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The Strategic Lessons Unlearned From Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan: Why the Afghan National Security Forces Will Not Hold, and the Implications for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan

Title:
The Strategic Lessons Unlearned From Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan: Why the Afghan National Security Forces Will Not Hold, and the Implications for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan
Format:
Paperback
USA Price: 
Stock:
In stock
GPO Stock Number:
008-000-01165-6
ISBN:
9781584876830
Description

The wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan were lost before they began, not on the battlefields where the United States won every tactical engagement, but at the strategic level of war. In each case, the U.S. Government attempted to create a western-style democracy in countries decades at least away from being nations with the sociopolitical capital necessary to sustain democracy and, most importantly, accept it as a legitimate source of governance. The expensive indigenous armies created in the image of the U.S. Army lacked both the motivation to fight for illegitimate governments in Saigon, Baghdad, and Kabul, and a cause they believed was worth dying for, while their enemies in the field clearly did not. This monograph examines the Afghan National Security Forces in historical and political contexts; explains why they will fail at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of war; why they cannot and will not succeed in holding the southern half of the country; and what will happen in Afghanistan year-by-year from 2015 to 2019. Finally, it examines what the critical lessons unlearned of these conflicts are for U.S. military leaders, why these fundamental political lessons seem to remain unlearned, and how the strategic mistakes of the past can be avoided in the future.  The contributions to operational wargaming in Afghanistan in Appendix II alone make this publication a must-read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

M. Chris Mason joined the faculty at the Strategic Studies Institute as a Professor of National Security Affairs in June 2014. He has worked in and on Afghanistan for the past 15 years. Dr. Mason retired from the Foreign Service in 2005 and worked as the South Asia desk officer for the Marine Corps’ Center for Advanced Operational Culture and Language for several years, where he wrote the Marine Corps deployer’s guide to Afghan culture and the guide to Operational Pashtunwali. He has deployed to and traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan numerous times, beginning in December 2001, serving as the political officer on the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Paktika in 2005. Dr. Mason authored the first paper in the U.S. Government on the Afghan National Army (ANA) in October 2001, and worked for 5 years on ANA, Afghan National Police and other security issues as the representative of the Bureau of Political Military Affairs to the Afghan Interagency Operations Group. From 1981 to 1986, he served as a regular U.S. Navy Officer on active duty, including tours as the Gunnery Officer on the USS John Young (DD973) and a Naval Gunfire Liaison Officer with 2d Battalion 12th Marines in Okinawa, Japan, and 2d Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO [Airborne]) at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Dr. Mason was a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural development in South America from 1977 to 1979. Dr. Mason trained tens of thousands of deploying American and North Atlantic Treaty Organization military personnel on military and cultural aspects of the war in Afghanistan, and has published widely on Afghanistan and Pakistan in numerous publications over the past 10 years. Dr. Mason holds a bachelor’s degree with Honors from Carnegie Mellon University; graduated with Distinction from the resident Command and General Staff College course at the Marine Corps University, Quantico, VA; holds a master’s degree in military studies from the Marine Corps University, and a Ph.D. in military and Central Asian history from The George Washington University, Washington, DC.

 

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents:

Foreword ……………………………………….........vii
About the Author.........................................................ix
Introduction ……………………...................................1
Part I: Why the Afghan National
Security Forces Cannot Hold, and
the Implications for the
U.S. Army in Afghanistan ..................................… 5
Summary ………………………………………........…5
Relative Geographical and Force Sizes …..………..11
Comparison of the Ground Forces ….…………......16
Comparison of the Air Forces ……………….......…21
Comparison of the Paramilitary Police Forces........26
Comparison of the Irregular Forces ….................…41
Strategic Impact of Irregulars …………………....... 48
Military Conclusions Regarding
Comparable Force Sizes ..........................................50
Close Air Support: The Sine Qua Non of
Afghan National Security Forces Survival .......... 52
The Unending Civil War …………………............... 57
Attrition: The Force Killer …………….................… 69
The Ethnic Time Bomb ……………………….......…77
The Elephant in the Room …………………….........85
Countervailing Arguments ……...........................…88
Part II. Afghanistan Year-by-Year 2015-19..........129
Motivation: Why the Afghan National
Army will Collapse in the South ……....................129
Where Does Motivation Come From?
The Critical Legitimacy Factor …........................... 140
The Fallacy of “Nation-Building”.……….............. 147
The Future of Afghanistan by Year
from 2015 to 2019.................................................... 156
Part III. The Strategic Lessons Unlearned
from Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan ……….. 175
Impediments to Strategic Judgment ….................. 175
Guidelines for Future Wars …………..............…...186
Conclusions ……………………………................... 190
Appendix I: Central Intelligence Agency
Guide to the Analysis of Insurgency …………..211
Appendix II: Relative Combat Power:
Wargaming Beyond One-to-One ……….........…219

Audience

Military commanders, strategists, and other policy makers may be interested in this work as well as veterans of the Vietnam War, Iraq Operation Enduring Freedom Conflict, and Afghanistan War. Additionally, political scientists, policy analysts, and historians, especially military historians may find valuable insights about these wars and conflicts from this author.  High school debate teams, and other students that may research the obstacles and strategic engagements with international land warfare as it may relate to national security may find this text helpful for defining their position statements, and term paper content matter for War and Politics courses to global affairs and military science degree programs.

Product Details

Availability Details:
In Stock
USA Price:
$29.00
International Price:
$40.60
Publisher:
Defense Dept., Army, Strategic Studies Institute
Author:
  • Mason, M. Chris
Year/Pages:
2015: 236 p.
Key Phrases:
  • Strategic Lessons Unlearned From Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan
  • Vietnam
  • Iraq
  • Afghanistan
  • Why the Afghan National Security Forces Will Not Hold, and the Implications for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan
  • United States Army in Afghanistan
Weight:
0.8125
Quantity Price:
Discount
Cover:
Paper
Unit of Issue (US):
1
Unit of Issue (Non-US):
1
Item available Date:
09/22/2015
Last Status Update:
02/24/2017
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