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Thread: Call for Professional Reading Lists

  1. #1
    DDilegge
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    Default Brave Rifles Reading List

    3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment Reading List - Brave Rifles pre-OIF deployment recommended reading list, November 2004. US, Coalition, and Iraqi forces are conducting counterinsurgency operations in Iraq. While the fundamentals of cavalry combat operations clearly apply to fighting in Iraq, counterinsurgency operations demand that leaders possess a very broad base of knowledge and understand how military operations effect the political situation. Religious, ethnic, and social dynamics make the situation in Iraq particularly complex. Leaders must understand those dynamics and how our presence and actions affect them. The enemyís use of urban and restrictive terrain and his ability to blend into the civilian population demand that leaders become expert in MOUT, civil-military operations, combined operations with Iraqi forces, and the development of tactical intelligence. This reading list is meant to guide self study and serve as a basis for professional reading programs at the squadron and troop levels. The knowledge gained from reading, thinking about, and discussing this material will permit leaders to better prepare their troopers for combat and assist leaders in taking the initiative when they encounter complex situations in Iraq.

    Doctrine and TTP: We possess a solid doctrinal foundation for operations in Iraq. Leaders must be familiar with our doctrine and our Standard Operating Procedures. Our SOPs prescribe techniques and reports to be used throughout the Regimental battle group. SOPs allow for standardized execution of critical mission essential tasks in order to facilitate cooperation between units and to promote the mutual confidence and dependability that is necessary to fighting units. Uniform execution of certain tasks and battle drills add speed and coordination to our actions in training and in combat. Doctrinal knowledge and SOPs cannot replace common sense or the leaderís ability to adapt and seize the initiative through aggressive action. They do give leaders a baseline for common action.

  2. #2
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default thanks

    Dave,

    Thanks for this. It is nice to see when something we worked hard on is used. The Small Unit Leader's Guide to Urban Operations was our baby here at JRTC.

    Best
    Tom

  3. #3
    DDilegge
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    Default COL McMaster "Gets It"...

    Tom,

    My pleasure posting the list - especially since the list included the SWM and the Small Wars' Center of Excellence. That said, true leadership goes beyond putting out a reading list and McMaster - from my second-hand accounts - seems to inspire true leadership and push authority down to the troop level - where we will make or break our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan...

    As an aside - I joined a CALL collection team at the first MOUT focused rotation at the JRTC - CALL Newsletter No. 99-16: Urban Combat Operations. CALL invited two Marines; myself (though I was by then a USMC civilian), and a tactics instructor from our Officer Basic School... It was quite an eye opener... I understand the JRTC has come a long way since 99 - but even then I was envious of the true force-on-force, civilians on the battlefield play as well as the AAR process.

    S/F

    Dave

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    ::reading "The Other Side of the Mountain" while waiting on a range::

    "Put that book away SGT! Where is your CTT manual? If you have time to read, shouldn't you be conducting hip pocket training?"
    Last edited by GorTex6; 11-03-2005 at 07:49 AM.

  5. #5
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default

    you made me laugh with that one GoreTex....Les Grau is a friend and colleague....you are reading the "right" book on Afghanistan

    Best
    Tom

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    Default my point

    What good is a reading list if the current military culture views it as personal leisure?

    Why can't AAFES carry a decent military book section in theater?
    Last edited by GorTex6; 11-04-2005 at 11:21 AM.

  7. #7
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Shift in Attitude Toward Education

    I understand your point and certainly share your concerns. In fact I was discussing it with my Major here yesterday. The Army in the 1980s underwent an intellectual renaissaince that was part of rebuidling the post-Viet Nam military. At Ft Leavenworth, the college opened the Combat Studies Institute as a true military history teaching and research effort. Very good friends on mine were plank owners in that effort. It was my good fortune to be assigned to CSI as a teacher and a researcher; I taught Mid East military hsitory and wrote on operations in the Congo. The senior level leaders at Leavenworth and TRADOC saw military hsitory as a way to broaden the perspective of the officer corps. GEN Richardson was TRADOC commander. Then LTG Vuono was Leavenworth commander and we had a series of college :commanders" that included Fred Franks (VII Corps Cdr in Dest Shield and TRADOC commander), Gordon R. Sullivan (future Chief of Staff), and Bennie Peay (101st Commander in Desert Storm, Vice CSA, and CENTCOM commander). All of those gentlemen ALWAYS looked to history as a measure of reality. Later I had the privelege of working with Bobby Scales who retired as the Commandant of the War College in writing Certain Victory, the Army history of the 1st Gulf War.

    Bobby Scales is a notable historian in his own right. He also routinely speaks on the intellectual emasculation of the Army in the downsizing over the past decade. The norm in the 1980s was for Majors and LTCs to seek out and earn a Masters; that is gone. Army funding for advanced education has dropped dramatically. Masters degrees are increasingly the exception. CSI at Leavenworth is a shell of its former self. And the Army's use of history has dropped accordingly.

    I have been over the past 4 years waging an email history war to resurface history as a PD tool through my biweekly history lessons. You can see them on the CALL web site under JRTC History. The feedback has been consitently positive from readers whether officer or NCO. Next time someone makes a comment on your reading history, ask them what they have read on the Soviets experience in Afghanistan or maybe the British experience. Should they challenge the relevance of such a study, suggest they look at a column today by Milt Bearden at http://ebird.afis.mil/ebfiles/e20051104399831.html entitled When the CIA Played by the Rules. Milt was in the embassy in Khartoum when I was a pup FAO trainee there attending the Sudanese Staff College.

    Keep reading!

    Tom

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    Council Member zenpundit's Avatar
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    Default Request

    Hi Tom,

    You have a lot of great posts on this board BTW

    I'm not using a .mil address - is there any other way to access the Bearden article ? Bearden was, if I recall, the point man in Pakistan -Afghanistan during the Soviet war and I'm sure he has some insightful commentary.

    thanks !

  9. #9
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Bearden

    hey mate

    The Bearden column is New York Times 4 November edition.

    Tom

  10. #10
    DDilegge
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    Default When the CIA Played by the Rules

    Quote Originally Posted by zenpundit
    I'm not using a .mil address - is there any other way to access the Bearden article ?
    When the CIA Played by the Rules by Milt Bearden, New York Times.

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    Default

    you made me laugh with that one GoreTex....Les Grau is a friend and colleague....you are reading the "right" book on Afghanistan
    He was TRYING to read it...
    HA! "When I was in the Army..."
    ...it was the job of the unit conducting the range to run concurrent training. And it usually sucked.
    Hmmm, if this range was preparing for deployment, then they should certainly have scheduled background briefings, and The Bear Went Over The Mountain and The Other Side Of The Mountain should have been included.
    But GorTex6 is right, reading is not seen as fundamental for NCOs, just as shooting anything but what the Army issues you, at anytime that the Army didnt' schedule, is viewed with suspicion. (OK, I've been retired 5 years, things may have changed, but would I bet on it...?)

  12. #12
    Council Member zenpundit's Avatar
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    Default Gracias !

    Delayed thanks ! Much appreciated though guys !

  13. #13
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    Default T.X. Hammes Reading List - Revisited

    From last July in the Washington Post - Expert's Picks.

    The heaviest responsibility a commander will know is taking his soldiers to war. How can he arm their minds as well as their bodies? A former U.S. Marine Corps colonel and expert on insurgencies culls the best books from various military reading lists...

    Insurgency

    Clearly, counterinsurgency warfare is an old problem, as reflected by the age of some of the best books here.

    Small Wars Manual, U.S. Marine Corps, 1940. A practitioner's guide, this book made almost every list. It highlights lessons identified by Marines in the "Small Wars" of the early 20th century. From the political/strategic level to tactical operations, it provides shrewd guidance for those pitted against insurgents. Despite the section on packing mules, it remains painfully relevant today.

    Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice, by David Galula, 1964. Although now 40 years old, this remains one of the most useful books on counterinsurgency ever written. A practitioner rather than an academic -- he observed wars in Greece, China and Algeria -- Galula starts with the understanding that insurgency and counterinsurgency are distinctly different types of wars and then explores how a counterinsurgent can succeed. (See excerpts on page 8.)

    Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph, by T.E. Lawrence, 1926. The Marine Corps's Small Wars Center of Excellence praises this autobiographical account of Lawrence of Arabia's attempts to organize Arab nationalism during World War I. It lauds its "penetrating insights into Arab culture and politics, with implications for future developments in the 'Thrice-Promised Land.' " Although dated, Lawrence of Arabia's elegant masterpiece was the second most recommended book on the "Inside the Pentagon" reading list compiled from a survey of active-duty officers.

    Another of Lawrence's works, the bluntly practical Twenty Seven Article (1917), is also frequently quoted. In particular, practitioners have come to value his caution, earned out of painful experience spurring Arab troops to fight the Ottoman Empire. "Do not try to do too much with your own hands," Lawrence warned. "Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them." Twenty Seven Articles is widely recommended as a kind of Cliff's Notes for conveying some of the insights of Seven Pillars .

    Insurgency and Terrorism: From Revolution to Apocalypse, by Bard E. O'Neill, second edition 2005. Col. H.R. McMaster of the 3d Armored Cavalry, currently serving in Iraq, noted that "O'Neill provides a framework for analyzing insurgency operations . . . a good book to read first in insurgency studies."

    Counterinsurgency Lessons From Malaya and Vietnam: Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife, by John A. Nagl, 2002. Another recommendation from McMaster, who wants his soldiers to learn as they fight. In so doing, they would be following an old example. "Nagl argues," McMaster told his troops, "that Britain's military had an organization that allowed it to learn from its mistakes and eventually defeat the communist guerrillas in Malaya."

    Iraq

    Insurgencies have everything to do with governance, and good governance requires an understanding of local conditions and cultures. Grasping the historical complexities of Iraq is the challenge these books address.

    The Modern History of Iraq, by Phebe Marr, revised edition 2004. McMaster notes that this book, by a leading Iraq scholar, "focuses on several important themes: the search for national identity in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious state; the struggle to achieve economic development and modernity in a traditional society; and the political dynamics that have led to the current dire situation in Iraq."

    The Reckoning: Iraq and the Legacy of Saddam Hussein, by Sandra Mackey, 2002. The U.S. Army Command and Staff College considers this book an important "account of the forces that produced Saddam's dictatorship." The book addresses the absence of an Iraqi sense of national identity and common purpose, and it considers the Baathist rule of terror and the destruction of the country's middle class.

    The Kurds in Iraq: The Past, Present and Future, by Kerim Yildiz, 2004. An up-to-date account that explores what the Kurds want, both inside Iraq and in the context of the broader international community. Recent reports from Kirkuk and Mosul indicate the Kurds are not as compliant as the United States had hoped.

    The Arab Mind, by Raphael Patai, 1973. Often derided in academia, this book made several lists but was both praised ("a good introduction to Arab culture and psychology") and pilloried ("the author portrays the Arabs too stereotypically"). The same controversy is present in reviews online.

    The Shi'is of Iraq, by Yitzhak Nakash, second edition, 2003. This is a comprehensive history of the country's Shiite majority and its troubled relationship with the Sunni minority, which dominated the country under the Baath and now drives the insurgency. U.S. commanders remain concerned that the Shiites may respond in kind to continuing Sunni violence, tilting the country toward civil war.

    Islam

    Understanding Islam remains one of the key concerns for military leaders.

    Islam: A Short History, by Karen Armstrong, 2000. Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni, who commanded American troops in the Middle East, once argued that "a fundamental rule of counterinsurgency is to make no new enemies." Ignorance of the religious and cultural beliefs of a society makes such mistakes inevitable -- and dangerous. Armstrong's book is a strong antidote to ignorance.

    The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror, by Bernard Lewis, 2003. Controversial in its conclusions, Lewis's book explores Middle East history and tensions between Islam and the West. Lewis, an emeritus Princeton historian widely respected in conservative circles, places a particular emphasis on Islamist extremism and its implications for the United States....

  14. #14
    Groundskeeping Dept. SWCAdmin's Avatar
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    Default Call for Professional Reading Lists

    Making enhancements to our pages on the SWJ side. The new format will allow us to provide a list of lists, cross-referencing various books.

    PLEASE SEND ANY GOOD READING LISTS so that we can bake them into our new offering. And tell us a little about the list. Once live, the new pages will allow user comments on the lists and on the books.

    Option 1, post here (text or attachment).

    Option 2, if that causes trouble or for whatever reason, email to webmaster.

    Thanks for your support.
    Last edited by SWCAdmin; 10-02-2006 at 01:24 PM.

  15. #15
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default A FAO's COIN/Small Wars Bib

    Bill,

    You have my COIN/Small Wars Bib as a former FAO and of course, the review essay in Vol 6 of SWJ magazine.

    Best
    Tom

  16. #16
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Default

    Are you interested in military specific topics only or are you interested in things like John Dewey "How we think", an excellent book on figuring out why people respond to particular stimuli, Thomas Kuhn "The structure of scientific revolutions", a book that explains how things happen in thought, science, and totally valid for the military expert who wants to know what "paradigm shift" really means.

  17. #17
    Groundskeeping Dept. SWCAdmin's Avatar
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    Default

    Tom, yes, thanks.

    Selil, good question, two clarifications....(what was obvious to me was clearly not so obvious)

    1. Interest transcends "just military", but should be Small Wars appropriate -- culture, anthropology, geopolitics, etc., if there's a tie-in, it's welcome. Just not trying to de-throne Oprah.

    2. This call-for is specifically targeted to lists linked to some sort of significant organization. Examples of the targets I had in mind when I wrote this are:

    - Institutional lists... CMC, Army CGSC, etc. (have those two, but not, e.g. ICAF, School of Americas)
    - Unit lists, e.g. 4th ID, I MEF, Brave Rifles, etc.
    - Reading list from Dr. So and So's course on XYZ, particularly if there's a name brand in there or if the list just really rocks (tell us).

    For now, am focused here on data collection for organized lists.

    FYI, member commentary on individual books is a part of the package we have planned, and I would just ask all to hold off on the one-off recommendations until you see the pages. For those member-recommended books that are not on ANY of the lists, we'll have a utility for submission of new titles (maybe not on Day 1, but pretty damn soon).

    If you have your own list (e.g. Billy Bob's Top 10 on <your topic>) that you think is particularly good, send it along. Will also list our own SWJ Top Picks. And insights always welcome through comment.

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    I have some syllabi for some classes I recently took, I will dig them up. I will also share what I have when I start my next block in a month.

  19. #19
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default A couple of academic references

    Here are a few that may be useful.

    Lewis Coser, "The function of social conflict". Free Press, 1956
    Summary Conclusions Amazon

    Max Gluckman, "Custom and Conflict in Africa", Blackwell, 1956
    Amazon (personally, I have always grabbed my copies for a couple of bucks at second hand stores).

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Default Australia Chief of Army's Reading List

    I posted this previously in the "What are you reading" thread. I just ran across this on the Australia Land Warfare Studies website: http://www.defence.gov.au/Army/lwsc/ (its under Study Papers)
    Its a pretty good reading list. Many titles are familiar, but many are "out of the mainstream" for military reading lists (and I'm not just talking about Australia-specific titles). There's a healthy dose of fiction and I was intrigued by logic of its matching of book titles to ranks (the idea of mathing is common, but there are some interesting choices here). Also, there seems to be a logic to the list in that the books are presented in a manner to suggest that some should be read close together--to gain differing perspectives on a subject.
    The intro article on reading military history, originally published in 1965, is also well worth the time.

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