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Harlan K. Ullman

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Commander Harlan K. Ullman, USN (ret.) “is a political author, commentator, and a retired United States Naval Commander. He is an advisor to government and the private sector and is active in transformation both of business and the Department of Defense. Ullman is known as a developer of the doctrine of Shock and Awe."

Commander Harlan K. Ullman is the author of In Harm's Way: American Seapower and the 21st Century; Finishing Business: 10 Steps to Defeat Global Terror; Owls and Eagles: Ending the Foreign Policy Flights of Fancy of Hawks, Doves, and Neo-Cons; America's Promise Restored: Preventing Culture, Crusade, and Partisanship from Wrecking Our Nation; and, In Irons: U.S. Military Might in the New Century.  He is also a co-author of Future Imperative: National Security and the U.S. Navy in the Late 1980s and Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance.

Publisher’s Weekly said of Finishing Business: 10 Steps to Defeat Global Terror, “A retired naval officer and current Washington Times national security analyst offers a cogent sequel to his Unfinished Business; where the former dealt with the war in Afghanistan, this one covers Iraq. Ullman offers a number of specific suggestions for gaining ground, the first of which is to acknowledge that the war is primarily against Islamist factions, and not against generalized "terror." Doing so requires that the U.S. take the threatened position of Pakistan more seriously and support its present regime more vigorously, lest it be overthrown by the "jihadists," who will thereby acquire a substantial nuclear arsenal and a much more developed power base than Iraq could ever have given them. Thirdly, Ullman suggests a massive international program of economic and political assistance to Iraq, comparable to the Marshall Plan or, domestically, to the GI Bill. Fourth, Congress is to be held more accountable for its failures—which does not lead to Ullman's exculpating the executive or judiciary branches from crimes, errors and misdemeanors. Newt Gingrich's foreword and Wesley Clark's afterword contribute to an atmosphere of collegiality; Ullman's two cents fall in with others this autumn contributing less partisan perspectives.”


One reader of Finishing Business: 10 Steps to Defeat Global Terror said, “The theme of the book is far different, far more wide ranging and comprehensive than most of the writing on the subject, far more than television coverage shows, and infinitely more than the gibberish that was the election rhetoric.


The book says that the War on Terror, like our Wars on drugs, poverty, crime and other social ills is so far a war on symptoms, not on a cause. And unless some dramatic changes in the thought processes of those in charge, is likely to be just as ineffective. Dr. Ullman defines the danger as Jihadist Extremism, a polititial ideology just as Bolshevism or Nazism, with a thin veneer of religion that is intent on establishing some form of a fundamentalist state backed by Saudi oil money, with an almost unlimited supply of radical young men from Africa to Indonesia, and potentially with nuclear weapons from the Pakistani arsenal.


To fight such forces will require a fundamental change in the way the United States and the rest of the world addresses the problem. To go on further would require that this review be nearly as long as the book itself. Let me just conclude that this book has the ring of George Kennan, Paul Nitze, Herman Kahn and Henry Kissinger in their early days of defining the danger of the post World War II Soviet Union. The country will ignore this book at its peril.”


According to the book description of Owls and Eagles: Ending the Foreign Policy Flights of Fancy of Hawks, Doves, and Neo-Cons, “Owls and Eagles is a powerful, brilliant, and insightful collection of columns that casts in the harsh light of reality the challenges, dangers, mistakes, and opportunities this nation faces regarding the war on terror and what must be done if we are to prevail. Critical in the sense of making objective analysis and offering alternative policies, Harlan K. Ullman provides a must-read for any one interested in the future security of the United States.”


According to the book description of In Irons: U.S. Military Might in the New Century, “This volume addresses the question of "how much defense is enough", in the post-Cold War world. The end of the Cold War has led to major reductions in the military might of the former adversaries. For the moment, although the United States is reducing its Cold War active-duty force of 2.2 million to about 1.4 million and yearly defense budget of $300 billion to about $250 billion, the Clinton administration has pledged that this force will remain "the best-equipped, best-trained, and best-prepared in the world". This book warns that, unless the United States takes powerful remedial action, or is very lucky, this pledge cannot be met. The author's concern is that because of domestic, structural and governance issues within the United States, the future could see a smaller, weaker American military, an overly expensive defense infrastructure, with the possibility of serious consequences arising from this decline in strength.”


Wade R. Sanders, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy said of America's Promise Restored: Preventing Culture, Crusade, and Partisanship from Wrecking Our Nation, “In Dr. Ullman's view government is broken and, unless it is fixed, we face a dismal future. While addressing the damage being rendered to our country by extremist partisan politics, Dr. Ullman once again demonstrates his willingness to enter arenas rife with highly complex and emotional issues and his ability to effectively address same. While defending the necessity and value of vigorous debate and differing points of view, he adroitly examines the damage being done to our society when personal agendas trump common sense in matters of profound importance to the survival of our democracy. He correctly characterizes this steady deterioration of effective governance as a major national security threat: perhaps the greatest we have faced in our nation's history. While our elected officials bicker and carp, critical domestic and global issues impacting our daily lives remain unresolved. In essence, Ullman is calling for an energizing of the electorate through mandatory voting, and for the politicians they elect to put the common good above re-election. No Pollyanna, he understands that a total reconciliation of the political and personal agendas of our elected and appointed officials is beyond reality. However, he does provide a path to better government, a government where substance holds sway over venomous rhetoric.”

Unfinished Business: Afghanistan, the Middle East and Beyond--Defusing the Dangers That Threatenamerica's Security
Harlan Ullman  More Info

Owls and Eagles: Ending the Foreign Policy Flights of Fancy of Hawks, Doves, and Neo-Cons
Harlan K. Ullman  More Info

America's Promise Restored: Preventing Culture, Crusade and Partisanship from Wrecking Our Nation
Harlan Ullman  More Info

Finishing Business: Ten Steps To Defeat Global Terror
Harlan Ullman  More Info

Shock and Awe
Harlan K. Ullman  More Info
In Irons: U.S. Military Might in the New Century
Harlan K. Ullman  More Info
In Harm's Way: American Seapower and the 21st Century
Harlan K. Ullman  More Info
Facing the future: Key issues confronting the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps (CNA discussion group series)
Harlan Ullman  More Info
Unfinished Business : Afghanistan, the Middle East and Beyond--Defusing the Dangers that Threaten America's Security
Harlan Kenneth Ullman  More Info

One reader of Shock and Awe said, Firstly, Shock and Awe is NOT an endorsement of a disregard for civilian casualties. It is an offshoot of the modern US military policy to ensure overwhelming force for any campaign, a tenet of the so called Powell Doctrine. Shock and Awe extends the idea of force to include knowledge of the environment. Technology now allows us almost immediate information about all aspects of the battlefield. This should allow very rapid dominance in such a case. Rapid dominance, in concert with various psychological operations and non lethal weapons used to created confusion (E-bombs), can quickly destroy the enemies will to resist. Indeed, if the appropriate awe is achieved in the enemy very quickly, loss of life for both sides can be reduced.

Now, can it work? I don't know but I think it's very interesting. I do very much suspect that when the conditions are met, less lives will be loss as a result of such an attack. I'd rather have the will to fight completely drained from the enemy by the display of overwhelming force coming from all directions and all at once than have them dead. I certainly would rather have that than more of my own dead. The older model of slow, steady attrition is very brutal and takes a huge toll in loss of life.

Also, as the book points out, the German Blitzkrieg was not an example of shock and awe. It was not a massive offensive against a broad front but rather a narrowly, highly concentrated use of force against weak points in opposing positions.


According to the book description of America's Promise Restored: Preventing Culture, Crusade, and Partisanship from Wrecking Our Nation, “America's Promise Restored is by one of America's foremost military and political thinkers. It shows how, if left unchecked, America’s current political culture and historical capacity for crusade — motivated and corrupted by ideology — will prove far more destructive than all of Bin Laden’s devilish intentions.


Contemporary American politics is destroying America’s relevance and influence abroad and its democratic values at home. This book shows how these forces evolved and have been transformed, fragmented, and perverted such that America has been broken by old political mindsets and harsh partisanship; how religion, ideological overtones, and excesses prevent rational policy. We also see that the forces threatening American democracy are an "antique" form of government that seems to be in permanent gridlock since it is driven, distorted and corrupted by self-interest. These things have engaged the nation in the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time, as well as having intruded across inviolable political boundaries; and an extraordinarily dangerous yet misunderstood threat that can draw on tens of millions of converts — many of whom are prepared to die in the process of imposing a political-theological regime on a region rich in oil with access to nuclear weapons.

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