No More Two-MCO Construct?

There is nothing sacrosanct about the two-Major Combat Operations construct, as set forth in previous Quadrennial Defense Reviews as a force-sizing strategy, Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy told the Defense Writers Group in Washington Wednesday. Her boss, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, made that plain last week on Capitol Hill when he said the world is now “more complicated than two MCOs.” Flournoy acknowledged, “That is on the table for discussion.” She said that QDR planners and “Red Team” participants are examining a wide range of scenarios. She expects the Red Team to introduce a different range of scenarios, some of which are “very high end and very intensive and go beyond the scenarios developed inside the building so far.” Whether or not the two-MCO construct survives “is something that will be informed by the scenario work in the analysis,” she said, adding that it’s simply a way of viewing risk in various missions, knowing that the military “can’t do everything equally well.”