Gen. Martin Dempsey, the soon-to-be-retiring chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is telling the military to dig in for a long war, one involving non-state actors in a battle that looks a lot like the current fight in Iraq and Syria. America’s top military officer issues a bleak assessment of the global security situation in his new National Military Strategy, a plan getting its first update since 2011. Since then, “global disorder has trended upward while some of our comparative advantages have begun to erode,” Dempsey said at the Pentagon Wednesday [July1].
The Take Away: “We are more likely to face prolonged campaigns than conflicts that are resolved quickly… that control of escalation is becoming more difficult and more important… and that as a hedge against unpredictability with reduced resources, we may have to adjust our global posture.”
The Threats: “Violent extremist organizations” like the Islamic State, hybrid wars in which nations like Russia support militia forces fighting on their behalf in Eastern Ukraine threaten national security interests, Dempsey says.
Who He Calls Out: The usual suspects. Russia: “[I]t … has repeatedly demonstrated that it does not respect the sovereignty of its neighbors and it is willing to use force to achieve its goals.” Iran: “It is a state-sponsor of terrorism that has undermined stability in many nations, including Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.” And don’t forget about their nuclear ambitions. North Korea: For its “pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technologies” and the Sony cyber hack. China: For its “aggressive land reclamation efforts that will allow it to position military forces astride vital international sea lanes.”
Putting it in Writing: The new strategy codifies many statements and assessments made in recent years about the spread of instability. As Defense News’ Aaron Mehta points out: “The contents of the document should be no surprise to those who follow the Pentagon. It is a straightforward military document, devoid of politics. The words ‘budget’ and ‘sequestration’ are nowhere to be found.”..
Another nail in the coffin of that “end of history“.