The Times of London reported this week that the Hezbollah terrorist group has stockpiled 40,000 short-range rockets within range of Israel. Many of these are capable of hitting that country’s major urban centers. This report says that Hezbollah may even have rockets able to carry a 1,000 lb. warhead more than 125 miles. At the same time, Hezbollah is strengthening its defensive works in southern Lebanon. A renewed conflict in this region will look more like World War I than a low intensity conflict.
The Department of Defense, in thrall to the advocates of counterinsurgency and stability operations, is not preparing to deal with this type of threat. The Pentagon is forcing the U.S. Army and Marine Corps to prepare to fight the last war, demanding that it invest more in armored trucks than in networks and in defeating improvised explosive devices but not rockets.
This same report says that Hezbollah wants to enhance both the quantity and the lethality of its air defense systems. Hezbollah fighters are said to have received training in Syria on the Russian-made SA-8 anti-aircraft system which employs radar-guidance and can engage aircraft up to an altitude of 36,000 ft. This system could threaten any advanced air force, denying it the use of low flying unmanned aerial vehicles and taking down so-called counterinsurgency fighters. Yet, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wants the U.S. Air Force to buy more of these types of aerial systems and fewer radar-evading stealthy aircraft.
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