Fabius Maximus, 20 December 2012
Summary: Today GI Wilson writes about the great game of the 21st century — the US government vs. our 4GW foes. Once called “low intensity war”, our foes have taught us the ability of sustained 4GW produces only a series of expensive defeats for foreign armies (no matter how powerful). A slow bleeding, until we either adapt or give up.
The recent article, “7 Absurd Ways the Military Wastes Taxpayer Dollars” by Laura Gottesdiene at Salon shines a bright light on military waste and the smarmy behavior of general officers. This smarmy behavior is just the tip of a national security iceberg. The personal foibles of these general officers are symptoms of a much deeper problem. In the wake of 9-11 we are witnessing the costly ineffectiveness our Titanic government bureaucracies. Today, a report by the Independent Accountability Review Board on Benghazi slammed senior level leadership and management laying bare national security miscalculations and incompetence. (Chicago Tribune)
What our national security apparatchiks are missing is that we live in a world where we are seeing sub-national “bad actors” use 4th generation warfare (4GW), which embodies low-tech tactics, techniques procedures (TTPs) together with insurrection, sabotage, espionage, and terrorism, to subvert nation-states. In effect, 4GW has emerged to challenge the established international system. While 4GW is not new, as some critics would have you believe, 4GW has emerged over several decades as the dominant style of warfare in the first part of the 21st Century.
The United States Government (USG) has not adapted to this change. Driven by conventional mentality and bureaucratic inertia, the Military Industrial Congressional Complex (MICC) and the US military has responded to the 4th generation warfare (4GW) threats with a conventional techno strategy of fielding high cost acquisition programs that created the MICC in the first place during the Cold War. The acquisition-programmatic approach to strategy led to a welter of highly complex programs and associated complex organizational relationships that force-fits the fighting man into a technological strait-jacket.
Phi Beta Iota: No holds the US Government accountable for high crimes and misdemeanors — including being terribly irresponsible about everything that the government is supposed to be doing in the public interest. There is absolutely no question about the urgency of cutting the Pentagon budget in half (as well as reducing by at least 50% the number of flag officers and senior executives), but at the same time, we need intelligence with integrity in order to create a 450-ship Navy, a long-haul Air Force, and an air-liftable Army that would allow us, over ten years, to close most of our military bases overseas and bring our troops — and their purchasing power — home. One initiative we have put forward is that of the Open Source Agency (OSA). Another that we have alluded to but never been explicit about has to do with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Imagine the President establishing the OSA as a Whole of Government decision-support capabilities (with Congressional jurisdictions getting the same Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) that their Executive agencies are receiving) AND appointing a kick-ass Deputy Director for Management of OMB, with the authority to slash and burn up to 15% a year of any agencies budget, with an additional 10% subject to Presidential concurrence on the specifics. Now THAT is transformational.