Best Defense

Are bilateral exercises some of the most important activities of a peacetime military?

I think so.



I think so. So I was pleased to see that the February edition of the Marine Corps Gazette had an article on how to do them well. Any unit can slog through a bilat, complaining all the way. But to really learn and benefit from them, advises Capt. Dilan M. Swift, you have to throw yourself into them. “What elevates the professionals is the subtle and communally understood shift in emphasis and focus,” he writes. “We are guests and they are the hosts. All that one can do is be patient, adapt, and accept that the true essence and center of gravity in bilateral training is relationships.”

Photo credit: SUB SONIX/Flickr

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at Twitter: @tomricks1

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