- 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 argument that the military must retain the ability to "fight and win the Nation’s wars" when shaping operations are resourced as lesser included capabilities is incongruous with current national security strategy aspirations. And it is not realistic to expect the whole-of-government engagement capability to increase given the current fiscal environment. The argument to limit resource expenditures, however, is compelling in light of U.S. fiscal circumstances. Faced with a volatile operating environment, austere resources, and an ambiguous group of adversaries, the Nation must strive for dynamic equilibrium as it adapts the joint force to win conflicts, manage security environments, and shape civil order within constrained resources. The new security culture must embrace the military’s "shape" and "win" roles. Shaping operations are primarily landpower centric because they are conducted in the human domain among the people. The Army must and will carry the burden of successfully executing shaping operations in support of America’s foreign policy security goals.