As he has gotten older , Barnett has gotten a lot wiser. He has put together a really good analysis of the current U.S. military strategic thinking or lack thereof.
Nice WAPO piece (by Greg Jaffe, of course) on the great COIN counterattack that is the AirSea Battle. As scenario work goes, what CSBA has done in its war-games has to rank right up there with the most egregiously implausible efforts ever made to justify arms build-ups. These games, done for Andrew Marshall’s Office of Net Assessment, enthusiastically embrace what I have long dubbed the exceedingly narrow “war within the context of war” mindset – purposefully zeroing out all outside existing reality that readily contradicts the core operational concepts behind AirSea Battle.
For my most complete criticism of ASBC, see “Big-War Thinking in a Small-War Era: The Rise of the AirSea Battle Concept” for China Security
Phi Beta Iota: Barnett is maturing, which is to say, he is catching up with Spinney, Peters, and Steele, among others. The U.S. Government at the political level, including the Cabinet positions, is dishonest. It does not make evidence-based decisions. This is not new. Nor is it new that flag officers and senior executive service officers routinely prostitute their office for the sake of career advancement. What is new is the growing expectation that our civil servants demonstrate intelligence and integrity, and not allow the political class to destroy the economy and the society. Neither the Marine Corps nor the Army can draw on any special standing in this bureaucratic and financial fight because the Marine Corps and the Army are both lacking in integrity. They have refused to demand of their organic intelligence capability the kind of strategic, operational, and technical support to policy and acquisition that was intended, at least in the case of the Marine Corps, by General Al Gray, USMC, then Commandant of the Marine Corps. Marine Corps and Army programs are incoherent and unaffordable–at the same time that neither the Marine Corps nor the Army has taken to heart the wisdom of General Robert Scales, USA (Ret), in pointing out the travesty of any budget that provides only 1% of the total budget for those taking 80% of the casualties: the infantry. Integrity. A very precious word indeed.