Small Wars Journal

CTC Sentinel - October 2016 Issue Now Online


Let us consider the item: "A View From the CT Foxhole" with LTG (ret.) Cleveland. And, re: this item, exactly what it is that our national leaders want America's military -- and indeed all of its instruments of power and persuasion -- to do/to accomplish; today and in the future.

In this regard, let me get directly to the point:

In the New/Reverse Cold War of today, the job that our national leadership wants us to do is to help the U.S./the West achieve the grand political objective that the Soviets/the communists, in the Old Cold War of yesterday, were unable to achieve.

This such grand political objective being:

To transform the entire Rest of the World more along one's own -- very unusual and unique and thus often severely alien, profane and off-putting -- political, economic, social and values lines.

This, in spite of the quite natural and exceptional resistance -- to such unwanted transformations -- as has been and will continue to be forthcoming from both great nations and small, and from both state and non-state actors.

All of whom, together and/or separately, will (a) continue to use the strategies developed and used in the Old Cold War of yesterday (think for example: "containment," "roll back" and "political attrition") and (b) the means/measures associated therewith (think political warfare, proxy war, unconventional warfare, hybrid warfare, etc.); all of this/these, employed to prevent the U.S./the West, now, from achieving our desired "expansionist" ends.

Let me suggest, accordingly, that it is against this such job requirement -- against these such challengers -- and against their such strategies and related means/measures employed in the service of same -- that the suite of SOF capabilities (for example: those associated with surgical strike and unconventional warfare) -- and, indeed, the capabilities of our other forces/our other instruments of power and persuasion today:

a. Find significant utility. Or

b. Do not.

(Note: If you think that "transformation" -- in our case -- of outlying states and societies more along modern western political, economic, social and values lines; if you think that this is not our job/is not what our national leaders expect us to do today, then consider the following introductory paragraph from our very own Appendix B [Internal Development and Defense Strategy] to ATP 3-05.2 [Foreign Internal Defense]:

"The IDAD strategy is the full range of measures taken by a nation to promote its growth and to protect itself from subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency. Every nation’s strategy is specific, but the end state is universal - a responsible and accountable local, state or provincial, and national government that ensures the personal safety of its citizens by providing a climate and institutions that demonstrate the ability to improve their material well-being. In addition, those governments must ensure the basic freedoms that the world community has come to regard as fundamental. For the Army planner who has been born in or naturalized into a nation founded on those principles, one of the fundamental truths he must remember is that the above end state is frequently contradictory to the government the HN has experienced in the past or even from its inception. In some cases, one of the objectives may be to help formulate an appropriate IDAD strategy. This may mean instilling values that heretofore have not been present.")

Bottom Line: In the Old Cold War of yesterday, our job, and the utility thereof, was best understood/measured/evaluated/marketed from the perspective of "defense," i.e., as per the requirement of "containment" -- of communism. In the New/Reverse Cold War of today, however, our job, and the utility thereof, would seem to be best understood/measured/evaluated/marketed from an "offensive" perspective, to wit: as per the requirement of "expansion" -- of market-democracy.