On Strategy: The War on Terror in Context
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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The War on Terror, as the outcome of the al Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, promises to be the effort of a generation. If it is to win, the United States must approach it in a manner reminiscent of successes in past wars with clearly defined and obtainable national objectives, and a unified national strategy to obtain those objectives. In addition, it must establish a clear long-term vision for transforming its efforts and its institutions from the industrial age to the information age as the new domain for waging war. This thesis examines the War on Terror from several perspectives. First, is the strategic context in which the war is being conducted, particularly the issues involved in its prosecution. Second, the Vietnam War and the War on Terror are examined in historical context to determine if the United States is repeating the strategic mistakes that led to its defeat in Vietnam. Third, transformation imperatives are identified which require the Nation to consider what it must do to win the War on Terror while simultaneously preparing for the emergence of greater forms of information age warfare. Finally, an adaptive capabilities-based approach is suggested for the United States to deal with the new strategic reality it faces.
- Unconventional Warfare