Is Saw Gerrera a Terrorist?

This past week, I had the utter delight of participating, in full Jedi Rey cosplay no less, in the 2021 NavyCon. My last panel was a wonderful mix of fellow science fiction nerds and we talked about the intersection of science fiction and military strategy. (If you missed the panel, the replay can be found …

#NextWar: A Fictional Cautionary Tale

The armored JLTV’s diesel engine growled as the transmission downshifted to avoid getting stuck in the rutted, muddy road.  The hulking four-wheeled truck’s right front tire splashed into a deep puddle, cascading windshield with brown water and banging the soldiers inside hard against the armored doors. “Goddamn it, Cisneros, who the fuck taught you how …

Paper Tiger: The Myth of Physical Conflict with China and Implications for Land Warfare in the Pacific

China is regarded by many defense and strategy experts as a significant threat to U.S.’s national security and global influence. This sentiment was shared by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and current Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood. Conversely, China views the U.S. in a similar light. On March 5, 2021, General Xu …

Operational Lessons from Legend of Korra

The Legend of Korra is not only a good primer to study insurgencies, it can also be used to study operational art. The Battle of the Bay which took place between the Equalists and the United Forces over control of Republic City in season one episode eleven is an especially suitable example. The United Forces …

The Army is Not for Everyone

The Army is not for everyone.  More often than not, this phrase is a not-so-thinly veiled critique of those leaving the service, either on their own terms or not.  Proponents of this phrase tend to mention how only a small percentage of the population serves and how much more selective the military is compared to …

Message to Garcia: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

              Throughout an officer’s career, there will be inevitable exposure to a plethora of reading lists. Although a myriad of different lists exists, one essay that finds its way to a majority of junior officer reading lists is Hubbard's Message to Garcia, a story that describes a young second lieutenant’s initiative and tenacity in accomplishing …

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. …