The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

Military History and the Future

What are the military implications of this video? Does history, particularly military history, help understand or put these implications in context? How?

March 21, 2014 Posted by | H300, military history, Professional Military Education | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Afghanistan…Vietnam??

 Afghanistan is dramatically different than Iraq. A quick look at geography, history, and demographics, not to mention the nature of the adversary and the geopolitical setting all describe a completely different operating environment. Also, with the change of political parties in the U.S. and with the U.S. facing significant economic challenges, the domestic U.S. scene is completely different. Some analysts believe that these circumstances make Afghanistan a more significant challenge than Iraq ever was. Commentators Ralph Peters and French MacLean have described their views on the strategic situation. Is Afghanistan more like Vietnam than Iraq?  What are the parallels of Afghanistan to Vietnam?  Is Afghanistan doomed to end the same way Vietnam did, or are the situations different enough, and the US capabilities and strategies different enough, for Afghanistan to survive as a nation state unlike South Vietnam?

March 21, 2014 Posted by | COIN, Current Events, H300, military history, Professional Military Education | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doctrine after Vietnam

Lieutenant General John H. Cushman, Combined Arms Center (CAC)Commander 1973-1976, and General William E. DePuy, US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Commander 1973-1976, had dyametrically opposed views of the purpose and nature of army doctrine. Ultimately, General Depuy’s view won out, resulting in the ineffective 1976 FM 100-5 focused on the concept of the “Active Defense.” General Cushman’s opposing view which included a nuanced view of war-fighting; emphasized education over training; and focused on creative thinking over predictable solutions, was the loser. Depuy’s view is largely credited with setting the conditions for the transformation to the successful “Airland Battle” doctrine of the 1980s. Did the army make an error following Depuy’s doctrinal view, and how does this debate provide insights into the on-going doctrinal transformation of the 21st Century? Was Depuy just “Lucky?”

March 21, 2014 Posted by | H300, leadership, military history, Professional Military Education | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Vietnam and Korean Wars

Arguably, the US was successful in achieving its desired end state in the Korean War:  stopping the expansion of communism in Asia and preserving the existence of the Republic of Korea.  Given this success, many US analysts in the early years of Vietnam did not see any serious problems with repeating that success in Vietnam.  Was that a correct analysis?  If so, then why didn’t the US repeat its success?  If not, what were the significant differences between the two situations?

March 21, 2014 Posted by | H300 | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ends, Ways, and Means in Vietnam

Through the Tet offensive in 1968, some have argued that the United States did not have a firm strategy in Vietnam. For a strategy to be coherent it must logically connect ends, ways, and means. If you assume that the U.S. end was a stable South Vietnamese government, and that the U.S. had the means to achieve that end, how do you evaluate the ways the U.S. pursued the strategy? Some things to think about: What were the U.S. ways? Were they logically connected to the end? What was missing from the U.S. strategy?

March 21, 2014 Posted by | COIN, H300, military history, Professional Military Education | 1 Comment

“Its the Economy Stupid Comrade!”

Maoist revolutionalry war theory puts the priority of effort on the political line of operations. Our experience with our own domestic politics indicates that the key to successful politics is the economy. Therefore… maybe:

COIN = Politics

Politics = Economy

.’. COIN = Economy

March 21, 2014 Posted by | H300, military history, Professional Military Education | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mao and Current Insurgencies

There are a wide variety of insurgent groups who have operated against U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. Very few, if any, have followed a Maoist strategy. Some analysists believe that this fact proves that Mao’s Revolutionary War theory is not relevant to the type of adversaries faced by the U.S. in the GWOT. Are these analysists correct?

March 21, 2014 Posted by | H300, military history, Professional Military Education | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments