Donald Rumsfeld was right when he said, "You go to war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later
Our Commander in Chief and his subordinates must anticipate the threats we will face and prepare to address them even before they become
clear and present. This requires a great deal of forward-looking strategic consideration.
The question is whether the policies of the current administration, undoubtedly shaped significantly by experience gained in the War on Terror, are to
be continued by the next president. Are the lessons of the War on Terror valid in the context of likely future conflicts, and what does the answer to
this question mean for our preparations?
Obviously we must begin with the problem that needs to be solved.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Joint Vision 2020, defined the challenges as follows:
Three aspects of the world of 2020 have significant implications for the US Armed Forces. First, the United States will continue to have global
interests and be engaged with a variety of regional actors.
Second, potential adversaries will have access to the global commercial industrial base and much of the same technology as the US military.
Third, (...) the appeal of asymmetric approaches and the focus on the development of niche capabilities will increase. By ... using approaches that
avoid US strengths ... using significantly different methods of operation, adversaries will attempt to ... delay, deter, or counter the application of
US military capabilities.
The potential of such asymmetric approaches is perhaps the most serious danger the United States faces in the immediate future
To put it a little more clearly, they are worried about minor or regional powers and terrorists, using commercially available materials in novel ways.
What they are worried about is really summed up by the Millenium Challenge
experiment. In that experiment/exercise, the hostile force was modeled after Israel, and was matched up against an improved version of the US
Military, based on the concepts and technologies that Joint Vision 2010 (the precursor to JV 2020) was looking at.
The OPFOR in that experiment was facing superior US information systems which compromised all of their electronic communications. They were also
facing network-based management of resources that allowed the US both improved deployability and logistics, but also an unprecedented ability to
coordinate fire support between units and services on very short notice- essentially putting every free gun in the theater, from the B-1s and cruise
missles all the way down to nearby mortar crews in different units, at the disposal of company grade officers whose tactical situations required
But the OPFOR overcame these advantages through less efficient but more reliable low-tech solutions and surprise- such as transmitting counter-intel
while sending real orders via motorcycle messenger, and relying on extremely small craft that were difficult for radar to detect in order to visually
locate US forces, rather than relying on their own radar.
Setting aside the early flaws in JV 2010 that were revealed by MC 2002, the point for now is the kind of challenge that we are preparing to address.
That's nations like Iran, North Korea, Syria, etc: Isolated Regional Powers using commercially available materials in novel ways.
The idea is to enable a small force to mass quickly from locations all around the world, and then strike all together, putting every kind of firepower
on just the right target at just the right time, and being able to do that because we have really good information and the ability to place forces
anywhere we need to on Land, Air, Sea, or Space with minimal risk of being hit back in a way that stops our plan.
That force would then quickly destroy the ability of the enemy to resist, and if necessary topple their government.
We're planning to keep doing what we did to Iraq, with expensive new toys that make it even more shocking and awesome
So there right off the bat I see a problem. This smaller, lighter, more Iraq-capable military looks more like an imperial police force than a modern
army. It's an electrified version of your the token light-infantry based forces that were maintaining empires in the 19th century up until heavy
machine guns and tanks made their debut in WWI (and which probably would have eventually lost that war if the Central Powers had the manufacturing
edge necessary to out-tank the Allies).
The force they are talking about is not intended to cope with such eventualities as a Russian invasion of Poland, or a Chinese invasion of Indochina
or India (either of which is quite unlikely at present but could theoretically be prompted by a famine or other unpredictable events). This force is
based on the premise that deterrence will continue to preclude a theater-wide or even multi-theatered engagement between superpowers, which cannot be
taken for gospel in a multi-polar environment. The USSR and USA were never able to go to war directly because they each possessed the missiles to
anhilate the other, however with the rise of India, China, and possibly Brazil to Superpower status, India having a much smaller nuclear arsenal and
Brazil having none, it becomes possible for a super power's interest to be harmed in a devastating way by a conflict to which it is not party, and in
this case it is much less certain than nuclear deterence will function, or that the threat will actually be exercised if deterence alone fails.
What's more this force is not designed for counter-insurgency or nation building in non-industrialized countries. It's lighter, lower-manpower
nature will make its lines of supply and movement more vulnerable to the proper tactical application of small arms and other man-portable systems than
a heavy force would be.
It will also have less ability to project power in rural areas because it lacks the manpower to dispersed resources.
At least in an urban setting this military's ability to close major roads and control the flow of supplies will be somewhat helpful, despite it's
lack of the ability to police and maintain true order in such settings.
But in a rural areas, this military will be less effective after the collapse of organized resistance.
This means that responding to yet another possible future scenario: The failure of the Pakistani state, is not within the realistic capabilities of
our planned military.
Bringing it back around to the election,
our next commander in Chief MUST bring with him a competent team to review the pentagon's current
direction and direct it back towards a more gradual, moderate plan of advancement which disowns the flaws that created the situation in Iraq and
prepares us for the eventuality of a TRULY NECESSARY conflict where we must respond IN FORCE- as opposed to preparing for slash-and-burn operations
like Iraq which focus on building the threat of irrational violence as a diplomatic cudgel.
(If there's any question about what I mean please read the following from General Van Ripper, regarding the experiment with JV 2010- Millenium
As I looked at an ultimatum that gave me less than 24 hours to respond to what literally was a surrender document, it was clear to me that there
was no advantage in any of this diplomacy. I was very surprised that the Joint Forces Command personnel who had argued for using all of the elements
of national power—the economic, the diplomatic, the political information—in some sort of coherent fashion, really came at Red with a blunt
military instrument. So it was clear to me that this was not going to be negotiated, this was going to be a fight. And if it was going to be a fight,
I was going to get in the first blow.
In other words the training and experimentation with this concept literally involve setting up all of the economic and diplomatic options that a
nation really has, and then totally ignoring those, waving a powerful army in the enemy's face, and saying, "you have 24 hours to accept our terms
unconditionally, or we will destroy you without regard for the consequences to ourselves, others, or you". The pentagon is actually rehearsing how to
ignore non-violent solutions! Which goes to why I say that the entire concept is directly related to the failures in Iraq and needs to be scrapped.
Thanks for bearing with me for so long. That's effectively the end, but I've included some documentation below.
Here's the plan right from the horses mouth. It's 8700 words long and very jargony, so I've digested it to key passages comprising only 4% of the
total document length, which capture the essence of our military's plans for the future. I am providing page and paragraph citations so you can
quickly check out any individual point of question. All emphasis is mine.
Joint Vision 2020
Key Passages and Digest of Joint Vision 2020
Page 3, Para 2
The overarching focus of this vision is full spectrum dominance – achieved through ... dominant maneuver, precision engagement, focused
logistics, and full dimensional protection. Attaining that goal requires the steady infusion of new technology and modernization and replacement of
Page 8, Para 3
full spectrum dominance implies ... prompt, sustained, and synchronized operations ... tailored to specific situations and with ... freedom to
operate in ... space, sea, land, air, and information. ... to rapidly project power worldwide
Page 10 Para 2, Page 11 Para 1 and 3, page 12 para 2
full spectrum dominance rests upon information superiority as a key enabler ... “information revolution” is creating not only a quantitative,
but a qualitative change in the information environment... The joint force must ... take advantage of superior information ... to achieve “decision
superiority” – better decisions arrived at and implemented faster than an opponent can react ... the global information grid ... will be the
globally interconnected, end-to-end set of information capabilities ...
P 26 #1
dominant maneuver will possess unmatched speed and agility in positioning and repositioning tailored forces from widely dispersed
P 28 #1
The pivotal characteristic of precision engagement is the linking of sensors, delivery systems, and effects. ... The resulting system of systems
will provide the commander the broadest possible range of capabilities ... including both kinetic and nonkinetic weapons capable of ... lethal or
P 31 #1
Focused logistics will provide military capability by ensuring delivery of the right equipment, supplies, and personnel in the right quantities,
to the right place, at the right time to support operational objectives. ... Focused logistics will effectively link all logistics functions and units
through advanced information systems that integrate real-time total asset visibility with a common relevant operational picture ... They will also
provide a more seamless connection to the commercial sector
...full dimensional protection incorporates ... combat and noncombat actions ... enabled by information superiority. It will be based upon active
and passive defensive measures, including theater missile defenses and possibly limited missile defense of the United States; offensive
countermeasures; security procedures; antiterrorism measures; enhanced intelligence collection and assessments...