The RAND Corporation. February 10, 2014.

RAND conducted a lessons learned examination of operations analysis, modeling, and simulation in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. This report identifies ways in which analysts have attempted to support commanders’ decisions in counterinsurgency and irregular warfare, describes many of the models and tools they employed, provides insight into the challenges they faced, and suggests ways in which the application of modeling, simulation, and analysis might be improved for current and future operations. RAND identified four broad categories of decisions: force protection, logistics, campaign assessment, and force structuring. Modeling, simulation, and analysis were most effective in supporting force protection and logistics decisions, and least effective in supporting campaign assessment and force structuring. [Note: contains copyrighted material]. [PDF format, 193 pages].

The Brookings Institution. September 18, 2013.

With a number of crises in the Middle East developing with ever greater intensity, many Americans wish to turn inward. While the Obama administration wishes to turn eastward toward Asia and the Pacific, the problems of the Middle East will not allow it. Amid debates over Middle East policy, Iraq is a recurring subject. It is used as a warning, as a specter and even as a curse. Rarely is it cast as a U.S. interest, let alone as an ally. Yet Iraq is suffering its own crises, and it is largely forced to weather them alone. Buffeted by the events in the wider region, struggling with its own internal fissures, Iraq soldiers on. [Note: contains copyrighted material]. [Audio format, 01:58:53].

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Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). May 10, 2013.

From the crucible of more than a  decade of continuous combat operations, Special Operations Forces (SOF) have emerged as one of the most cost-effective “weapons systems” in the U.S. military arsenal and a major source of strategic advantage for the nation. How can the United States capitalize on such development and extend the SOF’s strategic advantage well into the future? [Note: contains copyrighted material]. [PDF format, 144 pages].

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR). March 2013.

Learning From Iraq importantly captures the effects of the rebuilding program as derived from 44 interviews with the recipients (the Iraqi leadership), the executors (U.S. senior leaders), and the providers (congressional members). These interviews piece together an instructive picture of what was the largest stabilization and reconstruction operation ever undertaken by the United States (until recently overtaken by Afghanistan). [HTML format].

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Congressional Research Service. November 9, 2012. 

Iraq’s stability is threatened by a breakdown in relations among major political factions, a continuing insurgency by Sunni Muslims who resent Shiite political domination, and spillover from increasingly sectarian conflict in Syria. The continuing violence and governmental dysfunctions have called into question the legacy of U.S. involvement in Iraq. [PDF format, 56 pages].

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