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To remain relevant in a new era of crisis response and power projection, naval forces must devote more attention to understanding and outthinking potential enemies. We must be prepared, for example, to deal with adversaries who choose to challenge the United States outside conventional military terms. Here, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Colin Powell discuss the 26 June attack against Iraq, in response to a plot to assassinate former President George Bush.
AP/WIDE WORLD (J. MARQUETTE)
The United States has entered a new era in international relations. Our adversaries will not behave the same way they did during the Cold War; and our own political, economic, and military capabilities and motivations will be different. For a variety of reasons, options advocated and used during past international crises may be less relevant in the future.
“. . . From the Sea” maintains that the Navy/Marine
Corps team provides U.S. leaders the unique capabilityf “extended and continuous on-scene crisis response.” U derpinning that capability is the widespread understafl1; ing—at home and abroad—that naval relevance in erb response ultimately hinges on our proficiency in po"‘ projection. For naval forces to remain relevant and be s')1 cessful in achieving political objectives in a changing11 ternational and domestic environment, the crisis respoF
a i to em
; at- be ing see ten
initely, until the political leadership decided on a course action. Vastly reduced operations and maintenance fund- teg may limit or even preclude this option in the future. n early 1993 newspaper article on President Bill Clin- |te s budget proposals noted that a military operation . e size of Desert Storm can erase a year’s worth of deficit Improvement.2 U.S. political leaders may feel constrained j this consideration; our opponents may be more inclined 0 take risks.
biaval leaders must be able to offer decisive, affordable ..ions at the outset of a crisis or risk rapid marginaliza- n- Future naval forces must be organized, trained, "nipped, and led to ensure that we—along with our Army . Air Force brethren—are the ones introducing confu- into our opponents’ decisionmaking processes, and
ng toatKScan be successfully challenged with acceptable risks
and power projection linkage must be overhauled. The first and most important step in this overhaul is for naval intelligence and strategists to devote greater attention to understanding and use more imagination in outthinking those who would challenge us.
Our post-Cold War warrior mentality must be more sophisticated. We must be prepared for the likelihood that °ur enemies, having witnessed U.S. conventional military superiority during Desert Storm, will not choose to compete on our terms. In a February 1993 interview, the Iranian Minister of Defense described the inadvisability of competing with the United States in a conventional military sense: “Can our air force, for example, take on the Americans, or our navy take on the American navy? If we put all of our country’s budget into such a war we would have just burned our money. The way t° go about dealing with such a threat requires a different solution entirely.”1
It is for these “different solutions” that we must be able to offer post-Cold War, new-age military advice and strategy on the best uses of power projection during a crisis, ^e must be prepared for potential adversaries who will Seek to achieve their objectives through low-intensity, ambiguous acts of aggression that are below the threshold at which the United States might respond. There may even be situations in which opponents are willing to risk los- lng to the United States in a conventional military sense, Peking instead to exploit those aspects of U.S. and international social culture that would inhibit the effective aPplication of U.S. military power. Eventually, we must °e Prepared for a time when our opponents perceive—accurately or not—that the U.S. military has been budgetarily emasculated or overextended with peripheral missions and aas lost its conventional military advantage.
. U-S. domestic considerations also may have a profound impact on naval response during future crises. The Amer- 'can people’s aversion to U.S. casualties certainly will per- s!st> and economic factors will become much more significant. A hallmark of naval forces for decades has been
, e ability to go to the scene of a crisis and remain in- defi ■ J 5
victims of such a strategy, example, at present, our potential adversaries could
nclude that mine warfare is an area in which the United
c> ti° 'heir own interests. It is not clear that technological advances are available to end the apoplexy U.S. naval forces contract when faced with mining. Different strategy and military advice may be called for. Rather than waiting for U.S. and allied economic interests to be adversely affected, we could advise policymakers that our best option for dealing with mining is to preempt—to sweep the mines in their depots, on piers, or on board minelaying platforms. If it is our judgment that this option will be rejected, we could advocate a declaratory policy of “proportional response” to minelaying—for example, retaliatory destruction of a key rail facility, bridge, or other target, to approximate the dollar amount of damage our own economy would incur from the effects of mining.
Despite the success of Desert Storm, our ability to put future Saddam Husseins on the defensive at the outset or in the midst of a crisis remains in question. In most crises that call for either the threat or use of power projection, we find ourselves in a reactive mode. Uncertainty about the identity and nature of future threats, intelligence gaps about actual and potential adversaries, and the complexities of our own political decisionmaking process constrain us. These problems should not paralyze us, however. Solutions are available if we are open to innovation and bold actions.
Those who have studied the military technical revolution have provided clues to new ways of thinking about crisis response and power projection:
► A comprehensive understanding of a state as a political, social, economic, and military organism could prove crucial in defusing a crisis, as well as in achieving war objectives, should conflict occur.
>• Pre-war activities should include establishing very specific targets that comprise an adversary’s center of gravity—to be destroyed as quickly as possible at the onset of hostilities.
> The effect of major improvements in range, accuracy, and lethality of conventional munitions could drive conventional military operations from sequential engagements toward a single simultaneous engagement focused directly on the enemy’s center of gravity. Combined with the right intelligence on the essential elements of an enemy target base, it may be possible to attack directly those functions the enemy values most, rather than focusing primarily on his forces.3
Certainly, a healthy amount of skepticism about the likelihood of vanquishing an enemy in a single engagement is in order—warfare may never prove that antiseptic. Nonetheless, new technologies and, more important, new ideas are available. Failure to devise strategies for using the more sophisticated intelligence and better weapons at our disposal will put our country at a tremendous disadvantage, frequently on the defensive, and conceivably subject to the machinations of rogue regimes.
Our focus on crisis response and power projection brings to mind the “drive for show, putt for dough golfing adage. We have bought our clubs. We have a decent game with our woods and irons. But we have yet to study the greens such that we can finish a hole without three- or four- putting. The intelligence and strategy our leaders need for victory rarely are considered until a crisis is under way.
Fleet. His previous assignment was Special Assistant for Intelligent
The tasking that . . From the Sea” has not levied is for a new and bigger day-to-day focus on crisis endgame that recognizes that traditional notions about centers of gravity, proportional response, and even victory may now be inapplicable. More specifically, naval leaders have yet to
task naval intelligence and strategists with undertaking the work needed to be able to confound and defeat future adversaries—expeditiously and affordably—when we go to work in the littorals.
Intelligence is presented routinely on foreign weapons developments, facilities, operational trends, doctrine, and tactics. There is a continuing requirement for this information. Future regimes, however, may view their military “toys” as expendable; and in the out years a drastically reduced force structure could diminish our ability to go toe-to-toe militarily.
For naval forces to remain effective in crisis response situations, and to achieve worthwhile policy objectives with power projection, naval intelligence must provide war fighters with additional insights. Frequent updates on how potential adversaries task their intelligence organizations and what these organizations report would enhance indications and warning. There is an urgent requirement for analysis of how regimes would behave if U.S. naval forces were missing from particular regions—and, there-
fore, were not a factor in these regimes’ strategic calculations—to gain the best return on investment from for ward presence operations and to assist in prepositioninj forces most effectively for crisis response.
Strategists also must be able to get inside the decisioi loop of future adversaries at tre outset of a crisis. They must havt at their fingertips and be famili# with the kind of target sets ret ommended by military-technics revolution advocates. Strategist also must know, however, whs as near- and long-term objectives what they treasure most dearly how they view themselves mo? vulnerable, and how they might b divided from their subjects.
Armed with these insights naval strategists should content plate, wargame, and articulate^ before crises develop—how to u» Th U.S. technological advantages an1 fes military prowess to ensure U.S hii forces can overcome an oppt1 To nent’s military and achieve net To essary political objectives. NaU ani leaders must ensure that these e> ste forts are nurtured, that their be- % thinkers are not held hostage K a'tl in-boxes fdled with less import^ fav endeavors.
The Navy’s “. . . From the Sen follow-on paper on forward pres
primarily war-fighting, war-wi11 ning organizations.4 For this sertion to be completely valid, & ditional time must be devoted 1 ensuring that naval forces are pb pared to win in a new era. A good officer of the dec has practiced mentally what he will do in the event of man overboard and other emergencies. Similar forehan1 Sl|r edness should be applied to our preparation for crisis b ^ sponse and power projection.
'Interview with Akbar Torkan, Iranian Minister of Defense, by Roger Matthe'' London Financial Times, 8 February 1993, p. 4.
John Crudele, “Wall St. Wants Washington to Share in the Sacrifice,” The ington Post, 21 February 1993, p. H9.
■LCdr. Andrew F. Krepinevich, “Assessment of the Military-Technical Rev0' tion,” Office of the Secretary of Defense, Director of Net Assessment, 15 *
1992, pp. 11-12.
4“Naval Forward Presence: Essential for a Changing World,” Department on . . ^ Navy. (For a copy, write Office of Information, Department of the Navy, ington, D.C. 20350-1200.)
Commander Mott, a graduate of the College of William and Mary- the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence for Commander, Sf
the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy, and