Saturday, October 27, 2012

MISO, the Army and Asia

According to Defense News October 24, 2012, “Deputy SecDef: Major Role for Army In Asia-Pacific Plans ”the Army will play a major role in America’s new national defense strategy”.  According to Secretary Carter,  “Seven of the world’s 10 largest armies are in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said. “The Army will continue to partner and exercise with our allies in the region [and] we will build on those partnerships.”.

A little Google digging reveals that the largest Armies belong to Russia, the PRC, India, Pakistan, North and South Korea. The next tier is perhaps more interesting and includes Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar.  (sources: and

From a MISO perspective this all means continued Mil to Mil contacts with our allies, but it also means a new level of potential engagement to include training and engagement with some new players. Some of these players have large Armies and appear above while others not on that list such as Viet Nam and the Republic of the Philippines will account for even more engagement based on the threats they face and the Secretary’s comments about “The Army will once again train to conduct full-spectrum operations and a full range of operations”.

The MISO role in those countries will require MISO support not against large standing Armies, but in dealing with non-state actors within their border and reinforcing these countries’ relationships with the US.

It would seem that MISO personnel will need to develop a new arsenal of linguistic and cultural skills as they support the new national defense strategies.

Let’s hope that the Army’s top management is more broadly focused than looking at which countries have the largest armies. Otherwise we are once again training to fight the last war.

As always, reader input invited.

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