I finally saw Zero Dark Thirty the other day, and all the top-secret/administration giving up classified debate aside, I found it pretty slow. Including the culminating hit at the end. I wasn’t on target, but if they moved in real life like the molasses actors did on screen, Osama bin Laden would have been in India before they reached the third floor. The movie did, however, remind me of a paper I’d written a long time ago. I haven’t blogged in awhile because I’m buried in security work and deadlines, so I though I’d post it.
While I was at the Command and General Staff College – basically a year off at Fort Leavenworth – I did a study on substate CLT using open source documents from historical events in an attempt to clarify what led to success or failure. I’d already written my master’s thesis on CLT writ large, so I had something with which to start. This was written in 2003, but it’s held up over time. I found it interesting how many of the points in my paper played out in Zero Dark Thirty. Be forewarned though, the paper’s 32 pages and isn’t a bunch of discussion about shoot-em ups. Like the movie, it is primarily focused on the difficult task of strategic and operational manhunting, not on the tactical finish.