04 January 2012

The End of the 2MRC Strategy?

It's been the cornerstone of US strategic thought since the end of the Cold War, but now the two major regional conflict strategy may be ending?

The United States should give up the capability to fight two major ground wars simultaneously, according to a Pentagon review that will be presented this week, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said the strategic review presents priorities to guide the military into the future, but "they are proposals, not all of them set in stone."

The review sets forth potentially big changes in U.S. strategy, including, the official said, removing up to 4,000 troops from Europe and downsizing the overall ground forces even further. The 2012 budget request already called for cuts of 27,000 soldiers and 20,000 Marines in the next four years, and those numbers could increase.

The military would not maintain its ability to wage two large conflicts at the same time, such as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan, the official said.

So what do we replace it with? What makes sense as a way to shape US strategic thought for long-term defense planning? Based on what's on the horizon, how do you prepare for (and hopefully deter) unknown conflicts, without unwittingly triggering a different one through fear (on their part) or weakness (on ours)?

And how would our allies respond to fundamental shifts in our strategy? Not that they toe a party line with our existing plans or anything, but if we tell Korea "Tough. You're on your own." what does that do to our alliance with them? Or the Saudis, or the Europeans, or anyone else?

Sound off below!

By: Brant


Brian said...

Well, I suppose the first question to ask is, when has the United States ever fought two major ground wars simultaneously?

During Korea and Vietnam, the American forces awaiting the Soviet juggernaut in Western Europe were drawn down and hollowed out to the point where they could not have offered a serious conventional deterrent, in order to feed the demands of the conventional war on the other side of the globe.

Iraq and Afghanistan are/were two simultaneous conflicts, but were they both major ones? Not in terms of enemy combatants, certainly, only in terms of US troops (and contractors and sutlers and mercenaries) deployed there.

Even fighting two insurgencies simultaneously has drastically worn down the combat arms, the parts of the Army that take the worst punishment in every conflict, major or minor.

Perhaps it's time for the US to give up planning to do something it could never do anyway, or at least keep up for long.

Your/our allies (I suppose I can say that, since Canada is now some kind of auxilia) hope they won't be overrun by their nearby enemies, but I don't think their defense planning is specifically predicated on Uncle Sam coming to save them in 30 days or less.

Anonymous said...

Our East of Suez moment? The bigger issue is who fills the vacuum?