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You should not have a favorite weapon.
--- Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings

If there is one attitude more dangerous than to assume that a future war will be just like the last one, it is to imagine that it will be so utterly different that we can afford to ignore all the lessons of the last one.
--- MRAF Sir John C. Slessor

Adherence to dogmas has destroyed more armies and cost more battles than anything in war.
--- J.F.C. Fuller

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
--- Aristotle

To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.
--- Plutarch, Greek biographer & moralist (46 AD - 120 AD)

GeneralBack to Top

Writing Lessons Learned and After Action Reviews (AARs)Back to Top

U.S. GovernmentBack to Top

Joint/DoDBack to Top

Air ForceBack to Top

  • USAF A9L Lessons Learned, Air Force Office of Lessons Learned
  • AF Reserve Command Operations Plans Branch, A3XX

  • AFI 10-204, Readiness Exercises and After-Action Reporting Program

  • Enduring Look collects OEF lessons learned - (Apr 2002 AF News release) - "Air Force officials in the Pentagon began a comprehensive campaign named Task Force Enduring Look to collect data from Operation Enduring Freedom, and turn that knowledge into lessons learned to benefit the warfighter." ... "This near real-time collection, analysis and distribution of information is a departure from studies of previous wars, operations and contingencies, said the task force’s director"

  • Coalition and Irregular Warfare Center of Excellence, USAF Warfare Center

  • Knowledge Now, Air Force Center of Excellence for Knowledge Management

  • AF Medical Service Knowledge Exchange

  • USAF Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) with reports incorporating many lessons learned

  • Air Combat Command Directorate of Air/Space Operations Exercises/Joint Training Lessons Learned
  • AMC Lessons Learned and After Action Report (AAR) page - check AMC site

  • HQ Air Force Space Command Lessons Learned and Exercise Corrective Action Board (ECAB) page no longer available

ArmyBack to Top

NavyBack to Top

MarineBack to Top

Coast GuardBack to Top

InternationalBack to Top

Interagency and ContingencyBack to Top

Psychological Operations and EffectsBack to Top

WMD & Terrorism ResponseBack to Top

9-11Back to Top

Radiation IncidentsBack to Top

Katrina Hurricane ResponseBack to Top

Emergency RespondersBack to Top

Special OpsBack to Top

Rescue & Airborne RaidsBack to Top

  • Airborne Raids, by Col Joshua Shani, in Air University Review
    • discusses Dragon Rouge, Son Tay, Mayaguez, Entebbe, and other raids
    • Col Shani flew the lead ship in the Entebbe raid

IntelligenceBack to Top

Interrogation and InterviewsBack to Top

Information OperationsBack to Top

CoalitionsBack to Top

Partnering and Building Partner Capacity (BPC)Back to Top

  • See also coalitions

  • Building the Capacity of Partner States Through Security Force Assistance (local copy), by Livingston, Congressional Research Service (CRS) report R41817
    • Each of the military services has undertaken to organize, train, and equip themselves for SFA. However, while SOF have units specifically dedicated to a long-term role in SFA, the conventional forces services do not. Each of the services does have Security Cooperation and Security Assistance organizations that are dedicated to SFA activities, although they do not have SFA in their titles. The services also standardize training for deploying forces to support combatant commanders in their SFA mission. This effort to “train the trainers,” although an object of consistent inquiry in congressional hearings, has been endorsed in testimony by combatant commanders.
    • Along with its role in the current Afghanistan and Iraq wars, SFA is directly linked to counterterrorism strategy and is key to engaging underdeveloped and undergoverned nations (often referred to as “weak or fragile states”) in a preventive national security strategy. Regional combatant commanders apply this preventive strategy through authorities provided in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The SFA authorizations in the NDAA are often criticized as being disjointed and cumbersome, creating significant challenges to effective SFA employment. The Departments of Defense and State have presented a proposal for pooled funding to alleviate some of these challenges. The proposed Global Security Contingency Fund would be a shared resource requiring authorization by both departments. This would be similar to the temporary authorization known as “1206 global train and equip” authorization.

  • Peacekeeping/Stabilization and Conflict Transitions: Background and Congressional Action on the Civilian Response/Reserve Corps and other Civilian Stabilization and Reconstruction Capabilities (local copy), by Serafino, Congressional Research Service (CRS) report RL32862

  • Developing an Army Strategy for Building Partner Capacity for Stability Operations, by Marquis et al, RAND report, 2010
    • The U.S. government is facing the dual challenge of building its own interagency capacity for conducting stability operations while simultaneously building partner capacity (BPC) for stability operations. The purpose of this study is to assist the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense, and other U.S. government agencies in developing an integrated BPC for stability operations strategy. To accomplish this goal, a RAND Arroyo Center study team conducted an exploratory analysis of key strategic elements within the context of BPC and stability operations guidance as well as ongoing security cooperation programs, using a variety of analytical techniques. In general, this study concludes that BPC and stability operations are receiving a good deal of attention in official strategy and planning documents. However, insufficient attention is being paid to the details of an integrated strategy. A baseline analysis of existing security cooperation programs needs to be undertaken to comprehend the type, scope, and target of activities related to BPC for stability operations. An assessment of these activities should then be conducted, focusing on both process outputs and operational outcomes. In addition, the Departments of State and Defense should develop a rigorous method for selecting and prioritizing partners whose stability operations capacity they wish to build. Ideally, the results of these analytical processes will have a significant impact on the set of BPC for stability operations activities and partners, aligning relevant and effective activities with appropriate partners.

  • Security Force Assistance: An Enduring U.S. Army Structure (local copy), by Power, U.S. Army War College, Nov 2010
    • Throughout the past century, the U.S. Army has engaged in advising foreign forces, now known by the doctrinal term Security Force Assistance (SFA). In each case, advisory units were assembled ad hoc and, following the mission, the effort was disbanded. Given recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan and considering the future nature of conflict, the U.S. Army has a need for a permanent Security Force Assistance capability. Further, this capability is best captured by an enduring structure. The structural solution employed in current overseas contingency operations is to imbed advisory teams into existing organizations from theater level to Brigade Combat Team, as opposed to having separate organizations under independent command and control, such as an ‘Advisor Corps.’ This research project will analyze the various recommendations for conducting SFA in the 21st Century and conclude with a feasible recommendation on the way ahead to achieve an enduring capability.

  • Principles of Building Partnership Capacity (local copy), by Terry, Command and General Staff College, Nov 2010
    • The National Defense Strategy of the United States continues to place ever greater importance on the practice of building the capacity of partner nations. The role of the United States military in this endeavor will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Thus, the central research question is: What are the core commonalities that make Building Partnership Capacity (BPC) efforts successful? The answer to this question provides six criteria to evaluate prospective BPC engagements and ten key considerations that BPC planners can utilize to increase the probability of successfully building a capacity in a partner nation. The secondary research question examines the characteristics of Joint BPC engagements (engagements involving two or more Military Departments operating under a single joint force commander). The secondary research question provide six characteristics for the joint BPC planner to incorporate, in addition to the ten key considerations previously discussed, due to this unique type of military BPC engagement. With the ever expanding reliance on coalitions and the importance of regional security to combat global threats, BPC contributes to the overall deterrence capability of the United States.

  • Building Partner Capacity/Security Force Assistance: A New Structural Paradigm (local copy), by Wuestner, Strategic Studies Institute (SSI), Feb 2009
    • On July 16, 2008 Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice launched the Civil Response Corps (CRC) which would function much like our military reserve. It would ease the burden on the Armed Forces by allowing the hiring of civilians with critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs them. The CRC is a product of the efforts of State Department’s Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS). The core mission of S/CRS is to lead, coordinate, and institutionalize U.S. Government civilian capacity to prevent or prepare for post-conflict situations, and to help stabilize and reconstruct societies in transition from conflict or civil strife, so they can reach a sustainable path toward peace, good governance, and a market economy.
    • This Letort Paper examines the current Building Partner Capacity and Stability Operations capabilities and capacities within the Army and how they relate and complement the efforts of the CRC. Does the U.S. Army or the Department of Defense have the proper force structure and minimal capability to fight and win through all phases of conflict? This paper provides a framework for identifying proponency, institutionalizing lessons learned, and providing a military, police, and governance structure as a tool for global engagement. This new structural paradigm complements S/CRS’s efforts to provide the United States with the ability to access, influence, and build capacity throughout this new world order.

Humanitarian Assistance & Post-Conflict & PeacekeepingBack to Top

Establishing Rule of LawBack to Top

Transition to/from HostilitiesBack to Top

Irregular Operations and Irregular WarfareBack to Top

Stability Operations and Support Operations, and CounterinsurgencyBack to Top

Urban Ops (UO)Back to Top

Violent Non-State ActorsBack to Top

Small Wars & Guerilla WarsBack to Top

Strategic Corporal/Three-Block WarBack to Top

  • See also Abu Ghraib on AWC Military Law page

  • See also tipping point on Military Theory page

  • See also cultural awareness & cross-cultural communication

  • Behavioural Conflict: From General to Strategic Corporal: Complexity, Adaptation and Influence, by Mackay and Tatham, Shrivenham Paper number 9, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Dec 2009

  • Educating the Strategic Corporal: a Paradigm Shift (local copy), by Stringer, in Military Review, Sep-Oct 2009
    • The U.S. military assumes that commissioned officers, based upon their level of education and hierarchical roles, will bear the main weight of interagency and intercultural interactions in current and future stability and counterinsurgency operations. That hypothesis is wrong because the era of the “strategic corporal” is upon us.
    • Post-Cold War military operations are highly decentralized, requiring men and women at all levels throughout the force to exercise complex leadership and management tasks. In the new world disorder, everybody—NCO, officer, and Soldier—not just the best and the brightest destined for generalship—requires a crucial degree of profes­sional military competence.
    • Given the ongoing changes from training to education, now is the time to add language instruction, cultural education, and interagency exchange programs to the portfolio.

  • Custer in Cyberspace (local copy), by Gompert and Kugler, Defense Horizons number 51, Feb 2006
    • One of the consequences of the network revolution and corresponding distribution of authority is that many more persons up and down the ranks will be making combat decisions than compared to the days of centralized command and control. Power is migrating from headquarters “to the edge.” Therefore, it is essential to foster battle-wisdom not just for senior officers but also for the junior officers and noncommissioned officers leading units in the field.

  • The Strategic Corporal and the Emerging Battlefield: the Nexus between the USMC's Three Block War Concept and Network Centric Warfare, by Szepesy, Mar 2005 thesis, The Fletcher School, Tufts University -- includes Fallujah Case Study

  • The Strategic Corporal: Leadership in the Three Block War (local copy), by Krulak, in Marines Magazine, January 1999, as posted on the USMC Commandant's Page
    • The lines separating the levels of war, and distinguishing combatant from "non-combatant," will blur, and adversaries, confounded by our "conventional" superiority, will resort to asymmetrical means to redress the imbalance. Further complicating the situation will be the ubiquitous media whose presence will mean that all future conflicts will be acted out before an international audience.
    • The inescapable lesson of Somalia and of other recent operations, whether humanitarian assistance, peace-keeping, or traditional warfighting, is that their outcome may hinge on decisions made by small unit leaders, and by actions taken at the lowest level.
    • How do we prepare Marines for the complex, high-stakes, asymmetrical battlefield of the three block war? ... The first step of the process is unchanged. Bold, capable, and intelligent men and women of character are drawn to the Corps, and are recast in the crucible of recruit training, where time honored methods instill deep within them the Corps' enduring ethos. Honor, courage, and commitment become more than mere words.
    • An institutional commitment to lifelong professional development is the second step on the road to building the Strategic Corporal.
    • Leadership, of course, remains the hard currency of the Corps, and its development and sustainment is the third and final step in the creation of the Strategic Corporal.

  • Cultivating Intuitive Decisionmaking (local copy), by Krulak, in Marine Corps Gazette, May 1999, as posted on the USMC Commandant's Page

    • Marines involved in these amorphous conflicts will be confronted by the entire spectrum of tactical challenges in the span of a few hours and, potentially, within the space of three contiguous city blocks. Thus, we refer to this phenomenon as the "three block war." Success or failure will rest, increasingly, with the individual Marine on the ground -- and with his or her ability to make the right decision, at the right time, while under extreme duress. Without direct supervision, young Marines will be required to make rapid, well-reasoned, independent decisions while facing a bewildering array of challenges and threats. These decisions will be subject to the harsh scrutiny of both the media and the court of public opinion. In many cases, the individual Marine will be the most conspicuous symbol of American foreign policy. His or her actions may not only influence the immediate tactical situation, but have operational and strategic implications as well. If we accept the maxim "battles are won and lost [first] in the mind of the commanders," we can safely assume that the three block war, may very well be won or lost in the minds of our "strategic corporals."

  • Strategic Scouts for Strategic Corporals (local copy), by Sargent, in Military Review, Mar-Apr 2005 - FAOs as a possible solution to some of the cultural awareness needs

Iraq - Post SaddamBack to Top

Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)Back to Top

Global War on Terrorism - Afghanistan and elsewhereBack to Top

USS ColeBack to Top

Kosovo and BalkansBack to Top

Khobar TowersBack to Top

SomaliaBack to Top

Desert Storm Gulf WarBack to Top

Iran-Iraq WarBack to Top

VietnamBack to Top

KoreaBack to Top

World War IIBack to Top

World War IBack to Top

American Civil WarBack to Top

MiscellaneousBack to Top



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