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SWJED
12-15-2007, 11:47 PM
A Modest Proposal to Adjust the Principles of War (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/12/a-modest-proposal-to-adjust-th/) by LTC Gian Gentile at SWJ Blog.


I propose a consideration to adjust the Principles of War as accepted by the American military since J.F.C. Fuller first came out with them in the early 1920s and the American Armyís use of them in the majority of its major doctrinal manuals. I do not propose radically new principles of war like Lieutenant Commander Christopher Van Avery did in a recent summer Armed Forces Journal article. His proposal of very different Principles seemed too ďnew-ageishĒ for me and in my mind wrongly assumed that the information revolution of the 1990s produced a concomitant revolution in military affairs (a still debated and contested notion by scholars). Too, with regard to Avery, I do not accept his historical premise of now as the time to radically adjust the Principles of War because of the so called recent RMA; one could easily make the argument that we should have produced new Principles of War shortly after August 1945 and the advent of atomic war and Bernard Brodieís classic The Absolute Weapon...

Norfolk
12-16-2007, 12:08 AM
I perceive that the intended message here (I may well be imagining this) in LtCol Gentile's proposal to modestly but purposefully modify the Principles of War is as much to get Students of War to think a little more about how War Theory may turn out in reality than in the abstract. The Principles of War, like most elements of Doctrine, are useful guides to thinking, learning, and practicing war. They are not elements of a formula that may be simply applied in the abstract to a real situation and be expected thus to lead to a general probability of success. They are guides to helping one develop and apply judgement; they are not its substitute. Col. Gentiles' revision of the Principles of War appears designed to shake its readers out of "complacent contemplation".

Again, I hope that I wasn't reading something into something that was not intended to be there.

SteveMetz
12-16-2007, 12:11 AM
I'm wondering how this lashes up with the essays that Hammes, Hoffman and I did for the 2005 book entitled Rethinking the Principles of War (http://www.amazon.com/Rethinking-Principles-War-Anthony-Ivor/dp/1591144817/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1197763644&sr=8-1) that OSD/OFT sponsored?

TheCurmudgeon
12-16-2007, 12:14 AM
8. Security; Here I propose replacing the Principle of “Security” with a new Principle, “Protection of the People.” Since so much of our operations today are COIN based and we know as our doctrine tells us that through protecting the people our own security will emerge out of that protection, then it seems to me that we no longer need Security as a Principle of War because if we protect the people accordingly security will come in due course.

9. Maneuver; I propose replacing this Principle of War with “Tactical Success Guarantees Nothing.” Obviously this new Principle is taken directly from the Paradoxes of the new COIN manual, FM 3-24. Since in modern war as we experience it today and in the future our soldiers all need to be “strategic corporals” then we should indoctrinate our Army to understand that tactics in and of themselves mean nothing as the paradox tells us. Maneuver as a Principle in the original list had to do primarily with the maneuvering of military forces in the field at the tactical and operational levels of war. Since one of the bedrocks of “maneuver” was tactics, and since the COIN paradox tells us that tactics in and of themselves are not that important unless they are linked to other lines of operations and higher objectives then replacing Maneuver with that paradox eliminates deadwood, so to speak, from the original Principles list.


I am going to disagree (which is no surprise to anyone who knows me). My reason is simple, COIN is not war, at least as it is used in the principles of war.

War as used in the principals of war is a conflict carried on by force of arms, as between nations. It involves a clash between large, organized forces. The principles of war work fine for that type of battle. Where you have clear centers of gravity and lines of operation that are tangible and can be destroyed.

COIN is a fight for the hearts and minds of the people. Its center of gravity is intangible: an idea that binds a group together in a common purpose.

I would agree that you can create a completely separate principles of COIN, but I don’t think we should adjust the current principles for COIN.

Gian P Gentile
12-16-2007, 01:38 AM
I perceive that the intended message here (I may well be imagining this) in LtCol Gentile's proposal to modestly but purposefully modify the Principles of War is as much to get Students of War to think a little more about how War Theory may turn out in reality than in the abstract. The Principles of War, like most elements of Doctrine, are useful guides to thinking, learning, and practicing war. They are not elements of a formula that may be simply applied in the abstract to a real situation and be expected thus to lead to a general probability of success. They are guides to helping one develop and apply judgement; they are not its substitute. Col. Gentiles' revision of the Principles of War appears designed to shake its readers out of "complacent contemplation".

Again, I hope that I wasn't reading something into something that was not intended to be there.

Dear Norfolk:

You are spot-on as usual with your postings. Of course Principles are really only true in the eyes of their beholders. I do not see them in any way as transcendent over time. I wrote this short piece as you state to probe into the nature of contemporary war and how we understand it and where we think it will be in the future. Colin Gray's article really got me to thinking about it along with postings from Steve Metz and Ken White. There was a slight bit of tongue-in-cheek intended with this short piece based on my critique of FM 3-24 in "Eating Soup with a Spoon." But i am dead serious about trying to understand the nature of war today as are the other SWC members and that is why i posted it.


I am going to disagree (which is no surprise to anyone who knows me). My reason is simple, COIN is not war, at least as it is used in the principles of war.

Curmudgeon's quote here is a good example of why i am interested in this problem. He states that Coin is not war at least in terms of Principles, so then if that is the case then perhaps we should recommend to the writers currently working on FM3-0 to ditch the Principles all together and not include Coin in its discussion of full spectrum operations.

Also, I defer to Steve's knowledge on the literature on "Principles of War." My knowledge of it is not that deep and some of what i say in this thread may have already been covered in other works. Still i thought it a worthy topic for discussion on this great blog.

thanks for your comments and thoughts.

gian

Sargent
12-16-2007, 02:06 AM
I was originally going to post this to the Dishonest Doctrine thread, but really it's a response to your blog piece.


I will be involved in it; but not the day-to-day running of it like when you were here. Yeah, that was a great experience; I especially liked the staff ride to Saratoga when we made Simon Frasier's line "Oh Fatal Ambition" as our motto. That was my favorite tee-shirt too until my son absconded with it.

Ah, Saratoga -- Hall was impressive, and it made all of the history of the Northeast just jump out at me, and it's been in big, bold type (so to speak) since then. I owe you guys one. Ref. your son's sticky fingers, that's why I bought a second one for my husband from the get go.

Reminiscing aside, I bring up your reference to Saratoga here because I have always found it ironic to have had that lesson* of the Rev War -- the French won't get involved unless the Continentals can prove they are willing and able to fight the Brits -- brought up in the shadow of OIF. I've been living in the shadow of Rochambeau -- literally, his statue -- the last few years here in Newport, and it's a lesson I think about a lot. (My slightly more strange interaction with Rochambeau was my son, for most of the time he was 3, shouting his name as we'd walk the dog past the statue.) How one intervenes in the domestic affairs of another state/entity matters.

Maybe this ought to be principle Minus 1 for wars of the sort likely to require COIN -- that is, don't even bother with the rest if you can't nail down this part.

And I disagree with the Curmudgeon that COIN is not "war." Perhaps Fuller's Principles of War ought to be renamed Principles of 20th C Conventional War, but the concept that war itself is only encompassed at the most high-explosives, internal combustion engine end of the spectrum is far too limited. The pinnacle of the most perfectly executed war, according to Sun Tzu, is the one which need not be fought because the weaker side realizes the futility of bothering to fight, putting it at the "no intensity" end of the spectrum. I don't cotton with the habit of labelling any significant effort a
"war," but neither do I think it is useful to exclude from the definition legitimate forms.

Cheers,
Jill


* Yes, there's debate as to the actual importance of the outcome of the battle, but even with a tinge of apocrypha the lesson itself has merit. If you look further at how the French intervened -- subordinating their army forces to Washington's command (happily and willingly, it seems, at least from Rochambeau and Chastellux's commentaries, which recount very good impressions of the General and his officers) is a big one in my mind -- I think there's even more that can be gleaned from the case.

Ken White
12-16-2007, 03:15 AM
"Rabble rouser." :D

However, Norfolk beat me to it and publicly. Good job, Norfolk.

At the risk of being unintellectual and exposing my laziness, I see no problem in adapting the Principles to COIN operations as written, all it takes is a little thought.

I suggest COIN is war -- and not as some say the Graduate level -- it's more like 7th Grade; full of angst, raging hormones one knows nothing about and constantly shifting loyalties, likes and dislikes compounded by hatreds one knows not from what cause and frustrated and confusing parental 'guidance.' Plus an aging an imperfect infrastructure. Bad teachers, too...

Those Principles are just that, Principles. They simply give structure to planning and the goal of planning is to conduct successful operations at minimum cost to own forces. Thus the Principles are simply an outline and the plan is the body of work.

I've lived with those principles for a long time, they aren't perfect and not all apply in all situations but basically, they're pretty good and cover most situations I've seen in several levels of war.

I have, however long contended that Mass should be changed to Nathan. As in Nathan Bedford Forrest -- a simple reminder to get "thar fustest with the mostest." Those of a more formal bent may prefer Local superiority or even Schwerpunkt or any other term that connotes skill and agility and downplays Mass -- which should never have been first in the first place.... :wry:

Well, that's semi serious. Seriously, I have an alternative list that I've been packing around in my head for almost 40 years; I contend it is applicable to everything from life to all levels of war:

1. Surprise
2. Local dominance
3. Agility
4. Initiative
5. Simplicity
6. Objective
7. Execution
8. Economy of force
9. Security

Thus it was written in the gospel according to KW. Who by the way also points out that this version or the classic or Gian's should be viewed as readily shiftable in order, situation dependent but that the order shown will cover most situations. Yes, I know but people do tend to look at lists and consider the items in order -- particularly if there's an acronym to go with it. MOOSEMUSS = Mass; the American way of war... :D

Very seriously, excellent piece that deserves thought.

Ron Humphrey
12-16-2007, 03:55 AM
"Rabble rouser." :D

I suggest COIN is war -- and not as some say the Graduate level -- it's more like 7th Grade; full of angst, raging hormones one knows nothing about and constantly shifting loyalties, likes and dislikes compounded by hatreds one knows not from what cause and frustrated and confusing parental 'guidance.' Plus an aging an imperfect infrastructure. Bad teachers, too...

In agreement here



Well, that's semi serious. Seriously, I have an alternative list that I've been packing around in my head for almost 40 years; I contend it is applicable to everything from life to all levels of war:

1. Surprise
2. Local dominance
3. Agility
4. Initiative
5. Simplicity
6. Objective
7. Execution
8. Economy of force
9. Security



I really like the simplicity part, somes of uss need things kept rather simple in order for us to keep up.

Gian P Gentile
12-16-2007, 03:57 AM
...I suggest COIN is war -- and not as some say the Graduate level -- it's more like 7th Grade...

Thanks for saying this; The arrogance of some to suggest that Coin is the "graduate" level, or that Coin is more difficult than conventional war has always seemed over the top to me. What do such statements imply; that conventional war is the undergraduate level? I mean i have not experienced conventional war, only coin, but are we to say that then Colonel George C Marshall as Pershing's Chief of Staff as he shuffled hundreds of thousands of troops from one front to another to take part in the Meuse Argonne operated at the undergraduate level? Or a Russian tank battalion commander at the battle of Kursk, was he at the undergraduate level too. And just one more to throw in there; consider Frederick the Great as he masterfully shifted his army using a central position and interior lines at Rossbach and Leuthen to defeat the French then Austrians in sequence, he was a Junior in college while the 101st in Mosul in 2003 was writing their dissertation? Donít want to sound mean but letís just call all forms of war difficult in their own way. And we can always use St Carl's classic line: Everything in war is very simple but the simplest thing is very difficult."

Agree with your point on Principles; your list looks good to me. I wrote the post because i found the idea of wrestling in one's head what they should be a good way to get at the deeper problem of defining the nature of war as we know it today and in the future.

gian

selil
12-16-2007, 05:03 AM
I have to admit that I find defining COIN and conventional military activities as so different is troubling. COIN is a mission not a vision. As such COIN is part of the conventional military operational capablity. Of course in my uneducated opinion I think amphibious operations are conventioanl military operations, and anti-terrorism is also conventional military operations. Nuclear missiles, drug interdiction, and training support of foreign militaries I think might be unconventional military operations.

Ken White
12-16-2007, 05:39 AM
Ron said:
I really like the simplicity part, somes of uss need things kept rather simple in order for us to keep up.

That would be me. I'm taking an anti-virus med that's supposed to have confusion as a side effect. I can't tell a bit of difference... :D

Gian said:
I wrote the post because I found the idea of wrestling in one's head what they should be a good way to get at the deeper problem of defining the nature of war as we know it today and in the future.

Always a good idea to look long and hard and question everything (and most everybody ;)). I am convinced that we've gotten out of the habit of asking questions for fear of looking untootered. Since I can't spell it, I've never worried about it and I think we've gone too far with the oriental concept of face. Maybe too many shooters of messengers about. McNamara's 'zero defects' has a lot to answer for...

Good Blog item...

Selil said:
...As such COIN is part of the conventional military operational capablity. Of course in my uneducated opinion I think amphibious operations are conventioanl military operations, and anti-terrorism is also conventional military operations. Nuclear missiles, drug interdiction, and training support of foreign militaries I think might be unconventional military operations.

I can buy all of that. But you are NOT getting me to climb down another Cargo net from a 'KA to the Mike Boa... Wha... Huh? They don't? When did they quit??? :o

Norfolk
12-16-2007, 06:06 AM
"Rabble rouser." :D

However, Norfolk beat me to it and publicly. Good job, Norfolk.

That's what my dad calls me, lovingly of course!


I've lived with those principles for a long time, they aren't perfect and not all apply in all situations but basically, they're pretty good and cover most situations I've seen in several levels of war.

I have, however long contended that Mass should be changed to Nathan. As in Nathan Bedford Forrest -- a simple reminder to get "thar fustest with the mostest." Those of a more formal bent may prefer Local superiority or even Schwerpunkt or any other term that connotes skill and agility and downplays Mass -- which should never have been first in the first place.... :wry:

Well, that's semi serious. Seriously, I have an alternative list that I've been packing around in my head for almost 40 years; I contend it is applicable to everything from life to all levels of war:

1. Surprise
2. Local dominance
3. Agility
4. Initiative
5. Simplicity
6. Objective
7. Execution
8. Economy of force
9. Security


[]Very seriously, excellent piece that deserves thought.

I have long considered Nathan Bedford Forest to be perhaps the finest battlefield general this Continent has ever produced (sorry about Galusha, Ken).:o And I put him right up there with Sherman (but not side-by-side).:D

Yep, as long as we've got smart Colonels like Gian, the Army has hope for the future. As for one or two Air Force officers that seem to want to replace the Principles of War either with a list as long as your arm, or with one that seems too abstract to stick to anything, reading that stuff just tends to confuse me and make my head hurt. Nine clear principles is good; let's think about them and stick to them (but not out of force-of-habit).

Gian: In the Commonwealth, we've always kind of looked at Colonial Wars/COIN/Small Wars as the place to start off, honing one's individual and sub-unit skills before moving on up the spectrum ladder; for us, HIC Combined Arms operations is Graduate level!

Ken White
12-16-2007, 06:27 AM
was the youngest General ever; a 21 year old BG has got to have something aside from a family tree. Sherman was good, quite good. However, I think mayhap you ought to consider Daniel Morgan -- and your Guy Simonds is sadly under rated by many, good Corps Commander...

Norfolk
12-16-2007, 06:36 AM
was the youngest General ever; a 21 year old BG has got to have something aside from a family tree. Sherman was good, quite good. However, I think mayhap you ought to consider Daniel Morgan -- and your Guy Simonds is sadly under rated by many, good Corps Commander...

Morgan was an interesting fellow, to put it mildly, and sometimes I've thought it kind of funny that I've been places where he'd operated in.

General Simonds got better with time; he was good in WWII, but by the time he was CGS during Korea, he really shined - and Currie in WWI was very good. Of course, he (Simonds) wasn't in the field anymore, except when he went to check on 1st Div. But I'm still facinated by both Sherman and Forrest.

William F. Owen
12-16-2007, 07:11 AM
I would strongly urge all concerned to read Robert Leonhards "Principles of War for the Information Age (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0891417133?ie=UTF8&tag=smallwarsjour-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=0891417133)."

Single most important book I have read in the last 7 years. It has vastly informed and improved both my own writing and understanding of what I am trying to do.

I cannot recommend this little known work highly enough

William F. Owen
12-16-2007, 07:44 AM
":

1. Surprise
2. Local dominance
3. Agility
4. Initiative
5. Simplicity
6. Objective
7. Execution
8. Economy of force
9. Security



1. Surprise - what is your definition of surprise?
2. Local dominance - so what distribution?
3. Agility - do you mean the ability to change direction quickly?
4. Initiative - initiate means to start, so why is starting something a principle?
5. Simplicity - meaning only do something simple? Comparative to what?
6. Objective - what about freedom of action?
7. Execution - meaning what?
8. Economy of force - relative to what and meaning what?
9. Security - what about activity?

I am in no way looking to be dismissive of your list, but I would ask what such a list is supposed to achieve? How does having such principles or even being aware of them help the practice of operations?

The challenges to each principle are derived from Leonhard.

Gian P Gentile
12-16-2007, 01:58 PM
I have long considered Nathan Bedford Forest to be perhaps the finest battlefield general this Continent has ever produced (sorry about Galusha, Ken).:o And I put him right up there with Sherman (but not side-by-side.

Norfolk: Grant is still my number one; I cant get the image of him standing under the tree at night in the rain after the first day of shiloh where he is really figuring things out about the true nature of the war he is fighting. And to cross over to another thread a bit, I think a neglected American general at least at the operational level in ww2 is old Curt LeMay.


In the Commonwealth, we've always kind of looked at Colonial Wars/COIN/Small Wars as the place to start off, honing one's individual and sub-unit skills before moving on up the spectrum ladder; for us, HIC Combined Arms operations is Graduate level!

I humbly accept this statement; and sadly many Coin aficionados continue to wrongly portray conventional war as binary and simple. Oh Please, although i never fought in one but of course am a student of them through history i can only imagine them being anything but binary and simple. But my point here is to throw some realism on the Coin fetish and suggest to its oracles to bring themselves down a notch or two and show a bit of humility toward things.
Coin as I experienced was certainly not easy, but neither i imagine is conventional war.

slapout9
12-16-2007, 02:22 PM
1. Surprise - what is your definition of surprise?
2. Local dominance - so what distribution?
3. Agility - do you mean the ability to change direction quickly?
4. Initiative - initiate means to start, so why is starting something a principle?
5. Simplicity - meaning only do something simple? Comparative to what?
6. Objective - what about freedom of action?
7. Execution - meaning what?
8. Economy of force - relative to what and meaning what?
9. Security - what about activity?

I am in no way looking to be dismissive of your list, but I would ask what such a list is supposed to achieve? How does having such principles or even being aware of them help the practice of operations?

The challenges to each principle are derived from Leonhard.



Wilf, I think this a very good point the 9 principles of war can mean many different things to many different people.

slapout9
12-16-2007, 02:27 PM
COIN is a fight for the hearts and minds of the people. Its center of gravity is intangible: an idea that binds a group together in a common purpose.

I would agree that you can create a completely separate principles of COIN, but I donít think we should adjust the current principles for COIN.


Very important point here. As I have said so often in the past the Strategic framework of Ends ,Ways and Means is the problem...it should be changed to Motives,Methods and Opportunities. You must understand the motive or movtives if you are ever going to accomplish anything.

SteveMetz
12-16-2007, 02:50 PM
For what it's worth (and I realize the correct answer to that is "not much"), here were my suggestions in the aforementioned book chapter:

Foundation Principles

Understand the conflict for what it is
Take it seriously


Characteristics of Success


Shape operations and campaigns using psychological precision concentrating on psychological effects;
Degrade the opponent's strategy rather than attrit his force;
Be able to sustain adequate effort for years, even decades;
Seamlessly integrate all government agencies and elements of power;
Design and sustain effective methods for both intelligence and counterintelligence.
Adapt at least as rapidly and more effectively than the enemy.

Global Scout
12-16-2007, 03:48 PM
I love these conversations where those indoctrinated at CGSC in pseudo-intellectual theories of war rally around Clausewitz and Army doctrine that frequently isnít worth the paper it is written on. Anyone who dares questions this sacred doctrine is subject to heresy trails and is excommunicated. Of course there is no obligation on the true believersí part to justify their hypotheses. I argue these so called ďprinciplesĒ are not based on objective observation, but simply faith and indoctrination.

They are called principles of war. A principle in the military generally means it should never be violated. In another forum we couldnít agree on the definition of war, but simply agreed you know what it is when youíre in it. We generally agree weíre at war now, so what level of war do these so called principles apply to: strategic, operational, or tactical, or all of them? I will only argue a couple of the principles.

1. Mass is no longer required to prevail at the tactical, operational or strategic levels. Whether we call it a level of war (LIC, MIC, or HIC), 4GW (I donít like the term either), or something else, desired effects can be achieved without mass. Al Qaeda achieved an impressive tactical/strategic short to mid-term victory on 9/11 without the use of mass. Numerous insurgents have achieved their desired end state using infiltration and selected acts of terror without the use of mass. With our superior training and technology we can achieve tactical and operational success without mass also. We didnít need mass for our Air Force to conduct a raid on Libya. We didnít need mass to prepare to drop a nuclear weapon on Moscow if our other forms of defense didnít work. Of course I have seen mass defined at least five different ways in an attempt to force this principle to fit to various scenarios. I have seen more time wasted in planning groups trying to defend this nonsense than actually determining what needs to be done. We need a Martin Luther in the U.S. Army to formalize the divide that I know exists between those who are trying to determine how to win, and those who are simply trying to defend their traditional education. Traditionalists should be forced to defend themselves with logical arguments instead of faith based arguments.

2. Surprise is not ďalwaysĒ required, especially if you have absolute advantage (that doesnít mean mass). At the tactical level surprise is generally desired, but at the strategic level we may very well want to advertise our intent (threaten our foes to comply and if they donít, then follow through, e.g. weapons inspections in Iraq). The utility of surprise for COIN operations is generally limited to the tactical level.

The list goes on, each principle can be challenged, which in effect means it is not a principle. Sometimes they apply, and sometimes they donít, which really makes me wonder what the ďso whatĒ factor is. Are these supposed to be criteria we use to evaluate courses of action? How do they help the war fighter? Furthermore, how can we simply assume that these so called principles of war apply to COIN? Conventional wars are focused on an enemyís military and irregular conflicts are focused on the population. The two types of conflicts are not the same. These principles were developed for conventional conflicts between peer competitors. These principles made perfect sense for the type of war they were designed for, but they make little sense today.

SteveMetz
12-16-2007, 03:58 PM
We generally agree we’re at war now...

Not me. Let me cut and paste from an unpublished manuscript I've been toying with.

THE FRAGILE ASSUMPTIONS OF AMERICAN STRATEGY

The core assumptions of American strategy were born under duress. Unlike the Cold War when Americans had the luxury of extended debate about appropriate response to Soviet aggression, September 11 demanded immediate action. The United States had to act quickly based only on what was known and anticipated at the time. In this pressure-packed and chaotic environment, President Bush and his key advisers developed the fundamental assumptions for what became known as the “war on terror” during the weeks after the attack. In the years that followed, there was little opportunity for deep debate about them. The atmosphere of crisis precluded it: to question the basic assumptions of the strategy was to be unpatriotic. When President Bush used his now-famous phrase "you are with us or against us" he was talking to the leaders of other states, but the idea applied just as much to the American public and Congress. This is understandable given the conditions and passions of the time. But we now have the opportunity for a sober and rigorous re-evaluation of the fundamental assumptions of American strategy. We better understand the threat and have greater psychological distance from the trauma of September 11. We also have a better sense of what has worked (and what has not) in the dangerous world of the 21st century.

On first hearing, the core assumptions of the war on terror make perfect sense—or at least they did in the immediate aftermath of September 11. With more careful scrutiny, they seem fragile at best, counterproductive, perhaps even wrong. Some of the assumptions can (and should) be revised, others jettisoned all together. A failure to do this—to continue with fragile or erroneous assumptions—could lead to ineffectiveness, isolation, even danger. Serious reflection is not only possible, it is imperative.

We Are at War

Take, for starters, the assumption that the United States is at war. There is no doubt that September 11 required bold action. But it did not have to be a “war” on terrorists of global reach. Casting it as such was a vital decision. As Walter Russell Mead writes, “Historians are likely to agree that nothing in the record of the Bush administration is as significant as its decision to describe the struggle that began on September 11 as a—or rather, the—“war on terror.” It set the United States on a strategic trajectory that continues today.

Certainly al Qaeda itself claimed to be at war with the United States, but so too have a range of motley groups, bands, and organizations, throughout history. This alone did not make it inevitable that the United States approach the conflict as war. For a war to exist, both sides have to agree that it does. And "all terrorists of global reach" certainly did not consider themselves at war with the United States. Ultimately the decision to cast the conflict as war probably had more to do with politics—with symbolism--than with an assessment that declaring war was the most effective approach to the threat. It demonstrated the seriousness with which the United States took the challenge from terrorism. And, quite frankly, leading the nation in war is more appealing, more glorious than leading it in a sustained, irregular conflict or—heaven forbid—imperial maintenance or transnational law enforcement. More broadly, portraying the conflict as war gave the Bush administration “operating space” both internationally and domestically, allowing it to undertake actions that it never could during peacetime. Other nations initially muted reservations they might have had about American actions. Domestic opposition and partisanship was dampened (at least until the extent of the fiasco in Iraq became clear). There is, after all, a powerful tendency to “rally ‘round the flag” in times of war. But do the benefits of portraying the conflict with violent Islamic extremists as war outweigh the disadvantages, limitations, and adverse second-order effects?

Perhaps not. To take one example, portraying the conflict as war created an expectation that there would be demonstrable progress and, ultimately, victory. America wins its wars. Despite the efforts of the President and his advisers to warn the public that this conflict could last for decades (sometimes with little progress), two hundred years of American history said otherwise. History told Americans that war is abnormal and episodic. It has a beginning and end. In the early stages the United States might experience setbacks, but eventually the momentum shifts and America marches inexorably toward defeat of the enemy. This is what war looks like to Americans. But the conflict with Islamic militants has now followed this pattern. This has created frustration and an erosion of support for President Bush. Despite the Administration’s effort to explain to the public that "this" war was different than all past American wars, they never convinced all of the public. The idea persisted that if, in fact, “this” war is not like any previous war, then perhaps it is not a war at all.

Portraying the conflict as war had other results and implications as well. For instance, it diminished the importance of other security issues and the protection of legal rights. Again, this reflects the American tradition. When the nation is at war, other security concerns are shoved to the background. Legal rights are temporarily constricted with the idea that they will be restored later. That all made perfect sense when America's wars lasted a few years. During the Civil War, securing the frontier or dealing with the French excursion in Mexico could wait. Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus was tolerable because it was temporary. Similar things happened in the world wars. The Cold War, though, was a bit different, largely because of its length. The idea that all security issues were judged by their relationship to the core superpower struggle did have some adverse effects. It alienated many states in the non-aligned movement which were frustrated by Washington's insistence on judging them and their concerns through the prism of the Cold War. Some of these relationships were later repaired, others were not. Ultimately, though, this did not destroy the effectiveness of American strategy. The superpower competition was, in fact, relevant to regional security almost everywhere. Security partnerships, issues, and problems moved to the background by America's focus on the superpower conflict actually were of secondary importance—at least at the time.

Our insistence on prioritizing security issues based on how they affected the superpower balance set the stage for some disastrous conflicts during the post-Cold War period. Had the United States approached Yugoslavia, Zaire, Afghanistan, Iraq, Cuba, Algeria, South Africa, Central America, Somalia, and North Korea without considering their relationship to the Cold War, we might not have lost interest after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Eventually things might have turned out differently. But history aside, are we making the same mistake today? Now the war on terror determines U.S. interest in a given country, region, issue, or conflict. As during the Cold War, some states overemphasize the potential for terrorism within their borders or their region, knowing that is the only way to sustain American interest and support. Are we paying inadequate attention to security problems with little or no connection to Islamic extremism such as social strife in Latin America, ecological decay, trade imbalances, immigration, domestic extremism, and technology proliferation? And are we cultivating security partners based strictly on their role in countering Islamic extremism even though this relationship may eventually come back to haunt us?

SteveMetz
12-16-2007, 03:59 PM
[continued]

Similarly, the constriction of legal rights which followed September 11, particularly those related to personal privacy, are beginning to spark debate. The initial assumption was that the public and Congress would defer to the Executive and accept whatever actions it deemed necessary. The uproar over the Administration's initial unwillingness to adhere to the 1970 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act demonstrated that this may not hold. So the dilemma persists: by casting the conflict with terror and violent Islamic extremism as a war, the Bush administration indicated that it held the right to constrict personal privacy rights. But by describing a war with no end point (or at least one far in the future), it broke with the tradition of approaching such constrictions as temporary expedients. It is not clear at this point that the public and Congress are willing to accept a permanent shift in traditional privacy rights, particularly without open debate on it. But the tension remains: if the “war on terror” is a war without end, must the United States accept a permanent wartime restriction of privacy rights?
Logically, casting the conflict as war militarized it. This, as Andrew Bacevich persuasively argues, amplified the militarization of American statecraft which had been underway for several decades. While the American public is accustomed to metaphorical uses of the word "war"—the "war on poverty," the "war on drugs"—the war on terror was not presented that way. It was portrayed as a real war. By definition, real wars are primarily resolved by military force. This logic train forced American strategy in a particular direction—toward a heavy emphasis on state support of transnational terrorism, including the provision of funding, sanctuary, intelligence, and, potentially, advanced technology. If state support was not vital to transnational terrorism, then the utility of military force was limited. But the idea of a real war where military force had limited utility was counterintuitive. The only way to reconcile this logical discontinuity was to emphasize state support even though there was little evidence that al Qaeda depended on state support.

America’s state-centric approach to strategy goes even further. To make the case that a state of war exists with Islamic extremists, American policymakers portrayed them as potential states. Hence the frequent mention of al Qaeda’s quest for a "new caliphate" which would, in President Bush's words, be "a unified, totalitarian Islamic state." In other words, to justify a state of war against a non-state enemy, we have cast them as a potential state. And not just any state, but a totalitarian one. We have, in other words, as new Hitlers, Stalins, or Saddam Husseins. One example of this thinking is the use of the term "Islamofascism" which is often used in right wing talk radio, by neoconservatives, administration policymakers, and others attracted to the idea of defining America’s purpose by a moral crusade against evil. Given that fascism is defined by hyper-nationalism, corporatist economics, the militarization of society, and the concentration of political power in the hands of a single dictator, the Islamic extremists, however vile and evil they may be, are most certainly not fascists by the normal definition of that emotion-laden word. While bin Laden may not yet be a Hitler, Stalin, or even Saddam Hussein, the thinking goes, he wants to be even in the absence of evidence. It is not enough for America’s enemy to be evil (which al Qaeda certainly is) but it also has to be a familitar type of evil—an aggressive, “fascist” movement. This has emotional appeal to Americans but gives foreign audiences—including the Islamic populations that we seek to influence—the impression that we do not truly understand the threat, thus undercutting our effectiveness in the “war of ideas.” Repeating the word “Islamofascism” does not increase its resonance in the Islamic world.

Certainly the leaders of al Qaeda have mentioned the idea of a restored caliphate. When Islam was politically unified, they believe, it was strong; when it fractured into nation states, it was vulnerable to interference and domination by non-Muslims, particularly the West. Hence it should be unified again. But there is little sign that al Qaeda has any sort of real strategy or program to create a unified Islamic state, or that the extremists could, in fact, rule one should it be created. Most of Al Qaeda's thinking derives from the salafi tradition in Islam. One of its characteristics is that "warriors"—which is the way the members of al Qaeda perceive themselves—do not rule Islamic states. Clerics, scholars, and jurists do. The role of the warrior is to please God by defending Islam, leaving the construction and administration of governments to others.

Ultimately al Qaeda can kill and destroy but cannot create or administer. As salafists, al Qaeda has no executable political plan or strategy. They are not like the Bolsheviks and Nazis who had explicit political plans and strategies even before they seized power. Recent history suggests that even should al Qaeda's allies or affiliates take power somewhere, they stand little chance of unifying the Islamic world, much less creating a super-state which can challenge the United States. It is hard to imagine, for instance, the benighted Afghan Mullah Mohammed Omar, whom Osama bin Laden considered the paragon of an Islamic leader, ruling a modern, powerful state which could challenge the West. It is equally hard to imagine that Indonesians, Bangladeshi, Indians, Afghans, Iranians, Turks, Kurds, Chechen, Uzbeks, and others would accept an Arab-dominated super state, or that Arabs would accept a caliphate ruled by one of these other nationalities. To the extent that we can glean any sort of political program or plan from the Islamic extremists, it is a recipe for a failed state. The "new caliphate" is, like the medieval European idea of "Christendom," a fantasy, clung to by both some Islamic extremists and some Americans. It is a rhetorical and ideological device, not a realistic strategic objective. To build American strategy on the delusions of our opponents rather than their capabilities is a mistake. To distort al Qaeda into the type of enemy we know and understand—a Hitler, Stalin, or Saddam Hussein who can be defeated by war—may be emotionally appealing, but it does not reflect reality. And by pretending that the threat from Islamic extremists is something it is not, we are less able to deal with the threat that it is.

Today we portray the conflict with violent Islamic extremists it as war but have not put the United States on a war footing. There has been little call for sacrifice by the American people. While the “war on terror” is now second in cost only to World War II, there is no rationing, no war-related tax increases, and no military draft. The costs have either been deferred by the combination of tax cuts and deficit spending, muted by the narrow range of American society which provides the bulk of the U.S. military, or so abstract that they matter little to the public (for instance, most Americans are unconcerned with constrictions of personal privacy because they feel that since they are not involved with terrorism, the constrictions do not affect them).

This dissonance between the rhetoric of war and the reality of sustaining the nation on a non-war footing creates confusion and undercuts the effectiveness of American strategy. Even Americans who would like to contribute to the effort have little idea of how to do so. This dissonance has international dimensions as well. Many of America’s partners, particularly the Europeans, do not consider war the appropriate or most effective response to Islamic extremism. Most partner states do not believe terror is an enemy that can be defeated in war or is amenable to military force. The result is a maelstrom of mutual frustration. Americans become frustrated with partners and friends who critique our actions and refuse support during what we see as a time of war. The partners are frustrated by what they see as the American desire to resolve a problem not amenable to military force via military force, and to demand acquiescence. So long as the United States assumes the conflict with terror and violent Islamic extremism is a war and key partners do not, this dissonance can only increase.

In the early days of the “war on terror” Michael Howard warned:


...to use, or rather the misuse the term “war” is not simply a matter of legality or pedantic semantics. It has deeper and more dangerous consequences. To declare that one is at war is immediately to create a war psychosis that may be totally counterproductive for the objective being sought. It arouses an immediate expectation, and demand, for spectacular military action against some easily identifiable adversary, preferably a hostile state—action leading to decisive results.

The war against Iraq is a perfect illustration. No one thought that removing Saddam Hussein would deal a serious blow to the transnational terrorist network which attacked the United States on September 11. But because we portrayed the conflict as war, we were compelled to undertake warlike actions. Saddam Hussein was not the most dangerous opponent the United States faced, but he was the one who looked the most like our traditional image of an enemy. There is an old saying that when all one has is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail. Saddam Hussein was an annoying and convenient nail.

SteveMetz
12-16-2007, 04:00 PM
[continued]

The decision to go to war should be based on whether war is the strategically appropriate response to a threat or challenge. A state of war is characterized by strategic focus (every other issue pales in comparison), an emphasis on the military element of national power, and a quest to impose the desired strategic outcome by imposing one’s will on an enemy by force. Violent Islamic extremism, although very dangerous, is not amenable to resolution by military action. Those who argue today that the United States should, in fact, go on a war footing fail to explain exactly how a more militaristic approach to the conflict with Islamic extremism will lead to strategic success. What, exactly, will we defeat on the battlefield? To transcend this paralysis, we must find some way to indicate our seriousness, sustain public attention, and focus our efforts on our extremist enemies without portraying what is not a war as war...

Norfolk
12-16-2007, 04:49 PM
I will add this to Steve's remarks: until recently, Commonwealth Doctrine (to the extent that it formally existed, which was somewhat scant until more recent years) tended to regard Military Operations dealing with Terrorism and Partisan Warfare/COIN and their ilk as forms of "Aid to the Civil Power". As people here well know, that meant that the Military often conducted its operations directly under civilian operational or even tactical control; cooperation and coordination between the Police/Security Forces/Intelligence Services and the Military was essential and took some time to work out. That said, the term "War" was certainly applied, if loosely, to many of these operations.


Back to the Principles of War: This is Robert S. Frost's piece written at SSI in 1999, "The Growing Imperative to Adopt 'Flexibility' as a American Principle of War". Presumably many people here have already read it, but I'm posting it here as much for its lists (on Page 6) of different Armies' Principles, and for Wilf's recommendation to consider Leonhard's Principles (Page 10):

http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/1999/flexblty/flexblty.pdf

Gian P Gentile
12-16-2007, 05:07 PM
[continued]....A state of war is characterized by strategic focus (every other issue pales in comparison)..To transcend this paralysis, we must find some way to indicate our seriousness, sustain public attention, and focus our efforts on our extremist enemies without portraying what is not a war as war...

Now I understand why you did not like my "Eating Soup with a Spoon" argument. Because in it i was arguing for exactly the opposite of what you say in this posting as extracted from your forthcoming book.

On one hand your argument makes supreme sense to me, especially as it relates to policy. However, on the other hand, it seems to me to be an abstracted argument from reality. And however well you argue this, the reality on the ground in Iraq now is that it is war. I dont see how you can neatly separate the different levels of war and say well ok at the tactical level yes it might be but at the stategic level it would not. Clausewitz, I think, would be rolling over in his grave in response to this proposition; but then again as you have commented in another post you never have had much use for St Carl as a strategist. Good point, but you misunderstand him since he did not write a book that was fundamentally about strategy but a book that was fundamentally about the nature of war, of which strategy was a component.

And the nature of war and understanding it as it exists today is why i used the "Principles" piece as a mechanism to get at it.

SteveMetz
12-16-2007, 05:08 PM
I will add this to Steve's remarks: until recently, Commonwealth Doctrine (to the extent that it formally existed, which was somewhat scant until more recent years) tended to regard Military Operations dealing with Terrorism and Partisan Warfare/COIN and their ilk as forms of "Aid to the Civil Power". As people here well know, that meant that the Military often conducted its operations directly under civilian operational or even tactical control; cooperation and coordination between the Police/Security Forces/Intelligence Services and the Military was essential and took some time to work out. That said, the term "War" was certainly applied, if loosely, to many of these operations.


Back to the Principles of War: This is Robert S. Frost's piece written at SSI in 1999, "The Growing Imperative to Adopt 'Flexibility' as a American Principle of War". Presumably many people here have already read it, but I'm posting it here as much for its lists (on Page 6) of different Armies' Principles, and for Wilf's recommendation to consider Leonhard's Principles (Page 10):

http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/1999/flexblty/flexblty.pdf

Hmmm. I'd plumb forgotten about that study.

slapout9
12-16-2007, 06:47 PM
Try this one. Defeating A Cause: Anatomy Of Defeat For Conflicts Involving Non-Nation States.

http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/p4013coll2&CISOPTR=587&filename=588.pdf#search=%22Defeating A Cause%22

Ken White
12-16-2007, 07:03 PM
1. Surprise - what is your definition of surprise?

our definitions in a military context are quite similar. Simply in my view it means doing the unexpected and can be anything from a withdrawal to a no-firearms infiltration by small teams to an Inchon Landing and most everything in between. The choices are only limited by ones imagination and initiative...


2. Local dominance - so what distribution?

Strange question, METT-T applies as always -- not trying to be doctrinaire because I'm certainly not that but ask a question, get an answer.


3. Agility - do you mean the ability to change direction quickly?

Uh, no. That's only a relatively small part of the agility quotient and a rather silly one to cite i'd think. I mean the mental flexibility, equipment flexibility and organizational flexibility to respond quickly to enemy actions taken, hopefully, in response to own actions that precipitated the situation at hand..


4. Initiative - initiate means to start, so why is starting something a principle?

Two nations divided by a common language :D . No, I mean to foster and encourage initiative on the part of subordinates and units and, tactically and operationally (and far more importantly), to always seek to be the initiator of actions rather than to respond to the opponents actions. If you don't think that's important, we can disagree on the value.

The ability to think and to act in the absence of orders or when faced with an unusual situation. It also reinforces Agility and Surprise


5. Simplicity - meaning only do something simple? Comparative to what?

Avoid complex plans, the more complexity, the more openings for failure. Sometimes complexity is required but in my experience, that's quite rare.


6. Objective - what about freedom of action?

I'm easy, change it to 'goal' or 'aim.' Freedom of action is a given if initiative is fostered and encouraged. The issue is to remain focused on the purpose and destination of the operation.


7. Execution - meaning what?

Kill the guilty? Or the process actually followed as opposed to the planned course in achieving the goal or aim. Or you could reverse paraphrase this: ""I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!""


8. Economy of force - relative to what and meaning what?

Don't apply "overwhelming force." Use what's needed to do the job. Why send five men on a patrol when three are adequate -- or, even better, a single Scout can do the job. Why insist on a coordinated two Brigade attack when a Reinforced Battalion infiltration will do a better job? No sense risking more casualties than necessary. There are other considerations but that's one.


9. Security - what about activity?

Security means watch your rear and practice sensible OpSec for the level of force involved. I have no earthly idea what you mean by "what about activity."


I am in no way looking to be dismissive of your list, but I would ask what such a list is supposed to achieve? How does having such principles or even being aware of them help the practice of operations?

For the impossibly brilliant, such a list is a total waste of time; for the pedestrian it gives a simple list of ideas to consider in the conduct of operations. It is a framework, no more, for the application of force in war. If one dwells at Platoon level, it's a totally unnecessary list; at higher echelons, it may have some utility for many, little for a few. It is admittedly too long, it can be refined down to five. Which five?


The challenges to each principle are derived from Leonhard.

Have not read it. Given this quote Amazon says is therein:
"We still persist in studying a type of warfare that no longer exists and that we shall never fight again." Roger Trinquier, Modern Warfare, 1961. I probably won't bother. People have been telling me that war as we knew it is gone forever since the late 40s; been to three Wars, two county fairs and a goat roping since then and war is pretty much war. I heard there'll never be another amphibious landing -- then I went to Inchon, been downhill on that score ever since. I've heard about the demise of Parachute troops and the death of the Tank. Right...

Principles of War are like principles of living, some need them, some don't. Having a sensible set available may do some good and is unlikely to do much harm.

Ken White
12-16-2007, 07:21 PM
I love these conversations where those indoctrinated at CGSC in pseudo-intellectual theories of war rally around Clausewitz and Army doctrine that frequently isn’t worth the paper it is written on. Anyone who dares questions this sacred doctrine is subject to heresy trails and is excommunicated. Of course there is no obligation on the true believers’ part to justify their hypotheses. I argue these so called “principles” are not based on objective observation, but simply faith and indoctrination.

True in many respects. Too true, in fact and that needs to be changed. however, for the here and now, it whiles away a rainy day. :D

For the real world, flexibility and how to think need a lot of emphasis.
. . .


1. Mass is no longer required to prevail at the tactical, operational or strategic levels. Whether we call it a level of war (LIC, MIC, or HIC), 4GW (I don’t like the term either), or something else, desired effects can be achieved without mass. Al Qaeda achieved an impressive tactical/strategic short to mid-term victory on 9/11 without the use of mass. Numerous insurgents have achieved their desired end state using infiltration and selected acts of terror without the use of mass. With our superior training and technology we can achieve tactical and operational success without mass also. We didn’t need mass for our Air Force to conduct a raid on Libya. We didn’t need mass to prepare to drop a nuclear weapon on Moscow if our other forms of defense didn’t work. Of course I have seen mass defined at least five different ways in an attempt to force this principle to fit to various scenarios. I have seen more time wasted in planning groups trying to defend this nonsense than actually determining what needs to be done. We need a Martin Luther in the U.S. Army to formalize the divide that I know exists between those who are trying to determine how to win, and those who are simply trying to defend their traditional education. Traditionalists should be forced to defend themselves with logical arguments instead of faith based arguments.

Agreed; moderation and balance in all things is good...

But Mass does need to go. :mad:


2. Surprise is not “always” required, especially if you have absolute advantage (that doesn’t mean mass). At the tactical level surprise is generally desired, but at the strategic level we may very well want to advertise our intent (threaten our foes to comply and if they don’t, then follow through, e.g. weapons inspections in Iraq). The utility of surprise for COIN operations is generally limited to the tactical level.

Also true. Surprise will likely be achieved less often than not -- but it should generally be sought at the Tactical level, less so at operational and Strategic levels. I'd add that in seeking surprise at any level, a very realistic assessment needs to be made on the prospects of achieving it -- if the answer is less than 75% assurance (on a good WAG and some nervous souls or situations call for an even higher assurance), then don't try it -- a failed surprise can turn into a real disaster.


The list goes on, each principle can be challenged, which in effect means it is not a principle. Sometimes they apply, and sometimes they don’t, which really makes me wonder what the “so what” factor is. Are these supposed to be criteria we use to evaluate courses of action? How do they help the war fighter? Furthermore, how can we simply assume that these so called principles of war apply to COIN? Conventional wars are focused on an enemy’s military and irregular conflicts are focused on the population. The two types of conflicts are not the same. These principles were developed for conventional conflicts between peer competitors. These principles made perfect sense for the type of war they were designed for, but they make little sense today.

Some people like "principles" some don't. They mainly serve as a teaching vehicle; the bad part of that as you point out is that some then hew to them as gospel. Most people don't do that. Some folks can take them and realize what they are and adapt them to any situation, some don't want to bother. What works should be the determinant. I rarely use any of my set of needle files but they are handy when I need them so I ain't throwing 'em away. ;)

wm
12-16-2007, 09:14 PM
I've followed this thread for a while now and feel the urge to chime in. If Gian's intent was to get COIN true-believers to recognize that warfare includes much more than just counter-insurgency operations, then I suspect a few more of the 9 principles need to be amended in order to get their attention. However, I predict that such an effort will be to no avail True believers tend not pay the right kind of attention when others lampoon their sacred cows. They usually just become angry and defensive.

As to the point of having principles of war, I submit that they have two functions:
(1) Folks use them to conduct post mortems (sometimes know as after action reviews or campaign studies) on military operations or battles. The goal in this case is to explain a commander's success or failure by showing how well or poorly the principles were applied in the operation under study.
(2) Other folks (those whom I would call ops planners) use them as a check on the plans that they build. That is, they see how well the plan conforms to the principles of war. The more principles they get right, the higher the likelihood that those folks in group 1 above wil consider the operation a success.

For planners, as Ken notes in the quotations that follow, the principles may or may not be necessary. What will be necessary is the METT-TC analysis (I know Ken doesn't hold much truck with including civilians in the planning process, but they really do impact on operations and must be planned for.)

.For the impossibly brilliant, such a list is a total waste of time; for the pedestrian it gives a simple list of ideas to consider in the conduct of operations. It is a framework, no more, for the application of force in war. If one dwells at Platoon level, it's a totally unnecessary list; at higher echelons, it may have some utility for many, little for a few. It is admittedly too long, it can be refined down to five. Which five?

Principles of War are like principles of living, some need them, some don't. Having a sensible set available may do some good and is unlikely to do much harm.

METT-TC, by the way sets the context that Wilf and Global Scout were looking for in their respective posts. I suspect that METT-T also could be used to come up with Ken's 5 principle list (with suitable renaming and some creative redescriptions): Mission=objective; time=surprise; security (Ken's agility)=troops available; enemy=security; and terrain and weather=initiative)

On a separate note, here's an anecdote related to Ken's comment about the order of presentation of the principles. When I learned them from an Armor officer in ROTC, he lead off with Maneuver; an artillery officer who taught them in OBC started with Mass while the infantry-branched tactics guru led off with Offensive.
My personal mnemonic sort goes like this: maneuver, objective, surprise, simplicity, mass, offensive, security, unity of command, economy of force. Part of the arrangement puts what I consider the key components to building a plan that is likely to succeed as the first four items, the remaining 5 are also important, but their relative im[portance is much more dependent on METT-TC, IMHO. They are arranged in order simply to remember them as MOUSE.

Ken White
12-16-2007, 09:51 PM
...
On a separate note, here's an anecdote related to Ken's comment about the order of presentation of the principles. When I learned them from an Armor officer in ROTC, he lead off with Maneuver; an artillery officer who taught them in OBC started with Mass while the infantry-branched tactics guru led off with Offensive.
My personal mnemonic sort goes like this: maneuver, objective, surprise, simplicity, mass, offensive, security, unity of command, economy of force. Part of the arrangement puts what I consider the key components to building a plan that is likely to succeed as the first four items, the remaining 5 are also important, but their relative im[portance is much more dependent on METT-TC, IMHO. They are arranged in order simply to remember them as MOUSE.

include a quote from from a Dinosaur. :wry:

I think it's particularly good that you included the paragraph of yours I quote above. Being old, I'd truly forgotten that my early days also included a different order depending on who was spouting the principles. The thing that was pounded in my head was that the order was irrelevant, apply them to the situation at hand and you may not need all of them. Perhaps we've gotten away from that.

That triggered another thought. All forms of warfare have their devotees, all our little Mafias (and I've belonged to a couple) make it entirely too easy to develop mantras that become dogma. Take the people bit. I don't really have an objection to including the 'C' -- just a reactionary move objecting to change for change's sake -- and I acknowledge that 'C' is not such a change, it does have a place. Sometimes I just say stuff to see if everyone's awake... :D

However, that let me recall I had before 1960 been informed that COIN did required a focus on people. Then, after working in three Insurgencies and a couple of IW operations that were not quite insurgencies in the strictest sense, I realized two things that occurred in all of those.

1. The vast majority of the people just wanted all those involved in the actual conflict of force to just go away and leave them alone. Period.

2. If you are a foreigner, particularly if there is a large cultural and /or racial gap, they are not ever going to give you their hearts and minds and are not going to trust their own folks who are on your side.

Get too wrapped around the people bit and you'll expect things you'll never see. Yes, the focus is on the people rather than on the enemy forces but it's entirely too easy to determine that a specific pattern of operation is the holy grail. I doubt that any one size fits all is going to adapt totally to all situations and the tendency to adopt a mantra and make it a dogma exists.

All that's required to avoid that is a little initiative and mental agility. :cool:

Gian P Gentile
12-16-2007, 10:13 PM
...Get too wrapped around the people bit and you'll expect things you'll never see. Yes, the focus is on the people rather than on the enemy forces but it's entirely too easy to determine that a specific pattern of operation is the holy grail. I doubt that any one size fits all is going to adapt totally to all situations and the tendency to adopt a mantra and make it a dogma exists.
I find Ken's point here exceptionally insightful. This goes along with what i have been arguing about dogmatism today in the American Army with the dominance of Coin. The notion of the people as the center of gravity and the Principle--turned law--turned rule to "protect the people" has become dogmatic and keeps us from being creative. Generally yes in Coin the people should be the focus, but if we make that the rule all of the time then we might find ourselves comitting lots of combat brigades to whatever little problem confronts us because we believe we have to go in and "protect the people."

And WM your description of why i wrote the thing is correct:


If Gian's intent was to get COIN true-believers to recognize that warfare includes much more than just counter-insurgency operations, then I suspect a few more of the 9 principles need to be amended in order to get their attention.

That is what i was trying to explore with the piece; If we are dominated by Coin in the American Army and those true believers are not listening to Ken White et al and think Coin is the wave of the future and the only kinds of wars we will be fighting then lets just lay it on the line and start taking away some of the Principles and replacing them with Coin specific ones. That is why in the piece i limited myself to the original nine so to put two new ones in i would have to take two of the old ones out.

gian

TheCurmudgeon
12-16-2007, 10:19 PM
I will add this to Steve's remarks: until recently, Commonwealth Doctrine (to the extent that it formally existed, which was somewhat scant until more recent years) tended to regard Military Operations dealing with Terrorism and Partisan Warfare/COIN and their ilk as forms of "Aid to the Civil Power". As people here well know, that meant that the Military often conducted its operations directly under civilian operational or even tactical control; cooperation and coordination between the Police/Security Forces/Intelligence Services and the Military was essential and took some time to work out. That said, the term "War" was certainly applied, if loosely, to many of these operations.




Just curious, what was the success rate for operations conducted under this system?

On a seperate note, what ever happen to the principles of MOOTW (I always loved the way that word sounded ... MOOOO-TWAAAH!)
Some of them, Restraint, Perseverance, and Legitimacy made it into the new Joint Principles.

SWJED
12-16-2007, 10:30 PM
... On a seperate note, what ever happen to the principles of MOOTW (I always loved the way that word sounded ... MOOOO-TWAAAH!)

... OOTW and LIC too. While not principles, I wrote / listed / extrated about General Zinni's considerations for MOOTW (http://smallwarsjournal.com/documents/dilegge.htm) in 2003. I posted this on the Urban Operations Journal as we were on the eve of OIF.


... They are presented here as helpful guidelines on winning the peace before, during, and after the dust settles in Baghdad and other Iraqi urban areas.


Each operation is unique. We must be careful what lessons we learn from a single experience.



Each operation has two key aspects - the degree of complexity of the operation and the degree of consent of the involved parties and the international community for the operation.



The earlier the involvement, the better the chance for success.



Start planning as early as possible, include everyone in the planning process.



Make as thorough an assessment as possible before deployment.



Conduct a thorough mission analysis, determine the centers of gravity, end state, commander's intent, measures of effectiveness, exit strategy, and the estimated duration of the operation.



Stay focused on the mission. Line up military tasks with political objectives. Avoid mission creep and allow for mission shifts. A mission shift is a conscious decision, made by political leadership in consultation with the military commander, responding to a changing situation.



Centralize planning and decentralize execution of the operation. This allows subordinate commanders to make appropriate adjustments to meet their individual situation or rapidly changing conditions.



Coordinate everything with everybody. Establish coordination mechanisms that include political, military, nongovernmental organizations, and the interested parties.



Know the culture and the issues. We must know who the decision-makers are. We must know how the involved parties think. We cannot impose our cultural values on people with their own culture.



Start or restore key institutions as early as possible.



Don't lose the initiative and momentum.



Don't make unnecessary enemies. If you do, don't treat them gently. Avoid mindsets or words that might come back to haunt you.



Seek unity of effort and unity of command. Create the fewest possible seams between organizations and involved parties.



Open a dialogue with everyone. Establish a forum for each of the involved parties.



Encourage innovation and nontraditional responses.



Personalities are often more important than processes. You need the right people in the right places.



Be careful whom you empower. Think carefully about who you invite to participate, use as a go-between, or enter into contracts with since you are giving them influence in the process.



Decide on the image you want to portray and keep focused on it. Whatever the image; humanitarian or firm, but well-intentioned agent of change; ensure your troops are aware of it so they can conduct themselves accordingly.



Centralize information management. Ensure that your public affairs and psychological operations are coordinated, accurate and consistent.



Seek compatibility in all operations; cultural and political compatibility and military interoperability are crucial to success. The interests, cultures, capabilities, and motivations of all parties may not be uniform; but they cannot be allowed to work against one another.



Senior commanders and their staffs need the most education and training in nontraditional roles. The troops need awareness and understanding of their roles. The commander and the staff need to develop and apply new skills, such as negotiating, supporting humanitarian organizations effectively and appropriately, and building coordinating agencies with humanitarian goals.


General Zinni offers basic, common-sense guidelines here. Unfortunately, many of these guidelines are left behind at our military think-tanks and schoolhouses once the first round goes downrange. We are reaching critical mass and can ill-afford to relearn lessons from such places as Vietnam, Somalia, Haiti, and elsewhere. It is time to start winning wars instead of battles - winning hearts and minds instead of temporary respite. With that we will win the peace.

carl
12-16-2007, 10:49 PM
I remember reading articles about this subject 30 years ago when I was in college. They made me think the whole thing was complex beyond human understanding until I read the following:

'Many years ago, as a cadet hoping someday to be an officer, I was poring over "The principles of war" listed in the Old Field Service Regulations, when the Sergeant-Major came upon me. He surveyed me with kindly amusement "Don't bother your head about all them things me lad." he said "There's only one principle of war and that's this. Hit the other fellow as quick as you can and as hard as you can, where it hurts him most, when he ain't looking." -Field-Marshall Sir William Slim'

That is the most sensible thing about the subject I ever read.

John T. Fishel
12-16-2007, 11:05 PM
Larry Cable used to delight CGSC students with his comment on MOO TWAAA, "Sounds like a cow going out of both ends."

Cheers

JohnT

SteveMetz
12-16-2007, 11:21 PM
Larry Cable used to delight CGSC students with his comment on MOO TWAAA, "Sounds like a cow going out of both ends."

Cheers

JohnT

Larry was also the first person that I ever heard refer to peacekeeping as "armed social work." Don't know if he invented it but I guess it's possible since he apparently invented his whole life story.

Global Scout
12-16-2007, 11:25 PM
If you are a foreigner, particularly if there is a large cultural and /or racial gap, they are not ever going to give you their hearts and minds and are not going to trust their own folks who are on your side.

Having been involved in a few COINs I respectfully disagree; however, I agree that the many in the American military are far from the ideal individuals to execute COIN. Too many of our Soldiers and officers are arrogant and assuming, and unwilling to "really" listen to the locals, thus too quick to burn bridges with the indigenous personnel in whatever country they manage to put boots on the ground in. Special Forces is one of the only units that is actually trained to establish and maintain rapport with the locals, and trust is absolutely essential (it takes time to develop and constant work to maintain it). Unfortunately we too have started to lose that trait since 9/11, since everyone, including SF wants to play whack-a-mole and engage in bankrupt concepts like network targeting.


Get too wrapped around the people bit and you'll expect things you'll never see. Yes, the focus is on the people rather than on the enemy forces but it's entirely too easy to determine that a specific pattern of operation is the holy grail. I doubt that any one size fits all is going to adapt totally to all situations and the tendency to adopt a mantra and make it a dogma exists.

Some people, I believe Kilcullen is one, say there are two strategies in COIN. One is enemy focused, and it only works when the insurgency is in the incipient phase. The other one is population focused and it has historically had the highest success rate. I would argue that neither of these strategies work unilaterally, but rather is using a combination of carrots and sticks to influence the population to act a certain way. The key is getting the population to support you (not like you), so you need to find ways to organize them, not simply build schools and assorted other eye wash. The center of gravity is not the population, because regardless of what Mao stated (we have another Clausewitz problem, as many think all insurgents have to follow Mao's tentants) about a fish swiming in a sea of people (support). I can support an insurgency without popular support from the locals, especially if I'm content to conduct strictly terrorist type activities. On the other hand, I will have a hard time forming large maneuver forces from the local population without some degree of moral/popular support. To weed the insurgents out you have to some degree of support from the population to get the required intelligence, and you have to convince them that your objectives are in their best interests (hearts) and that you are going to win, not the insurgents (minds), which will stem the flow of support to the insurgents from inside the country. This doesn't happen overnight, you have to have operational patience, because X doesn't equal Y, rather X equals a wide range of potential responses, so you have to be flexible, but remain focused on the population to get to the enemy. I think the new COIN doctrine allows this, but that doesn't mean it being practiced that way. Instead some simply want to build schools and naively assume they're having the desired effect.

I for one don't think that COIN is sole fight of the future, but rather we still face grave threats (in the future) of state versus state conflicts for access to vital resources. The persistant threat of state versus state conflict is why many Army leaders didn't want to see the Army involved in COIN again after Vietnam, because it would distract the Army at many levels from maintaining its warfighting capability. While that argument is true (look at where we're at today), it was also illogical to assume that we could avoid COIN altogether. I think we are once again at the Fulda Gap crux, but instead of the gap its COIN. During many of the Cold War years the focus of the Army was defeating Soviet Maneuver forces in Europe, everything else was a distant second priority. Reasoned analysis told us that was the gravest threat to our security at the time. Now we think the gravest threat to our security is transnational terrorism (I would argue this isn't reasoned analysis at all, but regardless it is where we are at now), and COIN is the response, everything else is a distant second priority.

As always we need to maintain the capability to do both. I still generally agree with GEN Shinseki when he said something along the lines of we can lose a COIN and still survive, but we cannot survive losing a conventional war. I think that argument is still valid, and we have to accept that some insurgencies can't be won without an unreasonable amount of dollars and blood, because the HN government is simply inept. In those cases we have the option of saying enough, we tried to help you.

slapout9
12-16-2007, 11:51 PM
Hi Global Scout, Speaking of Special Forces there was an outline I was given (1973) that I don't have anymore from the JFK school of Special Warefare called the "Seven Steps From Hell" or something like that. It outlined the 7 steps or principles to be used in COIN warfare has anybody ever heard of it? It was a pretty easy read and easy to follow. If anyone has or knows where to get it, it might be interesting to post it. The title is the best I remember it and it could be slightly differant but seven steps was in the title somewhere.

John T. Fishel
12-17-2007, 12:01 AM
You packed a lot of wisdom in that post.

Steve, you have to admit that, at the very least, Larry was an original (or should I say inventive) thinker.:D

SteveMetz
12-17-2007, 12:12 AM
You packed a lot of wisdom in that post.

Steve, you have to admit that, at the very least, Larry was an original (or should I say inventive) thinker.:D


He and Ralph were two people I NEVER want to follow as a speaker. Last time I saw Larry the two of us were speakers at the SF Branch Conference. I met a two star named Schoomaker who was running it.

Global Scout
12-17-2007, 01:10 AM
I'll look around, we had the 7 phases of U.S. sponsored unconventional warfare forever (a somewhat limited perspective of UW, focuses on using guerrillas/insurgents to support our conventional forces), but I don't ever recall seeing the 7 steps for COIN? I'll look though and see what I can come up with.

The UW steps are:

1. Psychological preparation of the target audiences
2. Initial contact between guerrillas and U.S. contacts
3. Infiltrating USSF
4. Organizing the guerrillas
5. Build up the guerrilla forces
6. Employ the guerrillas (guerrilla warfare)
7. Demobilize the guerrillas (turn the weapons into plows again, yea right).

There is a lot that goes into each step, but this is the general idea. I guess you could draw some parallels to COIN, but I wouldn't.

Ken White
12-17-2007, 01:11 AM
Having been involved in a few COINs I respectfully disagree...

That's fine, your nations involved and mine probably differ and people and experiences differ. Other than with Latin Americans (with no great culture or religion gap), It still tracks in my experience.

I haven't been involved in Iraq or the 'Stan but I did live in the ME for a couple of years and got to travel about. Certainly no expert but I did learn four things in the ME:

1. They are exceedingly polite.
2. That politeness leads them to tell you what they think you want to hear.
3. They will hew to you as long as they perceive any advantage to them, their family, their Tribe or their country in that order.
4. Nothing in the ME is as it seems.

My son who's been to both theaters says the Afghans are different in many respects and are far easier to work with and that they can be won over to a far greater extent. Different strokes.


...however, I agree that the many in the American military are far from the ideal individuals to execute COIN. Too many of our Soldiers and officers are arrogant and assuming, and unwilling to "really" listen to the locals, thus too quick to burn bridges with the indigenous personnel in whatever country they manage to put boots on the ground in. Special Forces is one of the only units that is actually trained to establish and maintain rapport with the locals, and trust is absolutely essential (it takes time to develop and constant work to maintain it). Unfortunately we too have started to lose that trait since 9/11, since everyone, including SF wants to play whack-a-mole and engage in bankrupt concepts like network targeting.

Agree on all counts. I'd also say that some Americans will never be able to be trained to lose some of those negative aspects you cite -- which complicates the COIN problem for the non-SF Army.

Problem is that there aren't enough really qualified people who can pass honest Selection and fill the Groups, therefor the rest of the Army in all likelihood going to have to get involved and better cooperation between Green and big Army is necessary...


Some people, I believe Kilcullen is one, say there are two strategies in COIN. One is enemy focused, and it only works when the insurgency is in the incipient phase . . . Instead some simply want to build schools and naively assume they're having the desired effect.

Agree. No caveats. :wry:


I for one don't think that COIN is sole fight of the future . . . Now we think the gravest threat to our security is transnational terrorism (I would argue this isn't reasoned analysis at all, but regardless it is where we are at now), and COIN is the response, everything else is a distant second priority.

Agree.


As always we need to maintain the capability to do both. I still generally agree with GEN Shinseki when he said something along the lines of we can lose a COIN and still survive, but we cannot survive losing a conventional war. I think that argument is still valid, and we have to accept that some insurgencies can't be won without an unreasonable amount of dollars and blood, because the HN government is simply inept. In those cases we have the option of saying enough, we tried to help you.

And I agree with that as well. It all goes back to a frank assessment before commitment. Given that the 'national leadership' (scary phrase, that...) over the next decade or so is not likely to have any military experience at the helm; it is up to the Army to produce a full spectrum capability, to better operate with SOCOM and to let said leadership know what's in the too-hard box. As one of Shinseki's predecessors said, "We 'can-do' ourselves to death." That needs to stop. However, excessive caution and disinclination to commit also merit thought...

Good post. I just want to see some balance and have watched for a great many years the swings to opposite poles in doctrine. Those are not good.

And I still never got to Europe...:D

William F. Owen
12-17-2007, 01:49 AM
Gentelman,

As previously stated I strongly suggest reading Leonhard. Despite the title, it is real "old school" stuff, and does a away with a lot of the rubbish that Fuller, Liddell Hart, and FM-100/5 comes up with.

SEMANTICS

Words are important. If we were all doctors, all words used would have a universal and precise meaning. Same is true if we were physicists or engineers.

We can't talk about surprise, initiave or economy of force unless there is a precise, accurate and useable definition. Look at the way Ken White and I have utterly different understandings of Agility and Initiative.

It would seem to me, that the calibre of men on this board (and it is exceptional - most boards like this are populated by morons) should be able to focus on developing a common understanding to ensure greater use.

William F. Owen
12-17-2007, 02:07 AM
I love these conversations where those indoctrinated at CGSC in pseudo-intellectual theories of war rally around Clausewitz and Army doctrine that frequently isnít worth the paper it is written on. .

1. Mass is no longer required to prevail at the tactical, operational or strategic levels. Whether we call it a level of war (LIC, MIC, or HIC), 4GW (I donít like the term either), or something else, desired effects can be achieved without mass.

If there is no theory to underpin the profession of arms then it is not a true profession, as in medicine, engineering or law. Its just a job, like being a hairdresser or shop assistant. You just need to be trained. You don't have to be able to reason. - and as it is a true profession, I submit that sound theory is vital - otherwise you just have opinions. You don't see engineers having "opinions" about single span bridges.

If mass is no longer required, then when a J-TAC calls in a combined Fast Air, NGF and Atry strike on a high value target, is he not concentrating mass in time and space?

If mass is no longer required, what is the opposite of mass, that we should be emphasising?

Norfolk
12-17-2007, 02:38 AM
The Curmudgeon: Just curious, what was the success rate for operations conducted under this system?

Works more often than not. British and Anzac operations in Malaya, Kenya, Cyprus, Borneo, Oman, and Northern Ireland were more-or-less successful, although some of them were rather more "Militarized" than others. Palestine, India, and Aden are the more spectacular failures - although the Brits themselves left in order. Canada had to use thousands of troops in 1970 during the FLQ Crisis (a debatable case admittedly), and again in 1990 to deal with Mohawk disquiet (not as debatable as the FLQ) - tense times, but nothing like the aforementioned examples.


Table 5. Leonhard’s Laws of War and Principles of Information Age Warfare.34

LAWS OF WAR:

The Law of Humanity
The Law of Economy
The Law of Duality

PRINCIPLES OF INFORMATION AGE WARFARE
Principle of Knowledge and Ignorance (Independent Principle):


Two Principles of Two Principles of Two Principles of
“Aggression”: “Interaction”: “Control”:

Dislocation and Opportunity and Option Acceleration
Confrontation Reaction and Objective

Distribution and Activity and Security Command and
Concentration Anarchy


In late 1998, Robert R. Leonhard, an active duty U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, released a provocative, yet insightful book titled The Principles of War for the Information Age.30In his book, Leonhard rejects the entire set of principles of war based on what he considers both their obsolescence and intellectual bankruptcy in dealing with conflict.31 Leonhard does not reject the notion of identifying and espousing principles of war. He asserts, though, that a “principle” must not be treated as an “aphorism” (which he defined as “a truth of some sort”32) or a prescription; but rather, as a basis for dialogue and argument. 33He proposes three, immutable “laws of war” underpinning his seven “principles of information age warfare.” These are summarized in Table 5. Though his proposed principles may at first appear to carry a format roughly similar to the traditional nine, that is where any similarity abruptly ends. [] Leonard’s calls for a radical shift in how the military uses and thinks about principles of war, and his ideas deserve careful consideration.9

As to Leonhard's Three Laws of War, I discern recourse to the Just War Doctrine in the First, and Sun Tzu and Clausewitz in the latter two, and especially hard/ordinary/conventional and soft/extraordinary/unconventional elements (zhi and qi) in the Third Law. Good, solid, traditional stuff.

The "Seven Principles of War for the Information Age" offhand make sense, but since this is very new to me I have not grasped it beyond the superficial, although I see elements of the Three Laws reflected in the Seven Principles, especially the last two Laws. I am in full agreement with Leonhards' view of the role and purpose of "Principles of War" as bases for "dialogue and argument" - thinkin' n' learnin'. More good stuff.

There does seem to be an un- or under-stated element or principle of time/speed here, and I'm not certain that Leonhard merely implies it, or that its covered by his "Two Principles of Interaction" and "Option Acceleration and Objective" from the "Two Principles of Control". This is well worth thinking about, but it's going to take me some more time to really assimilate.

Ken White
12-17-2007, 02:46 AM
If there is no theory to underpin the profession of arms then it is not a true profession, as in medicine, engineering or law. Its just a job, like being a hairdresser or shop assistant. You just need to be trained. You don't have to be able to reason. - and as it is a true profession, I submit that sound theory is vital - otherwise you just have opinions. You don't see engineers having "opinions" about single span bridges.

There are a number of competing theories that underpin the profession of arms. There always will be as people of differing experience levels and intellect espouse their version of the 'correct' theory. If the profession of arms is the management of violence as some say, that implies order from chaos. That has been achieved by proponents of various theories and I suggest, as the saying goes, there is no wrong answer -- unless one wishes to relegate it to an academic pursuit. I think that would be a very bad mistake. Academic precision is nice, combat rarely is.

Yes, you do see engineers having opinions about single span bridges -- if we did not, then there would be no need to seek proposals for design selection.


If mass is no longer required, then when a J-TAC calls in a combined Fast Air, NGF and Atry strike on a high value target, is he not concentrating mass in time and space?

I'd say no -- I'd say he was achieving Local Superiority. ;)


If mass is no longer required, what is the opposite of mass, that we should be emphasising?

Agility, initiative and local superiority? :D

slapout9
12-17-2007, 03:22 AM
I'll look around, we had the 7 phases of U.S. sponsored unconventional warfare forever (a somewhat limited perspective of UW, focuses on using guerrillas/insurgents to support our conventional forces), but I don't ever recall seeing the 7 steps for COIN? I'll look though and see what I can come up with.

The UW steps are:

1. Psychological preparation of the target audiences
2. Initial contact between guerrillas and U.S. contacts
3. Infiltrating USSF
4. Organizing the guerrillas
5. Build up the guerrilla forces
6. Employ the guerrillas (guerrilla warfare)
7. Demobilize the guerrillas (turn the weapons into plows again, yea right).

There is a lot that goes into each step, but this is the general idea. I guess you could draw some parallels to COIN, but I wouldn't.


Global Scout, due to the time frame that I read it I would you have found what I was thinking of. Associating this with COIN was just my sometimes bad memory and my interpretation if it. Thanks for finding it. Slap

slapout9
12-17-2007, 03:24 AM
If mass is no longer required, then when a J-TAC calls in a combined Fast Air, NGF and Atry strike on a high value target, is he not concentrating mass in time and space?



To me he is massing an effect on a target.

William F. Owen
12-17-2007, 03:37 AM
There are a number of competing theories that underpin the profession of arms. There always will be as people of differing experience levels and intellect espouse their version of the 'correct' theory. If the profession of arms is the management of violence as some say, that implies order from chaos. That has been achieved by proponents of various theories and I suggest, as the saying goes, there is no wrong answer -- unless one wishes to relegate it to an academic pursuit. I think that would be a very bad mistake. Academic precision is nice, combat rarely is.

Yes, you do see engineers having opinions about single span bridges -- if we did not, then there would be no need to seek proposals for design selection.



I'd say no -- I'd say he was achieving Local Superiority. ;)



Agility, initiative and local superiority? :D

OK, but all the engineers proposals will use same the basic criteria, and be measurable. Load, cost, materials etc, will not be opinions or should not be.

No one is looking for academic precision. I was utterly dismissive of doctrine until I realised that it was 100% essential to a subject that needed to be taught. No doctrine, no nothing. Doctrine = that which is taught.

How is achieving local superiority, different from creating greater mass than the enemy has, in that time and space?

William F. Owen
12-17-2007, 03:48 AM
To me he is massing an effect on a target.

Without wishing to be pedantic, effects are the result of actions, so massing effects implies many effects from many actions. This is still many things being concentrated in one place. Is this not mass?

Ken White
12-17-2007, 04:00 AM
OK, but all the engineers proposals will use same the basic criteria, and be measurable. Load, cost, materials etc, will not be opinions or should not be.

However, the combination of load, cost materials, etc and in what design package esoterically will be different opinions -- all will work, most likely. Which is selected will be in the eyes of the selection committee (they'll use a committee so no one is responsible if it's a cockup).


No one is looking for academic precision. I was utterly dismissive of doctrine until I realised that it was 100% essential to a subject that needed to be taught. No doctrine, no nothing. Doctrine = that which is taught.

Totally agree -- but that has little to do with semantics and I submit that the Doctrine followed by Brazil, China, Russia, the UK and the US will differ markedly and will be culturally based and semantically different. I contend that is not only acceptable but desirable -- cultures differ and while words are indeed important, usage varies as you earlier pointed out. I'd add trunk / boot, petrol / gasoline, elevator / lift and dozens of others. Recall also that excessive standardization breeds decay; competition OTOH, tends to foster improvement.

Still, if semantics are important to one, I submit that dictionaries exist and that most doctrinal tenets are usually textually expanded (ad infinitum and ad nauseum at that). It seems to me you're proposing a solution in search of a problem.


How is achieving local superiority, different from creating greater mass than the enemy has, in that time and space?

Not one whit -- thus my point about the semantics making little difference. ;)

Ken White
12-17-2007, 04:04 AM
Without wishing to be pedantic, effects are the result of actions, so massing effects implies many effects from many actions. This is still many things being concentrated in one place. Is this not mass?

a hardened shelter containing a fighter, it's not mass ( .9 metric tons against ~ 15,000) but it is local superiority... :wry:

slapout9
12-17-2007, 11:16 AM
Without wishing to be pedantic, effects are the result of actions, so massing effects implies many effects from many actions. This is still many things being concentrated in one place. Is this not mass?


No it is not pedantic, it is a good point. But it is difficult to measure hence the confusion over it being a principle one could follow. How many actions equals massing? How do you measure something like that?

Gian P Gentile
12-17-2007, 11:28 AM
No one is looking for academic precision. I was utterly dismissive of doctrine until I realised that it was 100% essential to a subject that needed to be taught. No doctrine, no nothing. Doctrine = that which is taught.

As an aside but to comment on this definition of doctrine, I prefer a definition that a good friend of mine recently gave me:

"Doctrine is how an army thinks out loud about war."

gian

John T. Fishel
12-17-2007, 12:35 PM
SLUGS like us (iron Majors and LTCs active and retired).:D

A brief comment on professions: I noted no disagreement that the Law is a profession (only good lawyer jokes please). While most lawyers worldwide recognize a professional affinity, their theoretical basis differs drastically. Consider the differences between Code Law and Case (or Common) Law countries. Consider too those legal systems based on religious law as well as the hybrids. Finally, note the differences in legal theory in US law as taught in US law schools.

So, I submit that a profession that draws its theory from SunTzu, Machiavelli, Clausewitz, Giulio Douhet and Billy Mitchell, John Warden, Max Manwaring, Steve Metz, and Dave Kilcullen, among many others and produces an international debate at a high level on this board is clearly a profession - the profession of arms.

Cheers and a salute to all of you

JohnT

SteveMetz
12-17-2007, 12:41 PM
So, I submit that a profession that draws its theory from...Max Manwaring
JohnT

Speaking of whom--today is his 75th birthday. Drop him a line!

TheCurmudgeon
12-17-2007, 01:27 PM
Dear Norfolk:



Curmudgeon's quote here is a good example of why i am interested in this problem. He states that Coin is not war at least in terms of Principles, so then if that is the case then perhaps we should recommend to the writers currently working on FM3-0 to ditch the Principles all together and not include Coin in its discussion of full spectrum operations.

gian

Sir,

First, I would like to clear up one misunderstanding; I did not mean to infer that COIN is not war, although along the spectrum included in full spectrum operations there are a number of things that are not conflict. When someone blows up a vehicle in your convoy, engages you in a running gun battle while you try to recover your vehicle, you have to call in CAS and you take prisoners, I would agree that is war, even if all we were trying to do was build a road.

Second, as professionals, I think we are capable of recognizing that different problems have different solutions. That there are general guidelines we can follow but that not every one applies in every situation. Rather than the engineering example, I will use a doctor and a patient. You examine the patient, determine the disease, determine the appropriate treatment, treat, monitor to ensure the treatment is working, and if not adjust.

So if you treat a cold different than cancer, why not treat COIN different than Nation-State conflicts. Why do we always feel the need to beat that square peg into that round hole?

I would also like to throw out there that there are different insurgencies. That you should treat an external insurgency (AQ) different than an internal insurgency (Sunni). That you should destroy one while you might want to co-opt the other.

SteveMetz
12-17-2007, 02:41 PM
Sir,

First, I would like to clear up one misunderstanding; I did not mean to infer that COIN is not war, although along the spectrum included in full spectrum operations there are a number of things that are not conflict. When someone blows up a vehicle in your convoy, engages you in a running gun battle while you try to recover your vehicle, you have to call in CAS and you take prisoners, I would agree that is war, even if all we were trying to do was build a road.

Second, as professionals, I think we are capable of recognizing that different problems have different solutions. That there are general guidelines we can follow but that not every one applies in every situation. Rather than the engineering example, I will use a doctor and a patient. You examine the patient, determine the disease, determine the appropriate treatment, treat, monitor to ensure the treatment is working, and if not adjust.

So if you treat a cold different than cancer, why not treat COIN different than Nation-State conflicts. Why do we always feel the need to beat that square peg into that round hole?

I would also like to throw out there that there are different insurgencies. That you should treat an external insurgency (AQ) different than an internal insurgency (Sunni). That you should destroy one while you might want to co-opt the other.

I'm actually commenting on Gian's post that you quoted--I just can't find it.

I think the logic is kind of off. 3-0 is about military operations, not war. Counterinsurgency includes military operations. Just because the authors of 3-0 elect to include what are normally called the "principles of war" does not mean that all military operations become war.

Gian P Gentile
12-17-2007, 02:52 PM
Sir...First, I would like to clear up one misunderstanding; I did not mean to infer that COIN is not war, although along the spectrum included in full spectrum operations there are a number of things that are not conflict.

Thanks so much but please if you would call me Gian, blogs are by nature very democratic. They follow the democratic tradition of leveling where what matters most is words and ideas and not rank and priveledge.

Yeah, I appreciate and understood what you were getting at in terms of Principles, defining the nature of war, and Coin. I think what i am seeing developing on this thread via the most thoughtful postings by SWC members is that most of us still define the nature of war generally in the same way; albeit with different words and different literal definitions of those words as we use them to define the nature of war. No one has come up on the Net and said yes, yes, we should use "protection of the people" as a Principle of War since it is a fundamental Principle in Coin. And to tell you the truth when i wrote this short piece as primer I really did not expect to get any agreement with my "proposed" changes. What this reinforces to me is that as an Army we do need to consider the dominance that Coin thinking, operating, and doctrine is having on us because that dominance is out of synch--based on at least the postings to this thread--the way most understand the nature of modern war; if that makes any sense.

thanks

gian

William F. Owen
12-17-2007, 02:56 PM
As an aside but to comment on this definition of doctrine, I prefer a definition that a good friend of mine recently gave me:

"Doctrine is how an army thinks out loud about war."

gian

I know what you mean. I have actually had serving officers try and tell me that doctrine is something other than what it taught.

Global Scout
12-17-2007, 02:59 PM
If there is no theory to underpin the profession of arms then it is not a true profession, as in medicine, engineering or law. Its just a job, like being a hairdresser or shop assistant. You just need to be trained. You don't have to be able to reason. - and as it is a true profession, I submit that sound theory is vital - otherwise you just have opinions. You don't see engineers having "opinions" about single span bridges.

I think this statement contradicts itself in many ways, and clearly points out the divide between at least two schools of thought. For sake of argument I'll define the argument above as traditionalists and counter-arguments as evolutionary.


If there is no theory to underpin the profession of arms then it is not a true profession, as in medicine, engineering or law. Its just a job, like being a hairdresser or shop assistant. You just need to be trained. You don't have to be able to reason. - and as it is a true profession, I submit that sound theory is vital - otherwise you just have opinions. You don't see engineers having "opinions" about single span bridges.

The professions of medicine and engineering would have froze in time if their practitioners had a St. Clausewitz. Instead each true professional continued to evolve his science by challenging assumptions, developing new ideas, and most importantly submitting old and new concepts to rigorous tests to confirm or deny their validity. Now we have medical mircles and engineering marvels. Blindly accepting our doctrine, which many traditionists do (not all, some actually make, or try to make, logical arguments to defend it) prohibits one from reasoning. I personally don't see the link between being able to reason and having doctrine? Numerous successful insurgent leaders around the world didn't have our doctrine, but developed their own ideas based on observation and developed a reasoned strategy. I would argue that our doctrine limits our ability to reason, and I know I'll get stoned for that one.

Are ideas generated outside of doctrine just opinions? I think some of these opinions come closer to theory than our actual doctrine, because by definition theory should have been validated by a certain degree of testing, it is the highest level of validity next to a law, which has been validated. The traditionalists don't validate their doctrine through experiments and observation, but gradually change the meaning of the definitions to fit different scenarios to the point where the definitions make no sense at all.

I would like to see the original definitions for each principle of war as they were written circa 1920, and then see where we're at today. I think that would be helpful.


If mass is no longer required, then when a J-TAC calls in a combined Fast Air, NGF and Atry strike on a high value target, is he not concentrating mass in time and space?

If mass is no longer required, what is the opposite of mass, that we should be emphasising?

I guess everytime we shot someone we were massing our concentration and front sight on the enemy for a split second, but is that what the principle really means? If it is, then what value is it? It goes back to you need to shoot that SOB before he shoots you, at least that makes sense and has some utility in training and operations.

Just because mass is not always required doesn't mean we need its opposite. That assumes that our scenarios require mass or the opposite of the mass.

Sargent
12-17-2007, 03:51 PM
The professions of medicine and engineering would have froze in time if their practitioners had a St. Clausewitz. Instead each true professional continued to evolve his science by challenging assumptions, developing new ideas, and most importantly submitting old and new concepts to rigorous tests to confirm or deny their validity. Now we have medical miracles and engineering marvels. Blindly accepting our doctrine, which many traditionists do (not all, some actually make, or try to make, logical arguments to defend it) prohibits one from reasoning. I personally don't see the link between being able to reason and having doctrine? Numerous successful insurgent leaders around the world didn't have our doctrine, but developed their own ideas based on observation and developed a reasoned strategy. I would argue that our doctrine limits our ability to reason, and I know I'll get stoned for that one.


Fields like engineering and medicine and so forth do not have legions of historians who study their pasts. While this untethers them from a slavish devotion to their pasts, it also creates the illusion that everything new is better and progress.

Consider an analogy: if you look, say, at home building in the US, the quality of the product has actually deteriorated in the last 50 years. I live in a cottage, built for turn-of-the-century laborers, and I would submit that despite its old age it will likely outlast any McMansion currently under construction. (That's why the words "pre-war" mean so much to a New Yorker hunting for a quality piece of real estate.) While there are many factors that have influenced this development, part of it is due to a culture of neophilia.

I agree that the military institutions ought not to be slaves to their pasts, that it is folly to never question anything that a particular "saint" of the history has ever said or done. However, I think that the opposite course is equally problematic, and just as likely to get a person in trouble or create a bad outcome.

Ultimately, what I am suggesting is that we don't trade vice for another.

Cheers,
Jill

wm
12-17-2007, 05:02 PM
At the risk of derailing this thread a little, I need to digress somewhat on what it is to be a profession. I donít think it is a total derailment since I think it also provides some insight regarding the place doctrine ought to be considered to occupy.

Academics tend to establish a list of conditions that a thing must meet before it can be given a certain label or name. The word ďprofessionĒ falls into this category as well. As I seem to remember from my grad school days, a profession required four basic characteristics:

1.A specialized body of knowledge (BOK);
2.A standard of conduct AKA a code of ethics;
3.A means of assessing entrantsí qualifications for joining the group; and
4.A means of disciplining/excluding those who fail to meet the first and or second criteria above.

Seems to me the military meets all four of these criteria:
1.Doctrine and the assorted customs and traditions of the various services;
2.Each service has a set of value and we all have the UCMJ;
3.Various qualification tests and basic entry training for recruits; pre-commissioning programs (Academies, OCS, ROTC) for officers;
4.Again the UCMJ/MCM as well as various admin discharge procedures and school/promotion selection competitions.

[Lawyers, doctors, even purveyors of commercial affection (hookers) do too, but I wonít exemplify how.]

Once you learn the secret handshake (AKA the specialized BOK) and get initiated into the profession, you can start to play fast and lose with it within your peer group (other members of the profession). Just donít try to do so until you are granted full member status.

Ron Humphrey
12-17-2007, 05:13 PM
Fields like engineering and medicine and so forth do not have legions of historians who study their pasts. While this untethers them from a slavish devotion to their pasts, it also creates the illusion that everything new is better and progress.

Consider an analogy: if you look, say, at home building in the US, the quality of the product has actually deteriorated in the last 50 years. I live in a cottage, built for turn-of-the-century laborers, and I would submit that despite its old age it will likely outlast any McMansion currently under construction. (That's why the words "pre-war" mean so much to a New Yorker hunting for a quality piece of real estate.) While there are many factors that have influenced this development, part of it is due to a culture of neophilia.

I agree that the military institutions ought not to be slaves to their pasts, that it is folly to never question anything that a particular "saint" of the history has ever said or done. However, I think that the opposite course is equally problematic, and just as likely to get a person in trouble or create a bad outcome.

Ultimately, what I am suggesting is that we don't trade vice for another.

Cheers,
Jill


Considering this analogy, the soldiers of yester-year where also from a time in which really hard work and stamina where a requirement for everyday survival. Thus one might be reasonably able to say that our soldier of today is somewhat less stout. As I'm sure none of us would agree to that then I would look at what is different and what is the same.

The heart, soul, commitment, belief in themselves their families and their country are as strong today as ever. Also the difference in that volunteer / draft might be seen to add up to a even more established mission accomplishment focus.

Just as with houses, things change, they are however still houses. Houses may not be built the same or of the same materials as before but niether are the enemies exactly the same, nor their tactics. They have capabilities they didn't have, we also. We have guidelines/principles/training manuals/FM any of the above which provide at best good direction but at worst and all too often excuse for unwillingness to see things as they are; rather than as they should be.

Should the concern really be over whether we go to far and Forget what we know or should we simply be focused on ensuring that what we know is still valid in any given case and consistently work towards better refinement of practices in areas we may not know so well.

Its always easier to learn something you don't know than it is to re-learn something you KNOW. At least in learning the new it is almost always a guarantee that we will compare and contrast it with established knowledge.

How often do we actually see it work the other way around?:confused:

Sean Osborne
12-17-2007, 06:48 PM
I would also like to throw out there that there are different insurgencies. That you should treat an external insurgency (AQ) different than an internal insurgency (Sunni). That you should destroy one while you might want to co-opt the other.

I agree with the sum of the entire post the above excerpt is taken from.

Having read every post within this thread, I had a nagging set of questions buffeting me the entire way to this point. The above quote prods me to post the following and I'll try to present them as best I can.

I'll lead my question with a couple of observations which may or may not be correct, but will assume for the moment are correct.

Observation 1: COIN is a strictly OCONUS military operation.

Observation 2: With respect to CONUS and what some identifiy as an active Islamist insurgency within CONUS (such as described by LTC Joseph C Myers).

(Active Insurgency being defined as 2/93 or WTC-1, OKC, and 9/11, and as identified in the recent NYPD treatise, as well as anticipated future terrorist insurgent events) :

Question 1: Why is it that America conducts COIN operations with military force in OCONUS theaters yet within CONUS it is only a matter of or for law enforcement (Posse Comitatus notwithstanding) involving the Justice Department?

Question 2: What about CONUS insurgent activity and subsequent action with respect to the disputed details Able Danger is reported to have detected and the specific application of E.O. 12333?

Question 3: Are Al-Qaeda or Hezbollah (or others) somehow different in OCONUS theaters than they are here in CONUS? Even with respect given to foreign state sponsorship which smacks of an 'Act of War'?

William F. Owen
12-18-2007, 01:54 AM
If there is no theory to underpin the profession of arms then it is not a true profession, as in medicine, engineering or law.

...and I end having to quote myself :D

I said IF. Obviously I submit that there is a profession of arms and it is a true profession, albeit one that substantially lacks the academic rigour and qualifications associated with Law, Medicine, and Engineering. - and for anyone that disagrees, I'd love to know where I can do an MA or PhD in Military Theory.

A great deal of contemporary Military Theory/science is not fit for purpose. My contention is that because there are few/no formal courses of study in this area, we constantly undermine ourselves.

It always amazes me that people agonise over the "Principles of War" without ever asking why such principles are deemed important. Train setting a list of improper nouns does not a valid foundation of theory make.

I'm pretty sure that neither Sun-Tzu or the old Prussian came up with a list of principles, on which there work was based.

Ken White
12-18-2007, 04:01 AM
...and I end having to quote myself :D (1)

I said IF. Obviously I submit that there is a profession of arms and it is a true profession, albeit one that substantially lacks the academic (2) rigour (3) and qualifications associated with Law, Medicine, and Engineering (4). - and for anyone that disagrees, I'd love to know where I can do an MA or PhD in Military Theory (5).

A great deal of contemporary Military Theory/science is not fit for purpose (6). My contention is that because there are few/no formal courses of study in this area, we constantly undermine ourselves.

It always amazes me that people agonise (7) over the "Principles of War" without ever asking why such principles are deemed important. Train setting a list of improper nouns does not a valid foundation of theory make.(8)

I'm pretty sure that neither Sun-Tzu or the old Prussian came up with a list of principles, on which there work was based (9).

(1) Several have disagreed with you on that score, many have also pointed out that there are a number of theories. Thus the question becomes, are there no theories or just none that satisfy you?

(2) It is not an academic pursuit. Indeed, in many respects it is the antithesis of such pursuits. Is it your suggestion that such an Academic approach and applied rigor can improve combat performance?

(3) You misspelled rigor. :) I say that in jest and only to highlight that words have meaning -- but are sometimes spelled and interpreted differently; I think that's a culture thing. I also think it important to remember that. Not to change British to US spelling or vice versa (seriously) but to recall that cultural divide is more significant than most realize.

(4) Significant post secondary education is not required -- indeed, not desired -- for most participants in the profession of arms. Nor is the degree of precision required in two of your named professions required -- it is, in fact, very difficult to obtain much precision in most operations. Academic solutions have been tried and found wanting then discarded (in the US Army at least). Conversely, considerably more accuracy and truth is required in the profession of arms than is true in the third profession cited. Thus the comparison is not totally apt IMO so could I ask for the connection you see?

(5) Most practitioners do not need a heavy grounding in theory, the few that do can easily acquire advanced degrees in related fields. A baccalaurate degree in Military Science can be obtained -- which is in itself a misnomer as soldiering is an art, not a science. Indeed, I would submit that much of the current malaise you see is caused by trying to create yet another pseudo-science. I would also ask if one had a PhD in Military Theory, aside from teaching others the precepts, of course, what would one do to put that knowledge to practical use?

(6) By whose definition?

(7) My reading of this thread shows that most who have commented essentially agree with you and that none are agonizing over them. You favorably cited Leonhard who IIRC, addressed them. Who do you see as agonizing over the issue?

(8) That is possibly true. Given the sometimes bitter battles over theory in other academic fields, if there were a Filed of Military theory, what indications do we have that such unsatisfactory theories would not proliferate?

(9) Possibly. Without access to their working drafts, outlines or thoughts, we cannot know. What leads you to believe that no such items or a list probably did not exist?

I list these not to be confrontational nor to disparage, I am truly trying to understand what you're trying to say in this comment.

William F. Owen
12-18-2007, 04:45 AM
I list these not to be confrontational nor to disparage, I am truly trying to understand what you're trying to say in this comment.

...and I am very pleased that you do. I very much appreciate having my thoughts subject to peer review, and a good kicking once in a while never hurts. Forces me to write, and thus think, more clearly.

To whit, here are my main points.

a. On the subject of the thread, Do we need to adjust principles of war, if they are of dubious merit, - eg: Do they help make soldiers better at what they do? I submit that Leonhard's method of arguments is extremely useful, or rather I find it so, because I now understand things that I previously did not.

b. Military Theory lacks a common set of definitions comparative to other fields of study. I submit that this is extremely problematic. This is not just my opinion. It is a real bone of contention in the UK. I have many examples. Israeli military theory is similarly hamstrung due to the translation issue.

c. I believe that there should be a sound academic grounding to the profession of arms. It would save us considerable pain and pay off in the long run. I am not suggesting NCOs read Sun-Tzu. Education needs to be appropriate.

PS - Rigor was plain lazy typo. No excuses!

wm
12-18-2007, 01:05 PM
...a. On the subject of the thread, Do we need to adjust principles of war, if they are of dubious merit, - eg: Do they help make soldiers better at what they do? I submit that Leonhard's method of arguments is extremely useful, or rather I find it so, because I now understand things that I previously did not.!
My rejoinder to this question is a rather straightforward "maybe." I suspect we might first try to decide to whom the principles are of dubious merit. Then we might assess why they are of dubious merit to those folks. It might just turn out that the principles are being used for inapproriate purposes, which would certainly make them of little value. If you were driving in an F1 race at Silverstone on a dry day, would you use rain slicks on your car? Similarily, if you were plannning a tactical reconnaissance patrol at the squad level, would you assess your effort in terms of MOSS MOUSE?



...b. Military Theory lacks a common set of definitions comparative to other fields of study. I submit that this is extremely problematic. This is not just my opinion. It is a real bone of contention in the UK. I have many examples. Israeli military theory is similarly hamstrung due to the translation issue.!
Military theory comes in different brands, just as medicine does. DOs (Osteopaths) and DCs (Chiropractors) do not always use the same definitions as MDs nor do they undergo the same kind of training and certification processes. In the English profession of law you have barristers and solicitors, who, IIRC, have different standards of conduct, licensure, practice, etc. In the US, lawyers specialize in criminal or in civil practice, but not usually both. (Even more often, instead of practicing at the bar, they become officious government bureaucrats who stifle progress :D)

Even if we had a standing set of common definitions, we would still find ways to twist them to mean what each of us choose--remember what Humpty Dumpty told Alice--

HD: There's glory for you.
Alice: I don't know what you mean by 'glory' there.
HD: When I use the word 'glory' I mean 'knock-down argument.'
Alice: But 'glory' doesn't mean that!
HD: When I use it, it does.
Alice: The question is whether you can make a word mean anything you want.
HD: No, the question is who's to be the master, that's all (he said with a contemptuous smile). (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass )


...c. I believe that there should be a sound academic grounding to the profession of arms. It would save us considerable pain and pay off in the long run. I am not suggesting NCOs read Sun-Tzu. Education needs to be appropriate.!
I suspect that here we see disagreement on the definition of 'academic grounding.' If the goal is to break down stovepipes and make various service schoolhouses teach the same things, I think you will find that you run afoul of the problem I noted regarding your second point. BTW, I see no reason to exclude NCOs from reading Sun Tzu or any other "theoretical" piece of militaria, unless of course you are suggesting that this famous stanza from Tennyson's "The Charge of the Light Brigade" is true:

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

William F. Owen
12-18-2007, 03:20 PM
Military theory comes in different brands, just as medicine does. DOs (Osteopaths) and DCs (Chiropractors) do not always use the same definitions as MDs nor do they undergo the same kind of training and certification processes.

All true, but when MDs talk about trauma, or toxic shock they all have a clear and universal understanding.

Military theory does not have a clear agreement of definitions or applications of such words that are clearly important. Just read back through the thread and see how different folks have different meanings for different words. - then ask a doctor or physicist if they have the same problem.

If I asked for a definition of "Shock action" on these boards I would get a range of opinions. Not a definition on which all agreed. I bet people even have differing definitions of what Military Theory is. MDs all know what Pathology is, or Psychiatry is not.

Ron Humphrey
12-18-2007, 04:26 PM
All true, but when MDs talk about trauma, or toxic shock they all have a clear and universal understanding.

Military theory does not have a clear agreement of definitions or applications of such words that are clearly important. Just read back through the thread and see how different folks have different meanings for different words. - then ask a doctor or physicist if they have the same problem.

If I asked for a definition of "Shock action" on these boards I would get a range of opinions. Not a definition on which all agreed. I bet people even have differing definitions of what Military Theory is. MDs all know what Pathology is, or Psychiatry is not.

over my head,but

The military is for defense and offense, they fight one way or the other.
In the end whoever wins, wins and irregardless of the 20/20 hindsights which may come along the winner, won.

So shouldn't the overwhelming focus be on how to win whichever battle you are in at a given point. Then learn from your mistakes. But spend most of your time in between learning how to be better at winning the next time. In other words how to think.

Does not How to think at it's very core equate to a willingness to closely examine all aspects and factors in efforts to be better equipped mentally, physically, emotionally for the next encounter.

There will always be a next encounter, and it will always be different, while similar. So it's the difference between standing on principles, and not ignoring them. The former not always being possible and I submit the latter almost never being wise.

Ken White
12-18-2007, 04:28 PM
...
a. On the subject of the thread, Do we need to adjust principles of war, if they are of dubious merit, - eg: Do they help make soldiers better at what they do? I submit that Leonhard's method of arguments is extremely useful, or rather I find it so, because I now understand things that I previously did not.

Who determines the merit? If they are to be adjusted, who determines to what and in what way? A committee....

Now that IS scary.


b. Military Theory lacks a common set of definitions comparative to other fields of study. I submit that this is extremely problematic. This is not just my opinion. It is a real bone of contention in the UK. I have many examples. Israeli military theory is similarly hamstrung due to the translation issue.

We can agree on the first sentence, we can agree it can pose problems (particularly in coalition operations -- though that is easing. Slowly but soldiers tend to be conservative...). We can disagree that it is a significant problem -- other than for those who wish to study and conduct academic discourse on the topics; the folks actually doing the job make it work.

However, certainly the fact that I contend you're -- as I said semi jokingly earlier -- proposing a solution in search of a problem should be no deterrent to your thesis. I do suspect, however, that getting the rather fractious and arrogant Israeli, UK and US military types to agree on common terminology will be rather like herding cats. Though probably not as much fun...

That's without including any other nations.


c. I believe that there should be a sound academic grounding to the profession of arms. It would save us considerable pain and pay off in the long run. I am not suggesting NCOs read Sun-Tzu. Education needs to be appropriate.

I agree but I suspect our definitions of "sound academic" would differ; I'd also suggest that NCOs should read Sun Tzu -- and that even Privates should have some rudimentary knowledge of the departed Chinese gentleman and several other theorists.

I don't really care which theorists as long as there are several. Been my observation that competing dogmas lead people to pick and choose from them to find a path that works for the them at the time..

That, I think, is a good thing


PS - Rigor was plain lazy typo. No excuses!

Not a problem, as I said, just a minor, joking item. Your PS emphasizes my points -- in a pinch or a hurry, we all often revert to our cultural background and omit the nuances; and the difference in form does not really detract from understanding at all...

Still, best of luck with your quest.

wm
12-18-2007, 04:41 PM
All true, but when MDs talk about trauma, or toxic shock they all have a clear and universal understanding.

Military theory does not have a clear agreement of definitions or applications of such words that are clearly important. Just read back through the thread and see how different folks have different meanings for different words. - then ask a doctor or physicist if they have the same problem.

If I asked for a definition of "Shock action" on these boards I would get a range of opinions. Not a definition on which all agreed. I bet people even have differing definitions of what Military Theory is. MDs all know what Pathology is, or Psychiatry is not.

Having worked at a state agency that licenses and disciplines physicians, I can tell you that not all MDs agree as to the meaning of trauma and toxic shock, pathology and psychiatry nor what each field of practice includes. For exmple, trauma is divided into diferent levels, based on the kinds of treatment that may be required. It gets even more exciting when the MDs in question received their training in Med schools that are not located in the US.
Physicists are also prone to miscommunication. As a simple example, the gulf between theoretical and experimental physicists is quite striking. And mathematicians are not much better. Take geometry for example--is that Euclidean geometry, non-Eucklidean geometry, Reimannian geometry, Cartesian geometry, plane geometry, solid geometry, or some other form of geometry that we have in mind? How about 'number'?--real, whole, rational, irrational, cardinal, ordinal are some of the possible ways of qualifying that concept. Each of these adjectival appendages serve to form a more narrow domain of discourse that provides a semantic context for a lexicon or vocabulary.

The same thing happens in military theory--it is indexed to a cultural domain of discourse. Perhps that domain is nationality based; perhaps it is branch or arm of service based; perhaps it is source of enlistment/commissioning based. Most likely it is a mixed bag of all of these and other bases as well. Once you discover the domain of discourse in play, less misunderstanding occurs. Note that I said 'less', not 'no' misundersatanding occurs
Language learning is an individual activity (and learning military terminology is a form of language learning just as much as learning Mandarin Chinese is). Each one of us carries along a little extra baggage (part of our individual experiences tied to learning the words we know--a phenomenolgical or emotional 'charge' if you will) with every word in our individual lexicons. I wonder that we are able to order a cup of tea satisfactorily and would submit that at root we really are not so able. Deep down, we are not satisfied with the product unless we make it ourselves because only each one of us really 'knows' how we like our tea.

Sorry for the discourse on philosophy of language, but I think it is important to get clear on how hard it is to communicate with each other.

Penta
12-18-2007, 05:11 PM
Question 1: Why is it that America conducts COIN operations with military force in OCONUS theaters yet within CONUS it is only a matter of or for law enforcement (Posse Comitatus notwithstanding) involving the Justice Department?

I'm scared Question 1 is even a question. Seriously, I am.

Why do we do it that way...? Hmm, because we like our Constitution, maybe, and doing it your way is like the Dark Side of the Force: Easy, seductive, simple...

...And, in this case, it leads to military dictatorship before you even realize it.

Seriously, it is a good thing that uniforms get stares in America. COIN or any type of combat operations on domestic soil means soldiers deployed among the citizenry.

Probably for a long time.

And once having soldiers on street corners becomes a regular feature of the landscape, once uniforms stop getting stares, how much would it take before it goes unremarked to see uniformed soldiers in all sorts of normally-civilian roles?

Yes, I'm being vehement. Vigor in response seems required, lest anybody get the idea in their head that the idea is at all desirable.

Penta
12-18-2007, 05:24 PM
(4) Significant post secondary education is not required -- indeed, not desired -- for most participants in the profession of arms. Nor is the degree of precision required in two of your named professions required -- it is, in fact, very difficult to obtain much precision in most operations. Academic solutions have been tried and found wanting then discarded (in the US Army at least). Conversely, considerably more accuracy and truth is required in the profession of arms than is true in the third profession cited. Thus the comparison is not totally apt IMO so could I ask for the connection you see?

Define "significant"?

The idea that the profession of arms requires no more than High School, to me, only works if the profession of arms is merely "Make Things Go Boom, Make People Go Ow".

If the profession of arms is "The profession of the use, or threat of the use, of force by organized entities on behalf of sovereign entities, and the exercise of the coercive powers of the sovereign", then I'd beg to differ.

If the profession of arms includes more than "Killing people and breaking things", but also using the possibility of such to avoid the actual use of such, then I'd want those in this profession to be very well-educated, so that they don't -need- to use force to accomplish the mission assigned.

Because, maybe it's me, I seem to remember the whole principle of Just War Theory being based on force being the last resort - as in, don't fire your weapon until you've tried everything else sane besides doing so. Don't hesitate to use force when you have to, use it well enough so you can minimize your use of it, but don't use it unless nothing else would work.

Ken White
12-18-2007, 06:22 PM
Define "significant"?

in this particular case, 'significant' as used by me indicates that most practitioners do not require post secondary education; that senior leaders and commanders do -- thus we are looking at 10-15% in most armies; that perhaps a like percentage of those senior leaders and commanders can benefit from advanced degrees of one or another levels -- IOW, about one to 1 1/2 % of the total force. That, to me, is not a significant number. YMMV.


The idea that the profession of arms requires no more than High School, to me, only works if the profession of arms is merely "Make Things Go Boom, Make People Go Ow".

Not what I said. However, I would point out that at base level, that's precisely what it does. Good idea not lose sight of that, IMO, for the sake of everyone who may become involved. It involves killing and dying and is emphatically not an academic exercise and we should stoutly resist attempts to make it one...


If the profession of arms is "The profession of the use, or threat of the use, of force by organized entities on behalf of sovereign entities, and the exercise of the coercive powers of the sovereign", then I'd beg to differ.

If the profession of arms includes more than "Killing people and breaking things", but also using the possibility of such to avoid the actual use of such, then I'd want those in this profession to be very well-educated, so that they don't -need- to use force to accomplish the mission assigned.

Overly pedantic but I essentially agree and nowhere have I ever implied otherwise if one reads what I wrote and not what one wants to think I wrote. Admitting that this is an imperfect medium and I'm not the best writer around... :o


Because, maybe it's me, I seem to remember the whole principle of Just War Theory being based on force being the last resort - as in, don't fire your weapon until you've tried everything else sane besides doing so. Don't hesitate to use force when you have to, use it well enough so you can minimize your use of it, but don't use it unless nothing else would work.

That's fine for those that adhere to the just war theory. I don't. I think it's silly with all due apology to those who espouse the theory. No war is just, the nature of the beast is too arbitrary to conflate 'war' and 'just.'

All war is stupid and immoral and should be avoided to the maximum extent possible. No reasonably sane person should dispute that and that's the political leadership's job in conjunction with their diplomats. Unfortunately, regardless of the stupidity and inherent immorality and due often to political failure, some wars are necessary. The profession of arms gets involved when the political fails -- other than a very, very few senior leaders and commanders whose job it is to advise said politicians and diplomats on the advantages and disadvantages on the use of force on a daily basis (and with emphasis if some commitment of force is anticipated) * .

I'll also point out that excessive (note that word) concern for limiting the use of force when it must be applied is contraindicated -- it invariably causes more casualties to all, including the innocent, by dragging out in time (and generally space) the action or conflict than does an effective and massive application of force at the right place and time with sensible regard for avoiding excess.

* Noting that a number of such persons with advanced degrees in this country have not done that particular job too well over the last 50 years or so.

John T. Fishel
12-18-2007, 07:33 PM
Hey Penta,

Can you point out where in the Constitution COIN (or any other domestic use of military force) is prohibited? In fact, you can't. Because the Constitution does not prohibit it. It makes the President CINC and makes the Congress responsible for raising and maintaining the armed forces and providing regulations that govern them. In Constitutional terms, Posse Commitatus (PC)(better stated as the KKK enabling act for domestic terrorists of 1878) is such a regulation. It prohibits the Army and the derivative AF from enforcing domestic law but does not so prohibit the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. Navy and Marines are bound by DOD regs on that score but not by law.

So, the question that was asked is one of policy, not law (because I forgot to mention that PC has so many loopholes that tanks can be driven through). Moreover, the policy is one that has been honored in the breach many, many times since 1878. Some examples are the Pullman Strike of the 1890s, Little Rock 1956, the 1968 race riots, the 1992 LA riot of Rodney King fame. In none of those was the PC issue raised directly (although it did impinge on LA where the federalization of the CA NG made making arrests more difficult as interpreted by the JTF commander and his lawyers).

My point is twofold: First, we can, do, and have used the military in a COIN mode throughout our history in the US and that it is perfectly constitutional and often legal as well to do so. Second, sometimes it is good policy; other times not so good - as the old Army saying goes, "depends on the situation."

Cheers

JohnT

selil
12-18-2007, 09:15 PM
To futher add on to what the honorable Mr. Fishel said, I can't find the direct quote, but it was something to the effect "Posse Commitatus is about enabling democracy not jeopardizing it."

Ken White
12-18-2007, 10:33 PM
does the bit about informs being common on the streets pertain to WW II when it was hard to see a male on the streets who was not in uniform?

Does it also pertain to the period from 1946 until the mid 1960s when those in the US Armed force routinely wore their uniforms to town and on leaves and passes? I have wandered the streets in most major cities in this country in uniform and never had an ounce of trouble. Also got a lot free drinks while doing so; service was at one time appreciated instead of just being paid lip service by some as is now the case.

The wearing of civilian clothes while off duty started in the mid fifties as the nation got wealthier and Joe could afford civilian clothes. It gathered speed in the 60s because the troops didn't enjoy being hassled by anti-war protestors in and around colleges and college towns. Not because they hated being hassled (many welcomed it ;) ) but because they knew if it escalated and became a matter of record the Services were likely to make them suffer even if they were the aggrieved.

So uniforms were everywhere 60-70 years ago -- and not a military dictatorship yet. :rolleyes:

I would offer one caveat, though. I went to Little Rock in 1957, Armed, ammo, steel helmet and all that. Would you rather I had not gone along with 1200 other folks from the 101st to forestall an insurrection and to enforce the law?

The caveat; doing that to put the kids in School and then hitchhiking through Little Rock less than a year later, in uniform and with a 101st patch on ones arm was not smart... :D

William F. Owen
12-19-2007, 01:31 AM
Sorry for the discourse on philosophy of language, but I think it is important to get clear on how hard it is to communicate with each other.

Do not be sorry. This is exactly what we need. Leonhard spends considerable time fleshing out definitions, and explaining why and how he uses language.

I can only view this from my experience. EG: "Recon Pull" was cut from the UK's ADP Land Operations publication, because when everyone sat down to define it, it turned out to be meaningless, in that it failed to describe the activity it aimed to, and was, in fact, misleading. Up until then people were always rattling on about recon-pull - and even worse- STILL DO!

wm
12-19-2007, 02:48 AM
I just received the following note.



CAMOS, the Committee for the Analysis of Military Operations and Strategy, invites proposals for papers or call for panel for the 2008 American Political Science Association Annual Meeting. The convention will meet in Boston, Massachusetts from August 28 until August 31, 2008.

As a cooperating organization with APSA, CAMOS is allotted one panel at the 2009 annual meeting.

Papers and panels that address key issues of strategy and military operations will be considered. Specific topics of interest include:

National security and defense policy-making
Strategy in the post-Cold War Era
Role of the military in post-conflict reconstruction and nation-building
Operations and strategy of preventive war and regime change
Determinants of military success and failure
Sources of military doctrines
The revolution in military affairs
Civil-military relations

Papers and panels that involve cross-case analysis (over time or across countries) and those that move beyond an exclusive focus on US military operations and strategy will be of special interest.

Paper proposals should include the paper titles, a short abstract (500 words max), and contact information for the author(s). Panel proposals should include the same for each paper, along with a title and abstract for the panel as a whole, and contact information for panel chair and discussant, if included.

Please submit proposals by Friday January 11, 2008 to:

Dr. Sergio Catignani
CAMOS Program Chair
Max Weber Fellow
European University Institute
Phone: +393484295967
Fax: +390554685804
Email: sergio.catignani-at-gmail.com (If you send your proposal as an attached document, please include your name and contact information in the attachment.)
The 5th and 6th topics seem especially germane to the thrust of this thread and a few other threads on the SWC board as well. I might even buy the first beer for anyone who gets a paper selected for presentation. ;)

Norfolk
12-19-2007, 04:38 AM
I just received the following note.

The 5th and 6th topics seem especially germane to the thrust of this thread and a few other threads on the SWC board as well. I might even buy the first beer for anyone who gets a paper selected for presentation. ;)

wm, promise me that the beer won't be a Molson's.;)

The Principles of War: "Mass" should probably still be retained as a Principle of War, whether it is referrring to a massing of forces or a massing of effects or whatever, and however that is achieved, whether by unity of command, agility, suprise, or however that is brought about; as long as it is concentration for the purposes of achieving a tactical, operational, or strategic effect, that should still be termed "Mass".

I am unconvinced that Leonhard's Principles are any better than the "traditional" ones; though I do find them not only worthy of consideration, but indeed worthy of further development. But as they stand right now, I perceive that they so far simply supplement as commentary, rather than replace, the present doctrinally-accepted principles in the English-speaking countries. As Information technology and doctrine matures, and more experience is gained, that may change.

But I discern an immediate useage for Leonhard's principles, as well as those of Russia, China, France, etc., given the following quote that Gian provided us:


Doctrine is how an army thinks out loud about war.

If we are closing officers' and soldiers' minds by having them memorize a single list of principles of war and their formal definitions, then it would appear that much of the point of teaching (some of) them these principles is simply being lost. They are learning less by thinking than they are by rote, or perhaps to be more accurate, some are really learning and thinking about what they're being taught, and some are just learning without thinking all that much about it. There is of course the personal factor here; some people are bold and imaginative thinkers, and some are docile and formulaic "receivers".

As to COIN being extraordinary or somehow exotic, well no. You do not require anything like the sophisticated Unit SOPs and Battle Drills let alone the complex Formation-level aggregation and coordination of all manner of arms and elements in very intense and rapidly-changing operations over significant distances. One of the problems the US Army seems to be having with COIN is that it is indeed viewing it through the comparatively sophisticated lens of HIC Combined-Arms Warfare. A result of this is that, being trained to perceive and handle the difficult and complex tasks of higher-intensity warfare, it is inclined to see difficulties and complexities in COIN that are either aggravated by that perspective, or are illusions created by such a perspective, and they may not in fact exist.

What this also seems to reveal is a neglect of some basic skills or the lack of real proficiency in some basic skills, as the technology that can substitute or at least mitigate the need for such skills in higher-intensity mechanized warfare is not as applicable in lower-intensity human warfare. A 15-week Infantry OSUT does not make for a first-class infantryman; in WWII, US Army infantrymen received 13 weeks' training until late 1943, when battle experience convinced the Army that a 17-week syllabus was needed.

60-some years later, the US Army gives its riflemen 2 less weeks' training now than it did in late-WWII. In the meantime, Commonwealth Armies have gone from a 16-week Infantry syllabus in WWII to a 25-33 week syllabus (depending upon country and whether Army or Marines). The Israelis go for a 5-month syllabus, and the USMC for a 20-week syllabus. A 15-week training syllabus for one of the most important means of fighting and winning a human-based war, the infantryman, is not a good start for COIN. Why the US Army steadfastly refuses to join the rest of the English-speaking world and put their infantrymen on a 6-month infantry syllabus is a source of endless astonishment and wonder to its English-speaking brethren.

William F. Owen
12-19-2007, 04:50 AM
60-some years later, the US Army gives its riflemen 2 less weeks' training now than it did in late-WWII. In the meantime, Commonwealth Armies have gone from a 16-week Infantry syllabus in WWII to a 25-33 week syllabus (depending upon country and whether Army or Marines). The Israelis go for a 5-month syllabus, and the USMC for a 20-week syllabus. A 15-week training syllabus for one of the most important means of fighting and winning a human-based war, the infantryman, is not a good start for COIN. Why the US Army steadfastly refuses to join the rest of the English-speaking world and put their infantrymen on a 6-month infantry syllabus is a source of endless astonishment and wonder to its English-speaking brethren.

I am not sure I see a relationship between how long infantry training is and how good a product you turn out. I did 24 weeks in 1980 and looking back is was woeful compared to what was actually needed. Infantry basic training is still stuck in WW2, as I have expounded elsewhere.

IDF infantry is always over subscribed and IDF recruit selection is very thorough, so the raw material they have is of a very high standard compared to some NATO armies. - and basic IDF recruits do no get taught to map read!! :eek: according a friend who has just done his stint in Nachal

Ken White
12-19-2007, 04:51 AM
a year or so. Another week may be added. Still not enough, I agree. About six months is required to do it right.

Noteworthy that the Germans at the heighth of WW II still kept their Infantry and Tanker training at about that length.

William F. Owen
12-19-2007, 04:55 AM
Noteworthy that the Germans at the heighth of WW II still kept their Infantry and Tanker training at about that length.

Actually REFUSED to cut it, despite pressure from Hitler and what adjustments were made, were scrutinised in great detail. In WW1 they dropped drill pretty quickly!

Ron Humphrey
12-19-2007, 04:59 AM
a year or so. Another week may be added. Still not enough, I agree. About six months is required to do it right.

Noteworthy that the Germans at the heighth of WW II still kept their Infantry and Tanker training at about that length.

That "grunt" training seemed so disproportionate in its length vs so many of the other component and mos training programs.

Then again it never surprised me when at NG drills or while on active duty we would do our terrain recognition/ find your way back home stuff and less than 20%( possible exaggeration) would make it home in time for dinner.:confused:

Norfolk
12-19-2007, 05:02 AM
Actually REFUSED to cut it, despite pressure from Hitler and what adjustments were made, were scrutinised in great detail. In WW1 they dropped drill pretty quickly!

Yes, I think the German example of 6 months' training went a long way to convincing the Canadian Army of adopting much the same sort of syllabus. Unfortunately, I think that even at the best of times, the Canadian 6-month syllabus was somewhat less efficient than the German syllabus. The Germans placed an emphasis on live-fire and weapons-handling that is scarcely matched today, maybe not even. WE did somewhat more Drill than we really needed to.

I wonder if Felix Steiner's training program is still in existence in print somewhere?

Ken White
12-19-2007, 05:04 AM
I am not sure I see a relationship between how long infantry training is and how good a product you turn out. I did 24 weeks in 1980 and looking back is was woeful compared to what was actually needed. Infantry basic training is still stuck in WW2, as I have expounded elsewhere.

IDF infantry is always over subscribed and IDF recruit selection is very thorough, so the raw material they have is of a very high standard compared to some NATO armies. - and basic IDF recruits do no get taught to map read!! :eek: according a friend who has just done his stint in Nachal

training is time; there are only 24 hours to a day and the more time you have to train, the better practiced (as opposed to merely exposed to the concept) the product.

That said, your basic point is valid, we are still essentially using WW II (actually WW I) training methodology. In fairness, here in the US, Initial Entry Training is better than it has ever been but there's still a lot of room for improvement. A part of our problem has been the Drill Sergeant model of training and another is the poor selection process. Both those are slowly -- too slowly -- changing but I think a major improvement might be realized in the next three to six years.

One additional problem is a lot of politically desirable training that Congress adds into training dollars; i.e. we'll give you the money but you have to teach this...

That and the inane and unnecessary details the kids have to pull that takes them away from training. Usually the smart kids on the rationale they'll be able to pass the gate tests anyway -- which of course antagonizes the smart kids who quickly figure out why they pull so many details. Relic of a large draftee Army and just wrong.

Ron Humphrey
12-19-2007, 05:33 AM
.

That and the inane and unnecessary details the kids have to pull that takes them away from training. Usually the smart kids on the rationale they'll be able to pass the gate tests anyway -- which of course antagonizes the smart kids who quickly figure out why they pull so many details. Relic of a large draftee Army and just wrong.

Most the one's I knew said it didn't bother them. They'd rather eat more and sweat less anyway:D

Gian P Gentile
12-19-2007, 10:34 AM
As to COIN being extraordinary or somehow exotic, well no. You do not require anything like the sophisticated Unit SOPs and Battle Drills let alone the complex Formation-level aggregation and coordination of all manner of arms and elements in very intense and rapidly-changing operations over significant distances. One of the problems the US Army seems to be having with COIN is that it is indeed viewing it through the comparatively sophisticated lens of HIC Combined-Arms Warfare. A result of this is that, being trained to perceive and handle the difficult and complex tasks of higher-intensity warfare, it is inclined to see difficulties and complexities in COIN that are either aggravated by that perspective, or are illusions created by such a perspective, and they may not in fact exist.

Norfolk:

This is an important point to make and i think it is spot-on. The last couple of sentences are especially relevant to the American Army today. I would add a dimension to your points that there has been sort of a cottage industry made around Coin by some serving officers who had written about it prior to 9/11 but had been banished to the sidelines by the "conventional minded" army. But once Afghanistan and Iraq presented themselves with the need for counterinsurgency operations these invididuals dusted of their wares and said here we are; we are your new experts, embrace us and we shall show you the way. This personalized/professional hyper-interest in Coin has reinforced the point you make above about the American army and its fetish to sometimes overthink things and make things more complicated than they actually are.

William F. Owen
12-19-2007, 11:18 AM
Norfolk:

But once Afghanistan and Iraq presented themselves with the need for counterinsurgency operations these invididuals dusted of their wares and said here we are; we are your new experts, embrace us and we shall show you the way. This personalized/professional hyper-interest in Coin has reinforced the point you make above about the American army and its fetish to sometimes overthink things and make things more complicated than they actually are.




As to COIN being extraordinary or somehow exotic, well no. You do not require anything like the sophisticated Unit SOPs and Battle Drills let alone the complex Formation-level aggregation and coordination of all manner of arms and elements in very intense and rapidly-changing operations over significant distances. .

Norfolk and the Gentile. I envy your sights. Yes, yes and a thousand times yes. You have just articulated why I have am deeply mistrustful of the majority of that which I read about so-called "Counter-Insurgency."

wm
12-19-2007, 12:48 PM
Norfolk:

This is an important point to make and i think it is spot-on. The last couple of sentences are especially relevant to the American Army today. I would add a dimension to your points that there has been sort of a cottage industry made around Coin by some serving officers who had written about it prior to 9/11 but had been banished to the sidelines by the "conventional minded" army. But once Afghanistan and Iraq presented themselves with the need for counterinsurgency operations these invididuals dusted of their wares and said here we are; we are your new experts, embrace us and we shall show you the way. This personalized/professional hyper-interest in Coin has reinforced the point you make above about the American army and its fetish to sometimes overthink things and make things more complicated than they actually are.


While no names are mentioned, are some of those experts also advocates of 4GW theory? The following is my rather jaded take on some imaginary COIN guru's thought processes. Any resemblance to thinking by any real person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

"Since our current struggle is an example of 4GW and 4GW is a higher number than what we used to do (3GW), it must be more advanced and, therefore, harder. Besides, if it isn't harder to do than what we've done in the past, we can't justify asking for a a bigger hunk of resources to do it, can we?" :rolleyes:

John T. Fishel
12-19-2007, 01:49 PM
of 4GW. It always struck me as a false analogy for understanding the history of warfare. At the same time, I wonder about the apparent vehemence that some on this thread have expressed about COIN theory and theorists. The history of American military thought is that Small Wars, including COIN, gets short shrift over the long term and every time we run into a small war we have to reinvent the wheel.

I have no argument with those who say we cannot ignore the various threats that come from states in a more or less conventional form. I won't even argue the point that we are possibly ignoring those threats at present in our current involvement with COIN. But I don't believe that is the long term danger. My sense is that once iraq and Afghanistan are behind us (and they will be, sooner rather than later) the Army will tend to put FM 3-24 on the shelf as a historical reference and will go back to preparing for the "big" war.

I hope I'm wrong and that Small Wars can assume its balanced place within the teaching of military schools as the most likely, if not the most dangerous, of all contingencies for which the military must prepare.

Cheers

JohnT

slapout9
12-19-2007, 01:57 PM
if not the most dangerous, of all contingencies for which the military must prepare.

Cheers

JohnT


Well said John,this is a part that is often overlooked at our peril.I don't agree that we afford to loose a COIN war but not a conventional one. Loosing a COIN war promotes copy cats who are willing to take on Big nations because it provides a blueprint on how to defeat us.

Ron Humphrey
12-19-2007, 02:30 PM
It is quite apparent that there is great concern about large war capability being lost in the small war focus we find our selves in. And considering the history of many who espouse this concern one can only believe theres reality to what they say. Given that is it really as likely that we be caught (offguard) so to speak as it is we be surprised by small wars in various arenas.

Would there really be an ability of an enemy of state proportions who would be able to bring the battle so quickly that there would not be at least a reasonable amount of time within which to prepare and react.

This may be a sign of my youth and inexperience but to me one of the most notable differences between large and small scale wars is that in large scale one tends to react more than be proactive( at least from a western perspective), small wars almost always require the opposite in order to be brought to any reasonable conclusion.

:confused:

Norfolk
12-19-2007, 04:23 PM
It is quite apparent that there is great concern about large war capability being lost in the small war focus we find our selves in. And considering the history of many who espouse this concern one can only believe theres reality to what they say. Given that is it really as likely that we be caught (offguard) so to speak as it is we be surprised by small wars in various arenas.

Would there really be an ability of an enemy of state proportions who would be able to bring the battle so quickly that there would not be at least a reasonable amount of time within which to prepare and react.

This may be a sign of my youth and inexperience but to me one of the most notable differences between large and small scale wars is that in large scale one tends to react more than be proactive( at least from a western perspective), small wars almost always require the opposite in order to be brought to any reasonable conclusion.

Ron, the time it takes just to get sufficient Heavy forces into an area will probably eat up any warning time that you might, or might not have. My Company Commander (and one or two other guys from my Coy as well) was attached to 1st Marine Div in GW1, and the six months that the Coalition forces had to build-up in almost perfect security and relying in part on in-theatre purpose-built bases and pre-positioned stocks of supplies and equipment may mislead poeple as how how long it may really take in practice. The US Army has (or at least had,) a concept in which an entire Army Corps can be sent into a major conventional war within 75 days. Not likely.

And in the meantime you have to bring everyone in your Units and Formations up to a level of training and proficiency that can allow for little in the way or error. You can bring a Unit (but not a Formation) up to scratch for COIN in as little as 90 days prior to deployment - but I would not recommend that - 6 months would be better. At least double those figures for conventional war. Unless you are dealing with a hopelessly incompetent enemy, a 3-month beat-up to a conventional war is a plan for filling a lot of your own body-bags. Even 6 months will be the absolute minimum once you have included Formation-level training - and a year would be best. Time is against you in High-Intensity warfare in a way that it is not in COIN.

Take for example, GW1 again. VII Corps was unable to accomplish its mission of cutting off and detroying the Republican Guard, inpart because it had never practiced a passage-of-lines at night (and this led to the loss of the better part of a day immediately after 1st Infantry Div made the breech in the Iraqi front-lie defences), and because the Corps was inexperienced and unsure of how to manouevre an entire Corps for offensive operations. The entire Corps stopped its advance (on the Second Day if I remember correctly) for the better part of a day, again, in order to get all the Armoured Divisions on-line. Admittedly, VII Corps was given the order to attack few days ahead of schedule, but the better part of two lost days for ther attack allowed not only the majority of the Republic Guard to escape, but also a substantial proportion of the Iraqi Army in Kuwait as well.

There was another problem that occurred while while the Armoured Divs were being formed up on-line; when they did so, a gap straight through to the Corps' logistics trains and LOCs opened up for a day or so, as 3ACR was screening to the north and east of the Corps at the time. A bold and competent enemy commander could have drove an armoured brigade into that gap and temporarily dislocated the VII Corps' attack. Had this been tried against the Soviets in the 1980's, an entire Unified Army Corps/Operational Manoeuvre Group might have found its way into such a gap. Big trouble.

Had something like this occurred in GW1, the theatre reserve, the 1st Cav Div would have had to have been diverted from its strategic deception operation in the Wadi al-Batin to counterattack to the north-west to eliminate the threat and cover the gap. Despite popular opinion, the US Army, much less many other NATO countries, was not as prepared for conventional war as one might think, even after spending years preparing for it.

The problem is this: most of your COIN capability comes from thorough proficiency in basic individual skills and minor-unit operations. And that is the very same basic matter that is required for high-intensity warfare. There is no conflict between the two there. Once your individual and minor-unit level training is completed in your Unit's training cycle, most of its COIN training is already completed, and you're ready to start working on high-intensity combined arms ops. If you do not have thorough proficiency in those areas, simply adopting COIN Doctrine at Unit and Formationa level will not completely make up for those lack of basic competencies.

As far as low-intensity and COIN training at Unit and Formation level, that is necessary to have and to maintain, but it does not take anything like the time that the high-intensity stuff does. Not more than 25% of Unit and Formation-level training should go to Low-Intensity conflict. Do not confuse LIC for HIC; LIC is basic, HIC is advanced, and most of LIC is covered in the same basic training that is required for HIC at the individual and minor-unit level anyway.

That said, you cannot wage COIN the same way you do HIC. That is where COIN Doctrine really comes into its own, at the Operational and Strategic levels. But it is nothing like a hard to manage as HIC; it just requires a thorough grasp of the basics and a different mindset - a slower, somewhat more relaxed mindset. As Gian said, don't over-intellectualize it.

But you cannot afford to lose a major conventional war in most cases, and it takes a long, long time to be ready for one. And even then you may not be ready. Take a look at the Allies in WWII, especially in the Atlantic Theatre: North Africa, Italy, North-West Europe. Not the best showing despite having a couple years to prepare.

Ron Humphrey
12-19-2007, 07:56 PM
I'm going to chew on that for a bit.

Norfolk
12-19-2007, 09:35 PM
I'm going to chew on that for a bit.

Ron, I've just been informed by a very credible source that at least part of the reason for the VII Corps delay was logistical; the fighting units simply out-ran their supply lines. This is a critical factor, obviously, and must be accorded very great weight in considering the course of the VII Corps attack in GW1.

Gian P Gentile
12-19-2007, 11:47 PM
While no names are mentioned, are some of those experts also advocates of 4GW theory?

wm:

I donít know; as you point our there are some obvious links from Coin to 4GW. Some Coin experts who are friends of mine, from knowing their work and writings no I donít think they fall into the reductionist 4GW camp. Many Coin experts have written some quality stuff and played an important role in bringing fresh ideas to our Army especially when we needed them in 2003/4. The two that come to mind is my old Cav Squadron XO Bob Cassidy and a former colleague in the history department at West Point, Kalev Sep. Con Crane at the War College too has written some top-flight stuff; Steve Metz of course along with many others.

My point all along to respond to others in this thread is not that we donít need Coin doctrine, capability, and thinkers because we do. My point is that we have become so focused on it due to current operational demands that that is all that we can do now and all we can think about. Moreover, because we are so dominated by Coin operations and thinking I do believe that it has caused us to become dogmatic and non-creative to the point where we read events--past and present--through a Coin prism which then determines future action. For example, Coin experts tell us that in any Coin operation the people must be the center of gravity. But in theory, the enemy certainly can and there are plenty of historical cases to back this theory up. So as we look to the future and where we as a nation might commit to next, the dominance of Coin and the perception that we can make it work almost anywhere because we have this great doctrine compels us to charge right in there and, naturally, protect the people. This is what appears to be happening in Afghanistan now. The notion that we have been doing it wrong but now with the new doctrine and experience in Iraq hey we can do Iraq 2 in Afghanistan and succeed; in my mind problematic at best.

gian

Ron Humphrey
12-20-2007, 03:40 AM
Ron, I've just been informed by a very credible source that at least part of the reason for the VII Corps delay was logistical; the fighting units simply out-ran their supply lines. This is a critical factor, obviously, and must be accorded very great weight in considering the course of the VII Corps attack in GW1.

Roger that:wry:

Ron Humphrey
12-20-2007, 09:03 PM
In reference to the center-of-gravity for any given environment. What is the difference between the Military COG and Civilian Strategic COG.
I could definately agree to both, not the same, or somtimes same.sometimes not.

In Iraq as stated by Gen McCaffrey and by several posters on this an other threads - National Government

Is it really the COG for the military or for the mission as a whole.
If a military becomes the overarching builder/trainer/gov rep to a populace it would it seems lose some of it's outside the representative government scope.

Now I'm sure the demands placed on us through combinations of circumstances/ Gaps in civilian capabilities, etc. have required us to fill this role and one would think this is probably what really concerns many of those in the pol sector. (the old once it tastes blood deal).

But if security and defense are to be the focus of a defense force than their efforts(COG-sortof) must be focused on those who need securing. The whole idea of securing the government takes my brain for a spin in trying to relate to how a military really has any part other than advisory there. That probably is too much to ask of a service that it be able to play both sides of all tables at the same time.

Therein is the importance in quickly growing our civilian capabilities to the point where they can do their job and the soldiers focus on theirs. One of the largest and heaviest duties of a government is to make the calls of what is best for those they represent. If we place our forces in a position of continually doing that as well as just doing their jobs how long before you end up with some who lean towards taking it the next step, some who can't take it , or some who simply begin to look elsewhere for employment.

No wonder theres so much concern at Echelons above reality:eek:

Ron Humphrey
12-20-2007, 11:29 PM
A quick conversation I had with an instructor brought a question to mind reference Doctrine in and of itself.

If Doctrine is taken as the base point( or premise) for any deliberation concerning decision making in a given study or environment. Does the following make sense and if not why not?

You start out with a problem and a set of guidlines from which to work your way through it. Through reseach, collaboration, discussion, etc the group will work their way around the problem starting from those guidelines and would in all intention by seeng and discussing both sides of any come back to the median and thus have not only a solution but of course validation of said decision making process.

If we were to draw a line and consider it the baseline then this would seemingly make sense as the variation above and below it ( ref discussion,questions) would generally come back to around the same horizontal place as the baseline.

But what if instead it were a timeline type design where any movement through discussion were left and right along verticle axis. Now in this case wouldn't where you plase the baseline(y axis) actually determine how much deviation there actually might be from the original premise. If you start out from the uper end then after your left and right adjustments you still end up on the upper half, the same going for any where else on the line.

Here's the overall gist of my question. If a principle or doctrine is the right one it shouldn't where you start from you always end up somewhere close to the same after deliberations. If it doesn't necessarily apply in any given instance you should end up somewhere completely different.:confused:

I got to thinking about the proven principles I was taught in my youth and thought: Knowing not to eat yellow snow is great but probably not anything thats going to help if I'm in a place that never snows :wry:

William F. Owen
12-21-2007, 02:14 AM
Doctrine

Sorry to harp on about this, but Doctrine is what is taught. That's it. That is what the word means and how it should be applied.

The problem with most military "Doctrine" is that it is not supported by evidence, or valid principles, and its often vastly too complex, wordy, and the product of opinion. The acid test should always be "is this useful in making me better at my job."

selil
12-21-2007, 04:46 AM
I respectfully disagree. Doctrine is the common body of knowledge (aka CBK) (knowledge, skills, and abilities). Often with the military doctrine becomes dogma but that is a political discussion. Doctrine (CBK) is what you build curriculum from. Doctrine informs the requirements of what you teach through curriculum. For example contrary to what you "think" in basic infantry training you do not teach pupils (soldiers) to shoot the enemy. You teach them to shoot a target (unless you have a few terrorists running around you want to let recruits poke holes in). As instructors we rely on cognition and near-transference of the expertise found in shooting the target to inform shooting the enemy.

It might be easy to dismiss this slight triviality in the concept of instruction and semantic nonsense, but when you look at training there are certain "leaps" that we make without explanation. Those leaps occur all the time and are a drag on high performance education and more important reasoning and understanding. Finding those "leaps" where we teach one thing and expect another is also important when we look at military acumen in any subject. This concept of transference also lends a certain gap in credibility for what we think we are teaching and what we are actually teaching leading to criticism such as "is this useful for my job". It is useful you just haven't had the AH HA! moment yet.

It is very likely that a certain task or function found on a syllabus may have no relation to the job on the surface but have severe and substantial import under the bonnet so to speak. These are some of the basic principles of outcome based learning objectives (which I'm told the military is absolutely in love with). The concept of transference is informed by successful modeling of one activity that a recruit/trainee/pupil is aware of and then expanding that activity to something new.

William F. Owen
12-21-2007, 05:45 AM
I respectfully disagree. Doctrine is the common body of knowledge (aka CBK) (knowledge, skills, and abilities).

...and I can respect that, but a common body of knowledge is not doctrine. The OED, is quite unequival on this, unless we are all happy about military theory butchering the English language and all it's inherent prescision and usefulness.

Even the 1990 DOD JCS definition is "Fundemental principles by which military forces, or elements thereof, guide their actions in support of national objectives." -or close enough. These principles need to be imparted and explained, thus taught.

The body of knowledge you refer to is, in the UK and NATO, called "Military Knowledge."

I cannot see how skills forms any part of doctrine, other than to define the reason as to why certain meaures of performance should be used. EG - The reason why weapons qualification is done at XXX meters.

...but if the membership of this board collectively believe that Doctrine is a common body of knowledge I will adapt my conduct on this board to that condition. :wry:

selil
12-21-2007, 05:54 AM
I cannot see how skills forms any part of doctrine, other than to define the reason as to why certain meaures of performance should be used. EG - The reason why weapons qualification is done at XXX meters.


Skills drive capability. If you do not build a particular skill you have no known measure of knowledge that a capability or skill exists. If you need soldier x to meet a mission objective that objective will have inherent skills required (for example walking, breathing, eating, sleeping, as simplistic answers), and it will have specific skills (orienteering, fire support, marksmanship, target selection). We all know there are different levels of skills too. A infantry rifleman would not be expected to meet or surpass the "sniper" skills for marksmanship. These set up expectations of doctrine and mission capability.

Though I will honestly admit I may be butchering the jargon and lexical definitions of the military (I'm only an old slow fat former Marine corporal who spent to many years in school after a brief tour of duty). I would suggest that you have a continuum of knowledge diffusion that starts with doctrine as a vision or capabilities and abilities catalog. That doctrine is what drives your training and metrics for success as objectives. Those objectives drive your learning methods and models. Well that is how I would do it if anybody ever asked.

marct
12-21-2007, 12:28 PM
Hi William,


...and I can respect that, but a common body of knowledge is not doctrine. The OED, is quite unequival on this, unless we are all happy about military theory butchering the English language and all it's inherent prescision and usefulness.

Happens all the time :wry:.


I cannot see how skills forms any part of doctrine, other than to define the reason as to why certain meaures of performance should be used. EG - The reason why weapons qualification is done at XXX meters.

...but if the membership of this board collectively believe that Doctrine is a common body of knowledge I will adapt my conduct on this board to that condition. :wry:

I'm having a Humpty-Dumpty moment here....

I think this is a case of semantic confusion over a linguistic taxonomy. Selil's point about skills being inherent in doctrine is, to my mind at least, valid. If we define the term "doctrine" as "Fundemental principles by which military forces, or elements thereof, guide their actions in support of national objectives." then we have a semantic rift with the actuality of what is produced and termed "doctrine".

The problem with that definition lies in several assumptions. First, what does the term "fundamental principles" mean? Is it being used as a semantic equivalent to "axiomatic assumptions" (which is how I would read it)? Second, the idea of "fundamental principles" "guiding" military actions is, to my mind, very different from the lived reality of operating within a military unit. Does each private consciously consider, or sub-consciously process, these "fundamental principles" each time they are sent out on patrol? Nope, they follow a TTP for that action; said TTP having been defined (in part) by "doctrine" (loosely construed) and modified by lived experience.

This gets us into the real of skills and knowledge transference that Selil is talking about, as well as into an analysis of professional knowledge systems. It also puts us smack into the centre of a problem discussed by Michael Polanyi when he was playing with the distinction between tacit knowledge ("gnosis", experientially based as well as "thumos", intuitively based - aka "gut knowledge") and overt knowledge ("logos", formalized). Given current, Western educational systems, we do passably well at transferring the second (say a B-), and only mediocre at the first (say a D- or F+). Military training tends to do better with the first than civilian education does (probably a B or so) but, I suspect, it does worse with the second (probably a C+).

Back to doctrine...

In its essence, "doctrine" refers to the rules accepted by a group that are used to structure interpretations of reality (cf. Gregory Bateson's Angels Fear). You can think of it as a set of "mapping conventions" which defines specific symbols and the relationship between those symbols. Let me give a case in point; the concept of a "centre of gravity".

This has become such an axiomatic concept within the US doctrinal system that it has, basically, achieved reification (become a "thing" in and of itself). Why? The Clausewitzian concept was based on Newtonian physics, has an implied mechanistic metaphor that structures perceptions, and is probably a pretty poor reflection of the current territory (this goes back to Bateson's discussion of the map-territory problem). Still and all, it is a useful concept in some forms of conflict, and those forms (aka "conventional warfare") have dominated the desired warfare type of the US military, regardless of the actuality. Why did that happen? I'll let Steve Blair play with that one, but my hypothesis would be because it comes out of a nicely formalized system of knowledge that as enough looseness in it that it can a) be taught and b) can be modified to meet many conflict requirements. In other words, it's a simple mapping convention that may or may not have utility in a particular problem, but is simple to teach so it gets taught. Another, related, hypothesis is that the requirements of military organization since William the Silent and Maurice of Nassau has predisposed members of the military to think in mechanistic terms as a requirement of the technology available to the military (a case of tacit knowledge conditioning formal knowledge).

John T. Fishel
12-21-2007, 12:41 PM
In the US Army and the Joint community (which in doctrine follows the Army's approach), doctrine and doctrinal pubs form a hierarchy of how we go about our business. Doctrine informs action and is (there is debate on the degree) prescriptive. At the apex of the system are the Capstone documents: JP and FM 1.0 - N.0. Thus, JP 3.0 and FM 3.0 are both the overaching doctrinal manuals (textbooks) on Operations. 3-07 is MOOTW while FM 3-24 is COIN (operations), a subset within MOOTW (or SASO as the Army now calls it). Below doctrine are the Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP) pubs although there is some overlap. And, at the lowest level and most immediate are the Lessons Learned pubs from CALL and places like it. The latter pubs, based on experiences in the field in both combat and training exercises provide the raw input for doctinal modification along with other sources. Indeed, doctrinal pubs make a great effort to use empirical data in developing their texts.

That said, there is much that is wrong about the doctrine system. As has been said, it all too often becomes dogma and divorced from reality. Most of it is rewritten by iron majors and LTCs (slugs like us) under pressure of sometimes unrealistic deadlines, too much other work, not enough time to do real research, and a vetting process that may be more form than substance. It probably does produce better textbooks than are used in most civilian schools and universities but that is a pretty low standard!:wry:

As William Owen says, doctrine is what is taught. As Sam says, it is more than that - perhaps, a body of knowledge - but also less. Most important, it changes over time. And it is often ignored both to our sorrow and more happily when it really doesn't apply (as the WWII apochryful German complaint goes).

Gian P Gentile
12-21-2007, 12:50 PM
Most of it is rewritten by iron majors and LTCs (slugs like us) under pressure of sometimes unrealistic deadlines, too much other work, not enough time to do real research, and a vetting process that may be more form than substance.

To your knowledge, is this about the same way the current version of FM 3-24 was written? This question is somewhat rhetorical because we have been told that Generals Mattis and Patraeus, Nagl, Kilkullen, Con Crane, et al were the primary authors. Is this correct? Was FM 3-24 unique in how it was written? As an Army officer who is familiar with Army doctrine what do you think this tells us about how we devise doctrine--as a system--in the United States Army? If we had such a remarkable battery of individuals writing FM 3-24 as the capstone doctrine for counterinsurgency should we not be doing the exact same thing now for the writing of FM 3-0?

thanks

gian

John T. Fishel
12-21-2007, 02:48 PM
of Baron Munchhausen, "Vas you dere, Charley?', Gian, I wasn't involved in the writing of 3-24. That said, I think that the group of slugs assembled was probably better than the run of the mill bunch of slugs. I think rather well of John Nagl and Con Crane who are both better writiers and have greater depth than John Hunt ( a good friend) who was the principal author of the SASO manual that was to replace FM 100-20 of 1990. I would also say that the writers of 3-24 had real support from Petraeus and Mattis and on up the chain of command. Hunt had no support whatever from either CAC or TRADOC. The drafters of 100-20 in 1986 DID have support from the CSA and Larry Welch, the CSAF at the time of the writing. But by 87, the TRADOC commander was so opposed to LIC that he sat on the document until 1990 when he left.

I certainly believe that the doctine writing process can and should be improved. We need the best slugs possible to write and we need enough of them. Moroever, the writing should not be divorced from the schoolhouse - students who have been in the field provide a good reality check. Finally, the vetting process used in 3-24 with outside folk is something to be emulated in major manuals. But, as a practical matter, I expect that these kinds of thing will be the exception rather than the rule no matter what changes are made to the process, Improvement in process will come incrementally, if at all. And improvement of process is no guarantee of an improved product.

In the end, despite sounding pessimistic, I am really the opposite. I see improvement in both process and products over time and in application as well. But there are no silver bullets, just us slugs - old and retired and young and full of piss and vinegar!:wry:

Cheers

JohnT

MattC86
12-21-2007, 03:24 PM
In reference to the center-of-gravity for any given environment. What is the difference between the Military COG and Civilian Strategic COG.
I could definately agree to both, not the same, or somtimes same.sometimes not.

In Iraq as stated by Gen McCaffrey and by several posters on this an other threads - National Government

Is it really the COG for the military or for the mission as a whole.
If a military becomes the overarching builder/trainer/gov rep to a populace it would it seems lose some of it's outside the representative government scope.


I actually was wondering this same thing just a couple days ago after reading Gen. McCaffrey's AAR, and after filtering out some of the screwed up stuff that passes for deep thought in my head, I've tried to come up with a distinction between a military and, as you call it, civilian/strategic COG.

The civilian/strategic COG is the lynchpin, as it were, for the attainment of a particular policy goal. For Iraq, that is unquestionably the stability, legitimacy, and functionality of the national Iraqi government, and perhaps a governmental hierarchy (local/tribal, provincial, national) as a whole.

The military COG is the key to meeting the objective of the use of armed force in pursuit of the larger policy goal - Clausewitz and all that good stuff. (Me trying to parse a thousand years of strategic thought. . .) The COG may be different because the political goal is not and should not be the same as the military goal (what my IR professors would call the link between politics and force, and one calls "the diplomacy of violence"). Even in a conventional war, the broad political goal is not going to be the same as the military objective, though in a WWII or something of that nature, the COG for the two objectives would be the same (enemy's forces and war-making capacities).

I think an inherent issue for COIN is that the civilian/strategic COG, that is, the key to attaining the broader policy goal, is different from the military COG. The military can influence the security situation; it cannot force the Iraqi government to legislate reforms. If the COGs are different, unity of purpose and strategy, especially between disparate agencies and governmental capabilities becomes extraordinarily difficult. But you probably knew all that.



Now I'm sure the demands placed on us through combinations of circumstances/ Gaps in civilian capabilities, etc. have required us to fill this role and one would think this is probably what really concerns many of those in the pol sector. (the old once it tastes blood deal).

But if security and defense are to be the focus of a defense force than their efforts(COG-sortof) must be focused on those who need securing. The whole idea of securing the government takes my brain for a spin in trying to relate to how a military really has any part other than advisory there. That probably is too much to ask of a service that it be able to play both sides of all tables at the same time.

Your brain is spinning on that because you already got it right - there is little the military can do to directly affect the political process at a national level. Their role is the security and stability ops at low level (which have a profound impact on local government if done right, as we're seeing with "bottom-up reconciliation.")



Therein is the importance in quickly growing our civilian capabilities to the point where they can do their job and the soldiers focus on theirs. One of the largest and heaviest duties of a government is to make the calls of what is best for those they represent. If we place our forces in a position of continually doing that as well as just doing their jobs how long before you end up with some who lean towards taking it the next step, some who can't take it , or some who simply begin to look elsewhere for employment.

No wonder theres so much concern at Echelons above reality:eek:

To me, this is the single most important thing the US still needs to work on to pursue a COIN campaign effectively. No one person or group of individuals (soldiers, Marines, or civilian agency personnel) has the knowledge and expertise for the full spectrum of social, political, economic, and military operations in a COIN environment. With the chronic shortage of DoS personnel, the military absorbs some of those roles, but it does not - through no fault of its own; it cannot - do them as well.

Matt

TheCurmudgeon
12-21-2007, 03:43 PM
I actually was wondering this same thing just a couple days ago after reading Gen. McCaffrey's AAR, ... The civilian/strategic COG is the lynchpin, as it were, for the attainment of a particular policy goal. For Iraq, that is unquestionably the stability, legitimacy, and functionality of the national Iraqi government, and perhaps a governmental hierarchy (local/tribal, provincial, national) as a whole.

I think an inherent issue for COIN is that the civilian/strategic COG, that is, the key to attaining the broader policy goal, is different from the military COG. The military can influence the security situation; it cannot force the Iraqi government to legislate reforms. If the COGs are different, unity of purpose and strategy, especially between disparate agencies and governmental capabilities becomes extraordinarily difficult. But you probably knew all that.


We recently did a review of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. It became clear that the Soviet Army was doing the same thing there that we are doing in Iraq: The Army saw the COG as the Mujahideen, the Mujahideen (even though they may not have realized it) was fighting a political COG. It didn't matter how well the Soviets fought the Mujahideen, they could never win.

We may have realized that the COG is the government of Iraq, but the Military does not have the tools to affect that directly.



To me, this is the single most important thing the US still needs to work on to pursue a COIN campaign effectively. No one person or group of individuals (soldiers, Marines, or civilian agency personnel) has the knowledge and expertise for the full spectrum of social, political, economic, and military operations in a COIN environment. With the chronic shortage of DoS personnel, the military absorbs some of those roles, but it does not - through no fault of its own; it cannot - do them as well.

Matt

I would disagree. I would argue that the world has changed and that it is imperative that we create a force capable of doing exactly that. Whether that is a specially organized subset of the Army (like SOF), or a separate branch all together, it has to be done. It is only a matter of time till we realize it and act.

MattC86
12-21-2007, 05:44 PM
We recently did a review of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. It became clear that the Soviet Army was doing the same thing there that we are doing in Iraq: The Army saw the COG as the Mujahideen, the Mujahideen (even though they may not have realized it) was fighting a political COG. It didn't matter how well the Soviets fought the Mujahideen, they could never win.

We may have realized that the COG is the government of Iraq, but the Military does not have the tools to affect that directly.

True enough, sir, though I think that US operations are focusing on the population as a COG rather than al-Qai'da in Iraq or even the insurgency as a whole. The military's role is to influence the government and political situation through the provision of security, right? That means the security of the population is the military's objective, the population vs. insurgent support dynamic is the military COG, and all that is subordinated to the political objective of a stable, free, and friendly government in Iraq - and the subsequent strategic/political COG for that objective is the reform and strengthening of the national government.

Plus, I would contend the military has the power to directly influence lower level government systems, which in the long run will have a major impact on the national governance system.



I would disagree. I would argue that the world has changed and that it is imperative that we create a force capable of doing exactly that. Whether that is a specially organized subset of the Army (like SOF), or a separate branch all together, it has to be done. It is only a matter of time till we realize it and act.

I agree with you on the need for such a force, but it would be a bureaucratic nightmare. Not just the turf protectionism and jealousy among the serves (for years the Marines fought joining SOCOM because they wanted to keep Marines under Marine command) but including dozens of government agencies and experts in every field necessary for COIN? And who would command such a group? You'd have a lot of people very much against a military commander, given the 80% political 20% military maxim.

Unless I misread you and you meant something different. . .

Matt

TheCurmudgeon
12-21-2007, 07:16 PM
True enough, sir, though I think that US operations are focusing on the population as a COG rather than al-Qai'da in Iraq or even the insurgency as a whole. The military's role is to influence the government and political situation through the provision of security, right? That means the security of the population is the military's objective, the population vs. insurgent support dynamic is the military COG, and all that is subordinated to the political objective of a stable, free, and friendly government in Iraq - and the subsequent strategic/political COG for that objective is the reform and strengthening of the national government.

Plus, I would contend the military has the power to directly influence lower level government systems, which in the long run will have a major impact on the national governance system.

I would agree with you what the COG and main effort should be, the people and the government. My point is that the military does not have the tools nor the training they really need to accomplish that.




I agree with you on the need for such a force, but it would be a bureaucratic nightmare. Not just the turf protectionism and jealousy among the serves (for years the Marines fought joining SOCOM because they wanted to keep Marines under Marine command) but including dozens of government agencies and experts in every field necessary for COIN? And who would command such a group? You'd have a lot of people very much against a military commander, given the 80% political 20% military maxim.

Unless I misread you and you meant something different. . .

Matt

No, you got me straight. It is only hard because we make it so. How about this, we augment Civil Affairs directly with the experts they need rather than relying on any particular civilian agency. Put them in uniform. We include these experts down to the brigade level. If you want, you can build specific division headquarters staffed to do COIN/S&R.

I don't see this any different than the military having doctors. Doctors take an oath that is in direct contravention to what the Army is tasked to do, but we have determined that they are absolutely necessary to accomplish our mission. Why do we have such a problem brining in economists, sociologists, political experts and others needed to really bring a stabile government on line? Of course, this is once we have determined that we are going to take the lead on at least the initial aspects of stability operations: those things that have to be done in the first few years to get the new government off on the right foot.


I am not saying any of this is easy and there is at least some risk in "group think" by recruiting experts willing to put on a uniform and deploy with military forces from the beginning, but I think it is worth a try. And we will never find out if it can work or hos it could be adjusted to make it better if we never try.

TheCurmudgeon
12-21-2007, 07:31 PM
Check out http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/07autumn/cantwell.pdf for more along the same thought pattern.

Penta
12-21-2007, 08:05 PM
does the bit about informs being common on the streets pertain to WW II when it was hard to see a male on the streets who was not in uniform?

...I surrender?

Penta
12-21-2007, 08:39 PM
I don't see this any different than the military having doctors. Doctors take an oath that is in direct contravention to what the Army is tasked to do, but we have determined that they are absolutely necessary to accomplish our mission. Why do we have such a problem brining in economists, sociologists, political experts and others needed to really bring a stabile government on line? Of course, this is once we have determined that we are going to take the lead on at least the initial aspects of stability operations: those things that have to be done in the first few years to get the new government off on the right foot.

Societal expectations, I think. You can raise the same question with chaplains as you do with doctors (indeed, there's even *more* of a quandary there, it could be argued).

The reason why we have both, in some sense, is because we always have. If chaplains had never been a part of the force since before medieval times, and were proposed to be added these days, do you really think the incorporation of clergy into a military force like that would ever be countenanced? Similarly with doctors...If the question were being newly raised, today, would society, would the medical profession, countenance it?

In both cases, it would be up for debate, I think. (Query: After 1991, did the former Soviet states establish chaplains in their airmed forces? Are there any "First World" states which don't have chaplains?)

Meanwhile, these other professions you may have mentioned...They came of age, in most cases, quite recently (as recognized professions/fields of academia). They've built their whole identities in the societal conditions of the last 50-100 years, which tend to allow less for those in academic fields to apply their talents to war, it seems.

MattC86
12-21-2007, 10:48 PM
I would agree with you what the COG and main effort should be, the people and the government. My point is that the military does not have the tools nor the training they really need to accomplish that.




No, you got me straight. It is only hard because we make it so. How about this, we augment Civil Affairs directly with the experts they need rather than relying on any particular civilian agency. Put them in uniform. We include these experts down to the brigade level. If you want, you can build specific division headquarters staffed to do COIN/S&R.

I don't see this any different than the military having doctors. Doctors take an oath that is in direct contravention to what the Army is tasked to do, but we have determined that they are absolutely necessary to accomplish our mission. Why do we have such a problem brining in economists, sociologists, political experts and others needed to really bring a stabile government on line? Of course, this is once we have determined that we are going to take the lead on at least the initial aspects of stability operations: those things that have to be done in the first few years to get the new government off on the right foot.


I am not saying any of this is easy and there is at least some risk in "group think" by recruiting experts willing to put on a uniform and deploy with military forces from the beginning, but I think it is worth a try. And we will never find out if it can work or hos it could be adjusted to make it better if we never try.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I want all those capabilities under direct military control. Putting economists, anthropologists and everyone else under some MG up in Kirkuk is not necessarily a good fit in my estimation.

I see the analogy to doctors, but they have free reign within their sphere - namely, treating soldiers. They can do whatever they have to do in order to save a life. But an economist under MNF control would not have that free reign - to accomplish anything he would need the approval of the local commander or higher, and I don't see the services handing over tactical control to outside experts in uniform.

Granted, that's still a huge problem if they're outside the military chain of command, but, simply put, I am very leery of putting outside experts under direct control of military officers, no matter how "broadened" they may be. Besides, try getting some developmental economists to work for the US Army. The few I've talked to or study under can't stand USAID, let alone the US military.

Of course, the issue then is who can be the overall commander - it can't just go up the chain to the White House. Perhaps you'd have to have some sort of council consisting of the local military commanders, and the heads of various agency task forces.

I did like the article, however. The United States hasn't really used its national power since World War II. It would be eye-opening if it ever did again.

Matt

TheCurmudgeon
12-22-2007, 12:27 AM
Societal expectations, I think. You can raise the same question with chaplains as you do with doctors (indeed, there's even *more* of a quandary there, it could be argued).

The reason why we have both, in some sense, is because we always have. If chaplains had never been a part of the force since before medieval times, and were proposed to be added these days, do you really think the incorporation of clergy into a military force like that would ever be countenanced? Similarly with doctors...If the question were being newly raised, today, would society, would the medical profession, countenance it?

In both cases, it would be up for debate, I think. (Query: After 1991, did the former Soviet states establish chaplains in their airmed forces? Are there any "First World" states which don't have chaplains?)

Meanwhile, these other professions you may have mentioned...They came of age, in most cases, quite recently (as recognized professions/fields of academia). They've built their whole identities in the societal conditions of the last 50-100 years, which tend to allow less for those in academic fields to apply their talents to war, it seems.

I like the doctors and chaplains as a basis for the new specialties. My thought would be that you bring them in young through ROTC, just like doctors or chaplains. They are uniformed officers - Civil Affairs Branch.

TheCurmudgeon
12-22-2007, 12:36 AM
To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I want all those capabilities under direct military control. Putting economists, anthropologists and everyone else under some MG up in Kirkuk is not necessarily a good fit in my estimation.

I see the analogy to doctors, but they have free reign within their sphere - namely, treating soldiers. They can do whatever they have to do in order to save a life. But an economist under MNF control would not have that free reign - to accomplish anything he would need the approval of the local commander or higher, and I don't see the services handing over tactical control to outside experts in uniform.

Granted, that's still a huge problem if they're outside the military chain of command, but, simply put, I am very leery of putting outside experts under direct control of military officers, no matter how "broadened" they may be. Besides, try getting some developmental economists to work for the US Army. The few I've talked to or study under can't stand USAID, let alone the US military.

Of course, the issue then is who can be the overall commander - it can't just go up the chain to the White House. Perhaps you'd have to have some sort of council consisting of the local military commanders, and the heads of various agency task forces.

I did like the article, however. The United States hasn't really used its national power since World War II. It would be eye-opening if it ever did again.

Matt

I think you underestimate a good General. I think we do that a lot. We assume that all the Army can handle is killing and breaking things. I think we are just as capable at building once we determine that is what we are really going to do. It is an institutional mindset that needs to change.

If you were really that worried about it you could have seperate Division Headquarters specificaly trained to take over once the ground is secure. I actually would prefer that in the short run until it becomes a norm.

JeffWolf
12-25-2007, 01:06 AM
Hi,

My own bias is that a profession is any area of labor that cannot be routinized.

In my opinion, many professions labeled as such have subcomponents whose work is, in fact, routinized. I doubt filling cavities changes much from patient to patient. Atul Gawande's book Complications has a nice section about a medical clinic that performs one procedure, and one procedure only.

There may be some seemingly hard-and-fast rules at any point in time. Few medical professionals would advocate performing surgery in sewers. The rationale and logic seem self-evident. That said, bodies of knowledge are not static. Aristotelian physics is not Newtonian physics is not Einsteinian physics (so far as I know - in the spirit of full disclosure, I took "Rocks for Jocks"). For all I know, a hundred years from now, tremendous benefits will be found to accrue to those who undergo surgery in fetid, oozing piles of raw, untreated sewage.

Second, professions seek to increase the likelihood of getting the right answer: the best way to fill a cavity given people are different, the best way to win a battle given [fill-in-the-blank] is different, the best way to perform an audit given companies are different. Because of the ambiguity involved in these tasks, debate will ensue. The presence of debate is a sign of a profession.

Third, arguably war is the one area of human endeavor where professionalism is most likely to persist. One does not fight oneself; one fights an enemy, with all the action-reaction complexity that entails. I suppose companies will change, and thus best accounting practices will change too, but companies don't try to fight their auditors in the same way as two combatants do.

Fourth, none of this necessarily supports or fails to support military education of any sort. (Again, full disclosure: I have not served in the military.) I can understand the reasoning that it is better to learn from the mistakes of others than from one's own, and to ignore the lessons contained in books is to commit a grave error. I can also understand that there is no substitute for experience, and reading books can perhaps not only add but marginally to one's capabilities, but rather in fact detract from them. I can also see the argument that while both are important, one is more important than the other, and time and emphasis ought to be weighted accordingly. I'd simply point out, first, that education exists in varied forms across professions, and second, the absence of consensus over the optimal means of professional education does not negate the presence of a profession.

Regards
Jeff

Ron Humphrey
12-25-2007, 01:15 AM
Hi,

My own bias is that a profession is any area of labor that cannot be routinized.

In my opinion, many professions labeled as such have subcomponents whose work is, in fact, routinized. I doubt filling cavities changes much from patient to patient. Atul Gawande's book Complications has a nice section about a medical clinic that performs one procedure, and one procedure only.

There may be some seemingly hard-and-fast rules at any point in time. Few medical professionals would advocate performing surgery in sewers. The rationale and logic seem self-evident. That said, bodies of knowledge are not static. Aristotelian physics is not Newtonian physics is not Einsteinian physics (so far as I know - in the spirit of full disclosure, I took "Rocks for Jocks"). For all I know, a hundred years from now, tremendous benefits will be found to accrue to those who undergo surgery in fetid, oozing piles of raw, untreated sewage.

Second, professions seek to increase the likelihood of getting the right answer: the best way to fill a cavity given people are different, the best way to win a battle given [fill-in-the-blank] is different, the best way to perform an audit given companies are different. Because of the ambiguity involved in these tasks, debate will ensue. The presence of debate is a sign of a profession.

Third, arguably war is the one area of human endeavor where professionalism is most likely to persist. One does not fight oneself; one fights an enemy, with all the action-reaction complexity that entails. I suppose companies will change, and thus best accounting practices will change too, but companies don't try to fight their auditors in the same way as two combatants do.

Fourth, none of this necessarily supports or fails to support military education of any sort. (Again, full disclosure: I have not served in the military.) I can understand the reasoning that it is better to learn from the mistakes of others than from one's own, and to ignore the lessons contained in books is to commit a grave error. I can also understand that there is no substitute for experience, and reading books can perhaps not only add but marginally to one's capabilities, but rather in fact detract from them. I can also see the argument that while both are important, one is more important than the other, and time and emphasis ought to be weighted accordingly. I'd simply point out, first, that education exists in varied forms across professions, and second, the absence of consensus over the optimal means of professional education does not negate the presence of a profession.

Regards
Jeff

Your a professional as long as your working constantly towards finding a better way of accomplishing what it is you do? :confused:

JeffWolf
12-25-2007, 01:45 AM
Hi,

I would approach from a few different perspectives.

1) Good question; when phrased this way, I'm not sure. I would say that to me, what defines a profession is (a) there is uncertainty over how to perform its tasks, and (b) consequently, most professions debate the best way to perform their given tasks. To caveat, there are probably some professions that don't do this, and others for whom the frequency of doing this varies quite a bit.

2) There are no bright-line rules, but rather degrees of difference. There are differences of opinion about the best way to mow a lawn, but there is probably less dispute about the best way to mow a lawn than when and how to perform a given medical procedure (or fight a counterinsurgency). Lots of endeavors might debate the best way to perform a given task, but the debate tends to be proportionate to the complexity and ambiguity of the task.

3) I think one possible line of argumentation that is different from the above, but still worth noting, and perhaps what you're getting at, is that a profession is socially constructed. A profession is something society deems a profession. Hence some of the possible anomalies in the prior post: members of a profession who are professionals because they have entered what society deems and constructs as a profession (e.g., dentists who have passed licensing requirements, but whose work is fairly routine), or people not nominally professionals who nevertheless deal with tasks of complexity and novelty on a regular basis.

Hopefully I'm still coherent and haven't contradicted myself too much.

:-)

Best
Jeff

MattC86
12-26-2007, 06:03 PM
I think you underestimate a good General. I think we do that a lot. We assume that all the Army can handle is killing and breaking things. I think we are just as capable at building once we determine that is what we are really going to do. It is an institutional mindset that needs to change.

My wording was cynically-phrased perhaps, but no disrespect to any officer rank was intended. I just am not sure that anyone has the knowledge and experience for the full spectrum of COIN operations, so to speak. I don't believe many in the military have experience and backgrounds in economic development and anthropology, for instance.

I am realizing I'm running in a circle here - I don't think the military alone has the sufficient experience to handle all the facets of COIN, yet I don't want the experts "impressed," as it were, into the services to give the chain of command the necessary expertise, and then I complain that commanders don't have the knowledge necessary to effectively do their jobs. I don't know what the solution is here; maybe you're idea of getting these guys in uniform as advisers or whatever to various commands is the way to go - it just doesn't sound right to me.



If you were really that worried about it you could have seperate Division Headquarters specificaly trained to take over once the ground is secure. I actually would prefer that in the short run until it becomes a norm.

Maybe. Although wasn't the transition from V Corps to JTF-7 in 2003 that very idea?

Though I grant you JTF-7 was crippled by far larger problems than headquarters structure. . .

I'm sorry for kind of busting your ideas without any real answers of my own; I just don't have any that sound right.

Matt

TheCurmudgeon
12-27-2007, 02:38 AM
My wording was cynically-phrased perhaps, but no disrespect to any officer rank was intended.

Don't worry, I did not think that you were and we should be able to express our opinions as long as it is with respect. I was reading a piece on LTG Petraeus while he was still with the 101st. According to the piece he had started to pump money into the local economy via work programs when he suddenly realized that without an influx of additional goods, all he had done was initiate a cycle of rapid inflation. So, without authorization, he opened the border with Syria to bring in goods. I doubt there were many Generals who would have realized that Just so happens that LTG Petraeus' degree was in economics. So in many ways you are right. I just think that as if the S&R mission was taken seriously then the right people would recieve the training they need to become adept in the subject required.



Maybe. Although wasn't the transition from V Corps to JTF-7 in 2003 that very idea?

Though I grant you JTF-7 was crippled by far larger problems than headquarters structure. . .

I'm sorry for kind of busting your ideas without any real answers of my own; I just don't have any that sound right.

Matt

Don't worry about that one. I often complain about things that just feel wrong. I can't put my finger on it, it just does. With time the reason you don't like it will either jell into a clear thought or you will realize that I was right. Of course, I perfer the later.:D