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Operation Desert Storm was the last major conflict that the United States clearly won. It is no coincidence that it was also the last war directed by general officers who were not products of the Goldwater-Nichols and Skelton Panel professional military reforms in military structure and education.
Those “reforms” have resulted in an Army that could not organize an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan, a Navy that has failed to build enough attack submarines to credibly deter or defeat a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, and a Marine Corps that willingly castrated itself in an idiotic new strategy called Force Design 2030.
These misbegotten reforms laid the groundwork for bloated joint staffs that cannot get out of their own way, and general officers who cannot coherently plan or lead major wars and campaigns. This piece will examine the baleful legacy of Goldwater-Nichols.
The American failure in Vietnam. closely followed by the debacle of Desert One — the failed Iran hostage rescue mission, caused lawmakers to question the overall competence of the American military, but particularly our ability to have the services fight as joint forces. This coincided with the publication of “A Genius for War“…