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Operational Lessons of the Wars of 21st Century

P. K. Gautam was a Consultant at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detail profile.
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  • IDSA Monograph Series No. 12
    2013

    Choice to wage war is a political matter. This choice translates into the prosecution of war which is an operational matter. Use of force will continue to be a driver of state power. There is a need for an ongoing and sustained professional study of inter-state wars from the operational and military dimension. From a study of the operational dimensions of war, relevant lessons and insights can be discerned. The study of lessons also depends on how a country and its society see war and its future. In a welcome trend of reduction of wars, it is incumbent to record and analyse in order to observe the change in the character of war.

    Military capabilities matter. Countries and regions where wars have taken place have one important attribute- battle and operational experience. The monograph examines 21st century wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Georgia and Libya. New trend of cyber war is also included. Key highlights have been extracted and distilled into lessons to be learnt.

    Contents

    INTRODUCTION

    AFGHANISTAN (2001-TILL DATE) AND IRAQ (2003-10)

    LEBANON (ISRAEL – HEZBOLLAH 2006)

    THE RUSSO-GEORGIA WAR (2008): RUSSIA’S KARGIL

    THE UBIQUITOUS CYBER WAR

    LIBYA (MARCH TO OCTOBER 2011) AND LATER

    SUMMARY OF LESSONS

    About the Author

    Joined IDSA as Research Fellow in 2005. Over 29 years of military service and veteran of 1971 war in Bangladesh and Operation Meghdoot (Siachen). Some publications on military topics include Operation Bangladesh (New Delhi, Manas Publishers, 2007), Composition and Regimental System of the Indian Army: Continuity and Change (Delhi, IDSA/ Shipra Publications, 2008), “Changing Geographic Factors in Planning and Conduct of Indian Military Operations”, Strategic Analysis, Vol.32, No.2, March 2008, “Trends in Thinking about Warfare” , Strategic Analysis, Vol.33, No.6, November 2009, “Ways of Warfare and Strategic Culture”, Defense & Security Analysis, Vol.25, No.4, December 2009, “Issues and Steps in Force Modernisation”, Centre for Land Warfare Studies Journal, Winter 2010, Renaissance of Military History and Modern War Studies in India, IDSA Occasional Paper Number 21, November 2011, “Back to the Basics: Foot and Hoof Mobility in the Mountains”, IDSA Policy Brief, 2011 ( co-authored with Virander Kumar ), “Learning Lessons and Revisiting Myths from Kameng”, Journal of Defence Studies, Vol.6, No.3, October 2012, and “Relevance of Kautilya's Arthasastra”, Strategic Analysis, Vol.37, No.1, January- February 2013. A Monograph “One Hundred Years of Kautilya's Arthasastra” is forthcoming.
    Currently researching on indigenous historical knowledge with focus on “Strategic Vocabulary on the Art of War: An Interpretation of Kautilya's Arthasastra”

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