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Unformatted text preview: !" ! #$%& ()*+,-.)/ 0122 .3 4 5676 8,49:4%$ +; %&$ (43%$, .2 <:=>.) ?;;4.,3 @,+8,4- 4% <,.2)$%+2 A2.B$,3.%1C3 D++9,+E D.>3+2 #)&++> +; <:=>.) 429 F2%$,24%.+24> ?;;4.,3G H$ )42 =$ )+2%4)%$9 4% 3$%&IB$%$,423)[email protected]+,8G ! "#$%&%’ % )* *) + &,+ -&*. )/$ # ,.&!!"0 . ""! 1 * ." , #0" #’#&%0* # , )/%*"$&%0/$’"%,2 34 ),/0"5 6 &!&*#$2 #$%& ()*+,-.)/ 0122 Within the defense community, a debate is emerging over the wisdom of “balancing” the military by shifting focus toward irregular warfare. This paper argues that balance would only be prudent if the military is likely to continue primarily facing irregular conflicts, if current counterinsurgency doctrine can lead to success in future contingencies, and if increased focus on counterinsurgency will improve national security. Although the military will likely face future insurgencies, such contingencies threaten national security less than conventional wars, and there is little evidence that the military’s counterinsurgency doctrine will lead to future success. Moreover, balancing the military would degrade its conventional deterrence capabilities, thereby increasing the likelihood of conventional warfare. Therefore, while Iraq and Afghanistan should be the military’s immedi- ate priority, reconstituting degraded conventional capabilities should be its next concern. The paper concludes by suggesting several measures that would improve the military’s irregular warfare capabilities without sacrificing conventional deterrence. !J “A misleading current narrative contends that the recent lowering of violence in Iraq is primarily due to the…application of so- called ‘new’ counterinsurgency methods…This hyper-emphasis on counterinsurgency puts the American Army in a perilous condition. Its ability to fight wars consisting of head-on battles using tanks and mechanized infantry is in danger of atrophy.”-Lieutenant Colonel Gian Gentile (Dreazen 2008, A3) “The larger concern, in my view, would be if our senior leaders allow our newly developed counterinsurgency capabilities to lapse, and like Gentile, focus instead on preparing the Army to fight the next ‘big one.’ After all, why worry about fight- ing real wars in the Middle East and South Asia when we can instead keep our military forces in the United States to fight imaginary ones?”-Colonel Pete Mansoor (Mansoor 2008) !" ! $%&’()*%!’$ Although the initial invasion of Iraq demonstrated the U.S. military’s dominance in modern conventional warfare, its inability to defeat the ensuing insurgency demonstrated its ineffectiveness at fighting irregular warfare. Writing recently in Foreign Affairs , Secretary of Defense Robert Gates asserted that “the United States needs a military whose ability to kick down the door is matched by its ability to clean up the mess and even rebuild the house afterward” (Gates 2009, 31). Gates is correct that the military’s conventional capabilities far exceed its capacity to fight irregular...
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course POLS 494 taught by Professor Garymoncrief during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.
- Fall '11