What is new today is not just the emergence of non-state actor adversaries, their asymmetric methods, or their penetration of our homeland – important though all of these trends are. The strategic shift we have perhaps not grasped is that success in conducting the nation’s wars is no longer a function solely of mastering the other side’s center of gravity….
Domestic political debates, media second-guessing and public opinion swings have become a fixture of the American landscape when our forces are committed to a foreign engagement of any duration. That free exercise of our liberties is a good thing, but we need to recognize that it has become a prime focus of our adversaries’ strategies. Never mind that informed Americans believe this nation to be highly resilient when challenged, even indomitable when threatened; our adversaries are less informed, and appear to believe, or at least hope, otherwise.