Discussing the topic of incremental change versus radical change, the Wednesday panel at East: Joint Warfighting spoke about the need for flexibility and agility. While making radical changes in operational strategies or tactics could be somewhat beneficial, it is more important to change at a reasonable pace but be ready and able to adjust quickly to deal with unexpected challenges, panelists said.
Panelist Lt. Gen. Christopher Miller, USAF (Ret.), former deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs, U.S. Air Force, pointed out that it was relatively easy to describe threats in the past, but today the threat spectrum is all over the place. Relative success, particularly in the air, has increased public and political expectations. However, because this level of success may not persist in the future, change is necessary but difficult. “Nothing makes it easier not to change than success,” he stated.
Vice Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, USN, director for operations (J-3), Joint Staff, offered a different point of view. While many speak of the future in terms of doom and gloom, he believes that austerity is a relative term when it comes to resources. No matter the budget, allies will continue to rely on U.S. forces. And while change is necessary, established doctrine limits how fast the military can make changes, the admiral said.
That said, the admiral pointed out that one shift that will occur is the relationship between the U.S. government and the military. In the past, political leaders gave the military a mission and the resources to accomplish that mission. Now, the military will explain to political leaders what it can accomplish with the resources it has been given, he stated.