I received this article via email from several people today, each of whom probably thought that what would get my interest is the reporting on the continuing objections from the ground force community to AirSea Battle. I must admit to being somewhat interested that the Washington Post would take time for a serious analysis of AirSea Battle, to the extent that any serious analysis can take place in an unclassified setting.
Instead, what unfolds is a timid hit-piece, full of innuendo and with a whiff of score settling. Careful only to land glancing blows, Greg Jaffe traces the conceptual evolution of AirSea Battle back to its Pentagon roots, and in the process, questions the Director of the Office of Net Assessment’s (Andrew Marshall) integrity in the awarding of contracts by inferring that he distributes resources to his favorites, and no one is more favored than the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, run by a Marshall protege, Dr. Andrew Krepinevich. Citing the proportion of CSBA’s revenue generated by ONA contracts, Jaffe gives us Krepinevich’s salary, reporting that it is twice what others in his position make. The horror.
Bryan McGrath’s post at ID is interesting in and of itself, but the real gold is in the comments discussing the status of Air Sea Battle. If what Galrahn says about ASB is accurate, I feel a good deal better about the program.
Indeed, if what he says is true, I’d get the impression that a lot of the internal heartburn about ASB could have been avoided by the simple step of choosing a different name. ASB clearly harks back to the Army’s capstone AirLand Battle doctrine of the 1980s. ALB was a very detailed explanation of how the Army would fight outnumbered in Europe and win. But it was also a treatise on the principles of warfare throughout the ages and helped establish not just a common set of operational tactics, but a common viewpoint in the Army of how war is fought. ASB seems to be far more tailored to a specific task setting. If it was named differently, perhaps some of the unfortunate comparisons to ALB wouldn’t have come to pass.