Military History/Contemporary Conflict Working Group

Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict

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Mosul, Paris, Jerusalem: Faith, Ideology, and Slaughter

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Monday, February 27, 2017

As you read this, a ragged alliance of rival forces fights to wrest Mosul’s western half from the grip of the Islamic State. The besiegers represent different ethnic and religious factions jockeying for power in the ruins. The defenders are religious fanatics of an apocalyptic faith. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are captive in their midst.

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Vladimir Putin And The Reichswehr

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategic mischief reveals him to be an astute student of history. While every Russian knows something about the Red Army’s heroics in the “Great Patriotic War,” Putin, a former KGB man, studied the enemy. 

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The Folly Of Harnessing Snakes

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Thursday, February 9, 2017

In its degenerate grandeur, the Umayyad dynasty that had subdued the Iberian Peninsula found itself too weak of arms and will to fight its own battles. The caliph imported fellow Muslims as mercenaries, Berber warriors whose ferocity had not been dulled by civilization. Then the Cordoba caliphate imported still more Berber troops. And more. They were, after all, fellow Muslims.

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Charlie In Afghanistan, Taliban In ‘Nam

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Thursday, February 2, 2017

Live long enough and you’ll be certain you saw the movie before. Recent conclusions that the Kabul government controls barely sixty per cent of Afghanistan (and much of that only by daylight) conjures memories of our failed efforts in Vietnam fifty years ago. We won every firefight—and lost.

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America First—Always

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

“From this moment on, it’s going to be America First,” President Donald Trump proclaimed in his inaugural address. “Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.” Although the new president did not delve into specifics in the address, he has made clear previously that “America First” policies will include tariffs, curbs on immigration, and reductions in overseas commitments, particularly those involving risk of military conflict.

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Mosul And The Future Of Iraq

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The 100,000-man assault on the Iraqi city of Mosul has reportedly made swift gains in recent days. After months of slow going, the assault force of Iraqi Army soldiers and Kurdish and Shiite militiamen appears to be wearing down the heavily outnumbered ISIS defenders. Obama administration officials are touting the recent advances as vindication of their strategy of restricting American participation to advice and support of local forces.

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Increased Support For Afghanistan

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, January 10, 2017

This past week, the Marine Corps announced that it will be deploying 300 Marines to Afghanistan’s Helmand province to serve in an “advise-and-assist” capacity. According to Brig. Gen. Roger B. Turner Jr., who will command these Marines, their duties will include helping the Afghans in intelligence, logistics, and other combat-enabling functions. Their most immediate concern will be the defense of the province’s beleaguered capital, Lashkar Gah.

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Preventing Operational Atrophy In The Long War

by Vince Gouldingvia Analysis
Saturday, December 10, 2016

Bad or nonexistent national strategy manifests itself in suboptimal military responses.  The 2011 withdrawal of U.S. ground forces from Iraq is a classic example.  It threw away success garnered by the 2007 “surge” on the premise that Iraqi forces, aided by airstrikes and special operators, could stabilize the post-hostilities phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Counterinsurgency operations must address their center of gravity: a secure living environment.  General purpose ground formations have historically been essential to achieving that end. Military forces should never be applied absent clear strategy; when they are, all the tools in the operational commander’s kit must be on the table.

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The Destruction Of ISIS

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Analysis
Friday, December 9, 2016

The goal of the United States and its allies must be the total eradication of the Islamic State. Destroying ISIS begins with eliminating its self-styled caliphate in Iraq and Syria. This can be accomplished by arming local actors and assisting them with advisers, forward air control teams, and airpower. More importantly, the United States must work with regional partners to knit together a political solution to provide Iraqi and Syrian Sunni Arabs a measure of autonomy to prevent the reemergence of ISIS or its ideological successor. The United States must also wage a holistic campaign to combat ISIS elsewhere in the world. Means include pressuring ISIS affiliates through drone strikes and by strengthening partner states, using financial and legal means to impede terrorist financing, combating radicalization in cyberspace and on social media platforms, and focusing intelligence capabilities to uncover ISIS operatives seeking to conduct terror attacks in Europe and the United States.

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Implementing Stability In Iraq And Syria

by Max Bootvia Analysis
Thursday, December 8, 2016

The campaign against ISIS is making significant progress. The end is in sight for the Islamic State. But its demise will not necessarily produce a lasting victory over terrorism. Unless the U.S. takes the lead in stabilizing Iraq and Syria, the territory that ISIS loses may simply be taken by other extremist groups, both Shiite and Sunni. To prevent continued violence and instability, the U.S. should push to oust Bashar Assad in Syria and to recognize the rights of Sunnis in Iraq. Otherwise we may well see ISIS 2.0 emerging out of the ruins of the Islamic State.

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From left to right: Bing West, Peter Mansoor, Ralph Peters, Victor Davis Hanson

Military History Working Group meets at Hoover

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict met for a workshop during October 7 and 8 to chart its long-term objectives and review its new online journal, Strategika.

News

The Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict examines how knowledge of past military operations can influence contemporary public policy decisions concerning current conflicts. 


As the very name of Hoover Institution attests, military history lies at the very core of our dedication to the study of "War, Revolution, and Peace." Indeed, the precise mission statement of the Hoover Institution includes the following promise: "The overall mission of this Institution is, from its records, to recall the voice of experience against the making of war, and by the study of these records and their publication, to recall man's endeavors to make and preserve peace, and to sustain for America the safeguards of the American way of life." From its origins as a library and archive, the Hoover Institution has evolved into one of the foremost research centers in the world for policy formation and pragmatic analysis. It is with this tradition in mind, that the "Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict" has set its agenda—reaffirming the Hoover Institution's dedication to historical research in light of contemporary challenges, and in particular, reinvigorating the national study of military history as an asset to foster and enhance our national security. By bringing together a diverse group of distinguished military historians, security analysts, and military veterans and practitioners, the working group seeks to examine the conflicts of the past as critical lessons for the present.

Victor Davis Hanson on War in the Contemporary World — WATCH

The careful study of military history offers a way of analyzing modern war and peace that is often underappreciated in this age of technological determinism. Yet the result leads to a more in-depth and dispassionate understanding of contemporary wars, one that explains how particular military successes and failures of the past can be often germane, sometimes misunderstood, or occasionally irrelevant in the context of the present.

The working group is chaired by Victor Davis Hanson with counsel from Bruce S. Thornton and David L. Berkey, along with collaboration form the group’s distinguished scholars, military historians, analysts, journalists, and military officers.