Down With RMA?

The US military is virtually unchallenged in the air, sea, and “open land” like deserts, says Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, head of US Joint Forces Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation. The one area where it is not dominant is irregular warfare, and that’s where the intellectual energy and resources have to go now, Mattis said during a Feb. 12 address at the Reserve Officers Association symposium in Washington, D.C. (see below). However, the new focus on irregular warfare should not come at the expense of the ability to control the air, land, and sea, he said. “We surrender conventional superiority in war at our peril,” said Mattis, because the days of large, force-on-force combat may not be over. Teaching a history lesson, Mattis said successful armies have always identified their key problem and solved it to achieve victory. Wars are not won by announcing a “revolution in military affairs,” and bending all efforts toward making it happen. He called RMA a “wrongheaded bumper sticker.”