From the Editor

From Parameters,  Winter 2005-06, pp. 2-4.

In This Issue . . .

Ryan Henry, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, provides an insightful review of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) process in his “Defense Transformation and the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review.” As the Department of Defense conducts its third QDR this year, the author details how it has become an engine for continued transformation while preparing the military for the challenges of the 21st century. Henry details a process by which input from public, industry, and military leaders from around the world is inculcated in a competition of ideas designed to formulate a roadmap for the transformation of defense strategies and capabilities. Of special interest to the reader is the author’s detailed explanation of the factors driving the transition from “threat-based planning” to a “capabilities-based planning” system. The author concludes that as this QDR is forwarded to Congress in February 2006, America will have a new and vital plan for correctly posturing its forces to not only win the war on terror, but to also counter the far more distant challenges of the future.

Jeffrey Record examines the question of how weaker powers are able to impose considerable military and political pain on the strong (especially democracies). “Why the Strong Lose” provides readers with a historical perspective of the general factors common to “great-power” losses to weaker adversaries, with particular attention given to recent American experiences. The author’s analysis of why the weak are capable of defeating (or at least stalemating) the strong leads to the determination that such outcomes are as old as war itself. Experience shows that often it is the side with the superior strength of commitment that overshadows any military inferiority in time of conflict. Record argues that it is the American military’s aversion to unconventional warfare that has placed it at a disadvantage against weaker foes. The author opines that it is our “infatuation with the perfection of military means that has caused us to ignore the political purpose on behalf of which those means are being employed.” He determines that it is not a policy question of whether or not the United States should continue to maintain its conventional primacy, but rather, given the current security environment, should it place more emphasis on forces dedicated to performing operations other than war.

Michael J. McNerney presents the first of two articles in our feature “Rebuilding and Renewal.” His review of the development of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Afghanistan provides readers with a greater understanding of the PRTs’ contribution to building support for the US-led Coalition and respect for the Afghan government. “Stabilization and Reconstruction in Afghanistan: Are PRTs a Model or a Muddle?” not only examines how the PRTs evolved in Afghanistan, but it also recommends that organiza-


tions with a similar structure and strategy of employment serve as a model for operations worldwide. McNerney notes that although there have been some challenges in the development and employment of the PRTs, they have been one of the few initiatives in Afghanistan to approach the civil and military stabilization and reconstruction missions in a coordinated fashion. In the second article in this feature, “After the Fight: Interagency Operations,” Christopher M. Schnaubelt analyzes how we let a stunningly rapid conventional military victory in Iraq devolve into a slow, painful, and drawn-out counterinsurgency. The author uses the relationship between Combined Joint Task Force-Seven (CJTF-7) and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to develop his thesis that this devolution was caused by a lack of effective interagency collaboration at the operational level—in other words, a lack of interagency unity of command. Schnaubelt bases his analysis on personal knowledge of the interaction between the CPA and CJTF-7 to determine that cultural and procedural differences created numerous hardships and misunderstandings. The author concludes with a recommendation for what effective interagency coordination might look like in a headquarters similar to that of CJTF-7. Finally, he joins the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, in a call for an “Interagency Goldwater-Nichols Act.”

Mitchell J. Thompson makes the case for the redesign of the current Combatant Commands in “Breaking the Proconsulate: A New Design for National Power.” Building on the precedent of the pacification program established during the Vietnam War, Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS), the author calls for the restructuring of the military-heavy Combatant Commands into truly interagency organizations. Likening the role of the Combatant Commanders to Roman proconsuls, the author examines their ability to exercise interagency integration at every level in the conduct of “effects-based operations,” the means whereby national policy objectives are achieved. Noting that the institution of the Combatant Command is inherently single-agency focused and incapable of self-transformation, Thompson recommends an organization based on the unified command structure and exemplified by CORDS. Such an organization would have civilian leadership and an interagency framework capable of harnessing and projecting America’s “soft” power.

“Occupations, Cultures, and Leadership in the Army and Air Force” is George R. Mastroianni’s analysis of service cultures with the intent to achieve greater understanding of how culture influences leadership styles. The author focuses much of his analysis on Air Force culture and how it is affected by institutional and occupational tendencies. Exploring such phenomena as “cognitive dissonance,” service “personalities,” and “technical domination,” Mastroianni determines that there are strong links between occupational preferences, leadership roles, and service culture. He concludes with the assertion that although the Army and Navy have made strides in redefining their institutional cultures, that has not happened within the Air Force, and consequently the Air


Force is certain to face greater institutional challenges in these times of turbulence and uncertainty.

Bradley L. Bowman examines the relationship between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the wider Middle East in “Realism and Idealism: US Policy toward Saudi Arabia from the Cold War to Today.” Basing his thesis on an analysis of the lessons of recent history, he recommends a cautious balancing of American idealist values and realist interests in the region. Noting that the United States faces a dilemma as it seeks to promote democracy in the Middle East, Bowman highlights the need for cordial relations with authoritarian allies in order to maintain access to oil and partners in the global battle against terrorism. He highlights the fact that calls for the democratization of the Middle East will by definition lead to the eventual removal of many of these allies. Focusing on the fact that the US experience in the region during the Cold War was dominated by a realist approach, the author outlines a plan for democratic reform that minimizes the possibility of instability. Bowman would accomplish this reform by implementing a strategy based on “practical idealism.” Such a strategy will inculcate the lessons of Cold War and combine them with a nuanced understanding of the principles underpinning realism and idealism in the Middle East. The author concludes with the admission that it is always easier to critique and propose US policy than it is to manage and implement change.

Our final article in this issue is Francis V. Crupi’s analysis of “Why the United States Should Robustly Support Pan-African Organizations.” The author contrasts various subregional and regional organizations in terms of policies and performance, concluding that subregional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) offer the greatest return on international investments. Crupi provides a detailed history of ECOWAS and other pan-African organizations to determine that there are a number of reasons for the United States and other global powers to develop and maintain relationships in western Africa. Among them are: the ability to discourage the rise of failed states; minimizing the need for US “boots on the ground”; support in combating transnational terrorism; and the enhancement of the US image abroad. On a more pragmatic note, support for organizations that are capable of combating transnational terrorism provides the United States with greater access to the major oil fields of west Africa. Crupi concludes that the development of a policy for the robust support of pan-African organizations serves the US national security interests because the employment of surrogates mitigates the risk of political and military entanglements.

The Book Reviews section provides a particularly rich and diverse array, including Robert Killebrew’s sterling review of The New American Militarism by Andrew J. Bacevich. Cole Kingseed’s revealing look at David McCullough’s 1776, Conrad Crane’s consideration of West Point: Two Centuries and Beyond edited by Lance Betros, and Richard Halloran’s candid review of China’s Rise in Asia by Robert G. Sutter also headline this feature. — RHT

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Reviewed 22 November 2005. Please send comments or corrections to