Needs of the Nation: ROTC at Columbia University and the Quadrennial Defense Review, Part II

Part I: Capabilities and Capacity introduced Columbia University in New York City as the ideal partner for ROTC to produce officers with the capabilities and capacity called for in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). Needs of the Nation is quilted entirely from QDR text to provide a contextual basis for the partnership, while the links match QDR-identified needs to Columbia sources to further illustrate the investment potential of Columbia ROTC for the nation:

The Secretary has directed that investments be increased in certain capabilities that have been in consistently high demand and have proven to be key enablers of tactical and operational success. (pp 20-21) The Department will work to ensure that all its educational institutions are resourced and staffed with the right mix of civilian and military experts who can help prepare the next generation of leaders. (p 54)

America’s men and women in uniform constitute the Department’s most important resource. (QDR p 49) Our recruiting efforts are long term investments that can yield generational gains. (p 51)  Prevailing in today’s wars while working to prevent future conflict depends on the Department’s ability to create and sustain an all-volunteer force that is trained and resourced to succeed in the wide range of missions we ask them to execute. (p 49) The Department must continue developing innovative programs to attract qualified young men and women into the Armed Forces. (p xii)

Many of our authorities and structures assume a neat divide between defense, diplomacy, and development that simply does not exist. (p 74) A series of powerful cross-cutting trends, made more complex by the ongoing economic crisis, threatens to complicate international relations and make the exercise of U.S. statecraft more difficult. The rising demand for resources, rapid urbanization of littoral regions, the effects of climate change, the emergence of new strains of disease, and profound cultural and demographic tensions in several regions are just some of the trends whose complex interplay may spark or exacerbate future conflicts. (p 7) Although many efforts to protect the United States are led by other federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the role of the Department of Defense in defending the nation against direct attack and in providing support to civil authorities, potentially in response to a very significant or even catastrophic event, has steadily gained prominence. (p 18) Perhaps more than ever before, the United States requires joint military forces able to function and succeed across a wide geographic and operational spectrum. Moreover, military forces must be capable of working effectively with a range of civilian and international partners. (p 7)

Our enemies are adaptive and will develop systems and tactics that exploit our vulnerabilities. (pp 20-21) The Department will continue to work to ensure that America’s cadre of commissioned and noncommissioned officers are prepared for the full range of complex missions that the future security environment will likely demand. Too often, a focus on weapons acquisition programs and overall force structure crowd out needed attention concerning how the Military Departments generate, train, and sustain their leaders. As part of our commitment to ensure that tomorrow’s leaders are prepared for the difficult missions they will be asked to execute, DoD will place special emphasis on stability operations, counterinsurgency, and building partner capacity skill sets in its professional military education and career development policies. (p 54)

Examples of DoD efforts in this area include: Building expertise in foreign language, regional, and cultural skills. We will continue our emphasis on enhancing these skills in general purpose force officers during pre-accession training. Given the inherent link between language and cultural expertise and mission success, this area requires continued focus. (p 54) Operating in partnership with host nation security forces and among local populations puts a premium on foreign language skills and regional and cultural knowledge. Today’s operating environment demands a much greater degree of language and regional expertise requiring years, not weeks, of training and education, as well as a greater understanding of the factors that drive social change. (p 30)

Preventing conflict, stabilizing crises, and building security sector capacity are essential elements of America’s national security approach. (p 75) Stability operations, largescale counterinsurgency, and counterterrorism operations are not niche challenges or the responsibility of a single Military Department, but rather require a portfolio of capabilities as well as sufficient capacity from across America’s Armed Forces and other departments and agencies. Nor are these types of operations a transitory or anomalous phenomenon in the security landscape. (pp 20-21)

Accordingly, the U.S. Armed Forces will continue to require capabilities to create a secure environment in fragile states in support of local authorities and, if necessary, to support civil authorities in providing essential government services, restoring emergency infrastructure, and supplying humanitarian relief. (pp 20-21) The Department recognizes that in order to ensure that enhancements developed among security forces are sustained, the supporting institutions in partner nations must also function effectively. This ministerial training mission is being conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan today by military officers, contractors, and members of the Department’s Civilian Expeditionary Workforce. (p 30) Ineffective governance can create areas that terrorists and insurgents can exploit. Circumstances are ripe for violent ideologies to spread among a population when governments struggle to provide basic services, justice and security, or the conditions for economic opportunity. Civil affairs forces address these threats by serving as the vanguard of DoD’s support to U.S. government efforts to assist partner governments in the fields of rule of law, economic stability, governance, public health and welfare, infrastructure, and public education and information. Because of their linguistic and cultural skills, civil affairs personnel often serve as liaisons to reduce friction between our military forces and the civilian population. (p 17) Efforts that use smaller numbers of U.S. forces and emphasize host-nation leadership are generally preferable to large-scale counterinsurgency campaigns. (p 28)

DoD is also growing its cadre of cyber experts to protect and defend its information networks and is investing in and developing the latest technologies to enable our forces to operate in cyberspace under a wide range of conditions, including in contested and degraded environments. (p 38)

The wars we are fighting today and assessments of the future security environment together demand that the United States retain and enhance a whole-of-government capability to succeed in large-scale counterinsurgency, stability, and counterterrorism operations in environments ranging from densely populated urban areas and mega-cities, to remote mountains, deserts, jungles, and littoral regions. In some cases, it may be in the U.S. interest to help strengthen weak states, including those facing homegrown insurgencies and transnational terrorist and criminal networks or those that have been weakened by humanitarian disasters. Moreover, there are few cases in which the U.S. Armed Forces would engage in sustained largescale combat operations without the associated need to assist in the transition to just and stable governance. (pp 20-21)

In addition to ongoing conflicts, the United States faces a complex and uncertain security landscape in which the pace of change continues to accelerate. Not since the fall of the Soviet Union or the end of World War II has the international terrain been affected by such far reaching and consequential shifts. The rise of new powers, the growing influence of non-state actors, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and other destructive enabling technologies, and a series of enduring and emerging trends pose profound challenges to international order. (p 5)

The challenges facing the United States are immense, but so are the opportunities. (p 97) As noted above, in this dynamic security environment U.S. forces must continue to adapt. America’s Armed Forces have a long history of devising creative solutions to new challenges and this spirit of innovation will be essential as we further evolve and rebalance the force in the years to come. (p 47)

———–

In conclusion, the Secretary of Defense has made clear: in the complex and evolving security environment, America needs to produce military leaders able to adapt on a full spectrum. Columbia hosts other innovative cross-cutting programs, such as the Earth Institute, that rely upon the special reach and multi-dimensional resources of a global flagship university in a world city. ROTC at Columbia is a rare opportunity to create a partnership that rises to the needs of the nation with an evolutionary officer program that draws upon everything Columbia University in New York City has to offer.

* See Part I: Capabilities and Capacity.

Posted on 14 Aug 2010

Photo: defense.gov/qdr

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2 thoughts on “Needs of the Nation: ROTC at Columbia University and the Quadrennial Defense Review, Part II

  1. […] Part II: Needs of the Nation. “America’s men and women in uniform constitute the Department’s most important resource. […]

  2. […] students, a world-class research and learning environment that already trains students in a wide range of scholarly and professional fields, and the unique resources of a world capital. Columbia has […]

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