RMA and the Gates Confirmation

Pejman Yousefzadeh has a good column up at TCS Daily, suggesting questions not directly related to Iraq for Robert Gates’s confirmation hearings.

Peacekeeping. Whether it was intended or not, the peacekeeping capabilities of the American military have now become part and parcel of the transformation debate. … The Rumsfeld Doctrine runs counter to the Powell Doctrine, which relied on the use of overwhelming force. … It might be worth … opting for a light and agile force to win the initial military phase of a theater conflict and then employing the heavy footprint called for by the Powell Doctrine in peacekeeping.

Take that one step farther: aside from military and military police, what functions should be integrated with the peacekeeping force? Construction? Media (propaganda)? Microlending? In Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, LTC John Nagl argued that successful counterinsurgency must incorporate political and economic intervention, as well as military, and faulted the U.S. Army for not making that leap in Vietnam. What missions does Mr. Gates foresee for the military, and how will he pursue innovation?

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