October 1, 2012  

In this issue

The Army is shrinking, its mission set expanding — it’s the very incarnation of “do more with less.”

Yet this was inevitable after a decade of war and soaring defense budgets, and the proper response is not to point fingers or shed tears but, as Lt. Cols. Paul Larson and Heidi Urben write, to get on with figuring out how to do the job. The authors — one the aide-de-camp for the commander of Army Forces Command and the other a West Point professor — warn against retreating into a comfort zone of preparation for force-on-force battles. When the Army is sent forth in the years ahead, they say, its missions are more likely to resemble those of the past half-decade than otherwise. Of particular interest to AFJ readers, they conclude with a call for better understanding of local cultures, echoing Frank Hoffman’s “A New Principle of War” in last February’s issue.

Such expertise has long been a specialty of the Army’s Special Forces, which John Nagl and Matthew Irvine say conventional units would do well to emulate in coming years. As the U.S. continues its Long War against terrorism, they say, assistance to local security forces will likely become the principal mission for much of the Army.

AFJ contributing editor Robert Killebrew also sees an emerging national strategy built — more than ever — on supporting allies and foreign partners in a coordinated effort against transnational terrorist and criminal groups.

No matter what the task, say Brig. Gen. Bill Hix and Mark Smith, it probably goes better with armor. Hix, the Army Capabilities Integration Center’s director of concepts development and learning, says the advantages conferred by mobile protected firepower outweigh the justifications for reducing the active Army’s armor.

Yet armor can’t shield you from a hacker’s attacks. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Mark Maybury, the Air Force’s chief scientist, lay out the service’s strategy for fighting the online wars of the future.

— Bradley Peniston (bradp@armedforcesjournal.com), Editor, Armed Forces Journal