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Assessing WarAssessing War

The Challenge of Measuring Success and Failure

Leo Blanken, Hy Rothstein and Jason Lepore

Narrated by Neal Vickers

Approximately 16 hours

Unabridged


Downloadable edition:

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Book published by Georgetown University Press


Today's protracted asymmetrical conflicts confuse efforts to measure progress, often inviting politics and wishful thinking to replace objective evaluation.

In Assessing War military historians, social scientists, and military officers explore how observers have analyzed the trajectory of war in American conflicts from the Seven Years' War through the war in Afghanistan. Drawing on decades of acquired expertise, the contributors examine wartime assessment in both theory and practice and, through alternative dimensions of assessment such as justice and proportionality, the war of ideas and economics. This group of distinguished authors grapples with both conventional and irregular wars and emerging aspects of conflict—such as cyberwar and nation building—that add to the complexities of the modern threat environment. The volume ends with recommendations for practitioners on best approaches while offering sobering conclusions about the challenges of assessing war without politicization or self-delusion.

Covering conflicts from the eighteenth century to today, Assessing War blends focused advice and a uniquely broad set of case studies to ponder vital questions about warfare's past—and its future. The book includes a foreword by Gen. George W. Casey Jr. (USA, Ret.), former chief of staff of the US Army and former commander, Multi-National Force-Iraq.

Leo Blanken is an associate professor in the Defense Analysis Department at the US Naval Postgraduate School and author of Rational Empires: Institutional Incentives and Imperial Expansion.

Hy Rothstein is a retired US Army colonel, a senior lecturer in the Department of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School, and co-editor of Afghan Endgames: Strategy and Policy Choices for America's Longest War.

Jason Lepore is an associate professor of economics at California Polytechnic State University.

REVIEWS:

Assessing War clearly documents that the American defense intellectual community does a very poor job of answering two questions concerning the vital issue of national security: Who will we fight? And, once war begins, are we winning? The remarkably effective historical approach of the book reveals that these failures are nothing new. George Washington was as much in the dark about how to answer these questions as our huge forecasting institutions are today. The enduring value of the work is that it offers qualitative and quantitative means for predicting and assessing wars in the future. Those inside the Beltway who recognize the importance of finding the means to overcome this chronic and historically enduring failure must read it.”

—Robert H. Scales, MG (Ret.)





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