After eight years of what many generals saw as micromanaging from the Obama administration, the military is welcoming its new freedom under President Donald trump, The New York Times is reporting.
A plan by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to defeat the Islamic State includes speeding up decision-making so the military can move quickly on raids and airstrikes, according to the newspaper. Easing restrictions could lead to a faster defeat, commanders say.
Mattis' plan calls for more bombing, more troops and fewer restrictions on commanders. Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times noted in a column for the newspaper.
"The Obama strategy wasn't failing, but it was slow," said James F. Jeffrey, a former ambassador, who's advising the administration. "This is more — not only more troops, but more willingness to use them."
The Obama administration process had left many in the military frustrated, The New York Times reported.
But along with the new military freedom, comes risks, according to The New York Times.
The new dangers facing the military include the potential for increased civilian casualties and the possibility Trump could blame the Pentagon for any problems that arise, the newspaper said.
And some warn that speeding up military decisions will not help unless there is a long-term strategy for the region.
"Moving decision-making on small tactical issues from the White House to commanders in the field is positive, but commanders' autonomy doesn't help accomplish strategic goals," said Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East Program for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
But others argue it is too soon to predict whether the military's new freedom is working.
"It is simply too early to make a judgment about whether they will go too far and end up conducting impulsive operations, or whether they will manage to find the sweet spot between excessive caution but also following the idea that fortune so often favors the bold in military operations," said Adm. James Stavridis, a former NATO commander, who is now retired from the military.
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