Relations

    The Impact of COVID-19 on Civil-Military Relations https://ssi.armywarcollege.edu/ Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff There has been a great deal of speculation regarding how the current COVID-19 pandemic could affect civil-military relations in the United States. Oona Hathaway observes that after the terrorists attacks on September 11, 2001, which killed approximately three thousand Americans, the United States “radically re-oriented” its security priorities and embarked on a two-decade-long global war on terror that cost $2.8 trillion from 2002 to 2017. Given that COVID-19 could kill more than one hundred thousand Americans, she argues that it is time to re-orient those priorities again.
  •  Tell Me How This Ends: The US Army in the Pandemic Era

    Tell Me How This Ends: The US Army in the Pandemic Era

    Tell Me How This Ends: The US Army in the Pandemic Era US Army Heritage and Education Center Historical Services Division https://ahec.armywarcollege.edu/ Prepared by: Conrad C. Crane, PhD: Chief, Historical Svcs. Div. Michael E. Lynch, PhD: Senior Historian Jessica J. Sheets, PhD: Research Historian Douglas I. Bell, PhD: Postdoctoral Fellow Shane P. Reilly: Contract Research Analyst Executive Summary After the 9/11 attacks, Americans yearned for a “return to normal.” The normal they longed for was the world as it was on September 10th, or status quo ante. That was impossible, however, because the events of that day irrevocably changed the world. The new normal, the status quo post, was the world as it was after 9/11. The same must be said for COVID-19. . .. We cannot return to the world before we understood the terms “social distance,” “herd immunity,” or “flatten the curve.” The coronavirus behaves as the Spanish flu virus did in 1918-1919, then a third wave might be expected as well. Army was not prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, but neither was the nation nor the world. Given the information now known about the virus and the expert predictions that a second wave might occur soon, the Army is better prepared to plan for potentially operating under pandemic conditions. Experts warn that a true second wave arriving in the fall or winter could be much worse than the first. If the
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