Tag: cadet submisssion

Essay Campaign #19: Choose Wisely – Terrorist versus Insurgent

Summer Essay Campaign #19: “Choose Wisely – Terrorist versus Insurgent”

To Answer Question #1: “What is the difference between a terrorist and an insurgent?”

By Christina Bartzokis, Yale University NROTC

In 1964, in the midst of the Supreme Court case Jacobellis v. Ohio, Justice Potter Stewart offered this description of pornography: “I know it when I see it.” Eleven years later, Gerald Seymour wrote in his novel Harry’s Game, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” In the years following, both phrases have been offered as platitudes to reassure analysts, policy makers, and the public alike that a clear definition of the word “terrorism” need not be extracted from the shifting historical and contemporary web of ambiguous violence: such a definition has been deemed either unnecessary or impossible by many. Consequently, terrorism has been conflated with a wide range of violent behavior, especially insurgencies. The word has become a propaganda tool, describing any kind of violence the user deems objectionable. Additionally, the accurate classification of conflicts as terrorism or insurgency is a precursor to developing an effective and corresponding response: counterterrorism (CT) or counterinsurgency (COIN).

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Essay Campaign #17: Paradigm Shift – Unmanned Systems and General Beaufre

Summer Essay Campaign #17: “Paradigm Shift – Unmanned Systems, General Beaufre, and the Seventh Phase of Land Operations”

To Answer Question 2: “How do unmanned systems impact modern battlefields?”

By Officer-Cadet Artur Varanda, Portuguese Army

1.    Beaufre’s Dilemma

In his important work An Introduction to Strategy (1965), French General André Beaufre describes the purpose of strategy as achieving decisionAccording to Beaufre, “the decision is a psychological event that one wants to produce in the mind of their adversary”, in order to “convince him that starting or continuing the struggle is useless”. Beaufre’s work achieved fame because he admitted that the strategic decision could be achieved not just by military means, but also by economic, political, or diplomatic strategies. As for the military decision, it is the one that “in its purest state results from a victorious battle”.

The capability of achieving military decision has varied throughout history, following what Beaufre calls the operational possibilities of the period, byproduct of the methods and means of warfare of each epoch. He then states that one “rarely attributes a just value to that variability”. In his work the six different phases of land operations are then explored, in order to illustrate the importance of that variability.

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Cadet Submission: “Change Army Mission to Include Role in Peace”

By Cadet Christina Plumley

This past January, Professor William Braun wrote an op-ed article for the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College that sparked an interest for further reflection and research.  He focused on the premise that “the Army must embrace the execution of non-threat based operations as a vital way to achieve [a vision for pursuing peace as an enduring international security condition between conflicts].”[1]  As we enter a period of relative peace after nearly thirteen years of conflict, the other service branches are better equipped to prove their relevancy and justification to preventing massive budget cuts.  Such is the case for many reasons, one of which is our respective mission statements.[2]  To ensure adequate recognition of the roles and functions the Army performs, I support Braum’s assertion and believe the Army needs to include a peacetime role in its mission statement.

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Cadet Submission: “Russia in Ukraine: Hold NATO Back”

**NOTE: this is War Council’s second cadet submission – an important step in a soon-to-be military officer’s strategic self-study.

By Cadet Eric Murray


A NATO response to even the boldest Russian action in Crimea and the Ukraine would be a terrible idea.

The Ukraine is politically and economically divided along an urban-rural front.[1] There is no significant ethnic division, but those who live in rural areas have a primarily agricultural economy while those in cities have, unsurprisingly, a more industrial economy. Rural Ukrainians, despite having less in common with EU countries economically, are more in favor of a deal with the EU and diplomatic and economic distance from Russia. The price tag or that distance, however, is extremely high. In order to extend a much-needed loan to the Ukraine, the IMF has asked for extremely harsh anti-corruption and austerity measures. Furthermore, Ukraine is extremely dependent on Russia for energy resources, importing three fourths of its energy from across the Russia border.[2] Another reason that Ukrainians who work in urban areas favor a trade deal with Putin over the EU is that Ukraine owes a lot of its economic diversity and growth to Russian investment, particularly in its eastern cities.

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Cadet Submission: “Russia in Ukraine: It’s Politics, Stupid”

**NOTE: What follows is War Council’s very first cadet submission – an important first.

By Cadet Caleb Stevens


Recent coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is evolving a fixation on Sevastopol’s strategic importance to Russia, to the point of beating a dead horse with pictures of the Black Sea fleet and discussion of Russia’s need for warm water ports. These articles completely ignore the questions: “why now?” and “how will Russia be willing to resolve this situation?”  


Russian troops and battleships make sexy front pages, but focusing solely on the military significance of Sevastopol has led the media to ignore entirely the political considerations that led Russia to invade this week, as well as those that will shape any resolution of the current conflict. Ukrainian political developments in the past five years were the true catalyst for invasion, and have sharply limited the outcomes Russia is willing to entertain.

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