Ten years ago next month, the U.S. military changed tack in a messy Iraq occupation, launching what’s simply known as “the surge.” Today, experts are still fighting over it. Even among those who credit Gen. David Petraeus and his counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy with turning the Iraq War around, there arecompeting theories on why it worked. Some have argued forcefully that it wasn’t the surplus of American troops or shift in tactics that put an end to the sectarian war that rocked Iraq in the months leading up to the surge, but rather that the war had simply bled itself out by the time we decided to get involved. Those who say it didn’t work at all can point to the subsequent rise of ISIS — whose leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was reportedly radicalized while being held in a U.S. detention facility — and the fact that Baghdad is now firmly underIranian control; here, they argue, is proof that the surge did little more than allow the U.S. to leave Iraq with its dignity intact.
The Pentagon will send an additional 4,000 troops to Afghanistan as early as next week, U.S. officials confirmed June 15 — just one day after President Donald Trump delegated his authority to determine downrange troop levels to Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
This morning, the Today Show introduced the world to Fetch!, a new app to identify your breed of dog. Just for fun, the app also has a feature that uses facial recognition technology to match humans to a dog breed. Of course, just for fun, we decided to upload the faces of America’s most powerful military leaders. Behold, generals and admirals as lovable canines, man’s best friend. The app even offers descriptions of their attributes, which are strikingly accurate.
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John Linzmeier
Innovation is a skill that service members and veterans can develop with training. It’s not genius, luck, or unique to Silicon Valley. It’s something at which we can each get better, whether we’re adapting to the 21st century security environment or the global economy.
In a May interview with the Washington Post, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal recommended the military place corporate superstars into military positions of authority. Similar ideas have been presented that apply this disruption to the lower ranks as well. Carl Forsling recommended giving junior officers the opportunity to take a sabbatical. These plans are good, but they don’t address how these scenarios would play out in the real world. For instance, would these business superstars leave after achieving what they came to do and take all of their expertise with them? How would you ensure that the junior officers would add value after their sabbatical?