Ending the Ideology of the Offense, warontherocks.com

David Johnson, retired Army colonel

[…] Absent a clear threat, the U.S. Department of Defense adopted capabilities-based planning in the aftermath of the Cold War. Given the absence of any peer adversary in the foreseeable future, this was unavoidable. This is no longer the case. With presidential guidance to deter China and Russia, and to prevail in conflict if deterrence fails, the Department of Defense now has threats against which to plan. It is time for change.

The U.S. military, designed as it is for offensive expeditionary operations, is ill-prepared for its principal mission of deterrence. Indeed, against nuclear-armed adversaries, several aspects of U.S. warfighting concepts have a high risk of escalation. Further, information and precision strike technologies have progressed to the point where the defense has become ascendant. This is now being displayed in Ukraine and should change U.S. approaches to deterrence. Such a reorientation will be difficult, because of the strong institutional and cultural preferences in the U.S. military for offensive operations. […]

Ironically, all the technologies that have been and are being developed for rapid, decisive offensive operations turn out to be even more formidable in the defense. They deny our adversaries surprise and enable us to dispose our forces where they can most effectively defend against attack. Consequently, as Alex Vershinin notes: “Emerging technologies in the fields of network, artificial intelligence, and space are shifting the balance back to defenses.” He continues by stating that the United States may have missed this shift and that the consequences are significant: “Unable to fight a short decapitation campaign, the United States may be forced into a prolonged attrition campaign, at unacceptable political costs.” Läs artikel