Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Welcome to the party, David, even if you're like three years late

Did you know that America's global competitors are focusing on the development of anti-access technologies to counter U.S. power projection and expeditionary capabilities? Oh, you did? Yeah, me too. I heard from Andy Krepinevich like a year ago. And Bob Gates even before that. David Wood just caught on, apparently from "Pentagon strategists." But, I mean, that's cool -- keep getting the word out!

The United States, Pentagon strategists say, is quickly losing its ability to barge in without permission. Potential target countries and even some lukewarm allies are figuring out ingenious ways to blunt American power without trying to meet it head-on, using a combination of high-tech and low-tech jujitsu.

At the same time, U.S. naval and air forces have been shrinking under the weight of ever more expensive hardware. It's no longer the case that the United States can overwhelm clever defenses with sheer numbers.As Defense Secretary Robert Gates summed up the problem this month, countries in places where the United States has strategic interests -- including the Persian Gulf and the Pacific -- are building "sophisticated, new technologies to deny our forces access to the global commons of sea, air, space and cyberspace.''Those innocuous words spell trouble. While the U.S. military and strategy community is focused on Afghanistan and the fight in Marja, others – Iran and China, to name two – are chipping away at America's access to the Taiwan Strait, the South China Sea, the Persian Gulf and the increasingly critical extraterrestrial realms.

On the bright side, Wood links to Krepinevich's new study Why AirSea Battle?, which focuses on DoD's efforts to develop a counter-anti-access operational concept. It's worth a read. While you're at it, you might also take a look at Gunslinger's Document of the Week: The U.S. Navy's Vision for Confonting Irregular Challenges (or as Bernard Finel described it on Twitter, "fascinating document. Shows the power of the COIN/hybrid war junta inside the building." Um, right).

I probably wouldn't highlight this Wood piece on any other day, but I have a case of the redass about an appearance he made on the Diane Rehm Show the other night, in which he said some frankly idiotic things about what's going on in Afghanistan. (My favorite part is where he says that U.S. forces are pursuing "in essence a conventional, industrial-age strategy in Marja, not unlike one you saw in the American Civil War 150 years ago.") I would really encourage you not to listen.

6 comments:

  1. Or as today's issue of Proceedings put it, the Littoral Truth.

    SNLII

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  2. Or as today's issue of Proceedings put it, the Littoral Truth.

    This is awesome. Littorally (har har har) the day after I get my notification in the mail that I'd let the Proceedings subscription lapse, they remind me of their capacity for excellence.

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  3. You can get that story for free online:

    http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/story.asp?print=Y&STORY_ID=2256

    SNLII

    ReplyDelete
  4. Madhu might suggest that your case of "redass" might be Pruritis Ani.

    SNLII

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think we should all get back on topic, please.

    What's the big deal that this stuff is getting out there in some places now? There will always be a lag time between cutting edge intellectuals and everyday dullards like me, yeah? Not saying Wood is a dullard, don't put words in my mouth!

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  6. What's the big deal that this stuff is getting out there in some places now?

    Not a big deal. We just like to pretend like we invented or discovered things, so it bothers us when we see other people doing the same thing.

    I'm kidding, of course, but there's always this tendency towards got-there-first-ism in both journalism and blogging, so it always chafes a bit to see a story reported in the media as if it's entirely novel when people who have been paying attention have been talking about those very issues for months or years. (I'm sure it's much the same frustration felt by a number of military historians when the COIN fad came along 'round about '06.)

    ReplyDelete