The U.S. Army is not overly focused on counterinsurgency operations at the cost of conventional warfare, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today at the AUSA 2009 Convention.
In his keynote address at the Washington, D.C., Convention Center, Gates said the idea that the Army might lose its conventional warfare skills was “a legitimate concern” but “it does not reflect the realities of the current campaigns,” where air power, artillery and ISR capabilities often combine in battle.
We must obviously refine our military to fight our enemies. But we must also not allow current enemies to leave us open to potential future enemies. This is why many will wonder if replacing two tank brigades with two Stryker brigades is the right move.
I think my first post on the danger of over-correction was one called, well, Don’t over-correct in early 2004, and it included this:
We’re now adjusting our strategies and tactics to combat insurgents and terrorists, and that’s as it should be. But we must be careful not to over-correct. If we leave any door open even a crack, someone will notice and make us pay. Dearly.
While we continue to evolve our military into one that can fight the current battle more efficiently, we have to remain ready and capable of fighting the big fight. Because if we lose the capability, someone is bound to notice sooner or later. And if/when they notice, even if they’re underestimating things a bit, they’re more likely to try something big.
A big and strong military that can win big wars is valuable. A bigger and stronger military that keeps big wars from starting is even more valuable.
UPDATE: Figured this deserved a tank image, so I added one. Get a load of the caption.