One of the more self-evident observations of all time has to be this: use the appropriate tool for the job.
That’s why COIN, with its now ‘so five minutes ago’ emphasis on counterinsurgency operations and competencies, is dropping from its brief position of pre-eminence to something far more appropriate on the national security priority list. Using a SAT analogy, COIN is to national security as a sheet metal screw is to my personal toolbox.
Why has the mighty COIN fallen? It isn’t because COIN has become a victim of its own modest success/limited success/non-success; rather, it is far more an issue of the threat environment.
The United States, which rushed to replace and rebuild its ability to wage counter insurgency warfare over the last decade, must plan for a new future in the Pacific and leave COIN behind.
That was the bold message of Adm. James "Sandy" Winnefeld speaking here at the Strategic Command Cyber and Space conference. While there have been clear indicators that this is the direction in which America’s military was moving. Winnefeld’s speech is far and away the clearest statement of what he called this new strategy.
That’s a “bold message”? Yes, winning friends and influencing people has its place; so does killing people and breaking their stuff. And the later is what we’re best at and is what’s far more important to our nation.
An article on this site from July offered that China is why COIN is toast and as evidence, suggested that if even USA Today can see and understand what’s going on with China, everyone else already has.
The national security “solution” is not merely to address the most likely form of conflict the U.S. and its allies are likely to see, but to also consider the most consequential forms of conflict. That’s why missile defense will continue to grow in terms of money, manpower, and mission.