The U.S. armed forces have spent the past decade fighting two of the largest counterinsurgency campaigns in their history. In Iraq, they have dramatically reduced the threat from al-Qaeda and Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdist Army, and they are now in the process of doing the same to the Taliban and the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
But just as they are drawing down in both Iraq and Afghanistan, they have met an opposing force that might prove more formidable than any of those terrorist groups. These adversaries do not carry guns and do not plant IEDs. They wear green eyeshades and wield complex spreadsheets, and with these tools alone they have the potential to devastate our armed forces—and, if left unchecked, will do more damage to their fighting capacity than the Taliban, al-Qaeda, or any other external foe could inflict.
As the comic strip Pogo famously put it in another context, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”