The Best Defense

Another Duffel Blog scoop: The blog takes us to the Air Force’s 'Top Drone' school

The groundbreaking blog visits the Air Force's school for its elite drone pilots. An excerpt:

"I knew right away that I was facing some stiff competition," Ghostbuster said. "As soon as I walked in the building, there were all these pilots who were overweight and soft and pale, and their faces were covered in acne. You don't get that kind of body without hours and hours in the cockpit [sic], away from the light of the day. These guys were the real deal."

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The Best Defense

More questions about COIN (V): Are the historical precedents we cite any good?

By Major Tom Mcilwaine, Queen's Royal Hussars

Best Defense guest columnist

Question Set Five -- Historical case studies suggest that minimum force, civil primacy, and acting within the law are vital. But those historical case studies -- are we sure about them? Now I know all about the wide and varied research that could be used to back up the principles articulated in FM 3-24; I have read Christopher Paul's and Colin Clarke's skillful deconstruction of Gentile's argument that FM 3-24 is "evidence free". The supplementary questions that underpin this question relate to how many of these campaigns were actually used by the authors of FM 3-24? Was the insurgency in Tajikistan really at the forefront of the authors' minds? Or were they in fact relying more on a narrow spectrum of British and French experiences? I suspect they probably were. Are Malaya, Kenya and Algeria ringing any bells?

So we are in fact drawing some pretty big conclusions from a pretty narrow sample size. And as the next question will suggest, some of those historical case studies might not actually stand up to scrutiny.

(To be continued)

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