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You Can Study Modern War For Free With USACAC

January 17, 2015

NATO Holds "Spring Storm" Military Exercises

There’s no other website quite like it.

Autodidacts everywhere should know about the US Army Combined Arms Center (USACAC). Based in historic Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, USACAC’s goal is to preserve a knowledge base on all US wars.

And much of that knowledge base is available to the public.

Its website usacac.army.mil/CAC2/overview.asp leads to a gold mine of free downloads about every subject related to fighting wars the American way, past and present.

For some time now, the US Department of Defense (DoD) has been an undeclared leader in communicating its activities with a distinct social media presence and a remarkable level of  transparency.

But over the years, as the separate portals for the US Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and even SOCOM grew, their free information multiplied exponentially.

USACAC is a perfect example of this mutation, an organized mess stuffed with unclassified material from original sources.

It’s A Bit Huge

When in the USACAC home page, listed below the “Products” tab are links to the “CALL Handbook,” “Combat Studies Institute,” and “Military Review,” the last a bi-monthly magazine of articles and literature about the US Army’s preoccupation with everything land warfare. Military Review is available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Visiting the Combat Studies Institute reveals a trove of reports and ebooks in PDF format about every major US military involvement. It goes as far back as the Revolutionary War from 1776-1784 and the Lewis and Clark expedition.

It still requires a healthy amount of curiosity to explore the vast Combat Studies Institute archives. It not only contains valuable information on US wars but original research about foreign militaries, like Russian-Soviet Unconventional Wars in the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Afghanistan by Robert F. Baumann.

For sheer breadth of coverage, the section on World War Two comes highly recommended.

There’s also a robust number of entries under Contemporary Operations and Counterinsurgency, for obvious reasons.

CALL And ATP

After the wealth of material in the Combat Studies Institute, it’s the CALL Handbook, or Center for Army Lessons Learned, which resonates strongest with current events.

CALL exists as an official response to difficult campaigns where overwhelming US firepower didn’t win the day, like in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Its products page offers papers and handbooks dealing with US operations abroad and these are free downloads.

Even more staggering is the Army Techniques Publications Wiki or ATP Wiki that’s tucked into the “Doctrine” page under “Core Functions” tab–it’s beside “Products.”

Imagine a selection of manuals in PDF so vast, it covers the minutiae involved with running the US Army. A different section under “Core Functions” offers guides to tactics and strategy in multimedia format.

These are just a few sprawling sections of the USACAC online portal. To find other treasures, the intrepid visitor must explore on their own. It’s funny how USACAC empowers regular people to learn about modern war when this information is useless in an average consumer society.

Believe this: There isn’t a more accessible resource out there than USACAC.

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