International forces in Afghanistan are preparing to hand over responsibility for security to Afghan soldiers and police by the end of 2014. U.S. President Barack Obama has argued that battlefield successes since 2009 have enabled this transition and that with it, "this long war will come to a responsible end."
As military planners review strategy in the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan, CFR Senior Fellow Stephen Biddle says victory will be dependent on improving the capacity of the beleaguered Afghan government.
In the next military budget Congress must provide funding for a wholesale shift toward counterinsurgency to win two wars. At the same time, policymakers must be mindful of the need for another transformation to anticipate future wars.
The replacement of the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan with a counterinsurgency expert could shift momentum, but CFR's Stephen Biddle says it might also anger Afghans who oppose U.S. special operations tactics.
Iraq is currently in the early stages of a negotiated end to an intense ethnosectarian war. As such, there are several contingencies in which recent, mostly positive trends in Iraq could be reversed, threatening U.S. national interests. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum by Stephen Biddle assesses four interrelated scenarios in Iraq that could derail the prospects for peace and stability in the short to medium term and posits concrete policy options to limit U.S. vulnerability to the possibility of such reversals.
CFR's Stephen Biddle says President Obama's decision to add four thousand troops to train Afghan troops is "a reasonable first step" but that Obama faces huge challenges in standing up a viable Afghan army.
Stephen Biddle, a senior defense and counterterrorism analyst, says that President Obama's schedule for reducing and then ending the U.S. deployment in Iraq "is a reasonable compromise between several conflicting demands."
Experts from the Council on Foreign Relations and the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution propose a new, nonpartisan Middle East strategy drawing on the lessons of past failures to address both the short- and long-term challenges to U.S. interests.
This monograph assesses the claim that future warfare is a matter of nonstate actors employing irregular methods against Western states through a detailed analysis of Hezbollah’s military behavior, coupled with deductive inference from observable Hezbollah behavior in the field to findings for their larger strategic intent for the campaign.
Authors: Stephen Biddle, Michael E. O'Hanlon, and Kenneth M. Pollack New York Times
“Having recently returned from a research trip to Iraq, we are convinced that a total withdrawal of combat troops any time soon would be unwise,” write Stephen Biddle, Michael E. O’Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack. Although recent success in Iraq has prompted more calls for withdrawal, a continued American presence is needed to preserve the fragile peace in that country.