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Afghanistan and the Future of Warfare: Implications for Army and Defense Policy

Stephen Biddle

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ISBN 10: 1410218112 / ISBN 13: 9781410218117
Published by University Press of the Pacific
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Paperback. 72 pages. Dimensions: 8.8in. x 6.0in. x 0.3in.Americas novel use of special operations forces, precision weapons, and indigenous allies has attracted widespread attention since its debut in Northern Afghanistan last fall. It has proven both influential and controversial. Many think it caused the Talibans sudden collapse. For them, this Afghan Model represents warfares future and should become the new template for U. S. defense planning. Critics, however, see Afghanistan as an anomaly-a non-repeatable product of local conditions. This monograph examines the Afghan Models actual role in the fall of the Taliban, using evidence collected from a combination of 46 participant interviews, terrain inspection in Afghanistan, and written documentation from both official and unofficial sources. The author, Dr. Stephen Biddle, argues that neither of the main current interpretations is sound: Afghanistan offers important clues to warfares future, but not the ones most people think. The campaign of 2001-02 was a surprisingly orthodox air-ground theater campaign in which heavy fire support decided a contest between two land armies. Of course, some elements were quite new. Precision firepower was available in unprecedented quantity and proved crucial for success; special operations forces served as the main effort in a theater of war. In an important sense, though, the differences were less salient than the continuities: the key to success in both Afghanistan and traditional joint warfare was the close interaction of fire and maneuver-neither of which was sufficient alone, and neither of which could succeed without sizeable ground forces trained and equipped at least as well as their opponents. In Afghanistan, our allies provided these ground forces for us; where others can do so, the Afghan Model can be expected to prevail. Hence Afghanistan is not unique. But not all future allies have armies trained and equipped to their enemies standards. Without this, neither the bravery of our special operations forces nor the sophistication of our precision guided munitions (PGMs) can ensure an Afghan-like collapse in a resolute opponent-and this implies a very different set of policies for the armed forces and the Nation than many of those now prominent in the public debate on the war. The Strategic Studies Institute is pleased to offer this monograph as a contribution to the national security debate on this important subject. Douglas C. Lovelace, Jr. Director, Strategic Studies Institute This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Bookseller Inventory # 9781410218117

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Afghanistan and the Future of Warfare: ...

Publisher: University Press of the Pacific

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:New

Book Type: Paperback

About this title

Synopsis:

America's novel use of special operations forces, precision weapons, and indigenous allies has attracted widespread attention since its debut in Northern Afghanistan last fall. It has proven both influential and controversial. Many think it caused the Taliban's sudden collapse. For them, this "Afghan Model" represents warfare's future and should become the new template for U.S. defense planning. Critics, however, see Afghanistan as an anomaly-a non-repeatable product of local conditions. This monograph examines the Afghan Model's actual role in the fall of the Taliban, using evidence collected from a combination of 46 participant interviews, terrain inspection in Afghanistan, and written documentation from both official and unofficial sources. The author, Dr. Stephen Biddle, argues that neither of the main current interpretations is sound: Afghanistan offers important clues to warfare's future, but not the ones most people think. The campaign of 2001-02 was a surprisingly orthodox air-ground theater campaign in which heavy fire support decided a contest between two land armies. Of course, some elements were quite new. Precision firepower was available in unprecedented quantity and proved crucial for success; special operations forces served as the main effort in a theater of war. In an important sense, though, the differences were less salient than the continuities: the key to success in both Afghanistan and traditional joint warfare was the close interaction of fire and maneuver-neither of which was sufficient alone, and neither of which could succeed without sizeable ground forces trained and equipped at least as well as their opponents. In Afghanistan, our allies provided these ground forces for us; where others can do so, the Afghan Model can be expected to prevail. Hence Afghanistan is not unique. But not all future allies have armies trained and equipped to their enemies' standards. Without this, neither the bravery of our special operations forces nor the sophistication of our precision guided munitions (PGMs) can ensure an Afghan-like collapse in a resolute opponent-and this implies a very different set of policies for the armed forces and the Nation than many of those now prominent in the public debate on the war. The Strategic Studies Institute is pleased to offer this monograph as a contribution to the national security debate on this important subject. Douglas C. Lovelace, Jr. Director, Strategic Studies Institute

About the Author:

Dr. Stephen D. Biddle is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. From June 2001-July of 2006, he was a Professor of National Security Studies at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute (SSI).

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