Preparations for next year’s Quadrennial Defense Review collide with a split in thinking over what the post-Iraq war threats will be — insurgencies, conventional or something in between? Unless these differences in thinking are reconciled, the Pentagon will be ill-equipped to define the type of force it needs and the weapons it requires. Frank Hoffman’s cover article examines the different schools of thought and argues that the QDR’s option set is not a simple choice of long-term counterinsurgency operations or high-intensity conflict.
Gene Myers continues the QDR examination; arguably falling in what Frank would call the Traditionalist school, he makes the case for how air power should be the QDR’s main priority.
Another Traditionalist, Phil Meilinger, takes issue with the fashionable notion that air power leads to more civilian casualties. Phil argues the opposite is true.
Dave Willson transports us to what’s likely to be another QDR focus area, the cyberspace threat. He calls for creating an international solution to what is a global problem.
Back on terra firma, Drex Drechsler and Chuck Allen find a common thread running through the swirl of senior-level military firings that have occurred under Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ watch: Did these otherwise successful leaders become disconnected from their boss’s vision?
Joe Collins continues his Transition Strategy column, this month focusing on what surely has become one of the president’s most frustrating dilemmas: how to make good on his pledge to close Gitmo.
We kick off with T.X. Hammes’ piercing essay on PowerPoint, a subject on which we are all experts or victims, depending on whether you’re the presenter or bulleted-to-death presentee.
Finally, it’s AFJ essay contest time once more — for details, go to www.armedforcesjournal.com.