Lt. General David Barno, USA (Ret.) is a Visiting Professor of Strategic Studies and Senior Fellow at the Philip Merrill Center at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is also a Contributing Editor and Columnist for War on the Rocks. General Barno completed a thirty-year active duty Army career where he commanded at every level. He served with Army Ranger battalions in combat during both the Panama and Grenada invasions. General Barno was the overall commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005. Dr. Nora Bensahel is a Visiting Professor of Strategic Studies and Senior Fellow of the Merrill Center at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). She is also a Contributing Editor and Columnist for War on the Rocks. She has held senior positions at the Center for a New American Security and the RAND Corporation, and previously taught at American University and Georgetown University. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University.
This is an important and timely book on the importance of adapting our military when confronted with a new enemy strategy. The authors draw on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for examples of when the commanders did not adapt their strategy to the challenge posed by unconventional warfare. And it describes how success was achieved when a new commander introduced a new strategy adapted to those challenges. A well-written and interesting analysis of a subject that has become critically important to the U.S. military. -- William J. Perry, 19th U.S. Secretary of Defense Military leaders may fail to anticipate challenges or learn in advance from the experiences of other armed forces, but nothing is so fatally dangerous as failure to adapt in wartime. Barno and Bensahel are a unique soldier-scholar team who have written an important book on just that question. This is an outstanding and compelling work, grounded in recent history, that is of urgent practical as well as theoretical importance. -- Eliot A. Cohen, Dean of Johns Hopkins SAIS and co-author of Military Misfortunes: The Anatomy of Failure in War Historically, the American military learns expensively by failure. Our current and future enemies may deny us even the time to adapt. The sharp policy recommendations Dr. Bensahel and retired General Barno offer in this excellent book would improve our military's resilience in advance--something the American military urgently needs, and that will lower the cost in blood and treasure our country pays in future wars. -- Kori Schake, Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute and editor of Warriors and Citizens: American Views of Our Military Barno and Bensahel have put their finger on the most important national security issue of our time: not terrorism, not great power competition, not AI or drones, but how the US military thinks about, and prepares for, the unknowable future. If a junior officer can read only one book on military organization, it must be this one. If our senior officers don't read this one book, our very security will be imperiled. -- Brad Carson, Congressman and former Undersecretary of the Army