Small Wars 2.0: A Working Paper on Land Force Planning After Iraq and Afghanistan
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA PEACEKEEPING AND STABILITY OPERATIONS INST
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Given the experience of the last decade, policymakers are certain to prefer managing future terrorist threats with the fusion of intelligence, law enforcement, and special military operations and not via resource-intensive counterinsurgency COIN. Atomized Islamic extremist threats will persist for sure. However, their continued existence by itself is insufficient justification for maintaining large standing general purpose land forces. The prospect of large-scale conventional warfights with competitor states too appears to be of little use to senior decision makers for determining the most demanding future landpower requirements. This all is becoming clear at a time when both the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and looming fiscal challenges are severely limiting DoDs decision space. With a great deal yet to be determined about the future of land forces, the aforementioned trends have already had a significant impact on the Army and Marine Corps. And, absent a compelling narrative for the land components beyond the current wars, I believe that growing senior-level skepticism about future irregular warfights and continued defense austerity will ultimately negatively impact their size and capability. Much deeper, as strategic force structure changes - in addition to those already announced - may follow.
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