Lessons Learned from the Ukraine War

By | June 29, 2022

[June 29, 2022]  Earlier in March, after Russia invaded Ukraine, I published two articles titled “Early Lessons from the Ukraine War” (here and here).  These were written less than three weeks after the invasion and were a good start.  Now, with four months of study, we have learned much more, which applies to those who study leadership.

The U.S. Army came out with “5 lessons from the Ukraine conflict,” spelled out in Breaking Defense.1  Secretary of the Army Amy Christine Wormuth2 said there are five lessons we should learn from the conflict.  I sincerely hope there are classified lessons that are better.

  1. The importance of leadership, training, and discipline.
  2. Logistics matters more than ever.
  3. We need to reduce our electronic signals.
  4. The requirement to defend against advanced drones.
  5. Keep munitions stocked.

I’ve got to agree, but these lessons are far from adequate for the future battlefield.  In these very pages, I pointed this out and stand by them.  But let’s not confuse them with more important lessons, the very ones that the Biden Administration is working against.  Wormuth has not addressed this conflict.

Here are lessons from authors David Barno and Nora Bensahel in their work on lessons learned from the Ukraine battlefield to be prepared for that future war (which always comes unexpectedly).  I’m paraphrasing a bit:

  1. A shift from aggressive, offensive operations as the preferred method to the prepared defense.
  2. The realization that the military cannot hide on the battlefield. If the enemy can see you, they can kill you, and they can see you.
  3. Accept the reality that our military’s dependence on helicopters and large vehicles is in question since they are not survivable with existing, advanced anti-tank, anti-air, and anti-ship missile systems.
  4. Figure out how to operate and fight in the face of heavy battlefield losses.
  5. Expand security force assistance from other countries. Allies are a pain in the butt, yet they bring considerable experience in select areas that can be leveraged to everyone’s advantage.

The point I’m making is our U.S. military is NOT prepared to take on a large trained conventional military force.  Casualties would be high and the destruction unprecedented.  The U.S. has not faced this level of conflict since WWII.  We are not prepared, and that is the
“take-home” message.


  1. https://breakingdefense.com/2022/06/us-army-secretary-5-lessons-from-the-ukraine-conflict/
  2. Note that she has no military experience but has served in senior civilian positions in the U.S. Government


Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

16 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from the Ukraine War

  1. Laughing Monkey

    The push to add Sweden and Finland to the world’s most powerful military alliance comes as Russia’s assault on Ukraine amplifies fears of other countries in the region. Moscow, long wary of NATO expansion, has opposed the two nations’ plans to join the alliance. More and more, Russia acts like a wounded bear, and that bear is still very dangerous.

    1. Greg NH

      — and (P)resident Joe Biden has announced the deployment of United States military reinforcements across Europe in an effort to counter Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine. The man is surely stupid or braindead or both.

  2. Anya B.

    Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the leaders of the G-7 nations on Monday, pressing them for more heavy weaponry and help to end the war before winter sets in. I fear too little, too late.

  3. Army Captain

    Let’s be sure to study this war carefully. Too many have ‘opinions’ that are not worth a grain of salt. Gen. Satterfield is providing us with some basic arguments in the form of lessons learned. Learned from this. Learn how to see what others cannot see. And, be careful about giving out opinions based on false info from the “drive by media.”

    1. Frontier Man

      Army Captain is giving us some sage advice. I recommend taking it to heart.

  4. KenFBrown

    Excellent lessons learned. I sure hope the US Army gets a better Sec. of the Army next time and they are not selected based on their gender (like the current woman who is out of touch).

    1. Bryan Z. Lee

      Yeah, the whole senior military makeup of leaders are part of the Keystone Kops.

      1. Max Foster

        Worse than that. And, they don’t tell us – the American citizen – what the heck is going on or their plans. Yes, they can give us something, but Biden is braindead and Harris is laughing off the world. What a bunch of clueless morons in charge of America. Things might be better if they had selected people to head the agencies that had brains. But, hope, They hire based on race and sex (white men need not apply). So what do you get? A “woman” selected for the US Supreme court who was selected based on being a woman but she can’t even tell us what a woman is. ???? What’s up with that?

  5. Emma Archambeau

    Gen. Satterfield has once again nailed it. Senior leaders can be willfully blind to the consequences of their actions and this war is just one more example.

  6. Yusaf from Texas

    Not so sure that Ukraine will win their war. Russian leaders are stubborn and will commit suicide (of you, ha ha) to make their goal, whatever that goal is. Why? Because they are dead if they don’t. That is why dictatorships are so single-minded. Thrust themselves into war and they won’t quit. it works most of the time.

    1. Army Vet

      Right, old warrior, the lesson is to destroy your enemy overwhelmingly that he realizes he has lost and lost big. That way, it’s over.

      1. Tom Bushmaster

        Army Vet, you got that right. Slam dunk. Russia needs to pay a price for their naked aggression. Yet, for the most part, the world stands by. Just sending them a few weapons is not good enough. We made that mistake in 1939.

    2. Goalie for Cal State

      I hope so, but Russia is really good at attrition warfare.


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