Simplifying Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
In this world, anything is possible. The United States might win a future war relying solely on air power for the first time in history, with no American or local ground forces involved and no meaningful threat of their deployment. That possibility cannot be excluded. The Rumsfeld vision of military transformation, however, does not pursue that as a possibility: it relies on it as a certainty. By focusing all of America's defense resources on the single medium of air power, Rumsfeld is betting America's future security on the conviction that the U.S. armed forces will be able to do every time what no military to date has ever been able to do. In doing so, he is greatly simplifying the task of those preparing to fight the United States by presenting them with only one threat to defeat. A sound program of military transformation would proceed in exactly the opposite way. It would recognize the value of America's technological advantage in the area of PGMs. It would continue to enlarge and enhance them, much as Rumsfeld currently proposes. But it would not do so at the expense of the unique capabilities that ground forces bring to bear. It would focus, instead, on developing the capabilities provided by air power. Ground forces can seize and hold terrain, separate hostile groups, and comb through urban with infinitely greater precision and distinction between combatant and non-combatant that can air power. They can present the enemy with unacceptable situations simply by occupying a given piece of land, forcing the enemy to take actions that reveal intentions and expose the enemy to destruction. And it goes without saying that only ground forces can execute the peacemaking, peacekeeping, and reconstruction activities that have been essential to success in most of the wars America has fought in the past hundred years. Above all, the United States must avoid the search for "efficiency" in military affairs. Redundancy is inherently a virtue in war. America's leaders should intentionally design systems with overlapping capabilities, spread across the services, and should intentionally support weapons that do not directly contribute to the overarching vision of war that they are pursuing. America should continue to try to build armed forces that are the best in every category and have the latent capabilities to meet challenges that cannot now even be imagined.

Frederick Kagan
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