Drained by grueling hearts-and-minds efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military is refocusing on fighting and killing the enemy, not nation-building.
Writing recently in Foreign Affairs magazine, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said, "The United States is unlikely to repeat a mission on the scale of those in Afghanistan or Iraq anytime soon â that is, forced regime change followed by nation building under fire." Instead, U.S. forces will probably be called on to help other countries' armies defend themselves, particularly against terrorist attacks but also against conventional armies.
Lawrence J. Korb, a former assistant secretary of Defense who closely follows military planning, said flatly: "We aren't going to be doing counterinsurgency again. We're not that good at it." Many units' major combat skills are rusty because of the counterinsurgency focus, Korb said.Captain Picard, can I get a facepalm, please?