Friday, May 28, 2004

The Global Battlefield (from Belmont Club)

The Global Battlefield (from Belmont Club)

a very very good article. Wretchard in general has been a very astute and fair observer of the proceedings of the "war on terror" as persecuted by the United States and its allies. With one or two excellent posts a day he has become one of the few weblogs I read every day without fail.

In this article, Wretchart quotes Lt. Col. Robert R. Leonhard, U.S.A. (ret) writing in the href="" target="_blank">Army Magazine

We do not live in Sun Tzu’s world, nor even in that of Clausewitz, Fuller or Liddell Hart. The modern world has urbanized to an unprecedented degree, and it is inconceivable that future military contingencies will not involve urban operations. Sun Tzu lived and wrote (if indeed he was a real person) in the agrarian age, when most of the land was either wilderness or cultivated. Large segments of the population lived outside cities, and warfare typically occurred in flat, open terrain. Such battlefields--the stomping grounds of warriors from Sun Tzu to Napoleon--are becoming scarcer each day. Furthermore, the very success of American joint operations--and joint fires in particular--guarantee that a clever opponent will move into cities for protection. The modern battlefield is urban.

The argument farther develops into what constitutes front lines, and, IMO, a redefinition of what a force unit will become.

The interagency task force, rather than the joint force, must become the basis for future operations. With the elements of national power coalescing at the tactical level of war, a loose confederation of governmental agencies at the combatant commander level is simply insufficient. An honest look at our recent operations in Afghanistan would reveal a superb performance by our military and a half-hearted, poorly integrated participation by the rest of the U.S. government agencies. As a result, American foreign policy appears to be 90 percent military with a few economic and diplomatic add-ons. This is a recipe for disaster in future urban warfare. We need to graduate to the formation of the interagency task force.

The interagency task force would be built around a Marine expeditionary unit or an Army brigade, reinforced with joint fires. In addition, it would have active participation from the Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, Justice, the CIA, the FBI and (as needed) Agriculture, Health and Human Services, the Office of Economic Advisors and Labor. It would also have congressional liaison teams. At present, most of these agencies of the U.S. government lack a mission to assist in foreign policy, but this must change. The elements of national power--the integration of which is crucial to effective grand strategy--reside in these agencies. They must become players in war and peace.

read the whole thing.


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