Events since Sept. 11, 2001, have introduced the world to a new type of threat, one not tied to a particular country and one that doesn't field conventional armies to challenge us on the battlefield.Al-Qaida and its kin have taken the techniques of guerrilla warfare, added new technologies such as the Internet, and brought war to the homelands of the United States and Western Europe. Despite spending on defense that equals the rest of the world, combined, and initiating a war in Iraq that will likely surpass Vietnam in cost, the United States has yet either to destroy al-Qaida or to defeat a group of ragtag insurgents concentrated in the areas around Baghdad. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), designed to defeat the Soviet Union, is not only unsuited for this new form of conflict, it cannot be transformed into an organization that is. It is time for DoD to be abolished to make way for new approaches.
Among these would be a restructuring of the Armed Services to eliminate not only our large, heavy formations but the mindsets that accompany them.In their place, we should consider forces that blur the boundary between "civilian" and "military" as well as between government and private industry.We can be sure that our opponents have not ruled out any form of organization, and if we are to win, we must be at least as creative.
Forces, even radically re-created ones, can be effective only as part of a coherent national strategy.There are two generic approaches for building such a strategy: rollback, where we intervene to eliminate regimes that harbor or might harbor terrorists, and containment, where we take measures to protect ourselves from attack, but otherwise limit involvement to intelligence, police, and diplomatic measures.This book sympathizes with the goal of rollback, but considering its costs and lack of success in places like Iraq, recommends containment as the strategy most likely to protect against terrorists acts, while not making life in the developing world more dangerous than it already is.