December 14, 2005

Big changes take time...

This is very interesting to me, especially because I've read Thomas PM Barnett's The Pentagon's New Map, and I've been following his adventures via his weblog.

Washington Times: The Pentagon yesterday announced a landmark change in the use of combat troops, elevating "stability missions" -- commonly called nation-building -- to an equal status with major combat operations.
The evolution in war-planning priorities underscores how the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by the al Qaeda terror network continue to fundamentally reshape how U.S. military commanders deploy the armed forces.
Not only are U.S. forces becoming more mobile to better counter Islamic terrorists, but the chain of command now will be trained in how to "build" nations by creating indigenous security forces, democratic institutions and free markets...

That's pure Barnett, though he goes farther and advocates two separate forces, which I'm not sure I agree with. (And I keenly hope that his terminology doesn't become standard. He refers to traditional war-winning troops as "Leviathan," and the nation builders as the "SysAdmin forces." I think he has a tin ear.) Oh, and who actually gave the order?

....That is all supposed to change under Directive 3000, which first was ordered to be developed 18 months ago by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Its major objectives include making sure there is a plan to restore security quickly after major combat operations end, and then have funds ready to begin rebuilding.
Military officers say that until that time, such stability operations were almost an afterthought to war planners, who focused on the primary mission of defeating the enemy and taking territory....

SO, do you suppose the "critics" who assign Donald Rumsfeld all responsibility for policies that overemphasized war-winning over dealing with the aftermath of war, will now give him the slightest morsel of credit for ordering new policies to be written? 18 months ago? Criticisms like this:

...I doubt that Donald Rumsfeld will be all that interested in Syrian nation building. In Iraq he was less interested in the messianic urge to implant democracy than he was in the 9/11-given opportunity to prove his theories about a new, lightning-fast, American military. To achieve that end he single-mindedly focused on the race to Baghdad, refusing to even consider that getting to Baghdad might not mean mission accomplished, but only the beginning of a guerilla war...

No, I didn't think so either...

Posted by John Weidner at December 14, 2005 11:23 AM
Weblog by John Weidner