The uptick in attacks by members of the Afghan security forces against their American and coalition partners doesn’t signal a huge change in the Afghan war, said Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey. Changes that US and coalition forces are making to adjust to the enemy’s new approach “are tactical changes,” he said in his Sept. 19 address at AFA’s Air & Space Conference outside of Washington, D.C. This response “in no way reflects a change in our campaign objectives,” said Dempsey. The US military will adapt to the change in tactics just as it adapted to buried improvised explosive devices, he observed. There is “no less resolve” on the part of the United States to see the campaign through to the end-of-2014 turnover of security to Afghan forces, he said. The troops will figure out how to blunt this adversary tactic, said Dempsey. Commanders should provide their people “with the objectives and trust them to apply the means they have to address the objectives,” he said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.