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Larry Lewis
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In 2012, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey called for the U.S. military to “learn the lessons from the past decade of operations.” The Joint Staff conducted a study and produced what is commonly known as the “Decade of War Report,” which summarized key lessons from U.S. military operations since 2001. The report’s findings are relevant to the current Department of Defense (DOD) initiative of crafting and implementing a new approach to countering ISIS in response to the Trump administration’s executive order from January 2017 (included in the Appendix).

This paper takes six of the report’s lessons—on understanding the environment, rethinking the conventional warfare paradigm, leveraging strategic communications to achieve operational goals, managing transitions, and building effective coalitions—and applies them to the  Counter-ISIS campaign. Learning from and incorporating these lessons will help the United States and its partners promote sustainable
security, counter ISIS more effectively, and reduce the risk of mistakes and missed opportunities observed in earlier U.S. operations in Iraq that contributed to the rise of ISIS in the first place. 

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DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release: distribution unlimited.


  • Pages: 22
  • Document Number: DOP-2017-U-015519-Final
  • Publication Date: 5/31/2017
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