Tom Ricks is trying to stir up trouble for his old friend Shawn Brimley, making him out to be some shadowy figure deep in the bowels of the Pentagon conspiring to eliminate the U.S. Air Force. Some things need to be made clear:
- Shawn is, in fact, in the bowels of the Pentagon.
- His only co-conspirators are, like, five dudes. Oh, and McCants (man-crush of jihadists everywhere).
That said, I glanced down at the last page of Shawn's most recent article (.pdf) yesterday -- which I had already read, weeks ago -- and noticed anew this line toward the end:
Recent conflicts have called into question the long-standing requirement for the US military to plan for two nearly simultaneous major combat operations of the type required for regime change in the Middle East or East Asia. A new force-planning construct needs to acknowledge that military forces, particularly ground forces, are far less fungible than previous QDRs assumed. Put another way, a new force-planning construct cannot assert that forces deployed as part of long-term, steady-state advising or partnering missions will be able to be reset and shift rapidly to major combat operations.
That immediately made me think of that article that ran in the Times this past weekend:
The protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are forcing the Obama administration to rethink what for more than two decades has been a central premise of American strategy: that the nation need only prepare to fight two major wars at a time.
Along with the RAND report that several readers highlighted, I recommend reading Shawn the White-Board Scribbler's paper as well as you think about what kind of QDR we're going to be looking at in a few months.