March 1, 2012  

In this issue

It’s often useful to look around and see how other services approach a problem. Army Maj. Jim Tierney went through the Marine Corps’ Foreign Weapons Instructor Course and emerged with the conviction that there is a gap in the way his service prepares its soldiers to train international forces. You can’t teach small-unit tactics, Tierney argues, if you don’t know the capabilities of a given unit’s weapons. There is a force-protection rationale as well, he notes: Close combat can lead to situations in which U.S. service members find themselves with only enemy weapons at hand. Forewarned — and -trained, in this case — is precisely forearmed.

As an era of ever-rising Pentagon budgets draws to a close, many are casting about for an affordable grand strategy. AFJ contributing editor Joseph J. Collins surveys several candidate strategies in search of unexplored possibilities.

Meanwhile, Robert Killebrew, another contributing editor, sees a challenge drawing near from foreign terrorist organizations sponsored by governments and aided by transnational organized crime groups.

Elsewhere in the magazine, Air Force Capt. John Wright, who studied Japanese in college, looks at why his service lags others in foreign-language training, and takes heart from new senior-level interest. A Navy JAG on the amphibious assault ship Makin Island, Lt. Gabriel Bradley, looks at why laws and regulations are not enough to prevent “strategic corporals” from urinating on enemy corpses. And Army Capt. John McRae says military officers who make good teachers might just make good generals as well.

Finally, a word about an article in our January/February issue: Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis’ “Truth, Lies, and Afghanistan.” The piece, which asserted that conditions in that country are worse than officially described, has drawn unprecedented attention. Its page on our website has been viewed more than three-quarters of a million times, and the article has sparked discussion throughout the military and beyond. In our next issue, we’ll feature some responses to Davis’ piece; in the meantime, we’d love to hear what you think.

— Bradley Peniston, Editor, Armed Forces Journal