Last week I gave a plenary address to the Joint Warfighting Conference 2009 -- the annual East Coast naval extravaganza co-sponsored by the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) and the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA). This mega-conference opened my eyes to just how much things have changed inside our naval forces thanks to the ongoing long war against violent extremism.
To give you an idea of the ground covered, I have to take you back almost 17 years.
Navy Finally Embracing Role in Small Wars, this week's WPR column.
It was a lot of fun to speak at the conference and do the three stints of book signing (the Naval Inst. bookstore sold all 84 copies it had received from Putnam). Also a lot of fun to spend brief bits of time with Mattis and Wilkerson, so I wanted to work both into the piece because it really has been a journey of interaction and mutual aid over the years, with all of us now seeing the naval forces become that which we have long advocated they become.
You know, for most people, 17 years would constitute a sense of failure. But when you think in grand strategic terms, a couple of decades is nothing.