In essence, the strategist identifies the overall goals or objectives (the “ends”), then takes the available resources, including personnel and equipment (the “means”) and develops concepts (the “ways”) that use these resources to accomplish the overall goals. This elegant formulation of strategy has been taught widely, and its influence was evident in the president’s speech.
Today, it is striking to see this dialogue played out in near real time with speeches, bombs, tweets, and beheadings — both sides acting and reacting. This interplay will continue for some time, as ISIS is a thinking, learning, and adaptive enemy that will take steps to defend against U.S. strikes, reinforce its core constituencies, and attack in asymmetric ways. Eventually, the anti-ISIS coalition will need to adjust its strategy with an eye to gaining the continuing advantage.
That will be interesting indeed.
At least an Army combat Aviation Brigade (about 3,300 soldiers) to operate transport, reconnaissance, and attack helicopters.
These special operators will be at high risk of locally-overwhelming enemy force, as well as attacks by ISIS operatives infiltrating the tribes and even the security forces among whom they will be living.
They must have access to a large and responsive quick reaction force (QRF ) that can get to threatened units rapidly and with dominating force. We estimate that two battalion-sized QRFs will need to be available at all times, one in Iraq and one in Syria.
Sustaining the availability of two battalions requires the deployment of two brigades, perhaps 7,000 soldiers in all. Additional forces will be required to secure temporary bases, provide medevac coverage, and support necessary enablers.
Flight times and the medevac requirements to get wounded soldiers to help within the “golden hour” dictate that the U.S. will have to establish temporary bases inside Iraq and Syria. Bases in Kurdistan, Turkey, and Jordan are simply too far away from the core ISIS safe-havens along the Euphrates.
Subsequent phases depend entirely on validating the assumption that the Sunni Arab communities in Iraq and Syria are both willing and able to fight alongside the U.S. and our partners against ISIS. The details of those phases will depend on which specific tribes and groups step forward and what their capabilities and limitations might be.
They will also depend on the speed with which the ISF can be rebuilt and reformed
into a non-sectarian and effective security force. The first phase itself will take months. Subsequent phases will take longer.
Adopting this strategy entails signing up for a prolonged deployment of military forces, including ground forces.
Even then, this strategy suffers from the high risk of failure and the near-certainty that the U.S. will suffer casualties, including at the hands of supposedly friendly forces. American troops dispersed among the Sunni population are at risk of being kidnapped.
The significant anti-aircraft capabilities of ISIS put American helicopters at risk. It may turn out that the Sunni Arabs cannot or will not fight with us, finally, and that the overall strategy proposed here is infeasible. In that case, it will be necessary to abandon this strategy and reconsider our options.
Great Satan should adopt this strategy despite these risks.
The consequences of inaction or inadequate action are evident:
ISIS will retain control of much of the territory it holds, sectarian war will escalate, more foreign fighters including Americans and Europeans will cycle through the battlefield and get both trained and further radicalized, and al-Qaeda will benefit from the largest and richest safe-haven it has ever known.
It's worth accepting the risks of this strategy to avoid this outcome
Pic - "Last week, 44 announced a strategy to re-defeat the terrorists in Iraq. But instead of listening to his commanders this time around, 44 once again rejected the advice of his Generals."