Steven Metz

Steven Metz is a research professor of national security affairs and director of research at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute. He is the author of “Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy,” and his work has appeared in many journals and magazines. You can follow him on Twitter @steven_metz.

Articles written by Steven Metz

Strategic Horizons

Making Libya a U.N. Protectorate Would Be Wise but Impossible

By Steven Metz
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Libya is a mess and rapidly getting worse, as the Islamic State moves in. Only one option has even a theoretical chance of turning Libya around: a United Nations protectorate. But there are very few nations with enough surplus military power to commit to what could be a very long-term operation. more

Strategic Horizons

The U.S. Must Prepare for the Dissolution of Iraq

By Steven Metz
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Iraq is an artificial creation cobbled together from provinces of the old Ottoman Empire by outsiders. Dissolution into three parts—a Sunni Arab west, a Kurdish north and a Shiite section in the south—is so likely that American strategists should be thinking about how to respond. more

Strategic Horizons

U.S. Civil-Military Relations’ Neglected Component: Congress

By Steven Metz
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When Americans think of civil-military relations, what jumps to mind is the interaction of the armed services and the president. But in many ways, the relationship with Congress is more complicated, since it lacks the clear chain of command that defines the military’s dealings with the executive. more

Strategic Horizons

The Case for a Punitive Expedition Against the Islamic State

By Steven Metz
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From the moment the U.S. took on the so-called Islamic State (IS), whether or not to use ground forces has been one of the most contentious issues. A modern-day version of historical punitive expeditions might alter the behavior of IS even if airstrikes and local forces cannot do the job alone. more

Strategic Horizons

The Paris Attacks and the Logic of Insurgency

By Steven Metz
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To understand last week’s horrific terrorist attacks in Paris first requires understanding the core logic of insurgency. Because insurgents are weaker than the government, they need help from the other side, even if it is unintentional. Whoever planned the Paris attacks is counting on this. more

Strategic Horizons

U.S. Deterrent Not Up to Today’s Complex Security Environment

By Steven Metz
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When the Soviet Union fielded nuclear weapons during the opening years of the Cold War, deterrence quickly became the centerpiece of U.S. military strategy. But the current confrontation with Russia underscores the limitations of the old notion of deterrence in today’s security environment. more

Strategic Horizons

What Are the Real Lessons of the Afghanistan War?

By Steven Metz
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Whether accurate or not, the recent American declaration of victory in Afghanistan launched a scramble among national security experts to identify the strategic lessons of the war. The stakes of this debate are high, and it is vital to get them right. more

Strategic Horizons

The Defeat of the Islamic State Would Not End the Violence In Iraq

By Steven Metz
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After months of military gains by the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, there is some hope that the tide is turning. Now is the time to begin discussing what comes next when—or if—IS is defeated militarily. Unfortunately, Washington seems to be making dangerous assumptions about Baghdad’s ability to secure the peace. more

Strategic Horizons

To Create Order, the U.S. Needs a Strategic Vision

By Steven Metz
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America’s global strategy once coherently linked U.S. actions in different places and on different issues. Today it does not, instead treating each security challenge in isolation. The reason for this incoherence is clear: The United States has no unifying strategic vision. more

Strategic Horizons

Understanding the Enemy: Inside the Mind of the Islamic State

By Steven Metz
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This week, military planners from more than 30 countries are gathered in Florida to plot their approach against the so-called Islamic State. Meanwhile, IS is mulling its strategy as well. Both know that if their strategies are to work, they must first try to get inside the mind of their enemy. more

Strategic Horizons

Burkina Faso Coup Puts Spotlight on U.S.-Trained Military Leaders

By Steven Metz
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Last week, Burkina Faso’s long-serving dictator was overthrown in a “soft coup” headed by a military officer who had received U.S. training. This revives Cold War-era debates about when it is appropriate for the U.S. military to train foreign officers who may go on to intervene in domestic politics. more

Strategic Horizons

Updated Weinberger Principles Still a Guide for Use of U.S. Force

By Steven Metz
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In 1984, at the height of the post-Vietnam malaise, then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger suggested a set of principles to guide the use of the American military. Since then, the principles fell by the wayside, resulting in renewed malaise. It might be time to dust off the Weinberger principles. more

Strategic Horizons

The U.S. Army Makes Its Case for Post-COIN Relevance

By Steven Metz
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Since the end of the Iraq and Afghanistan counterinsurgencies, the U.S. Army has struggled to reinvent itself and preserve its force structure. This week it released a new roadmap intended to explain its value in the tumultuous and complex security environment that the U.S. faces. more