Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Mixed Messages. The SecDef and Think Tanks aren't on the same page.

via Military Times.
There is a growing threat of peer competitors ready to challenge the U.S., and a need to maintain readiness and interoperability among NATO allies, the commander of Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa warned Friday.

He was speaking to a gathering of allied amphibious maritime leaders at the Amphibious Leader Expeditionary Symposium held at Rand headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

“There are peer competitors that are out there that are willing and capable to hand it to us,” said Maj. Gen. Russell A. Sanborn, the commander of Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa. “Are we ready?”
Ok.  Sounds good right.  The General is basically echoing the SecDef's turn to focusing on nation state peer competitors. 

Sounds like a good solid article that will lay out super power challenges around the world right?


Check this part out.
 Paul Schwartz, an expert on the Russian military at the Center for Naval Analysis, said, “Since 2014, Russia has clearly emerged as NATO’s most significant state-based security challenge.”

To meet the challenge, the U.S. and its allies must maintain a credible deterrent threat to keep Russia in check, Sandborn said.

The European theatre has 27 amphibious ships, but they don’t always act in sync. This means Russia can go after individual countries, hitting amphibious capabilities one by one, picking rivals off, Sandborn warned.

“We are a gang,” he said of the NATO alliance. “If you mess with one of us, our treaty says if you mess with one, you mess with all.”
Story here. 

Wow.  Once again a "think tank" bubba focuses on Russia.  The question is why?

If you look at an order of battle NATO WITHOUT the support of the United States should be able to defend their land quite easily.

So why the focus on Russia?

I think a couple of things.  Russia is a historic big bad.  They are the enemy of our fathers and our fathers father.  It fits a box.  Additionally its comfortable and its easy.  Fighting in Europe is a set piece affair.  We know how to do it. It requires little thought.  Additionally we've designed force tailored to fight that terrain.

If you dig deep then you realize that we can simply glide on the work that those that came before us did.  The M1 Abrams?  Designed for the European fight.  For all it's warts and blemishes so was the Bradley.

But flip the script and start talking China.

That fight is hard.  You're getting all kinds of hair brain schemes to solve problems that don't exist to fight an enemy that is getting stronger everyday.

The SecDef and the Think Tanks aren't on the same page for a reason.  The Think Tanks insist on remaining in their comfort zone.  They insist on doing the easy thing instead of preparing to do the hard one.

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