June 1, 2007  

I was struck by Capt. Alden’s lack of appreciation…

I was struck by Capt. Alden’s lack of appreciation for conventional doctrine and force structure. Alden does nothing to explain current Army doctrine, nor does he acknowledge that Army doctrine has dramatically changed many times between the pentomic divisions to the current Brigade Combat Teams. The Special Forces’ minimalist approach is precisely what placed us in our current predicament in Iraq. An approach more consistent with the Weinberger-Powell doctrine would have deployed far greater forces and would have feasibly produced a more secure environment.

While it is true that postmodern conflict suggests a trend toward an urban, nonlinear battlefield, the U.S. must ultimately gear its military toward fighting conventional forces that pose greater threats to national survival.

Special Forces are a vital part of the Army package and will remain vital as long as the Army itself remains relevant, but so are conventional forces. If anything, conventional forces have proven they can adapt to ambiguous, asymmetrical environments. A better solution for our current woes is an assessment of the manpower requirement to fight a counterinsurgency for the Long War.

Capt. Derek Ping

Stanford University

Stanford, Calif.