Find a Security Clearance Job!


US Military Operations

The last and most important battle of any war is
writing its history.



Obama Doctrine

World War IV


Southwest Asia

Former Yugoslavia


Other Current Ops


Where are the Legions?

Boots on the Ground - Active

Boots on the Ground - ARNG

Where are the Carriers?

Where are the Gators?

Post-Cold War

Cold War Era

Early 20th Century

19th Century

18th Century

Operation Plans [OPLAN]

Status of Forces Agreements

Major Theater War

Small-Scale Contingency

Stability Operations

Flexible Deterrent Options

Air Power

Sea Power

Land Power

Amphibious Warfare

The World At War

The Face of Battle


Scope Note



US policymakers might borrow the formula of one of the major twentieth-century of international politics scientist, Hans Morgenthau, and learn to distinguish, first, between what is essential in foreign affairs and what is desirable, and, second, between what is desirable and what is possible.

Patton was fond of saying that wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by soldiers. Patton tirelessly made the rounds to divisional units and staffs instructing, motivating, and often berating with colorful, if not downright vulgar, language. As in all my talks, he noted, "I stressed fighting and killing.

Walt Rostow wrote in 1996 that "...every conflict in which Americans have been engaged has involved public controversy. And this is to their credit, for who wants war? In the Revolutionary War, perhaps one-third of the people wanted independence; one third were pro-British; and one-third were simply out to make a fast buck by selling supplies to the Continental Army. In the war of 1812, the New England states, after the Hartford Convention, passed a resolution calling for withdrawal from the union rather than joining in the war against Canada. The Mexican War stirred great controversy in the United States. The Civil War split the nation from top to bottom. The Spanish-American War was followed by the unpopular conflict with the Philippine guerrillas. The First World War, like the Civil War, touched off draft riots. The Korean War left Truman more unpopular than either Nixon at the nadir of his fortunes, or Lyndon Johnson at his lowest point in the polls."

"At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? No! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with the treasures of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not, by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point, then, is this approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It can not come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time or die by suicide."

Abraham Lincoln

Then conquer we must,
for our cause is just,
And this be our motto:
"In God is our trust";
And the star-spangled banner
in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free
and the home of the brave.

The Star Spangled Banner

Lucius Accius (also Attius), Latin poet and playwright (170 BCE - c. 86 BCE), was considered by his contemporaries to be the last and the greatest of the tragic poets of Republican Rome. His plays (no less than 45 titles are known and about 700 lines survive) were mostly free translations from Greek tragedy, many from Euripides. Cicero quoted with admiration the famous line from his Atreus, "Oderint, dum metuant! ("Let them hate so long as they fear!'), a motto that is said to have appealed to the tyrant Caligula. Cicero also often quoted him and Virgil imitated him.

Since the end of the Cold War, the US leadership has been unable to find a goal, which would unite Americans and help lead the nation into the future, political commentator and author Patrick J. Buchanan wrote for the American Conservative in October 2015. "When [the Cold War] was over in 1990, America was suddenly at a loss for a new cause to live for, fight for, and, if need be, see its sons die for," he observed. Barack Obama pledged to scale down America's presence in the Middle East. He delivered on the promise and "was rewarded with two terms by a country that has shown minimal enthusiasm for more wars in the Middle East," he observed.

General Joe Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said 29 Marach 2016 that one of the "most significant challenges" the U.S. military is dealing with is the need for "more effective methods" to deal with Russian behavior in Georgia and Crimea, malign Iranian influence across the Middle East and Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. The traditional U.S. military approach, he explained, is to either be at peace or at conflict, but Dunford said that method is "insufficient" to deal with players advancing their interests while avoiding U.S. military strengths.

"The adversary knows exactly what the threshold is for us to take decisive military action, so they operate below that level," Dunford said. "They continue to advance their interest, and we lose the competitive advantage and frankly our interests are adversely affected."

On 07 March 2014 tThe Department of Defense removed 20 areas from its list of locations that qualify for imminent danger pay starting June 1, in a move that is expected to affect approximately 50,000 Service members. DOD officials announced in January that service members in the 20 areas would no longer receive the additional imminent danger rate of $225 per month. As of June 1, the following areas are no longer eligible for imminent danger pay:

  • The nine land areas of East Timor, Haiti, Liberia, Oman, Rwanda, Tajikistan, United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
  • The six land areas and airspace above Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, and Montenegro.
  • The four water areas of the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and the Red Sea.
  • The water area and air space above the Arabian Gulf.

Imminent danger pay, or IDP, remained in effect for Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, and Egypt within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. The decision was made after a periodic review and re-certification process. "The re-certification process began in July 2011, and included an in-depth threat assessment from each combatant command for countries within their area of responsibility. Following the review, it was determined that the imminent threat of physical harm to members had been significantly reduced in many areas. As a result, IDP will be discontinued in those areas." A total of 194,189 service members received imminent danger pay in Fiscal Year 2012. The last re-certification process was completed in 2007.

America First

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump outlined a clear "America first" foreign policy in a speech in April 2016, challenging the foundations upon which US foreign policy was built after World War II, while offering an amazingly isolationist alternative that elicited a powerful response from the US public. Trump vowed that if he were elected president, US allies in Europe and Asia would have to fend for themselves if they did not pay more for the US defense umbrella. In place of confrontation with Russia and China he said he wanted to cut deals with them, calculating that they are no threat to the US.

Trump portrayed Japan, a long-time treaty ally of the United States, as a free-rider on security. Trump says he feels the United States is getting a raw deal from the framework of international alliances forged after World War II, including the Geneva Conventions, which he says make US troops "afraid" to fight.

He suggested that Tokyo might need nuclear weapons to ease US financial commitment to its defense anathema to the only country ever attacked by atomic bombs. Trump said it might be better if countries like Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia had their own nuclear weapons so they would not have to rely on the US for protection.

Trumps comments belittling NATO and others about the US paying too much for Japan's and South Koreas security were not just casual remarks, but reflected passionate views he has held for decades. He has a big problem with Americas alliances in Asia and Europe and in the Middle East. And hes looking to develop closer ties to authoritarian regimes like China and Putin's Russia. So that would amount to a revolution in US foreign policy since 1941.

This central pillar of current US foreign policy is challenged. Whereas US foreign policy has treated US allies as united in an effort to defensd and spread "Western values", Trump sees the US's relationship with its allies as purely transactional: the US will help them if they help themselves, with no sense of this being part of some ideological common cause.

In May 2015 Charles and David Koch, the most significant financial backers of Republican politicians and conservative institutions in America, hosted a conference on US foreign policy. The pair had previously steered clear of foreign policy. The brothers, who hail from the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, had concentrated their efforts on domestic policy.Attendees included University of Chicago Prof. John Mearsheimer, Harvard Prof. Steve Walt, ormer US ambassador to Saudi Arabia Charles Freeman, Prof. Andrew Bacevich from Boston University and Prof. Michael Desch from Notre Dame. The conference indicated that the Koch brothers may be interested in rebuilding the American First foreign policy coalition that Charles Lindbergh led during the 1930s.

Trump deepened his criticism 10 August 2016 of the current US administration, saying of Islamic State militants, "in many respects, you know, they honor President Obama." The US-led invasion of Iraq is seen by some as a destabilizing war that contributed to the current crisis in Syria. Some Republicans had criticized Obama and Hillary Clinton for not being aggressive enough in attacking the Islamic State group as it was seizing territory in Iraq and Syria two years ago. But no top Republican had gone so far as to accuse Obama of founding the group.

Donald Trump repeated throughout his presidential campaign that he opposed the Iraq war before the March 19, 2003 invasion, often taking credit for his judgement and vision claiming he knew it would destabilize the Middle East. But there is no evidence that anyone could find that he spoke against the war before it started. Trump indicated his support for war in a radio interview with shock jock Howard Stern on 11 September 2002 a little more than six months before the war started. Stern asked Trump directly if he supported going to war with Iraq, and Trump responded, Yeah, I guess so.

Stephen Walt, the prominent critic of US military interventions, who wrote for Foreign Policys website that Trump was just about the worst salesman for an alternative foreign policy that one could possible imagine.

Join the mailing list