Last month, Gates directed the formation of a QDR Red Team to provide an alternative to the assessment Flournoy and her office are leading. The Red Team is being led by Andrew Marshall, director of the Office of Net Assessment, and Gen. James Mattis, commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command, with participation from experts outside the government.
“The primary purpose of this Red Team effort is to introduce a different range of scenarios, some of which actually are very high-end and very intensive, and they are beyond the scenario set that has been developed inside the [Pentagon],” she said.
The Obama administration has chosen a lawyer and Iraq War veteran who has denounced U.S. detention policy to direct detainee affairs at the Department of Defense.
Until starting at the Pentagon this week, Phillip E. Carter, 33, was an associate at New York's Park Avenue law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge. He specialized in government contracting and national security regulation.
A former Army captain, he also blogged on national security issues at a Washington Post website, Intel Dump.
...six years of war have clarified priorities. The battlefield has its own values, starting with courage. Sexual orientation falls somewhere below musical taste. What a person chooses to do back stateside, off-duty, in his own apartment is irrelevant in a fight. For months I lived with 12 other American advisers on an Iraqi outpost. There was a single pipe shower next to a hole that masqueraded as a sewer. But the reality of combat dominated personality quirks — nobody wondered about sexual orientation.
At the end of the piece, though, Donnelly argues how this budget's primary aim is to hold down defense spending -- and not to set different spending priorities that reflect future threats.
The chances of a U.S. military strike against Iran has certainly diminished since Obama took office, and Gates himself has made clear that he favors exhausting diplomacy, sanctions and other nonmilitary steps as the U.S. searches for a way to halt what it contends is Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Yet the Pentagon also sees its job as planning for the worst-case scenario, which a hybrid war with Iran might well be.
It has a conventional military, which though considered mediocre in many respects, possesses high-tech weapons, including cruise missiles and air defense systems. But Iran also has the ability to strike using unconventional tactics, including terrorist strikes around the globe, stepped-up support for insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, and with waves of small speed boats attacking U.S. naval ships in the Persian Gulf.
In a war with Iran, “you would have to destroy the Iranian air force and negate the missile threat. You’d also have to deal with Iranian small boat attacks, and you’d also have to be prepared to deal with terrorist attacks,” said Andrew Exum, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank, and a former Army officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Gates also grew concerned that the lessons the military was learning in Iraq about what it took to succeed against an insurgency would be shunned as those wars wound down. He worried that the Pentagon bureaucracy, Congress and major defense contractors would return to what they felt most comfortable doing — preparing for large-scale conventional war.
If future wars are likely to be hybrid wars, the Pentagon has to prepare for fighting conventionally and unconventionally at the same time, Gates says. He is quick to point out that the budget recommendations he laid out this week hardly represent a radical shift away from buying large high-tech weapons systems.
And what I'm trying to put at the table are representatives of those who spend about 10 percent of the budget. Their work has been funded principally through supplementals over the last six or seven years. I want to get that capability into the base budgets so that it will continue and we don't forget, as we did after Vietnam, how to do what we're doing right now so successfully in both Iraq and Afghanistan.The second is with a round table with journalists (.wmv). (Thanks, Noah)
There are one or two decisions that did not leave smiles on the faces of the services. ... But I have made it clear that I do not want to see any guerrilla warfare on these programs.