Barnett Transcript - 7

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A New Ordering Principle

Take that map, take that definition of crisis, talk about how we are going to change DOD, I will make an argument about ordering principle =

 

I will say it is a core conflict model around which everything is

planned
procured
organized
trained
operated
how you become a flag - most importantly how you become a flag.

You change career paths, you change the military in about 8-10 years.  Frankly I would like to see all flags become totally purple. All admirals and generals once they reach flag rank, they lose all service identity.  As soon as that happens, I can really start smashing some rice bowls. And in 10 years Iíll have a dramatically different military because everybody who wants to become a flag will understand thatís the price - not just jointness, way beyond jointness.

 

I will argue that weíve had an ordering principle since we created DOD, Defense Department back in 1947.  That ordering principle Iíll describe it as great power war.  We assume we are going to fight somebody very big, high level of technology just like ours.  Itís going to be an all out declared war.  It is an industrial era, mobilization model which I donít think any more fits the circumstances we face.  So I will argue for a larger definition and I will call that definition System Perturbations. You will say we have new definitions of war, Itís called a Revolution in Military Affairs, It's called 4th generation warfare.  It's called net-centric warfare. 

 

I will tell you those are all definitions of war within the context of war.  But we have to think about war within the context of everything else - like who pays for the war.  Who shows up for the peace.  How did we get to this point?  Three tiered perspective.  Iím going to talk about the system as a whole, nation states, individuals living within nation states.  In the cold war, we had a system level definition of conflict and threat - it was called big power war - WWIII between us and the Soviets.  Because we could never fight them in that kind of war - too dangerous, on the level of nation states we only engaged in proxy wars. Our side fought their side, their side fought our side.  Sometimes weíd get bored and switch sides, like with Ethiopia and Somalia - you take them for a while.  Down here we have the so-called lesser includedís which we preferred to leave to law enforcement.  This is what we organized around even though 95% of our business was this.  We sub-optimized for that because this was the whole enchilada. 

 

Since we got through the cold war without global nuclear Armageddon, I'll say good choice.  We get to the 1990ís, Soviets donít come along.  We downshift.  We say - two major theatre wars is almost like a great power war.  Do you think we could sell Congress on that?  And we did, it was called Les Aspinís Bottom-Up Review.  I know because when I briefed Congress, they said Yeah, thatís it... That's what you sold us.  Down here, everybody got a promotion - Iím not just a terrorist - Iím a transnational Actor.  Up here we didnít have anything so we made something up.  A threat to be determined.  China all grown up.  But this is what we sold to Congress.  This is what we organized around - an abstract force sizing principle.  We come to today.  What shall we organize around? 

 

Some people say, for $450 billion dollars youíd better do better than just whacking the Taliban six weeks later.  How about protecting Americans.  How about protecting Americans?  How about taking $200 billion out of defense and putting it into the Department of Homeland Security NOW.   What the military fears about that kind of argument is that they will be dragged down into the muck.  They will be ruined as a military. Youíll ruin this military that we took 25 years putting together -since the end of Viet Nam. Youíll destroy it.  Youíll turn us into a giant police force.  I say relax.  Weíve got a department for that.    Third biggest one.  Some people say, weíve just invaded Sicily, letís figure out who Italy is.  Itís World War IV.  Hell I say, lets just kill all of their leaders and Christinize them.  And then I think I was channeling Ann Coulter there.  Itís good to be that thin.   Since she breathes fire and I breathe air Iíll say that is simply fear mongering.  You canít tell the world, your grand strategy is: ďLetís Roll!  Bring it on!  Whoís Next! Are you talking to me?   Cause Iím the only military superpower here.  What is left unsaid by this Administration encourages a lot of bonehead ideas and a lot of fear mongering by people who frankly should be shouted off the stage. 

 

We are a system level power.  We need a system level definition of instability and insecurity.  This is what we should organize around.  The rest of the world will fall into place if we can manage this.  You know what?  That is a whole lot more than DOD.  It is a whole lot more than the Pentagon planning for war.  It is way beyond interagency.  What we face is a problem of success not failure.  This is the deeper reach of U.S. military power over time.  I got into this business 15 years ago to do strategic nuclear planning against the Soviets.  It was a war against a bloc.  By the middle of my career I was working on regional Hegemons - wars against bad regimes.  Now we fight warfare against individuals.  We went into Panama, we wanted Noriega.  We went into Somalia and we figured out it was Aidid and his clan.  We went into the Balkans, we figured out just get Milosevic and his people.  We went into Iraq looking for a deck of cards. Weíre just here for the bad guys - please go about your business.  We donít fight militaries any more. We donít fight nation states.  We call it interstate war when the U.S. comes in as a leader of a coalition to take down a few bad actors.  It is such an abuse of the phrase.  When I got into this business the standard was 8 to 9 minute response to Soviet nuclear launching of attack.  Within a couple of years our standard is going to be a UAV, unmanned aerial vehicle operating on the far side of the earth.   It is going to find, recognize and kill one person in 8-9 minutes.  That is an amazing evolution in my 15 year career.  How much will our military forces change to mirror this environment?  IĎll tell you our legacy in terms of capabilities spread looks something like this - we are primarily built to fight other nation states.  So the bulk of our capabilities are found there. We have a certain strategic capacity and the ability to go inside nation states and deal with individuals.  Civil Affairs.  Special Ops. I will tell you the Revolution in Military Affairs crowd in this administration when they came in, this OSD - Office of Secretary of Defense.  Their dream of transformation was a very pristine military that was going to be largely a system level function.  A certain capacity to defeat nation states - never were going to do any of this stuff.  Never go inside nation states.  Never nation build.  None of that stuff.  Condi Rice, National Security Advisor said no Special Operations personnel are ever escort kids to kindergarten on my watch.    Words she has subsequently had to eat because the global war on terrorism adds back this part big time.  If you are going to deal with global terrorism, youíre going to get inside nations. Otherwise you field a first half team in a league that insists on keeping score until the end of the game.  So we can run up the score by half time and then get our asses kicked the rest of the time - unless we rethink the seam between war and piece. This force gets you the Iraq War - brilliant.  This force gets you the trouble we have now.  That was Rumsfeld argument - great argument.  This was Shinsekiís argument Chief of Army Staff - great argument.  Problem is that we called both definitions, how to fight this war.   The answer was that they were two definitions for two different things.  One was to fight the war.  One was to wage the peace.  Until we separate those concepts weíre not going to understand that weíre not going to move from this diamond shape to this hourglass and itís going to be hard.

 

 
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