It may look like one of the multitude of retirement communities that dot the shores of the sunshine state. But this set of trailers in Fort MacDill, near Tampa, and the military officers who emerge from their tin doors in various configurations of camouflage, are engaged in a far more serious enterprise. They are planning for a global conflict that, Washington believes, will dominate the next 20 years. The Pentagon calls it the "long war": an integrated military, financial and diplomatic campaign against al-Qaida and its affiliates that will eventually span the globe, shaping the lives of the coming generation much as the cold war defined the baby boomers.
And yet within the very heart of Centcom the contours of the coming clash remain a matter of debate. The 63 countries represented here see a need for a joint effort against al-Qaida, but are not at all sure that they share America's vision, or its leadership, of that war.