Small Wars Journal

SECDEF Gates Meets with COCOMs, USMC Makes Case...

Christopher Castelli of Inside the Navy (subscription required at Inside Defense) is reporting that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates received feedback on several key strategic initiatives from combatant commanders last week as top US military leaders converged on the Pentagon for a high-level summit.

Internal documents indicate the January 7 morning session was scheduled to cover current defense actions and planning, with remarks by Gates and Mullen. That was to be followed by an afternoon agenda built around the theme of "A Balanced Defense Strategy," the title of Gates' recent Foreign Affairs article.

Gates was slated to kick off the afternoon meeting by discussing the fiscal year 2010 budget, as well as potential supplemental funding for FY-09 and FY-10. Gates has told Congress he needs roughly $70 billion more in FY-09 to finance the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Next up was a discussion of the upcoming 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review led by the Pentagon's policy shop. That was supposed to be followed by a session on current force planning and future requirements, including the status of the defense planning scenarios and future scenario requirements.

In another Inside the Navy article Zachary Peterson reports that The Marine Corps' Strategic Vision Group is busy briefing US military combatant commands around the world, think tanks and congressional committees on the service's vision for the future, which includes returning to Navy ships and a focus on hybrid warfare, the colonel who heads the strategy group tells Inside the Navy.

Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway has called for Marines to return to their expeditionary roots, which means shipborne operations in close-to-shore areas around the globe. The briefs, presented by Col. Steven Zotti and his team, outline how the Marines see the future and their role in protecting U.S. national security interests abroad in the decades to come.

SWJ friend and Marine brother-in-arms Frank Hoffman is quoted as follows:

"These distinctions may no longer be as relevant as they were in the past," according to an information paper on the topic authored by retired Lt. Col. Frank Hoffman, a research fellow at the Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities, a division of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory in Quantico, VA.

Much more - for those who subscribe to Inside Defense - to include their interpretation of the roles and missions of the Marine Corps Training and Advisory Group (MCTAG), which has small teams deployed to Africa and South America and, according to Inside Defense, how the MCTAG would fold into a larger effort to form Security Cooperation Marine Air-Ground Task Forces aimed at training and civil-military operations on a task-oriented basis.

Update: For more see Warfighting, Peacemaking, and Hybrid Warfare at Sea at Information Dissemination.