View Full Version : Winning the War We've Got

Bill Moore
01-30-2016, 07:21 PM

Winning the War We’ve Got, Not the One We Want
By Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik, U.S. Army retired

A thoughtful article that should be read my all working on counterterrorism strategies. As the author notes, "Intellectual change must precede any changes in approach."

From a larger strategy perspective, he hits the nail on the head with these comments:

Any reassessment worthy of the name, therefore, must start by answering this question: What kind of durable political outcome will actually produce a better peace?

The answer to this question is fundamental because in war, strategies, policies and campaigns, whether military or nonmilitary, are merely instruments. Their value is relative; their worth can be judged only relative to their capacity to achieve the end or ends sought. What are we seeking beyond destruction of our enemies? The answer to that question must be compelling and to sustain domestic and coalition support, our actions must clearly demonstrate that we are making progress toward that end.

Other points include:

- The need for a new Western-regional coalition, it may consist of a lesser, more flexible coalition, and maybe more bilateral arrangements based on the divergence of interests.

- A discussion on ideas and narratives

- Connective tissue, or how Salafi jihadists connect using civil and economic communications flow.

- Local solutions, but external actors matter.

- Security forces

Not news to most SWJ readers, but he points out in a war of attrition, time is not on our side, and if counterideology is the main effort, it will not succeed in the current security environment.

This brings us to the Catch 22 decision (my words), do we send in coalition forces to reduce areas that control now, or "pace reduction upon local security force capacity?"

Finally, another comment that jumped out as relevant and thought provoking:

Both administrations have treated coalition members as “contributing nations,” where contributions are sometimes combat, advisory or support troops; and other times funds, equipment, or other military or nonmilitary capabilities. This approach can create the illusion of a multinational effort, but it does not reflect a serious attempt to align nations around similar interests and common goals. Nor does it reflect an attempt to have coalition partners, together, ascribe to common principles and develop common goals and a common strategic approach to attaining those goals.