Greatly debated amongst military leaders, strategists, and academics, the counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 has faced criticism from all sides. In his newest book, Surge: My Journey with General David Petraeus and the Remaking of the Iraq War (Yale University Press), Dr. Peter Mansoor provides a behind the scenes look at the most pivotal phase of the Iraq War, the 2007-8 "surge." Through his use of newly declassified information, interviews, unpublished manuscripts, and his personal experience, Mansoor explains the development and implementation of COIN policy during America's bloody years occupying Iraq. Surge covers all perspectives of the conflict: from politicians in Washington D.C. to Soldiers on the streets of Baghdad. In his lecture, Dr. Mansoor will examine COIN policy from its inception through its execution and draw upon his own experiences as a battalion commander in Iraq to analyze the application of COIN doctrine in historical contexts and in current operations.
Dr. Peter Mansoor currently serves as the General Raymond E. Mason Jr. Chair in Military History at Ohio State University and is a retired Colonel with the U.S. Army. During a military career spanning twenty-six years, he held distinguished positions and honors such as Valedictorian of his graduating class at West Point, a variety of command and staff positions throughout the U.S., Europe, and Middle East, and service with the Joint Staff as the special assistant to the Director for Strategic Plans and Policy. His military career culminated with his service in Iraq as the executive officer to General David Petraeus, Commanding General of Multi-National Force-Iraq, during the period of the surge in 2007-2008. In addition to his most recent book, Mansoor has published Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq (Yale University Press) and GI Offensive in Europe: the Triumph of American Infantry Divisions, 1941 - 1945 (University Press of Kansas).
It was the last-chance moment of the war. In January 2007, President George W. Bush announced a new strategy for Iraq. It became known as "the surge." Among those called to carry it out were the young, optimistic army infantry soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry, the battalion nicknamed the "Rangers." About to head to a vicious area of Baghdad, they decided the difference would be them. Fifteen months later, the soldiers returned home — forever changed. The chronicle of their tour is gripping, devastating, and deeply illuminating for anyone with an interest in human conflict. With The Good Soldiers, David Finkel has produced an eternal story — not just of the Iraq War, but of all wars, for all time. In this lecture, Finkel will describe his experiences as an embedded journalist with the battalion, and will be joined by the unit's former commander, COL Ralph Kauzlarich.
When Lieutenant Matt Gallagher first arrived in Iraq in 2007, it was all too surreal. In the midst of a shift in U.S. policy from lethal operations to counterinsurgency, he encountered a world where nothing was as it appeared. Friends were enemies, reconciliation was war, roads were bombs, and silence was deadly. But it was all too real, and there was nothing left to do except learn to "embrace the suck" -- and write about it. Matt Gallagher started a blog that quickly became a popular hit. Read by thousands of soldiers who found in it their war, the real war, the blog covered everything from grim stories about Bon Jovi cassettes mistaken for IEDs to the daily experiences of the Gravediggers - the code name for members of Gallagher's platoon. When the blog was shut down in June 2008 by the U.S. Army, questions were raised in the halls of Congress, and a few eyebrows were raised at the Pentagon.
The United States military has been in a continual state of change and growth, from the earliest interactions between Native Americans and settlers, to the more recent efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The way scholars, Soldiers, and politicians examine military history has also evolved over the course of the nation's expansion into a world power. The history of the military is not merely a narration of battles and campaigns; it involves the social and political events which affect military action from the outside. In their book, Ways of War: American Military History from the Colonial Era to the 21st Century, Dr. Matthew Muehlbauer and Dr. David Ulbrich create a comprehensive explanation of the military's place within the wider context of the history of the United States. Their upcoming lecture will encompass why battles were fought and their broader consequences, as well as the political, social, cultural, and economic factors which accompany military thought.
In their book, Dr. Muehlbauer and Dr. Ulbrich produce a chronological study of American military conflicts and interactions and show the centrality of the military to American culture and politics. Due to the completeness of their work, Ways of War was adopted by the U.S. Air Force Academy as part of their military history course required for all cadets. In this lecture, Dr.s Muehlbauer and Ulbrich will examine the evolution of the military from the colonial era to the present War on Terror. Their examination will cover American wars and campaigns as well as issues of policy, strategy, and leadership. The authors will also speak on the importance of the relationships between the war-front and the home-front during times of war and conflict.
Dr. Matthew Muehlbauer is an Assistant Professor in the History and Philosophy department at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee and an online instructor at Norwich University. Dr. Muehlbauer was also the Lead Historian for Rowan Technology Solutions where he helped develop content for the multimedia textbook, West Point History of Warfare. His co-writer, Dr. David J. Ulbrich, is an Assistant Professor in the History and Political Science department at Rogers State University located in Claremore, Oklahoma. Dr. Ulbrich is also an online instructor at Norwich University, where he is currently the Senior Instructor of Military History. He previously worked as the Command Historian for the U.S. Army Engineer School.
In 2010, the United States Army created Cultural Support Teams (CST), a secret pilot program to insert women alongside Special Operations Soldiers battling in Afghanistan. The women of the CSTs put themselves in the line of fire to build relationships with the women of both the Afghan mountains and the tough streets of the Afghan cities. At 7:15 PM on Wednesday, November 18, 2015, the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) in Carlisle, Pennsylvania will present a lecture by Gayle Lemmon, author and Senior Fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, based on her New York Times bestselling book, Ashely's War. Lemmon will discuss the complexities of war, as well as tell the stories of the war in Afghanistan through the eyes of the members of the team. The talk will also cover why the Army believed women could play a unique role on Special Ops teams.
In Ashley's War, Lemmon uses on-the-ground reporting to understand the complexities of war to tell the story of CST-2, a unit of women hand-picked by the Army to serve in the highly specialized and challenging role. The pioneers of CST-2 proved, for the first time, women are physically and mentally tough enough to become part of the Special Operations community. This professional acceptance, came with the hefty price of personal loss and social isolation; the only people who really understood them were the other women of CST-2.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of The New York Times best sellers Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield and The Dressmaker of Khair Khana. She is also a contributor to Atlantic Media's Defense One website. In 2004, she left ABC News to earn her MBA at Harvard, where she began writing about women entrepreneurs in conflict and post-conflict zones, including Afghanistan and Rwanda. Following her MBA study, she served as a vice president at the investment firm PIMCO. She has written for Newsweek, the Financial Times, and the International Herald Tribune, as well as for the World Bank and Harvard Business School. She gave a TED Talk on Ashley's War and all-women Special Ops teams in May 2015, following on her 2011 TED Talk on the importance of investing in global entrepreneurs. A Fulbright Scholar and Robert Bosch Fellow, Lemmon speaks Spanish, German, French, and is conversant in Farsi.
Writer Kimberly Dozier noticed a serious disconnect between Soldiers returning home from the front lines and the civilians receiving them. She saw people distance themselves from Soldiers with the generic phrase "thank you for your service," and could not ignore the increased labeling of servicemen and women as "walking PTSD time bombs." Though she is a civilian, Dozier identifies with this issue more than most noncombatants: as a CBS News correspondent in 2006, a vehicle on location in Iraq hit an IED while carrying Dozier, her reporting team, and her interviewee, U.S. Army officer Captain James Funkhouser. Her CBS colleagues and Capt. Funkhouser were killed, while Dozier was seriously wounded. Dozier used her recovery process to educate the public about Soldiers' resiliency post-trauma in her 2011 memoir Breathing Fire: Fighting to Survive and Get Back to the Fight. Dozier offers perspective on recovery for military personnel, many of whom helped her heal while facing their own struggles.
Ms. Dozier will focus this lecture on her current research on resilience and special operations forces, addressing the gap among Soldiers and the public. She hopes to help Americans move past the narrow view of active duty Soldiers and veterans as "broken," and motivate troops to share their experiences of trauma with those close to them. Dozier will also discuss her endeavor to reconcile two contrasting post-traumatic stress narratives; one argues Americans are not yet prepared to acknowledge or heal the extent of the damage Soldiers undergo in war, and the other contends Soldiers are empowered by the labor of recovery through the strength and wisdom the process can provide. Dozier plans to include these thoughts in an upcoming book of anonymous stories of officers, counselors, NCOs, and family members, each coping with war, from the post-9/11 conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq to more recent action in the Horn of Africa. Work on the book was part of Dozier's 2014-2015 role as the Omar N. Bradley Chair in Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Army War College.
Chief Petty Officer and Navy SEAL Christopher Scott Kyle is known as the most effective sniper in United States history. Over his ten year career in the Navy, including four tours in Iraq, Kyle claimed a record 160 "confirmed kills" as part of SEAL Team 3. Kyle is highly recognized for his bravery in combat, participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003), the Battles of Fallujah (2004) and Ramadi (2006), and finally the Baghdad Campaigns (2008). Retiring in 2009, Kyle came away from the military with two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars, and the sobriquet "The Devil of Ramadi," applied by enemy insurgents for his marksmanship. Unfortunately, Kyle's life post-military had its challenges due to the grueling years of overseas service and time away from his family. In response to his troubles, he founded CRAFT Security Company and shared his combat experiences in a bestselling book. Shortly after the book reached print, a Marine under Kyle's mentorship killed the former Seal in 2013 at a gun range in Texas. His tragic death left behind his wife, Taya Kyle, and two children. However, Kyle's legacy lives on in his autobiography, entitled American Sniper, written alongside best-selling author and screenwriter Jim DeFelice. DeFelice will center his lecture on Chris Kyle's background and how it informs the content of the book. American Sniper discusses Kyle's upbringing in Texas, though it focuses on his combat experiences as part of the SEALs. Published in 2012, American Sniper quickly made the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list and remained there throughout 2013. In 2015, Warner Brothers and Clint Eastwood made an Academy Award-nominated movie based on Kyle's exploits and DeFelice's book.
Jim DeFelice is a prolific fiction and non-fiction author. Many of DeFelice's books, along with American Sniper, are New York Times bestsellers. He specializes in military and political topics, as seen in his co-authored work, Code Name Johnny Walker (2014), about an Iraqi translator aiding American forces, and the biography, Omar Bradley: General at War (2011). DeFelice most recently finished writing American Wife (2015) with Taya Kyle about her experiences as the wife and widow of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. When DeFelice is not working on book projects he helps develop and write video games, including the successful, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon. DeFelice resides in Warwick, New York with his family.
When failure rears its ugly head, tough decisions must be made. In war, that means accepting defeat or trying a new strategy. In response to insurgencies, the U.S. Military's historical reaction has been to implement counterinsurgencies using a wide array of strategies and tactics. However, the benefits of the military's use of counterinsurgency (COIN) efforts are widely debatable. Colonel Gian Gentile was the first to expose the discord amongst military strategists, analysts, and academics in their philosophies regarding COIN and its effectiveness in accomplishing the U.S.'s goals in Afghanistan in his 2008 article, "Misreading the Surge," World Politics Review. In his new book, Wrong Turn: America's Deadly Embrace of Counterinsurgency, Gentile further explores the dissent surrounding COIN doctrine. Gentile, using his personal experiences as a battalion commander in Iraq, coupled with his research into historical counterinsurgency efforts, provides a summation of his historical findings and evaluates the success of current efforts in Afghanistan. In this lecture, Gentile will be brutally honest in his assessment and will provide critical analysis of COIN policy. The lecture will also highlight his historical findings regarding COIN doctrine and how history can help with the analysis and application of current military operations.
Colonel (Ret) Gian Gentile is the Senior Historian for the Rand Corporation and recently retired from the U.S. Army where he served as a professor of history at the United States Military Academy. Gentile has served as a visiting fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, and is an award winning historian and accomplished author. Gentile has numerous publications regarding military policy, including his previous book, How Effective is Strategic Bombing? Lessons Learned from World War II to Kosovo. Gentile served in the U.S. Army from 1986 to 2014, commissioning through the ROTC program at the University of California at Berkeley, where he received his bachelor’s degree. He holds a Masters of Military Arts and Science from the School of Advanced Military Studies at Ft. Leavenworth and a Ph.D. in History from Stanford University. He served two tours of duty in Iraq in 2003 and 2006.
When Greg Tomlin deployed to Baquba, Iraq, in March 2004, he began a mission that would redefine how conventional U.S. army forces fight an urban war. Leading his field artillery platoon through a transition into a counterinsurgency rifle platoon and carrying out daily combat patrols in one of the region's most notorious hotspots, Tomlin chronicles Task Force 1-6 Field Artillery's year in Iraq and its response to the insurgency that threatened to engulf their corner of the Sunni Triangle. After Tomlin relinquished control of his platoon, he spent five months in the Diyala provincial police headquarters in Baquba. In this environment he found himself living with and advising senior Iraqi security leaders, many of whom had served as colonels and general officers in the former Iraqi army. Together they planned security operations for the province's 165 polling stations during the January 2005 national elections, Iraq's first democratic elections in nearly thirty years. Rather than presenting a snapshot dominated by battle scenes, Tomlin presents a wide-angled view of his experiences. He assesses the implications of his platoon's mission, starting with their pre-deployment training in Germany and ending with the handing over of duties to the replacement task force at the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. Tomlin discusses his impressions of the benefits and liabilities of working with embedded journalists and relates both his frustrations with and his admiration for the fledgling Iraqi security forces. From chaotic security planning and grieving the loss of fallen comrades - both U.S. and Iraqi - to late-night debates with Iraqis about democracy, Tomlin discusses how Iraqis perceived the value of their post-Saddam elections and the political future of their country as it tried to reinvent itself in the wake of a dictator's fall.
When President George W. Bush stood on the decks of the U.S.S. Lincoln in May 2003 and announced the victorious end to major combat operations in Iraq, he did so in front of a huge banner that proclaimed "Mission Accomplished." American forces had successfully removed the regime of Saddam Hussein with "rapid decisive operations"-and yet the United States was unprepared to effectively replace that regime. Between the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the creation of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) that May, the Allied forces struggled to plug the governance gap created by the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime. Plugging that gap became the job of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. Cobbled together with staff from diverse federal agencies and military branches, ORHA was led by Jay Garner, a key figure in assisting Kurdish refugees following Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Garner and ORHA were given mere weeks to stabilize a nation that had come completely apart at the seams. Iraq's infrastructure was in such a shambles-thanks to years of poor maintenance, international sanctions, and massive looting-that the mission was doomed to fail from the start.
The 9/11 attack on the Pentagon is the second-worst terrorist strike in U.S. history. The authors of Pentagon 9/11 drew upon over 1,300 oral history interviews, as well as a plethora of published and unpublished sources, to craft the first book detailing the impact of this disastrous event. Highlighting the devastating the airliner crash, the efforts of building occupants to save one another, the emergency response of firefighters, police and medical staffs, and the building operations personnel, the book concludes with a description of the work of the Pentagon Family Assistance Center. Dr. Papadopoulos, a principal co-author of this work, will present the main themes of the book illustrated with pictures derived from its research, and employ some of the more vivid segments to illustrate what transpired at that momentous time.
Baghdad at Sunrise presents an unparalleled record of what happened after U.S. forces seized Baghdad in the spring of 2003. Army Colonel Peter R. Mansoor, the on-the-ground commander of the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division - the "Ready First Combat Team" - describes his brigade's first year in Iraq, from the sweltering, chaotic summer after the Ba'athists' defeat to the transfer of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government a year later. Uniquely positioned to observe, record, and assess the events of that fateful year, Mansoor now explains what went right and wrong as the U.S. military confronted an insurgency of unexpected strength and tenacity. Drawing not only on his own daily combat journal but also on observations by embedded reporters, news reports, combat logs, archived e-mails, and many other sources, Mansoor offers a contemporary record of the valor, motivations, and resolve of the 1st Brigade and its attachments during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Yet this is more than a personal memoir or unit history. Baghdad at Sunrise provides a detailed, nuanced analysis of U.S. counterinsurgency operations in Iraq, and along with it critically important lessons for America's military and political leaders of the twenty-first century.