Adam Cox

Adam Cox – Northern Illinois University, Political Science

Adam Cox is a Ph.D student at Northern Illinois University. His major academic and research interests are U.S. Foreign Policy, U.S. National Security Policy, International Relations Theory, and Biopolitics. Mr. Cox has previously presented his research at the NIU Graduate Student Research Conference and has forthcoming presentations at the 2011 Southwestern Political Science Association Annual Meeting as well as the 2011 Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting.

Win-Hold-Lose?: Adapting Strategy and Force Structure to the New International Security Environment

Recent attempts have been made by the United States to adapt military strategy and force structure to fit the current threat environment. However, these attempts have not been satisfactory. The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review was the first to identify irregular warfare as the dominant form of warfare. The 2010 QDR stressed the need to modify the force structure and capabilities of the U.S. This included the notion of fighting many smaller wars at the same time. What must be realized is that what is faulty is not simply the force structure and strategy of the U.S. but also the military doctrine. While force structure and strategy determine the rationale and objectives for a military campaign, military doctrine determines the who, what, when, where, why and how. Military doctrine seeks to provide a common conceptual framework for military service. Doctrine determines structure and strategy. New threats such as pirates, terrorists and other asymmetric enemies provide a new enemy but not a reduction in needed force. What this paper demonstrates is this misunderstanding of doctrine through a review of official U.S. national government documents such as the NSS, the QDR, as well as the Fiscal Budget of the U.S. national government. These documents show an inability by the U.S. government and thereby the U.S. military to adequately adapt to the changing international security environment. The traditional win-win or win-hold-win strategy of the U.S. is inadequate for this environment. This strategy will almost assuredly become a lose-lose.