A Positive Change of Strategic Perspective for Winning the Long War
by Colonel Robert C. Jones, Small Wars Journal
How one looks at a problem shapes the solution sets that are developed to resolve it. To date U.S. engagement for the Long War has focused on the defeat of Al Qaeda and a growing number of affiliate non-state Violent Extremist Organizations (VEO). This strategy recognizes that populaces are important, but places that importance below that of efforts to capture or kill senior VEO leadership and the development of counterterrorist capacity in the existing governments of the countries where these VEOs reside. This strategy naturally lends itself to a family of engagement that requires a Department of Defense lead, with Department of State in support. Populace-Centric Engagement shifts the focus to understanding and supporting populaces around the world, and assisting them in attaining good governance on their own terms, and produces positive secondary effects.