17.482 | Spring 2015 | Undergraduate, Graduate

U.S. Military Power

References and Resources

Basic References

For very basic background and definitions of some military terms with which you may be unfamiliar, see:

Dunnigan, James F. How to Make War: A Comprehensive Guide to Modern Warfare in the 21st Century. William Morrow Paperbacks, 2003. ISBN: 9780060090128.

For a guide to many kinds of weapons and other equipment that could turn up in the hands of potential adversaries, see:

Dcsint, Tradoc. “U.S. Army Training & Doctrine Command.” In OPFOR Worldwide Equipment Guide. Threat Support Directorate, 1999.

Military Analysis Examples

The following are examples of military analysis that you may find useful as you begin your papers. You should review at least one of these this week, noting the approach and the types of sources they use.

Ground Campaigns

O’Hanlon, Michael. “Stopping a North Korean Invasion: Why Defending South Korea is Easier than the Pentagon Thinks.” International Security 22, no. 4 (1998): 135–70.

Bennett, Bruce W., and Jennifer Lind. “The Collapse of North Korea: Military Missions and Requirements.” International Security 2, no. 36 (2011): 84–119.

Krause, Peter. “The Last Good Chance: A Reassessment of U.S. Operations at Tora Bora.” Security Studies 17, no. 4 (2008): 644–84.

Air Campaigns

Raas, Whitney, and Austin Long. “Osirak Redux? Assessing Israeli Capabilities to Destroy Iranian Nuclear Facilities.” International Security 31, no. 4 (2007): 7–33.

Stillion, John, and Scott Perdue. “Air Combat Past, Present, and Future.” (PDF - 5.3MB) August 2008. For a summary, see: Minnick, Wendell. “RAND Study Suggests U.S. Loses War with China.” DefenseNews.com, 16 October 2008.

Epstein, Joshua. Measuring Military Power: The Soviet Air Threat to Europe. Princeton University Press, 1984. ISBN: 9780691076713.

Use of Airpower by Non-great Powers

Bergquist, Ronald E. The Role of Airpower in the Iran-Iraq War. Air University Press, 1988, especially pp. ix–x and 49–82. ISBN: 9781585660230.

Missile Targeting

Priebe, Miranda, and Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson. “A Crude Threat: The Limits of an Iranian Missile Campaign against Saudi Arabian Oil.” International Security 36, no. 1 (2011): 167–201.

Lewis, George, Steve Fetter, et al. “Casualties and Damage from SCUD Attacks in the 1991 Gulf War.” MIT Defense and Arms Control Studies Program, Working Paper No. 93–2 (1993).

Counterinsurgency Campaigns

Anderson, Noel. “Peacekeepers Fighting a Counterinsurgency Campaign: A Net Assessment of the African Union Mission in Somalia.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 37, no. 11 (2014): 936–58.

Lalwani, Sameer. “Pakistani Capabilities for a Counterinsurgency Campaign.” New America Foundation Policy Paper (2009). Also see “Other References” section in week 13 (Afghanistan, Iraq, and Counter-Insurgency: An Old Problem Returns).

Talmadge, Caitlin. “Closing Time: Assessing the Iranian Threat to the Strait of Hormuz.” International Security 33, no. 1 (2008): 82–117.

Humanitarian Military Interventions

Greenhill, Kelly M. “Mission Impossible? Preventing Deadly Conflict in the African Great Lakes Region.” Security Studies 11, no. 1 (2001): 77–124.

Seibert, Bjoern. “African Adventure? Assessing the European Union’s Military Intervention in Chad and the Central African Republic.” MIT Security Studies Programs Working Paper (2007).

Logistics-centric Campaign Analysis

Kuperman, Alan J. The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention: Genocide in Rwanda. Brookings Institution Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780815700852.

Applications Outside the United States

O’Hanlon, Michael. “Why China Cannot Conquer Taiwan.” International Security 25, no. 2 (2000): 51–86.

Ladwig, Walter C. “A Cold Start for Hot Wars? The Indian Army’s New Limited War Doctrine.” International Security 32, no. 3 (2007): 158–90. (Though not a campaign analysis, this article is a good example of analyzing the capabilities of other states)

Alternative Models

Epstein, Joshua. Strategy and Force Planning. Brookings, 1987.

COIN campaign analysis


Petraeus, Gen. David H. Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq (PDF) and accompanying charts (PDF), (2007).

National Security Council. Highlights of the Iraq Strategy Review: Summary Briefing Slides (PDF) (2007).


US Department of Defense. COMISAF Initial Assessment (2009).

Simon, Steve, and Jonathan Stevenson. “Afghanistan: How Much is Enough?Survival: Global Politics and Strategy 51, no. 5 (2009): 47–67.

Other Campaigns:

Komer, Robert. The Malayan Emergency in Retrospect: Organization of a Successful Counterinsurgency Effort. Rand Corporation, 1972.

———. Bureaucracy Does Its Thing: Institutional Constraints on U.S.-GVN Performance in Vietnam. Ca[lif.] Rand, 1972.

Krepinevich, Andrew. The Army and Vietnam. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.

Spector, Ronald. “U.S. Army Strategy in the Vietnam War.” International Security 11, no. 4 (1987): 130–4.

Grau, Lester ed. The Bear Went Over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics in Afghanistan. Diane Publication Company, 1996. ISBN: 9780788146657. [Preview with Google Books]

Oliker, Olga. Russia’s Chechen Wars, 1994_–2000: Lessons from Urban Combat_. Rand Corporation, 2001. ISBN: 9780833029980. [Preview with Google Books]

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2015