National Military Strategy 2004
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has approved a new national military strategy that makes clear to the nation’s war planners that they must pay greater attention to preparing for the complicated and dangerous transition between the end of major combat operations and the return of civil authority.
That is the very stage of events that is proving so daunting now in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The new strategy seems to be seeking ways to avoid similar problems in any future war.
“Winning decisively will require synchronizing and integrating major combat operations, stability operations and significant postconflict interagency operations to establish conditions of stability and security favorable to the United States,” the strategy document states.
While the American military was widely praised for its swift offensive into Iraq that captured Baghdad in just three weeks, the subsequent fight against a tenacious insurgency, combined with a political process that appears to be stumbling in advance of the June 30 transition to Iraqi sovereignty, makes clear that victory cannot yet be declared in the war in Iraq.
In its broadest terms, the “National Military Strategy 2004” sets priorities for America’s senior officers, including the job of winning against terrorism, increasing the ability of the four armed services to fight together and transforming the military with new technologies and fresh concepts even as it is stretched by multiple deployments.
In authorizing the new military strategy, Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also defines three core missions for the regional war-fighting commanders and heads of the armed services: to protect the United States, to prevent conflict and surprise attacks and to prevail against adversaries.
A 23-page draft of the unclassified strategy document has circulated at the Pentagon since it was signed by General Myers and forwarded for approval to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in advance of delivery to Congress. The complete document also contains a classified risk assessment by General Myers.
This is about twelve years overdue.