Edward H. Carpenter

In Search of a New Warrior Ethos

Steven_Pressfield's__Cover_for_KindleIt’s not often that a Marine officer writes a book that goes head-to-head with a title currently listed as “Commandant’s Choice” book by the Marine Corps, but in this case, I had little choice but to lay down the sword and take up the pen in order to debunk the honor-bound, shame-based relic of dead cultures espoused by Steven Pressfield’s 2011 monograph, which the current Commandant has made mandatory reading for all Marines.

Unfortunately, Pressfield’s book is a rambling mixture of Laconophiliac hero worship, Eastern mysticism, and pop psychology, and the “Warrior Ethos” it proposes is more suited for the Bronze Age than the Information Age.

My new book is now available in paperback and Kindle formats, and has been critically reviewed at Battles and Book Reviews and on War Is Boring. Written during my last tour to Afghanistan, it attempts to provide better answers to the questions posed by Pressfield in his earlier work: Continue reading

The New Blitzkrieg, Part II

isis convoyAs I wrote a few days ago, a new pattern of warfare is emerging in the Middle East and Africa. This “new blitzkrieg” isn’t really new, but it is asymmetric warfare at its best, pitting swarms of fast-moving, lightly armed fighters operating as a network against hidebound hierarchies of Western-trained and equipped “professional soldiers”. These state forces have a bad track record of crumbling under the tempo of swarming, networked attackers; and the only thing that has proven capable of stemming the tide is early airstrikes followed with a robust military “prop-up and mop-up” campaign, as demonstrated by French and African Union forces in Mali. The outcomes aren’t that great in any of the recent cases – but it’s much, much worse when any regional government has fallen to the non-state forces. Continue reading

The New Blitzkrieg

A new version of maneuver warfare is being utilized mainly by Islamic fundamentalist forces to seize territory from government forces trained, equipped and organized along the Western model.

This “new blitzkrieg” relies on lightly armed fighters mounted on “technicals” – 4×4 trucks with heavy machine-guns, light cannons, or automatic grenade launchers mounted on the vehicle. Here are some key factors we should be thinking about in order to potentially combat these forces in the future. Continue reading

Apples & Oranges & Women in the Infantry

Female Marines in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM

As the military grapples with how to implement the reversal of the decades old ban on women in “combat” specialties, one of the data points that many people are using (especially in and around the Marine Corps) is the performance of the only two female Lieutenants to have attempted to complete the Infantry Officer’s Course at Quantico. 

The first dropped out on one of the first days of training during the grueling Combat Endurance Test; so did 26 of her male classmates. The other female Lieutenant made it about one-third of the way through the course before being sidelined by a debilitating stress fracture in her leg. Neither is any indication that women are any less suitable than men for service in the infantry.

What is the basis for that bold statement, you ask?

Continue reading

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