About Cmdr. Daniel Dolan, USN (Retired)

Cmdr. Dolan teaches Strategy & War with the Naval War College’s Distance Education program, and history as an adjunct professor at the University of Maine. He is a former EP-3E/Special mission P-3 naval flight officer, and frequent contributor to USNI News and Proceedings. 


Recent Posts By the Author


Opinion: Searching for a Strategy to Defeat ISIS

Opinion: Searching for a Strategy to Defeat ISIS

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An undated photo of an ISIS fighter.

An undated photo of an ISIS fighter.

The news on the crisis with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) is moving so fast that last week’s top story on the situation now seems like ancient history. Last week global news outlets repeatedly made the point that by fighting to defeat ISIS, the United States is, by default, aiding the regime of Bashar al Assad in Syria. Read More

Opinion: The Two Sides of The Third Iraq War

Opinion: The Two Sides of The Third Iraq War

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Sailors direct aircraft as an F/A-18E Super Hornet attached to the Tomcatters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 takes off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77). US Navy Photo

Sailors direct aircraft as an F/A-18E Super Hornet attached to the Tomcatters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 takes off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77). US Navy Photo

America announced its overt military support of the struggling Iraqi government in Baghdad with F/A-18 Hornets dropping two 500 lb. bombs on Iraq and Syria Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) targets near Irbil, Iraq, on Aug. 7.

The strike, launched from the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77), was followed by a speech from President Barack Obama who said, “there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq. The only lasting solution is for Iraqis to come together and form an inclusive government—one that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis, and one that can unify the country’s fight against [ISIS].”

American airstrikes have continued. Read More

Opinion: The Third Iraq War

Opinion: The Third Iraq War

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Undated photo of ISIS militants

Undated photo of ISIS militants

In the Naval War College’s Strategy and Policy course students have an opportunity to critically analyze both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). These two historical case studies are commonly referred to by students and faculty alike as the First Iraq War and the Second Iraq War. Now, before us we see the Third Iraq War unfolding. Despite what some pundits and former administration officials are saying America is still playing an active role in Iraq’s wars. Read More

Opinion: U.S. Air Power Won’t Defeat ISIS

Opinion: U.S. Air Power Won’t Defeat ISIS

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An F/A-18E Super Hornet prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on June 15, 2014. US Navy Photo

An F/A-18E Super Hornet prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on June 15, 2014. US Navy Photo

As Iraq and Syria Islamic State (ISIS) insurgent forces advance on Baghdad, some American political leaders, led by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), have urged that the United States begin airstrikes immediately to stop the growing unrest in Iraq. Although air power may be the only expedient and politically acceptable option, there are several reasons why that all-too-familiar impulse to use our asymmetric advantage in airpower will not defeat ISIS. Read More

Opinion: The Future of Navy Helicopters

Opinion: The Future of Navy Helicopters

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An MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle takes off from Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu on Oct. 31, 2013. US Navy Photo

An MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle takes off from Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu on Oct. 31, 2013. US Navy Photo

In the next 15 to 25 years it is not unreasonable to imagine that unmanned helicopter drones will be shuttling people and parts from shore-to-sea for routine non-tactical resupply missions. Read More

Interview: Zumwalt Commander Capt. James Kirk

Interview: Zumwalt Commander Capt. James Kirk

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USNI News contributor Cmdr. Daniel Dolan, interviewed the commander of Zumwalt (DDG-1000), Capt. James Kirk, on 31 March. The ship—first in a class of three next-generation destroyers—is among the most expensive surface ships the U.S. Navy is building. The ship features a slew of new systems and the smallest crew yet for a ship her size. Dolan asked Kirk about the ship’s handling, the hull, some of the history of her namesake, and brought questions from members of the Naval War College staff ahead of the ship’s christening on Saturday at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. Read More

Opinion: Why Saudi Arabia and Israel Have Teamed Up Against Iran

Opinion: Why Saudi Arabia and Israel Have Teamed Up Against Iran

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Saudi-Arabia-IsraelAs negotiators in Geneva, Switzerland work out the final details for an agreement that will allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to Iran’s nuclear facilities in return for relief of some of the economic sanctions on Iran, hawks in Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh have come together in opposition to the proposed deal. The P5+1 diplomatic initiative (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) reached an initial agreement with Iran in November. Read More