The Best Defense

The Best Defense

ISIL 3-24: Do they do counter-insurgency?

By Michael Knights

Best Defense guest columnist

What happens when poacher must become gamekeeper? That's what the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) must be asking itself at the present time. Once it was the insurgent force skulking in the shadows, ambushing and bombing, then fading away. Now ISIL believes itself to be a state and it knows that a range of powerful enemies are planning to spark local insurgencies against it in Iraq and Syria. ISIL needs a game plan to face the looming threat. So if ISIL had an equivalent of FM 3-24, the U.S. government's guide on counterinsurgency, what would it look like?

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The Best Defense

Quote of the day: Ambassador Crocker on the core problem facing the Iraqi military

From one of the best American analysts of Iraq:

"Iraqis have a strong military tradition. They've got good soldiers. They need good leadership. And clearly, the current government is aware of that. We're in a position to help to get the right commanders in the right places, to serve their troops and their country well."

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The Best Defense

Gen. Dempsey is the right man for the job

This item, by "Kriegsakademie," is being promoted from the comments section:

Dempsey was one of the smartest students I taught at the National War College. His core strength was his ability to take any idea and quickly outline the second- and third-order implications. He also wrote unusually well for a colonel -- which was probably a corollary of his strategic style.

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The Best Defense

5 things the Army does during drawdowns

I mean, besides get smaller.

The new issue of Parameters has a good article by Major Jason Warren summarizing the lessons of past drawdowns. I think the five lessons are basically right, but I don't see much evidence that today's Army is following number four. And I worry that the last lesson may be misleading in today's environment. We've only had three drawdowns since becoming a major power, and one of them (post-World War II) was really bad while another of them (post-Gulf War) was done very complacently, with the result that the U.S. Army went into Iraq in 2003 unprepared for what it faced.

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The Best Defense

Navy Lt. Kessler: Col. Anderson is wrong to call on General Dempsey to resign

By Lt. Mike Kessler, U.S. Navy Best Defense guest columnist

It is unfortunate to read another call from the officer ranks for threats of resignation to be used by flag and general officers to influence national policy. At its best, it represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the oft-cited "dereliction of duty"; at its worst, it brandishes pockets of willingness among the officer corps to compromise the principles of our oath.

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