26 September 2010

Here we go again

While I don't disagree with an emphasis on "full-spectrum operations", this quote regarding the 82nd Airborne Division's recent exercise sounds too reminiscent of the post-Vietnam era.
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 — 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?


Anonymous said...

Korb is right, we are not good at it and won't be. There are other ways to handle the problem.

However, they entail a bit of risk. We're not good at that, either...

Ken White

Boyer said...

It's not just at Bragg - we're living the Cold War Legend in Cavland, too. For those of us middling between deployment and nostalgia, our training isn't too consistent. We'll train HIC, then move to HIC + KLE, then move to straight COIN. The BDE that's not set to deploy just yet is starting to reset into HIC.

I'm all about FSO...when FSO is understood. FSO isn't HIC + a key leader engagement or HIC + IED. Judging from my BDE STX concept, there's a lack of creativity in developing a FSO exercise. Instead, we're playing cut-and-paste with familiar training. This upcoming reset is going to make or break our transition into FSO preparedness. My concern is that the downright sexiness of a CALFEX is going to overpower the lessons we've learned in irregular warfare.