Showing posts from January, 2016

Lt Gen David Deptula on Desert Storm and Islamic State

This weekend Vago Muradian interviewed Lt Gen (ret) David Deptula, most famous for his involvement as a key planner for the Desert Storm air campaign. I recommend watching the entire video, which is less than 8 minutes long. Three aspects caught my attention. I will share them here. First, Lt Gen Deptula said that Desert Storm introduced five changes to the character of warfare. I noted that he used the term "character," and not "nature." If you are a student of warfare and/or strategy, you are most likely in the camp that says warfare has an unchanging nature, although its character can change. This is the Clausewitz legacy. A minority camp argues that warfare can change both nature and character. Second, turning to the five changes introduced by Desert Storm, Lt Gen Deptula listed the following. 1. Desert Storm introduced "expectations of low casualties, for both sides ." I agree with the expectation of low casualties for the US, but I don'

Why a War Studies PhD?

When I begin receiving multiple questions on a topic, it's a signal that I should write a blog post. Several of you have asked me about my experience as a PhD candidate in the King's College London Department of War Studies . In this post I will try to answer your questions by explaining how I got to this point and my overall impressions about the program. My Academic Background I have bachelor's of science degrees in history and political science from the US Air Force Academy, and a master's degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. My last formal academic training ended in 1997 when I graduated from the Air Force Intelligence Officers Training Course. Why a PhD? I seriously began considering working on my PhD in 2006, when I was an independent consultant. I've guest lectured at dozens of schools over the years, and taught hundreds of students through my Black Hat courses. I thought the PhD experience would open more doors for future acad

Happy 13th Birthday TaoSecurity Blog

Today, 8 January 2016, is the 13th birthday of  TaoSecurity Blog ! This is also my 3,000th blog post. I wrote my  first post  on 8 January 2003 while working as an incident response consultant for Foundstone. Kevin Mandia was my boss. Today I am starting my third year as Chief Security Strategist at  FireEye , still working for Kevin Mandia. (It's a small world. In April I will hit my five year anniversary with the Mandiant part of FireEye.) In 2015 my blogging frequency increased dramatically, with 55 posts, more than double my 2014 total of 23 and triple my 2013 output of 18. In 2012 I posted 60 stories, so I was close to that level in 2015. It's still nothing like my writing from 2003-2011 however! Why the drop over the years? I "blame" my  @taosecurity  Twitter account. With almost 36,000 followers, easy posting from mobile devices, and greater interactivity, Twitter is an addictive platform. I have authored roughly 16,000 Tweets since first posting in July

2014-2015 Professional Reading Round-Up

At an earlier point in my career, I used to read a lot of technical security books. From 2006 to 2012 I published a series of Best Book Bejtlich Read posts. Beginning in 2013 I became much more interested in military-derived strategy and history, dating back to my studies at the Air Force Academy in the early 1990s. I stopped reviewing books at and didn't talk about my reading. Last week I read Every Book I Read in 2015 by T. Greer, which inspired me to write my own version of that post. I have records for 2014-2015 thanks to a list I keep at I'm modifying Greer's approach by not including personal reading, but I am adopting his idea to bold those titles that were my favorites. The following are presented such that the most recently read appears first. 2015 Reading (37 books): Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy   by Barry R. Posen  *(I'm joining the "restraint" school. I will say more about this in 2016.) Le