Obama has introduced three strategic changes in what must be, a more comprehensive revision of the existing US Global Tactical Military and Intelligence Strategy. Firstly, US military presences abroad are being renegotiated, on-going bases and military deployments changing character and new deployments (ie. to Australia) being agreed. In the future, it appears that the US will deploy tactical teams composed of highly trained marines or navy seals, together with intelligence personnel and analysts to work in tailor-made teams that work continuously on a high-level of security and intelligence generation jointly with the local counterparts. Responsive tailor-made teams would also be deployed to address targeted missions in the region. A recent example was the mission mounted by US Navy Seals in Somalia to rescue two NGO workers including one American. The attack on Osama Bin Laden was another striking example of such a mission. What this implies is that US teams will be multi-capacity ready to deploy and well briefed and updated on current analysis and developments in their theatre of operations. This also signals the probable end of large military bases in favor of smaller more responsive and area-specific bases.
Secondly, national and foreign policy objectives in every operational theatre are clearly defined and sensitive to the potential for any actions to result in civilian and collateral damage. A policy objective in a certain theatre might target getting intelligence on military-political developments and the identification of key actors or stakeholders in a particular process. If during routine military exercises, fishermen from that country and flying the flag of that country get into trouble at open sea, and the US can help, they do. In other words, the policy objectives and their achievement are now being implemented through a narrower spectrum of military operations that can be coupled with economic and/or political initiatives aimed at achievement of same objectives. This means a heavier investment in intelligence and fact-checking before tactical action is undertaken.
Thirdly, all partnerships are being reviewed, triggered by the confirmation that Osama Bin Laden was found in a hitherto close ally in the war on terrorism, namely Pakistan. Some older partnerships are being upgraded but a few, such as US presence in Central American and the Caribbean, have been wrapped up. Others like those in Asia and Pacific have been prioritized, as have updating the US relationship with the Middle and Near East. What comes out of this is a new map and image of US military-intelligence relationships and presences, lighter on the ground, less obvious but much more effective and aggressive. Where possible, the US will prioritize non-manned missions such as by drones and other robotic warfare. In the months to come, I think we will see the outing of a number of new war technologies which would enable a swifter and lighter mechanized response in violent places that do not necessarily involve US military or civilian personnel boots on ground!
I am excited to see the evolution of this new era of war games!