About Cmdr. Daniel Dolan

Cmdr. Daniel Dolan is assigned to the Naval War College where he teaches Strategy and War and serves as the Deputy Manager of the Chief of Naval Operations Professional Reading Program. He is an EP-3/special mission P-3 Naval Flight Officer and frequent contributor to Proceedings. The views expressed are his alone and do not represent an official position of the Naval War College, Department of Defense or the U.S. government.


Recent Posts By the Author


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: Iran's Atlantic Adventure Little Threat to U.S.

Opinion: Iran’s Atlantic Adventure Little Threat to U.S.

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Iranian Frigate Sabalan (F-73)

Iranian Frigate Sabalan (F-73)

The Iranian “fleet” reportedly heading for America’s “maritime borders” consists of two ships, the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN) frigate Sabalan and the supply ship Kharg. An examination of some of the media hype and a few of the facts will reveal that this voyage is low in threat and rich in symbolism. 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

Opinion: Israel, Iran and the 'Deal of the Century'

Opinion: Israel, Iran and the ‘Deal of the Century’

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2011. DOD Photo

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2011. DOD Photo

In advance of the third round of six-party talks with Iran in Geneva this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is spending a great deal of time flooding the information sphere with dire warnings that the United States and five other nations are ready to give Iran what he calls the “deal of the century.” Netanyahu contends that “the sanctions are just beginning to work” and the proposed interim agreement with Iran does not go far enough in ensuring that Iran does not have the ability to build a nuclear weapon. Read More

Opinion: Is Syria Another Vietnam Moment?

Opinion: Is Syria Another Vietnam Moment?

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It is starting to feel like America’s reluctance to get involved in Syria is an echo of the Vietnam War. One of the more interesting things to emerge from the recent national debate over whether America should involve itself in the Syrian civil war is the degree of war fatigue being expressed by the majority of Americans. That anti-war sentiment is kinder and gentler than the angry protests of the 1960s and ’70s, but it stems from the same cultural roots. Read More

Opinion: Supersize the Syrian Option

Opinion: Supersize the Syrian Option

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SS Barry (DDG 52) launches a Tomahawk cruise missile to support Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn. Odyssey Dawn near Libya in 2011. US Navy

SS Barry (DDG-52) launches a Tomahawk cruise missile to support Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn. Odyssey Dawn near Libya in 2011. US Navy

When looking for insights and answers to the complex problem the United States confronts in Syria, there is no shortage of examples of punitive military operations against bad actors from which to draw lessons. In the past 30 years the United States and its allies have launched punitive airstrikes against, to name a few: Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sudan and Afghanistan. Clearly the “measured military response” is a favored approach for American leaders when dealing with rogue actors. What is interesting this time around is the unprecedented public debate about whether or not such tactical measures actually work. Read More