I have just completed a book review of Vanya Eftimova Bellinger’s biography of Marie von Clausewitz, which you can check out on H-War very soon. For a variety of reasons, I was keen to write this review. First, it was a work of military history by a woman and about a woman. Given how infrequently that happens, it was important to me to interact with the work intellectually and professionally. Second, although not officially a Clausewitzian, my thesis focused on strategic culture and I have worked in academic strategy at regular intervals both in the civilian and military schoolhouses. But the most compelling issue to me was the unshakeable identification with Marie. As I have written elsewhere I was for a long time a military spouse. And so I felt strongly that I would have something particular to offer to the discussion of this biography.
Since the attacks of 9/11 there has been much research and policy work done on ungoverned spaces. An early discussion of ungoverned spaces occurred in February, 2004 when the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, provided a statement for the record to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence . His 2004 definition of the term spoke to “geographic areas where governments do not exercise effective control….Terrorist groups and narco-traffickers use these areas as sanctuaries to train, plan and organize, relatively free from interference.” From a U.S. perspective, the idea that ungoverned spaces pose a threat to U.S. interests is continued today in the 2015 U.S. National Security Strategy  which states that “[a]n array of terrorist threats has gained traction in areas of instability, limited opportunity, and broken governance.” This article will discuss the term ungoverned spaces; what it means, its ties to human nature, how ungoverned spaces in and of themselves are not a threat, as well as outline a broad concept for action and identify one additional consideration.
Lynnette Bukowski joins me to discuss LZ Grace Warriors Retreat in the latest episode of the Covert Contact podcast. Lynnette, and many volunteers, have transformed a 38 acre farm in Virginia Beach into a place for members of the special operations community and first responders to decompress and recharge. Lynnette shares the story of her husband, a Navy SEAL, and we discuss some of the unique challenges the she faces in supporting who are accustomed to serving, and often suffering, in silence.
The episode closes out with another update on Russia, and their involvement with Hezbollah, from William Tucker.
Visit Covert Contact to listen as Phil Walter joins me to talk about his transition from the the battlefield, to home, and eventually into a role where he has the opportunity to work on national security policy.
I’m thankful to Phil for sharing his personal story because I think it might help others who are finding it difficult to adjust to life after war. But even if you aren’t a veteran, and even if you aren’t struggling, there’s something to learn here.
Phil has served in the military, the intelligence community, and the inter-agency. His written works are catalogued on Storify and archived at www.philwalter1058.com. I highly recommend them if you are at all interested in national security issues. You can follow him on Twitter @philwalter1058 and he is a member of the Military Writer’s Guild.
Phil’s “War and the New Normal” series that was featured on this podcast was originally published on the blog Point of Decision.
The views expressed here are those of the author alone and do not contain information of an official nature.