Sunday, February 14, 2016


Rethinking Afghanistan - Pakistan. Seema Sirohi believes the U.S. needs to do an analysis of its relationship with Pakistan. Read "Afghanistan-Pakistan: Obama Needs to Urgently Rethink", Eurasia Review, February 12, 2016.

Unworthy Ally. C.Christine Fair says it is time to cut Pakistan loose in "An Unworthy Ally", Foreign Affairs, February 12, 2016.

Durand Line, India, and Pakistan. One commentator says there are two outstanding issues the stand in the way of peace in Afghanistan. Afghanistan's recognition of the Durand Line and India - Pakistan relations. Until those are resolved, Pakistan will continue to support the Afghan Taliban. Read more in "A Solution to the Afghanistan-Taliban Conflict?", The World Post, February 11, 2016.

CSIS Report on Afghanistan. Anthony Cordesman provides us with an updated report containing his astute analysis of the security situation in Afghanistan. Read "Afghanistan: The Uncertain Impact of a Year of Transition", Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), February 11, 2016.

Germany and Afghanistan. Dr. Gale A. Mattox, Director of the AICGS's Foreign & Domestic Policy Program and a Professor of Political Science at the U.S. Naval Academy examines Germany's role in post-2014 Afghanistan and offers recommendations for continued engagement. Read Afghanistan: A Difficult Year Ahead, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS), February 10, 2016.

Stay the Course. Gary Anderson, a retired Marine colonel and former member of the Defense Adaptive Red Team, says we should maintain our status quo in Afghanistan until the next president takes office and sets the agenda for the future. Read "In Afghanistan, how about trying this?: Don't just do something, stand there", Best Defense Blog of Foreign Policy, February 11, 2016.

Stay the Course (Part II). Claude Rakisists, a senior fellow at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, says we need to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan until it can fully defend itself - something that might not be achievable until 2024. (Way past my retirement age - I'm out!). Read "Letter from Washington: Afghanistan and the changing of the American guard", The Strategist, Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), February 11, 2016.

Unpaid Debt to Interpreters. Just when you thought the State Department had turned the corner on the abhorrent treatment towards Afghan interpreters you find that they are up to their same dirty tricks once again. Read more in "An Unpaid Debt to Afghan Interpreters", The New York Times, February 4, 2016.

Military Career Management. One writer, Colin Griffin - a field artillery officer, writes that the military could do a much better job in assigning newly-minted officers in their career field. I totally agree. Read more in "Who's Out of Control?", Small Wars Journal, February 6, 2016.

HTS Analysis. Christopher Sims writes about the life and death of the Human Terrain System (HTS) in "Academics in Foxholes", Foreign Affairs, February 4, 2016.

Population-Centric COIN. Afghanistan has been fighting an insurgency since 2002 when the Taliban regrouped after being toppled from power. As in most insurgencies the Afghan conflict is lasting a long time. There are different ways to conduct counterinsurgency and military commentators attempt to classify the different methods. One is population-centric counterinsurgency. General McCrystral, then ISAF commander, introduced this type of COIN to Afghanistan in 2009. The author of this paper examines certain conditions that affect the likelihood of success for a population-centric approach to counterinsurgency. Read more in "On Winning Hearts and Minds: Key Conditions for Population-Centric COIN", by Gregory D. Miller, Small Wars Journal, February 8, 2016.

Future of Army - Missed Opportunities. Nadia Schadlow thinks that the National Commission on the Future of the Army missed out on some key observations. Some of these include pulling its punches on end strength needs, lack of content on stability operations (key to the ability to close out a COIN war and consolidate combat gains), less than robust attention on modernization needs, need for forces in Europe, and an inability of the Obama administration to identify threats by name (movement vs. organizations). Schadlow is a senior program officer at the Smith Richardson Foundation who writes on defense and foreign-policy related issues. Read "Squeezing Water From a Stone: Five Missed Opportunities in Planning the Future of the U.S. Army", War on the Rocks, February 8, 2016.

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