- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new (Winter 2010) issue of FPRI’s Orbis magazine has a particularly alarmist article that posits the Chinese sneakily sinking the USS George Washington in 2015.
I usually like this sort of article that attempts to look back from a possible future event and explain how we got there. But I didn’t find this article, by Cdr. James Kraska, a Naval War College law professor, particularly persuasive. I mean, he asserts that the U.S. Navy is taking its eye off the ball because:
An entire generation of [its] mid-career commissioned and noncommissioned officers tried to learn counterinsurgency land warfare in the desert and mountains of central Asia while their counterparts in China conducted fleet exercises to learn how to destroy them.”
Really? Has the Navy sent “an entire generation” to Iraq and Afghanistan?
Also, does national security rest ultimately only on the Navy, as this hydrocentric article tendentiously asserts?:
Only more slowly did people begin to realize that the maintenance of the world order had rested on U.S. military power, and that the foundation of that power was U.S. command of the global commons. The Army could fail, as it did in Vietnam; the Air Force was ancillary to the Army. To secure the U.S. position and the nation’s security-and indeed for world order-the Navy could never fail.”
But what stuck in my craw most of all was Kraska’s casual poke at “the apologizing Obama administration,” which he asserts that, combined with the “unpopularity” of the predecessor administration, is undermining national security. I think it is acceptable for active duty officers to critique strategy, but I think here Kraska is sailing a little too close to politically attacking his commander in chief, especially since he offers no evidence, and footnotes this sentence to an article by Henry Kissinger that appeared months before Obama became president.
US Army Korea – IMCOM