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Letter from the Editor in Chief
2023 General William E. DePuy
General Suggested Writing Themes and Topics—2023
Section I: Notable Commentary on the Civil-Military Relationship
Civilian Control of the Military: A “Useful Fiction”?
Civil-military relations in the United States are under extreme strain because of a shrinking pool of seasoned, capable, effective civilian leaders, an increasingly politicized military, and the exceptional influence of military elites on the national security policy process.
Who’s the Boss? Defining the Civil-Military Relationship in the Twenty-First Century
In an era of great-power competition and increasing political polarization, the military must decide how it will interact with the rest of the American political system. Military officers must understand at an early point of their development how they fit within the larger context of American bureaucracy, government, and society.
Politics, Warfare, and the American People: How America’s Uneven Political Leadership Harms Its Ability to Win
Many of the engagements that the American military has undertaken since World War II were waged with ill-defined political goals that do not necessarily need military might to succeed. These blurred lines have significantly contributed to America’s uneven record of victory, primarily due to a lack of national leadership outside the military’s control or persuasion. This article was an entry in the 2022 MacArthur Military Leadership Writing Competition.
Ignoring Failure: General DePuy and the Dangers of Interwar Escapism
The war in Vietnam offered a rare opportunity for the Army to critically contemplate its obvious shortfalls in readiness for similar future episodes, but it was destined to once again suffer the bloody and expensive costs associated with unpreparedness when its greatest challenges of the twenty-first century refused to play by the rules it had long been prepared to expect.
Section II: Afghanistan and GWOT Retrospective: Will We Forget?
Military Power Is Insufficient: Learning from Failure in Afghanistan
The author presents three lessons learned in Afghanistan for military leaders: military strategy derives from political will, poor strategy leads to compromises that mar the military ethic, and technology is no panacea. This article received an honorable mention in the 2022 DePuy Writing Contest.
All Power Is Local: Understanding Disciplinary Power to Mobilize the Population
The United States lost its two longest wars because it was unable to understand the context of power in Afghanistan and Vietnam. To prevent another such defeat, the U.S. Army needs to recognize that power rests within the population and apply disciplinary power in future counterinsurgencies. This article won second place in the 2022 DePuy Writing Contest.
This article on human tribalism was previously published as chapter 3 of the 2018 Penguin Press book Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations.
Civil Dispute Resolution: An Ignored Winning Strategy for Afghanistan
The failure to recognize the Afghan population’s need for civil dispute resolution and the Taliban capture of this market was part of the Achilles’ heel of the U.S. theory, doctrine, and efforts. This article won third place in the 2022 DePuy Writing Contest.
Rule of Law and Expanding the Reach of Government: Lessons Learned from an AFPAK Hands Foxhole
A former military lawyer and Dari language speaker relates lessons learned regarding the rule of law during her time in Afghanistan as a member of the AFPAK Hands program. This article received an honorable mention in the 2022 DePuy Writing Contest.
Cracks in the Liberal Edifice
This article on political liberalism was previously published as chapter 4 of the 2018 Yale University Press book The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities.
America’s Great-Power Opportunity: Revitalizing U.S. Foreign Policy to Meet the Challenges of Strategic Competition
The authors critique a book by Ali Wyne that discusses shifts in the international order and the future of U.S. foreign policy.
Medal of Honor: Spc. 5 Dennis M. Fujii
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