Lessons for a Long War is a publication of AEI's Center for Defense Studies, a new arm of the Institute focused on strategic, budgetary, and programmatic analysis of defense policy issues.
As the guarantor of international security, the United States must commit to a long-term military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. But what are the tools necessary to succeed on the new battlefields of the Long War? In this volume, a group of the foremost U.S. military officials and national security experts analyzes the American experience in Iraq and Afghanistan thus far in order to map a way forward--not only for the military, but also for diplomats, elected officials, and the American public.
Thomas Donnelly, Frederick W. Kagan, and their coauthors offer several core lessons for success in the Long War. They argue that decentralizing command is the key to efficient operations on an ever-changing battlefield; that airpower is the unsung hero of counterinsurgency warfare; that public opinion can influence crucial military decisions; and that the military should minimize its role in domestic affairs. Finally, although the battlefields have changed over the last fifty years, the authors contend that America’s long-held counterinsurgency strategy--to foster political support at home, employ diplomacy overseas, and extend military assistance to allies--remains effective.
The Long War will not soon be over. But, in the words of retired Army Colonel Robert Killebrew, the United States already has "the tools it needs in order to prevail in the wars of the twenty-first century."
Thomas Donnelly is a resident fellow in defense and security policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute and director of AEI's Center for Defense Studies. He previously served as policy group director and professional staff member for the House Committee on Armed Services.
Frederick W. Kagan is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and director of the AEI Critical Threats Project. He was formerly associate professor of military history at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Contributors: Thomas Donnelly, Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., Peter D. Feaver, Frederick W. Kagan, Robert Killebrew, H. R. McMaster, Mackubin Thomas Owens