Where’s The Beef? Krepinevich Slams Vagueness Of US Strategy
Where’s the strategic beef? That’s what Andrew Krepinevich wants to know.
“When the administration came out with its strategicguidance [in] January, I thought the guidance made a lot of sense in terms of setting priorities,” the head of the influential Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments said this morning [Dec. 18] at the headquarters of the Air Force Association. “Western Pacific No. 1, Persian Gulf region No. 2, that certainly made a lot of sense. But what I haven’t seen since then is the strategy. If these are the objectives, how do we go about meeting those objectives?”
When we talk about a possible conflict with the Chinese, for example, “what do we want [Pacific Command chief] Adm. Locklear to do?” Krepinevich asked. “Do we want him to defend the first island chain [running from Japan through Taiwan and the Philippines to northern Indonesia], think about blockading any adversary, [or] do we want to practice nuclear brinksmanship, appeasement, accommodation?”
Krepinevich has been the leading non-government advocate of the Air Force-Navy “AirSea Battle” concept>, seen largely as a war plan against Iran and China. But even that idea, he said, is still vague and underdeveloped compared to its inspiration, the Cold War “AirLand Battle” doctrine for defending Western Europe from the Soviets and South Korea from the North during the Cold War. It’s so inchoate, in fact, that officials from America’s Pacific allies have been showing up at CSBA, wanting more detail that the Pentagon apparently isn’t giving them.
Figuring out what we want to do is particularly important when we can no longer afford to everything…
…stealth aircraft and submarines, manned or unmanned, are some of the most expensive systems the Pentagon can buy. “How do you reconcile the ends-means disconnect?”…
Krepinevich did, however, steer clear of mentioning CSBA’s long-time skepticism of the Air Force’s and indeed the whole Defense Department’s largest program, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which the think tank has criticized as too short-ranged to penetrate the deep “anti-access/area denial” defenses of a country like China. In a recent “budget wargame” simulation run by CSBA, six out of seven teams decided to cut the F-35 over the next 10 years — and the seventh cancelled it outright.
That’s not advice anyone at the Air Force Association wanted to hear. But if you read Krepinevich and company closely, they’ve got plenty of bad news for everyone.
One wonders to what extent such US thinking–such as it may be–will affect the Canadian Forces’ internal future planning. And if the political level is considering these matters (hah!), potentially of very serious concern to Canada. Might we risk getting drawn into something…? Is DFAIT paying attention? Relevant:
Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa bloggerece
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