The new leadership in the Pentagon is fixated on the idea of asymmetric threats at the expense of conventional warfare. Their strategic thinking is driven by the belief that the threats are moving from the center of the conflict spectrum (an image that appears as a bell curve) to the ends of that spectrum (a drawing that looks like a dumbbell). Emphasizing low-end irregular warfare and instability at one end and high-tech asymmetric threats at the other is probably wrong or at the very least inadequate. While there will be situations occurring at the ends of the spectrum, the magnitude of the threats and the costs are going to continue to be located in the center. Why? Because in the center is where our most significant potential enemies, nation states and large state-like groups such as Hezbollah will operate. Moreover, they are acquiring capabilities and building forces that will pose a serious challenge to U.S. conventional capabilities. Our potential adversaries have included irregular warfare in their repertoire but they have not ceded the conventional middle ground of the spectrum of conflict to us. Focusing on the ends of the spectrum will leave the military ill-prepared to fight in the middle, where most serious threats are still likely to occur.
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