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SWJED
08-03-2007, 04:26 AM
Adapt Or Die (http://www.govexec.com/features/0807-01/0807-01s2.htm)- Greg Grant, Government Executive commentary.


Soldiers need a new set of skills and qualities to succeed at counterinsurgency.

"Forget everything you've been taught about this place, because it's either wrong or it's useless. Your education begins now," Army Sgt. James Jennings told a group of soldiers new to Baghdad in 2005. The grizzled veteran tried to teach his charges the complexities of counterinsurgency, where the battle is decided less by overwhelming firepower than by winning over hearts and minds.

He spoke with authority, having spent nearly a year patrolling restive western Baghdad. Jennings told the soldiers the Army was waging an entirely new type of war in which the traditional skills of fire and maneuver were less important than softer skills, such as cultural awareness and building trust and confidence among the Iraqi people.

Even though the Army has been fighting the shadowy insurgency for four years in Iraq, it has been slow to change its conventional approach: massing firepower on an enemy's formations.

The United States invaded Iraq with the world's most technologically advanced army and soon found itself losing to a nimble, adaptive enemy whose most effective weapons are the cell phone and Internet. The speed with which insurgents in Iraq adapt has confounded American military leaders. Army officers say they change tactics almost weekly because it takes insurgent cells just days to adjust to new techniques.

Thinking and adaptive. That's how Army officers almost universally describe the insurgents. They don't follow the predictable patterns of computer simulations, especially when facing death. Their adaptability stems in part from jihadi Web sites filled with lessons learned, dissections of successful and unsuccessful attacks on American troops, and insight about new tactics and weapons.

The Army remains too laden with tradition, too conservative, too hierarchical and rule-bound to cope effectively with its new enemy. Counterinsurgency is small-unit warfare, so leadership and command must devolve to lower levels. The most important field commanders are sergeants, lieutenants and captains - their decisions have strategic implications. But the Army remains focused on making brigades stronger and empowering generals. The Army must change. Its focus must shift to platoons and empowering junior officers - captains like Ike Sallee, for instance...

Dominique R. Poirier
08-03-2007, 06:21 AM
Very good paper and pertinent thoughts and questions, but of little avail to anyone is looking for promotion, maybe.

davidbfpo
08-03-2007, 08:09 AM
COIN does not sit easily with counter-terrorism in the police / law enforcement environment, even in the U.K. where we have decades of experience in Northern Ireland. Two years after the London 7/7 bombings there is little sign of adaptation, lots of money being spent and more people. Getting information from the community remains in the "too difficult to do" basket.

I would not advoacte sending UK police managers / leaders to Iraq, but this article, like others, shows there is much to learn from a high intensity operational 'art'.

Meantime back to my "armchair" and thanks again to this site. What agree with a Frenchman? Whatever next!

davidbfpo

Dominique R. Poirier
08-03-2007, 11:37 AM
Meantime back to my "armchair" and thanks again to this site. What agree with a Frenchman? Whatever next!

davidbfpo

David,
Your way of writing in English leaves room for ambiguity, somehow. However, I assume that the end of your comment was aimed at French in general and at me in particular.

Well, I agree with you about French people, as I made it clear, previously. I’ll let you know that I do not consider myself as French even though I am, from an administrative standpoint. I’m considered as a target in this country and, everyday, since years, some people in here strive to put me into trouble.

So, no offense!

By the way, may I assume that you express similar sentiments toward the country in which you reside since you joined the council of the SWJ (and, are you blacklisted too)?

Sincerly,

T. Jefferson
08-03-2007, 12:11 PM
Seems to me that the same preference for top down structure that has served us well in the past is also part of the problem in helping to catalyze a workable political structure in Iraq.

Clearly the elected central government is a government in name only, there seems to be very little real substance there. I find myself thinking that our efforts should center on helping the Iraqis to create effective local governments. In other words a grass roots structure.

Tom Odom
08-03-2007, 12:53 PM
Even though the Army has been fighting the shadowy insurgency for four years in Iraq, it has been slow to change its conventional approach: massing firepower on an enemy's formations.

This is dillettante tripe wrapped in quasi-intellectual babble.

The article presumes that no one in the Army aside from the small unit leaders in the field "gets it."

That is not true--we got it years ago. And in this fight we have been getting it from day one. I can assure you that from the very first, we have at JRTC seen this as a small unit fight--buttressed by observation from theater.

The real issue is those who do not get it and who resist, delay, or block adaptation. There I would look to senior leadership and especially senior leadership via the proponent system.

As for trotting out the Israeli model for training--give me a break. The assumption that the IDF paras are on a higher plain of learning is --here you go, Ken White--more bovine excreta

Tom

Mark O'Neill
08-03-2007, 01:28 PM
Hmmm,

Nicely written article - but, for mine, 100% ignorant.

You can 'lose' a COIN fight at each level of war - Tac, Op and Strat. But you can only win it at one level - the Strategic.

Yes, it is an imperative that you have tac forces that act in the correct manner. Yes, you need a comprehensive OP level Campaign plan where COIN agencies are properly synchronised - and yes, it all comes to nought if the Strategic level is 'wrong'.

An insurgency reflects an 'ill' in a society or a state that causes people to become insurgent. The historical record tells us that many have tried to do well in COIN by being tactically or operationallly 'proficient' but have ultimately failed. I tender the Rhodesians or the Apartheid era South Africans as examples. Great at tactical and operational levels , dud strategic concepts.

Here is the crunch. The Military do not 'own' the strategic level in COIN. That belongs firmly in a 'western' liberal democacy to the Politicians (what I tend to think of partially as 'Huntington's curse' , but that is another rant....)and what we in Australia call the 'WOG" ('Whole of Government') or , in the USA 'The Interagency'.

ANYONE WHO BELIEVES THE MILITARY ALONE CAN 'WIN' THE COIN FIGHT IS A FOOL. IT TAKES A NATION.


Read that Blog offering with that idea in mind and then see if you agree with the author. end rant, climb off soapbox .....

Stan
08-03-2007, 01:41 PM
Fostering people with similar capabilities will require tearing down the Army and rebuilding it, says retired Army Maj. Donald Vandergriff, a vocal proponent of changing the leadership development program to create adaptive officers better suited for irregular warfare. He says the Army retains an Industrial Age development system, which is highly centralized and hierarchical and overly reliant on scripted training exercises that inculcate neither creativity nor innovation. "Young lieutenants call it the 'followership' course. They're told where to go, what to do, where to sign in [and] constantly lectured," Vandergriff says.

Unfortunately very true. Tom and I decided not to ride the party line, but that doesn't always follow with praise, even if you turn out right.

So, it's survival...which is exactly what we did. Not too shabby for a two-man team surrounded by nearly 800,000.

It's going to take a bit more time for the senior leadership in DC to listen to the conclusions of an NCO and Officer in the middle of nowhere, even if they happen to be knee-deep in Sierra.

marct
08-03-2007, 02:43 PM
Hi Mark,

Agreed with one exception.


An insurgency reflects an 'ill' in a society or a state that causes people to become insurgent.

This is an assumption based out of older communications technologies where a "community" is geographically based. Nowadays, when a "community" can, and often is, global, the "ills" that lead to an insurgency are those defined by the community, not the state or society alone. If you want early historical examples, the earliest I can think of is the Bar Kochba revolt which was financed and supported (intel, recruitment, etc.) by a diaspora community. Later examples include the actions of the 5th Comintern (redefinition of a situation as an "ill") and the RC development of liberation theology in Central America. Today, the irhabists are using the same format of "redefinition".

Marc

Stan
08-03-2007, 03:16 PM
Hi Mark,

Agreed with one exception.



This is an assumption based out of older communications technologies where a "community" is geographically based. Nowadays, when a "community" can, and often is, global, the "ills" that lead to an insurgency are those defined by the community, not the state or society alone. If you want early historical examples, the earliest I can think of is the Bar Kochba revolt which was financed and supported (intel, recruitment, etc.) by a diaspora community. Later examples include the actions of the 5th Comintern (redefinition of a situation as an "ill") and the RC development of liberation theology in Central America. Today, the irhabists are using the same format of "redefinition".

Marc


Hi Marc,
Sounds much like Sub-Sahara albeit a tad more complicated at times.

DIA called it "The Phenomenon of Failed States". Leading to the development of mass-based social movements in an attempt to address typically social problems. Nigeria's "Bakassi Boys" were used as references then regarding armed groups.

Economic opportunities were used to control people, dominating local markets...kinda sorta social domination 'buying of' your competition - if you will (:wry:).

The Belg told me the 'new owners' granted access to money, weapons, and protection from rivals which supposedly marginalizing ideologic agendas among the 'staff'.

Well, it sounded good back in 89 :cool:

Rob Thornton
08-03-2007, 05:34 PM
Even though the Army has been fighting the shadowy insurgency for four years in Iraq, it has been slow to change its conventional approach: massing firepower on an enemy's formations.

The United States invaded Iraq with the world's most technologically advanced army and soon found itself losing to a nimble, adaptive enemy whose most effective weapons are the cell phone and Internet. The speed with which insurgents in Iraq adapt has confounded American military leaders. Army officers say they change tactics almost weekly because it takes insurgent cells just days to adjust to new techniques.

Whenever I read statements like that I always wonder about the writer's understanding of just how hard it is to do simple things in combat - call it friction if you want.

I'd argue that for the size of the U.S. Military, or for any organization our size we've done OK at changing. So what does it take to move from "OK" to "really good"?

Consider that change is not just "cause we want to" - our responsibilities as defined by roles and missions, strategic documents etc. are self imposed (at the strategic level) constraints. Those constraints drive a host of other constraints - budgets, programs, etc. To change those requires accepting risk at all levels that will justify the type of changes of scale and speed some have called for - but its still risk. If you are going to go before the political leadership and talk about them signing up for risk, then you better be prepared to explain why we should do it and how we are going to mitigate it.

The further you go up the food chain, the more miltary leadership has to converse (sometimes argue?) with political leadership. This is as true with regards to our own government as it is with foreign governments.

I'd also argue there is more opportunity to adapt at the tactical level, in fact that is usually where trends occur and then are communicated up, become codified and institutionalized. It could be that as "change that works" makes its way up, its risk is mitigated through promotion (could be an idea or person), dissemination into the mainstream (through CALL, OES/NCOES or others), or by the sheer value of its success. Adaptation at the operational and strategic levels occur over a broader period of time through the effort required to ovecome the physics resisting change. This might also be overcome by a dynamic figure at the top - but even that is prone to resistance from the intitution - ala "we'll just wait the bastard out".

So big change in big organizations is not easy. Its a damnable process given life by the fear of getting it too far wrong or by protection of rice bowls. The relevance and utility of change are not going to be as plain as the nose on your face to everybody at the same time -particularly if their perspective is radically different from yours or if the gap is large - does anybody really think that SEN X with no military experience fundamentally understands what SGT Y does in Ramadi - or vice-versa? You have to bridge that in a way that makes sense to everybody.

We can do somethings better with minimal organizational risk - like: promotion of leaders who have demonstrated ability in line with our professed values so that they become a broader and more influential agent of change; recognizing the need for at least a portion of our force to reflect current and immediate realities while still pursuing other capabilities we may require in the long term; and conversing more fully with political leadership to match ends, ways and means that result in an up to date assessment of how we see our strategic roles.

It makes you wonder if one of the key reasons it takes so long to win a COIN campaign is because it takes so long to institutionalize change in a manner that we are able to mobilize all the resources and organize at all levels in a manner that makes sense?

I've seen allot of indications over the past couple of months that the organization is adapting and willing to discuss reflecting capabilities that seem to make sense at the expense of some % other capabilities. Documents like NSPD-44, the weight given to SSTRO be on par with other military missions, the curicula at the AWC, the congressional emphasis on MRAP, the retired guest speakers themes we've seen here, the discussion by many inside D.C. even the latest presidiential candidate speeches would seem to indicate as a whole, we are starting to get it.

I just hope we get it right!

Steve Blair
08-03-2007, 06:08 PM
This is dillettante tripe wrapped in quasi-intellectual babble.

The article presumes that no one in the Army aside from the small unit leaders in the field "gets it."

That is not true--we got it years ago. And in this fight we have been getting it from day one. I can assure you that from the very first, we have at JRTC seen this as a small unit fight--buttressed by observation from theater.

The real issue is those who do not get it and who resist, delay, or block adaptation. There I would look to senior leadership and especially senior leadership via the proponent system.

As for trotting out the Israeli model for training--give me a break. The assumption that the IDF paras are on a higher plain of learning is --here you go, Ken White--more bovine excreta

Tom

Agreed. Anyone who bothers to actually crack open a book (as opposed to the History Channel condensed version) and READ about this stuff would be amazed at just how quickly the Army has learned in Iraq as compared to Vietnam (for one example). There are certain "system" reflexes that remain more or less untouched (mostly personnel and promotion areas), but on the operational side the learning has taken place at a much faster pace than we've seen before.

The patterns of obstruction to learning are, I would argue, the same as they were in Vietnam: senior leadership that either doesn't get it or DOESN'T want to get it. To me there's a difference. There are people who just can't understand COIN and what's needed to survive and possibly thrive in such an environment. Then there are others who understand it, but either cling to old systems out of habit or to secure their own positions. The same level of blocking, incorrect evaluation metrics, and plain obstructionism took place in Vietnam, aided by a system that didn't want to learn and what was in essence a disposable Army created to do the fighting.

Things are different now. An all-volunteer force is an investment, and with that comes a mindset that encourages protecting that investment. It may not always be obvious, but when you're protecting that investment (and trying to maintain it), you'll be looking for ways to do things better. That includes learning how to fight an enemy that you might not have trained to face before.

Sorry for the ramble...it's Friday after all.:D

Mark O'Neill
08-04-2007, 12:51 AM
Hi Mark,

Agreed with one exception.



This is an assumption based out of older communications technologies where a "community" is geographically based. Nowadays, when a "community" can, and often is, global, the "ills" that lead to an insurgency are those defined by the community, not the state or society alone. If you want early historical examples, the earliest I can think of is the Bar Kochba revolt which was financed and supported (intel, recruitment, etc.) by a diaspora community. Later examples include the actions of the 5th Comintern (redefinition of a situation as an "ill") and the RC development of liberation theology in Central America. Today, the irhabists are using the same format of "redefinition".

Marc


G'Day Marc,

You have assumed that I have used 'society' in the sense of a body of humans anchored to a locale. I actually intended it in the wider sense that you have described, so I think we are in violent agreement.

Rob,

I tend to agree with you - from the evidence readily available it would seem that the US Military has done a good job of realisation and adaptation (never easy to do for any organisation, let alone a military) in a relatively short time. OK, it is not perfect, but few things are in life.

The main problem is that whilst this change and adaptation has been 100% necessary for the continued prosecution of the 'fight', it is not of itself a strategic 'end'.

I believe that many of the commentators fail to realise that a COIN adapted military is merely an enabler for success (in the same way a COIN adapted interagency would be), and that the success sought can only be gained through adept use of this and all the other tools required at the strategic level.

The ongoing fascination that commentators and pundits have with the mechanics and metrics of the 'surge' is an indication of this failure to 'get' the distinction between the elements of coherent strategy and their relative places. Not many of them seem to have considered the possibility that the surge could be spectacularly successful, and still achieve nothing practicable regarding the root causes of the current conflict.

Cheers

Mark

Ken White
08-04-2007, 01:32 AM
..........

Tom Odom
08-04-2007, 12:38 PM
Not many of them seem to have considered the possibility that the surge could be spectacularly successful, and still achieve nothing practicable regarding the root causes of the current conflict.

Absolutely true and terribly dangerous in its implications if the policy side does not get it...

Tom

marct
08-04-2007, 02:38 PM
Hey Mark,


You have assumed that I have used 'society' in the sense of a body of humans anchored to a locale. I actually intended it in the wider sense that you have described, so I think we are in violent agreement.

LOLOL - what's that famous comment about the US and Britain? "two countries divided by a common language" or something like that? Maybe we should update that to 4 countries :D.


I tend to agree with you - from the evidence readily available it would seem that the US Military has done a good job of realisation and adaptation (never easy to do for any organisation, let alone a military) in a relatively short time. OK, it is not perfect, but few things are in life.

Totally agreed. What I find especially intriguing about he speed of shifting (I'm not quite ready to use "adaptation" yet - "diffusion" may be a better term) is that it was showing up as early as the initial invasion of Iraq.


The main problem is that whilst this change and adaptation has been 100% necessary for the continued prosecution of the 'fight', it is not of itself a strategic 'end'.

Bingo. To make it even worse, the rhetoric has been aimed as if the military could "win". We've debated that ad nauseum, but I am struck once again by the nature of the politicians who are more concerned with getting elected than with playing their part in "winning", since it is, ultimately, a political.


The ongoing fascination that commentators and pundits have with the mechanics and metrics of the 'surge' is an indication of this failure to 'get' the distinction between the elements of coherent strategy and their relative places. Not many of them seem to have considered the possibility that the surge could be spectacularly successful, and still achieve nothing practicable regarding the root causes of the current conflict.

I suspect, in my more cynical moments, that it is a case of CYA by the politicians. Many of them refuse to accept that they can be held responsible in a war for victory or defeat. Right now, I wish we had a few more statesmen and a few less politicians....

Marc

Mark O'Neill
08-04-2007, 03:09 PM
LOLOL - what's that famous comment about the US and Britain? "two countries divided by a common language" or something like that? Maybe we should update that to 4 countries :D.



Marc, I reckon you are spot on.

I remember doing a COA brief during a Prairie Warrior Exercise at Leavenworth a few years back and summing up the preferred COA as the 'pushover try' option, puzzled looks by all in the room except the Brit 0-5 Exchange Instructor and the CG who had been to Camberley....

The phrase' the whole nine yards' was used in translation, but I do not think it quite captures the same sense of accomplishment.

marct
08-04-2007, 03:12 PM
Marc, I reckon you are spot on.

I remember doing a COA brief during a Prairie Warrior Exercise at Leavenworth a few years back and summing up the preferred COA as the 'pushover try' option, puzzled looks by all in the room except the Brit 0-5 Exchange Instructor and the CG who had been to Camberley....

The phrase' the whole nine yards' was used in translation, but I do not think it quite captures the same sense of accomplishment.

Too true :D. I hate to say it, but only 5% or so of Canadians would get it :wry:.

Marc

John T. Fishel
08-05-2007, 12:04 PM
We need to remember the enemy in COIN. He, too, adapts or dies. If he plays his hand poorly and our side plays its hand just a little better, we win and he loses - vice versa. In the end, our strategy, operations, and tactics do not need to be perfect, just better than the enemy's. I wonder how many COINs have been won at the margins.

One really interesting question is why the Army and USMC have adapted so much more rapidly than they did in Vietnam. I suspect that it involves less resistance at more senior levels to change. Part of that has to do with 15 years of reasonable emphasis at CGSC on MOOTW/LIC/and all the other 100 names. Part of it has to do with pretty good doctrine for much of that time in FM 100-20 (1990) and JP 3-07 (1995) and related doctrine pubs like FM 100-23 for any who cared to refer to them. Clearly, some officers have had experiences that have made them ready to draw analogies to COIN ops in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, it seems likely, that unlike several past instances , there was a cadre of senior and relatively senior officers who, when brought together, could and did provide a critical mass for change on the ground.

arty8
08-05-2007, 12:41 PM
I'm currently a squad leader in Iraq and a PTT chief, I advise the Iraqi Police daily and here is my take on COIN and the Army. Hardly anyone, even the officers, really understand the fundamentals of counterinsurgency. We received no formal training in counterinsurgency before we deployed, although I was able to arrange a company wide screening of "the battle of Algiers" at our armory before we left. My local university had an amazing collection of books on counterinsurgency in deep storage, ďCounterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and PracticeĒ by David Galula was last checked out in 1968.

Intel is the only coin in the realm of counterinsurgency. How many times did I read that before I deployed and itís absolutely true. The US Army needs to be organized around collecting, processing, analyzing and disseminating actionable Intel. My company TOC still has no Intel analyst assigned as part of our TOE. Fortunately, our TOC has a former Navy Intel guy and believe it our not, he forwards his analysis to BN and BDE for them to use and itís supposed to be the other way around.

One time I was at one of my police station and a civilian walked in and wanted to give some information, I asked casually if he wouldnít mind going to the FOB and talking with our people. This guy was angry; some Foreign Jihadis had moved into his neighborhood and were making a mess of things, so he agreed. When I radioed back to our TOC they said that our FOB force protection guys didn't want him on the FOB and to give him the number for the TIP line. When I did so, he looked at me and replied "Why are you insulting me like this?" I hope this Iraqi civilian didn't know where Osama Bin Laden was staying. The police chief was able to talk to him later for some time and we got some useful information.

Cultural Awareness-itís amazing to me that active duty soldiers on their second and third tour lack Arab cultural sensitivity. Once, a soldier, not from our unit, deliberately spit on an Iraqi Policeman while riding in a Bradley going thru an Iraqi ECP. Within minutes, the entire police station was going to walk out and quit and 15 minutes later the Commanding General for the entire province was notified. It took hours of diplomacy and negotiation for this incident to pass. One soldier can have an affect, negative or positive, on the entire mission.

The real experts in this war are the NCOís and Ltís who leave the wire every day and interact with the local populace.

Tom Odom
08-05-2007, 12:53 PM
We need to remember the enemy in COIN. He, too, adapts or dies. If he plays his hand poorly and our side plays its hand just a little better, we win and he loses - vice versa. In the end, our strategy, operations, and tactics do not need to be perfect, just better than the enemy's. I wonder how many COINs have been won at the margins.

One really interesting question is why the Army and USMC have adapted so much more rapidly than they did in Vietnam. I suspect that it involves less resistance at more senior levels to change. Part of that has to do with 15 years of reasonable emphasis at CGSC on MOOTW/LIC/and all the other 100 names. Part of it has to do with pretty good doctrine for much of that time in FM 100-20 (1990) and JP 3-07 (1995) and related doctrine pubs like FM 100-23 for any who cared to refer to them. Clearly, some officers have had experiences that have made them ready to draw analogies to COIN ops in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, it seems likely, that unlike several past instances , there was a cadre of senior and relatively senior officers who, when brought together, could and did provide a critical mass for change on the ground.


John,

If I had to point to one factor above all the others I would point to the existence of a tailored CTC program. NTC led the way in Gulf War 91 as the flagship of the heavy forces. JRTC led the way in 2001, rather JRTC had paved much of the way already. The variety of "assymetric" tactics and forces had long been a staple of JRTC.

The other link as self-serving as this sounds was CALL. Now I say that as much as a philosophical answer as a factual answer because what CALL represents is the attitude and the idea that we should learn and adapt. Where we fall short is where we fail to live up to that idea.

Taken in tandem and and now looking back a bit, I would say that JRTC was more than ready in 2004-2005 with all the elements of COIN as they emerged in 3-24. The small unit leaders were already doing most of what 3-24 callls for. What was missing was an approach that drew senior acceptance of ideas like "the best weapons in COIN don't shoot." It was not that we did not understand that idea; it was that senior leaders had to be led and in some cases bludgeoned into listening to such ideas. There was too much movement to contact and not enough situational understanding.

I don't discount anything you said above, I just point to the CTCs where leaders could actually put in motion what the schools taught and learn from the experience. To me the classic was the brigade commander of the Rakkasans who told vistors in 2002 that he had considered all the variety of elements portrayed at a JRTC rotation (pre-9-11) to be unrealistic until he ended up dealing with them all in Afghanistan.

Best

Tom

Nat Wilcox
08-05-2007, 01:41 PM
What was missing was an approach that drew senior acceptance of ideas like "the best weapons in COIN don't shoot." It was not that we did not understand that idea; it was that senior leaders had to be led and in some cases bludgeoned into listening to such ideas.

Tom, a question. When you say "senior leaders," who do you mean, exactly? The reason I ask is that one of the "stories" we civvies hear in some of the media is that (to some extent) the senior civilian leadership took a long time to decide that an active COIN approach was necessary. In this "narrative" of recent events, civilian leadership putting Petraeus in charge allowed your platoon and company leaders to really do what they knew needed doing a long time ago--not simply to the extent they could on their own initiative, but in an integrated and whole-hearted way, which is (probably) a lot more effective overall. But this narrative also lets senior military leadership "off the hook" so to speak: It places the blame with the secretary of defense and the rest of the administration.

I am sure that as with most things, it is a mixture of the two so don't exclude the middle if that is the right answer. Anyway I am curious how y'all see this.

John T. Fishel
08-05-2007, 02:54 PM
Tom--

I didn't mean to discount the CTCs, especially JRTC about which I had heard many good things regarding these kinds of war since at least 1995. With respect to CALL (and FMSO, SSI, and the school houses) I guess the old phrase, "You can lead the horse to water but you can't make him drink." applies. But if enough horses go to the water some will drink it and that may be enough which was sort of the point I was trying to make.

Nat--

Military senior leaders are usually seen as 06 and up (COL, GEN, Navy CAPT, Admirals). Some of it is perspective. For the junior guy, the BN commander is a senior leader (LTC). For the General, it is the 4 stars, and the civilian leaders such as the Deputy Assistant Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Undersecretaries, Secretaries, and POTUS. As the trooper who just posted points out, there is still a long way to go and a lot of blame among senior leaders at lower levels as well as higher. Still, I am encouraged when I see people like GEN Petraeus, LTG Odierno ( who really seems to have grown since he commanded 4th ID) Mike Meese, Dave Kilcullen, John Nagle, Con Crane, et. al. and the influence they have had and are having.

Cheers

JohnT

Stan
08-05-2007, 03:18 PM
Cultural Awareness-itís amazing to me that active duty soldiers on their second and third tour lack Arab cultural sensitivity.
The real experts in this war are the NCOís and Ltís who leave the wire every day and interact with the local populace.

Hey Arty8,
I couldn't have put it better, and it should never take three tours to figure out what jerks people off, be it Americans, Africans or whomever.

Ya know, I once had an O-5 (probably my best boss and friend ever) who could figure out things on his very own. As a two-man team surrounded by 800,000 refugees, angry and armed Africans everywhere, we did just fine. Yeah, he thought I was the best NCO he had ever had (I was :D), but the point is, he spent an enormous amount of time studying his element in preparation for a peace time engagement (gone sour).

It's the individual, and all the rank in the world won't save your behind.

We've got the right soldiers, but are we preparing them ?

Tom Odom
08-05-2007, 10:00 PM
Tom, a question. When you say "senior leaders," who do you mean, exactly? The reason I ask is that one of the "stories" we civvies hear in some of the media is that (to some extent) the senior civilian leadership took a long time to decide that an active COIN approach was necessary. In this "narrative" of recent events, civilian leadership putting Petraeus in charge allowed your platoon and company leaders to really do what they knew needed doing a long time ago--not simply to the extent they could on their own initiative, but in an integrated and whole-hearted way, which is (probably) a lot more effective overall. But this narrative also lets senior military leadership "off the hook" so to speak: It places the blame with the secretary of defense and the rest of the administration.

I am sure that as with most things, it is a mixture of the two so don't exclude the middle if that is the right answer. Anyway I am curious how y'all see this.

Nat,

My definition of senior leader these days really starts with the brigade commanders at full colonel for that is where they really start to have the flexibility to adapt or demonstrate their inability to do so.

I would agree on the inability of the senior civilian leaders to recognize an insurgency when senior military leaders were saying one was afoot, notabaly Abizaid and later Pace.

John T


Agreed on the mulutiple watering holes. I have used that analogy myself, trying to give the horse the choice between drinking or drowning. I had a young man in my office the other day and he was looking at the books after announcing he was there to see "the CALL stuff." He would pull something off the shelf and then put it back. Finally my NCO asked him if he was looking for something in particular, He said, "No. I don't put much stock in this written stuff. I just get out there and do..."

He left moments later and after confirming with my sergeant that I had heard what I thought I had heard, I told him, "That young man clearly prefers to learn by making mistakes, hopefully they won't get him or his soldiers killed."

Some horses just drown.

Tom

Nat Wilcox
08-05-2007, 11:47 PM
Thanks, Tom and John T.


I have used that analogy myself, trying to give the horse the choice between drinking or drowning. I had a young man in my office the other day and he was looking at the books after announcing he was there to see "the CALL stuff." He would pull something off the shelf and then put it back. Finally my NCO asked him if he was looking for something in particular, He said, "No. I don't put much stock in this written stuff. I just get out there and do..."

He left moments later and after confirming with my sergeant that I had heard what I thought I had heard, I told him, "That young man clearly prefers to learn by making mistakes, hopefully they won't get him or his soldiers killed."

Some horses just drown.

Why, I might just print this up to hand to certain grad students at appropriate moments (though it is a very sad thought). With or without appropriate attribution as you wish, of course.

Tom Odom
08-06-2007, 01:13 AM
Thanks, Tom and John T.



Why, I might just print this up to hand to certain grad students at appropriate moments (though it is a very sad thought). With or without appropriate attribution as you wish, of course.

if it helps them learn, feel free, Nat

John T. Fishel
08-06-2007, 02:35 PM
Nat and Tom--

Great line!!!!:D

I'll have to follow Nat's lead with my undergrad and grad students.

JohnT

arty8
08-06-2007, 03:05 PM
For what it's worth, CALL made the difference between success and failure during my unit's pre deployment and mob train up and our first couple of weeks here in Iraq. I've been a fan of CALL almost since it's beginning and a single small book--"Security Force Handbook" was just the ticket. I ordered over 100 copies to be delivered to Ft. Dix, NJ, our MOB site. I told my troops that these books were written in blood and when soldiers from our first sergeant to our newest private came to my tent to get a copy I knew that my job was done. Upon arrival in Iraq, I knew exactly what questions to ask during our relief in place. I can only hope that the big army exapands CALL instead of closing it down during the next drawdown.

Steve Blair
08-06-2007, 03:14 PM
This is one of the examples I like to use of the Army NOT repeating Vietnam-era institutional mistakes. During that war there was precious little information flowing from the combat zone back to training areas (except for some "search the village" courses and smaller things) until late in the war. This time around they're avoiding that mistake and making tons of good information available. Now if they'd just avoid the same sort of personnel mistakes we'd be that much more to the good.

Rob Thornton
08-06-2007, 10:31 PM
While deployed I saw 3 different BCTs rotate through Mosul. What I noticed was that with each new unit, the flash to bang cycle on adaptation was shrotened. It seemed to go beyond CDR personality. The only rational reason I believe is the CTCs, CALL, veteran leadership and the rest of the loop which captures the lessons of the operational environment and feeds them into the training cycle. If ever there has been validation for this method and the resources which sustain it, I believe this would be it. It really got me thinking about how we change/adapt.

Its interesting also that some of the things we use to drive future requirements are being updated with operational experience. It is pretty dynamic. One of the big friction point seems to lie in programatic evaluation of relevancy and redirection. Another is the debate on organizational structure.

MattC86
08-06-2007, 10:51 PM
This is one of the examples I like to use of the Army NOT repeating Vietnam-era institutional mistakes. During that war there was precious little information flowing from the combat zone back to training areas (except for some "search the village" courses and smaller things) until late in the war. This time around they're avoiding that mistake and making tons of good information available. Now if they'd just avoid the same sort of personnel mistakes we'd be that much more to the good.

Once the war is over, no matter the outcome, would you say it's safe to assume the Army won't ignore the COIN lessons learned so painfully like it did after Vietnam?

That FM 3-24 is the first doctrine for COIN since Vietnam is a real travesty. I hope and assume that since we won't be able to refocus on "the real war" like in the 1970s when we had Soviet tank divisions to contend with, we will properly institutionalize the COIN lessons of Iraq into a doctrine that serves not just as a stopgap for a current conflict, but one that takes a proper place within our theory and our training.

Finally, what are the personnel issues you're talking about? Individual personnel (i.e., leaders) or general personnel (deployment and rotation) policies?

Matt

SWJED
08-06-2007, 11:13 PM
Matt,

Welcome to the Council - good first post and some topical questions posed. We encourage new members to also post an intro on the Tell Us About You #2... (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?p=22733#post22733) thread. Thanks, and again welcome to the SWC.

Dave

Tom Odom
08-06-2007, 11:43 PM
Once the war is over, no matter the outcome, would you say it's safe to assume the Army won't ignore the COIN lessons learned so painfully like it did after Vietnam?

The lesson from the past is that is not a safe assumption; I hope I am wrong. But the past says we go back to what we like.

Tom

Rob Thornton
08-07-2007, 12:25 AM
Once the war is over, no matter the outcome, would you say it's safe to assume the Army won't ignore the COIN lessons learned so painfully like it did after Vietnam?

Good Op/Ed piece I thought from the Washington Post entitled The Next Intervention (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/05/AR2007080501056.html)

Is the United States out of the intervention business for a while? With two difficult wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a divided public, the conventional answer is that it will be a long time before any American president, Democrat or Republican, again dispatches troops into conflict overseas.

As usual, though, the conventional wisdom is almost certainly wrong. ......

What I like about the article is it points to the difference between what we say before entering office and what we do when the realities of gevernance encumber us. Our perspective changes. Never underestimate the power of a short memory, or the ability to revise. Having said that there is no gaurentee that we will acknowledge things as they are vs. how we'd prefer them. LTC (R) Daryll Schoening was fond of saying, "Those are not lessons learned, they are lessons available"

Steve Blair
08-07-2007, 12:52 PM
Once the war is over, no matter the outcome, would you say it's safe to assume the Army won't ignore the COIN lessons learned so painfully like it did after Vietnam?

That FM 3-24 is the first doctrine for COIN since Vietnam is a real travesty. I hope and assume that since we won't be able to refocus on "the real war" like in the 1970s when we had Soviet tank divisions to contend with, we will properly institutionalize the COIN lessons of Iraq into a doctrine that serves not just as a stopgap for a current conflict, but one that takes a proper place within our theory and our training.

Finally, what are the personnel issues you're talking about? Individual personnel (i.e., leaders) or general personnel (deployment and rotation) policies?

Matt

Welcome, Matt!

With personnel I'm referring to the exodus of skilled combat leaders that took place after Vietnam, as well as the ticket-punching mentality among some in the officer corps during that conflict.

I would hope that the Army as an institution does not lose track of the COIN lessons that they're learning now, but like Tom I fear that they will "lose" them again. This has been a pattern going back to the Indian Wars.

MattC86
08-07-2007, 06:25 PM
In regards to Steve and Tom, I wonder if the different geopolitical realities of now vs., say, 1975 may make a difference. My hope, I guess, is that since the Army (and the Marine Corps, but the Army in particular) can't just refocus on "the right war" that suits their doctrinal preference, they will continue to focus on small wars and COIN. I think that with the specter of future insurgencies, regime changes, and nation-building on the horizon, we can't just say "we don't do this kind of stuff," which was essentially what the Powell Doctrine was all about.

Matt

Tom Odom
08-07-2007, 06:43 PM
In regards to Steve and Tom, I wonder if the different geopolitical realities of now vs., say, 1975 may make a difference. My hope, I guess, is that since the Army (and the Marine Corps, but the Army in particular) can't just refocus on "the right war" that suits their doctrinal preference, they will continue to focus on small wars and COIN. I think that with the specter of future insurgencies, regime changes, and nation-building on the horizon, we can't just say "we don't do this kind of stuff," which was essentially what the Powell Doctrine was all about.

Matt


Matt,

As someone still in service--admittedly as a broken down retiree now civilian--I already hear remarks that highten my concerns.

Bottom line it will be up to Rob and Ryan and everyone of the younger generation to see it does not happen again.

Best

Tom

Steve Blair
08-07-2007, 06:48 PM
Matt,

As someone still in service--admittedly as a broken down retiree now civilian--I already hear remarks that highten my concerns.

Bottom line it will be up to Rob and Ryan and everyone of the younger generation to see it does not happen again.

Best

Tom

Agreed, and this is a trend that predates the Cold War by at least 100 years.

It all has to do with who makes it through the personnel things I mentioned earlier and manages to either push through major change or preserve the lessons that others might want to forget (or consign to the Marxist-Leninist "dustbin of history"). Sadly that's what's usually required.

Tom Odom
08-07-2007, 07:24 PM
On the subject of learning past lessons, I found this today.

GEN Warner was as LTG Warner XVIII Airborne Corps commander and one of his sons, now retired BG "Jim" Warner was with me in 2-505. We were Ranger buddies in Ranger Class 2-77. Jim's final assignment was as Dep Commandant at CGSC where I had a chance to see him a few months before he retired.

Anyway, his Dad discusses the Army and learning from Vietnam (as in not learning). He also discusses losing his grandaughter in Afghanistan, Jim's niece and the first female casualty from West Point.


A veteran general hears echoes from Vietnam in Iraq (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/18667.html)

WASHINGTON ó Volney Warner thinks big. A retired Army four-star general who helped craft counterinsurgency doctrine during the Vietnam War, he's made a career out of thinking about how U.S. military strategy should advance America's global interests.

How does domestic politics shape military tactics? How and why did U.S. civilian and military leaders fail in Vietnam and Iraq? What has Iraq taught the U.S. military about unconventional war?

Warner is more than a detached student of America's current conflicts: Seven of his immediate family members have served in the military, five of them in Iraq or Afghanistan. They include his two sons, one a retired brigadier general and the other a retired colonel; a son-in-law who trained local troops in Iraq as a brigadier general; a granddaughter who's a captain in the Army Reserve; a grandson serving in Iraq and another grandson at West Point who'll be commissioned as an officer in June and probably ordered to a war zone immediately.

Also, Warner's 24-year-old granddaughter, Army 1st Lt. Laura Walker, who served in Iraq in 2004 and was killed by a homemade bomb a year later on her second combat tour, this time in Afghanistan. Her death makes Warner ponder, sometimes publicly, who was responsible for sending his granddaughter to two war zones without a sound strategy for victory.

Cavguy
08-07-2007, 08:31 PM
In regards to Steve and Tom, I wonder if the different geopolitical realities of now vs., say, 1975 may make a difference. My hope, I guess, is that since the Army (and the Marine Corps, but the Army in particular) can't just refocus on "the right war" that suits their doctrinal preference, they will continue to focus on small wars and COIN. I think that with the specter of future insurgencies, regime changes, and nation-building on the horizon, we can't just say "we don't do this kind of stuff," which was essentially what the Powell Doctrine was all about.

Matt

Good point. We don't have a Soviet Union to run back to, and China is hardly a conventional peer competitor in the next 20 years. COIN and IW will make up a large part of what we must contend with. Unless we go back to 1920's/30's isolationism .....

However, I would say that part of our troubles in Iraq stemmed from not following the Powell doctrine - that a) We didn't have a strategic plan b) we didn't send overwhelming force. Those two decisions are the primary reasons Iraq went into chaos - we never filled the order/security vacuum early, and nature abhors a vacuum. Add in all the root causes of insurgencies were present and Voila! Iraq 2003-2007. Even if we had had good COIN operational concepts, tactics, and education in 2003, it wouldn't have compensated for a lack of a workable strategy.

Rob Thornton
08-09-2007, 08:22 PM
We recently went throuh a COA development excercise (UNCLASS) for a COCOM (not as part of COCOM JPG, but as a class assignment) based on some future events. The COA we adopted based on how it came out in the comparrison was heavy on UW.

Frankly it was a bridge to far as we fleshed it out and realized the ammount of time and the types of resources required were possibly beyond our ability to generate or sustain, and that the guarentee of mission success was too low by comparrison.

However, that has never stopped a COA from being adopted, particualrly if at the moment it appears to be the most most politically palatable given recent memories or what have you, and you can wish away some of the hard stuff because its hard to qualify or quantify in a .ppt deep COA.

It did get me thinking though since there is much discussion about how the Operational Environment is changing, and what it requires to succeed in it. Are we (in general) starting to acknowledge the need for greater capacity in UW to address irregular and assymetric threats in an evolving OE? Do we need them to provide policy more flexible strategic alternatives? If we do, then how much of it do we need, to supplant large scale capabilities, traditional capabilities? How does our strategic culture "the American Way of War" play into our ability to adapt/change? How much of this should be limited to improving SOF capacity, and how much should become the purview of GP forces? How can we get "economies" in certain areas - ex. If a GP soldier has extensive knowledge of COIN and FID, can he pull some degree of double duty in UW tasks such as training an insurgency?

What does this say about how we spend our $$$?

Ken White
08-10-2007, 12:13 AM
. . .

. . .

It did get me thinking though since there is much discussion about how the Operational Environment is changing, and what it requires to succeed in it. Are we (in general) starting to acknowledge the need for greater capacity in UW to address irregular and assymetric threats in an evolving OE? Do we need them to provide policy more flexible strategic alternatives? If we do, then how much of it do we need, to supplant large scale capabilities, traditional capabilities? How does our strategic culture "the American Way of War" play into our ability to adapt/change? How much of this should be limited to improving SOF capacity, and how much should become the purview of GP forces? How can we get "economies" in certain areas - ex. If a GP soldier has extensive knowledge of COIN and FID, can he pull some degree of double duty in UW tasks such as training an insurgency?

What does this say about how we spend our $$$?

Hi, Rob

you mean simply training and developing some sideline expertise, then given the post Cold War world, I'd say it's long overdue.

The Weinberger Doctrine, co-opted by Powell was an overt effort to tailor Congressional and White House thinking to avoid this fact of life:

"However, that has never stopped a COA from being adopted, particualrly if at the moment it appears to be the most most politically palatable given recent memories or what have you, and you can wish away some of the hard stuff because its hard to qualify or quantify in a .ppt deep COA."
It worked as long as there were nice (or cautious) guys in the White House. Five such in a row from Ford to Clinton was an unusually long run for such types. However, it was never a very realistic idea and it was always destined to be -- and is -- as they say OBE... :wry:

The probability is that there will be a lot of brush fires and we'll need to be able to tend to them along with being prepared fro medium notice mid-level and resonably decent notice major war. We have got to be full spectrum. The kids can cope with it. I wish I was more certain that some of the senior folks can do so...

I think we need to help them shape policy with respect to capabilities, stop saying "Yessir, Yessir..." We 'can-do' ourselves to death.

Our culture is not going to change, ergo we will have to -- that message came out of the late sixties and was duly ignored. Then along came DS/DS -- and as one guy I worked with at the time said "We are in trouble now; 100 casualties in 100 hours will be the new paradigm and we'll likely never see it again..."

I also think SOF is about as big as the sustainment pool will support -- and I think it's big enough. They need badly to do a role and mission sort out. The GP forces are capable of doing much more than we have them do and that major error needs to be fixed.

Heh. I think it says the same thing about spending our $$$ as we all know to be true -- we waste a lot... :D

Rob Thornton
08-10-2007, 01:53 PM
Ken,

I also think SOF is about as big as the sustainment pool will support -- and I think it's big enough. They need badly to do a role and mission sort out. The GP forces are capable of doing much more than we have them do and that major error needs to be fixed.

I guess that is what I'm thinking. I've seen the GPs do some incredible stuff. Things I might've considered the purview of SOF 5 or 10 years ago, I now see GP forces conducting. Part of its manning, equipping and training, but some of it happened because it just had to given the OE.

So I'm thinking how does the experience we've gained over the last few years translate into the needs of tomorrow? Do we need for example new Joint doctrine that examines the relationship and integration of GP forces and SOF?


you mean simply training and developing some sideline expertise, then given the post Cold War world, I'd say it's long overdue.

I think that is probably the place to start - ask the question, "what would it take to succeed at a long term (5-10 years) major campaign where the CFSOCC was the supported CMD for the largest chunks in a place where the benefits do not fit the OEF model because the conditions are very different?"

I guess we are also wrestling with this on a larger scale as JSOC has the lead in the GWOT - is the military in general organized, trained and equipped to be a supporting effort? Of course, if the answer is no, or maybe even not optimally, then maybe we should be asking why, what would it take, what is the Delta, and how long would it take?
Regards, Rob

Ken White
08-10-2007, 08:33 PM
Rob:

Agree with you on the GP forces, the talent is there and our repeated failure to use that talent has bothered me for many years. The kids (E1-O5) are capable of doing so very much more than we allow them to do. My belief is that failure is due partly to mindset -- we still have a lot of WW II / draftee Army hangups I believe -- partly due to the fact that training money is hard to justify to the parochial communities and to Congress and partly due to the fact that the conversion to a centralized personnel system / human resources regimen led to too many efficiencies for the personnel 'managers' and none for the broader institution.

I think there positively must be better coordination and relationships between the 'conventional' Army and SOF / SOCOM. both communities are at fault here and I have long believed that creation of the SF Officer branch was a very bad move (so was Aviation branch but that's another thread another day). The movement between a basic branch and SF kept folks in a total Army mindset; that has been lost. It also allowed senior people with SF experience to command or serve on the staff of conventional forces and enhanced cooperation between the two communities.


"I think that is probably the place to start - ask the question, "what would it take to succeed at a long term (5-10 years) major campaign where the CFSOCC was the supported CMD for the largest chunks in a place where the benefits do not fit the OEF model because the conditions are very different?"

Let me toss that back at you with a counter question. Do you think that this polarized US society with its sound bite attention span will accept long term campaigns of 5-10 years?

Lastly, thoughts on " what would it take, what is the Delta, and how long would it take?" First; a comprehensive sort out of the world as we see it and of potential conflicts that might require our engagement (which must not lose sight of the absolute fact that we must be a total spectrum force). The QDR nominally does this but it is actually a bureaucratic shuffling of the deck chairs (I know a lot of people but in a lot of hard hours on it but it is still what it is and no more) so I'm talking a comprehensive review entailing (shudder!!) getting the HASC and SASC involved (God, I hated to write that... :rolleyes:).

That should lead to a roles and missions adjustment which should concentrate on removing the branch and community parochialism (good luck with that... :wry:) by DoD initially and then by the Army in it allotted share of those things. Then a plan must be developed to get us there.

The Delta, I believe is a recognition of the sheer raw capability of units to do many diverse jobs and that the enablement of this power is simply training (and doctrine as a base).

We're likely to look at a series of small operations where a far better trained and equipped SOF element will be required; one that can operate (and / or will be allowed to operate) without a massive support and backup structure. Yes, there will be risk -- but that's war in the fast lane, risk is endemic.

There'll be other, somewhat larger operations where either light infantry (mostly) or Stryker / FCS folks are required with or without SOF accompaniment. There may be a few cases where Armor is also required in small quantities.

Lastly, full scale war where all that plus a lot of Armor is needed. My gut feel is that the percentage ratio of SOF : Light : Medium : Heavy employment over the next 10-20 years will be on the order of 60 : 30 : 10 with full acknowledgment that the world situation can change rapidly due to unforeseen events. Still, I think a major restructure of the AC and RC are necessary with potentially a smaller more lethal AC and a larger RC. The allocation of GP maneuver combat Brigade sized elements should be about [ AC / RC] 20 / 8 Light + 8 / 0 Pcht; 8 / 4 Medium; 12 / 24 Heavy. My bet is we'll have adequate warning of a need for a lot of Heavy Brigades.

Time is always an element but it shouldn't take more than two years to get a role and mission sort out and promulgate a long term plan; say another two to reorient doctrine and training and two to three to get that training embedded, get the equipment in place. So, say seven years plus a fudge factor due to the slowness of our overlarge bureaucracy, the operations that may intrude and the parochial food fights that will have to be quelled; say 10 years in total. Long in some senses, in others, not long at all -- takes far longer than that to develop and field major hardware.

Just one old guys thoughts...

Ken

Rob Thornton
08-11-2007, 12:44 AM
Let me toss that back at you with a counter question. Do you think that this polarized US society with its sound bite attention span will accept long term campaigns of 5-10 years?

Well, a good question. I guess the things that come to mind is that you don't always know what you've stepped in until you've tracked it home. I suppose a serious terror event in the homeland could inflame public passion to the point where they called for retribution on a large scale. Or, it could start much differently. The more something costs in terms of treasure and time, and the longer it takes to succeed, the more the public will sour on it, and the more divided the house.....

I also think there is a difference in terms of how concentrated or diffuse it may seem. If we had a great deal of people engaged over a long term, and over a large geographical area (global) it does not seem to have near the media appeal - without the guarantee of a graphic depiction, the media just doesn't cover it well, without media coverage, its not as much of a public or political issue.

I could see the media covering the flash & awe of an "air piece" or something that sells, but they might not have the patience for long term UW on the front or back ends. It seems to easy for them to go find a natural disaster or celebrity with personal problems.

I think that is the political appeal of a COA that was heavy UW and light on a conventional footprint. It concerns me when COAs are picked more for political economies then overall chance of success - however, that does not mean it won't happen.

Well, those are the concerns, but they may describe a worst case vs. likely employment. I think the GPs picking up large scale FID requirements and the combat advisory mission are the more useful (in a broad sense) and would hopefully negate allot of the potential large scale campaigns by building HN security capacity on both a bi-lateral and regional scale. If a need did arise, the GP knowledge across the force by having done those two functions would be very handy in augmenting SOF UW capability in areas requiring less specialization, but SOF like capabilities just the same - just because we must surge capacity in a region or country doesn't negate the other important missions across the globe.


Lastly, full scale war where all that plus a lot of Armor is needed. My gut feel is that the percentage ratio of SOF : Light : Medium : Heavy employment over the next 10-20 years will be on the order of 60 : 30 : 10 with full acknowledgment that the world situation can change rapidly due to unforeseen events. Still, I think a major restructure of the AC and RC are necessary with potentially a smaller more lethal AC and a larger RC. The allocation of GP maneuver combat Brigade sized elements should be about [ AC / RC] 20 / 8 Light + 8 / 0 Pcht; 8 / 4 Medium;
12 / 24 Heavy. My bet is we'll have adequate warning of a need for a lot of Heavy Brigades.

Time is always an element but it shouldn't take more than two years to get a role and mission sort out and promulgate a long term plan; say another two to reorient doctrine and training and two to three to get that training embedded, get the equipment in place. So, say seven years plus a fudge factor due to the slowness of our overlarge bureaucracy, the operations that may intrude and the parochial food fights that will have to be quelled; say 10 years in total. Long in some senses, in others, not long at all -- takes far longer than that to develop and field major hardware

A ARNG buddy told me the ARNG has a big (and growing) appetite for the ME (Maneuver Enhancement) modular BDEs given their utility in support of enabling civil authority/HN/Nat Disaster type missions. This is probably a good thing. The 60/30/10 employment figure seems like a good place to start, but the distro would argue for a good deal more capacity on the SOF/SOF like end.

Thanks for your thoughts, Rob

Rob Thornton
08-11-2007, 12:56 AM
we still have a lot of WW II / draftee Army hangups I believe -- partly due to the fact that training money is hard to justify to the parochial communities and to Congress and partly due to the fact that the conversion to a centralized personnel system / human resources regimen led to too many efficiencies for the personnel 'managers' and none for the broader institution.

I have been trying to articulate that in my mind. This is why I think we have a hard time holding on to some of the best talent - we don't put round pegs in round holes (in more then one way) at this level - its just not efficient. This may be the thing that bothers me most and typifies why adaptation and change is so hard - we have made it so - maybe we even like it that way:(

Ken White
08-11-2007, 04:38 AM
Well, a good question. I guess the things that come to mind is that you don't always know what you've stepped in until you've tracked it home. I suppose a serious terror event in the homeland could inflame public passion to the point where they called for retribution on a large scale. Or, it could start much differently. The more something costs in terms of treasure and time, and the longer it takes to succeed, the more the public will sour on it, and the more divided the house.....

I also think there is a difference in terms of how concentrated or diffuse it may seem. If we had a great deal of people engaged over a long term, and over a large geographical area (global) it does not seem to have near the media appeal - without the guarantee of a graphic depiction, the media just doesn't cover it well, without media coverage, its not as much of a public or political issue.

I could see the media covering the flash & awe of an "air piece" or something that sells, but they might not have the patience for long term UW on the front or back ends. It seems to easy for them to go find a natural disaster or celebrity with personal problems.

I think that is the political appeal of a COA that was heavy UW and light on a conventional footprint. It concerns me when COAs are picked more for political economies then overall chance of success - however, that does not mean it won't happen.

Well, those are the concerns, but they may describe a worst case vs. likely employment. I think the GPs picking up large scale FID requirements and the combat advisory mission are the more useful (in a broad sense) and would hopefully negate allot of the potential large scale campaigns by building HN security capacity on both a bi-lateral and regional scale. If a need did arise, the GP knowledge across the force by having done those two functions would be very handy in augmenting SOF UW capability in areas requiring less specialization, but SOF like capabilities just the same - just because we must surge capacity in a region or country doesn't negate the other important missions across the globe.


A ARNG buddy told me the ARNG has a big (and growing) appetite for the ME (Maneuver Enhancement) modular BDEs given their utility in support of enabling civil authority/HN/Nat Disaster type missions. This is probably a good thing. The 60/30/10 employment figure seems like a good place to start, but the distro would argue for a good deal more capacity on the SOF/SOF like end.

Thanks for your thoughts, Rob

Rob:

Good comments.

I agree with you on all the first part. I know some here do not like the 'one third rule' but I'm personally convinced that while it is indeed a broad generality, it's a good rule of thumb. The key, of course, is retaining the support of that middle third and my belief is that much of that support got lost in Iraq because of the very poor job done in 2003-2005. We're seeing a slight turn around on that as the situation there improves. The public is fickle and the majority don't have a clue militarily (except for one or two, most of the media don't even know how to spell .mil).

The foul ups in Iraq were not the fault the guys who were there at Brigade and below (and even some above that level) and did the best they could with the hand they were dealt -- but it does point an accusing finger at most of the the senior leadership of the Army in the 1975-2005 period. A lot of folks tried to tell them that we needed to work on counterinsurgency and nation building and they blew it off.

They had a minor and IMO flaky excuse from '75 until '91 if for no other reason than the evil budget battle and getting goodies in the POM -- but after 1991, there is no excuse for failure to adapt. I'll give Shinseki credit for starting but it was too little,too late (plus he blew it with the beret... :rolleyes:)

Still, we'll have to play any in the near future as they lie and my suspicion is that the middle third will support the effort as long as it is successful and DoD (and the Army) don't try to BS their way in public as we did in Viet Nam and Iraq initially. The PR effort by DA has been really bad and they've even screwed up the stupid Scott Thomas Beauchamp kerfuffle.

Americans (except for the leftmost third, they say) generally don't care about body bags, they care about getting the job done and doing that quickly...

Creighton Abrams was a great General. I met him, talked to him several times and I liked him but he started the whole "we do the nations big wars" mantra and he deliberately structured the RC so they would have to be called up for any major undertaking. Anyway, recall the support the callups for DS/DS received and those deployments were over a few months even if the war was not -- that short war didn't hurt in sustaining the support of that middle third. Good idea and it worked.

However, as a result of the Army being forced against its will to call up three ArNG Bdes for DS/DS, the then and next couple of Chiefs of Staff deliberately undid the RC organization Abrams had designed in order to enable the AC to deploy without a callup.

We can see how well that worked... :eek:

We do need to figure out something better than the half and half situation that now exists.

In addition to SF and Aviators being unbranched, ;) there needs to be more free movement betwen the AC and the RC but that's a whole different thread. suffice to say they are capable with a little refresher trainup time as they have proven very well these last few years and the bulk of the Heavy stuff can easily be put in the Guard -- and the Reserve; one of the DS/DS fallouts on the RC was to come up with the USAR being only CS/CSS with no combat units. Dumb idea -- but the Guard loves it, of course.

I didn't lay out any SOF strength because I think the current projected by 2009/10 strength is adequate. My personal belief is that SOCOM should retain a slightly bigger and better equipped JSOC and its heirs and assigns (and get long range airplanes with really short field cape) but that the SF Groups and the bulk of the CA/PsyOps units should revert to Army control and SF should concentrate on the ID/IW missions, period. :cool:

Interesting times...

RTK
05-19-2008, 01:56 PM
Fostering people with similar capabilities will require tearing down the Army and rebuilding it, says retired Army Maj. Donald Vandergriff, a vocal proponent of changing the leadership development program to create adaptive officers better suited for irregular warfare. He says the Army retains an Industrial Age development system, which is highly centralized and hierarchical and overly reliant on scripted training exercises that inculcate neither creativity nor innovation. "Young lieutenants call it the 'followership' course. They're told where to go, what to do, where to sign in [and] constantly lectured," Vandergriff says.

Going through old threads, I came across this. MAJ(R) Vandergriff is coming to Knox on Thursday and I'm a little sad he can't stay for an entire Armor BOLC III course. I doubt his line of thinking would be the same afterwards.

RTK
05-23-2008, 12:41 AM
Going through old threads, I came across this. MAJ(R) Vandergriff is coming to Knox on Thursday and I'm a little sad he can't stay for an entire Armor BOLC III course. I doubt his line of thinking would be the same afterwards.

Had a great seminar this morning. He told us from his observation that we're looking like we're doing things correctly. Great discussions. I admire his passion for trying to improve the system, though I may not agree with everything.

Cavguy
05-23-2008, 05:13 AM
Had a great seminar this morning. He told us from his observation that we're looking like we're doing things correctly. Great discussions. I admire his passion for trying to improve the system, though I may not agree with everything.

You ever read "Path to Victory?". Great, thought provoking read and history of the personnel system.

Also highly recommend an ARMOR article he wrote in the late 90's about how 4 AD fought across Europe under MG Wood only on verbal FRAGOs, no written orders.

ODB
05-23-2008, 05:47 AM
Let me toss that back at you with a counter question. Do you think that this polarized US society with its sound bite attention span will accept long term campaigns of 5-10 years?

I know a bit late on this one, just getting up to speed on this, but this stuck out in my mind. I ask how many people in the US society has the GWOT truely affected? As far as I know no one beyond the service members and their families. There has been no sacrifice by the American society as a whole. No rationing, no tax increases, no draft. When was the last time the media even talked about the war, besides how it relates to the "best" our country has to offer to be the POTUS? (I'll leave the politics out) Yet these are the same people (in society) whose voices seem to be heard the most, and have the most influence on our decision makers today.