Saturday, February 04, 2006

Pentagon Releases Strategy Document

The Pentagon has released a new strategy document, abandoning the "swift defeat" philosophy that characterized military strategy after the 9/11 attacks. (LA Times: Pentagon Plans for 'Long War' on Extremism).

The new strategy requires an increased focus on special forces and on unmanned drones similar to the Predator used by the CIA. The effectiveness of both have been demonstrated time and again in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Their emphasis in the new strategy document underscores the changing face of warfare in the 21st century.

Also included in the new strategy is language training for American troops, a lesson we should have learned throughout the foreign wars of the last century, but also a 33% increase in psychological operations. The poor performance of current military propaganda in the Middle East and in Europe shows this aspect of military operations to be sorely lacking.

What the new strategy does not contain is any significant increase in troop levels. The document reflects both a desire and a need to rely on foreign allies for long term military operations and peace keeping. If there is any significant weakness in the new strategy, this is it. The US should not and must not be dependent on any foreign power for any aspect of our military operations. Furthermore, the events of the last 5 years should prove beyond all doubt that our military must be capable of fighting multiple opponents in diverse locations and we must be capable of doing it alone.

We have already demonstrated that we are quite capable of quickly defeating an enemy. Both Afghanistan and Iraq took less than two months to topple the government and occupy the capital. What takes time is rebuilding the conquered nation. We're still struggling with that in both of those nations. The length of time it took in the Philippines and Germany after World War II shows just how long that process takes. In my view, unless we plan to permanently occupy the conquered nation, rebuilding is not something our military should be committed to accomplish.

The method of occupation necessary to control a population while the rebuilding is accomplished is not something this nation is willing to undertake. It also requires a much larger military than either the Pentagon or Congress want to authorize. Therefore, don't commit to the rebuilding. Use the military for what it does best and don't force them into a rebuilding effort for which they are not trained, not properly sized, and not authorized to enforce.


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