Afghanistan

Recommendations for Success in Afghanistan

Author: Dr M. Chris Mason The United States will soon enter the 18th year of combat operations in Afghanistan. During that time, multiple approaches to stabilize the country have been tried, including support to regional security initiatives, “nation-building,” counterinsurgency, counternarcotics, counterterrorism, and “train and equip.” The constellation of anti-government elements known collectively as the Taliban …

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Strategic Insights: Better Late Than Never

Author: Dr M Chris Mason Seventeen years ago this November, in a conference room in the Pentagon, I explained that, in whatever form it took, the new Government of Afghanistan would require some sort of provincial or territorial forces under Afghan Army command to augment the regular national army, which the interagency working group was …

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Parameters VOL. 47 NO. 3 AUTUMN 2017

Editor: Dr Antulio J Echevarria II FEATURES: Special Commentary. Limits of Negative Peace, Faces of Positive Peace — Patricia M. Shields. A Wake for Counterinsurgency? Abandoning Counterinsurgency: Reviving Antiterrorism Strategy—Steven Metz. Insurgent Defectors in Counterinsurgencies—Jacqueline L. Hazelton. War among (& for) the People. Rethinking NATO Policy on the Protection of Civilians—Sten Rynning. Military Force and …

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The COIN Conundrum: The Future of Counterinsurgency and U.S. Land Power

Author: Dr Thomas R Mockaitis Counterinsurgency (COIN) continues to be a controversial subject among military leaders. Critics argue that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have made the U.S. military, particularly the Army, “COIN-centric.” They maintain that equipping U.S. forces to combat insurgency has eroded their conventional war fighting capabilities. Those committed to preserving and …

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The Human Terrain System: Operationally Relevant Social Science Research in Iraq and Afghanistan

Author: Dr Christopher Sims The Human Terrain System embedded civilians primarily in brigade combat teams (BCTs) in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2007 and 2014 to act as a collection and dispersal mechanism for sociocultural comprehension. Set against the backdrop of the program’s evolution, the experiences of these social scientists clarifies the U.S. Army’s decision to …

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Training Humans for the Human Domain

Author: Mr Keir Giles, Dr Steve Tatham Experience from Afghanistan and Iraq has demonstrated the vital nature of understanding human terrain, with conclusions relevant far beyond counterinsurgency operations in the Islamic world. Any situation where adversary actions are described as “irrational” demonstrates a fundamental failure in understanding the human dimension of the conflict. It follows …

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Reassessing the Barriers to Islamic Radicalization in Kazakhstan

Author: Ms Zhulduz Baizakova, Mr Roger N McDermott Central Asia has been experiencing an increase or activation of radical Islamic movements over the last decade or so. These complex processes include increasing urbanization, institutional and individual corruption, the growing gap between rich and poor, the inability of the state to provide security, corruption in the …

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The Strategic Lessons Unlearned from Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan: Why the ANSF Will Not Hold, and the Implications for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan

Author: Dr M Chris Mason The wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan were lost before they began, not on the battlefields, where the United States won every tactical engagement, but at the strategic level of war. In each case, the U.S. Government attempted to create a Western-style democracy in countries which were decades at least …

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Soldiers of Misfortune?

Author: Dr Thomas R Mockaitis 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 …

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Decisionmaking In Operation IRAQI FREEDOM: The Strategic Shift of 2007

Author: Dr Steven Metz In this second volume of the series, Dr. Metz looks carefully at the 2007 decision to surge forces into Iraq, a choice which is generally considered to have been effective in turning the tide of the war from potential disaster to possible—perhaps probable—strategic success. Although numerous strategic decisions remain to be …

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U.S. Military Engagement with Transcaucasia and Central Asia

Author: Dr Stephen J Blank The Clinton administration has proclaimed a strategy to engage and enlarge the democratic community of states. By virtue of their strategic location adjacent to Russia, the Middle East, and Europe s periphery, and their large-scale oil and natural gas deposits, Transcaucasia and Central Asia have become important testing grounds of …

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Opening Pandora’s Box: Ethnicity and Central Asian Militaries

Author: LTC Dianne L Smith The author examines whether ethnic consciousness affects military service and the specific roles played by ethnic groups within the armed forces, or if military institutions affect ethnicity. The Soviets used military service as a tool to break down ethnicity and create a “New Soviet Man.” They failed. Do Central Asian …

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Breaking Away from the Bear

Author: LTC Dianne L Smith Lieutenant Colonel Dianne L. Smith examines the development of post-Soviet Central Asian armed forces, Central Asian efforts to guarantee their national security, and the implications for the United States of this struggle. She cautions that the United States use its influence and its military-to-military contact programs judiciously. This is a …

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Afghanistan and Beyond: Reflections on the Future of Warfare

Author: Dr Stephen J Blank This report provides an historical analysis of lessons from one of the most important wars of the 1980s, the war in Afghanistan. After reading this study, you will better understand the nature of operations “other than war” in multiethnic states. Many fear that these wars will set the paradigm for …

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