In a concise, direct, and powerful address to the American public, the Nation’s Commander in Chief, President Donald Trump, put forth last night a shift and change of military strategy towards Afghanistan and South Asia (Link to the transcript) that reflects the overall intent of U.S. strategy from his Administration. The distilled thesis of the new strategy is enabling the environment and U.S. presence to win and is best stated from this one quote by the President.
“Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win. From now on, victory will have a clear definition…”
This new strategy encompasses more than our troops, more than our State Department, and more than our economic power. It is unleashing capabilities, capacity, restrictive policies, and authorities for those that fight the enemy across all domains – but much more important, it is unbridling current leadership and introducing new leadership to change the embedded culture to win. It is the hardest, it is the most coveted, and the most challenging skill in the world to attain, to sustain, and master a winning culture. It is a winning culture – and its leadership –that will best enable exponential force multiplication and its projection, even with limited resources, against an overmatching peer competitor or against a non-peer asymmetric competitor to win.
Within the Presidential address, its enablers to win, President Trump put forward and restated significant increases in missile defense to the American public, for the second time in two weeks (Link).
“Under my administration, many billions of dollars more is being spent on our military. And this includes vast amounts being spent on our nuclear arsenal and missile defense.”
Missile defense from defeating hypersonic glide vehicles, maneuvering cruise missiles, to Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) – is not just limited to ballistic missile defense as the President clearly distinguished– it must be enabled to win with a clear definition of winning against the most advanced and complex missile threats in the world today and not be encumbered or prohibited by restricting policies and authorities which are in place today.
The development of additional U.S. missile defense capabilities and the deployment of additional missile defense capacity to beat, defeat, and win against the best in the world- the Chinese and Russian advanced missile systems is a clear definition of winning. Developing and resourcing a capability to defeat lower end North Korean and Iranian missile capabilities would then be an automatic given with a winning U.S. missile defense capability against advanced and complex Russian and Chinese missile capabilities, who are and will continue to support North Korea and Iran through resources, parts, and technology. Staying with limited U.S. missile defense capabilities, capacity, technologies, polices, and authorities for North Korea and Iran is a losing end game and a losing overall strategy for the national security of the United States and its citizens.
An upcoming Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR) would have to reflect and enable the winning environments that the Commander in Chief, President Donald Trump, has put forward with intent to win. This BMDR follows President Obama’s 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review, which changed course from a priority of defending the U.S. Homeland with President George W. Bush to the European Phased Adapted Approach (EPAA), which advanced regional missile defense and limited homeland missile defense capability with its polices, intent, and resources. It is to note that the current BMDR has no policy direction or input, as the Department of Defense has yet to be given a confirmed and nominated Undersecretary of Policy and does not have a confirmed Deputy Undersecretary of Policy. Further, “ballistic” should be withdrawn from the title of the review, as the United States will not fight a linear ballistic missile conflict. Integrated missile defense would have both “left of launch” and offensive capabilities together, in future missile defense technologies that have to be developed, tested, and deployed. If the BMDR does not reflect the new strategic intent by the President, does not have the Department of Defense’s Undersecretary of Policy input, and continues with polices and authorities that prohibit the full potential and extent of our nation’s current and future missile defense systems, the BMDR has no value to win.
This is about winning and to be the World’s best in defending our nation, our forward deployed troops, and our allies, we have to compete against the very best and beat the very best to be the very best.
We are winners, we have to win and we will win.