"We are going to have to change some of the things that made us the best Army in the world. Our values are sacrosanct...everything else is on the table." - Army Chief of Staff, General Peter J. SchoomakerWe have a fight on our hands about irreconcilable ideas. Closing with and killing the enemy is no longer sufficient. Nor is simply making them expend their resources in an arms race.
We face a desperate enemy seeking to recruit millions to fight us. Our enemy is extremely adaptive and will seek out any means to destroy us. Our enemy will seek shelter in every location in which it is difficult for us to operate or prepare. We may be fighting every day for the next 20 years - peace will be the anomaly.
Our enemy has more contrasts with the Soviet Warsaw Pact than similarities. Lately, I have been thinking of the impact to the military services.
1. Our forces must now focus both on overseas contingencies and defending bases at home and abroad.
2. Our strategy has changed from defensive (Cold War) to preventative (Wolfowitz Doctrine).
3. Our battles will become increasingly quick (rapid and on short notice), simultaneous and far flung (non-contiguous battlefields) - no more Fulda Gap scenario based strategy.
4. As strikes from sea, air, or land (and, soon, space) can hit targets at sea, in the air, or on land (and space), no one military service will have a monopoly on "battle space". Our services will have to be interdependent. Our Headquarter elements will all need to be Joint-Capable to operate combat activities, logistics, air support, and intelligence for ALL services. Soldiers will call for naval missle strikes. Marines will call for Army Artillery or Air Force strikes. The capabilities that were once territorial must now permeate all services.
5. Our strike forces will need to be smaller and more agile. They will need to be Brigade Combat Teams instead of Division or Corps deployments.
...And of the impact to military personnel.
1. Peace will now be the anomaly. Soldiers can expect to be put into harms way several times in a career.
2. Field duty, not garrison duty, will be the norm.
3. Deployments will be expected, not reassignments.
4. A Soldier's quality of life will be measured in terms of "meaningful" deployments. And deployments will be "predicted" in order to assist with family planning. Meaningful means level of impact to the security of the nation. Predicted means that the soldier will be on-call to deploy or will be scheduled to deploy (deployment will be inevitable).
It's not just a change in the career aspect of serving in the military - it's a mind-set shift to being ready to engage the enemy at any minute. If there's one thing that I learned in all my years in the military, it's that shifts in mind-set are more difficult to make than changes in structure, responsibility or organization.