Scoring the Long War
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA DEFENSE ANALYSIS DEPT
Pagination or Media Count:
The score for the Long War can look very different, depending on which scorecard is used. Each side has its own set of metrics -- measures of effectiveness MOE -- for keeping score, metrics that often paint a self-serving picture of the realities on the wars various battlefields. Even within each side, different groups can have scorecards that look very different from one another. In media headlines and decision making circles throughout the U.S. government and military, great emphasis is placed on quantifiable measures like body counts, troop surge numbers, weapons expended, and enemy leadership targeted. U.S. decision makers routinely use and advertise these MOE, which are derived from traditional, state-versus-state, third-generation warfare. These measures attempt to correlate what we are doing with how we are doing. But traditional MOE do not address the reality that we are not fighting a third-generation war. The current fight against al-Qaeda is a fourth-generation war, and it requires a different set of MOE that more accurately depict who is winning and who is losing. By focusing on the wrong U.S. measures of success, we completely miss the point that the enemy -- al-Qaeda -- is busy achieving its goals. Instead, the authors propose enemy-centric MOE. By comparing al-Qaedas stated goals to their ability to prosecute these strategies, we can quickly determine the state of the Long War. The authors first list al-Qaedas goals -- their MOE -- and then explore al-Qaedas ability to operate in accordance with these stated goals. To yield insight into possible U.S. counter strategies, a case study from Iraq is used to articulate what losing looks like for the enemy, paying particular attention to those measures that could potentially put al-Qaeda squarely in the loss column.
- Unconventional Warfare