Archive for the ‘Strategy’ Category

Dereliction of Duty II: Senior Military Leaders’ Loss of Integrity Wounds Afghan War Effort

Daniel L Davis. Rolling Stone, 27 January, 2012.


In my honest and very frank estimation, American Service Members are dead today – and hundreds more have had limbs blown off – as payment for the perpetuation of this myth, for we built the 2010 surge in Afghanistan on the belief that the same “fundamentals that served us so well in Iraq” could be adjusted to fit the new effort. As has now been made very clear from the foregoing, however, the “protect the population” strategy used in 2007 Iraq was never the primary causal factor leading to success as has been claimed. Instead, it was an event entirely beyond our ability to influence or control: America’s main international terrorist enemy al-Qaeda became such a heinous animal that the brutality they inflicted on our local enemy (the Iraqi national insurgency) caused the latter to turn against what ought to have been their natural ally.

By burying that truth and instead elevating the myth to the status of doctrine, we have set the conditions for our own harm in Afghanistan.

Regaining Our Balance: the Pentagon’s New Military Strategy Takes a Small Step

Christopher Preble and Charles Knight. Huffington Post, 20 January 2012.


Balance depends on what you are standing on. With respect to our physical security, the United States is blessed with continental peace and a dearth of powerful enemies. Our military is the best-trained, best-led, and best-equipped in the world. It is our unstable finances and our sluggish economy that make us vulnerable to stumbling.

Unfortunately, the new strategy does not fully appreciate our strengths, nor does it fully address our weaknesses. In the end, it does not achieve Eisenhower’s vaunted balance.


Outside In: Defeating Iran’s Anti-Access and Area-Denial Threat

Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 17 January 2012.

Key Risks in the New Defense Guidance: What Kind of War and Where?

Nathan Freier. Center for Strategic and International Studies, 17 January 2012.


Like any change in strategy, however, the new approach has risk embedded in it. One of the more prominent risks involves the wholly predictable and complete triumph of classical realism in DoD’s future outlook. It appears that high-tech war between states is back in vogue as the single most important core planning scenario; this at a time when war within important states may be increasingly likely and, depending on location, equally impactful. How defense leaders account for and manage this risk will determine whether or not the guidance survives first contact with global uncertainty.

Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense

Department of Defense. 05 January 2012.

A bandwagon for offshore balancing?

Stephen M. Walt. Foreign Policy, 01 December, 2011.


…offshore balancing is the right strategy even when our coffers are full, provided that no peer competitors are threatening to dominate key strategic regions. Even during good times, it makes no sense to take on unnecessary burdens or to allow allies to free-ride on Uncle Sam’s hubristic desire to be the “indispensable nation” in almost every corner of the world. In other words, offshore balancing isn’t just a strategy for hard times; it is also the best available strategy in a world where the United States is the strongest power, prone to trigger unnecessary antagonism, and vulnerable to being dragged into unnecessary wars.

What happens when ‘demand’ for the Army exceeds its ‘supply’?

Robert Haddick. Small Wars Journal, 29 November 2011.

Insiders: U.S. Should Begin ‘Pivot’ to Asia Through Diplomacy, Not Military Steps

Sara Sorcher. National Journal, 29 November 2011.


President Obama recently announced steps to strengthen the architecture of an American foreign policy with new focus on the Pacific, including plans to deploy 2,500 troops to a base in Australia—all the while insisting that any reductions in U.S. defense spending will not come at the expense of priorities in the Asia-Pacific region. Even as many in Washington warily eye China’s rapidly modernizing military and expanding naval presence in the Pacific, 39 percent of Insiders said the next move is to improve American engagement with Beijing while avoiding any military-related steps.