The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

Strategic Communications

Some interesting insights on the subject from the Army War College:

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Admin, H300, leadership, Urban Warfare | | 1 Comment

Mao Theory and Urban Insurgency

Mao’s three phase protracted revolutionary war theory can be used to analyze an urban insurgency’s strategy.  Even if the insurgent is not following a Maoist strategy, Mao is a useful analytical tool. 


View Mao’s three phases as three simultanious lines of operation.  Over the course of three temporal phases, different lines of operation become the priority, though the other lines continue to operate.

The LOOs are flexible.  The insurgent advances to the next phase when the previous is successful.  Should there be failure or lack of progress in a particular phase then the insurgent falls back to previous phase and begins again.

This is a deliberate process that can take years or even decades to achieve success.

October 6, 2008 Posted by | Urban Warfare | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Urban Insurgency Model

The basic elements of urban insurgency can be reduced to a model (see below).  This visualization of the dynamic elements of urban insurgency can help identify the elements in play in any given situation and the relative strength of those elements.  In the model the size object indicates the relative influence.

In the above model you have a relatively capable and important government institutions (police, fire, government etc. –dark blue) inside the urban environment (lighter blue).  There is a small but identifiable criminal element (black).  Also there exists a small but viable insurgency (orange) who are pursuing three lines of operations –political, guerrilla, and conventional military.  Their primary focus, at this particular time is military (outlined in blue).  The insurgency is supported by rural support areas (dark dark) as well as by nation states hostile to the city government (red).

In the below model, the insurgency is much more complex.  There are no friendly governmental institutions.  There are multiple insurgencies pursing different strategies.  A large non-state actor is supporting the insurgencies.  In addition, there is a large criminal element operating in the city.

October 6, 2008 Posted by | Urban Warfare | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Virtual Library

All military professionals should be aware of the huge amount of online resources that are out there that consitute a virtual professional library.  The cool thing about this virtual library is that it doesn’t take several hundred pounds of professional book boxes to move around with you and you can often access it while deployed.

My advice is to have a prof. library file in your favorites list that at a minimum contains the following links:

  1. The Strategic Studies Institute Publications
  2. The Center for Military HIstory Publications
  3. Google Books
  4. CARL Digitial Library
  5. RAND Publications

If you know of any other databases that can be considered essential for military professionals let me know.

October 3, 2008 Posted by | Admin, H300, leadership, Urban Warfare | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Successful Occupation Operations

In a class on the occupation of German cities by American forces during and after WWII the central question of the class was why was the occupation of the Germany (and Japan by extension) so successful, and current post-conflict operations in OIF and OEF so difficult?

Several alternatives were discussed:

  1. The U.S. army was very prepared for occupation in WWII –executing robust planning and resourcing of the mission.
  2. The culture of the WWII leadership were more aware of the necessity of occupation operations.
  3. The occupied populations were more politically sophisticated and thus more easily coached toward democracy.
  4. There was a greater cultural affinity with the German people than with developing world populations that are the subject of contemporary operations.
  5. More time was available to prepare for occupation operations.
  6. A common threat, the Soviet Union, united the occupied population with the occupying army.

All of the above probably had some impact on the successful occupation.  However, it would be my thesis that military experiences of the senior army leadership –extending in the case of Gen. Marshall all the way back to the Philippine Insurrection, made them very aware of the strategic necessity of robust post-conflict operations.

October 2, 2008 Posted by | Urban Warfare | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment