Military theory & practice


This archive lists posts about following topics in military and strategic theory:

  1. Fourth Generation Warfare
  2. Military theory
  3. COIN
  4. Financial or Economic Warfare
  5. Our National Security machinery
  6. Grand Strategy

 (1)  Fourth Generation Warfare

A simple typology shows the relationship of the many works on modern warfare, to show the relationships among the various theories about modern warfare.  This has evolved into a first cut at a solution to 4GW.  These are the first steps in a long series.

  1. A solution to 4GW — the introduction
  2. How to get the study of 4GW in gear
  3. Why We Lose at 4GW — About the two kinds of insurgencies
  4. Arrows in the Eagle’s claw — solutions to 4GW
  5. Arrows in the Eagle’s claw — 4GW analysts
  6. Visionaries point the way to success in the age of 4GW
  7. 4GW: A solution of the first kind – Robots!
  8. 4GW: A solution of the second kind
  9. 4GW: A solution of the third kind – Vandergriff is one of the few implementing real solutions.
  10. Theories about 4GW are not yet like the Laws of Thermodynamics
  11. About Fourth Generation Infections – Chet Richards explains the nature of outlaw organizations in the 21st century
  12. About the 4GW between India and Pakistan, 6 January 2009
  13. 4GW in India – more people who want to watch the world burn, 19 January 2009
  14. The War Nerd shows how simple 4GW theory can be, 22 January 2009
  15. Is 4GW magnifique?, 22 June 2012 — By Chet Richards
  16. Is 4th generation warfare dead?, 21 December 2012
  17. Update about one of the seldom-discussed trends shaping our world, 4GW, 25 May 2013
  18. How I learned to stop worrying and love Fourth Generation War. We can win at this game., 18 September 2013
  19. Chuck Spinney asks why we choose to lose at 4GW, 23 September 2014
  20. William Lind: thoughts about 4GW, why we lose, and how we can win in the future.
  21. What is a fourth generation war, the wars of the 21st century? Who fights them, and why?
  22. Understanding 4GW, the first step to winning the Long War, by GI Wilson.

Also valuable is the The Counterinsurgency Library — a vast listing of online articles about COIN.

Here is a list of information sources and books I have found useful:  You might find these info sources useful — I do!

 (2)  Military theory

  1. The 2 most devastating 4GW attacks on America, and the roots of FM 3-24, 19 March 2008
  2. Insights about modern war from the NIC’s 2020 Project, 11 April 2008
  3. A lesson in war-mongering: “Maritime Strategy in an Age of Blood and Belief”, 8 July 2008
  4. The War Nerd shows how simple 4GW theory can be, 22 January 2009
  5. The US Army brings us back to the future, returning to WWI’s “cult of the offense”, 13 February 2009
  6. Important reading for every American who wishes to understand our foreign wars, 7 April 2009
  7. A joust between two schools of American military theory, 19 May 2009
  8. James Bond is not just our hero, but the model for our geopolitical strategy, 18 May 2009
  9. Bin Laden wins by using the “Tactics of Mistake” against America, 4 November 2010
  10. Is a new tech cycle starting that gives barbarians military parity with modern armies?, 6 May 2012
  11. Examples of America’s broken vision. Here’s why we cannot clearly see our world., 21 October 2012
  12. What does a “broken OODA loop” look like?, 23 October 2012

(3)  COIN

  1. More paths to failure in Iraq, 16 December 2006 — Myths about COIN in Iraq
  2. 28 Articles: a guide to a successful insurgency against America, 7 May 2007
  3. ABCDs for today: About Blitzkrieg, COIN, and Diplomacy, 21 February 2008
  4. The 2 most devastating 4GW attacks on America, and the roots of FM 3-24, 19 March 2008
  5. A key to the power of FM 3-24, the new COIN manual, 20 March 2008
  6. Dark origins of the new COIN manual, FM 3-24, 23 March 2008
  7. Another “must-read” presentation by Kilcullen about COIN, 27 May 2008
  8. How often do insurgents win? How much time does successful COIN require?, 28 May 2008
  9. COIN – a perspective from 23rd century textbooks, 10 June 2008
  10. Is COIN the graduate level of military hubris?, 30 July 2008
  11. No coins, no COIN, 6 October 2008
  12. COIN as future generations will see it (and as we should see it today), 1 July 2010
  13. COIN – Now we see that it failed. But that was obvious before we started (when will we learn?), 6 December 2011
  14. COIN, another example of our difficulty learning from history or experience, 7 December 2011
  15. WPR: “Counterinsurgency in the Post-COIN Era”, 31 January 2012
  16. As we start new wars, let’s see an expert at COIN review a classic textbook about COIN, 25 February 2012 — Review of Galula’s Counterinsurgency Warfare – Theory and Practice
  17. “COIN of the Realm” – reviewing one of the books driving our strategy in the Long War, 18 March 2012 — Review of Nagl’s How to Eat Soup with a Knife
  18. A look back at the madness that led us into our wars. How does this advice read 6 years later?, 26 June 2012
  19. Why a decade of assassinations hasn’t helped America. — About the “Darwinian Ratchet.”

The history of COIN (we close our eyes so as not to learn from it)

  1. How often do insurgents win?  How much time does successful COIN require? — Analysis by Robert W. Chamberlain (Captain, US Army).
  2. Max Boot: history suggests we will win in Afghanistan, with better than 50-50 odds. Here’s the real story.
  3. A major discovery! It could change the course of US geopolitical strategy, if we’d only see it.  — Andrew Exum (aka Abu Muqawama) points us to the doctoral dissertation of Erin Marie Simpson in Political Science from Harvard.  She examines the present and past analysis of  counter-insurgency.  This could change the course of American foreign policy, if we pay attention.
  4. A look at the history of victories over insurgents. — A study by RAND.
  5. COINistas point to Kenya as a COIN success. In fact it was an expensive bloody failure.
  6. A lesson about counterinsurgency that could change America’s future. — The 2 kinds of insurgencies.
  7. Important summary of theseWhy the West loses so many wars, and how we can learn to win.

 (4)  Financial or Economic Warfare

  1. A brief note on the US Dollar. Is this like August 1914?, 8 November 2007
  2. Economic Warfare, 10 November 2007
  3. Words to fear in the 21st century: Lǎo hǔ, lǎo hǔ, Lǎo hǔ, 14 July 2008
  4. Two essential texts in the theory and practice of financial warfare, 11 September 2008
  5. Rumors of financial war: Russia vs. US, 22 September 2008

 (5)  Our National Security machinery

Does our national security apparatus well serve our national needs? Does it do so at an appropriate cost? The answer to both seems to be “no.”

  1. ABCDs for today: About Blitzkrieg, COIN, and Diplomacy , 21 February 2008
  2. One telling similarity between the the Wehrmacht and the US Military , 10 March 2008
  3. America needs a Foreign Legion , 18 April 2008
  4. Militia – the ultimate defense against 4GW  , original September 2005; revised 30 May 2008
  5. Lawrence Korb of CAP and CDI advocates a militia, 4 June 2008
  6. Thoughts on fixing America’s national security apparatus , 11 August 2008
  7. No coins, no COIN, 6 October 2008
  8. US Army – the antidote to US civil disorder, 3 January 2009

 (6)  Grand Strategy

A related question concerns grand strategy.  Does America need a grand strategy?  If so, what should it be?  Answers to these questions illuminate many of the questions hotly debated about foreign policy and national security.

  1. The Myth of Grand Strategy , 31 January 2006
  2. America’s Most Dangerous Enemy , 1 March 2006
  3. The Fate of Israel , 28 July 2006
  4. Why We Lose at 4GW , 4 January 2007
  5. America takes another step towards the “Long War” , 24 July 2007
  6. One step beyond Lind: What is America’s geopolitical strategy? , 28 October 2007
  7. ABCDs for today: About Blitzkrieg, COIN, and Diplomacy , 21 February 2008
  8. America’s grand strategy: lessons from our past , 30 June 2008  – chapter 1 in a series of notes
  9. President Grant warns us about the dangers of national hubris , 1 July 2008 – chapter 2
  10. America’s grand strategy, now in shambles , 2 July 2008 — chapter 3
  11. America’s grand strategy, insanity at work , 7 July 2008 — chapter 4
  12. Justifying the use of force, a key to success in 4GW , 8 July 2008 — chapter 5
  13. A lesson in war-mongering: “Maritime Strategy in an Age of Blood and Belief” , 8 July 2008 — chapter 6
  14. Geopolitical analysis need not be war-mongering , 9 July 2008 — chapter 7
  15. The world seen through the lens of 4GW (this gives a clearer picture) , (10 July 2008 — chapter 8
  16. The King of Brobdingnag comments on America’s grand strategy, 18 November 2008
  17. “A shattering moment in America’s fall from power”, 19 November 2008
  18. Is America a destabilizing force in the world?, 23 January 2009
  19. The US Army brings us back to the future, returning to WWI’s “cult of the offense”, 13 February 2009
  20. Is America fighting the tide of history? Are we like the Czars in the 19th century?, 29 July 2010
  21. Realism and Realpolitik – Setting the Conditions for America’s Survival in the 21st Century, 23 February 2012
  22. The Obama Doctrine: we will attack and destroy all non-nuclear rivals, 31 March 2012
  23. Look at America’s grand strategy. Why do we believe this nonsense?, 5 March 2013
  24. How America can survive – even prosper – in the 21st century, 17 February 2014



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