Wednesday, February 06, 2008

America's 21st Century Nightmare

Coming across the desk is a new "White Paper" from Air Force Chief of Staff, General T. Michael Mosely: "The Nation's Guardians: America's 21st Century Air Force". Amidst the usual bureaucratic boilerplate, this bit grabbed me:

The future strategic environment will be shaped by the interaction of globalization, economic disparities and competition for resources; diffusion of technology and information networks whose very nature allows unprecedented ability to harm and, potentially, paralyze advanced nations; and systemic upheavals impacting state and non-state actors and, thereby, international institutions and the world order. The following are salient features of this increasingly complex, dynamic, lethal, and uncertain environment:

Violent extremism and ethnic strife—a global, generational, ideological struggle

• Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and empowering technologies

• Rising peer competitors with voracious appetites for resources and influence

• Predatory and unpredictable regional actors

Increasing lethality and risk of intrusion by terrorist and criminal organizations

• Systemic instability in key regions (political, economic, social, ideological)

• Unprecedented velocity of technological change and military adaptation

• Availability of advanced weapons in a burgeoning global marketplace

• Exponential growth in volume, exchange and access to information

Surging globalization, interconnectivity and competition for scare resources

• Dislocating climate, environmental and demographic trends

Having experienced—or vicariously learned—the cost of challenging the U.S. head-on, would-be adversaries are developing asymmetric approaches to attack vital levers of U.S. power. Their strategies seek to circumvent our core advantages, while undermining international support and domestic resolve.

Airpower’s unprecedented lethality and effectiveness deter opponents from massing on the battlefield, driving them to adopt distributed and dispersed operations. They find maneuver space and sanctuary in dense urban areas, ungoverned hinterlands and loosely regulated information and social networks.

I think Gen. Mosely exactly nails what the future holds for us. He's not quite courageous enough to actually name names (Islam, immigration), and his recommendations for the future are, in my humble opinion, not up to the challenge -- but then, most of the problems he names call for policy changes well beyond his reach.

Still, though, it's good to see a policy maker, especially from somewhere as pusillanimous as the military senior leadership, actually hinting that diversity, demographic change, and interconnectedness are VERY BAD for our national security.

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