The Defense Identity Crisis: It's a Hybrid World
January 28, 2010
The Defense Identity Crisis: It's a Hybrid World
<i>If at the end of the day, we drop the hybrid term and simply gain a better underA,A!standing of the large gray space between our idealized bins and pristine western categorizations, we will have made progress.</i>
The defense enterprise is abuzz with lively debates on "hybrid threats" and "hybrid war." Yet, newly emergent defense trends do not automatiA,A!cally merit exquisite definitions, new doctrine, or new operating concepts. As Frank Hoffman implies, such a caveat might be true of "hybrid warfare."
Hybrid war may not yet be reducible to a pristine, doctrine-ready definition. Continued efforts by Hoffman and others to describe it, howA,A!ever, remain invaluable.2 This trend is admittedly unsatisfying to concept developers and doctrine writers. By nature, they want to neatly categorize and define every aspect of military affairs. Yet, in this instance, patience is a virtue. For its part, too, the defense bureaucracy cannot rush to artifiA,A!cially dismiss a wider universe of defense-relevant, "wicked" challenges, in favor of a more limited and "tame" set of not-so-new, defense-specific ones.3 Unfortunately, the hybrid debate is moving in this direction.
Too many analysts gravitate toward solving only narrow tactical-to-operational hybrid military problems. In that context, hybrid threats are nettlesome "high-low" combinations of capabilities and methods-i.e., violent "irregular" forces that possess advanced military capabilities or "regulars" who skillfully combine conventional and unconventional warfare. A similar "reduction" occurred with irregular warfare (IW) following the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review. As a consequence, the Department of Defense (DOD) quickly took refuge in IW's "military science"-direct-action counterterrorism, application of the military aspects of counterinsurgency, and security force assistance-without fully recognizing that DOD would, under many circumstances, be responsible for much of IW's "social science" as well. Following a similar course regarding hybrid challenges is a grave mistake.
Any rush to define DOD's "hybrid" challenge too precisely is a diversion for a Defense Department facing more fundamental issues. It is unclear whether hybrid military threats will ever be singular points of emphasis for doctrine, concepts, or material solutions. For many strategists, the defense challenges described as hybrid are actually examples of cunning leadership in opposition to US or western military superiority.4 What is clear, however, upon even a cursory examination of current and future operating environments, is that the word hybrid itself aptly describes the majority of DOD's contemporary missions and responsibilities. In short, war alone is not the only thing that is hybrid; an array of broader defense issues is hybrid as well.
The defense portfolio is irrevocably diverse. It should be permanently acknowledged as such in defense management practices. DOD in totality-its subordinate service departments and agencies, varied capabilities, and mosaic of existing military and nonmilitary missions-is a complex hybrid national security, vice national defense, institution.5 Defense capacity and demands suggest that DOD could be thought of as the "Department of Doing or Defending Against Many Things."6
For better or worse, DOD is America's most viable first responder. It is in the unenviable position of "if not you, then who" when contingency events involve major violence or conditions exceed the capacity of US government agencies or foreign partners. An undeniable strategic reality for DOD today is: If a contingency is big, bad, sudden, complex, expensive, actually or potentially violent, and strategically important, it is likely to vault to the top of the Defense priority list. Few of the world's problems are unambiguously nails. As a consequence, DOD can ill afford to make use of its "hammer" alone.
The following partial list of current challenges shows which agency is perceived as best-equipped to respond.
Aca,!Ac Opposed or unopposed stability operation: DOD.
Aca,!Ac Counterinsurgency: DOD.
Aca,!Ac Coercive campaign: DOD.
Aca,!Ac Response to widespread pandemic or disaster: DOD.
Aca,!Ac Backstopping civil authorities in domestic catastrophes: DOD.
Aca,!Ac Major combat operations: DOD.
An effective US government response, even to the most nonmilitary situaA,A!tion among these, is unimaginable without substantial DOD involvement.
The burning question in this regard revolves around whether DOD actually recognizes its degree of involvement to the extent necessary to achieve effective, risk-informed strategy development and strategic planning. The answer is likely "no." Most defense debates avoid questions of "first principles." Such principles commonly are threats to an agency's budget, culture, and core competencies. Yet, one inescapable first principles question needs to be addressed. If the modern DOD remit is a complex politico-military hybrid, then what exactly does that mean for the entire defense enterprise in the future'
Critical supporting questions include: What is DOD's unique conA,A!tribution to national security in an environment populated by fewer defense-specific threats' Among external defense-relevant demands, which are most likely and most dangerous'7 Does DOD define "dangerous" properA,A!ly' Is the distinction between likely and dangerous still relevant'8
Against which of DOD's many projected demands should it be most ready' ForA,A!mally asking and answering these inquiries will help the Department of Defense account for the general hybridization of its entire external chalA,A!lenge set, most of its missions, and many of its material and human assets.
DOD's Role in a Hybrid Environment
It is difficult to classify DOD's strategic focus today. Defense caA,A!pabilities are placed into action to secure vulnerable core interests for a variety of reasons, under wide-ranging circumstances. Core interests of note range from the physical security of American citizens, territory, and allies; US sovereignty and the security of political institutions; continued prosperity; and, controversially, securing aspects of the global economy against disruption. In practice, DOD leads, enables, underwrites, or supA,A!ports comprehensive US government responses to threats to the whole list of interests. The bright lines that at one time separated civilian and miliA,A!tary responsibilities are less distinct in the post-9/11 environment. This is especially true in areas such as counterinsurgency, stabilization and reconA,A!struction, homeland defense and security, and cyber defense.
Clearly, DOD's strategic focus shifted in the last eight years, from a traditional military orientation to a more balanced "traditional-irregular" worldview. The certainty of persistent change in strategic conditions, howA,A!ever, justifies even greater adjustment. Today's environment demands that defense leaders persistently evaluate the validity of their worldview, recalA,A!ibrate their strategic outlook as required, and then redefine and reprioritize defense missions and champion new capabilities where appropriate.
We are at a break point today in this regard. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy and Shawn Brimley, a key adviser, recently offered their thoughts on what they believe to be a new, expanA,A!sive, and expanding defense portfolio. They observed:
In broad terms . . . the US military will increasingly face three types of chalA,A!lenges: rising tensions in the global commons; hybrid threats that contain a mix of traditional and irregular forms of conflict; and the problem of weak and failing states.9
Defense challenges manifesting from these three categories have nonmilitary and military components. By definition, all are defense-relA,A!evant hybrids both in their character and the character of likely US reA,A!sponses.10 Indeed, responses to any of the three, whether defense-led or defense-enabled, require blended military and nonmilitary designs. Frank Hoffman's description of hybrid foreign conflict captures the complexity of modern defense demands:
(T)he evolving character of conflict . . . is best characterized by convergence. This includes the convergence of the physical and psychological, the kinetic and nonkinetic, and combatants and noncombatants. So, too, we see the conA,A!vergence of military force and the interagency community, of states and nonA,A!state actors, and of the capabilities they are armed with.11
Today, defense challenges not only exhibit convergence of inconA,A!gruous forces, as Hoffman suggests, but also the promise of simultaneous, resource-intensive demands across competing theaters.12 In the end, it is not just war that is increasingly hybrid, as Flournoy, Brimley, and HoffA,A!man argue. Rather, DOD more generally navigates an environment domA,A!inated by myriad compound or hybrid challenges and responsibilities.13 Most, if not all, are irresolvable through the use of military force alone. All, however, do require DOD's attention; and many, if not most, require its leadership.
Many of DOD's new compound demands are of a nonmilitary naA,A!ture. Nonmilitary status, however, only implies that their principal origins are not related to the armed forces of enemy states. It does not mean the new challenges are always nonstate or prevalently nonviolent, purposeA,A!less, disorganized, or nonthreatening. Though nonmilitary in character, the most difficult of these challenges defy favorable resolution unless skillful, discriminating, and innovative military resources are applied in combinaA,A!tion with the other instruments of national power. In these cases, "military resources" do not automatically imply military force, though satisfactory outcomes in many cases still rely on the use or threatened use of force.
Nonmilitary hybrids can take form as irreducible combinations of violence and human insecurity. Some emerge as purposeful acts focused specifically against the United States or its interests-e.g., insurgency, terA,A!rorism, and strategically significant criminality. Other nonmilitary hybrid threats emerge without specific anti-US purpose-e.g., foreign insurrecA,A!tion, civil war, or unrest; state weakness and failure; and natural or human catastrophe. The context or circumstances under which conflicts or emergenA,A!cies like these occur are themselves the principal enemy actors. Adverse poA,A!litical, social, economic, or natural conditions initiate, enable, and perpetuate these challenges. All result in some loss of order, and all can be violent. In the end, however, violence may only be a symptom of chronic "contextuA,A!al" disease. When this is the case, the DOD cannot ignore varying levels of responsibility for addressing each of the aspects of the hybrid whole. At times, DOD may be the only agency of note with "skin in the game."
As Hoffman and others suggest, in any of these environments, purposeful adversaries, spoilers, and contenders for local control might employ hybrid combinations of lethal and nonlethal methods and capaA,A!bilities to pursue their ends.14 Thus, against hybrid threats of purpose or context, there will be certain security functions that military forces are best postured to perform. Frequently, these functions will entail a great deal of "warfighting."
Hybrid military challenges also threaten core national interests via the adversaries' novel blending of traditional, irregular, catastrophic, or disruptive capabilities and methods.15 These methods commonly emanate from nation-states. The most prominent threats in this group are now reA,A!ferred to as high-end asymmetric threats.16 As with defense-relevant nonA,A!military challenges, addressing the new-age, hybrid military threat requires more skill, discrimination, and innovation on the part of American defense and military leaders.
Indeed, it might be useful to recognize that the purely military aspects of hybrid, high-end challenges, e.g., a hostile state's armed forces, may be peripheral to the actual conflict or competition.17 Instead, these components might be diversions or foils employed by adversaries to increase US risk calculations or capture US attention while the real "war" occurs in other domains-politics, economics, social action, etc. The curA,A!rent American defense strategy, for example, suggests that purposeful adA,A!versaries might "[manipulate] global opinion using mass communications" or "[exploit] international commitments and legal avenues."18 The steady march of nuclear proliferation may be one indication of this trend.
To date, the US government has not broken conceptual ground in determining the proper DOD role under conditions where the United States is ambiguously at war with another power; enjoys no real casus belli jusA,A!tifying military action; and recognizes that use of force entails high physiA,A!cal costs, potentially unacceptable political risks, and an uncertain prospect for minimum essential success. Again, the current national defense strategy presents this challenge rhetorically when it observes, "We may not learn that a conflict is underway until it is well advanced and our options limited."19
Thus, in a contemporary context, the word "Defense" in "DepartA,A!ment of Defense" implies "defending [the United States and its interests] against attack, danger, or injury"20 emanating from myriad threats (e.g., traditional military aggression, insurgency, cyber attack, insurrection, pandemic, natural or human disaster, or sudden political failure abroad). Often, the DOD is not the first or optimal line of defense but instead an inA,A!strument of last or only resort given the scale and complexity of specific contingencies. DOD has explicit and implicit responsibilities for nuclear deterrence; major combat operations; counterinsurgency; large-scale staA,A!bility and peace operations; foreign engagement, routine civil affairs, and security force assistance; humanitarian and disaster relief; and homeland defense and security. Defense responses within this environment are as diA,A!verse as the potential contingencies: to defeat purposeful US adversaries; protect vulnerable populations; engage foreign governments and security forces; build foreign civil and military capacity; provide essential public goods during contingencies; manage consequences; and enable employA,A!ment of US government interagency and international resources. When exA,A!amined overall, DOD's mission set no longer fits neatly inside the narrow confines of "military affairs."
To be sure, some traditional military missions remain. Many other explicit or implicit defense responsibilities, however, are not so traditionA,A!al. In truth, most defense demands are something quite different from traA,A!ditional warfighting. It is not yet clear, however, whether DOD corporately accepts this notion and, thus, is postured to operationalize it.
An important first step for DOD is recognizing and coming to terms with its reinterpretA,A!ed hybrid reality. This new recognition will certainly affect the DepartA,A!ment's culture, structure, material solutions, and human capital. A second step is an honest, unconstrained examination by DOD of its future role in an external security environment with fewer overt military threats and an internal policy environment where flat or declining discretionary resourcA,A!es are inescapable realities. The latter is true throughout our government. In fact, key government agencies, long-expected to help in relieving some of the demands on DOD in the future, are likely to be significantly impacted by resource constraints.
Risk, DOD, and the "One Percent" Contingency
Defense demands long ago outstripped the missions envisioned by the 1947 National Security Act. As a consequence, the DOD can no lonA,A!ger project relevance, evaluate readiness, or measure risk based solely on a definition of warfighting.
There is already a movement inside and outside the Pentagon reA,A!garding the lack of preparedness for high-end, traditional military conflict. The strategic and operational-level frustrations associated with irregular conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan might convert some of this concern reA,A!garding readiness into a reversal back to a primary focus on a "big war" status quo, a move that is totally inappropriate for any reasoned assessA,A!ment of strategic circumstances. In spite of recent experiences, many still consider traditional military readiness-e.g., the capacity of the joint force to militarily succeed against state-based, armed opponents-to be the stanA,A!dard for meaningful risk assessment. In this context, major combat operaA,A!tions are established exclusively (and artificially) as the sole contingencies the United States cannot afford to "lose."
This is an important but grossly inadequate view of risk. It flows from natural and understandable military conservatism. It is divorced from objective senior-level judgments on the likelihood, preventability, or straA,A!tegic impact of specific potentialities. Finally, it is rooted more in military culture and tradition than strategic priorities. Rarely are risk assessments based on prospective performance in alternative, predominantly irregular, defense-relevant emergencies where favorable outcomes are less definable and certain-e.g., containing the hazards associated with the collapse of a nuclear state, restoring responsible control over its arsenal, reestablishA,A!ing essential stability; halting and reversing widespread civil violence in a state (or region) whose stable functioning is essential to US security; or underwriting American civil authorities crippled by a resource-intensive, multistate domestic catastrophe. Today, all of these hazards are as comA,A!pelling and equally, if not more likely to be, a point of defense failure than traditional warfighting.
As previously offered, whether it acknowledges the fact or not, the Department of Defense remains the United States' only global first respondA,A!er capable of meeting the wide array of threats. In that capacity, it is responA,A!sible to the President and the American people for marshalling, enabling, or supporting US government responses to the "one percent" defense-relevant emergencies that cannot be resolved without meaningful DOD action. One percent is intended to suggest rare large-scale contingencies with strategic impact. While DOD's overarching responsibility remains defending core national interests against military attack, that responsibility and the waning likelihood that DOD will have to act on it cannot be critically examined without some reference to contemporary context.
While traditional missions endure-e.g., nuclear deterrence, coA,A!ercive campaigns, and limited conventional war-the joint force is quite busy operating outside the traditional warfighting arena. The Navy is chasA,A!ing pirates. The Air Force is gathering information and remotely killing terrorists and insurgents. The Army and Marine Corps are now expert counterinsurgents, military advisers, and conflict stabilizers; and acceleraA,A!tion of these trends is more likely than not.
There are still, however, inviolable civil-military boundaries. For example, DOD is not and should never be a tool for domestic law enforceA,A!ment or intelligence gathering, nor should it ever be an instrument for the routine delivery of development assistance abroad. Other risk, cost, and inA,A!terest thresholds exist where a military response (no matter how benign) is unnecessary and counterproductive. But, naturally, there are a great many loosely controlled similitudes between these tasks and general war. Indeed, in practice, many of DOD's most urgent and strategically consequential demands do not conform to the traditional military outlook. The missions that do conform, however, are among the least likely "one percent" emerA,A!gencies and, not surprisingly, also among DOD's most excessively anticiA,A!pated contingencies.
Warfare, as DOD officials and military leaders commonly think of it, is now defense's "lesser included" contingency. Admittedly, it is the only threat DOD holds exclusive rights to ameliorate. It is also potentially the most lethal contingency for those Americans who execute the missions.
But military lethality alone does not automatically make warfare strategiA,A!cally the "most dangerous."21
Recall that the "most likely-most dangerous" dichotomy is a prodA,A!uct of tactical military doctrine.22 The terms describe enemy courses of acA,A!tion vis-A<aEUR -vis friendly. Judgments regarding the most likely enemy courses of action arrive via synthesis of friendly plans, enemy objectives, enemy doctrine, and the options available to enemy commanders given real threat capabilities, physical constraints-geography, weather, etc.-and leadA,A!ership.
Likewise, tactical decisions related to the most dangerous threats stem from innovative applications of enemy doctrine, capabilities, and leadership, given the same physical constraints. These threats, if they come to fruition, would be more surprising, costly, and disruptive. To tactical commanders, the most costly and disruptive events-i.e., the most dangerA,A!ous-are also the most lethal.
The Secretary of Defense often is required to make a more complex "likely vs. dangerous" calculation. As with the tactical commander, he has finite resources. Unlike the tactical commander, however, he weighs the relative importance and value of competing and often dissimilar mission sets, across a near limitless spectrum of responsibility, and then identifies the appropriate approach or contribution to each.
Defense-relevant events that are not immediately harmful to US citizens or forces can still be quite costly and strategically disruptive. By their very existence, they may deA,A!mand sizeable resources. For example, an uncontrolled public health emerA,A!gency in North America, a bloodless but crippling cyber campaign against critical US and allied infrastructure, or the violent dissolution of a nuclear or petroleum state could be as geo-strategically disruptive as any prospecA,A!tive "United States vs. State X" conflict.
At the strategic level, likely and dangerous are merging as well. Today, for example, threats considered increasingly likely-e.g., a surrepA,A!titious weapons of mass destruction attack against the United States or an ally-are from a general security perspective also considered among the most dangerous. On the other hand, those threats traditionally labeled most dangerous because of some absolute judgment on military lethality might pale in significance so long as they remained below the nuclear threshold. US participation in a war between Taiwan and China comes to mind in this regard. There are potential exceptions, which need to be the targets of prudent deterrence. None of these illustrations (and they are only illustraA,A!tions) are the purview of the Defense Secretary alone; yet, depending on outcomes, all fall into the category of "if not you, then who."
None of this is meant to suggest that the threat of traditional war is inconsequential. It does suggest, however, that war is more manageable than active challenges that usher in national catastrophe without known sponsors or casus belli, emerge from networked actors operating outA,A!side or below the state system, or arise in the complete absence of hosA,A!tile design. To offset the marginal risk of military aggression, the United States still requires unmatched capacity to wage devastating, but limited, traditional campaigns.
Given the character of many if not most defense-relevant challenges, however, there is some question as to how much traA,A!ditional capability is enough. At what point does more become irrelevant, wasteful, and irresponsible'
Five Immutable Defense Truths
It is clear that DOD cannot sacrifice its role as the armed defender of US interests against military aggression. It is also clear, however, that many defense demands beyond traditional warfighting are equally, if not more, threatening to core US interests. If DOD continues to peg its corA,A!porate relevance exclusively on an adjusted but still traditional concept of warfighting, it risks institutionalizing underpreparedness for a growing number of hybrid missions. Toward this end, in ongoing defense reviews, DOD leaders would be well-advised to keep five immutable truths in mind when considering the hybridization of defense.
First, DOD will be the responder of choice in most one percent contingencies threatening America's national interests. There is no true inA,A!teragency cavalry waiting over the hill to save the day. DOD's resources, capabilities, capacity, and unity of command-especially when compared with other US instruments of power-persistently expose it to consecutive call-ups when the Secretary of Defense is asked, "If not you, then who'"
This circumstance is not optimal, but it is a fact. The greater the potenA,A!tial for violence and strategic harm, the likelier it is that DOD will be the respondent. As a consequence, DOD should incorporate the widest range of contingencies in its strategic planning, capabilities development, and risk assessment.
Second, regardless of lingering and understandable bias toward preA,A!paring for classical and now "neo-classical" warfare (major combat operA,A!ations, counterinsurgency, and counterterrorism), there will continue to be a persistent demand on DOD's total capability. This is difficult for many in the executive department to understand, because they have been grantA,A!ed authority to define, and by implication limit, their own missions, ofA,A!ten giving their subordinate agencies and services the same latitude. For the foreseeable future, DOD will either lead or act as the key enabler in US government and international responses to disruptive and dangerous threats around the globe. The reality is that either the United States reA,A!sponds to these tough, resource-intensive missions with DOD capabilities or the job will not get done.
Again, this forced choice is regrettable. It is, however, unavoidable. DOD is loath to embrace this reality. As a result, it is inclined to assume away a number of future contingency responsibilities. Failure to embrace this reality and recognize it as enduring will only exacerbate the genetic tendency to under-value, under-resource, and under-prepare for these misA,A!sions. DOD leaders need to face reality and cease identifying such misA,A!sions as falling outside the bounds of legitimate warfighting missions.
Third, military forces of enemy states are increasingly less likely to be the central players in the majority of defense-relevant, one percent conA,A!tingencies. Never say never, but do not assume always. Because hostile militaries will remain a legitimate threat, DOD is obligated to devote reA,A!sources to counter them. The Department should, however, recognize that countering hostile states is the "lesser included" defense contingency. The often heard argument that DOD can stumble and still recover in the execuA,A!tion of almost any mission except "the big one" implies the "big one" is likely to look more like World War II than a collapsing Yugoslavia, more like Phase III of Operation Iraqi Freedom than Phase IV, or more like the air campaign in Kosovo than a deadly and virulent H1N1 outbreak. ObA,A!servers of defense trends, including the Secretary of Defense, do agree on one issue; the next all-consuming contingency will not be a major confronA,A!tation between great powers.
Fourth, counterinsurgency (COIN) is a necessary capability but grossly insufficient to be considered the dominant irregular warfare parA,A!adigm.23 Counterinsurgency has become a default replacement for major combat operations (MCO) among DOD strategists searching for the next one percent IW contingency. As with regime-change MCO, any future US intervention on behalf of a classical counterinsurgent is less likely than COIN advocates want to acknowledge.
Both MCO and COIN imply a sufficient and continuing response to an unfavorable but still functioning capacity to govern in the afflicted nation. Less well-developed conceptually, however, is the understanding of how US interests may be threatened, or how DOD might need to reA,A!spond to the lack of governance or order in a key state or region. Neither traditional military threats nor classical insurgent successes compromise core national interests. Instead, interests are threatened by the rapid, unA,A!controlled dissolution of a critical ally, neutral state, or hostile third parA,A!ty. In a number of these situations there may not be a foreign government to partner with, as the basic COIN doctrine often assumes. The sources of this violent opposition and resistance are numerous. The situation may be such that all parties will resist US-led intervention, while simultaneousA,A!ly competing with each other. The foremost objective of intervention is containing and managing further deterioration and escalation. In the end, limited resources, scale, complexity, and risk all serve to constrain stabiliA,A!zation, reconstruction, and capacity-building capabilities outlined in COIN and stability operations doctrine.
Finally, the increased prominence of hybrid, one percent contingenA,A!cies in strategy and planning requires that DOD share its responsibility to lead with others. In sufficiently stable contingency environments abroad or, in the event of a major catastrophe at home, DOD organizations have to beA,A!come more comfortable with the prospect of being operationally employed under the authority of nonmilitary leaders and agencies. This new relationA,A!ship will ultimately require changes in US law and military tradition.
Increasing nondefense responsibility in complex contingencies and a lowering of the defense profile requires that DOD cede much of its auA,A!thority governing defense capabilities when deployed in support of civilA,A!ian authorities at home and abroad. The military would continue providing security, labor, staff support, logistics, and command and control capabiliA,A!ties under the strategic-through-tactical control of civilian leaders.
One linA,A!gering conceit in DOD, however, is that America's military should only be deployed to conduct combat operations. It is likely that the Department of Defense will continue to be portrayed as the single federal agency with relatively unrestricted resources to be employed regardless of the condiA,A!tions or circumstances. If this trend continues, nonmilitary actors need to become more adept at directing the employment of military forces in nonA,A!standard and nonmilitary roles.
Conversely, defense and military leaders need to be more compeA,A!tent in the employment of nonmilitary resources in defense-led, whole-of-government operations. In contingencies relying on the use of military force to address pervasive disorder and violence, and where a lack of secuA,A!rity precludes the independent employment of civilian agencies (e.g., high-intensity COIN, violent state collapse, or intervention in a civil war), DOD and deployed military forces need to become more adept at integrating and employing US government and foreign civil capabilities in military-led contingencies.
This approach begins with strategy development, design, and campaign planning and culminates in operational execution. Naturally, any initial leadership by Department of Defense organizations should reA,A!vert to civilian control as soon as practical.
History and recent experience point toward a defense future where DOD alternates between the roles of first responder, integrator, and key enA,A!abler for any number of one percent contingencies. There are few modern security challenges that conform to defense-specific solutions, yet DOD is often pushed forward as the most capable instrument in the contingency tool box. For the foreseeable future, the Department of Defense will be the central player in whole-of-government contingencies involving politiA,A!cal, economic, military, intelligence, and development resources, as well as civilian resources and methodologies. Many of DOD's enduring responA,A!sibilities stem from long-recognized gaps in the broader capacity of the US government agencies. Current and projected fiscal realities indicate these gaps will continue.
For the one percent emergencies, US planners and decisionmakA,A!ers have no viable alternative. This realization will remain true for some time and should become a permanent feature of defense strategy and conA,A!tingency planning. Within DOD, such a stance is contrary to culture and minimally considered. It clearly presents DOD leadership with several unA,A!comfortable strategic challenges. Key among them are how should stratA,A!egy, planning, and risk assessment accommodate a wider array of hybrid missions and, by implication, what capabilities should DOD retain, imA,A!prove, initiate, discontinue, or transform as a result'24 Every modern SecreA,A!tary of Defense should anticipate the inevitable question: "If not you, then who'" It is only a matter of time before he or she is asked.