This section features two recent reports by Frederick W. Kagan, Director of the Critical Threats Project, and Kimberly Kagan, President of the Institute for the Study of War. These publications examine the Troop-to-Task requirements of the fight in Afghanistan and the potential enemy responses to several different US policy options in Afghanistan.


If West Cannot Live With Islamic State It Must Do All That's Needed To Defeat It On The Ground

By Frederick W. Kagan, August 23, 2014

Air attacks alone will not be enough to deal with ISIS now that it controls so much of Syria and Iraq - and threatens the US and Europe.

Testimony: Moving Beyond Fear - Addressing the Threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

By Frederick W. Kagan, July 24, 2014

The establishment and expansion of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (IS) represents a step-change in the threat to American homeland security and national security generally. This is the first time that an al Qaeda-affiliated group has made the leap from stateless terrorist organization to a quasi-state with a combat-effective army and the resources of a modern urban region at its disposal.

What to Do in Iraq

Now is not the time to re-litigate either the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 or the decision to withdraw from it in 2011. The crisis is urgent, and it would be useful to focus on a path ahead rather than indulge in recriminations. All paths are now fraught with difficulties, including the path we recommend. But the alternatives of permitting a victory for al Qaeda and/or strengthening Iran would be disastrous.

Put Out This Fire: Why the U.S must stop Iraq from falling to radical jihadist terrorists

We face a simple choice: We can either rejoin our demoralized Iraqi partners in the fight against ISIS or we can watch as this al Qaeda franchise solidifies its control over several million Iraqis and Syrians, completes its plundering of military bases and continues to build up, train and equip an honest-to-goodness military.

Be Prepared For Conventional War, Even If It’s Unconventional

By Frederick W. Kagan, Strategika, May 27, 2014

Conventional warfare is in our future as much as it is in our past. The only question is: will we be ready?

Snatching Failure from Victory in Afghanistan

The military commander in Afghanistan, General Joe Dunford, has said that he needs 10,000 US troops to accomplish the missions the president has said he wants to accomplish after this year. That number is probably half of what is actually required, by our estimates, but enough to keep options open for the next president.

Obama Flirts with Losing the "Must Win" War

Washington is full of leaks that the Obama administration is planning to end America's military presence in Afghanistan in 2016. And Congress has already slashed U.S. financial assistance to the fifth-poorest country in the world.

Putin's Olympic Gamble

By Katherine Earle, January 22, 2014

In Russian President Vladimir Putin’s New Year’s address, he promised to keep up the fight against terrorists in Russia’s North Caucasus until “their complete destruction.” With the Sochi Winter Olympics less than a month away, however, it is becoming increasingly evident that Putin has bitten off more than he can chew.

Testimony: An Unarguable Fact - American Security is Tied to Afghanistan and Pakistan

By Frederick W. Kagan, October 29, 2013

A strategic partnership with Afghanistan, underwritten with aid and with troops, along with continued engagement with Pakistan, is the only hope for securing American interests and the safety of Americans in this region.

On Syria, a Weak Strike is Better than None

A weak strike is more in line with U.S. interests than a refusal to strike or, worse, congressional action blocking any attack. Not just U.S. credibility but also the will of the Syrian opposition is at stake.