October 1, 2009  

In this issue

As the Defense Department and Quadrennial Defense Review planners try to figure out what threats lie beyond Iraq and Afghanistan, the term “hybrid warfare” increasingly surfaces to satisfy those who believe we should prepare for conflicts that are neither all conventional nor entirely irregular, but wars that morph between those two definitions.

The commander of Joint Forces Command, Marine Gen. James Mattis, has said the U.S. military needs to transform to a “hybrid” force that can improvise across the conventional and irregular domains.

But the term “hybrid” is being hotly debated; there are those who say they don’t understand the term and that they don’t need new definitions for warfare.

Frank Hoffman, whom some regard as the father of the term, provides his definition here and challenges the skeptics to resist oversimplifying today’s wars.

Another debate is brewing on whether the service academies and war colleges are worth the money and delivering the goods. Bob Scales and Milan Vego attack the attackers with vigor and add to the debate with a radical idea for how to improve the academies’ ability to turn out tomorrow’s strategic-thinking flag officers.

Mackenzie Eaglen and Jim Talent challenge QDR planners to craft a realistic document that matches resources to the ever-increasing tasks being assigned to the military. Similarly, Pete Brookes’ Flashpoint column on nuclear proliferation is a call for any new disarmament talks and treaties to be based on realities rather than pipe dreams.

Pat Paterson keeps the debate-provoking juices flowing with the question that almost dares not be asked: Should there be a limit on civilian authority over the military?

And Bob Killebrew, now a regular AFJ columnist, kicks off this issue with an Oliver Twist “more please” appeal to the SecDef to further expand Army manpower.