Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Long War

I heard a news report this morning that what was formerly called the Global War on Terror is now called The Long War by the Bush Administration. The folks interviewed made several salient points. You can't really have a war on a tactic (terror); you have wars on countries, groups, etc. Another person said that calling it a long war works because it implies that the military budget can't be cut; you don't cut the military when you're at war.

This person also noted that by far most of the spending is on conventional weapons and programs and very little is budgeted for anti-insurgency efforts. I took his point to be that the military-industrial complex is simply using the Long War as a rationale for defense spending in order to enrich the defense industry. This is a fairly cynical conclusion, though many people seem to reach it. I suppose some folks might support the war for personal monetary gain, but I don't think there's some big conspiracy to conduct war as a means of consumption in order to enrich the suppliers.

Anyway, at last drill, I attended a briefing on the Army's big picture plan. Apparently Guard and Reserve units, and active units with some different wrinkles, are going to be put on a six year plan. The year after a deployment, such as my unit is in right now, the unit will be recovering from the deployment. Manpower will be down and the unit will be missing much of its equipment.

As the unit rebuilds its combat power over the next few years, it gets increased funding, eventualy resulting in a deployment, or National Training Center rotaion, in the 5th or 6th year. Starting year four, the units will start doing 3-week Annual trainings (instead of 2-week).

As I sat there, it struck me that the plan is now for a Guard unit to be deployed every six years. This dovetails with the idea of The Long War.

1 comment:

Mike said...

This sounds pretty accurate, although I can't speak from the USAF's point of view, since we've gone to the "Total Force Concept," so our Guard/Reserve forces are basically integrated with the active duty, to the point that guardsmen and/or reservists serve in active duty wings, and that a lot of guard and reserve squadrons have active duty personnel in their ranks, and the ones that don't have pseudo-active duty guardsmen/reservists who serve a large percentage of the time.