• Dempsey Issues Chilling Parting Wisdom On Counter-Terrorism

    Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had some parting advice for the Pentagon on counter-terrorism in the latest update to the National Military Strategy.

    The takeaway? Global disorder is on the rise and hybrid-style wars, which have no clear end, will soon dominate the conflict landscape, and so officials need to reorganize the U.S. military to meet the shift in warfare. What’s not included in the document is any discussion on budget concerns or sequestration. Rather, the focus is exclusively on strategy.

    For example, military officials estimate that it will take decades to fully rout out non-state actors like the Islamic State.

    “We are more likely to face prolonged campaigns than conflicts that are resolved quickly… that control of escalation is becoming more difficult and more important… and that as a hedge against unpredictability with reduced resources, we may have to adjust our global posture,” Dempsey wrote.

    Another concern is the use of proxy forces by states uninterested in officially being involved in conflict. The document pointed to Russian-backed rebels in Ukraine as the quintessential case of hybrid warfare.

    “Hybrid conflicts also may be comprised of state and non-state actors working together toward shared objectives, employing a wide range of weapons such as we have witnessed in eastern Ukraine,” Dempsey wrote. “Hybrid conflicts serve to increase ambiguity, complicate decision-making, and slow the coordination of effective responses. Due to these advantages to the aggressor, it is likely that this form of conflict will persist well into the future.”

    In the past six months, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work has argued not only that the U.S. is not guaranteed technological superiority, but that technological superiority on its own isn’t sufficient to combat non-state actors like Islamic State.

    Russia was quick to denounce the 2015 National Military Strategy, saying that the characterization of Moscow as ignoring the sovereignty of neighboring countries is confrontational. While Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov restated his country’s commitment to improving relations between Russia and the United states, the fact remains that relations haven’t been this strained since the end of the Cold War.

    The document goes on to address threats posed by traditional states, namely China, Iran, Russia and North Korea though direct military conflict is not a probable outcome, these states still pose security problems. Iran, the strategy notes, has “destabilized [the Middle East] region and brought misery to countless people while denying the Iranian people the prospect of a prosperous future” through state-sponsored terrorism.

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