Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Dempsey’s Wise Words on the Military Profession

Dempsey’s Wise Words on the Military Profession

Last week, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey delivered a speech at the National Defense University where he spoke about the current strategic environment, the military instrument and the military profession. On the current strategic environment he stated that:

Rising powers, non-state actors, criminal organizations, religious groups and a handful of ideological agitators, all with strategy to simply change the way the world does business. They don’t collectively agree on what they want, only on what they don’t want.

As the architect of the status quo, the United States, therefore responds when North Korea enters one of its provocation cycles. We surge when Iran makes threatening gestures. We anguish over conflicts in Syria and South Sudan. Threats have changed, not revolutionary maybe, but more evolutionary and have become somewhat of a devolution of high technology. So you’ve got this really interesting nexus of high-tech and low-tech and this disparate threat that makes it very hard to pin down exactly the approach. We on the other hand have gone from being … a force oriented early in my career on high-end, high-intensity deterrence, to a far more flexible and expeditionary force and we better be thinking now about the “what comes next” because there is always something that has to come next.