McDonnell Commission Will Chase Its Tail


    Gates’ JFCOM decision is bothersome not because of the Virginia economy; the angst about the economy is political theater. It is a narrow decision not based upon the rigor of, say, the Quadrennial Defense Review. Gates is trading competency for force structure. The cart is before the horse; a shell game.

    In the end, this is simply not the kind of decision that a bureaucrat should make. It is an expedient act for a short-term objective. And Congress should be smack in the middle of it. Meanwhile, the idea that a governor can somehow affect the process by appointing a state commission is laughable. Particularly since there is no good argument that Virginia will suffer any long term damage from the move.

    “Reporting on the (2010 QDR) panel’s report, issued July 29, Perry — who served as President Bill Clinton’s defense secretary — said the military likely will need to sustain recent end-strength increases in the Army and Marine Corps for the long term as it focuses on building force structure within the Air Force and Navy”. – DoD news

    The command structure of the military can certainly be streamlined. Why are there both service headquarters and redundant Department of Defense structures and functions inside the Pentagon? These constitute stove-piping and rice bowls that should be shattered. The stand-down of Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) is a bill payer for other capabilities. It was never very effective for many reasons. But it should be made effective rather than thrown out with the bath water. So far there had been no hint of this kind of move in the 2010 QDR study.

    “Hadley, President George W. Bush’s national security advisor, reported the five gravest potential threats likely to arise over the next generation: radical Islamic extremism and the threat of terrorism; the rise of new global powers in Asia; the continued struggle for power in the Persian Gulf and greater Middle East; accelerating global competition for resources; and failed and failing states.” – DoD news

    The greatest threats to our nation are not linear. It was part of the JFCOM mission to help develop the right capability set by simulating the environments in which we might fight and providing the analytical data to support force structure decisions. The forces being funded by eliminating training and education are a carbon copy of forces that haven’t always been effective. If they had been, we would be done in Afghanistan or at least not crying that we don’t have the right tools after all the decisions that delivered the wrong equipment.

    “Hadley echoed Gates’ call for stronger “soft-power” capabilities, and recommended structural and cultural changes within the government so non-military branches can assume a larger role in protecting national interests.” – DoD news

    It is JFCOM that provides the potential to integrate Gates’ “soft-power” capabilities. The military is one leg of the stool. Nowhere else has training in this aspect of the application of military power been institutionalized (except at Special Operations Command). This is training for the masses, not education for the few military leaders that can be run through the National Defense University mill. That is why JFCOM or an equivalent is a requirement. The asymmetrical battlefield is no place for the untrained.

    “(Hadley) also recommended that the president and Congress establish a national commission to build the civil force for the future and provide a blueprint so civilian departments and agencies are better postured to deploy overseas and work cooperatively with military forces in insecure security environments.” – DoD news

    • along with whatever is decided regarding adding capacity in Newport News, have any net, macroeconomic impact (e.g., output, employment) on Virginia?  From what I can tell, the answer is “no.” Secretary Gates says, “Virginia may well come out with a lot more jobs than it loses.” Why? Less headquarters bloat will give the Navy more money to build ships in Newport News.” So what’s Bob McDonnell screaming about, exactly? Isn’t he the one who wants to get rid of all kinds of government “spending,” which if done on a large scale would demolish the economy of Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads?  It’s so confusing trying to comprehend the mental meanderings of these right-wing Republicans. 😉

    • Teddy Goodson

      as I understand it, requres a different set of skills and tools than mechanized tank warfare on the plains of Northern Europe, which is the kind of war we have usually been ready to fight.

      The whole concept disorganizes the mind because it does not fit into our long-standing, current structure—- when soldiers, trained to kill, go in and try to win hearts and minds (what a phrase) they are crossing from the TO&E box that says “Military” to the box that says “Diplomacy” and it ends up being a kind of mission creep that poaches more and more on territory normally thought of as belonging to the Dept. of State—- as well as the Departments of Agriculture, of Commerce, and of Education. In other words, modern foreign relations-warfare is a conglomerate business rather than a core competence business.

      If this is the future of international relations and the nation state, maybe we should re-organize a different set of boxes to do this foreign relations thing?