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.