Monday, October 10, 2011

Rethinking Defense

In a recent article in the Atlantic John Arquilla; Andrew Bacevich; James Fallows; and Gary Hart urged POTUS to commission an "independent, nonpartisan investigatory commission to evaluate the military experience of the past decade".  
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has, unfortunately, already indicated that he prefers to protect existing programs rather than to entertain unorthodox ideas.  Congressional leaders, regardless of party, share this disposition. Too much money can be as destructive as too little; big budgets can inhibit rather than encourage introspection and original thought. Therefore, useful answers to the question "how's it going" will have to come from the outside.
MIL INT supports this recommendation particularly as the proposed lines of operation include investigating:

1. The U. S. global military footprint - something MIL INT has written about at length on the blog and in publications
2. The design of U.S. combat forces - this is happening right now anyway so might as well bring the best minds to the question. 
3. The national security apparatus - MIL INT is weary of suggestions for an interagency Goldwater-Nichols Act. The US has had an interagency system since 1947. Whatever its shortcomings, forcing the whole US government to become "joint" will likely further emphasize national security issues in US foreign policy.

MIL INT would add the following questions

1. The strategy- intelligence - operations nexus - what enhancements can be made to make US power more robust with a smaller footprint.
2. How is imagination harnessed and rewarded within the IC?.
3. Contracting in the IC - how much is too much? Contracting took off because the bureaucracy could not react to demand in any time period measured in less than months. Can the IC be made agile? What is the limit of privatization?
4. Presidential Authorizations to deter and defeat threats against the US - we should have a discussion about the Constitution versus the need to know and the need to kill.

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