JSOU PUBLICATIONS

These new JSOU Press publications are available electronically on the JSOU Library Management System website: https://jsou.libguides.com/jsoupublications.

Tactical Operations for Strategic Effect: The Challenge of Currency Conversion
by Colin S. Gray

Dr. Gray examines the currency conversion between tactical behavior and its strategic consequences. All strategy consists of tactical actions, and Special Operations Forces (SOF) are often tasked with tactical operations with the expectation that the actions will have the desired strategic effect. A SOF community seeking to explain its functions needs to be crystal clear in distinguishing between the fundamental meanings of strategy and tactics. If there is confusion about these two concepts—and the author believes there is—then charting a sensible relationship between them is impossible. The author explains, for example, that "there are no, indeed there cannot be, any ‘strategic' troops, forces, or weapons, for the simple reason that all troops, forces, and weapons have strategic meaning, be it ever so slight, or even arguable." This monograph attempts to reinforce the understanding of strategy and tactics by using historical examples of where the two have failed each other. In the end, there must be the necessary direction and leadership that provides solid strategic sense, so that SOF may achieve the effects needed to advance US policy.


Countering Violent Extremism in Mali
by Mark Moyar

Dr. Moyar analyzes US and international efforts to counter Mali's panoply of extremist organizations. Violent opposition to Mali's government has deep roots, which include historic tensions between the Tuaregs and other ethnic groups, as well as the emergence of Salafist extremist groups in Algeria. Extremist attacks on Mali's democratic government in late 2011 and early 2012 culminated in a military coup that allowed rebels to take control of northern Mali. Because Mali had received extensive military and non-military assistance from the United States and other foreign countries in the preceding years, these disasters led some to question aid practices, including those of United States Special Operations Forces (USSOF). This study adds to a growing body of knowledge on special operations and counterterrorism in Africa. It also contributes to the general understanding of the troubling events in Mali, where the government continues to confront violent extremism and other forms of rebellion. Perhaps most significantly for USSOF, the monograph offers insights into the building of partner capacity.


Maskirovka 2.0: Hybrid Threat, Hybrid Response
by James Q. Roberts

In this paper, Mr. Roberts describes the irregular and hybrid tools and techniques that Russian President Vladimir Putin, his security forces, and his intelligence forces have used, first in the attack against Georgia in 2008, then in the assault on Ukraine, and now in Syria, to advance renewed Russian regional hegemony and strategic reach. The paper also describes the mobilization of Russian minority populations, the cooptation of the Georgian and Ukrainian regimes, and the West's seeming inability to effectively counter these Russian moves. Since this paper was finalized for publication, Russia moved into Syria and the assessment of this adventure remains very speculative. Nevertheless, many aspects of the Syrian case are fully congruent with Russia's hybrid approach in Georgia and Ukraine. Mr. Roberts holds the Office of the Secretary of Defense chair at the Eisenhower School, National Defense University. His prior assignment was as the principal director, Special Operations and Combating Terrorism, Office of the Secretary of Defense.


Sun Tzu and Machiavelli in Syria: Attacking Alliances
by Richard Rubright

The purpose of this short work is to contextualize the ongoing conflict in Syria through the combined lens of Sun Tzu and Machiavelli, juxtaposed to the normative trend the West has followed so ineffectually since the Syrian conflict began. This work is an alternative view of the conflict that should be read as a cautionary tale concerning our lack of proficiency in strategy. It is broken down into three distinct parts. The first part contextualizes the conflict and the actors involved, including the proxies. The second part lays out the strategic principles of Sun Tzu as they pertain to the conflict, to provide a strategic framework to help the reader make sense of the conflict's complex nature. The final part focuses on US action in the Syrian conflict, keeping in mind Machiavelli and as informed by Sun Tzu's strategic principles. Dr. Rubright is a senior faculty member at the Joint Special Operations University and teaches in the fields of special operations, strategy, and counterinsurgency.


The Collapse of Iraq and Syria: The End of the Colonial Construct in the Greater Levant
by Roby C. Barrett

A day does not go by without something about Iraq and Syria, as well as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), in the news. Most of the news coverage deals with atrocities, factionalism, civil war, and cultural/ethnic strife. The value of this monograph is that Dr. Roby Barrett delves expertly and deeply into history to explain this complicated story. It is a story of states created with artificial borders, which had to be ruled with iron fists to keep a lid on fractured societies. Barrett explains that what we are witnessing is the dissolution of these borders and the collapse of central governments in Iraq and Syria. In fact, the author contends that Iraq and Syria no longer exist as nation-states, but that their ultimate fate is yet to be seen. This monograph provides the reader with a historical overview of the Greater Levant that helps explain the reality on the ground today.

 

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