Attritionist Letter #1 – The US Marines turn away from the future

Leadership as Chess

Summary: Sixteen years of the War on Terror have made our jihadist foes stronger, more virulent, and more widely spread -- few Americans realize that America's internal divisions are mirrored by equally serious problems within the US military. The "Attritionist Letters" described one facet of that conflict, written by Marine Corps officers. We should listen to … Continue reading Attritionist Letter #1 – The US Marines turn away from the future

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America’s military hits a defining moment: how they react to defeat

Summary: Slowly voices inside the US military speak out about its inability to respond to its manifest failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite the large price paid in blood and money for the lessons given. The military has proven unable to take the first step of admitting that they lost. Here Gregory A. Thiele (LtCol , … Continue reading America’s military hits a defining moment: how they react to defeat

A Marine Captain explains our failure in the Long War, & how to win

Summary: Our long war, with its failure to achieve its objectives despite the expenditure of so much money and blood, has been marked by serving officers protesting the madness of our tactics -- as we copy tactics of other foreign armies defeated by local insurgents using fourth generation war. Here is another, by Captain Waddell … Continue reading A Marine Captain explains our failure in the Long War, & how to win

When will our military learn modern warfare, & overcome the attritionist tendency?

Summary: Captain Grazier (USMC) writes another chapter in our series explaining why we lose at modern warfare despite the training, size, and fantastic tech of our forces. Another post by a Marine officer explaining our military's internal struggle to overcome its attritionist tendency (i.e., fighting 21st wars with WWI methods). He explains the complexities of … Continue reading When will our military learn modern warfare, & overcome the attritionist tendency?

Is Clausewitz Still Relevant?

Summary:  We are several generations of warfare from that of Clausewitz.  His first-generation warfare differs immeasurably from ours, in which atomic weapons limit State-to-State conflict and 4th generation warfare has become the dominate form of conflict.  But many of the essentials of war are timeless, so its worthwhile to mine the classics for lessons to … Continue reading Is Clausewitz Still Relevant?

The Rough Math of Surrogate Warfare, today as it was in 1805

Summary: Today we review a book that held special appeal to the Marine Special Operations Command's (MarSoc's) Foreign Military Training Unit (FMTU) because the it tells of a covert expedition -- what today we'd call unconventional warfare.  Nothing is truly new in war, as this was the Marine Corps expedition to the shores of Tripoli … Continue reading The Rough Math of Surrogate Warfare, today as it was in 1805

Looking back at how our folly and ignorance fanned the flames in Iraq

Summary:  A vital aspect of high performance is the "lessons learned" exercise after every operation, however painful. Watching the game films to see what we did right and wrong, so that we can do better.  Unfortunately America's broken observation-orientation-decision action loops makes this impossible.  We prefer to tell ourselves lies, hiding in myth.  It's a … Continue reading Looking back at how our folly and ignorance fanned the flames in Iraq