My column this week thinks through the Army post-COIN, post-Afghanistan:
The fact that the Army lacks a clear opponent to define itself against complicates its ability to make a case for its future role. The Navy and the Air Force may face difficulties explaining their roles to a skeptical public, and they may also have problems developing a cooperative doctrinal framework, AirSea Battle, for potential hostilities with China. Nevertheless, they both seem to have an identifiable mission against a peer competitor opponent. Moreover, they both potentially have a big-picture story to tell about the role that they play in the world. The Navy acts as the guarantor of world maritime trade and American prosperity, while the global reach and global power of the Air Force serve as a deterrent to potential wrongdoers worldwide.
The Army faces a more difficult problem, because for the moment it’s hard to find an enemy for it to fight.