Defense and the National Interest

The Balkans

As of the early 21st Century, the Balkans remains an active laboratory for the testing of US weapons, doctrines, and tactics.  What we—and our potential enemies—learn from this experience will help determine the effectiveness of our forces for years to come.

The official DoD report: Kosovo/Operation Allied Force After-Action Report - (12/31/1999) - (2.2MB PDF)  Also available, and with a brief overview, from the Federation of American Scientists.

Background note on the situation in Croatia, Report to the European Parliament, March 1, 2000. Overview of events in Croatia since the death of Tudjman and the current situation there from the perspective of the European Union.

"Dubious Anniversary - Kosovo One Year Later."  Christopher Layne and Benjamin Schwarz, The Cato Institute, June 2000.  The authors make a case that however well intentioned NATO's intervention may have been, the result will be our long term involvement in a conflict with no discernable solution.

"Kosovo: Review and Analysis of Policy Objectives, 1998-June 1999," by Julie Kim, Congressional Research Service, July 1999.  A good introduction to developments in US policy in Kosovo during 1998 and 1999. It does not cover some of the most controversial aspects of that policy—for example, it makes only a passing reference to Appendix B at Rambouillet and why it, in combination with the additional call for a referendum, helped to trigger the collapse at Rambouillet. But that said, it is a good primer.

"Update on the Situation of Ethnic Minorities in Kosovo, February - May 2000" Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  Excerpt:  "We knew the hatreds ran deep. But we did not believe that the refugees and the victims UNHCR had helped in exile would soon become the oppressors, employing many of the same disgusting tactics that had once been directed at them."  Has the war in Kosovo actually ended?  What did we accomplish and when can we leave? Are there broader lessons about using military force to "solve" ethnic and religious conflicts?  (117KB .pdf file)

Admiral James O. Ellis's After Action Report on the Kosovo Operation. (ADM Ellis was  Commander JTF NOBLE ANVIL during Operation ALLIED FORCE) Generally accepts that NATO technology was successful all levels of the conflict (although subsequent analysis has cast considerable doubt on this conclusion).  However, he also raises a number of important issues, including whether a future clever enemy could exploit our aversion to friendly and civilian casualties, and hints at the debate on why Milosovic actually caved.  Notes that "Information saturation is additive to the fog of war" and "We were lucky, but luck is not a principle of war for the next commander." (435 KB PowerPoint presentation)

The GAO study on the prospects for lasting peace in the Balkans, "Balkans Security: Current and Projected Factors Affecting Regional Stability." NSIAD-00-125BR. 71 pp. plus 8 appendices (19 pp.) April 24, 2000.   UN intervention has suppressed large-scale overt violence, but the "warring parties" have not given up the goals that started the conflict in the first place. The outlook: Business as usual in the Balkans.

Comment 255: "German Antiguerilla Operations in the Balkans (1941 - 1944)" Very complete and detailed report that explains why nothing happening there now should surprise us. From the Army's Center for Military History.


404 Memo from Ms XX -- Is "Shit Hitting the Fan" in Kosovo?  February 1, 2001

Where are the Dead Bodies in Kosovo? (V), August 18, 2000


Kosovo SITREP IV, June 6, 2000


Kosovo SITREP III, May 23, 2000


Kosovo  SITREP (II)  May 19, 2000


Kosovo SITREP – A Rough Week for Battalion XX, May 18, 2000


The Kosovo Question: Out of Altitude, Airspeed, and Ideas, April 11, 2000

351 Balkan Primer (XI) - Why the Conflict in Southern Serbia is Important , Tue, 28 Mar 2000
340 Kosovo Sitrep - Why There is No Light at the End of the Tunnel, December 30, 1999

Balkan Primer (X) - Blood Feuds, Kanuns, and American Policy, December 26, 1999

335 Where are the Bodies in Kosovo? (IV) – A Compendium of "Revisionist" Literature, November 26, 1999
334 Where are the Bodies in Kosovo (III)? – Genocide, Accountability, and the Rule of Law, November 24, 1999

Balkan Primer (IX) - Slobo, Boris, & Behgjet, September 25, 1999


Kosovo Sitrep Why Winter is Bad News for the Wilsonian Wonks Preparing the Lessons They Want Us to Learn, September 15, 1999


KOSOVO: Learning the Lesson We Want to Learn?, September 9, 1999


BALKAN PRIMER (VIII)—All You Didn't Want to Know About Serbian Politics, August 26, 1999


The Fallacy of Multi-Culturalism in a Bottom-Up Apartheid Culture, August 25, 1999

307 Why did Slobo Cave? (VI) ... What If He Didn't?, August 16, 1999

Good Guys vs. Bad Guys … or … Finding a Starting Point for Moral Crusading in the Balkans, August 10, 1999


Why Did Slobo Cave (V)? Did the Russians Pull NATO's Fat Out of the Fire … or … the Question of Grand Strategy? August 6, 1999


Email from Bill in Kosovo, August 2, 1999


Why did Slobo Cave? (III)—How fake guns and painting the roads fooled NATO: Yugoslav Army and Air Force Left Kosovo Almost Intact,  June 29, 1999


BALKAN PRIMER (VII)—The Perils of Decentralization in the Balkans Hornet's Nest, June 16, 1999


NATO's Time Squeeze, May 31, 1999


The Serbo-NATO War—Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?  May 12, 1999

270 Should NATO Launch a Ground Offensive ... or ... How Tough do the Serbs Have To Be? May 10, 1999

Driving Bill and Madeline Bananas, April 28, 1999


Balkan Primer (VI)—Kosovo: Looking Backward into Looking Glass World All its Own, April 22, 1999


Balkan Primer (V) - Redrawing the Cells in a Hornets Nest ... or ... the Case for a Declaration on War, April 21, 1999


Options for Kosovo (IV) — More on the Case Against Partition, April 20, 1999


Options for Kosovo (III) — A Case Against Partition and the Question of a Religious War for a Greater Albania, April 20, 1999


Options for Kosovo (II) — A Case for Partition, April 19, 1999


Balkan Primer (IV) - The KLA and the Tangled Web We Weave, April 18, 1999


Mistrust, Careerism, and the Loss of the Warrior Ethos … or Why One Lieutenant is Leaving the Navy, April 17, 1999


Options for Kosovo (I) — A Case for Mediation, April 17, 1999


Balkan Primer III — Kosovo Fallout:  Ethnic Tensions Rising in Vojvodina, April 14, 1999

257 Comparative Air Power Inputs — Kosovo vs. Iraq (1991), April 13, 1999

German Antiguerrilla Operations in the Balkans (1941-1944)  April 6, 1999


Balkan Primer (II) - 1987 Yugoslavia Sitrep, April 6, 1999


BALKAN PRIMER (I)  April 5, 1999


A Balkan Sun Tzu vs. the NATO Clausewitz: A Tentative Interpretation of the Serbo - NATO War, April 4, 1999


INTERVENTION IN KOSOVO: Can Airpower Pull America's Fat out of the Fire, April 1, 1999


CERTAIN TO WIN: The Strategy of John Boyd, Applied to Business, by Chet Richards. Boyd's real OODA loop and ancient strategies working for business today. More...
Advance Reviews;
Amazon and B&N


RAISING THE BAR, by Donald Vandergriff (U.S. Army, ret.) Published by the Center for Defense Information Press. Read the DNI review. Order from Amazon.


SCIENCE, STRATEGY AND WAR, by Col Frans Osinga, RNAF. Read the DNI Review.  Order from Amazon or B&N. New! Now in paperback directly from Routledge, $35.95.


NEITHER SHALL THE SWORD, by Chet Richards.  If you thought A Swift, Elusive Sword was too tame.  Read the Introduction and view the Briefing. Podcast review.  Available now on Amazon


BOYD: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram
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BLUEPRINT FOR ACTION : A Future Worth Creating, by Thomas P. M. Barnett. Read the DNI review. Buy at Amazon and B&N


NOT A GOOD DAY TO DIE: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda, by Sean Naylor. Read the DNI Review; Amazon and B&N


THE WASTRELS OF DEFENSE: How Congress Sabotages U. S. Security by Winslow Wheeler.  You'll be disgusted, then just mad.
Read Comment #527.
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THE AFGHAN CAMPAIGN, by Steven Pressfield.  Read the DNI Review. Amazon and B&N.


The Virtues of War by Steven Pressfield
Read the DNI Review.
Amazon and B&N. Now in trade paperback.


The Sling and The Stone by Col T. X. Hammes, USMC
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