Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Dubik’s 7 rules for our current war

General James Dubik is always thought provoking, whether or not you agree with him. In the new ish of ARMY magazine he lays down seven rules he recommends that we pursue to deal with ISIS.

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General James Dubik is always thought provoking, whether or not you agree with him. In the new ish of ARMY magazine he lays down seven rules he recommends that we pursue to deal with ISIS.

Among these are two with which I think I disagree: “Go on the counteroffensive” and “Get boots on the ground.” My problem with these I think the Obama Administration is pursuing a policy of containment. And those two recommendations seem to me to be counter to that policy.

But I emphatically agree with one of the requirements he lays upon the Army: “Prepare to Adapt.” In that section, he writes this:
Beyond the warfighting challenges, the Army must reflect on its performance at the war-waging level. This reflection will find that senior Army leaders sometimes did well in helping create the best initial decisions concerning war aims as well as military and nonmilitary strategies, policies and campaigns — and sometimes did poorly. Secondly, this reflection must focus on how well Army senior leaders helped adapt those initial decisions as the war unfolded. Again, we will find both successes and failures.
Photo credit: Niklas Morberg/Flickr

General James Dubik is always thought provoking, whether or not you agree with him. In the new ish of ARMY magazine he lays down seven rules he recommends that we pursue to deal with ISIS.

Among these are two with which I think I disagree: “Go on the counteroffensive” and “Get boots on the ground.” My problem with these I think the Obama Administration is pursuing a policy of containment. And those two recommendations seem to me to be counter to that policy.

But I emphatically agree with one of the requirements he lays upon the Army: “Prepare to Adapt.” In that section, he writes this:

Beyond the warfighting challenges, the Army must reflect on its performance at the war-waging level. This reflection will find that senior Army leaders sometimes did well in helping create the best initial decisions concerning war aims as well as military and nonmilitary strategies, policies and campaigns — and sometimes did poorly. Secondly, this reflection must focus on how well Army senior leaders helped adapt those initial decisions as the war unfolded. Again, we will find both successes and failures.

Photo credit: Niklas Morberg/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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