20 Years Later
Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff
Twenty Years after 9/11: The US Army at a Crossroads
No retrospective on the September 11 attacks can escape the bleak pall cast by the tragic events unfolding in Afghanistan today. Despite the enormous financial investment in the country and the grim human costs borne by the United States, its allies, and Afghans over the past 20 years, the US and NATO military missions have ended in ragged, ignominious failure. The question of how well these operations protected the United States and the world from Islamist terrorism remain open. But there is no doubt that the other stated purpose of creating a functioning, friendly, Afghan government and effective security forces that can prevent the reemergence of terrorism from within the country is now forfeit.
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The Lessons of 9/11 for Defense Planning
September 8, 2021 | Dr. Roger Cliff
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9/11, Post-Primacy, and
Defense Strategy Development
September 7, 2021 | Professor Nathan Freier
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9/11, Latin America, and the
Impermanence of Strategic Concepts
September 7, 2021 | Dr. R. Evan Ellis
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9/11 and the Army Reserve: The Strategic Shift
August 31, 2021 | Colonel Matthew W. Lawrence
The 9/11 attacks’ effects on the United States and its foreign policies cannot be understated. The United States, in essence, lost its innocence that day and has never been the same. The attacks spurred changes in the way the United States handles national security, secures air transportation, and shares intelligence. The attacks also resulted in, directly and indirectly, two major armed conflicts that lasted the next two decades. These conflicts served as the catalyst for the most significant strategic shift in the US Army Reserve’s history—the organization’s transformation from a strategic force to an operational one. This transformation was not merely policy; it was ingrained in the organizational spirit as well.
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“Après Nous, le Déluge”
August 31, 2021 | Dr. Chris Mason
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9/11 Then and Now—Thoughts on Readiness
August 31, 2021 | Dr. Sarah Lohmann
On the morning of September 11, 2001, I stopped by the post office on my way to the newsroom of the Washington, DC–based newspaper where I worked as an editorial writer. I wanted to mail a postcard of the World Trade Center, where I had just been for an interview with a foreign dignitary a few days before.
“This no longer exists,” the postal employee said as he looked at the postcard I had shoved into his hand. “Word is, next plane is headed for the Capitol,” he said, cranking up the radio.
A few short minutes later, I watched plumes of smoke from the Pentagon clog up the horizon as I drove by on the freeway. Cars were parking on the side of the road, everyone trying to call loved ones. The city was mass pandemonium as Capitol Hill workers abandoned cars and ran, observing the warning the Capitol was to be evacuated.
Continue reading: “Never Forget”: 9/11 Then and Now—Thoughts on Readiness
Twenty Years after 9/11:
Implications for US Policy in the Middle East
August 31, 2021 | Dr. Christopher J. Bolan
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9/11 and the Ethics of Fear:
Maintaining the High Ground in the Face of Uncertainty
August 31, 2021 | Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff
The coordinated terrorist attacks on 9/11 took the lives of almost 3,000 people, destroyed $55 billion worth of infrastructure, and caused $123 billion in other economic impact.1 Perhaps just as tragically, the attacks destroyed Americans’ sense of security. Though the United States had experienced terrorist attacks before, the scale of the September 11 attacks transformed acts previously considered to be criminal to acts of war. Indeed, the Pearl Harbor attack, which led to the United States’ direct involvement in World War II, resulted in 2,403 persons killed, of whom 68 were civilians.2 When compared to that attack, 9/11 seemed to be the start of a new kind of threat for which prior counterterrorism efforts were inadequate.
The Best-Laid Plans Upended
August 27, 2021 | Dr. John R. 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.
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Further Reading: Memorials
Further Reading: Resources
“Defeating ISIS and Al-Qaeda on the Ideological Battlefield: The Case for the Corporation Against Ideological Violence"
August 2018, Michael W.S. Ryan
Further Reading: Commentary
Admiral (Retired) William H. McRaven, Former Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, and Nicholas Rasmussen, Former National Counterterrorism Center Director, Reflect on the Usama bin Ladin RaidAPRIL/MAY 2021, VOLUME 14, ISSUE 4; AUDREY ALEXANDER