Marine Corps University

School of Advanced Warfare

"FUTURE WAR" ROUNDTABLE

Prepared Comments by

Major Robert D. Steele, USMCR, Adjunct Faculty for Intelligence

+ Commander must not only fight creatively with what is given him, but must also contribute to change in how we train, equip, and organize for the future

+ War and operations short of war do not occur in a vacuum--context is critical. The greatest failing of intelligence in the modern era is its inability to collect, process, and disseminate context.

+ Military capability, both today and in the future, cannot be evaluated in isolation from geographic and civil factors. This is helpful to the commander because geography is a constant and civil factors change slowly.

+ In deciding what military capabilities will be required for the future, the commander must balance sustainability, availability, reliability, lethality and accuracy against probability of employment.

+ Future war is here today. And in the future, past warfare will also be present. Criminal gangs, religious zealots, twisted war-lords, military dictators, civil dissidents, natural epidemics all represent different challenges to the warrior.

+ What has really changed is the pace of change, the lethality of the individual, and the vulnerability of the more complex societies. This lends added importance to global intelligence capabilities able to penetrate the gutters and mosques; to rear area security at home and especially communications and computing security; and to a radical reinterpretation of the relative importance of: 1) Peaceful preventive measures, 2) Pre-emptive attack, and 3) Post-attack operations

+ Chaos is evolution. Chaos cannot be centralized. Existing organizational concepts and doctrine attempt to predict the "big" threat and pre-organize the response. This is a prescription for failure.

+ Strategy in its classical sense may disappear, as Van Crevald suggests, but strategy is the application of the paradigm to the whole of the environment. Strategy must be "reinvented" to fully integrate military and civilian capabilities, to create a seamless whole of peaceful preventive measures, pre-emptive attacks (some of them covert), and post-attack operations.

+ "Grand Strategy" may thus emerge again as the critical level at which to plan for war and peace. There are, however, some obstacles to U.S. adequacy in grand strategy:

- Our existing bureaucracy is a cluster of stovepipes and constituencies; Presidential leadership is not structured, attitudinally-oriented, or willful enough to provide for governance of the whole.

- We do not have a true government-wide SES cadre that has been to a top-level school together and understands the totality of our ends and our means.

- Our C4I system was built for point to point communications, isolated computing, and piece-meal "tid-bit" intelligence production, rather than to support collaborative communications, distributed databases, and strategic intelligence.

- Our political culture does not lend itself to understanding foreign threats, threats to our infrastructure, and "crazy states". The policy-maker is severely constrained with respect to pre-emptive attacks.

- Our concept of "time" leaves the initiative to the enemy. We "start" our battle planning after the enemy is already mobilized and attacking.

- The ideas of convergence and synchronization perpetuate the idea that conflict will be military in nature and limited to a specific geographic region. What needs to be orchestrated is defense in depth, including our civil C4I nodes, and the relationship between law enforcement, the military including special operations, and national intelligence.

+ The operational high ground in the future will not be outer space, which will offer every enemy of whatever size commercial imagery and other capabilities --it will be inner space, the ability of the Nation to harness its distributed intelligence and achieve a consensus on what threats merit action, and what action merits approval in time to achieve the security objective at reasonable cost and with minimal civilian and military casualties.

+ Beware of CONUS-based C4I assassins wandering in cyberspace.....