Full Spectrum Struggle Is Not MBA Struggle

Chapter 1: While I Was Sleeping,” by Thomas Friedman, The World is Flat, 2005, pg 14.

Full Spectrum Dominance is not just a fancy phrase. It means something. It would be anathema if practiced in business, which is why its appearance in war and politics is so startling. To segue from Friedman’s latest:

What you’re telling me, I said to Rao, is that no matter what your profession — doctor, lawyer, architect, accountant — if you are an American you better be good at the touchy-feely service stuff, because anything that can be digitized can be outsourced to either the smartest or the cheapest producer, or both. Rao answered, “Everyone has to focus on what is their value-add.”

What Rao is talking about is “core competencies,” the economics belief that you become wealthier when you focus on what you make best. Assuming a functioning market this is true. It’s also irrelevant to modern conflict.

Whether you are an army or a movement, you are attacked where you are weakest by someone else where they are strongest. They will exploit their advantage over you where they chose. Over and over again, this is how wars start. It’s how battles start. It is how any conflict starts.

So, how should America build its army? We have a terrific Third Generation Force — the best in history. Network-Centric Warfare makes it even better. It is our core competency.

medium_full_spectrum_dominance_vs_economics.jpg
Optimizing for Conflict.
Do you best the opponent by optimizing for your strengths, or his?

America is pretty terrible at Fourth Generation Warfare. We’ve lost three wars — Vietnam, Lebanon, and Somalia — and all three have been 4th Generation Wars.

The economist, or MBA, would say “Don’t do 4GWs! We’re terrible at them, they are wastes of lives and monies. Let someone else handle them, or just extricate yourself (surrender) if you find yourself in one. Superb core-competencies mean we easily win the wars we like.”

The Full Spectrum Warrior would say “We must win 4GWs. Who cares if are Third Generation force suffers — if it declines or it isn’t as good — as long as we are best in everything? No weak spots mean no attacks.”

Tom Barnett and Darth Vader have both criticized NCW and MBA-war. Who has so attacked 4GW and FS-War?

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