Friday, October 29, 2010

Germany, Kaplan, Dunlap

AFA members, Congressional staff members, civic leaders, DOCA members, in my last note [] I described to you the cuts announced by the UK regarding their defense budget. This week, German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said the country would begin budget-drivenrestructuring of its military. A commission studying reforms and expected to make recommendations public in January may recommend cutting the Defense Ministry staff in half and reduce by 25 percent the number of troops. Coupled with the recent UK announcement and possibly our own defense cuts, it appears we naively believe peace is right around the corner. I am reminded of a quote by President Reagan: “Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.”

In light of these defense cuts, a new book, Monsoon, The Indian Ocean and The Future of American Power, by Robert Kaplan, explores the rise of China and India and how this area will be a test of American Power in the 21st century. He also warns that our military mission in today’s wars is diverting us from properly reacting to the rise of China as a power in East Asia. Remember—spending tomorrow’s money on today’s threats invites tremendous strategic risk. The future is very uncertain, and it is vital that we preserve a strategic range of options for the nation. You can read an interview Kaplan gave to Foreign Affairs Magazine here: [requires a free one-time registration.]

Finally, last week in the Washington Post, an op-ed ran that was written by Maj Gen (Ret) Charles Dunlap. The piece was entitled: “Could Airstrikes save lives in Afghanistan?” The simple answer to the question is: Certainly. Airpower is doing this every day. However, the piece cited new studies that show: (1) Since airstrikes were limited in Jun 09, Afghan civilian deaths have risen 31% (2) Only 6% of the civilian casualties attributed to ISAF were caused by Airpower (3) the Taliban are responsible for more than 75% of civilian deaths.

To quote a portion of the op-ed: “Airpower reduces the need to put our precious soldiers in the path of the improvised explosive devices that are killing and maiming more ISAF troops than anything else. And airpower works: The surge in Iraq in 2007 succeeded only when it was accompanied by a fivefold increase in airstrikes.” You can find the piece at:

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

1 comment:

terry said...

Air power alone winn NOT accomplish the job, no matter how exotic the weapon, the combat soldier will always be needed!