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Improving Strategic Competence

Improving Strategic Competence: Lessons from 13 Years of War

Linda Robinson
Paul D. Miller
John Gordon
Jeffrey Decker
Michael Schwille
Raphael S. Cohen
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 166
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  • Book Info
    Improving Strategic Competence
    Book Description:

    Drawing lessons from the past 13 years of war, this study analyzes the future operating environment and identifies critical requirements for land forces and special operations forces to operate successfully in conjunction with joint, interagency, and multinational partners in irregular and hybrid conflicts.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8941-0
    Subjects: History, Technology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xx)

    The United States and many of its closest allies have been engaged in a long period of continuous military operations with mixed success in confronting a range of complex and dynamic threats. The U.S. military recognizes that a great deal of intellectual work remains to be done to learn from these experiences. This study seeks to contribute to the ongoing debate about the lessons from the past 13 years of war and the requirements for addressing future conflicts. It addresses a particular gap in the current debate on the future of national security strategy and the role of landpower caused...

  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Since late 2001, the United States has been engaged in one of the longest periods of war in its history. Although in historical terms these wars were fought at a relatively low level of lethality, with far fewer casualties than previous major wars, the experiences were frustrating, searing, and somewhat controversial. They have left many Americans wondering if the United States was able to achieve any outcome approximating victory—or at least a satisfactory outcome—in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, smaller contingencies such as Libya, and in the wider struggle against terrorist groups plotting to attack the United...

  9. CHAPTER TWO The U.S. Experience in Land Warfare, 1939–2014
    (pp. 7-30)

    On February 25, 2011, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates traveled to the United States Military Academy at West Point for his last speech to the cadets as secretary. In his speech, he reflected that the Army, “more than any other part of America’s military, is an institution transformed by war,” and that with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ending, the Army now faced a new but equally daunting task—ensuring that Iraq and Afghanistan’s lessons are not simply “‘observed’ but truly ‘learned’—incorporated into the service’s DNA and institutional memory.” Learning, Gates continued, does not come easily. The defense...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Lessons from 13 Years of War
    (pp. 31-84)

    The preceding chapter described the evolution of warfare as conducted by the joint force and particularly the land forces. This survey of the joint force experience would be incomplete and would be an insufficient basis for drawing lessons without the addition of two dimensions: the policy and strategy formulation and adaptation process and the interagency experience. The joint force does not operate without guidance from civilian policymakers, and without interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational partners. There has been no government-wide effort to synthesize lessons from the past 13 years at the policy level or with interagency input. The joint staff’sDecade...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Future Conflict and Implications for the JIIM
    (pp. 85-124)

    This concluding chapter builds on the previous chapters’ analysis to assess how the recent experience may be applicable to future conflict and what that might imply for the U.S. government, military, and potential partners. The first section reviews future trend assessments and finds that those assessments suggest that the lessons of the past 13 years retain their relevance going forward. The next section argues that this “new normal” of a continuing high incidence of irregular and hybrid warfare, whether conducted by states or nonstate actors, indicates the need for a theory of success that can serve as a compass for...

  12. References
    (pp. 125-142)