Our military leaders have just proclaimed a renewed, more-effective policy for Afghanistan, which they assure us will turn around the decaying situation.
Two months ago Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that all combat specialties in the armed forces would be opened to qualified females. This decision reopened the question of whether or not women should be required to register for Selective Service. In Rostker vs. Goldberg in 1981, the Supreme Court ruled that since the main purpose of the draft is to provide manpower for combat forces, the government’s exclusion of women did not violate the due process clause of the 5th Amendment. Since women can now serve in the combat arms, a legal challenge to the exclusion of women from the draft might very well succeed.
The current issue of Strategika asks the question: Are 20th-century-style conventional military assets and strategies still relevant, or are they being replaced by drones, cyber-warfare, counterinsurgency, and satellite technologies? Using history as a guide, Andrew Roberts, Frederick W. Kagan, and Peter R. Mansoor all argue for the continuing relevance of conventional weapons and soldiers, even though the there is an inherent unpredictability to the exact nature of future conflicts.
Next time, listen to the generals
Following the recent appearances of retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and retired General John Allen at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, retired General Martin Dempsey, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admonished retired senior leaders not to endorse political candidates. “As generals, they have an obligation to uphold our apolitical traditions,” Dempsey wrote. Through the broad sweep of American history, however, the “apolitical traditions” of the military are hardly clear-cut.
Formed in 1949 in response to the onset of the Cold War, the purpose of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, according to British General Hastings Lionel Ismay, the first Secretary General of the alliance, was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” Sixty-five years after the creation of NATO, little it seems has changed with the exception...
With the troubles bubbling over on the Korean Peninsula, as the North Korean regime approaches possession of nuclear weapons and missiles capable of striking the United States, two words, preemptive and preventive, have gained increasing currency. While similar in meaning, their context is crucial in understanding their applicability to the current crisis. And here, as is so often the case, history is a useful tool in thinking through the possibilities.
Eisenhower took office at a time of wars both cold and hot. One of his first actions was a complete rethinking of foreign policy. Our next president could learn from Ike’s example. By J. William DeMarco.
At the outbreak of World War II, the United States found itself with a weak, outmoded military and a civilian population utterly unprepared for the shock of total war. Serving as undersecretary of war, Judge Robert P. Patterson mobilized the nation. An appreciation by Keith E. Eiler.
“God is on the side of the big battalions.” The historical record is opaque about whether it was Napoleon, Turenne, Voltaire, or indeed any identifiable Frenchman who made that statement, but, in this age of supposedly post-industrial warfare, He has apparently changed His mind. Equipped with an iPhone and GPS-guided munitions, God has broken the phalanx, emptied the battlefield, and super-empowered the individual. Mass—particularly the large military formations of the modern era: infantry divisions and corps, aircraft carrier battle groups, tactical air wings—has gone out of style.
A study of two great generals who knew how to keep civilian and military leaders working together. By Colonel Chris Gibson.
The Second World War, the Cold War, and now the war on terrorism—all can be seen as part of a single, epochal struggle. Clark S. Judge on the new hundred years’ war.
What has been keeping Pyongyang afloat?