Right-Hand Man

By Sebastian Sprenger / February 26, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Shawn Brimley of the Center for a New American Security has recently joined his former boss, Michèle Flournoy, in the Pentagon's policy shop, we're told.

Brimley is serving as a "special assistant" to Flournoy, who is the under secretary of defense for policy, according to Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Jonathan Withington.

Flournoy, of course, is slated to play a key role in a number of key defense policy reviews this year, including the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Space Posture Review and the Nuclear Posture Review.

Two of Brimley's recent writings of note include an article last fall in Washington Quarterly, with Flournoy as co-author, and a piece in the Army War College's Winter 2008-2009 edition of Parameters.

In the latter publication, Brimley writes this:

At the Pentagon, in order for the QDR to be successful, senior leaders need to take an active role ensuring that the process is not only strategy driven, but also resource constrained. The leadership needs to guard against the QDR devolving into a thinly veiled competition for resources.

Finally, as part of the QDR, a force-planning construct should be developed that clearly delineates what is expected of US military forces related to homeland defense; major force-on-force conflicts that include regime change; stability and reconstruction operations; persistent foreign internal defense; and protecting American interests throughout the global commons.

Recent conflicts have called into question the long-standing requirement for the US military to plan for two nearly simultaneous major combat operations of the type required for regime change in the Middle East or East Asia. A new force-planning construct needs to acknowledge that military forces, particularly ground forces, are far less fungible than previous QDRs assumed. Put another way, a new force-planning construct cannot assert that forces deployed as part of long-term, steady-state advising or partnering missions will be able to be reset and shift rapidly to major combat operations.