Friday, August 20, 2010
In a post this morning, Dr. Finel extrapolates upon my post yesterday and his own from the day before. Keeping this post from from Adam Elkus in mind, I have to say that I agree with everything Bernard has written in his latest. Except for one thing.
I am not making the Yingling argument from "Failure in Generalship." I was just noting that I see the nature of military culture filling the void of strategic incoherence. Where I disagree, vehemently, with COL Yingling is that in no way, shape, or form should generals fill that strategic void with operational art. Observing that this is occurring is not the same as endorsing this reality.
I stated that our civilian leaders need to provide the military with strategic leadership and I stand by that: it is how civ-mil relations should be balanced in our system and we're witnessing the repercussions of their failure to provide that leadership. Operational art is no substitute for strategy or grand strategy. But as this conversation has progressed over the past day or so, I agree with Adam that civilian leaders are unlikely to provide that strategic guidance any time soon. So now what?
Honestly, I have no idea at this point. But I think this should cause us to pause and think about what civ-mil relations should look like in an era of strategic uncertainty. Military officers dictating policy because civilians can't or won't is not a durable solution (especially in the arena of public lobbying for war support). A new paradigm must be created and new lines of responsibilities need to drawn, because the current system does not support the strategic realities we're facing now and in the foreseeable future. I don't know that Bernard would agree with me here, but I still see it as incumbent upon the civilian leaders to create the new rules or military culture will continue to expand and fill the strategic void. Where Bernard and I likely agree is that we can't continue to allow that expansion to happen.