The new Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) will drag the United States even further down the dead-end road of seeking security through nation building and social engineering. Gone from the list of military objectives that will guide force development is the one about fighting and winning the nation’s wars (except for the two legacy conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan).
Instead, the highest goals the QDR sets for the American military are to prevent and deter conflicts, to build partnership capabilities and to prepare to respond to as wide range of contingencies such as humanitarian disasters and the need to shore up failing states. This change from traditional warfighting objectives is not surprising given, among other things, the heavy presence in the Pentagon of so many former officials of the Center for a New American Security, which long published reports advocated a new U.S. security strategy based on so called ‘smart power.” That institution’s new president, Dr. John Nagl — who was recently named to the Defense Policy Board — wrote in 2006 that the Army of the future needs “. . . an ability not just to dominate land operations, but to change entire societies.” According to the Constitution, only Congress can declare war. Which branch of government has the authority to unleash expeditionary social work?
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