Monday, July 13, 2009

We've got our best man on it

John Donnelly does a good job for CQ (subscription only; the link I've provided is to the Early Bird, so it works if you're on a DOD server) of giving context on the development of the QDR, echoing many of the themes expressed by Andrew Krepinevich (in Foreign Affairs) and the Flournoy/Brimley team (in Proceedings). Here's my favorite snip:

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, and other war planners support Gates’ effort to overhaul the military’s two-conflict strategic doctrine. But they concede the effort is still a work in progress, with no clear picture of what the new strategy will be.

“What do you change it to?” Casey said. “That’s the hard part.”

Glad to know he's thought this one through. But seriously, Secretary Gates nails it here:

“I think we’re trying to capture not just . . . how many things — the numbers issues — but the diverse range of . . . challenges we may be called on to deal with at one time,” Flournoy said.

Gates echoed that view in a separate session with reporters last month: The rethinking of conventional two-war strategies, Gates explained, “derives from my view that the old way of looking at irregular warfare as being one kind of conflict and conventional warfare as [another] discrete kind of warfare is an outdated concept.”

And not to worry, partisan hacks: Tom Donnelly of AEI keeps fighting the good fight for you guys, suggesting that any alleged strategic rethink is really just a ninja way of justifying defense budget cuts and leaving America at the mercy of the treacherous Chinese:
[He] argues that Gates is largely making a show of strategic rethinking to justify the reordering of the Pentagon budget he announced in April and other adjustments that are expected to fall in fiscal 2011. “They’ll produce a QDR that’s strategic lipstick on a budgetary pig,” he said.
In any event, a worthwhile read if you can access it (even if it is probably more informative for those who don't really follow this debate).


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