UPI Pentagon Correspondent
Washington (UPI) May 17, 2007
A leading think tank with the ear of the Pentagon says the U.S. Defense Department must embrace a new strategy for the future, one that recognizes the importance of stabilizing other governments. The Rand Corp. traces this new strategy to the U.S. policy set forth by President George W. Bush in his second inaugural address when he declared it to be the role of the United States to "end tyranny."
Rand endorses this policy as the "necessary response to conditions that can breed serious threats to the security of Americans worldwide."
But it points out that pursuing those ends can cause profound challenges for the U.S. military.
"In pursuit of this strategy since Sept. 11, 2001, the United States has demonstrated a willingness in some cases to create a near-term instability to secure longer term goals."
Rand, however, believes future exercise of the policy will not necessarily mean toppling dictators.
"(It) will not in our estimation necessarily involve more instances of forcible regime change along the lines of Operation Iraqi Freedom," it said. "Rather it means placing far more emphasis than heretofore on helping to create or enhance stability in key areas abroad so that governments can effectively control their own territories. We refer to this as stability operations," states the new report.
The practical implication of the demands of the new strategy and new threats is that the U.S. military must jettison its old ways. Among the approaches that need rethinking is its old force-sizing strategy, known as "1-4-2-1."
That strategy assumed the military needed to be sized to carry out four missions simultaneously: defend the United States; maintain forces sufficient to deter aggression in Europe, Northeast Asia, the East Asian littoral and Southwest Asia/Middle East; be ready to simultaneously combat aggression in two of these regions; and maintain a capability to "win decisively" in one of these two conflicts.
Something more flexible, however, was needed.
"The number of places the U.S. and its allies might be called on to engage in promoting stability, democracy and military competence is indeterminate," the report states.
The Defense Department's 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review embraced that flexibility by saying forces needed to be large enough to defend the homeland, defeat terrorist extremism, help shape the choices of countries at strategic crossroads and counter weapons of mass destruction. It stopped short of specifying a force-planning construct, however.
Rand offers its own.
"For force planning purposes, DOD should designate a rotation force capable of maintaining roughly up to 50 'train, equip and advise' missions of various sizes and durations," the report states.
Most peacetime training missions like this are carried out by special operations forces teams, with growing involvement from special operations-capable Marine forces. Rand wants to see those skills proliferate among conventional military units.
It posits an appropriate force-planning construct would be 1-N-2-1 -- allowing "N" to stand for the possibility that conflicts can arise anywhere and not just in those places for which the United States traditionally plans.
The 50 teams would relieve the Army and Marine Corps of having to plan for and fight in more than one major combat operation at a time by leveraging allies, who would be continually trained and prepared to defend themselves and maintain stability without vast numbers of Americans.
It suggests the Army reorganize its forces to have a conventional force and a separate force that specialize in stability operations. It says the Air Force should reconsider its investment in expensive, short-range fighter aircraft that assume bases close to the fighting will be available in favor of longer-range bombers and fighters.
Rand also recommends a much greater investment in reconnaissance and surveillance assets -- sensors that are commonly referred to as high-demand, low-density assets because of how coveted and used they are by deployed forces.
earlier related report
General Rogers began with a big picture explanation of the Air Force's strong focus on the "lean process" -- the endless pursuit of identification and elimination of waste, adapting to change, and continuous process improvement.
"We need to transform our Air Force," he said. "Think about what our Air Force was in '47, '52, '69 and look at what we do today. We are the smallest we have been in history; but, we are the most powerful."
Leaders are being asked to alter the way they do business in order to keep up with the information age -- a huge driving factor behind this transformation. General Rogers concentrated his message on the leaders of the Incirlik community because they are charged with leading and sustaining the force.
"You (senior leaders) have got to have a strategy ... but at the same time, when changes happen you've got to be able to accommodate these changing things," he said.
The key behind leaning processes is to achieve a transformation outcome that will save cost, time and effort. An AFSO 21 outcome can stem from one of the following three approaches; taking current processes and changing them, combining current platforms and executing them in new ways with reengineered processes or using something completely different and out of the box by exploring new solutions.
General Rogers stressed that the focus of lean should be on enabling the Air Force's people, for they are the key component of all processes.
"At the tactical level you can pretty well do your jobs," he said. "The things that make it tougher for you to do your job is all the rest of the bureaucracy. We can really lean out this Air Force -- there is a lot of work to be done."
One of the hardest things this transformation will ask for is a culture change, the general said. Without training and the right tools, the unit's existing character and mentality will be too powerful to overcome.
"If you can create across your command, across your unit, a mindset of out-of-the-box lean thinking, you will automatically become more adaptable," General Rogers said.
"Lean is a great leadership development tool that should be used to mentor your people and develop them," the general said.
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War Czar Compromise - Part 1
Washington (UPI) May 17, 2007
Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute's appointment as the so-called war czar to oversee and coordinate the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan should be welcomed in that he has exactly the experience and talents needed for the job.
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