February 22, 2024

What the Pentagon has learned from two years of war in Ukraine

Source: The Washington Post

Journalist: Alex Horton

The Ukraine conflict has challenged core assumptions. The war has become an attritional slugfest with each side attempting to wear down the other, a model thought to be anachronistic, said Stacie Pettyjohn, director of the defense program at the Center for a New American Security, a think tank.

It also has complicated a long-held belief in the Pentagon that expensive precision weapons are central to winning America’s conflicts, Pettyjohn said. GPS-guided munitions provided to Ukraine have proven vulnerable to electronic jamming. Its military has adapted by pairing older unguided artillery with sensors and drones, which can be used to spot targets and refine their shots. U.S. military commanders have almost certainly taken notice, she said.


Pettyjohn, with the Center for New American Security, acknowledged that the U.S. and Ukrainian militaries operate differently, meaning some takeaways from the war with Russia may not be applicable.

But she noted that some American military leaders she has spoken to have seemed circumspect that there’s much for them learn. They underestimate, she said, how the nature of fighting has changed, holding tight to the risky assumption that the United States would simply do better in similar circumstances.

Read the full story and more from The Washington Post.


  • Stacie Pettyjohn

    Senior Fellow and Director, Defense Program

    Stacie Pettyjohn is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Her areas of expertise include defense strategy, post...