Lynn Cites Importance of Programs to Prevent Conflict

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2011 — Deputy Defense Sec­re­tary William J. Lynn III expressed con­cern today that as the U.S. gov­ern­ment tight­ens its fis­cal belt, pro­grams crit­i­cal to pre­vent­ing con­flict — many fund­ed by the State Depart­ment — could fall vic­tim.
Lynn, speak­ing at the Cen­ter for Inter­na­tion­al and Strate­gic Stud­ies’ 2011 Glob­al Secu­ri­ty Forum, said fis­cal restraint will require some tough, cal­cu­lat­ed choic­es about defense spend­ing.

“The chal­lenge for us is to nav­i­gate our nation’s fis­cal cir­cum­stances with­out dis­rupt­ing the capa­bil­i­ties of the world’s most effec­tive mil­i­tary force,” he told the audi­ence. “We need to make the right judg­ments about the nature of our future secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment,” invest­ing in capa­bil­i­ties and force struc­ture and adapt­ing tech­nol­o­gy and doc­trine as threats evolve and mature. 

Pre­dict­ing the next big con­flict has nev­er been easy, Lynn acknowledged. 

“In fact, we have a par­tic­u­lar­ly poor track record of pro­ject­ing when, where and against whom we will fight,” he said. “Sec­re­tary [Robert M.] Gates has described our record in this regard as per­fect — we have nev­er got­ten it right.” 

Increased invest­ment in intel­li­gence assets may help to make these pre­dic­tions more suc­cess­ful, Lynn said dur­ing a ques­tion-and-answer ses­sion fol­low­ing his address. But the bet­ter chance of suc­cess, he said, boils down to pre­vent­ing con­flicts from hap­pen­ing in the first place. That means, he said, more front-end invest­ment in pro­grams man­aged direct­ly by the State Depart­ment or in part­ner­ship with the Defense Department. 

Among them are pro­grams that pro­mote secu­ri­ty assis­tance, eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment and improved governance. 

“The hope would be that we would head off crises before they reach the stage where the U.S. [need­ed] to deploy mil­i­tary forces, that we have addressed the prob­lems in advance,” Lynn said. 

Look­ing across the scope of chal­lenges the Unit­ed States faces, the deputy sec­re­tary said, the goal would be to iden­ti­fy “caul­drons of con­flict” and “address the panoply of them and bring them all back from a boil so we won’t have to deploy mil­i­tary forces.” 

One prob­lem in this approach, Lynn said, is that the secu­ri­ty assis­tance and eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment spend­ing need­ed to sup­port these ini­tia­tives fund­ed through the State Depart­ment could suf­fer as gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tions reduce their spend­ing levels. 

Gates has been a staunch advo­cate for increas­ing the U.S. government’s civil­ian inter­na­tion­al assis­tance capa­bil­i­ties, includ­ing those with­in the State Depart­ment. His argu­ment has been a straight­for­ward acknowl­edge­ment that oth­er parts of the gov­ern­ment must take on some of the duties such as nation-build­ing and inter­na­tion­al devel­op­ment that the mil­i­tary has tak­en on by default. 

Sit­ting side by side dur­ing con­gres­sion­al tes­ti­mo­ny in March, Gates and Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton pressed the Sen­ate Appro­pri­a­tions Committee’s defense sub­com­mit­tee to approve sup­ple­men­tal fund­ing crit­i­cal to both depart­ments to sup­port ongo­ing con­tin­gency operations. 

“Our joint tes­ti­mo­ny today reflects the close coop­er­a­tion of our two depart­ments and the impor­tance of a prop­er­ly fund­ed and inte­grat­ed civ­il-mil­i­tary approach to the chal­lenges we face in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world,” Gates said dur­ing the March 25 hear­ing. “I would like to offer my strong sup­port for the pro­grams fund­ed in the State por­tion of the sup­ple­men­tal request, with­out which our mil­i­tary efforts will not be successful.” 

Suf­fi­cient State Depart­ment fund­ing is expect­ed to be par­tic­u­lar­ly crit­i­cal as the Unit­ed States pre­pares for a troop draw­down in Afghanistan. 

“We are in the midst of the begin­ning of the next step” of the oper­a­tion, Lynn told the CSIS audi­ence today. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, com­man­der of the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, is expect­ed to make rec­om­men­da­tions “in the very near future” about how to imple­ment the phased U.S. mil­i­tary draw­down in Afghanistan Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma announced 18 months ago, he said. 

But as Gates and Oba­ma have made clear, the Afghanistan draw­down plan will be “con­di­tions-based,” Lynn said. 

“It will depend on judg­ments about the strength of the Tal­iban, about progress in terms of capa­bil­i­ties of the Afghan nation­al secu­ri­ty forces and the abil­i­ty of the Afghan gov­ern­ment to take an increas­ing­ly larg­er role in the secu­ri­ty func­tion,” he said. 

“That shift will start very soon and will progress over the next cou­ple of years to that full tran­si­tion that is pro­ject­ed for 2014,” Lynn said. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →