FPRI: COMPLEX IRREGULAR WARFARE-PART II.
This post is a continuation of Part I
. and I find myself in greater disagreement with the author here; particularly in regard to DHS. Without slamming any individual employee or alphabet agency of that vast department, the whole concept needs to be rethought with a clear focus on counterintelligence and counterterrorism with an eye toward radical streamlining.Foreign Policy Research Institute50 Years of Ideas in Service to Our Nation1955-2005 www.fpri.orgCOMPLEX IRREGULAR WARFAREby Frank G. HoffmanJanuary 6, 2006
Continued from Part I.
The recently retired Chief of Naval Operations (CNO),
Admiral Vernon Clark, admitted the Navy is neither balanced
nor optimal for the ongoing GWOT or against future irregular
adversaries. The capabilities found in today's 300 ship
fleet makes it extremely potent for conventional fights in
deep "blue water." America's carriers can threaten four
times as many deep strike aim points than a decade ago, and
the strike potential of the total fleet has increased three
times over. Yet,the Navy continues to add to its combat
punch. The fleet has too much strike capacity, paid for at
the expense of expeditionary and littoral combat assets that
are more relevant againstá irregular maritime threats.The
outgoing CNO was right, we do not have a balanced fleet.
The Navy's Mahanian lusting for a future Trafalgar or Midway
is reflected in its devotion to large, expensive ships.
This creates an unaffordable shipbuilding plan with a new
$14Bá aircraft carrier, the CVN-21, and Virginia-class
submarines estimated at $2.5B each, and a DD-X destroyer
that costs around $3B.á The Navy's new Littoral Combat Ship
(LCS) fits the bill with innovative hull designs, modular
mission packages, and superior speed (up to 50 knots). Just
as important, theLCS or Street Fighter provides the
requisite capability packages to á deal with irregular
threats, at one-tenth the cost of a DD-X. Accordingly, in a
world withoutá a blue water opponent, this analysis leans
towards the LCS as the new platform of choice. The DD-X
however, is retained as the sole frame for surface
The Navy should reduce its focus on aviation-based power
projection andá emphasize littoral and expeditionary forces.
Reducing carrier battle groups from 11 to 9, while
preserving a robust amphibious force as a maneuverable form
of presence and cooperation is a good way to posture U.S.
forces for irregular contests.It should also increase the
number of LCS and other innovative hull forms for "green
water" operations against irregular forces increases the
utility of the Navy.
The Navy's new shipbuilding plan for 333 ships is like the
Army's plan, too conventional and completely unaffordable.
The alternativeá outlined here is fleet is achieved, and
better shaped for littoral warfare, countering anti-access
threats, interdicting criminal activity and suppressing
piracy and interference toá sea lines of communication. It
provides both the green and blue water platforms the United
States needs to counteract irregular warfare at sea. Just
as important, this fleet provides both persistent and
periodic forms of presence, maneuvering at sea, without
absorbing the political and military vulnerabilities of
fixed ports and airfields.
SPECIAL OPERATIONS One of the most cost effective and relevant capabilities in
America's arsenal is the elite "quiet professionals" of U.S.
special operations forces (SOF). While the U.S. SOF
community has been augmented, much more can be done. Its
current optempo is too high. We currently have 80% of our
assets iná two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, which former
SOF veteran Mike Vickers calls "a two-country solution to a
60 country problem."To address the lack of robust
capability, we should:
* Increase the SOF by three battalions
* Increase SOF's organic intelligence and UAV assets
* Increase SOF's HUMINT resources by 33%
* Increase SOF's organic stealthy aviation assets
In world of persistent conflict, we should consider
further institutionalizing SOF as a distinct Service-the
Special Operationsá Force (SOF). Creating a Service, to
include JCS representation, would further strengthen its
representation in key planning circles in Washington. Most
importantly, it would give SOF ownership of the personnel
policies, career patterns, promotion paths, and other
incentives within its own unique culture. SOCOM's
headquarters could be better used as a regional command for
DOMESTIC SECURITYIt is patently obvious since Hurricane Katrina that many
homeland security deficiencies remain. The Department of
Homeland Security's (DHS) requires significant and dedicated
resources. Its budget of roughly $30B has to be increased
twenty percent. It also needs to be reinforced by
transferring the National Guard to DHS (less 15 Guard combat
brigades). This would provide DHS with the leadership,
command and control, transportation, medical and manpower
assets to prepare and respond to both man-made and natural
The Coast Guard also needs to be retooled.Its aging ships
and helicopters are not up to the task posed by new modes of
warfare.The Integrated Deepwater System, the Coast Guard's
modernization program,á should be accelerated. This program
will provide modern cutters, aircraft, and refurbished
helicopter fleet. The program should be funded at $1.25B
per year to accelerate its achievement in 10 vice 20 years.
The Coast Guard's end strength should be increased from
38,000 to 55,000.
CONCLUSION Complex Irregular Warfare presents a mode of warfare that
contests America's overwhelming conventional military
capability. It attacks the hubris behind the notion we
could "redefine war on our own terms." The impact of the
9/11, 3/11 and 7/7 attacks have not gone unnoticed by
tomorrow's enemies. Nor has our bloody experiences in Iraq
which offered a rich laboratory for their education.
Because of their success, protracted irregular conflicts
will not be a passing fad nor will they remainá low-tech
wars. Our opponents eagerly learn and adapt rapidly to more
efficient modes of killing.We cannot continue to overlook
our own vulnerabilities or underestimate the imaginations of
our enemies. In a world of Complex Irregular Wars, the
price for complacency only grows steeper.END PART II.