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Saturday, March 26, 2005

"State Department Soldiers" and the beginnings of a 'SysAdmin' Force?

A Pentagon in the “Context of Everything Else”

It seems that the Pentagon and the Secretary of Defense himself are beginning to come around to many of the same conclusions that Thomas Barnett has ascertained concerning the Pentagon's role in 'war in the context of everything else'. In a document that outlines a new 'visionary' agenda for the military that will include a larger focus on ‘battling terrorists and insurgents’ (GWOT campaign, Afghanistan, Iraq) ‘over conventional military challenges’ (rising China, resurgent Russia). The new goal is to drive the armed services to design and develop new systems and means of using them against 4 core problems;

-Combat Internal Terrorist Threats in Failed and Collapsed States (The non-integrating Gap), by forming relationships in military training and aid

-Continue to provide a defense of the homeland against terrorist attacks

-Persuade possible future near-peer countries (China, Russia) from aggression

-Stop and rollback WMD proliferation.

The major point of this shift seems to be rooted in the attempt to ‘prevent problems from becoming crises and crises from becoming all-out conflicts.’ So instead of waiting for an Islamist group to launch attacks in a failing state, the Pentagon will seek to equip and train the local government to effectively protect themselves as in the case of many current GWOT deployments in Sub-Saharan Africa. Also when a crisis arises such as what occurred in the Philippines in the past few years with their on-going battle against Abu-Sayyef, increased support has been given including on the ground military advisors. Underlying these concepts in the Pentagon is the belief that the United States is now engaged in a sustained global conflict that warrants a more proactive approach, ‘focused on changing the world instead of just responding to conflicts’.

Although this review will soon be sent to Congress, it does not require any approval and will then be sent to the Bush Administration to help guide future defense spending and engagements. Even though this is the case there will be some heavy political battles in the near future as big ticket defense items and their contracts will be cut and possibly shunted into new technologies and deployments that the review highlights.

State Department Soldiers, the beginning of the SysAdmin”

One very big component of the SecDef’s review and subsequent revamping of the military is the apparent push for solutions that include the deployment of small ‘culturally savvy’ teams to train indigenous forces (Green Beret Style) as well as the ability to deploy these and other small US military forces to places where conflict is eminent to support the failing governments forces against any guerilla or terrorists groups from turning into a widespread insurgency. Officials behind the review hope to have several of such teams around the world in a proactive attempt to prevent failing and collapsed states from becoming havens for terrorist training and logistical basing.

This is probably one of the most revolutionary changes in the thinking of the Pentagon upper echelon as it puts the focus of the future war not in near-peer adversaries like China or Russia, but in the non-state actors that run rampant through the ‘non-integrating Gap’, using the relative lack of rule-sets and coherent governance to launch attacks on the ‘functioning Core’. Leading to charge to fill this position seems to be the Marine Corps by ‘shifting away from its traditional amphibious assault missions to new units designed to work with foreign troops’. By developing and equipping a force to deal proactively with these type of threats and doing so in a way that allows them to be culturally sensitive and with a goal of restoring order while maintaining the capabilities of an effective fighting force, these soldiers could become the foundation of a future SysAdmin force envisioned by many strategic thinkers.

nods to ZenPundit and strieff at RedState

Pentagon Prepares to Rethink Focus on Conventional Warfare
Washington Post: January 26 2005

Rumsfeld Details Big Military Shift in New Document
Wall Street
Journal: March 11 2005

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