Earl H. Tilford
Mon, April 10, 2017
Trump Turns to the 'A' Team
The ousting of Steve Bannon from the National Security Council (NSC) staff is part of a reorganization initiated by President Donald Trump's National Security Advisor, Army Lt. General H.R. McMaster. ...
Wed, February 22, 2017
McMaster: Best Choice for National Security Advisor
President Donald Trump has selected the best possible person to serve as his national security advisor. Army Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster epitomizes the warrior-scholar in the tradition of Carl ...
Wed, December 14, 2016
In Defense of Military and Business Leaders
Some seem to believe the election of Donald Trump reflects a general disintegration of American society evidenced by Time magazine's selection of Trump as "Person of the Year" presiding ...
Fri, November 18, 2016
Grandchildren of the Sixties
College students in the streets protesting a Trump presidency are not so very different from the demonstrators who took over Columbia University in April 1968. Nevertheless, what took place in less ...
Fri, October 28, 2016
White House at What Cost?
"The way to deter aggression … is to be willing and able to respond vigorously at places and with means of our own choosing." On October 12, 1954, Secretary of State John Foster ...
Mon, October 03, 2016
Presidents Make Policy, Generals Make Plans
"If, as Clausewitz so justly said, war is a continuation of national policy, so are war plans."
–Barbara W. Tuchman, The Guns of August 1962
Over the next two ...
Thu, June 02, 2016
Vietnam in Rear View Mirror
There were 2,709,918 Americans who served in the Vietnam War. Of that number approximately 850,000 are alive. The youngest is 54. Because there were senior officers and non-commissioned officers in ...
Mon, May 09, 2016
Registering Women for the Draft, a Charade
The Armed Services Committee (ASC) recently approved a measure requiring American women aged 18 to 26 to register for the draft and sent it to the full House for consideration. If this measure ...
Tue, April 12, 2016
Chicago 1968 Speaks to 2016
"The mob is the mother of tyrants." —Diogenes of Sinope
In late August 1968, two months after an assassin killed presidential candidate Senator ...
Mon, March 21, 2016
The Perils of Cooking Intelligence
Recent revelations by the Pentagon's inspector general indicates that U.S. Central Command, which bears responsibility for military operations in the Middle East, altered intelligence analyses to ...
Thu, March 10, 2016
Who Lost Iraq?
My parents originally named me "Victory Japan" because my slightly premature birth resulted from mom and dad dancing in the streets of Saint Petersburg, Florida on the night of August 16, ...
Mon, February 22, 2016
America Faces Historic Crossroads
The Vietnam War provides lessons in how to lose. The United States never planned to defeat its opponents, the indigenous southern Viet Cong guerrillas and their northern supporters the Peoples' Army ...
Tue, December 01, 2015
Abdication: Obama Cedes Leadership to Russia and France
For months now, ISIS has sold oil on the international market through Turkey, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is furious with petroleum prices plunging along with Russia's economy. Consider that ...
Mon, November 09, 2015
Not Losing is a Loser's Game
The Obama administration's weak and failing Middle East policy–the struggle against ISIS and the ultimate fate of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria–revolves around a non-strategy of ...
Wed, August 05, 2015
Wisdom That Can Make a Difference
"One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic." —Joseph Stalin
Late in the afternoon of December 25, 1991, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev resigned, declared his office ...
Mon, June 22, 2015
"Next to a battle lost, the greatest misery is a battle gained."
–Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, June 19, 1815
The Battle of ...
Wed, May 13, 2015
Iran: Gulf Region Bully
Iran acts like a Persian Gulf hegemon because it can. Tehran's military, while capable of making a less-than-concerted attack costly, would be overmatched by the armed forces of the United States and ...
Mon, April 27, 2015
The S-300 Slap Down
The Russian-built S-300 anti-aircraft/anti-ballistic missile (AA/ABM, carrying the NATO designation SA-10, codenamed "Grumble"), while not the world's most advanced surface-to-air defensive ...
Mon, March 02, 2015
American Crusades and Existential Threats
"The logical end of a war of creeds is the final destruction of one."
Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5, ...
Fri, February 06, 2015
The Future of War
"We have tried since the birth of our nation to promote our love of peace by a display of weakness. This course has failed us utterly."
-Gen. George C. Marshall, 1945
Wed, September 24, 2014
Air Power's Siren Song
In the early morning of September 23, 2014, American air forces–joined by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Jordan–began striking targets in Syria as part of ongoing ...
Fri, September 19, 2014
War A Matter of Semantics
"Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind."
–President John F. Kennedy
For most people war is an unthinkable horror. ...
Fri, September 12, 2014
Do We Have a Strategy for ISIS?
President Obama in his September 10 speech did not deliver a viable war-fighting strategy against ISIS. In fact, the president doesn't seem to understand that ISIS is at war with the U.S.
Thu, September 04, 2014
Strategy 101 for President Obama
In August 1961, while the Soviets erected the Berlin Wall to plunge the Cold War into the deep freeze, President John F. Kennedy ordered the Joint Chiefs of Staff to devise a nuclear-first strike ...
Thu, August 21, 2014
Face Time With Vladimir
President Barack Obama has spent a lot of TV face time opining on race relations in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2009, on the George Zimmerman trial of 2012-13, on the riots in a St. Louis suburb last ...
Thu, August 14, 2014
The Strategic Imperative of ISIS
During the 2012 presidential campaign President Obama repeatedly boasted, "Osama bin Laden is dead and Al-Qaeda is on the run." He is right on both counts: bin Laden is gone and Al-Qaeda ...
Mon, March 17, 2014
U.S. Should Take Lead in Finding Lost Airplane
The disappearance of a Boeing 777 airliner with 239 people on board has ignited speculation ranging from catastrophic malfunction to hijacking. That the United States, a global power with the ...
Wed, November 20, 2013
Kennedy Security Legacy
Between January 1961 and Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy fundamentally changed U.S. national security policy. These changes resulted in structures and doctrines that enabled American forces ...
Tue, September 03, 2013
Camelot and the Syrian Crisis
November 22 marks the 50th anniversary of the end of Camelot. During its tenure, President John F. Kennedy's administration set national security precedents that have influenced the way Washington ...
Tue, July 02, 2013
Reflections on Gettysburg
It's July in Alabama and 100 degrees in the shade. Despite the heat, I crack the bedroom window at night to soak up the sounds and smells of the South. The crickets in the woods, a hoot owl on ...
Wed, November 21, 2012
The Gaza Trap
Even though Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced an Israel-Gaza ceasefire, it's apparent that Gaza still holds many traps for Israel.
For example, there's the media trap. ...
Wed, October 17, 2012
Intelligence and National Security Priorities
A generation ago, in the 1970s, the U.S. intelligence community possessed the technology to discern whether or not a U.S. consulate was under attack by terrorists or by rioters run amok. Moreover, no ...
Sun, September 02, 2012
A More Immediate Threat
On July 23, 2012, Syria–one of seven nations not to sign the Chemical Weapons
Convention–admitted owning a stockpile of chemical and biological weapons. A
foreign ministry ...
Sun, July 15, 2012
On a Wing and a . . .
Not long ago, a group of 66 members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of
Defense Leon Panetta, urging him to issue guidance to counter an "alarming
pattern of attacks on ...
Fri, May 04, 2012
President Barack Obama's five-point plan for turning the war back to the Afghans is designed to cover the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces and "forge a just and lasting peace." What does ...
Tue, March 27, 2012
Rembering Audacious Military Operations
On March 19, speaking at a Morris Township, New Jersey Democratic Party fundraiser, Vice President Joe Biden provided what may be the mother of all election year bumper stickers when he asserted, ...
Mon, March 05, 2012
Late in the summer of 1961, President John F. Kennedy asked the Air Force to plan a nuclear first strike on the Soviet Union. The plan involved 55 B-52 bombers hitting 80 targets to degrade Soviet ...
Thu, March 01, 2012
Sorry Mess: Presidential Apologies and Pardons
Much ink has flowed over the recent apologies from President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and General John Allen, commander of NATO forces in ...
Fri, February 17, 2012
From Damascus to Tehran, a test for world leadership is underway. Daily, the Syrian military–well-armed, highly trained thugs whose current mission is to keep dictator Bashar Assad in ...
Thu, January 26, 2012
Preparing the Military for Future Threats
With breaking news of a U.S. Navy SEAL team successfully rescuing two
hostages from pirates in Somalia, military pundits are quick to note how the
deployment of small, elite units will ...
Wed, January 18, 2012
Military Modernization: Back to the Future
President Barack Obama's vision for modernizing the U.S. military is little more than an exercise in "back to the future."
Consider: Back in 2001, the armed forces were nearly a ...
Wed, August 10, 2011
Need to Restructure DOD (Part II)
The U.S. Department of Defense must restructure to accommodate deep budget cuts and, more importantly, be ready for the challenges of 21st-century warfare. Those challenges will include ...
Thu, August 04, 2011
The Need to Restructure DOD
In 1914, on the eve of the Great War, the Duke of Cambridge wrote, "There is a time for all things. There is even a time for change; and that is when it can no longer be avoided."
Wed, May 04, 2011
A Report from Tuscaloosa's Ground Zero
The Warrior River borders the University of Alabama campus, separating old
Tuscaloosa from up-scale housing developments to the north. Tuscaloosans know a
"north of the river" ...
Wed, March 24, 2010
Strategic Misstep or Prelude to Meltdown?
On Thursday, March 11, during Vice President Joe Biden's trip to Israel to herald the re-initiation of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Israel's Interior Ministry announced the construction of 1,600 ...
Mon, January 11, 2010
The Uncertain Trumpet and Systemic Failure
_In the mid-1960s, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Notre Dame's Rocky Bleier. Unfortunately, Steeler management failed to protect the prized rookie with the paperwork necessary to take advantage of a ...
Thu, December 31, 2009
Latest 'Human Made Disaster" Attack Succeeds
History holds that during World War II the Army executed only one American soldier, Private Eddie Slovik. There was another, a footnote to history.
In 1944, B-24 Liberators taking off ...
Mon, August 17, 2009
Christianity and Depravity in the Afterglow of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Each year, in early August, debate reemerges over the use of atomic weapons to end World War II. Some historians justify their use given the prospects for a long, bloody invasion of Japan. ...
Fri, May 29, 2009
Limited Options for Dealing with North Korea
Kim Jong Il, North Korea's psychotic "Dear Leader," specializes in "guerrilla diplomacy." He backs it up with a half-dozen or so nuclear weapons squirreled away deep inside ...
Wed, January 07, 2009
Operation Cast Lead:
A Necessary, Just and Legal Response
As soon as Israeli air strikes began striking Hamas-controlled Gaza, many American church leaders started calling for an immediate ceasefire based solely on human suffering rather than the political ...
Tue, December 30, 2008
Israeli Attacks on Hamas Justified
The Hamas Charter proscribes peace with Israel. Ceasefires are possible only when advantageous to Hamas and always are temporary. Accordingly, as soon as the latest ceasefire expired, Hamas ...
Thu, October 30, 2008
Testing Presidential Mettle: JFK and Obama
Democratic vice-presidential nominee Senator Joe Biden recently predicted that within the first six months of an Obama administration the freshman president would be tested by a contrived ...
Wed, October 22, 2008
General Powell's Endorsement
Many conservatives wonder why retired Army Gen. Colin Powell endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. The quick answer–and the most inadequate one–is that Powell is ...
Fri, October 10, 2008
Why November 2008 Looks Like March 1936
Near the conclusion of Tuesday night's second presidential "town-hall" style debate, a questioner from the audience asked each candidate what he would do if Iran attacked Israel. Both ...
Mon, October 06, 2008
Economic Leadership or Dictatorship
Economic and political destabilization ranked high on al-Qaeda's list of strategic objectives in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Washington, DC. In addition to killing nearly 3,000 ...