by SWJ Editors
To Whom Should our Generals Listen?
Or Who Should Control the Debate on the Nature of Future Conflicts
by Colonel David S. Maxwell, Small Wars Journal
Today there is much being written, discussed and even passionately argued over the nature of future conflicts that the US will face. This debate is critically important as the military enters a new QDR period and develops the future operating concepts for the military and (as US leadership has now fortunately come to realize) the whole of government approach to US National Security challenges. One might ask why this important or perhaps more pointedly, is it really that important?
Experts and pundits will say that understanding the nature of future conflict is important because it must be understood so the proper organizations can be designed, manned, trained, and equipped to operate and if necessary fight in these future environments. Multi-billion dollar budgets will be determined by the requests for future force structure. The US Joint Forces Command recently published the Joint Operating Environment (JOE) which provides useful insights into the nature of future conflicts and conditions the US could see; however, that document has by no means put an end to debates and arguments on the nature of war. In addition, the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations should also put to rest the debates for the time being and form the basis for future operating concepts and resourcing the future force. One could rightly ask that is these are the views of the Joint Forces then the Combatant Commands and the Services should take these documents as the foundation for our future joint force and get on with resourcing the force to operate in this environment and support the concepts called for in the documents.