War by Other Means: Building Complete and Balanced Capabilities for Counterinsurgency

By David C. Gompert; John Gordon IV | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE
Investment Priorities

The Need to Invest

Much has been made of U.S. mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan: dangers not foreseen, preparations not made, opportunities missed, bad decisions made, international support not sought, and so on. Yet, it would be wrong to think that the United States would have readily succeeded were it not for its mistakes. The United States does not have enough of the right capabilities to contain, weaken, and ultimately overcome complex dynamic (Type III) insurgencies of the kind in Iraq and Afghanistan—the kind the United States is likely to face in the future, whether or not it succeeds in these two conflicts.

A root cause of this deficit has been a failure of investment. Military capabilities are a case in point. The first sentence of the 2006 DoD Quadrennial Defense Review Report (QDR) reads: “The United States is a nation engaged in what will be a long war.”1 Yet the current DoD “program of record,” based on that QDR, leaves the United States with incomplete and imbalanced capabilities with which to prosecute this “long war.” Major threats, crises, or wars usually precipitate changes in national defense capabilities—e.g., the airplane, the tank, radar, atomic weapons. Not this one. Except for a small increase in the proportion of the DoD budget for special operations forces (from roughly 1 percent to 2 percent), there has been no substantial change in military investment priorities since 9/11. Moreover, despite the knowledge that civil capabilities are as important to COIN as military capabilities,

U.S. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report 2006, p. v.

-279-

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