Services Have Learned Irregular Warfare, Leaders Say

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2011 — The mil­i­tary has insti­tu­tion­al­ized lessons learned from the past decade of non­con­ven­tion­al war­fare and will work to main­tain doc­trine and skills that allow the ser­vices to bal­ance readi­ness for tra­di­tion­al defens­es as well as irreg­u­lar fight­ing, ser­vice lead­ers told a con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee today.

“In 2002, the nation effec­tive­ly went to war with two armies,” Maj. Gen. Peter Bay­er, the Army’s direc­tor of strat­e­gy, plans and pol­i­cy, told the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee. “One, com­prised of gen­er­al-pur­pose forces, was pre­pared to excel against tra­di­tion­al adver­saries in direct com­bat. The sec­ond, com­prised large­ly of spe­cial oper­a­tions forces, was pre­pared to pre­vail in an irreg­u­lar envi­ron­ment.

“The Army quick­ly learned that suc­cess on the bat­tle­fields of Afghanistan and Iraq required adap­ta­tion in both gen­er­al-pur­pose and spe­cial oper­a­tions forces,” Bay­er said. The Army has adapt­ed since then by insti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing irreg­u­lar war­fare capa­bil­i­ties and capac­i­ty across the force, he said.

Bay­er was joined by Rear Adm. Sin­clair M. Har­ris, direc­tor of the Navy irreg­u­lar war­fare office; Brig. Gen. Daniel O’Dono­hue, direc­tor of the Marine Corps’ capa­bil­i­ties devel­op­ment direc­torate; and Brig. Gen. Jer­ry P. Mar­tinez, direc­tor for joint inte­gra­tion in the Air Force’s direc­torate of oper­a­tional capa­bil­i­ty require­ments. All four said readi­ness for irreg­u­lar war­fare is crit­i­cal to future oper­a­tions, and they described how each of the ser­vices has blend­ed con­ven­tion­al and irreg­u­lar warfight­ing doc­trine and skills.

The Navy has lever­aged its Navy Expe­di­tionary Com­bat Com­mand and estab­lished mar­itime part­ner­ship sta­tions and mar­itime head­quar­ters with mar­itime oper­a­tions cen­ters to meet demands, Har­ris said. “The evo­lu­tion of intel­li­gence and strike capa­bil­i­ties has enabled the Navy to meet urgent com­bat­ant com­man­der require­ments for coun­tert­er­ror­ism and coun­terin­sur­gency oper­a­tions,” he said.

The Navy Irreg­u­lar War­fare Office, cre­at­ed in 2008, has led the insti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion of irreg­u­lar capa­bil­i­ties, Har­ris said.

The Marine Corps has designed a readi­ness force for post-Afghanistan oper­a­tions � beyond 2014 � “that mit­i­gates this hybrid threat, cre­ates options and pro­vides deci­sion space for senior lead­er­ship” that con­sid­ers joint, inter­a­gency and allied respons­es, O’Dono­hue said.

That force will be fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent from the cur­rent or pre‑9/11 force, O’Dono­hue said. “It draws on a rich his­to­ry of inno­va­tions in irreg­u­lar war­fare, but is recast as a scal­able cri­sis response force ready to counter com­plex irreg­u­lar, con­ven­tion­al and hybrid threats � and the gray areas in between,” he said.

“Above all,” O’Dono­hue added, “we pre­pare to oper­ate in and adapt to unpre­dictable, uncer­tain, com­plex envi­ron­ments at a moment’s notice.” He not­ed that irreg­u­lar war­fare is not new, and had the same def­i­n­i­tion in the Marines’ Small Wars Man­u­al of 1940 as it does today.

As for the Air Force, Mar­tinez said, the ser­vice is part of a larg­er, joint, coali­tion effort, and that works to sup­ple­ment or improve host-nation and region­al capa­bil­i­ties. “Air pow­er direct­ly con­tributes by estab­lish­ing a secure envi­ron­ment in which the part­ner nation can flour­ish, ulti­mate­ly with­out direct assis­tance,” he said.

By assess­ing, train­ing, advis­ing and equip­ping a trou­bled part­ner air force, air­men can con­tribute to that nation’s sov­er­eign­ty and legit­i­ma­cy while cre­at­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for eco­nom­ic growth, polit­i­cal devel­op­ment and sta­bil­i­ty, he added.

Like his coun­ter­parts at the hear­ing, Mar­tinez said the Air Force’s chal­lenge going for­ward will be how to bal­ance the require­ments for irreg­u­lar war­fare with those of tra­di­tion­al fight­ing, although he added that an increase in capa­bil­i­ties in one area usu­al­ly helps the oth­er.

The most impor­tant thing the Army can do to advance the insti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion of irreg­u­lar war­fare is to con­tin­ue edu­cat­ing its lead­ers, Bay­er said.

“By devel­op­ing adap­tive and cre­ative lead­ers, the Army ensures its abil­i­ty to respond to a wide range of future tasks,” he said. “Main­tain­ing a high­ly pro­fes­sion­al edu­ca­tion sys­tem is cru­cial to insti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing the lessons of the past decade and ensur­ing that we do not repeat the mis­takes of post-Viet­nam by think­ing that these kinds of oper­a­tions are behind us.”

Future bat­tle­fields will be pop­u­lat­ed with hybrid threats, Bay­er said, with com­bi­na­tions of reg­u­lar and irreg­u­lar tac­tics against ene­mies that include ter­ror­ists and crim­i­nal groups. The Army must remain flex­i­ble to oper­ate against “what­ev­er the threat” and in all types of set­tings, he said.

“As pres­sures for cuts in defense spend­ing and force struc­tures increase, the Army must assess which capa­bil­i­ties to empha­size, how many of each, and at what lev­el,” he said. “Find­ing the right mix will be a chal­lenge.”

The key to advanc­ing the Army’s abil­i­ty to respond to irreg­u­lar threats will be to ensure the nec­es­sary force struc­ture to sup­port a ver­sa­tile mix of capa­bil­i­ties in an uncer­tain future, he said.

The Army demon­strat­ed flex­i­bil­i­ty in Iraq and Afghanistan with mod­u­lar brigades that includ­ed a host of irreg­u­lar war­fare spe­cial­ties, includ­ing infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions, pub­lic affairs and civ­il affairs, Bay­er said.

All of the offi­cers said for­eign lan­guage and cul­tur­al train­ing will grow as a require­ment for ser­vice mem­bers.

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

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

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

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →