Today, a friend sent me a PDF copy of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen unclassified new "CJCS strategic guidance" for 2008-09. It makes interesting reading.
Some first thoughts:
"We have the most combat-hardened forces in history."
That's hyperbole, right? Even if you just restrict it to American forces.
"Our Navy and Airforce are unmatched, although our advantage could easily slip."
Slip to who and over what period of time? There isn't a nation on Earth spends a fraction of what the U.S. does on the military, and the next three biggest spenders are all ostensibly allies (France, Britain, Japan). The US could cut its military budget by two thirds and still outspend all of its possible threats combined.
Mullen's version of the objective in Iraq and Afghanistan:
"...a representative, stable, independent Iraq that is an ally and regional leader, and a representative, stable Afghanistan and Pakistan that are allies and cooperative members of the international community..."
Is this in fact doable at any price America is willing to pay and over any forseeable timeline? And why don't Afghanistan - and Pakistan! - have to be "independent" too?
"In the near term, Al Qaeda sanctuaries in Pakistan are the probable source of a terrorist attack on the homeland.
So Mullen agrees with Hayden that Pakistan is the true central front in the so-called "War On Terror" (and one the US isn't actually at war in). Is the reason that Pakistan doesn't need to be independent contained therein, for the warmongers? That'll be why we invaded Iraq and sent Pakistan billions in military aid while helping prop up the people in Pakistan's military and intelligence services enabling those Al Qaeda safe havens. That makes perfect sense.
"The pace of ongoing operations has prevented our forces from training for the full spectrum of operations and impacts our ability to be ready to counter future threats...The imbalance between our readiness for future global missions and the wars we are fighting today limits our capacity to respond to future contingencies, and offers potential adversaries, both state and non-state, the incentive to act. "
Huh? I guess Mullen just parted company with his current boss, Bob Gates, about what the military should be arming and training to fight right now. "Full spectrum of operations" means tank battles in the Fulda gap and naval action off Taiwan. Russia and China are not credible "potential adversaries" for the forseeable future. I mean, seriously, what "potential adversaries" are there other than counter-insurgency and 4GW ones? This is all about the coming Pentagon budget turf-battles in the Obama administration, folks - laying out the fearmongering stall often and early. That's Mullens biggest mission right now.
Here's a link to a copy so you can read it for yourself: