The wailing and gnashing of teeth over President Trump’s decision to withdraw all U.S. ground forces from Syria and many from Afghanistan has obscured a more important concern regarding how best to optimize U.S. security interests in these countries with a view to the future.
This also is a topic that directly relates to the President’s next choice for Secretary of Defense.
The best way of assuring that America’s security interests are duly met is by better exploiting the many advantages that U.S. aerospace power brings to both regions. America’s aerospace power allows the Pentagon to project American military influence without incurring the same degree of vulnerability, cost, and commitment that ground forces impose.
Indeed, in 2001, during the opening stages of the war in Afghanistan, American aerospace power was combined with the “light footprint” of U.S. special operations and other unconventional forces acting as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors for American air forces.
In conjunction with indigenous anti-Taliban Northern Alliance insurgents, they achieved what friendly ground forces alone had failed to accomplish throughout the preceding five years—deposing the Taliban regime….
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