Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Gates goes hybrid

If there were any doubt about where Defense Secretary Gates stands on the concept of hybrid warfare, he cleared it up yesterday in his comments at a press conference: So the notion that we are not taking seriously the range of potential future conflicts, I think, frankly is just a misunderstanding of what we’re trying ...

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If there were any doubt about where Defense Secretary Gates stands on the concept of hybrid warfare, he cleared it up yesterday in his comments at a press conference:

So the notion that we are not taking seriously the range of potential future conflicts, I think, frankly is just a misunderstanding of what we're trying to do. It derives from my view that the old way, of looking at irregular warfare as being one kind of conflict and conventional warfare as a discreet kind of warfare, is an outdated concept. And my belief, that conflict in the future will slide up and down a scale, both in scope or scale and in lethality. And we have to procure the kinds of things that give us -- the kinds of equipment and weapons that give us the maximum flexibility, across the widest range of that spectrum of conflict."

If there were any doubt about where Defense Secretary Gates stands on the concept of hybrid warfare, he cleared it up yesterday in his comments at a press conference:

So the notion that we are not taking seriously the range of potential future conflicts, I think, frankly is just a misunderstanding of what we’re trying to do. It derives from my view that the old way, of looking at irregular warfare as being one kind of conflict and conventional warfare as a discreet kind of warfare, is an outdated concept. And my belief, that conflict in the future will slide up and down a scale, both in scope or scale and in lethality. And we have to procure the kinds of things that give us — the kinds of equipment and weapons that give us the maximum flexibility, across the widest range of that spectrum of conflict.”

This may need to be tattooed on the foreheads of some generals. Word is that some of the people doing the QDR just don’t get it. I suspect Gates will get out the tattoo gun if necessary. I think he is giving pretty clear marching orders for the future shape of the force. And it doesn’t include adding more F-22s. 

Vahid Rahmanian/Flickr  

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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