ComNavOps has a simple question to ask.
Who is running the military?
That should be simple to answer. Let’s just check to see who has produced the influential documents that are guiding the military.
First up would have to be the Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) concept that has driven so much of the military’s efforts for the last few years. This concept has been the basis for the entire naval amphibious assault concept changes (stand-off distances, high speed connectors, modified amphibious assault vehicles, etc.), the Pivot to the Pacific, the focus on longer range aircraft and missiles, and the termination of the LCS, among other notable actions and trends. The author of that concept was the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA).
Next would be the current offset strategy that Hagel and Work seem to be committing the military to. In simplest terms, the offset consists of using networks and unmanned platforms to compensate for lack of numbers. The author of that concept was the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA).
So, the answer to who is running the military would seem to be the CSBA.
I have nothing against using outside consultants to assist the military in its various planning efforts but wouldn’t you think the bulk of the high level “strategic” analysis should come from the professional, uniformed ranks? If not, what are we paying them for?
After the CSBA, there is a second level of reports that shape the military and they are provided by GAO, CRS, DOT&E, and others. These reports are usually narrowly focused on specific topics and help shape the implementation of the higher level CSBA guidance.
Finally, there is a third level of reports. The military cranks out regular documents but if you’ve read any of them you know that they’re worthless, generic platitudes that are neither useful in concept nor used in practice and which offer no specific guidance.
Throw in the DoD’s near total reliance on industry to tell the military what it needs and what capabilities it can have and you have a picture of near total abdication of the intellectual guidance of our armed forces. [Rant : You don’t ask industry what the next “LCS/Small Surface Combatant” will do, you tell them what you want based on your strategic, operational, and tactical needs.]
What are our Admirals and Generals doing all day? Clearly, they’re not producing any significant strategic thinking. When did the military give up its role as the architect of professional military analysis?