The Lisbon Summit set dates for the Afghanistan handover: July begins the transition process; December 2014 is the stated end date.
With a bluntness that became a trademark during his tenure as defense secretary, Robert Gates scolded NATO defense ministers for their fixation on those dates rather than the task at hand. “Frankly, there is too much talk about leaving and not enough talk about getting the job done right. Too much discussion of exit and not enough discussion about continuing the fight.”
Our cover package authors are all focused on getting the job done right. War College professor Joe Collins has recently returned from Afghanistan; Lt. Gen. Bill Caldwell is NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan commander; Col. Keith Detwiler until recently worked at his side as NTM-A deputy international security coordinator; and Maj. Bill Taylor, an Army aviator, is currently deployed in Afghanistan.
Bob Killebrew and Keith Rhodes, meanwhile, look to the “new” wars. Bob warns that the greatest threat the U.S. faces is the attack on international civil order by criminals, terrorists and insurgents. Keith focuses on that other emerging nonconventional threat, the cyber attack.
And Gene Myers writes an essay that picks up on another Gates’ bluntism, a missive warning NATO ministers that the trans-Atlantic alliance faces “a dim, if not dismal future” unless European partners start pulling their weight. Gene asks whether NATO has lost its relevance.
Larry Korb brings us back inside the Beltway to ask why, with all the recent senior flag officer shuffles, are there still no women at the top? Your editor thinks it is a good question. She also enjoyed another inside-the-Beltway pastime, picking through the latest shower of snowflakes to be made public by their author, former SecDef Donald Rumsfeld. I’ve selected my favorites — let us know yours.