View Full Version : How US Army Trains for a Different Kind of War

06-20-2007, 11:03 AM
20 June Christian Science Monitor - How US Army Trains for a Different Kind of War (http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0620/p01s05-usmi.html) by Gordon Lubold.

... It all sounds so familiar, this notion that success over insurgencies comes not with guns but with soccer balls. But for many jaded Iraq war vets, the Vietnam-era "winning-hearts-and-minds" mantra was an impractical slogan in the face of roadside bombs and sniper attacks. And, with the exception of some notable military leaders, few on the front lines were known to actually believe it.

For the past few years, from less progressive generals on down to the most gung-ho privates, many in the military figured the insurgency was, as Vice-President Dick Cheney declared in June 2005, "in its last throes." So-called irregular warfare was only taking the military on a detour, and ultimately it would return to its conventional warfare roots.

But evidence is growing that the military's fundamental approach to warfare may be changing, perhaps for good.

At Fort Polk in any given month, thousands of soldiers undergo "force-on-force" training that trainers here say is as realistic as it gets. There are the usual scripted events that simulate car bombs and suicide bombs and that teach must-have tactics to cope with the horrific violence that still ravages parts of Iraq.

But increasingly, the emphasis here and at other training centers in California is on teaching the full spectrum of operations in the war on terror, from humanitarian assistance to full-on combat. For a military steeped in the traditions of gun battles and "kinetic" action, it is the focus on the finer points of security and stabilization that get the most play here....

06-20-2007, 02:10 PM
Great article showing how all the CTCs are coming full circle. From HIC, to Bosnia/Kosovo mission rehearsal exercises to the synthesis of all aspects of todays operating environment.

Tom Odom
06-20-2007, 02:22 PM
Honestly we have been doing this -- or offering this -- since before the first MRE went down for OIF.

What is changing is the acceptance and the understanding of unit commanders on what the operational environment demands, what works, and what does not. I would say there has been in the past 2 years a quantum leap forward in accepting ideas such as "the best weapons in COIN don't shoot."


John T. Fishel
06-20-2007, 04:19 PM

How true! Not only have the CTCs and other training locations been offering so too - with ups and downs - the mil ed institutions. Moreover, we've had good doctrine for a very long time. So, for my perrenial hobby horse, why do we ALWAYS try to reinvent this wheel every time we come up against the insurgent road? Why do the senior officers fail to recognize that these are the kind of wars they learned about from DJCO and CSI at Leavenworth? Why don't they say, "Now where did I put that copy of FM 100-20?" Is this going to be the fate of FM 3-24?

Another cheery note


Ken White
06-20-2007, 06:09 PM
that when they get promoted to Flag rank and go to CCL, they learn how to reinvent wheels, preferably square ones. :wry:

Amazing how a lot of great Colonels convert from "get 'er done" to "Protect the institution at any cost." :confused: