Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2 1/2 Wars

Captain: "You gonna get used to wearin'
them chains after a while, Luke.
Don't you never stop listenin' to them clinking.

'Cause they gonna remind you of

what I been saying. For your own good."

"Wish you'd stop bein' so good to me, cap'n."

"Sorry, Luke. I'm just doing my job.
You gotta appreciate that."

"Nah - calling it your job don't make it right, Boss."
--Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Reading books on Iwo Jima and the Cuban Missile Crisis recently resurrected in my memory the U.S. defense policy concept of "2 1/2 Wars". The policy started in 1941 and seems to remain intact, though it doesn't get much play these days.

During World War II the U.S. had a two-oceans Navy with corresponding Pacific and European Theatres. That Two-War concept morphed into the somewhat surreal "2 1/2 War" policy. The 1960's Department of Defense based its planning and force development upon this concept, which was forced by the crisis of war; it remained driving policy well into the fall of the USSR in 1991.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue the idea since we maintain force postures in Korea and Europe, implying that the U.S. can fight in any of these theatres simultaneously. We can nibble on Iran, too, with the idea of adding another war once one ramps down, with five carrier groups waiting out at sea.

The U.S. fought the Korean War while it had a large European presence prepared to fight the Warsaw Pact with a two-Navy force patrolling the world. The same was true during the Vietnam War. Both wars required a strong strategic reserve as well as forces forward fighting these proxy "brush fire" wars.

Today we fail to verbalize this tremendous continual drain on our resources, instead accepting it as a required national
status quo. However, while there was a time when this policy may have been necessary, that time is no longer.

Some one should tell the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everything will be fine when Herman Cain gets to run the DoD.


Friday, December 16, 2011 at 12:34:00 AM GMT-5  

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