Somewhere on A1A...

Friday, May 30, 2003

Contingency Planning

During a career as a Navy pilot, I spent untold hours planning and training for contingencies. We made detailed plans for all kinds of possibilities, the great majority of which never required action. Most of my career was involved in one way, or another, in contingency planning. The manpower involved... including think tanks, Pentagon civilians, Congress, Congressional Staffs, numerous Commissions, Service Colleges, War Colleges, University studies, and the National Security Staff ... is mind-boggling, and that’s even before you include the front-line forces. Possible scenarios are identified and analyzed to death by thousands of people, even some smart liberals. Open, free debate, and thinking outside the box was encouraged, even demanded. Every conceivable perspective deserved thought and effort.

Through the years of the cold war, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of contingencies were studied, planned and gamed. Then the results were studied, debated, and adjustments were made and it was gamed again. Tommy Franks had the benefit of twenty years of planning, gaming and Lessons Learned to help him in putting together his campaign plan for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He obviously had a great education and used the information well.

Is anyone at State involved in similar exercises? Or are they purely in a react mode? Sometimes it seems that schmooze is their only plan. Is it the Department of Defense’s problem that inadequate planning for the diplomatic phase has caused problems in post-war Iraq? I don't think so. Any blame for that should rest entirely with the Department of State. Forward thinking seems to be entirely lacking at Foggy Bottom.

There is one contingency, in particular, that I would like to see debated, studied, gamed and planned. The scenario is based on one basic condition. The issue involved affects millions of lives around the world. At the very least, an examination of this possibility could impact every decision made by every American official involved and it will likely impact the world's thinking. With all the lives and national treasure already affected by conditions, certainly this contingency deserves some consideration. Someone ouhgt to be considering the possibility. The condition...? What if the Arabs are lying? What if they don’t want peace with Israel? What if their actions of the past 55 years really do mean that the destruction of Israel is their goal?

Let’s see that possibility debated, examined, studied, and analyzed. Nothing else has worked to bring peace to the region, so let’s put some smart people to work on the possibility that some of the problems might be caused by the Arabs' lack of sincerity in their desire for peace with Israel. What is there to lose?

Shabbat Shalom.


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