Bury Cold War Mindset

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by nycflasher, Apr 22, 2004.

  1. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    Bury Cold War Mindset
    Fourth-Generation Warfare Rewrites Military Strategy
    August 5, 2002
    by Jack Shanahan, Chet Richards and Franklin Spinney

    The pay phone may be the ultimate counter to our arsenal of fighters, tanks, nuclear aircraft carriers and stealth bombers.

    For a total cost of 35 cents, any terrorist can bring traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge to a stop or empty an airport. The result is a pervasive climate of fear. In Alexandria, Va., for example, people are afraid to buy condominiums near the new federal courthouse.

    And Americans are still so afraid of airports, or tired of all the security hassles, that they are using their cars for short trips or not going at all.

    All this would be amusing, though a little inconvenient, if it were not a clear indication that our enemies are discovering our weaknesses and obsessions and using them as levers to unhinge us.

    What America faces today is sophisticated guerrilla warfare, called fourth-generation warfare (4GW) by military experts. It represents the culmination of more than 300 years of development and experimentation in the art of war, since the Peace of Westphalia ended Europe's wars of religion in 1648 and granted the emerging nation-state system a monopoly on the use of organized violence.

    At its best, fourth-generation warfare pits nations against non-national organizations or networks that include not only fundamentalist extremists, but also ethnic factions, mafias and narcotics traffickers.

    Unlike the guerrilla warriors and terrorists of the past, today's sophisticated guerrilla warfare is rendered more ubiquitous, intrusive and lethal by computers, mass communications and high-speed transportation systems.

    These tools allow highly motivated small groups like al-Qaida to bypass the capacity of a nation state to protect itself through the use of conventional military means. They focus their attacks directly on centers of culture and political power.

    The aim of the 4GW guerrilla warrior is not specifically directed at defeating his adversary's army, but at penetrating his political system and ultimately inducing him to conclude that continuing his state's policies is not worth the cost.

    How well will our military cope with this new form of warfare? Not well, if we consider the lessons of Vietnam, Mogadishu, Beirut and even Afghanistan, where we failed to capture either Mullah Omar or Osama bin Laden, or for that matter, most of the leaders of al-Qaida.

    Unfortunately, the Pentagon is still dominated by Cold Warriors, obsessed with big, expensive weapon programs. Congress is still addicted to the jobs and political contributions that can only come from defense contractors with massive hardware programs.

    Programs that truly increase our effectiveness, including tough and highly realistic training, cannot compete in either votes or political action committee money.

    There are solutions, but unfortunately no easy ones. Adjustments at the margin are not going to do the job, and some solutions may even require constitutional changes.

    One of the main forces locking us into an outmoded defense posture is the jobs, money and votes generated by military industrial welfare programs. To begin to address this problem, we need to reduce the amount of money needed for political campaigns.

    At the Pentagon, specific personnel changes are required, in particular closing the revolving door that rewards senior military leaders with the promise of future civilian employment if they "play the game."

    It is wrong to force honorable officers to choose between doing their duty to their country and then supporting their families on retirement pay, or playing the game and perhaps supplementing their pensions with a six-figure position at a defense contractor or serving as a consultant to one.

    As for the organization of the Pentagon itself, only one mechanism for transforming large organizations has shown itself to be effective is the one used by Jack Welch, former chief executive of General Electric, that earned him the nickname, "Neutron Jack."

    Welch shed entire divisions and reorganized the company from the ground up. Such a process, while unlikely to happen, would be the best way forward for the Pentagon.

    It is not unreasonable to expect that 50 percent or more of our current forces need to be retired or radically changed. In fact, it would be a righteous miracle if the military establishment we created for rapid mobilization against massive Soviet armies on the plains of Europe turned out to be well-suited to run to ground a shadowy 4GW enemy in the jungles and teeming cities of the Third World.

    We can either do the hard work of dismantling our Cold War weapons, organizations and mindsets, or we had better get used to long evenings cowering under our beds.

    Retired U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Jack Shanahan is an adviser to TrueMajority.com, a project of Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, New York. Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Chet Richards is a strategist with Tarkenton & Addams, a public relations firm in Atlanta. Franklin Spinney is a civilian analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. These views do not reflect a position of the Department of Defense.
    source
     
  2. preemptingyou03
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    preemptingyou03 Member

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    Not too much to worry about considering Donald Rumsfeld's entire mission in the Pentagon is to get the American military out of the Cold War era.

    Instead of invading Afghanistan with huge, overwhelming forces, we went in with covert, special ops, and a quicker and lighter force.

    As for "failing to capture most leaders of al-Qaeda," you are simply wrong. Eight out of al-Qaeda's top ten leaders are captured or dead.
     
  3. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    nycflasher - please edit your post and provide a link to the article. Thanks
     
  4. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    These are not my words, they are the words of Vice-Adm. Jack Shanahan (Ret.), Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Chet Richards, and Frank Spinney a civilian analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. I know I forgot to link to my source but I didn't forget to name them:rolleyes:

    As far as the number of Al Queda leaders captured, this article was written almostr 2 years ago, a fact which I also included. Sorry for the confusion.
     
  5. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    oops...done
     
  6. preemptingyou03
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    preemptingyou03 Member

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    Ok.
     
  7. st8_o_mind
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    Rummy came into the job with the intention of transforming the military but was not particularly effectivein doing so. I believe the only cold-war weapons system he managed to kill was the crusader. To put that in perspective, the US is still paying for the development of three new advanced fighter jets (I'm working from memory but I belive they are the F-22 (stealth),the advanced strike fighter, and the F16E/F). The point I believe the authors were making was that each of these aircraft have huge supporters on Capitol Hill because the amount of money and the jobs the contractors are able to gin up. Cancelling one or two to pay for better training may make more military sense, but there is no big defense contractor making donations to cut programs.

    With respect to the revolving door, you need only check out yesterday's washington post where it was reported that a senior pentagon officer admitted that she negotiated a deal for a fat job with boing while she was managing a 23 billion contract with boeing. She was managing the deal where the US would lease aircraft from boeing instead of buying them, a plan that would have cost the taxpayers billions extra for the same aircraft.

    This not only represents a fraud on the taxpayers, but ultimately undermines our ability to structure our forces and training to meet emerging threats.
     

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