Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Democratic National Security Plan Dissected, Part One

The Democrats unveiled their proposal for national security plan today. The plan, entitled
Real Security: The Democratic Plan to Protect America and Restore Our Leadership in the World.

It has taken the Democrats over four years to articulate a national security platform, which says a great deal about the inability of the party to reach a consensus on this issue.

The document is not truly a plan per se, but rather a series of goals that, taken together (the democrats believe), will increase the security of the United States of America. There are ends discussed throughout, but no discussions of the ways and means to achieve them.

Still, this is a political party's initial baseline document, so it is a start.

Wilsonizer will read through this document, and in the next week provide a critique of its major points.

Today I will start with one of the goals addressed in the military section, pertaining to Army Special Forces, which are the U.S. units that have played a large role in the war on terror and in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Democrat's plan proposes to:

Double the size of our Special Forces, increase our human intelligence capabilities, and ensure our intelligence is free from political pressure [Emph Added].
This goal, as stated in the Democrat's plan, cannot be achieved at this time.

Special Forces have proven to be a highly effective, versatile tool in the Global War on Terror; however, it takes a tremendous amount of resources just to keep the current personnel force structure in place to man the five active duty Special Forces Groups (A group is the equivalent of an army regiment). There are not enough volunteers for Special Forces Duty to double the number of Special Forces units, and the Army does not have the facilities to train the number of personnel it would take to keep ten active duty Special Forces Group fully manned.

Any growth in the size of Army Special Forces units would have to be implemented slowly, and over a long period of time. And true growth in the number of active duty Special Forces units would be modest at best. Doubling the size of Army Special Forces is a bridge too far.

Any sudden, rapid growth of Special Forces units would have to come at the cost of quality and operational capability. This would violate one of the four Special Operations Truths:

Competent Special Operations Forces cannot be created after emergencies occur.

While the idea of rapidly expanding Army Special Forces units sounds like a new and innovative idea, it is not a truly feasible one.

Post Script: A better idea for the Democrats to embrace might be to use Special Forces more effectively in the War on Terror; Sean Naylor's article "More Than Just Door Kickers" talks about an internal debate on how Special Forces are being employed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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