• Counterinsurgency,  Development,  Psychological Struggle,  State Building

    Counterinsurgency Today: A Review of Eric T. Olson’s “Some of the Best Weapons for Counterinsurgents Do Not Shoot”

    By Efe Sevin The long-lasting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has led to increased inquiry into the concepts and practices of counterinsurgency (COIN). Eric T. Olson, in his work, focuses on the importance of reconstruction attempts in COIN operations and discusses the role of military. The author served in the U.S. Army for over three decades and retired as a Major General. Currently, Mr. Olson is an independent defense contractor and works with Army brigades and provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) who are preparing for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. As the title suggests, his monograph considers such reconstruction attempts to have uttermost importance in successful military operations.

  • Defense Department,  Psychological Struggle

    #1 Afghan People, #2 Afghan National Security Force

    The tactical guys in the field understand the significance of influence. From Command Sergeant Major Michael T. Hall at NATO ISAF HQ: [The words on this cardboard] encapsulates everything we’re trying to achieve in Afghanistan at the strategic, operational and tactical level on a single piece of cardboard that is understood and practiced at every level in Fox Company. We have all have got to take the mental leap and realize that the best way to protect ourselves and the population is thru the Afghan people and the ANSF. Everywhere we build trust, there are examples of this. The ANSF are, our relief, treat them that way, help develop them…

  • Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy,  Smith-Mundt

    American Public Diplomacy Wears Combat Boots: the Pentagon’s $300 million to “engage and inspire”

    Our national security, which includes our economic security, depends on the ability to effectively counter misinformation, create understanding of our policies, and develop partnerships. We are nearly a decade into the Second Great War of Ideas and the Pentagon remains the America's unwitting public diplomat engaging the world's audiences. American public diplomacy will continue to wear combat boots until the top leadership at the Department of State realizes that it must fully and aggressively commit to engaging and challenging non-state actors from individuals to armed groups.

  • Counterinsurgency,  Psychological Struggle

    Cultural Warfare, continued

    A vigourous discussion on an earlier post "How Not to Conduct Cultural Warfare" (to be continued here in a new category "Cultural Warfare") should have a greater obvious context with recent news. As Eccentric Star ("Murdered US Soldiers Linked to Rape & Murder of Iraqi Civilians") notes: A link — however tenuous — between the two US soldiers who were abducted, tortured, and murdered in Iraq recently and the rape of an Iraqi woman and subsequent murder of her and her family is explosive. From an Iraqi’s perspective, this must make the insurgents who killed the US soldiers look more like righteous avengers than anything else. At some point who…