Inside the U.S. Department of Defense, there is a major battle going on
over what the future American military should get ready for, and what kinds of
wars are most likely to be encountered. This has led to two major factions. One
sees the future as needing an armed force that can fight a
"conventional" war (trained forces on both sides, equipped with
modern weapons). The other factions sees more like Iraq, Afghanistan and
Vietnam. They point out that only one of our last four wars (Kuwait in 1991)
each war is unique. And if you look at all the ones the U.S. has been involved
in, that becomes clear. And day by day,
you can see the shape of potential wars (and the list of such wars itself)
change. Very much a moving target. Out future forces should be shaped to deal
with the more likely conflicts.
make a major conventional war unlikely, and smart bombs make minor conventional
wars quite different from previous ones, one can understand the eagerness by
some to hang on to our hard earned expertise in peacemaking (not peacekeeping)
wars (like Iraq and Afghanistan). Looking at it like a historian, you can see
Iraq and Afghanistan eventually described as a demonstration of how capable the
post-Vietnam volunteer military had become. All the services snapped to with
professionalism and innovation to win. Not fast enough for journalists and
political opportunists, but reality tends to be like that.
has now is soldiers and marines equipped
for both conventional and unconventional warfare. What worries many in the
Department of Defense is that the troops are largely trained for unconventional
warfare. One big unknown is how long would it take to get them back in shape
for conventional warfare? Weeks? Months? A year? The marines believe it would
not take long, if only because the marines traditionally keep flexible, and
ready for just about anything. Many army officers look to that as a model to
follow. Soldiers today are much closer to marines in terms of capabilities and
temperament than ever before.
may not be settled for some time, unless Iran invades Iraq, North Korea invades South Korea or China occupies Taiwan.