RUMMY VS. THE ARMY

Donald Sensing has an excellent post on the clash between Rummy and the Army, which has again come into the spotlight with recent comments made by fired Secretary of the Army Thomas White. Don ends by quoting himself from October 2001:

We and our western allies must lead the way out for those people. It will take a new kind of national commitment. It will cost a fortune. It will require new kinds of armies, armies not of soldiers but of engineers, agriculturalists, financiers, administrators and educators. It will take decades and there are no guarantees. But the alternative is to fight culture and religious wars generation after generation.

No doubt at all about the last part of the Don’s post: this war isn’t going to be over with for a long time. As to the “enough troops” debate, I’m still not sure. During the early going, it sure looked like Shinseki and Co. were right; we were unprepared to defend the rear areas and got our forces stretched rather thin at times. In hindsight, at least as to combat operations, Rummy and Co. look awfully smart. A larger force would have been geometrically harder to supply and might have led to a slower victory.

As to postwar occupation forces, we are clearly understaffed. But this goes to a larger problem I’ve been writing about since Operation Restore Hope in 1993: the woeful inadequacy of our Civil Affairs, linguist, MP, and other peace operations forces. We have known for at least that long that we don’t have sufficient trained personnel for peacekeeping duty and have shown little desire to do anything about this. Rummy’s tranformation is helping somewhat in other areas, but still doesn’t seem to be addressing this.

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.