Thursday, September 22, 2005

Low-intensity training

Dr. Farley noted in last weeks class that low intensity combat breeds where conventional confrontation is out of the question. I think that principle stands as evidence that DoD ought to pursue better training in non-conventional ops. Particularly, we should expect to face almost exclusively non-conventional combat in the future as long as we spend more on defense (naturally, I understand that spending isn’t everything, but it is also more than nothing) than the next eight closest competitors (Nye, The Paradox of American Power). We have four times the personnel of any single would-be competitors, with the exceptions – Russia, China, and India (Nye). I’m not saying we can take up the complacency that seems to be plaguing numerous American institutions. I’m suggesting that preparations should take more seriously the fact that we have and will continue to face vastly outmanned bands of combatants, pressing the need for low-intensity skill beyond its current priority level. We are big enough that most conceivable enemies will choose guerilla or insurgent tactics over a head to head confrontation.

When space-aliens come we may, conversely, need to employ guerilla skills…

There is, of course, history to suggest that relatively half-sized armies have confronted bigger opponents, but not without being attacked or having an otherwise desperate cause. I admit a developing memory for historical battles so please comment with mentions of battles that evidence to the contrary. I refuse to accept, anyway, that America will declare a war on any opponent soon of sufficient size to justify conventional combat. Steer clear of the brinkmanship diplomacy that Secretary Annan warned about ( and we won’t get into a mess with a big power or alliance.

Thus, I would never advocate a mitigation of the training and development of conventional strategies, but I’m gonna have to express my assurance that drastically improving our techniques and training for low-intensity combat ought to be a top priority.

Biddle’s reading for this week claims that neither the air protection nor indigenous fighters were most important, but rather, the coordination between human intel, ground troops, and air support in the approach in Afghanistan. I was convinced, Biddle-haters, that fine-tuning our skilled force employment, smart soldiers connected to accurate weapons and wise air and human intelligence, is the way to go. Oh, and I read about Stryker-team success in northwest Iraq today. Let’s keep building those while we strategerize.

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