Gates, Active Duty Officers Square Off Over “Next-War-Itis”

A month after the firing of Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and USA Chief of Staff General Mike Moseley, more active duty officers are coming forward criticizing Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ pooh-poohing military preparedness for major wars against peer adversaries, reports the LA Times.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles J. Dunlap and others are pushing back. They believe that the Iraq war is beginning to wind down and that the United States, chastened by its experience there, is unlikely to ever again become embroiled in a long-term ground conflict where adversaries rely on irregular, “asymmetric” fighting methods.

“We need the bulk of the Army prepared to go toe-to-toe with the heaviest combat formations our adversaries can field,” Dunlap said. “For what it is worth, I predict the next big war will be conventional, or I should say symmetrical. In my judgment, we are not going to get into the business of occupying a hostile country of millions of people.”

He is not alone. In military journals, midlevel officers’ conferences and gatherings around the Pentagon, a growing number have expressed concern that the Defense Department’s planning and resources are being trained disproportionately on small guerrilla wars.

At the same time, they fear that important military skills — storming beaches, fighting tank battles, using air and land power in unison to attack enemy lines — are beginning to atrophy. Read the full article

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