December 1, 2009  

In this issue

When Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced in April that he was canceling the vehicle part of the Future Combat Systems program, he pledged to protect FCS vehicle money so that it would be available to develop a new ground combat vehicle. That effort begins in earnest in the new year. Gates said it was important the new ground combat vehicle take into account the operational experiences of Afghanistan and Iraq. “We had better be sure to get it right — or as close to right as we can,” he added.

In our cover story, Bob Scales addresses what the “right” combat vehicle might look like based on what he has seen and heard from soldiers and Marines in both war zones.

Greg Foster provides a timely and provocative view on the trans¬formation he believes is necessary to create a strategically effective military rather than a military-effective military.

There’s nothing that military doctrine likes less than a problem that cannot be planned for. These days, the adjective “wicked” is used to describe such complex, or ill-structured problems, a recogni¬tion that the unplannable exists. T.C. Greenwood and T.X. Hammes join forces to present a set of ideas that joint staffs might use to address these wicked problems.

In Perspectives, Chuck Allen questions whether the new Afghanistan strategy is little more than the Iraq surge strategy rehashed.

Aerospace Industries Association president Marion Blakey argues that defense strategy choices — including those being developed for the upcom¬ing Quadrennial Defense Review — cannot be sepa¬rated from their consequences on the American defense and aerospace industrial base.

And Bob Killebrew kicks off your reading with an essay that reminds us that NATO’s top priority remains the ensuring of European peace and stability.