Exporting Security: International Engagement, Security Cooperation, and the Changing Face of the U.S. Military

By Derek S. Reveron | Go to book overview
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7

Implications for the Force

IN RESPONSE TO A SOLDIER'S QUESTION about lacking the appropriate training and equipment for counterinsurgency in Iraq, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld quipped, “you go to war with the army you have.” That may be true, but the secretary of defense is responsible for determining the type of military the country needs. This is important not only when the military is engaged in warfare but also during peacetime missions such as security cooperation. Given that security assistance missions are so different from combat, it is imperative for the military to develop concepts and capabilities appropriate to work with partners outside of combat zones in permissive environments. Rumsfeld's successor, Robert Gates, wrestled with this: “The U.S. military's ability to kick down the door must be matched by its ability to clean up the mess and even rebuild the house afterward.”1 Thus Secretary Gates called for a balanced force structure that would prepare the military for future conflict but would also ensure that the military changes to incorporate the lessons of current operations that challenge the U.S. military in noncombat ways. This is represented not only in defense strategy but also in military concepts for development of the force.

As my discussion of the traditionalist, modernist, and irregular warfare schools in chapter 3 suggests, how force development is undertaken will have profound implications for getting the future military force right both in size and in scope. Four basic categories of military activity underlie force development: combat, security, engagement, and relief and reconstruction.2 Combat remains a core mission for the military, but the last three categories reinforce that the Defense Department wants “to develop a stable environment in which civil society can be built and that the quality of life for the citizenry can be improved.”3 Talking about the new capstone concept for joint operations, retired Marine colonel Jerry Lynes said, “Things have changed significantly. We have taken our traditional principles of war and added to them.”4 Key among these is peacetime engagement in permissive environments. Since engagement is premised on preventing conflict by empowering partners to confront their own security challenges, it is arguably

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