July 21, 2008


A battle over 'the next war': Many military officers are pushing back against Defense Secretary Gates' focus on preparing for more 'asymmetric' fighting rather than for a large, conventional conflict. (Julian E. Barnes and Peter Spiegel, 7/21/08, Los Angeles Times)

Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles J. Dunlap Jr. is not a fighter pilot, wing commander or war planner. But he is waging what many officers consider a crucial battle: ensuring that the U.S. military is ready for a major war.

Dunlap, like many officers across the military, believes the armed forces must prepare for a large-scale war against technologically sophisticated, well-equipped adversaries, rather than long-term ground conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan.

First, however, they face an adversary much closer to home -- Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

For more than 30 years, the Pentagon establishment considered it an essential duty to prepare for a war of national survival. But under Gates, that focus has fallen from favor.

In public speeches and private meetings, Gates has chastised many commanders as ignoring wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while they plan for speculative future conflicts.

"We should not starve the forces at war today to prepare for a war that may never come," Gates said in a stinging address last month, one of a series he has delivered. Gates even has coined a term for what he sees as a military disorder: "next-war-itis."

...just about government bureaucrats defending the gigantism of their department.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 21, 2008 9:07 AM

-No. That's wrong.

Military power is layered We enjoy tactical superiority, at least, down to the lowest levels, because we maintain supremacy at the operational, strategic and national levels.

Ships, aircraft and space weapons aren't cheap. In fact they cost even more than choo-choo trains.

It would not be possible to meet the "asymmetrical" enemy on the ground if we had not already earned the power to dominate air, sea and space.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 21, 2008 3:29 PM

Yes, troops, ships and planes are a waste of money. Rockets and unmanned-vehicles are all we need to maintain our dominance.

Posted by: oj at July 21, 2008 5:37 PM
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