Krepinevich argues that even in countries that cannot overcome the cost barriers to threaten the United States, they could become "formidable niche competitors." Countries could concentrate their abilities in a particular area in order to prevent U.S. power projection. His assertion has considerable merit. Mountain tactics in Afghanistan and Pakistan have not been easy for the U.S. to combat. Asymmetric urban combat in Baghdad has shown to be a difficult tactic to deal with. The navy has realized that littoral combat in the Taiwan Strait may present a serious problem to the U.S. accomplishing its goals. Are we ready for a cyber attack?
As AmericaÂs relative military power increases versus other countries, their incentive to specialize will increase as well. To deal with specialization, the U.S. could use a threats based approach. If the number of countries that specialize is small, the U.S. can create plans to deal with each one without too much effort. But what happens if there are many small, specialized threats? The threats based approach will be very expensive and difficult to pursue. And a capabilities approach would certainly be less effective against a specialized enemy.
Is the revolution in military affairs, an impotent military?