A Losing Record


Spotted an article today on the History New Network (HNN): Win, Lose, or Draw?

This got my attention because I have outlined a book I may start work on next year (2017) called Future American Wars: Understanding the Next Twenty Years. This book is intended to complete a trio of books, one on understanding insurgencies (American’s Modern Wars), one on understanding conventional combat (War by Numbers — release date still August 2017) and this one covering the situation going forward.

My opening chapter is called: A Losing Record.

What they are recording in this article is that:

  1. For conventional conflict we have 3 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie.
  2. For other conflicts (what they call the “gray zone”) there are 9 wins, 8 losses and 42 draws.

Anyhow, haven’t checked the individual cases, and in some cases it depends on how your interpret win, lose and draw; but it does bring out a fundamental problem that I was partly trying to address in America’s Modern Wars, which is our track record in these conflicts is not great. My book primarily focused on Iraq and Afghanistan, which I why I felt I needed to third book to cover all the other cases of interventions, peacekeeping operations, and so forth.

Anyhow, the SOCOM briefing chart can be blown up to large size and is definitely worth looking at.


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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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