Writings

Disconnected -> Connected -> Interconnected -> Disrupted -> Balanced

We have a burning interest in national security.  To satisfy this interest we went from Disconnected to Connected.  We bought tools that enabled us to access the Internet and using those tools we established ourselves on social media and blogging websites and began to learn and banter and write and challenge each other.  It was … Continue reading Disconnected -> Connected -> Interconnected -> Disrupted -> Balanced

Coming August / September 2018: My Self-Published Novella

In February 2018 I wrote a short article for a well-known national security website.  The article was rejected in a highly professional manner, which is indicative of the amazing people who run the website.  It wasn't a rejection per se, but more of a "We like this, but for us to publish it we would need … Continue reading Coming August / September 2018: My Self-Published Novella

5th Time on Covert Contact Podcast (Topic: North Korea)

John Little who runs the website Blogs of War invited me back onto his podcast Covert Contact. I am extremely grateful that John offered me this opportunity again. On this 30 minute podcast we provided our non-expert observations and opinions on the current situation with North Korea. You can listen to the podcast here and you can also access … Continue reading 5th Time on Covert Contact Podcast (Topic: North Korea)

National Security Strategy Word Clouds 1987 to 2017

Word Clouds can be useful for providing a visual representation of a document's content.  Since President Trump released his National Strategy today, I thought it would be of interest to make word clouds of all the national security strategies written thus far.  I used this website to make very basic 800x600 word clouds of each … Continue reading National Security Strategy Word Clouds 1987 to 2017

Policy of War: American Armed Conflict and Baron De Jomini

For the first time, I am publishing the work of others on my personal website.  My good friend Melissa Blake wrote her thesis for Johns Hopkins University looking at why America claims to go to war and where these claims intersect with why Baron De Jomini believed countries go to war (see below).  In 2017, … Continue reading Policy of War: American Armed Conflict and Baron De Jomini

U.S. Objections to the Afghan Taliban: Ends, Ways, or Means?

This article was originally published on Blogs of War on November 16, 2017.  Thank you to John Little for publishing my work!  On December 5, 2001, prominent Afghans met under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) in Bonn, Germany.  The purpose of this meeting was to come to an agreement regarding the provisional arrangements in Afghanistan pending the re-establishment of permanent … Continue reading U.S. Objections to the Afghan Taliban: Ends, Ways, or Means?

The Afghan Taliban’s Nuclear Umbrella

This article was originally published by Inkstick Media on October 23, 2017.  Many thanks to Laicie Heeley for the opportunity to publish with Inkstick Media! On May 11, 1966, the 11-member executive committee of India’s ruling congress[1] party called for India to begin work on nuclear weapons to counter the threat of the People’s Republic of China. … Continue reading The Afghan Taliban’s Nuclear Umbrella

Afghanistan: Two Neglected Discussions

On September 18th, 2001 Public Law 107-40[1] provided then-U.S. President George W. Bush the authority “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future … Continue reading Afghanistan: Two Neglected Discussions

4th Time on Loopcast (Topic: Divergent Options)

On June 11, 2017 the Divergent Options Team of Phil Walter, Steve Leonard, and Bob Hein joined Chelsea Damon and Sina Kashefipour of The Loopcast for a 62 minute discussion of the origin and intent behind Divergent Options. You can access the podcast via the The Loopcast here, download the MP3 here, or access it via iTunes here. If you enjoy The Loopcast please consider making a donation to support it via Patreon. … Continue reading 4th Time on Loopcast (Topic: Divergent Options)

Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

On April 13, 2017 the U.S. dropped a 30-foot-long, 21,600-pound, GPS-guided GBU-43/B bomb onto a cave complex in Achin district of Nangahar province Afghanistan to kill 36 members of the violent extremist organization the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.  Below are my tweets on this action.  Separately, as I have been a guest speaker on how … Continue reading Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

Managing Violent Extremism & Lying to Ourselves

On April 13, 2017 I tweeted the following based upon my belief that the U.S. continues to lie to itself regarding its efforts to manage violent extremism.  I may need these tweets someday so I am capturing them here. I have no issue with U.S. "policy" or "strategy" to manage violent extremism being of the shampoo … Continue reading Managing Violent Extremism & Lying to Ourselves

Thank You Anuj Agarwal & Feedspot.com!

On April 12, 2017 I received an email from Anuj Agarwal of http://www.feedspot.com letting me know that my personal website has been named number 60 of 60 on Feedspot's Top 60 Military Websites & Blogs For Military Professionals & Veterans. Needless to say I was surprised and, when looking at the other websites featured by Feedspot, … Continue reading Thank You Anuj Agarwal & Feedspot.com!

1st Time on Rational Security

On February 2, 2017 I was extremely fortunate to be invited as a guest on the Rational Security podcast hosted by Susan Hennessey, Shane Harris, Tamara Cofman Wittes, and Benjamin Wittes. Here is the episode description from the Rational Security website: The Trump administration’s executive order on immigration spurs chaos and protests. Speaking of protest, does the mass signing of … Continue reading 1st Time on Rational Security

Traits, Obituaries, and Life’s Purpose

This article was originally published on The Military Leader on January 9, 2017.  Thank you to The Military Leader for continuing to publish my work! Suddenly I am of sufficient age and experience that young people occasionally contact me in search of mentorship. Based upon my military, intelligence community, and interagency experience, they often think I can provide them … Continue reading Traits, Obituaries, and Life’s Purpose

3rd Time on Loopcast (Topic: PTSD and How War Changes People)

Chelsea Damon, host of The Loopcast, invited me on for a 44 minute interview where I discussed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and my Point of Decision series "War and the New Normal." I would like to publicly thank Chelsea for inviting me on once again.  I had a great time on The Loopcast and hope … Continue reading 3rd Time on Loopcast (Topic: PTSD and How War Changes People)

Second Year Website Anniversary

Today is the second anniversary of me using this website to share my thoughts on how the United States applies the instruments of national power.  (You can read my first-anniversary post here.) I am pleased that during the past year I successfully balanced family, work, graduate school, and writing.  I am also happy to have begun … Continue reading Second Year Website Anniversary

National Security Hiring Standards Since 9/11 and Iraq

On September 9, 2016 I shared a few quick thoughts on national security community hiring standards since 9/11 and Iraq via Twitter.  I felt the need to archive these tweets here in case I need them in the future.  I hope you find them useful. -  Standby for some quick thoughts on U.S. national security … Continue reading National Security Hiring Standards Since 9/11 and Iraq

National Security Adaptations to Below Established Threshold Activities

This article was originally published on Lawfare, by The Lawfare Institute, in cooperation with Brookings, on August 16, 2016.  To view this article on Lawfare click HERE.  I want to publicly thank Susan Hennessey and Quinta Jurecic of Lawfare for their editing of my work.  It is once again a great honor to have my ideas featured on Lawfare. Two broad themes emerge when … Continue reading National Security Adaptations to Below Established Threshold Activities

War and the New Normal Part Five

This article was originally published on Point of Decision on August 11, 2016.  Thank you to Point of Decision for continuing to publish my work!  Note:  The first part of this article may be viewed here.  The second part of this article may be viewed here.  The third part of this article may be viewed here.  The fourth … Continue reading War and the New Normal Part Five

A December, 2015 Prediction about the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in July, 2016

On December, 14, 2015 I sent an e-mail to John Little of Blogs of War.  In it, I made a few predictions as to what the situation would be like for the violent extremist organization the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as of July 31, 2016.  Here is a screen capture of what I sent. … Continue reading A December, 2015 Prediction about the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in July, 2016

Toward a Common Lexicon of Violent Extremism

This article was originally published on Lawfare, by The Lawfare Institute, in cooperation with Brookings, on July 22, 2016.  To view this article on Lawfare click HERE.  I want to publicly thank Susan Hennessey and Quinta Jurecic of Lawfare for their editing of my work.  It is once again a great honor to have my ideas featured on Lawfare. As the fifteen year anniversary … Continue reading Toward a Common Lexicon of Violent Extremism

Quick Thoughts on Life in the National Security Community

On June 16, 2016 it came to light that 51 Diplomats from the Department of State had utilized their internal dissent channel to put forward a memo sharply critical of President Obama’s Syria policy [i].  This caused significant discussion within the national security community.  Some see Diplomats using an internal dissent channel to air dissent … Continue reading Quick Thoughts on Life in the National Security Community

2nd Time on Loopcast (Topic: ISIL Defeat Implications)

Chelsea Damon, host of The Loopcast, invited me on for a 32 minute interview where I discussed my Lawfare article “Defeating ISIL Will Strengthen IS.” I would like to publicly thank Chelsea for inviting me on.  I had a great time on The Loopcast and hope to be invited back for future episodes. You can … Continue reading 2nd Time on Loopcast (Topic: ISIL Defeat Implications)

2026: Operation Iranian Freedom Part 3

Authors’ Note:  This third part of the "2026: Operation Iranian Freedom" fiction series takes place simultaneously with the first installment and second installment but from a different perspective.  This piece of fiction was written along with Diane Maye and Nate Finney.  It was originally published on The Strategy Bridge on June 10, 2016.  This piece … Continue reading 2026: Operation Iranian Freedom Part 3

A Guide to “2026: Operation Iranian Freedom”

  Since August 10, 2015 Dr. Diane Maye, Nate Finney, and I have been writing a fictional story of a U.S. invasion of Iran one element at a time, with each part presenting the situation from a different point of view.  We use the 2015 U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, and its possible failure, as a backdrop … Continue reading A Guide to “2026: Operation Iranian Freedom”

Defeating ISIL Will Strengthen IS

This article was originally published on Lawfare, by The Lawfare Institute, in cooperation with Brookings, on June 3, 2016.  To view this article on Lawfare click HERE.  I want to publicly thank Susan Hennessey of Lawfare for her editing of my work.  It is once again a great honor to have my ideas featured on Lawfare. On May 7, 2016, Colonel Steve Warren, … Continue reading Defeating ISIL Will Strengthen IS

Combat: Policy, Law, and Reality in the Fight Against ISIL

This article was originally published on Lawfare, by The Lawfare Institute, in cooperation with Brookings, on May 24, 2016.  To view this article on Lawfare click HERE.  I want to publicly thank Susan Hennessey of Lawfare for her editing of my work.  It is once again a great honor to have my ideas featured on Lawfare.   President Obama established U.S. policy towards … Continue reading Combat: Policy, Law, and Reality in the Fight Against ISIL

4th Time on Covert Contact Podcast (Topic: Hybrid Warfare)

John Little who runs the website Blogs of War invited me back onto his podcast Covert Contact. I am extremely grateful that John offered me this opportunity again. On this 30 minute podcast I discuss the not-new concept of "hybrid warfare," other similar activities throughout history, and propose ways in which the U.S. can better prepare itself … Continue reading 4th Time on Covert Contact Podcast (Topic: Hybrid Warfare)

2026: Operation Iranian Freedom – A Letter Home

This letter home is part of the “2026: Operation Iranian Freedom” series of fiction written by Phil Walter, Dr. Diane Maye, and Nathan Finney and published by The Strategy Bridge.  This letter is written from the vantage point of a soldier serving in the infantry unit described in Part 1, while some other elements of … Continue reading 2026: Operation Iranian Freedom – A Letter Home

Reading, Writing, and Refining National Security Principles

I recently had a déjà vu-like experience and felt as though I was writing something that I had already written.  Feeling concerned, I reviewed my previous work and realized that I was not repeating myself, but instead continuing to convey a theme that I had developed and maintained over time.  As I reflected more, I realized that I had … Continue reading Reading, Writing, and Refining National Security Principles

Quick Thoughts on Hybrid Warfare & Gray Zone

On March 20, 2016 I shared a few quick thoughts on "hybrid warfare," "gray zone," other shorthand, and the threats the U.S. faces today via Twitter.  I felt the need to archive these tweets here in case I need them in the future.  I hope you find them useful. -  Hybrid warfare & gray zone are … Continue reading Quick Thoughts on Hybrid Warfare & Gray Zone

1st Time on The Dead Prussian Podcast (Topic: Military Training vs Employment)

I am fortunate in that my writing brought me to the attention of Mick Cook the host of The Dead Prussian Podcast.  Mick invited me on the show and for 41 minutes we discussed how military forces are trained versus how they are employed and the challenges of interagency warfare.  You can listen to the podcast here or … Continue reading 1st Time on The Dead Prussian Podcast (Topic: Military Training vs Employment)

1st Time on Loopcast (Topic: Existential Threats)

Chelsea Damon, host of The Loopcast, invited me on for a 30 minute interview where I discussed my Real Clear Defense article "What is an Existential Threat?" I would like to publicly thank Chelsea for inviting me on.  I had a great time on The Loopcast and hope to be invited back for future episodes. … Continue reading 1st Time on Loopcast (Topic: Existential Threats)

Strategies, Plans, & Quotations

To aid planners in the U.S. military as they develop joint operational plans, the August 11, 2011 version of Joint Publication 5-0, “Joint Operational Planning” depicts notional phases of an operational plan.  These phases are known as shape, deter, seize initiative, dominate, stabilize, and enable civil authority[i].  In this article, I will pair some of … Continue reading Strategies, Plans, & Quotations

Ungoverned Spaces: What threat do they pose?

This article was originally published on Blogs of War on February 16, 2016.  Thank you to John Little for publishing my work!  Note:  You can listen to a 35 minute podcast discussion of this article here and you can also access it via iTunes. Since the attacks of 9/11 there has been much research and policy work done on … Continue reading Ungoverned Spaces: What threat do they pose?

3rd Time on Covert Contact Podcast (Topic: Ungoverned Spaces)

John Little who runs the website Blogs of War invited me back onto his podcast Covert Contact. I am extremely grateful that John offered me this opportunity again.  On this 35 minute podcast I discuss a piece I wrote called "Ungoverned Spaces: What Threat do they Pose?"  This piece looks at the phrase "ungoverned spaces" and discusses … Continue reading 3rd Time on Covert Contact Podcast (Topic: Ungoverned Spaces)

2026: Operation Iranian Freedom Part 2

Authors’ Note: This second part of the "2026: Operation Iranian Freedom" fiction series takes place simultaneously with the first installment but from a different perspective. This piece of fiction was written along with Diane Maye and Nate Finney. It was originally published on The Strategy Bridge on February 16, 2016.  This piece was also republished … Continue reading 2026: Operation Iranian Freedom Part 2

What Is an Existential Threat?

This article was originally published on Real Clear Defense on February 10, 2016.  Thank you to Real Clear Defense for continuing to publish my work! In the United States the 2016 Presidential Election looms and candidates from all sides are taking to the stage at debates and other venues in an effort to establish their foreign … Continue reading What Is an Existential Threat?

Behavior Change and the Instruments of Power

This article was originally published on Blogs of War on December 22, 2015.  Thank you to John Little for publishing my work!  Note:  You can listen to a 35 minute podcast discussion of this article here and you can also access it via iTunes. From the leader of the strongest country imaginable to the head of the local homeowners’ … Continue reading Behavior Change and the Instruments of Power

2nd Time on Covert Contact Podcast (Topic: Behavior Change and National Security)

John Little who runs the website Blogs of War invited me back onto his podcast Covert Contact. I am extremely grateful that John offered me this opportunity again.  On this 35 minute podcast I discuss a piece I wrote called "Behavior Change and the Instruments of Power" which focuses on ideas to influence and change the behavior … Continue reading 2nd Time on Covert Contact Podcast (Topic: Behavior Change and National Security)

Violent Extremism: A Battle of Ideas

As the calls for a major military intervention against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant continue, I took 20 minutes and made this below-average PowerPoint presentation to remind people that this is a battle of ideas. Slide One -- Violent Extremism Headquarters, via the Internet, gains Followers worldwide. Slide Two -- Violent Extremism … Continue reading Violent Extremism: A Battle of Ideas

1st Time on Covert Contact Podcast (Topic: How War Changes People)

John Little who runs the website Blogs of War contacted me recently with an invitation to appear on his podcast Covert Contact. I am extremely grateful that John offered me this opportunity.  On this 40 minute podcast I discuss my three-part series "War and the New Normal" that I published on the blog Point of Decision. … Continue reading 1st Time on Covert Contact Podcast (Topic: How War Changes People)

War and the New Normal Part Three

This article was originally published on Point of Decision on October 15, 2015.  Thank you to Point of Decision for continuing to publish my work!  Note:  The first part of this article may be viewed here. The second part of this article may be viewed here. As I walked through the enemy compound I noticed a dark room to my … Continue reading War and the New Normal Part Three

Leadership in Action: Colonel Charles A. Beckwith

This article was originally published on The Military Leader on September 7, 2015.  Thank you to The Military Leader for continuing to publish my work! In 1977, after many years of advocating for the U.S. Army to develop a capability similar to the British 22nd Special Air Service (SAS) and in response to multiple terrorist incidents worldwide, Colonel … Continue reading Leadership in Action: Colonel Charles A. Beckwith

War and the New Normal Part Two

This article was originally published on Point of Decision on September 2, 2015.  Thank you to Point of Decision for continuing to publish my work!  Note:  The first part of this article may be viewed here. My rifle made the ever-familiar “chunk” sound as I released the bolt and chambered a round. I then retracted the charging handle 3/4 … Continue reading War and the New Normal Part Two

2026: Operation Iranian Freedom

Author's Notes: I wrote this piece of fiction along with Diane Maye and Nate Finney.  It was originally published on The Strategy Bridge on August 11, 2015.  It was republished with permission by The National Interest.  As of today's writing it has been viewed 4,500 times on Medium.com.  I don't know how often it has been … Continue reading 2026: Operation Iranian Freedom

Destroy, Defeat or Minimize the Islamic State?

This article was originally published on Real Clear Defense on May 27, 2015.  Thank you to Real Clear Defense for publishing my work! During World War II, Germany, Italy and Japan had definitive links between their respective armed forces, governments and ideologies.  Most believe that the defeat of the German[I], Italian[II], and Japanese[III] armed forces began a chain of … Continue reading Destroy, Defeat or Minimize the Islamic State?

Fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant / My Take: Authorization for Use of Military Force

This article was originally published on The Strategy Bridge on February 15, 2015.  Thank you to The Strategy Bridge for continuing to publish my work! The debate regarding an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is in the forefront of the media this week. Since … Continue reading Fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant / My Take: Authorization for Use of Military Force

An Enduring Framework for United States National Security

This article was originally published on The Strategy Bridge on February 8, 2015.  Thank you to The Strategy Bridge for continuing to publish my work! On November 23, 1948, the National Security Council (NSC) approved NSC 20/4 titled “U.S. Objectives with Respect to the [Union of Soviet Socialist Republics] USSR to Counter Soviet Threats to U.S. … Continue reading An Enduring Framework for United States National Security

Words for War: Seven Unknown Quotes on War, Part 5

This article was originally published on The War Council on February 5th, 2015.  I am glad my obscure quotes were found to be of value by The War Council. "I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor provisions;  I offer hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles and death.  Let him who loves his country in his heart and … Continue reading Words for War: Seven Unknown Quotes on War, Part 5

Counterinsurgency: Planning Demobilization, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration First

This article was originally published at Small Wars Journal on January 18, 2015.  Thank you to Small Wars Journal for finding my content worthy of being published! As a young second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, I was taught helicopter operations at the Basic Officer Course and the Infantry Officer Course.  Fifteen years later, … Continue reading Counterinsurgency: Planning Demobilization, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration First

Boots on the Ground: Shorthand or Subterfuge?

In his September 10, 2014 address explaining the U.S. strategy against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), President Obama spoke to airstrikes, support to the Iraqi military and the Syrian opposition, counterterrorism activities, and humanitarian assistance[i].  Since the President's address, there has been debate whether this strategy should include "boots on the … Continue reading Boots on the Ground: Shorthand or Subterfuge?

Effective Communication in “The Non-Expert Zone”

This article was originally published on The Strategy Bridge on December 14, 2014.  Thank you again to the team at The Strategy Bridge for continuing to publish my work. You are a subject matter expert within an organization. You have identified a problem. You have a plan to remedy it. Your plan requires additional funding, equipment, or … Continue reading Effective Communication in “The Non-Expert Zone”

Risking Money and Risking Lives: Disproportionate Congressional Oversight

This article was originally published on Lawfare, by The Lawfare Institute, in cooperation with Brookings, on November 25, 2014.  To view this article on Lawfare click HERE.  I want to personally and publicly thank Benjamin Wittes and Bobby Chesney for their encouragement and editing of my work.  It is a great honor to have my ideas featured on Lawfare.   … Continue reading Risking Money and Risking Lives: Disproportionate Congressional Oversight

The Human Dimension White Paper as a Response to Foreign Policy Decisions and Legislative Limitations

This article was originally published on The Strategy Bridge on November 16,  2014.  I am forever grateful to the team at The Strategy Bridge for inviting me to participate with an outstanding array of bloggers in writing our reaction to the United States Army's Human Dimension White Paper. The United States Army has one of the toughest … Continue reading The Human Dimension White Paper as a Response to Foreign Policy Decisions and Legislative Limitations

Anatomy of an “Intelligence Failure”

This article was originally published on The Strategy Bridge on October 7, 2014.  I am forever grateful to the team at The Strategy Bridge for giving me the opportunity to have my ideas reach a larger audience.   Additional note as of November 6, 2014:  This article was republished with permission by the International Relations and Security … Continue reading Anatomy of an “Intelligence Failure”

Congressional Rules of Engagement

You are a veteran member of an organization within the Executive Branch. You have risen up through the ranks and now rather than executing your organization's activities your focus is policy, planning, programming, budget, execution, oversight, and authorities. You are in a new world. You will likely receive little or no preparatory training and the … Continue reading Congressional Rules of Engagement

ISIL: A Domestic Threat if Left Unchecked

Over the last few months, the United States has struggled to accurately assess the threat posed by the violent extremist organization in Iraq and Syria known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). ISIL's actions clearly present a threat to Iraq and Syria. The question that is driving interpretations of authorities to … Continue reading ISIL: A Domestic Threat if Left Unchecked

World War II, Foreign Policy, and the Global Effort to Manage Threats

The enemy the United States fought in World War II occupied a known physical space, was identifiable, and generally employed conventional military tactics.  At the end of World War II, the enemy forces and their population centers were physically destroyed, which in turn destroyed the enemy's will to fight.  Following the cessation of hostilities the … Continue reading World War II, Foreign Policy, and the Global Effort to Manage Threats