The Legend of Korra – An Insurgency Masterclass

This article contains significant spoilers for Season 1 of The Legend of Korra Season 1 of The Legend of Korra is an insightful depiction of a counterinsurgency campaign which should be required watching for security studies students everywhere. It captures key elements of how insurgencies operate and highlights common pitfalls of counterinsurgents in a compact …

Forget Love in the Time of Cholera, How About Assessment in the Time of COVID-19?

Assessment is how the military determines “the overall effectiveness of employing capabilities during military operations.”. That said, the military does not practice this dark art well. If an objective is clear-cut, measuring its performance is also straightforward. Broader objectives cause problems. This was the challenge in Iraq. It was also at the heart of the …

Mean Hegemons

The common perception of the 2004 film Mean Girls is a memorable teen comedy. This is wholly incorrect. Mean Girls is a primer on the risks of an unrestrainedly realist approach to hegemonic transition, and a stirring endorsement of multilateral arbitration.  The story begins when Cady Heron, previously home-schooled, arrived at North Shore High School. …

Fixing Veterans Day

On Veterans Day, at my son’s request, I sat in a crowded elementary assembly as part of a Veterans Day ceremony.  I listened uncomfortably to fifth and sixth graders repeat what they had been taught in their classrooms about veterans and about military service: that veterans represent the best our country has to offer, that …

Marvel-ling at the Pentagon: Force Design in the MCU

Captain Marvel Co-Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Flack give remarks during a screening of ÒCaptain MarvelÓ in Washington, D.C., March 7, 2019. The screening was held to highlight Air Force collaboration with Disney and the inspiration behind the main characterÕs warrior ethos: Òhigher, further, faster.Ó (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank) This …

The Killing of Major Taylor

By A Deployed Advisor Advising is a dangerous job. Indeed, it seems to be rapidly becoming the most treacherous combat occupation, because unlike a normal "fighting" role, advising requires long, patient, and intentionally vulnerable periods in close proximity to foreign and, unfortunately, sometimes hostile individuals. It necessitates a relaxation of the traditional reflexes of self …

Rebel Insurgency: Without Hope or Method

By Jared James The Rebel Alliance is going to lose, not because they are outnumbered, but because they have no model on which to base plans for their campaign. There are essentially two kinds of insurgent campaigns: city-out or countryside-in; Leningrad, or Yorktown. The Rebel Alliance is fighting both of them wrongly, and has few …

If the Hoth Crash was an Air Force Investigation

By Matt Wright Accident Investigation Board - Rebel Alliance  T-47 Airspeeder (Field Modified) Battle of Hoth, 3 ABY Executive Summary During the disastrous Battle for Hoth, a locally modified version of the Incom T-47 Airspeeder was engaged in close proximity to advancing Stormtrooper infantry and heavily armored All-Terrain Armored Transport (AT-AT) units of the Imperial …

Cake and Perfidy: the 1968 Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia

By Sasha Maggio A classmate commented on my post for the week, and the post was largely on SIGINT but in one part I make a tiny little comment about how sometimes things like radio could be used to broadcast narratives to particular “target audiences” like how the Soviet Union used it to garner public …