Is America Buried in the Graveyard of Empires?
A military planner/strategist often contends with the fact that much of what they do ends up on a shelf as a plan, only for use when needed. Most of the time these plans are not needed; and it’s equally important to know that we don’t want them to be needed. For when they are, something bad has happened. During my time as an officer in the United States Army, I served for a time as an operational and strategic planner, and often drew the task of writing plans in support of Noncombatant Evacuation Operations (NEO). Some of those plans were specifically built for Afghanistan while I worked out of a Bagram headquarters in 2011. Like many veterans and those still on active duty, I never thought the world would witness the catastrophic collapse of Afghanistan in less than two weeks. It’s a rare moment when the best laid plans are impacted by decisions no planner can control or contemplate.