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Friday 18 Aug 2017 | 09:26 | SYDNEY
Friday 18 Aug 2017 | 09:26 | SYDNEY

US Army releases Stability Ops Field Manual

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14 October 2008 11:13

The document seems to confirm the ascendency of the 'small war' school in US military thinking (a debate we discussed last week), by arguing that the major future threat to US security comes from small, failing states rather than peer competitors. The field manual seeks to describe how operations to rebuild such states can be done better.

Given the mistakes of Iraq and Afghanistan, you can understand why the US Army is preoccupied with such questions, just as our military probably is. But as I've said before, arguing about how to do stability operations better precludes one option that needs serious thought: not doing stability operations at all, or at least, doing far fewer of them.

It will be interesting to see how the coming straitened economic circumstances affect this debate. As Judah Grunstein at World Politics Review has noted, it's going to be increasingly difficult for Western countries to justify long foreign deployments when money is tight domestically.

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