Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How McMaster Could Change the Way the US Goes to War - Defense One

How McMaster Could Change the Way the US Goes to War - Defense One: The most important thing to know about Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s new National Security Adviser, is that he’s not a fan of committing troops to action if they, or their allies, can’t hold the territory they seize — in his terms, “consolidate their gains.” His previous comments suggest that he’s skeptical of surgical special operations raids and drone strikes absent a realistic plan to change political realities on the ground.

Back in February 2015, when McMaster was the deputy commanding general of futures at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, he offered an indirect—but unmistakable—critique of the light-footprint approach to dealing with escalating conflicts in places like Iraq, the approach that the United States was taking toward the Islamic State, or ISIS.

McMaster, who had first gained fame as the tank commander in the Gulf War’s Battle of 73 Easting, then solidified his credentials as a thinking soldier with the well-received Dereliction of Duty, said that the chaos in Afghanistan and the parts of Iraq and Syria then held by ISIS was the fault of multiple parties but stemmed from a single cause: a failure to consolidate gains. Read that to mean the deployment of a substantial number of troops, enough to manage the transition of an occupied territory into a reliable U.S. ally, or at least a stable country.