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    Decisive Point Podcast – Ep 3-47 – Dr. Conrad Crane – Parameters Spring 2023 Preview

    Decisive Point Podcast – Ep 3-47 – Dr. Conrad Crane – Parameters Spring 2023 Preview

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    Audio by Kristen Taylor 

    U.S. Army War College Public Affairs

    In this episode, Parameters acting editor-in-chief offers a preview of the upcoming Parameters Spring demi-issue and touches on what the full Spring issue will include.

    Read the 2023 Spring issue of Parameters:

    Episode transcript: Parameters Spring 2023 Preview
    Stephanie Crider (Host)

    You’re listening to Decisive Point, a U.S. Army War College Press production focused on national security affairs.

    The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Department of the Army, the US Army War College, or any other agency of the US government.

    I’m here with Parameters acting editor-in-chief and Strategic Studies Institute historian and researcher, Dr. Conrad Crane. Thank you for being here today, Con.

    Dr. Conrad Crane

    Oh, always glad to talk to you, Stephanie.


    Let’s talk about the spring demi-issue of Parameters that’s due out in the next few weeks. This issue includes a substantial piece by Afghanistan expert Joseph Collins. I hope to talk with him in detail later, but I’m curious . . . from your perspective, what does Collins bring to the Afghanistan conversation?


    I’ve known Joe for a lot of years. We are at West Point together, teaching in different departments. He’s a long-serving Army officer. He’s been a deputy assistant secretary of defense, he’s watched Afghanistan for decades. He’s written three books on it and about 40 articles. There are a few people I trust more to really analyze what went wrong in Afghanistan than Joe Collins.


    Why are you focusing this demi-issue on Afghanistan?


    When I got my first assignment in the Strategic Studies Institute over 20 years ago, one of my first research projects was to look at the Army’s response to losing in Vietnam. And I ended up doing a monograph entitled Avoiding Vietnam: The US Army’s Response to Defeat in Southeast Asia, which can actually be downloaded from the SSI publications website. What I found was that, basically, the Army as an institution ran away from Vietnam. They really didn’t do any systematic institutional study of the defeat. They immediately focused on the Yom Kippur War and large-scale combat operations. And what significant discussion analysis did occur in an Army venue occurred in the pages of Parameters. That’s about the only place you could find it. Right now, it kind of looks like deja vu all over again. We have the service that is not doing any systematic studies that I know of of why we failed in Afghanistan. I feel that Parameters needs to step up again and become the forum for discussion about that. The service really needs to analyze what went wrong in Afghanistan, because we have never been able to never do this again. Again, we are focused on major combat operations, large-scale combat operations looking at Ukraine. But we can’t just forget about Afghanistan. We need to really take a hard look at what went wrong there and get what lessons and insights we can for the future.


    So continuing the Afghanistan theme, for SRAD Directors Corner, Colonel George Shatzer plans to review and comment on two books—The Fifth Act, America’s End in Afghanistan by Elliot Ackerman and The 40-Year War in Afghanistan: A Chronicle Foretold by Tariq Ali. These really round out the issue. Care to comment?


    Let me talk about all three of the items that are going to be in this demi-issue. We’ll start with Joe. You know, Joe Collins is looking at the long-term focus on what went wrong in Afghanistan. He’s going to focus on the historical difficulties in governing there the Afghan republics two inefficient corrupt governments, ineffective American strategy, operational shortcomings by American forces, an ineffective Afghan military, Pakistan’s duplicitous policies, and the strength and determination of the Taliban. So he’s looking at it with a very broad scope but basically from an American perspective. The two books that Colonel Shatzer is going to analyze come at it from a little different direction. You’ve got one book, the Ackerman book, that really looks at the end game and focuses on the actions by particularly the Trump and Biden administrations and how those impacted on the debacle of the closeout. Tariq Ali also, like Joe Collins, he’s looking at a long-term analysis and in fact Lee goes back 40 years and he’s looking at it from a little more of an outside perspective. Not purely American. And a lot of other different dynamics involved in Afghanistan. So between Joe and then George’s analysis of these other two books, it’s going to give readers a lot to think about about what went wrong in Afghanistan.


    So the Demi issue usually offers a taste of what readers can look forward to in the next full issue, which is due out at the beginning of March. What are some of the topics covered in the full issue?


    There’ll be more in Afghanistan. John Nagl’s piece “Why America’s Army Can’t Win America’s Wars” has got a lot of response, as we intended it to. And we are going to print two of the more eloquent ones, along with John’s replies, in the issue to continue this discussion of how America’s Army can be more effective in these kinds of conflicts. There’s some really provocative ideas on both sides in those discussions. You’re also going to get to taste of some other items as well. We’re going to look at the role of civilians and gender and influencing policy; enhancing global competitiveness through women, peace and security; mitigating civilian harm by factoring gender and kinetic operations. (It’s) a little different perspective on how gender can influence future operations. We’re also looking at some strategic issues looking at responding to climate change and also looking at the conflict in Syria. Again, some different ways to look at these strategic problems. We are going to look at some of the aspects of the future force. Should there be an army stability professional and also you know we’ve seen a lot about the use of drones and robots and combat and we’ve got a nice piece on the future of manned and unmanned teaming and how that will influence the future battlefield. So it’s going to be, yes, a heavy focus on Afghanistan, but also some other topics out there that kind of will expand the interest of the volume and hopefully appeal to our devoted set of readers out there. Also, we’ve got quite a backlog of book reviews, and so we’re also going to try to get a lot of those book reviews out. We’ve had a lot of very dedicated reviewers for us give us a lot of very useful commentary and a lot of important publications, and we could also expand our book review section a bit, too. So there’s going to be a lot in there for readers to find.


    Well, that’s fantastic to hear. Thank you so much for making time for this. It’s always a treat to talk with you.


    Stephanie, it’s always a joy, thanks.


    Listeners keep an eye out for our publication announcements on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Or check out our website at Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed this episode of Decisive Point and would like to hear more, you can find us on any major podcast platform.

    About the Authors: Dr. Conrad Crane is the acting editor-in-chief for Parameters, the US Army War College Press quarterly journal. He is a retired Army Colonel and a researcher and historian at the Strategic Studies Institute.



    Date Taken: 01.26.2023
    Date Posted: 06.20.2023 15:08
    Category: Newscasts
    Audio ID: 74961
    Filename: 2306/DOD_109718224.mp3
    Length: 00:06:32
    Artist US Army War College Press
    Album Decisive Point – Season 3
    Track # 47
    Year 2023
    Genre Podcast
    Location: US

    Web Views: 18
    Downloads: 0
    High-Res. Downloads: 0