Keeping an Eye on the Long Game: Part LXXXVIII
You can't and should not do everything
As we discussed on Sunday's Midrats, if we can maintain it - energy independence has changed our strategic requirements even if our ossified and inertia bound DC establishments won't realize and act on it.
We need to focus where the greatest threat is, and it isn't the Arab and Persian interface - it is west of Wake.
Our friend James Holmes at Real Clear Defense is tapping everyone on the shoulder to remind them of the clear truth that is there for all to see.
You can't and should not do everything:
Sometimes, though, stability is an unlovely force. Bad ideas, as well as good, can command overwhelming support. In such cases, stability cements policies or strategies founded on an errant consensus. Well-advised course changes never take place.
At its most fundamental, military strategy is about setting and enforcing priorities. Self-discipline helps the country get its way on what matters most without overspending its finite stock of martial resources. That means dispensing with worthy but less critical commitments. Inability or unwillingness to set and enforce priorities counts among the gravest sins makers of policy and strategy can commit.
It’s time to downgrade the Persian Gulf region on the Pentagon’s list of strategic priorities—and let the new, healthier consensus on China and Russia prevail. Let’s align naval operations and force deployments with national strategy at long last—and husband resources for where they are needed most.
Carl von Clausewitz would have some tart words for Pentagon overseers. You might sum up the Prussian sage’s thoughts about when to siphon effort from top priorities thus: do not risk what matters most for the sake of what matters less. Clausewitz counsels against secondary undertakings unless they appear “exceptionally rewarding,” and unless they do not place more important priorities at risk. He measures risk in terms of resources. Only if the armed forces enjoy “decisive superiority” of resources in the primary theater should commanders countenance diverting resources to secondary endeavors. Otherwise they cannot afford a discretionary venture.