In describing the recent intellectual history of Pentagon thinking about irregular war, Mattis cited Bosnia, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon in 2006, and the events in Georgia and South Ossetia last summer. "The signposts have come into focus," he said. "We're seeing a lot of those signposts right now." With its vast conventional military superiority in the air, on the open seas, and in conventional tank and artillery war, the challenge facing the U.S. military, Mattis argued, is that "we must avoid being dominant and irrelevant."
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