In a sign of reforms to come at President-elect Barack Obama’s Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates writes in a new article that he believes the military-industrial complex remains too infatuated with conventional weapon systems and must give greater emphasis to tools better suited to defeating violent extremism and guerrilla insurgencies.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (2nd L) shakes hands with U.S. President-elect Barack Obama after Obama announced that he has chosen Gates to continue as Secretary of Defense in his administration, as Vice President-elect Joe Biden (L) and Secretary of State nominee Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) look on during a news conference in Chicago December 1, 2008.(John Gress/Reuters)
“What is dubbed the war on terror is, in grim reality, a prolonged, worldwide irregular campaign – a struggle between the forces of violent extremism and those of moderation,” Gates, the first defense chief to be asked to stay on by a new president from the other political party, writes in the upcoming issue of Foreign Affairs magazine. “Direct military force will continue to play a role in the long-term effort against terrorists and other extremists. But over the long term, the United States cannot kill or capture its way to victory.”
Gates, an outspoken supporter of beefing up American diplomatic might since becoming President Bush’s Pentagon boss in 2006, takes on the entrenched forces in the Defense Department, the Congress, and the nation’s largest arms makers….
By Bryan Bender
The Boston Globe