Vince Goulding


Vince Goulding is a retired Marine infantryman whose final active duty assignment was Marine Corps Representative at the U.S. Army War College where he taught strategy and operations. His Parameters article “From Chancellorsville to Kosovo: Forgetting the Art of War” won an award for writing by a faculty member.   Subsequently, Vince served 14 years as Experimentation Director at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab.

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Recent Commentary

Period Military History

Margaret MacMillan, The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 (2013)

by Vince Gouldingvia Classics of Military History
Monday, October 16, 2017

In her introduction to a book that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Barbara Tuchman’s landmark The Guns of August, Margaret MacMillan asks “what made 1914 so different” that European leaders were unable to back away from the precipice of general war, as they had so many times in the years following Napoleon’s exile? Unlike Tuchman’s focus on a single month, MacMillan takes the reader back several decades to identify the people, events, and decisions that led to the outbreak of war in 1914.

Weapons & TechnologyAnalysis and Commentary

Robert K. Massie, Dreadnought: Britain, Germany And The Coming Of The Great War (1991)

by Vince Gouldingvia Classics of Military History
Monday, October 9, 2017

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Massie gives us much more than a recounting of the naval race that fatally estranged Britain and Germany starting in 1900. Massie is a biographer and the great strength of his massive work is the biographies he provides of key players on both sides. Weaving pithy biographic sketches into the pre-war narrative adds substantially to a deeper understanding of why so many of the critical events of the era unfolded the way they did. 

Military FictionAnalysis and Commentary

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, August 1914 (1971)

by Vince Gouldingvia Classics of Military History
Monday, October 2, 2017

In August 1914, Alexander Solzhenitsyn provided a graphic account of the Great War’s pivotal first month on the Eastern Front. Too often, our attention is drawn to faulty execution of Schlieffen’s plan and the ensuing stalemate a thousand miles to the west. Solzhenitsyn masterfully captures the War’s opening events in East Prussia, using a blend of history and fiction to educate the reader on all levels of war: strategic, operational, and tactical. 

Period Military HistoryAnalysis and Commentary

Barbara W. Tuchman, The Guns Of August (1962)

by Vince Gouldingvia Classics of Military History
Monday, September 25, 2017

Barbara Tuchman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Guns of August is the starting point for any serious study of the First World War. Its great strength lies in its adroit connection of the political decision making and strategic miscalculations which led to the military operations that directly followed in that critical opening month of the war. 

EssaysBlank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Preventing Operational Atrophy In The Long War

by Vince Gouldingvia Hoover Institution Press
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.