DEFENSE TRANSFORMATION

Phil Carter has some interesting analysis on a WaPo story showing how our forces are adapting themselves to stability operations duty.

What’s particularly noteworthy is that the units involved are both heavy ones: an armored brigade and a Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) field artillery battalion. Quite amazing, really. Still, it does rather beg the question: Why are those units being used rather than, say, infantry units? (Military Police would of course be preferable but, as I’ve noted ad naseum in previous posts, we simply don’t have enough of those to go around.)

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

DEFENSE TRANSFORMATION

Michael O’Hanlon argues that we shouldn’t get carried away about the Rumsfeld Revolution in our military. While acknowledging that Rumsfeld has won some points with the victory in Iraq,

But what is not true is that Mr Rumsfeld’s ascendance, or the accomplishments of operation Iraqi Freedom, will radically reshape the US military. Indeed, it is doubtful that Mr Rumsfeld himself favours change on the scale advocated by some of his admirers.

Instead, a much more modest reform will be seen:

On balance, Mr Rumsfeld may change the military a bit. He may indeed make a modest reduction in the size and budget of the army, using the freed funds for more high-technology projects. However, the changes are likely to be of the order of 5-10 per cent here and there and not more. Mr Rumsfeld may be on top of the world today. But the wrong defence plan could quickly bring him crashing down to earth – and he is too smart not to realise it.

This has certainly been the experience of defense transformation efforts and, indeed, was the thesis of my doctoral dissertation. While I’m impressed with how much Rumsfeld has accomplished, most notably the phenomenal jump in “jointness” evidenced by the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, O’Hanlon is almost certainly right about the long-term effects.

Stephen Green also weighs in on the topic.

(Hat tip: RealClear Politics)

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.