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March 17, 2006

The Joint Staff take on "The Long War"

Below is a link to a pdf of the Powerpoint presentation that accompanied a lecture given by Rear Admiral Bill Sullivan, the Vice Director for Strategic Plans & Policy on The Joint Staff (the J5). The venue was the Executive Lecture Forum, Radvanyi Chair in International Security Studies, Mississippi State University, entitled “Fighting the Long War--Military Strategy for the War on Terrorism”

RADM Sullivan discusses the nature of the threat, and how it differs from previous threats in the eyes of the military.

He basically posits we're in a new, but different version of the Cold War against Communism - an ideological struggle that will take decades to win, and that we need to start laying that out for the taxpayers - and why that is so. It is not a call for the expenditure of huge sums of money on the services (that's probably a different briefing, heh), in fact, the Admiral speaks to how to keep costs down, by offloading them to partners, i.e., adding other nation's taxpayers to the pool of bill payers.

Here's the summation slide (if that's hard to read, click here for a bigger version):

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The Joint Staff believes Americans will commit to a long war if...

They understand our enemy and the threat he poses to the future of America.
They understand our strategy and how long it will take to complete it.
They are confident our leaders know what they are doing.
They know we have what it takes to defeat the enemy.
Our leaders communicate our actions plainly and honestly.

Emphasis is mine, pointing out where I think this administration is having some problems in this regardThose problems are fully aided and abetted by the "Anything Bush does is BAD and MUST BE BLINDLY OPPOSED, VILLIFIED, and CONDEMNED in the HARSHEST TERMS" attitude of it's political opponents.

Which leads to my final thought.

He didn't put something in there that I would have.

The political class must share, in broad brush, a belief in the basics of the strategy.

You can argue around the margins a lot - we did in the Cold War. But, *generally* (certainly not always) the politically viable Left and Right did have a generally shared core understanding of the issues between us and the Soviets. Step aside from the political rhetoric, look at the concrete actions, in aggregate, over time. The electorate tossing the football from one side to the other periodically is probably a good thing, too. I know, I know, I'm *such* a squish.

What do you think?

The original presentation has notes pages that elaborate on things, but they don't transfer over to the pdf (if someone knows how to do that, lemme know). Download file