Let's talk about love – and not the type of love that results in sailors getting an injection of antibiotics after a port call in Thailand. I'm talking about a deeper, spiritual kind of love: The Pentagon's passionate love affair with great power competition.
Nearly a decade ago, the Defense Department was betrothed to an idea called "counterinsurgency;" but the Pentagon ditched COIN at the altar after a Jody named Afghanistan ruined the romance. Now the U.S. military is head over heels in love with countering Russia and China – so much so that the Pentagon has named a cockroach "The Global War on Terrorism" after its ex so it could be fed to a Meerkat.
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Juan Granados, 3rd Marine Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, attached to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Central Command. Photo: Sgt. Justin Huffty/U.S. Marine Corps
Troopers assigned to Reaper Troop, 4th Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, drive their M1134 Anti-Tank Guided Missile Vehicle to it's firing position during the squadron's live-fire exercise at the Grafenwoehr Training Area, located near Rose Barracks, Germany, March 15, 2016. (U.S. Army/Sgt. William A. Tanner)
A four-person vehicle crew with the U.S. Army's 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Europe won a personal victory in early February 2019 when they beat out other crews to claim their squadron's "top gun" prize.
But the crew's achievement underscores an uncomfortable fact for the U.S. Army as it struggles to match Russia's own military build-up in Europe.
Having spent 17 years conducting counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations in the deserts and mountains of the Middle East, the Naval Special Warfare community is shifting its focus to threats from China, Russia and aspiring adversaries.