One of my favorite writers, Robert D Kaplan, argues in today’s New York Times that the Terror War has made the armed forces more effective at relief work:
The fact is, the Navy of the 1990’s could not have responded nearly as quickly and efficiently to the tsunami as did the post-9/11 one. This is largely because of structural changes made to fight the war on terrorism.
A decade ago, our carrier battle groups mainly did planned, six-month-long “pulse” deployments. Since 9/11, the Navy has put increasing emphasis on emergency “surge” deployments, in which carriers, cruisers and destroyers have to be ready to go anywhere, anytime, to deal with a security threat. The new strategy explains why, in late December, the Abraham Lincoln strike force was able to so quickly leave Hong Kong for Indonesia at a best speed of 27 knots.
Read the whole thing — it’s pretty interesting stuff.