Brimleyism with a human face
Michele Flournoy, the no. 2 power at the Pentagon, lays down the law in the new issue of Proceedings, along with the shadowy but powerful Shawn Brimley. Wanna know where the QDR is going? Read this and learn, little grasshoppers. And listen up: China and India are where it’s at. Pretty near the top they ...
Michele Flournoy, the no. 2 power at the Pentagon, lays down the law in the new issue of Proceedings, along with the shadowy but powerful Shawn Brimley. Wanna know where the QDR is going? Read this and learn, little grasshoppers. And listen up: China and India are where it’s at.
Pretty near the top they quote Alfred T. Mahan, which seasoned Pentagoners know is a sign that the Navy is getting teed up to get hit long. (This is like when Gorby would quote Lenin, or Marc Antony would praise Julius Caesar.)
Yeah, they want the State Department to get its act together-but who doesn’t?:
The task for the United States is to respond to these challenges with a whole-of-government approach that advances our interests while legitimizing our power in the eyes of others.”
They also want to the Pentagon to help allies keep the global commons free:
Helping to build the capacity of our partners and allies and working toward a common agenda on these increasingly complex issues should be a critical pillar of America’s national security and defense strategy.”
Okay, sounds good. But this is my question: If the global commons (sea, air, space, cyberspace) really is gonna be contested, why does anyone think conventional aircraft carriers and short-legged fighter aircraft are the answer? I think it is time to commission the UCAV carrier the USS Obama, whose hull and aircraft would both be stealthy. With perhaps a crew of fewer than 500 sailors. (Most controllers of aircraft could fly them from Virginia.)
You listening, Navy? Your professional magazine has run an article by two of the Pentagon’s top civilian thinkers telling you where they think you need to go. You might want to think on this. You too, Air Force.
More from Foreign Policy
Saudi-Iranian Détente Is a Wake-Up Call for America
The peace plan is a big deal—and it’s no accident that China brokered it.
The U.S.-Israel Relationship No Longer Makes Sense
If Israel and its supporters want the country to continue receiving U.S. largesse, they will need to come up with a new narrative.
Putin Is Trapped in the Sunk-Cost Fallacy of War
Moscow is grasping for meaning in a meaningless invasion.
How China’s Saudi-Iran Deal Can Serve U.S. Interests
And why there’s less to Beijing’s diplomatic breakthrough than meets the eye.