19 January 2009

The battle between small, heavy and hybrid wars rages on...

So the debate is heating up regarding "next-war-itis".  A number of prominent military thinkers have taken sides in this debate which regards the future posture of the US military. 

Representing the counter-insurgency crowd is Lt. Col. (Retired)/Doctor John Nagl, one of the architects of the Counterinsurgency Field Manual, and author of Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife:  Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya to Vietnam.  Representing the conventional force crowd is Col. Gian Gentile, a professor of Military History at West Point.  There is, of course, a third point of view, which stresses that hybrid wars--a mix of the conventional and
 unconventional, as Sun Tzu would call it--may dominate the future, much as the Israeli/Hezbollah conflict of 2006.

Of course, we can always look at building two arms of the military, one with an emphasis on counter-insurgency and light wars, and one with an emphasis on heavy wars, with a massive support structure to enable the two to operate simultaneously.  

For a thought experiment, I'd like to steal some thunder from David Axe at War is Boring, and see if we can't compose a unit of action (I never thought I'd use that term without doubling over in laughter, but I just did) geared towards counter-insurgency.  Hey, if Ralph Peters can simply
 whip out a crayon and re-draw the Middle Eastern borders , (and in the process, enrage much of the Middle East) I figure I can re-create the entire US military.  

So how would you construct a unit dedicated to conducting counter-insurgency?  While the focus is of course the core structure (cultural advisors, ground troops, vehicles, translators, intelligence operatives, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, construction teams, non-governmental organization
 representatives, etc), we can certainly add in the peripheral aviation assets, and combat support assets. 

Understand that every counter-insurgency situation is different and requires a highly specialized skillset, especially in terms of translators and cultural advisors, so a permanent organization that routinely operates together is probably impractical.  Yet, it makes for an interesting thought experiment for winning the types of wars that seem to have dominated the early 21st Century.  

Oh yeah, to attract visitors who will offer advice on the future organization of the US military in a counterinsurgency/hybrid/conventional environment, here's a picture of Megan Fox in a Star Wars t-shirt and an iPhone.  So yes, this is truly a blog on my three favorite subjects:  counterinsurgency, Star Wars, and Megan Fox.  I expect dozens of replies now.  

Megan Fox says:  "You can use the standard Brigade Combat Team structure as a baseline, but do not feel compelled to be restrained by this format, as a successful counterinsurgent must apply all aspects of power, to include diplomatic, economic, military and social power upon the populace, so please design a joint-interoperable organization to facilitate this.  This is simply a thought exercise to determine the future of the US military in a counterinsurgency/small war environment.  Oh, and Grimlock should be in Transformers II."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check out www.abumuqawama.blogspot.com for an absolutely enthralling debate between Gian Gentile and a fellow named "Looking Glass." It is mentioned twice in the top 12 or so posts (the debate is in the comments). I think you might find it as interesting as I did, and it is absolutely relevant to your post.

Truth is, I see hyrbrid wars as the future. A conventional war with China or Russia seems increasingly unlikely. If I was an enemy of America, I most definitely would not fight America head on. I would go after the weakness that has been proven time and time again (an insurgency).