American War and American Memory

Collective memory is a fascinating thing. "Never forget." That's a phrase that we often hear associated with things like 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, usually splashed across social media pages on the anniversary of those days. Or maybe there are calls to never forget the sacrifices at Normandy or Bastogne. These national calls for memory tend …

So, About that Next Wave: Planning for the Next War

Forget the enemy: can we overcome ourselves? The new hotness these days is large scale combat operations - or LSCO, for short, just because. Well, I should say, the new hotness other than cyber or Space Force. LSCO is supposed to be all about reorienting the Army to its roots. Back to the good ol' …

Afghanistan Isn’t 1975 South Vietnam, It’s 1948 China

John Q. Bolton We reached in China the exact opposite of what had been our object. – Barbara Tuchman The chaotic 2021 American departure from Afghanistan inevitably invites comparisons to the 1975 fall of South Vietnam. Pictures of helicopters evacuating rooftops evoke feelings of helplessness of an erstwhile partner government collapsing. But before Afghanistan, Iraq, …

Readiness in the Time of Coronavirus

We spend a lot of time in the Army talking about readiness. But what does readiness look like in the face of a pandemic? Do we stop training? Stop pushing out new equipment? Where does one draw the line when it comes to providing a trained and ready force, while also looking after the health …

Friday Fuming: WWII and Expectation Management

Okay, so yes, one week into my pledge to write more and I already broke it, having missed "Thursday Thoughts." Well, now you get some Friday Fuming, based upon my frustration with myself and U.S. foreign policy at large. Go big or go home, right? Here's my bone of contention today: WWII and the Marshall …

Eight Times the National Guard Saved the Day

The Siege of Louisbourg by Domenick d’Andrea and Rick Reeves (National Guard Heritage Series) There's this thing in the Army where the Active Component is always looking down its nose at the Reserve Component, specifically the National Guard. Why? Because the National Guard is part-time, of course, "weekend warriors" and all that. But also because …

Carte Blanche Foreign Policy: the Curse of the All-Volunteer Force

A few weeks back, I was asked to speak to some high school students about the U.S. Army in the post-Vietnam time period. At first I had no idea what I was going to say. How would I get high schoolers fired up about the demise of the Active Defense doctrine and the rise of …

The Perils of Command

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything on here. And for that, I blame command, which sucks away all the years of your life. It’s basically “The Machine” from Princess Bride, just with more soldiers with DUIs. Basically what one month of command feels like. However, the topic of command is fascinating in and of …

In an American Cemetery in France: Thoughts on Memorial Day

A gentle breeze slipped past the gravestones near me, rustling the slim folds of the American flag overhead, tapping the fasteners against the pole in a metallic rhythm. Aside from our low voices, the soft sounds of insects and birds, and the occasional passing car, it was the only sound to be heard. We were …

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