Sunday, April 26, 2009

'Let's build an army to fight all wars'

So says Col Gian Gentile of West Point. The entire spring issue of Joint Forces Quarterly is given over to the question of how the army should prepare to fight. That Gentile's is a minority viewpoint is suggested by the fact that his article is counterpoint to the prevailing view, that of Sec/Def Gates and the omnipresent John Nagl, whose point essay is titled, 'Let's Win the Wars We're In'. Here is Col Gentile's brief in brief:

'The Army’s new and most important doctrinal manuals confirm that fighting as a core competency has been eclipsed in importance and primacy by the function of nationbuilding. This does not mean that in these manuals the ability of the Army to fight is not necessary, only that it is a subordinate function to the capability to do such things as establish local governance, conduct information operations, build economies and service infrastructure, and provide security, all of which are elements of building a nation. Yet by placing nationbuilding as its core competency over fighting, our Army is beginning to lose its way, and we court strategic peril as a result.'

Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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