The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Friday, January 05, 2007

New Strategy Taking Shape?

The Bush Administration is expected to name Adm. Fallon, currently the commander of Pacific Command, as General Abizaid’s replacement as commander of Central Command. In addition, Lt. Gen. Patraeus, who heads the US Army Training and Doctrine Command, is anticipated by the media as the new commander of coalition forces in Iraq to replace Gen. Casey. Abizaid and Casey announced their retirements sometime ago. The appointment of Fallon and Patraeus is believed to emphasize a shift in strategic thinking in the war in Iraq and for US military policy in the Indian Ocean Area (IOA), which is the geographic responsibility of CentCom. Fallon was only the combatant commander of PacCom for a little over a year as of this time. Both Fallon and Patraeus require Congressional approval before taking up their new responsibilities, if indeed the insider information in the media is indeed accurate. Patraeus will get a fourth star in order to assume his new assignment.

It is speculated that Fallon’s appointment highlight’s the US concern with terrorists smuggling personnel, weapons, and equipment through CentCom’s sea lines of communication (SLOCs). Fallon is the first Naval officer to be CentCom commander, as all of the commanders since the organization was stood-up in 1983 have been US Army generals like Schwartzkopf or Marine generals like Zinni. The other speculation I read was that it is presumed that any military action against Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons development program would be conducted mainly from surface combatants, aircraft carriers and cruise missile-armed submarines.

Patraeus’ appointment is less of a mystery. Much of the post-Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) literature has praised his work as commander of the 101st Air Assault Division and that unit’s approach to counter-insurgency warfare. Patraeus instituted innovative civil, political, humanitarian, and psychological affairs methods into his division’s post-combat occupation operations. Patraeus is generally recognized as the one commanding general of a major unit in Iraq to have approached the problem of the insurgency in a creative and effective manner. His two tours in Iraq proved that his intellectual understanding of this type of political and social warfare showed how it could have been done right on the ground. Over the last year and a half, Patraeus also coordinated the writing of the new US Army/US Marine Corps joint publication on “Counter-insurgency Operations.”

This Clublog, articles in our newsletters, and other writings published on our website and elsewhere have often talked about a need for a new military approach to the war on the terrorist and to US military policy in the Indian Ocean Area in general. We have advocated consistently for a “maritime strategy” when it comes to using military action to pursue political policy. At the same time, we have promoted a “libertarian internationalism” as a new political creed for US diplomacy around the world as way of fighting not only this “long war,” but many of the problems challenging humanity in every region of the world.

Fallon is a naval aviator by vocation, but in essence a maritime man. Does his new role in the theater of CentCom/IOA mean that the US will now pursue a maritime strategy? (You will find more about maritime strategy on and in the forthcoming issue of Strategy Gazette due out Feb. 1st). Does General Patraeus’ appointment mean that the emphasis in the war in Iraq and against the Islamists terrorist elsewhere will now be to approach obliquely from a political policy first, violence as a last resort? Well, that is what we here at The Cepia Club are hoping, and we hope for our country that such an approach will work.


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