On the Future and Options

On the Future and Options

by Jason Fritz, Small Wars Journal Op-Ed

On the Future and Options (Full PDF Article)

Andrew Bacevich's defense of COL Gian Gentile in October's Atlantic, while well intentioned, was both flawed and misguided. Concerns about the U.S. military's focus on counterinsurgency and stability operations at the expense of conventional war-fighting abilities are real and warrant a significant discussion on how to strike a balance between the two ends of the spectrum of conflict. However, Gentile's arguments that he defends drive that discussion to the extreme end of the spectrum and would leave the U.S. military few options to defend against the plethora of security challenges that face the nation today and in the future.

Gentile's main arguments are that too much credit has been given GEN David Petraeus for the change in strategy in Iraq, that the decline in violence in Iraq is primarily attributable to the United States buying the allegiance of the Sons of Iraq, and that the U.S. military focuses too much on counterinsurgency doctrine to the detriment of its high intensity warfare skills. A corollary to this last critique is that U.S. forces will likely not -- and really should not -- fight irregular-war conflicts in the future. Bacevich's article not only supported Gentile's ideas but also stated that those who disagreed with him, like LTC (Ret.) John Nagl, were trying to mold the nation's fighting forces in order to continue to fight "one, two, many Iraqs to come."

On the Future and Options (Full PDF Article)

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