Accession Number:

ADA508211

Title:

No Conclusive Evidence that the U.S. is Winning Its Long War on Terrorism

Descriptive Note:

Research paper

Corporate Author:

MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2007-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

21.0

Abstract:

Despite 5 years, thousands of lives, and over 500 billion dollars spent in its effort, there is no conclusive evidence that the United States is winning its Long War on Terrorism. The American problem in winning this war begins with its conception of what constitutes war in the 21st century. What the United States conceives to be a limited war is conceived by its enemies to be an unlimited war. The United States Islamist enemies fight their unlimited war with a wide array of means within a holistic concept of war while the United States, despite rhetoric to the contrary, largely fights the war with what it defines as military means in a narrower, 20th century concept of what war is. Thus, U.S. tactical successes on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq have not been translated into strategic success because military means, as the United States currently defines them, are necessary but insufficient to translate tactical to strategic success in the Long War on Terrorism. To translate its tactical to strategic success, the United States must re-examine its cherished Revolution in Military Affairs RMA, acknowledge the true RMA of the 21st century, understand what war is for its Islamist opponents, and adapt to its struggle by expanding its definition of what constitutes war in the 21st century. Counterintuitively, to achieve the greatest chance of success in its struggle, the United States must change its strategy of strategic offense to one of strategic defense. Unfortunately for the United States, the last time that it fought a war with an adaptable opponent who had a more holistic concept of what war is and the will to fight it, the United States lost.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Unconventional Warfare

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE