Two broad themes emerge when viewing 20th century national security history through a military capability lens: (1) Deterrence works and (2) Competitors adapt. This second phenomenon requires that the US and its allies adapt as well.
Phil Walter has served in the military, the intelligence community, and the inter-agency. The views expressed here are those of the author alone and do not contain information of an official nature. His website is www.philwalter1058.com.
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As the fifteen year anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the recent spate of attacks highlights that the world still lacks an established lexicon for describing extremist violence. Governments, media, and academia continue to use confusing and imprecise language that conflates perpetrators, ideologies, organizations, origins, forms of support, physical targets, and motivations.
On May 7, 2016, Colonel Steve Warren, U.S. Army, the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), conducted a question and answer session using the social media platform Reddit. During this session, Colonel Warren provided an assessment of the Center of Gravity of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). According to Colonel Warren,
President Obama established U.S. policy towards the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in a September 2014 speech. In his address, Obama committed to not having members of the U.S. armed forces undertake combat missions nor fight on foreign soil against ISIL: “As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission – we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq.”
The Government Performance Results Act (GPRA) requires the Executive Branch to conduct detailed strategic planning prior to spending money. The laws that govern the President when he introduces the men and women of the United States (U.S.) Armed Forces into hostilities, specifically Article II of the Constitution, the War Powers Resolution, and the Authorizations for the Use of Military Force for both Iraq and Afghanistan, have no similar strategic planning requirement.