In the early days of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nobody was looking at cultural issues. When units rotated out, there would be a tremendous loss of knowledge concerning the complex tribal and cultural webs these societies represent. Montgomery McFate, one of the architects of the Army Human Terrain System, helped change that. Now, she and the social scientists of the Human Terrain Teams she helped develop are hoping to change the way the American military conceives of conflict.
The Future Face of Conflict
In the midst of two wars and with an "era of persistent conflict" foreseen ahead, America and its military are confronting battlefield urgencies and operational complexities that challenge the very way in which we conceive of warfare. WPR examines the Future Face of Conflict.
Articles in this feature
The U.S. Army's release this month of Field Manual 3-07, "Stability Operations," marks the culmination of a process that began with the counterinsurgency (COIN) manual developed for the Baghdad surge. The doctrinal shift has been the cause of a heated debate within the Army between COIN proponents and advocates of conventional warfighting capabilities. In this article, Jack Kem explains the new doctrine's purpose, the origins of the "doctrinal renaissance," what it tells us about conflicts to come, and the gaps that remain to be filled.
When Somali pirates hijacked the Ukrainian cargo ship Faina, they made a surprise discovery: the vessel contained 33 Soviet-designed T-72 tanks, plus small arms, rockets and ammunition. Despite the hijacking of an average of one ship per week, with ransoms of roughly $1 million per ship, it took the capture of the Fainaand its arms for the world's media and leaders to finally pay attention to the growing security threat that piracy represents. But the current crisis is merely a preview of a problem that could persist for years.