The Expedition to Capture Pancho Villa

July 21, 2016

In March 1916, Mexican revolutionary Francisco “Pancho” Villa and his band of hundreds of Villistas mounted a cross-border raid on Columbus, New Mexico. A U.S. military squadron repelled the invasion of American territory. Further retaliatory steps were taken immediately. President Woodrow Wilson sent Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing and about 10,000 men on the mission to capture Villa.

The U.S. campaign to apprehend Villa and defend the border is the subject of “The Mexican Expedition, 1916–1917,” a new publication from the U.S. Army’s Center of Military History.

008-029-00600-6The Mexican Expedition, 1916–1917

Author Julie Irene Prieto argues that while Villa’s raid on Columbus was a failure, “it constituted a startling political and strategic victory for the rebel leader.” He had begun to chip away at Mexican president Venustiano Carranza’s pro-U.S. regime. Meanwhile, Pershing’s forces moved into the Chihuahua region, dead set on dismantling the rebel general’s army. Over the course of several months, dozens of minor skirmishes played out across Northern Mexico.

Pancho Villa, military leader of rebel forces during the Mexican Revolution and considered a bandit by Americans in the wake of the raid on Columbus, New Mexico (Library of Congress)

Pancho Villa, military leader of rebel forces during the Mexican Revolution and considered a bandit by Americans in the wake of the raid on Columbus, New Mexico (Library of Congress)

There are several reasons why this operation is so notable. Northern Mexico’s punishing terrain and diplomatic hostility tested the mettle of Pershing and “proved his worth as a field commander.” As for the cavalrymen, Prieto writes that they “employed skills and strategies developed…on frontier campaigns…and in warfare against irregular, guerrilla forces.” The author continues, “This was to be one of the last operations to employ these methods of warfare and one of the first to rely extensively on trucks. It also provided a testing ground for another new technology—the airplane.” Furthermore, such valuable experience in new technologies provided battle-ready conditioning prior to U.S. entry into World War I the following year.

Soldiers of the 16th Infantry around a campfire at San Gerónimo, Mexico, May 1916 (Library of Congress)

Soldiers of the 16th Infantry around a campfire at San Gerónimo, Mexico, May 1916 (Library of Congress)

Carranza viewed the U.S. intervention as a violation of Mexican sovereignty. Official Mexican troops charged with beating back Villa’s guerrillas in Chihuahua eventually clashed with U.S. troops. This presented a very real threat of war between the U.S. and Mexico. President Wilson called a National Guard unit to the Mexican border. Their teeth-bearing exercise sent a stern warning to President Carranza, who ordered his men to back down. U.S.-Mexico diplomatic relations carried on despite the near-showdown but suffered over the long-term because of it.

Did Pershing’s so-called Punitive Expedition successfully capture or kill Pancho Villa? You’ll just have to read The Mexican Expedition, 1916–1917 to find out.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.

 


The Civil War’s Almost Forgotten Theater

June 22, 2016

Although the American Civil War took place over 150 years ago, there is STILL plenty to learn about the bloodiest war in U.S. history. One particularly under-discussed chapter involves the vast Trans-Mississippi West. Where exactly is that, you ask? The Trans-Mississippi West refers to all major military operations west of the Mississippi River but excluding the states and territories bordering the Pacific Ocean.

GPO makes available a U.S. Army Center of Military History short study, authored by Jeffery S. Prushankin, fittingly titled “The Civil War in the Trans-Mississippi Theater.”

008-029-00592-1The Civil War in the Trans-Mississippi Theater

The long and costly struggle between industrial North and agricultural South, “half slave and half free,” spilled into lands west of the Mississippi. The region witnessed approximately 130 battles stretching from New Mexico to New Orleans and Fort Brown to Fort Leavenworth. It saw small-scale military actions at Wilson’s Creek, Prairie Grove, and Galveston, among others. Although “often neglected in history books,” argues Prushankin, “the Trans-Mississippi Theater played an important role in the Civil War.”

The theater presented the Union with strategic terrain for projecting its military power. President Abraham Lincoln considered it a campaign to control arable (and gold-filled) land, pacify Western denizens, and eliminate a possible Confederate stronghold.  He knew such a primitive frontier would be hard-won. Over the course of the war, his War Department marshalled some 200,000 Union soldiers to the hardscrabble landscapes of New Mexico, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.

civil_war_map1

Trans-Mississippi Theater 1861-1865

The book devotes several pages to the Red River expedition, a.k.a. the struggle for Louisiana and Texas, which took place in the spring of 1864. The Federal campaign through the Red River Valley intended to open up a Union path for a Texas invasion. But commanding officer Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks bungled almost every maneuver and eventually retreated his 30,000 troops in humiliation. Although the initiative did cause a “disruption of Confederate designs,” it didn’t do much to sway the war’s outcome.

The Red River Expedition, Louisiana and Texas, 1864. (Library of Congress)

The Red River Expedition, Louisiana and Texas, 1864. (Library of Congress)

That Union debacle eventually gave way to Price’s Raid. Three gory, inconclusive years and Lincoln’s looming reelection sent Southern leaders into a panic. They believed that to save their cause, they would have to re-capture Missouri for the Confederacy. During the fall of 1864, Confederate cavalry raided Missouri and Kansas. Long story short, Union troops delivered a decisive blow. Price’s ineffectual raid effectively ended major combat operations in the Trans-Mississippi.

Much of Civil War history remains focused on events east of the Mississippi. Ultimately, the Trans-Mississippi closedown was not a “winner, winner, chicken dinner” pivot for the Union. Perhaps it will remain a forgettable theatre in an unforgettable war. But the Trans-Mississippi did allow the North to prove itself a better organized, better led army. And that certainly was a leading factor in the Union’s overall victory.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


The U.S. & India: Bilateral Buddies

May 23, 2016

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited with President Barack Obama for the first time in September 2014. The bilateral talks between the two heads of state reaffirmed the long-standing alliance between India and the United States. At the conclusion of that historic visit, Modi remarked:

“India and the United States are natural global partners based on our shared values, interests, and strengths in the digital age.  We already have the foundation of a strong partnership.  We now have to revive the momentum and ensure that we get the best out of it for our people and for the world.”

The U.S. Government partners with India to address cross-cutting development challenges and champion innovative, in-country development. One report from U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute reflects upon the strategic cooperation behind this natural friendship.

The U.S.-India Relationship: Cross-Sector Collaboration to Promote Sustainable Development

U.S.-India economic and people-to-people ties are strong and more enmeshed than ever. This volume looks at how both powers are concerned with a broad range of engagement issues: energy, climate change, defense, trade, health, and social innovation. How do these policy priorities fit together for the sake of shared national interests? The answer is cross-sector collaboration—government, private, and civil sectors working transparently on public problems.

008-000-01121-4Over two dozen experienced scholars, businesspeople, and government officials weigh in on the structure, process, and subtleties of cross-sector collaboration with theoretical papers, opinion pieces, and case studies. One contributor, Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, argues, “cross-sector collaboration can be particularly fruitful in the interaction of the two great democracies like India and the United States.” But to “make a collaborative initiative successful,” writes Michael J. Frantantuono, the two countries must acknowledge the “necessity of investing time and effort in understanding the partner.”

Another big issue involves the primacy of sustainable development vs. human security. The two don’t vacillate on parallel, separate spectrums. Each concept plays into each other and cannot be detached. Nor should sustainable development and security be promoted at the expense of vulnerable populations. Cross-sector collaboration is presented as a means to reconcile this.

The text’s discourse shows how cross-sector collaboration can be a way forward for sustainable development and security.  And, of course, Obama-Modi diplomacy gives energy and purpose to this joint pursuit. Perhaps, in time, the U.S.-India bilateral relationship can be scaled outward as a model, one that shows how global interdependence confronts the most pressing challenges of our time.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Military Transportation: “Nothing Happens Until Something Moves”

May 13, 2016

There’s a lot happening in terms of transportation this month. May 16-22 is National Transportation Week, an opportunity to celebrate the community of transportation professionals who keep our country moving. In addition, the third Friday of May is National Defense Transportation Day. And throughout 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Transportation infrastructure is quite literally the foundation of our country. Interstate highway trucks and freight trains get people and products where they need to go. Across bridges, along rail lines, and through tunnels, transport mobility is a part of life. And it’s also critical for modern Army readiness. In fact, there is a little known unit specializing in rapid troop and cargo delivery to distant theaters. It’s called the U.S. Army Transportation Corps.

008-029-00597-2Spearhead of Logistics: A History of the United States Army Transportation Corps

This U.S. Army Center of Military History text chronicles over 200 years of U.S. military transportation. The “need to organize, control, equip, and man transportation resources” became evident during the Revolutionary War. Borrowing from the organized transport network of the merchant class, the Continental Congress authorized a Quartermaster General to contribute logistical support—mostly in the form of horses and river boats—to Revolutionary forces. Since then, every war, expeditionary operation, and worldwide commitment has been supported by what eventually became the Transportation Corps of today.

Corps history is in step with the timeline of transportation growth. Steamboats in the Mexican War. Locomotives in the Civil War. Wagons in the Spanish-American War. Transport from this era “was the prototype of that required for a modern war in the Industrial Revolution.” Army transportation matured dramatically with wartime demands. Troop movement in both world wars required considerable coordination. Motor vehicles were first employed in World War I when “truck convoys [carried] supplies from the ports to the forward areas.” Horsepower was officially out and “animal power would never again be a major consideration for the U.S. Army.”

SPEARHEAD OF LOGICITICS (002)

Forty men and eight horses. U.S. troops on their way to the trenches, 1918. Excerpt from publication.

When the world once again charged into a world war, the U.S. military expanded its transport mission. As it was “the first time U.S. troops were deployed throughout the world,” all ground and water transportation reorganized under one agency, the Transportation Corps. The newly formalized unit brought military might to bear in the beachhead landing on Normandy, campaign into the heart of Nazi Germany, MacArthur’s assaults in the Pacific theater, and the Berlin Airlift.

With continued speed and efficiency, the Transportation Corps sustained a massive combat force in Desert Storm. In a seven-month period, Corps officers participated in the “largest battlefield movement ever recorded for the time allotted.” Sea port and airlift operations and movement of “combat force[s] into attack positions…was one of the most significant achievements in the history of the Transportation Corps.”

us-armyThe Transportation Corps has embraced new technology and provided orderly service to the mission of defense. Without Army transport, personnel, equipment, and supplies would be immobilized. The book ends with an Albert Einstein quote that perfectly describes the Corps: “nothing happens until something moves.”

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS MILITARY HISTORY PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Los Zetas: Mexico’s Most Feared Drug Cartel

April 11, 2016
Copyright free photo of El Chapo

Copyright free photo of El Chapo

El Chapo. A household name that sends a paralysis of fear through many who hear it. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is the toppled drug kingpin who heads the Sinaloa Cartel in absentia. The notorious druglord’s capture, jailbreak, and recapture made headlines over the past year. Although the crime boss is behind bars, the dramatic and deadly exploits of Mexican drug cartels are far from over. Sinaloa’s archrival, Los Zetas, is a pillar of the narco-violence underworld. GPO makes available a U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institution (SSI) publication on the evolution of the most vicious drug-trafficking organization in Mexico.

In “The Evolution of Los Zetas in Mexico and Central America: Sadism as an Instrument of Cartel Warfare,” SSI expert George G. Grayson charts Los Zetas ruthless rise to prominence. Once a counter-narcotics paramilitary outfit, core members deserted the Mexican Army in the late 1990s. They morphed into a new organization and soon built a savage reputation. Los Zetas “not only traffic in drugs, murder, kidnap, and raid PEMEX [Petróleos Mexicanos] but also involve themselves in extortion, human smuggling, torture, money laundering, prostitution, arson, prison breakouts, murder for hire, and other felonies.”

008-000-01085-4Zeta influence spans most of Central America. From its base in Nuevo Laredo, “the largest commercial portal joining Mexico to its northern neighbor,” the Zeta brand of cruelty is trending throughout Mexico and bleeding out elsewhere. Borderland bloodshed gives Los Zetas a launchpad for U.S. incursions. At this point, most criminal activity remains south of the border. Not a exactly a safe place to be an American. Grayson writes that narco-violence is tied to 684 U.S. citizen deaths in Mexico from 2002-2012—“40 percent of American violent deaths worldwide in this period.”

Other cartels are copycatting Zeta-style cutthroat tactics. Grayson calls it the “Zetanization” of Mexico’s explosive drug war. The use of retributive, gruesome practices—that include butcherings, beheadings, and stewing foes in boiling gasoline vats—advances the mafioso agenda and solidifies territorial claims. Los Zeta’s tight grip is secured with brutal leadership, publicity ploys, and fresh teenage recruits.

“The Evolution of Los Zetas” shows how the cartel has transformed itself from ragtag bandits into a cash-flush, heinous crime syndicate. The White House branded it “a unique and extraordinary threat to the stability of international economies and political systems.” Los Zetas is truly a menace. Drug enforcement agencies want to eliminate it. Adversarial cartels want to overtake it. Mexican citizens just want to stop being terrorized by it.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


How the Army Cares for Its Warriors

April 5, 2016

April 6 is the anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I. It’s also Army Day, a time to appreciate our national defense and support military preparedness. Nothing bolsters those two things better than a healthy, ready soldier force. GPO makes available several resources for warrior rehabilitation and transition professionals.

9780160926761Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation Toolkit

In this U.S. Army Medical Department’s Borden Institute publication, rehabilitation professionals review the best research-driven treatment practices for concussions, or mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI). Recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan prompted the military’s rehabilitative community to advance care excellence for service members with mTBIs. Concussions are sustained on and off the battlefield, thus, post-concussive clinical guidance is ever more imperative. Although this work of clinicians and therapists is intended for clinicians and therapists, the research on balance, vision, post-traumatic headache, cognition, fitness and other functions is an education for non-medical types as well. This toolkit is evidence of “significant contributions to the recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration of Service Members who are symptomatic after sustaining an mTBI.” It’s an “Army strong” addition to the medical body of knowledge.

9780160893667Warrior Transition Leader: Medical Rehabilitation Handbook

The U.S. Army has a comprehensive rehabilitation and reintegration system for what it terms Warriors in Transition (WTs). In the words of the Warrior Transition Command mission, Army healthcare professionals “establish conditions for healing and promote the timely return to the force or transition to civilian life.” This Army medicine handbook charts the modern soldier rehabilitation practices. Several chapters address the essential topics of military-related disability rights, self-medication and suicide risks, assistive technologies, and resilience development. Accounts from real soldiers show that  “wounded, injured, and ill” service member care is focused, collaborative, and innovative. Engagement of soldiers and family throughout transition and rehabilitation programs certifies this system’s world-class status.

008-000-01151-6A Shared Burden: The Military and Civilian Consequences of Army Pain Management Since 2001

According to author Craig Trebilcock, “the Army has an opioid drug problem.” It’s not a simply a matter of recreational misuse or delinquent soldiers. Prescription opioid pain medications do have a legitimate rehabilitative application. However, usage tracking is failing and knowledge gaps need patching up. This U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute paper gives Army leadership “a new way of thinking about…impact on combat readiness and civil-military relations.” A survey of senior officers reveals that greater opioid medication monitoring, training, and education is one strategy for consideration. Just as service doesn’t end when a solider becomes a veteran, medical monitoring and rehabilitation should accompany veterans for the long-term. To contravene the impact of opioid dependency on civilian society, military policy needs to proactively address this “shared burden.”

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Here’s Lookin’ at You, Hard Power

March 29, 2016

Since World War II, the worldwide presence of the United States has been reinforced by the allied military network it maintains. As a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, the same can be said of U.S. security partners. In “A Hard Look at Hard Power,” thirteen U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) expert contributors address the question: “is that bargain unraveling?”

Source: archive.defense.gov

Source: archive.defense.gov

This essay collection examines the “economy of force” and “collective security” that key allies bring to the American geopolitical board game. Coalition members provide “hard power” capabilities and share the burden of reduced military spending. A multilateral cooperative of “like-minded liberal governments confers a degree of legitimacy on such operations that unilateral action is short of.” But as the essayists point out, this defense arrangement is enfeebled.

Much of the analysis points to shrinking defense forces and budgets in countries like Italy, Australia, Germany, and Great Britain. Country-specific chapters show public support for increased social spending. Maintaining modern military readiness just doesn’t receive the same backing. Much of Europe and elsewhere seems in a state of “strategic ambivalence.” Soft power is the force majeure. Hard power is softening.

a hard look at hard power_coverThe book details examples of other allies who are experiencing war power evolution and shifting power balances. Poland is boosting its regional defense capabilities. South Korea faces the advancing North Korean threat at its doorstep. Taiwan postures itself in the direction of China. Japan is undertaking ambitious military reforms for a greater strategic role. All the while, the NATO alliance force-structure is evolving.

Editor Gary J. Schmitt frames the challenge as “the absence of military capabilities or the strategy to deploy them effectively [that] can create regional dynamics that invite instability.” For the U.S. to understand allied military capability, there must be a frank discussion about what must be done to get the right resources on the table and the right forces at the table. Hard power shortcomings are everywhere. The U.S. multilateral defense network needs its friends now more than ever.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


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