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SWJED
03-27-2008, 12:31 AM
Coming soon in April's Proceedings - Listen Up Marines! We Belong at Sea, Ready for Trouble by Lieutenant General Bernard E. Trainor, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired). Here's a sneak preview:


As the Marine Corps looks beyond Iraq, the question becomes ďWhere do we go from here?Ē

That question was asked of the Marine Corps after the two World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam. After each conflict there were many who discounted the utility of the Marines, citing cost-effectiveness, duplication, and myriad other reasons as justification for the elimination or absorption of this singular and peculiar organization. But the Corps survived and justified its existence through its performance in and out of battle. Nonetheless, it will face renewed scrutiny after Iraq and Afghanistan and the result will be the sameóbut only if the Corps remains useful and does what it says it can do.
Marines have been almost indistinguishable from the Army for the past five years of the Iraq War. That was also the case in the wars [previously] cited. But the Corps was born to serve on the Seven Seas and that's where its future will again reside...

I sincerely hope so, but remain pessimistic. Senator Sam Nunn, when he chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1990 (nearly two decades ago), qustioned whether a lighter Army and a heavier Marine Corps were already undesirably redundant and cost-ineffective. My take in the July 2005 issue of Proceedings noted that Title 10, United States Code, tells our Marine Corps to organize, train, and equip forces for service with the fleet in the seizure or defense of advanced naval bases and for the conduct of such land operations as may be essential to the prosecution of a naval campaign.' That prescription, however, isn't worth the paper it's printed on because Marines repeatedly must supplement our shorthanded Army, which cannot satisfy its assignments unassisted. Leathernecks during World War I and since World War II have routinely taken up part of the slack by performing protracted land power missions that have nothing in common with naval campaigns. Included tasks frequently involve nitty gritty urban combat rather than fluid littoral warfare, as demonstrated inside Seoul (1950), Hue (1968), and Fallujah (2004)...

That sorry situation will persist until the Army expands enough to satisfy commitments...

Morgan
08-25-2012, 08:27 PM
"Their presence as a shipborne cop on the beat can be a comfort to friends and the bane of international and transnational rogues."

With our stated shift in focus to the Asia-Pacific region and the recently announced fomation of USMC Law Enforcement Battalions, would it make sense to look at downsizing the Marines even more (100,000 total?) & rearming and reorganizing them as our expeditionary "constabularly" force?

The Army can go back to its preferred focus on big-war preparations while the Marines take go back to their roots of small wars and anti-piracy (anti-terrorists?) missions.

Bob's World
08-26-2012, 02:29 AM
"Their presence as a shipborne cop on the beat can be a comfort to friends and the bane of international and transnational rogues."

With our stated shift in focus to the Asia-Pacific region and the recently announced fomation of USMC Law Enforcement Battalions, would it make sense to look at downsizing the Marines even more (100,000 total?) & rearming and reorganizing them as our expeditionary "constabularly" force?

The Army can go back to its preferred focus on big-war preparations while the Marines take go back to their roots of small wars and anti-piracy (anti-terrorists?) missions.

Exactly.

Our constitution is a miracle of good governance, and the relative roles of the naval and army services are are included in that miracle.

Big wars come when big wars come. Armies are intended to be raised for those big wars and stood down once those big wars are over. The Cold War really F'd us up in terms of how we think about what "right" looks like for our military. The Army wants to be way too large, and our Air Force wants to be way too important, and our Navy thinks it needs to continue to "contain" past threats.

We have an old misson that must be contexed against the current environment. That should be far easier that most tend to make it.

Bill Moore
08-26-2012, 02:47 AM
Marines for small wars and the Army for big wars is grossly oversimplified and a terrible construct in my opinion to design force structure. Several other aspects must be considered, one of them is the duration of a conflict, whether big or small. Another thought, while war is far from being an anachronism, but we have many security interests beyond war that will require the military to develop new capabilities that have little to do with war. Furthermore we are pursuing a strategy of engagement and deterrence to hopefully avoid, but more realistic, reduce the occurrance of war. All of these should impact force design. Furthermore the bifurcation of roles for what type of war each service should be designed to fight tosses our joint doctrine out the window. I suspect we'll see the services advocate for specific service roles that may be illogical in an effort to protect budgets instead of doing the right thing which is designing the right joint force capabilities. The Marines clearly have some unique capabilities that will likely be employed several times between now and 2030, but one of them is not a unique capability to fight small wars.

slapout9
08-26-2012, 05:45 AM
What if the Navy doesn't want the Corps? I mean look at the Navy now. Need some hostages rescued from darkest Africa.......call the Navy SEALS. Need some ornery Pirates taken care of......call the Navy SEALS. Need an international Terrorist killed inside somebody Else's country.......call the Navy SEALS.

The Marines became a completely separate service by law if I am not mistaken.......so maybe the Navy may not want them back after all they could use that money for other primary Naval ships instead of having to invest so much in huge amphibious operations they may never happen again. The Corps may have a real problem.:eek:

Bob's World
08-26-2012, 01:07 PM
Size has always been a poor characteristic to define wars by, as it offers few clues as to what type of conflict it is, and thereby what types of approaches or forces are most likely to achieve the desired effects.

We need a force designed for the world we live in today, and one designed also to deter the types of threats we see in the future. This is why we sustained a war fighting army through the peace of the Cold War. With the adoption of a containment strategy we also adopted the geo-strategic reality of our allies - which means we surrendered the geo-strategic advantages of our own. We need to understand that. We need to think about what type of decisions that drove, why it drove them, and what, if any, of that thinking is still valid to our situation today.

Nuclear forces and capabilities exist not to be used. Their function is purely that of deterrence of other nuclear states, and so need to be kept to the minimum amount necessary to perform that function. I suspect we could find additional savings there.

Land forces are to seize and hold ground. They do not offer much of a deterrent effect, IMO. Nations like those of the Eurasian landmass have a geo-strategic challenge that the US does not. Good fences make good neighbors, and in many cases no such "fences" exist. Said another way, the US possesses a geo-strategic advantage that others do not. Geo-strategy has become a neglected art. Some, like George Friedman, are notable exceptions, but by in large the US today looks at the world as if we were still defined by the geostrategic realities of our Cold War mission, allies and opponents.

I don't think we need a USMC sized, trained organized and equipped to re-fight the battle of Iwo Jima. Nor do I think we need a US Army sized, trained organized and equipped to re-fight Desert Storm or Iraqi Freedom (both conflicts of choice, not necessity).

We need to stop building forces and arguments on invalid arguments and assumptions. We need to do our strategic homework free of the inertia and bias that dominates our "strategic" thinking today.

But DC is a land of inertia. DC is a land of bias. Good Cold Warriors dominate the scene, though they now vie for space with those who see "terrorism" in every national movement or non-state organization that dares to challenge our interpretation of what "right" looks like. QDR is certainly not an unbiased assessment. It is a competition of service advocacy framed by a crossfire of formal and informal policy advocacy advancing some line of inertia and bias or another.

That dynamic is unlikely to change much. But we can lay a better strategic foundation to build upon. That is within our power to do, yet no one is doing it. Not at Defense. Not at State. Not at any of the many think tanks (so far as I have seen). Everything needs to be on the table as we look at who we are, who we want to be, and the world we will do that within. Sacred cows will be slaughtered and new ones will emerge.

Personally, I think we can do very well with a much smaller Army. I think that much of our peacetime expeditionary work can be done by SOF and USMC forces tailored for that role. I don't think there is a large demand signal for "building partner capacity" or "counterterrorism" either one. Some demand to be sure, but it is one that is best seen as narrowly defined and limited to avoid the dangers associated with excesses on either line of operation. We don't need a navy designed to patrol the brown water of the world, nor to go head to head with China of their coast. Similarly our tactical air power needs to be designed for the tactical air missions we live with, not the ones Air Force general fantasize about. But first we need to wipe the strategic slate clean, roll up our strategic sleeves, and do our strategic homework.

gute
08-26-2012, 06:02 PM
Personally, I think we can do very well with a much smaller Army. I think that much of our peacetime expeditionary work can be done by SOF and USMC forces tailored for that role. I don't think there is a large demand signal for "building partner capacity" or "counterterrorism" either one. Some demand to be sure, but it is one that is best seen as narrowly defined and limited to avoid the dangers associated with excesses on either line of operation. We don't need a navy designed to patrol the brown water of the world, nor to go head to head with China of their coast. Similarly our tactical air power needs to be designed for the tactical air missions we live with, not the ones Air Force general fantasize about. But first we need to wipe the strategic slate clean, roll up our strategic sleeves, and do our strategic homework.

Completely agree and this could be forced on the Army and Marine Corps, depending on the next election, with sequestration or the economy.

What is your strategic assessment?

Fuchs
08-26-2012, 06:33 PM
What if the Navy doesn't want the Corps? I mean look at the Navy now. Need some hostages rescued from darkest Africa.......call the Navy SEALS. Need some ornery Pirates taken care of......call the Navy SEALS. Need an international Terrorist killed inside somebody Else's country.......call the Navy SEALS.

The Marines became a completely separate service by law if I am not mistaken.......so maybe the Navy may not want them back after all they could use that money for other primary Naval ships instead of having to invest so much in huge amphibious operations they may never happen again. The Corps may have a real problem.:eek:

Their problem is that their huge amphibious force was originally invented for War Plan Orange and there is most likely no such thing in the files right now.


The Marines will probably have a panic phase after OEF-A, but all services have that from time to time.
The Army switched its panic mode on and feared "irrelevance" after the disaster in Albania, for example.
The navy got increasingly uneasy about its lack of prominent employment during the occupation of Iraq.


Sooner or later U.S. politicians will play some adventure games anew and send the marines to demolish something and all the fears about budgetary future will be gone again.

Morgan
08-26-2012, 07:11 PM
I don't think there is a large demand signal for "building partner capacity" or "counterterrorism" either one.

Perhaps we can substitute "building partner capacity" (BPC) for a large standing Army......reduce the Army to 400,000 (the worst-case scenario according to the CNAS report, as I recall) and the USMC to 100,000 (maybe less) and we will still have an active land combat force of 500,000 (do we want to go smaller?).

The active duty force would become a bit more specialized (I know many strongly disagree with this), particularly within the Army and even Marines, while the generalists would be maintained in our reserve forces. Through BPC, the Army (and USG in general) would develop allied forces who bear the brunt in any flare-up of any land-based hybrid threats we expect as part of the norm during this century and the Marines & SOF handle CT, A2AD, UW, DA, anything that might fall under the moniker "small war" (as in wars/ conflicts of very limited duration with narrow, well-defined objectives).

Bob's World
08-26-2012, 09:15 PM
If partners feel they need additional capacity, they are fully capable of developing the amount and type they need.

This idea that we will train others to go out and do our fighting for us smacks a bit too much of several failed empires who have gone before us. The reality is that if we stop trying to exert so much control over situations that have so little impact upon our our truly vital interests, we will find that we have excess capacity in spades.

As to your proposed numbers for the Army and Marines, it is well to remember that these are two very different organizations with very different missions. Just because we often use them in the same manner does not make them the same. They have unique constitutional foundations, and the Marines have a much more active peacetime engagement role than the Army does. Marines exist to conduct short duration expeditions as needed; while Armies exist to fight long duration wars. Why would we keep 4 times the warfighting force in times of peace?? Better to sustain more Marines and accept the risk of cutting more Army. We need to be smart, not fair.

Start point to getting to smart solutions is to take on the strategic questions first. We need a new foundation of thought for how we view the world and our role in it. Then we need to design institutions, policies and forces to implement the same. This is what we did to implement containment, and now it is long past time to go through that same degree of overhaul yet again.

Bill Moore
08-26-2012, 09:27 PM
Bob,

I agree we have collectively over stated the demand signal for "build partner capacity", and I believe we are fooling ourselves if we honestly think we can outsource our fighting. To some extent we can, but we can use IMET, and small footprint training elements on the ground to help partners develop specific capabilities and capacities. We don't need capacity building BDE's in my opinion unless we foresee more OEF-As and OIFs.


If partners feel they need additional capacity, they are fully capable of developing the amount and type they need.

You know that this statement is not true in many cases.


This idea that we will train others to go out and do our fighting for us smacks a bit too much of several failed empires who have gone before us. The reality is that if we stop trying to exert so much control over situations that have so little impact upon our our truly vital interests, we will find that we have excess capacity in spades.

This is valid and deserves further discussion. More thoughts later, household six is issuing orders, I have run :-).

gute
08-26-2012, 10:07 PM
This is valid and deserves further discussion. More thoughts later, household six is issuing orders, I have run :-).

Now, that's funny. I refer to my better half as Gunny - she sounds like one at times. Course, she is married to a full grown kid.

IMO this is gonna be settled by economic disaster in this country.

gute
08-26-2012, 10:28 PM
You guys may have read this before:

http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/journal/docs-temp/727-neoptolemus.pdf

Bob's World
08-26-2012, 10:31 PM
Bill,

Note, I said "need," not want. Granted some of them need to add a good dose of not aggravating the insurgent tendencies of their own populaces quite so much in order to bring the problem down within the capacity they are able to produce.

But as we both well know, the primary purpose of our historic capacity building engagement was far more about building relationships than skills, and about developing and sustaining our own understanding of critical places. Building professionalism has also been important in reducing that afore mentioned aggravation...

gute
08-27-2012, 01:53 AM
What if the Navy doesn't want the Corps? I mean look at the Navy now. Need some hostages rescued from darkest Africa.......call the Navy SEALS. Need some ornery Pirates taken care of......call the Navy SEALS. Need an international Terrorist killed inside somebody Else's country.......call the Navy SEALS.

The Marines became a completely separate service by law if I am not mistaken.......so maybe the Navy may not want them back after all they could use that money for other primary Naval ships instead of having to invest so much in huge amphibious operations they may never happen again. The Corps may have a real problem.:eek:



Why have SEALS if you have Marines? I know, I know, they ain't going anywhere after killing OBL. Maybe the USMC becomes the Spec Ops side of the Navy - SWCC, SEALS, MSOBs. The Army has Delta, SFGs, 160th and the Rangers. The Navy has the Marine Corps.

Unlikely.

Fuchs
08-27-2012, 01:58 AM
I never understood the SEALs.
There's little infantry competence in the navy (counting USMC as not-navy), so where do they recruit personnel with already basic infantry skill from?

Furthermore; why do they seem to be a "1st mass, 2nd mass, 3rd mass" tactics outfit and still be considered "special"?

gute
08-27-2012, 02:16 AM
I never understood the SEALs.
There's little infantry competence in the navy (counting USMC as not-navy), so where do they recruit personnel with already basic infantry skill from?

Furthermore; why do they seem to be a "1st mass, 2nd mass, 3rd mass" tactics outfit and still be considered "special"?

The infantry skills are taught after Buds. Some were prior service Marines. These are high functioning, self motivated dudes. I don't understand the reference to 1st mass, 2nd mass, third mass - what does it mean?

jcustis
08-27-2012, 04:08 AM
I don't know if we can accomplish an unbiased strategic review that achieves the appropriate end.

I'm putting odds on the US dropping JDAMs or firing missiles into Iran before February of next year anyway, so any review will be tilted for a good 5-7 years if not longer.

slapout9
08-27-2012, 05:24 AM
Why have SEALS if you have Marines?

That is a very good question, we don't need them. They should go back to being Frogmen...that was useful. We don't need a Ranger battalion either, we should go back to the Ranger school system like before. However that is really the wrong question to be asking. I posted the answer over at the Marine corps gazette blog a couple of weeks ago after reading a statement by Phill Ridderhof a retired Marine Officer.

Fuchs
08-27-2012, 12:22 PM
The infantry skills are taught after Buds. Some were prior service Marines. These are high functioning, self motivated dudes. I don't understand the reference to 1st mass, 2nd mass, third mass - what does it mean?

Massing of bullets and men appears to substitute for tactical finesse in what's been published about SEALs, and this has also been the impression of some people who know more than what's been published.

gute
08-27-2012, 02:38 PM
Massing of bullets and men appears to substitute for tactical finesse in what's been published about SEALs, and this has also been the impression of some people who know more than what's been published.

I don't have much experience dealing with SEALS other than playing one on T.V.:)

jcustis
08-27-2012, 05:29 PM
I never understood the SEALs.
There's little infantry competence in the navy (counting USMC as not-navy), so where do they recruit personnel with already basic infantry skill from?

Furthermore; why do they seem to be a "1st mass, 2nd mass, 3rd mass" tactics outfit and still be considered "special"?

I'm scratching my head about the "mass" comment as well. There are not enough SEALs to really mass anywhere. Have they experienced missteps and problems that exploded into a situation larger than the size of the original element that ran into trouble? Sure did, but their numbers employed on missions have always been relatively small.

Furthermore, they really don't need infantry competence for most of the missions they are assigned these days, at least not in a classical use of the word infantry.

Swimming, special recce, direct action, etc. can benefit from an infantry background, but it is by no means a prerequisite.

Fuchs
08-27-2012, 05:40 PM
That's relative to the geography and OPFOR in question.

About 30 men raiding a single house at the same time is an application of "mass".
One could claim it's about "surprise" as well (as the quantity allows for reaching all rooms quickly), but it's still not exactly intricate tactics.

ganulv
08-27-2012, 05:56 PM
I never understood the SEALs.

I guess my understanding is that the Navy had the UDTs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underwater_Demolition_Team) which morphed into the SEALs during the U.S. involvement in Vietnam (a couple of Vietnam veterans have made an association between the SEALs and the Mekong Delta to me, I donít know if thatís historical memory or solid historiography). Perhaps nowadays it is more helpful to think of the SEALs as part of the Navyís contribution to USSOCOM than as part of the Navy?


There's little infantry competence in the navy (counting USMC as not-navy), so where do they recruit personnel with already basic infantry skill from?

I imagine there are a few sailors who joined the Navy looking to be SEALs, didnít make it through BUDS (no shame in that), and are now scraping paint somewhere in the Indian Ocean for the duration of their enlistment contracts.

jcustis
08-27-2012, 06:07 PM
That's relative to the geography and OPFOR in question.

About 30 men raiding a single house at the same time is an application of "mass".
One could claim it's about "surprise" as well (as the quantity allows for reaching all rooms quickly), but it's still not exactly intricate tactics.

When you have the time and resources to employ against a single structure in a rolling hard hit, why wouldn't you use mass? It certainly allows you to dominate an objective, do what needs to be done (including TSE) quickly, and then get off the objective in good order.

I agree that it's not intricate tactics. I've seen it done surreptitiously by a rifle squad in Iraq, and the tgt presented as much physical threat to the raiding force that many HVTs did, yet those special ops HVT tgts consumed a hundred-fold more resources to go after. TTPs are 't the point of this thread though.

SEALs have a role to play. I think as with all special purpose forces, they should stick to that role or risk the deleterious effects of mission creep, but they are very good at certain things--frogmen being a prime example.

Fuchs
08-27-2012, 06:23 PM
When you have the time and resources to employ against a single structure in a rolling hard hit, why wouldn't you use mass?

Because there are better ways?
Because the "mass" tactic depends on having an opponent who's not smart?

Trust me, they'd get more than a bloody nose if they were up against me.
The internet is no good place to discuss the "why", though.

jcustis
08-27-2012, 06:50 PM
Okay Fuchs, roll on with your bad self.:D

Steve Blair
08-27-2012, 07:32 PM
I guess my understanding is that the Navy had the UDTs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underwater_Demolition_Team) which morphed into the SEALs during the U.S. involvement in Vietnam (a couple of Vietnam veterans have made an association between the SEALs and the Mekong Delta to me, I donít know if thatís historical memory or solid historiography). Perhaps nowadays it is more helpful to think of the SEALs as part of the Navyís contribution to USSOCOM than as part of the Navy?

The morphing began before Vietnam, actually, although the Navy kept UDTs around (and continues to do so). Kennedy's push for SF had something to do with that growth, so the link between SEALs and the Mekong Delta is pretty accurate as far as it goes when you consider the historical context of the association.

gute
08-28-2012, 03:10 AM
Below is an essay I found at the Institute of Land Warfare written July 2012:

http://www.ausa.org/publications/ilw/ilw_pubs/nationalsecuritywatch/Documents/NSW_12-3_web.pdf

So with this as a guide what does the U.S. military look like in the coming years?

slapout9
08-28-2012, 03:44 AM
Below is an essay I found at the Institute of Land Warfare written July 2012:

http://www.ausa.org/publications/ilw/ilw_pubs/nationalsecuritywatch/Documents/NSW_12-3_web.pdf

So with this as a guide what does the U.S. military look like in the coming years?

Good article and those questions need to be asked and answered before a proper force structure can be developed and I would suggest the article goes hand in hand with this one from Parameters (spring this year). The lead author is a Marine Captain. We are not good at Grand Strategy and I don't think we ever will be, however in the past we have learned to set priorities and it worked out very well.

http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/Articles/2012spring/Gallagher_Geltzer_Gorka.pdf

After we set priorities we will learn that Amphibious warfare is the only kind of Warfare there is for the USA....unless we want to wait and fight Mexico in California or Texas.....wait we are kinda doing that now;)

Dayuhan
08-28-2012, 05:13 AM
We are not good at Grand Strategy

To have a Grand Strategy you need clear, consistent, long-term policy, and a 4-year election cycle is not terribly compatible with that. Is any democracy really "good at Grand Strategy"?

jcustis
08-28-2012, 05:32 AM
Unless we have a persistent threat--and even then--I'd have to agree that the US certainly cannot do it in the polarized political environment that currently exists.

reed11b
09-04-2012, 05:30 PM
We don't need a Ranger battalion either, we should go back to the Ranger school system like before.

We have a Ranger Battalions because they do a certain mission very very well and the USMC has not had great success with the same mission. Can you say "Mayaguez incident"? Ranger Batts have proven their usefulness time and time again.
Reed

Steve Blair
09-04-2012, 05:58 PM
We have a Ranger Battalions because they do a certain mission very very well and the USMC has not had great success with the same mission. Can you say "Mayaguez incident"? Ranger Batts have proven their usefulness time and time again.
Reed

Not a solid comparison, since the Ranger Battalions didn't exist at that time. Rangers clearly do some things quite well, but there are also occasions when they (like any unit) are committed to tasks they aren't suited for.

slapout9
09-04-2012, 06:16 PM
We have a Ranger Battalions because they do a certain mission very very well and the USMC has not had great success with the same mission. Can you say "Mayaguez incident"? Ranger Batts have proven their usefulness time and time again.
Reed

I have never seen anything a Ranger Battalion does that the 82nd didn't used to do before we had Ranger Battalions and still could do. It is the Ranger training that is important and should be spread through all Infantry units like it used to be.

Are you saying the Ranagers could have handled the Mayaguez incident any better?

The Marines would probably say......can you say "Black Hawk down!"

Bob's World
09-04-2012, 09:07 PM
I have never seen anything a Ranger Battalion does that the 82nd didn't used to do before we had Ranger Battalions and still could do. It is the Ranger training that is important and should be spread through all Infantry units like it used to be.

Are you saying the Ranagers could have handled the Mayaguez incident any better?

The Marines would probably say......can you say "Black Hawk down!"

No tab, badge or brand makes a man or unit the end all, be all for every situation. That is why we have a mix of types of units, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages for a savvy commander to mix and match as necessary for best effect.

The problem of the conflicts of recent years is that they came to call for a lot of a couple different types of activity, and units all started abandoning their respective bases of specialization and expertise to fall in on some degree of competence on those common themes.

Pick your metaphor. From a sophisticated tool box into a bag of hammers; or from a symphony orchestra into a brass band. May meet the current requirement (as defined), but is not a good long-term solution.

Time for everyone to get back to their core competencies. Then, it is time to balance the relative size of each of those capacities to challenges of the modern era. We have been a military in conflict, but we are a nation at peace. Time to re-size and re-focus for the real challenges that are out there, not for the noises we hear in the dark.

For conventional ground forces this probably means we need a lot less, with most warfighting capacity relegated to the National Guard, and a smaller, more expeditionary capacity retained in the active component. Marines should pick up the lion-share of expeditionary missions as they invoke far less strategic risk for the nation when they are employed. SOF also provides an effective peacetime engagement tool, from building relationships and cultural understanding in critical locations, to taking out point targets on rare occasion. The Navy is the Navy. We are a maritime nation. Nuff said. The air force? Born of the Cold War we don't really have a model for what to do with these guys in the real world. We need to figure that out. They play a critical part of our deterrence mission, as well as our ability to move forces quickly and secure the airspace of critical locations for critical periods of time (not all air space all the time as the A2AD crowd seem to imply).

But DoD needs to take this serious. It is not our job to be as big as possible and do our job, it is our job to be as small as possible and do our job.

Chemsoldier
09-04-2012, 09:43 PM
That is a very good question, we don't need them. They should go back to being Frogmen...that was useful. We don't need a Ranger battalion either, we should go back to the Ranger school system like before. However that is really the wrong question to be asking. I posted the answer over at the Marine corps gazette blog a couple of weeks ago after reading a statement by Phill Ridderhof a retired Marine Officer.

Ranger BNs are not often used in BN sized operations, their training in BN operations are not as extensive as a result. However, their pace of CO and PLT operations is very high nad they are very good at it. Apparently they also function as additional manpower in other special operations. Considering that they are markedly cheaper to produce than most special operations team members and are trained in certain techniques that conventional infantry units are not (and would have a hard time making time to do), I would think that the Ranger Regiment has a valid niche.

slapout9
09-05-2012, 07:57 AM
Pick your metaphor. From a sophisticated tool box into a bag of hammers; or from a symphony orchestra into a brass band. May meet the current requirement (as defined), but is not a good long-term solution.


In the end the value of a soldier is what he can "do to his enemy." So Bob..... what can a Ranger do to the enemy that a Regular Soldier or Marine can not do?

The Marine Corps disbanded the Raiders because they had a General staff that asked that question and in the end they told the Raiders that their is nothing you can teach the raiders that you shouldn't be teaching to the rest of the Marine Corps. It's the same way with the Rangers, it is to costly and unnecessary duplication. The Ranger skills should be taught as widely as possible through the entire Infantry just like it used to be.

Bob's World
09-05-2012, 10:40 AM
Rangers, 82nd, Marines all work various aspects of the same mission set. You don't just have one screwdriver in your toolbox, nor does one just put trumpets in their brass section. Can you get by with just one flavor? Sure, but it will sometimes be the inappropriate tool for the job, and the job will take longer or be messier because of it.

Our problem is not that we have Ranger Battalions, I think they provide a valuable option to senior leaders. A bigger problem is how we have morphed Ranger Battalions and tailored them to the job of hunting HVTs From highly effective raiders of battalion-sized targets we have turned them into a vast pool of squad/platoon-sized assassins and kidnappers. Not sure we need an entire regiment dedicated to that latter mission as we move forward.

So, to my point, we need to re-balance and right-size the force, and we need to make it as small and efficient as possible. Our geostrategic place on the planet allows us a luxury of being able to assume risks that other nations cannot. We need to leverage that once again.

reed11b
09-06-2012, 03:16 PM
In the end the value of a soldier is what he can "do to his enemy." So Bob..... what can a Ranger do to the enemy that a Regular Soldier or Marine can not do?

The Marine Corps disbanded the Raiders because they had a General staff that asked that question and in the end they told the Raiders that their is nothing you can teach the raiders that you shouldn't be teaching to the rest of the Marine Corps. It's the same way with the Rangers, it is to costly and unnecessary duplication. The Ranger skills should be taught as widely as possible through the entire Infantry just like it used to be.

They say it, but the reality has shown this to be wrong. You simply can't be good at everything all the time. If the Raiders were such a bad idea, why has USMC currently embraced MARSOC? Look at some of Ken Whites arguments about what the military expects of officers and why it is unrealistic, for it is applicable to units as well. None of this is meant as a dig on Marines, they have an aggresive warfighting culture and some very good infantry tactics and better combined arms doctrine then the Army, but there decision to have no (few) "elite" Marines since all Marines are "elite", was a poor choice IMNSHO.
Reed

ganulv
09-06-2012, 04:01 PM
If the Raiders were such a bad idea, why has USMC currently embraced MARSOC?

Greenbacks, maybe?

Is there some way in which MARSOC is not redundant within USSOCOM? Mine is a non-rhetorical questionóI am not clear on what they do.

BayonetBrant
09-06-2012, 05:33 PM
Is there some way in which MARSOC is not redundant within USSOCOM? Mine is a non-rhetorical questionóI am not clear on what they do.

Each service has their 'part' of USSOCOM. So you have MARSOC as the Marine part of it, ARSOC as the Army part of it, etc.
USSOCOM is the overall HQ, but under that, each branch has a piece.

slapout9
09-06-2012, 06:29 PM
They say it, but the reality has shown this to be wrong. You simply can't be good at everything all the time. If the Raiders were such a bad idea, why has USMC currently embraced MARSOC? Look at some of Ken Whites arguments about what the military expects of officers and why it is unrealistic, for it is applicable to units as well. None of this is meant as a dig on Marines, they have an aggresive warfighting culture and some very good infantry tactics and better combined arms doctrine then the Army, but there decision to have no (few) "elite" Marines since all Marines are "elite", was a poor choice IMNSHO.
Reed

Nothing I said was meant to be a dig at the Rangers either. What I am saying is when the next election happens and it dosen't really matter which side wins there is going to be some major cuts to certain units because of what is considered to be duplication. You are going to see the Harvard Business School approach used on the military and The Army and the Marines are likley to get cut the worst and any sort of duplication will land right in the middle of their sites.

gute
09-11-2012, 04:02 AM
I was thinking about the future of the Corps and the Marine Special Operations Battalions - it seems to me that the MSOB organization with some CS and CSS attachments would be ideally suited to be a smaller MEU(SOC). You could place this organization on one LPD-17 with a LCS and DD-51 in support. Or a combination of a MSOB and regular rifle battalion. Just trying to think outside the box.

major.rod
09-11-2012, 08:40 AM
Bob - Just joined the forum and interested in some stimulating conversation. Happened upon this one and I read your posts with interest.

I'd like to contest some of your points with historical lessons that got us to where we are and likely provide some sound reasons why we shouldnít make the same mistakes again.

First the Army made a conscious decision to place half its combat units in the guard so that we may never participate in another unpopular war like Vietnam.
Second we didnít place more than half of our combat units in the Guard because of the determination that we need to place large numbers of soldiers in harmís way in a short period of time (e.g. 30 days). We learned during Desert Storm that even with 90 days of training our best Guard units were not prepared for high OPTEMPO operations and while the Guard has done a magnificent job in the low intensity conflict we have fought in for the last decade an unmentioned fact is the large majority of conventional guard units were given security type missions as opposed to the varied mission set typically assigned active formations.

I would disagree that Desert Storm was a war of choice. There was really not much choice but to eject Saddam from Kuwait to secure Saudi oil. A permanent heavy mechanized presence was not going to be possible either economically or politically.

I also reject the common assumption that the next war is going to be like the last one. A strong Army tends to dissuade conflict. The middle east remains a hot spot. A resurgent Russia, a problematic N. Korea and most importantly the myriad of threats we canít foresee are reasons to maintain a sizeable Army which given todayís technology and equipment is not something that can be grown overnight as many think. Even WWII with a nation mobilized for war took us years to equip and train several divisions. The seas and a strong British Army bought us time then. Our situation is much different. It seems that lesson has been forgotten in a decade of low intensity conflict.

Now to return to the thread's subject, I look forward to seeing the Marines return to a versatile expeditionary force capable of independent action for 30 days until the Army can reinforce or to reinforce the Army that might get there first as it did in Korea and Iraq (DS). It has in effect become a second Army and is strugling to do Army missions with the formation of law enforcement BN's and its interest on civil affairs type units. The capabaility to float a max of 30k Marines makes it tough to understand why it maintains a force in excess of 250k except that it is the only service that has its size stated in law (no less than three divisions and three air wings).

Looking forward to some enlightening responses!

Bill Moore
09-11-2012, 08:52 AM
Posted by major.rod


Second we didnít place more than half of our combat units in the Guard because of the determination that we need to place large numbers of soldiers in harmís way in a short period of time (e.g. 30 days). We learned during Desert Storm that even with 90 days of training our best Guard units were not prepared for high OPTEMPO operations and while the Guard has done a magnificent job in the low intensity conflict we have fought in for the last decade an unmentioned fact is the large majority of conventional guard units were given security type missions as opposed to the varied mission set typically assigned active formations.

Well said and factually accurate. Bob's proposal dismisses the view of deterence in my opinion, and while maintaining the force structure is expensive I suspect it is ultimately more cost effective than not deterring a conflict or launching into a conflict ill prepared which would not be acceptable to the American people. Bob still makes good points, but the reality concerning NG limited capabilities is ignored, and replaced with an illusionary history of Guard performance.

gute
09-11-2012, 02:19 PM
It has in effect become a second Army and is strugling to do Army missions with the formation of law enforcement BN's and its interest on civil affairs type units. The capabaility to float a max of 30k Marines makes it tough to understand why it maintains a force in excess of 250k except that it is the only service that has its size stated in law (no less than three divisions and three air wings).

I realize its onoly one or two battalions, but I don't understand the need for law enforcement battalions or an emphasis on civil affairs type units. Is the Marine Corps trying to make itself irrelevant as a fighting force or does Quantico see this as a good mix for future "banana wars"?

Ken White
09-11-2012, 03:29 PM
First the Army made a conscious decision to place half its combat units in the guard so that we may never participate in another unpopular war like Vietnam.That's close but not totally accurate. The "half" part is incorrect but fairly close however the "never participate in another unpopular war,,," isn't. That structure was decided by a whole lot of political infighting between the Army, the Guard, the Army Reserve, the Governors and Congressional delegations. It was a very complex compromise that satisfied no one. It has also since been modified by the same pressures exerted by new actors.
We learned during Desert Storm that even with 90 days of training our best Guard units were not prepared for high OPTEMPO operations...That's not correct. The Active Army absolutely did not want the Guard combat units in Theater for several reasons. Carl Vuono and Binny Peay, then CofSA and DCSOPS, fought quite hard to prevent deployment of the Guard Brigades that Congress insisted be called up. They were driven partly by future budget concerns, partly by pure parochialism -- Peay's famous "...not in My army..." comment comes to mind -- and hit upon the brilliant scheme of running all three Bdes through the NTC (where then Cdr Wesley Clark was a willing accomplice and thus 'justifying' the NTC which was under Congressional pressure for closure due to excessive costs) to obtain the required certification by the Active Army that the Bdes were 'combat ready' -- a statutory requirement the active Army wanted to avoid for several reasons. In the event, Commander Second US Army certified the 48th Bde of the GA ArNG as combat ready at the completion of their NTC rotation but was overruled by DA due to the fact that the Armistice had been signed and the issue was thus moot.
...an unmentioned fact is the large majority of conventional guard units were given security type missions as opposed to the varied mission set typically assigned active formations.That's as much parochialism and continued budget battle as anything. It's also a protective device to avoid a number of casualties from one small town -- as occurred in previous wars when Guard units deployed (to include Viet Nam when one KY Guard Arty By was overrun with heavy casualties -- that caused the requirement for the Active Army to certify 'combat readiness' of Gd units.
I would disagree that Desert Storm was a war of choice. There was really not much choice but to eject Saddam from Kuwait to secure Saudi oil. A permanent heavy mechanized presence was not going to be possible either economically or politically.That's arguable but irrelevant, DS/DS happened. The 'fact' that Saudi oil is needed by the rest of the world does not give the US reason to insure its provision except for US domestic political reasons.
Our situation is much different. It seems that lesson has been forgotten in a decade of low intensity conflict.Agreed. It's not that much different but it is different enough to require a larger standing force -- for training purposes among other things.
...The capability to float a max of 30k Marines makes it tough to understand why it maintains a force in excess of 250k except that it is the only service that has its size stated in law (no less than three divisions and three air wings).Not hard to understand -- the Marines try to keep Congress happy; the Army goes out of its way to pick fights with them over inconsequential issues -- or to just foolishly resist their pressure on sometimes needed reforms (foolishly in the sense that while that Army is sometimes correct, the 'battle' is poorly fought by the Army, generally due to excessively rapid rotation of key players).

Ken White
09-11-2012, 03:56 PM
Well said and factually accurate...Not really all that factually accurate... ;)
...the reality concerning NG limited capabilities is ignored, and replaced with an illusionary history of Guard performance.In reverse order, it is somewhat illusionry but the capabilities issue is the crux of of the issue. The Marine Corps Reserve fields generally better trained units than does the Guard simply because the Marines are willing to devote more active personnel, time and money to their Reserve units. Still, the Guard offers a better and more timely deployment option than recruiting from scratch. It cannot compete with Active Component combat units at Bn and above though it generally can at Co level. Most Guard and Reserve CS/CSS units are as good or better than many AC units. It should also be borne in mind that not all AC units are good, much less superbly competent...

Peace and war, I've been in AC units that were as competent as anything I've seen or heard of -- I've been in others that had no business being deployed because they were incompetent or woefully undertrained. That includes conventional units and SF in both categories of performance.

Guard or AC, no difference in that aspect, some units are really excellent, many are not. They're marginal and -- usually -- just good enough. That's the design factor influenced by personnel rotations, anyone expecting more will be disappointed.

Bob's World
09-11-2012, 05:00 PM
I owe more on this later (no time now) but a few clarifying points:

1. Of course AC units are better in general on any given day than RC units are. Pre-Mob that is. A few months into real combat both are equally experienced and awash in individual draftee replacements.

2. Desert Storm was a conflict of choice. A choice the people and Congress had far less than a constitutional say in due to the fact we had a war-fighting army sitting on the shelf. This was true in Vietnam, Grenada, the Balkans, Iraq, Afhanistan, etc, etc. We cannot begin to measure the damage this has done to our system of governance. We can however measure that none of those were essential operations that we had to win, or even fight for that matter.

3. 90 days is arbitrary as hell. Name the country that can put a sustainable military presence onto US soil in 10 times that amount of time. Just one. I'lll wait.

4. Ken is right, it was a hatchet job on the Georgia guard boys. AC later did the same thing to Guard units to keep them our of the CTCs as well. One Army, two standards. AC units go as they are, regardless of how well trained or if fully manned. Then the AC demands the Guard send 100% strength units andl then sends AC evaluators to assess their training readiness first. For CTC participation the AC evaluators deemed that for Guard units ALL LEADER TASKS WERE ALSO ESSENTIAL TASKS. Major Jones stood up and told a certain AC Colonel he was full of s$%&; but my generals meekly sat there and took it.

We've lost our historic perspective and we have lost our strategic perspective as well. AC vs RC silliness aside.

Fuchs
09-11-2012, 07:11 PM
I would disagree that Desert Storm was a war of choice. There was really not much choice but to eject Saddam from Kuwait to secure Saudi oil.

Look, I'm not from an anglophone country, but I know for certain that you have no clue what "war of choice" means.

"Choice" is not about comfort or avoiding an undesirable state in this case, it's about the absence of being forced into war.
Iraq did not force any country into war in 1990/91 but Kuwait. All others had the choice whether to do something about it or not (Saudi-Arabia being next in Saddam's line was propaganda).


I recommend strongly (to more than just one or a dozen people at SWC) to think about whether their default position of "in case of doubt we are right" shouldn't better give way for a default position of "in case of doubt we respect others and rules we agreed to collectively".

ODS was authorized by UNSC, but the simple fact that anyone could consider the choice to meddle in far away affairs as anything other than a choice should press home the insight that the default position, the default stance, in foreign policy is still unhinged.

Bob's World
09-11-2012, 09:57 PM
Posted by major.rod



Well said and factually accurate. Bob's proposal dismisses the view of deterrence in my opinion, and while maintaining the force structure is expensive I suspect it is ultimately more cost effective than not deterring a conflict or launching into a conflict ill prepared which would not be acceptable to the American people. Bob still makes good points, but the reality concerning NG limited capabilities is ignored, and replaced with an illusionary history of Guard performance.

Well said, certainly, but only factually accurate if assessed on a very very short memory/timeline. I would encourage people to study the entire history of the US Army. To study the thinking that went into our Constitution and the debates that took place. Any arguments framed solely in the context of our Cold War and immediate post-Cold war context are incomplete and biased by that incompleteness.

Some like to make the "first battles" argument, which is equally flawed unless balanced with the far more important "last battles" context. Yes we missed 3 years of WWI and another 3 years of WWII. Yes we struggled in our initial engagements once we finally built an army around our few active and guard divisions and deployed them while a draftee Army was built. But we were the force of decision and ended both conflicts on our terms with untold numbers of lives saved. Why could we do this? We could do it because of our geostrategic strength. The same geo-strategy that validates why we need a strong navy with a very important expeditionary peacetime role for the USMC.

This does not mean NO peacetime regular army, but it does mean we can have a much smaller one than we do today. We have many tools of deterrence, and the best ones are not land forces. Did our large land army deter Saddam from taking Kuwait? No.

But our large land army has allowed a long line of presidents to commit the nation to war without the cooling off period that the national debate centered around Congress having to authorize and fund the raising of an army provides. That is what our founding fathers intended. Argue with them, not me. I agree with them and I have heard no arguments or seen any facts to suggest that things have changed today so as to render their positions moot. We fight wars more often for emotion than for interest (think how many battle Cries begin with "Remember (insert emotional defeat here)" rather than with a statement of some vital national interest. That is how Americans are hard wired. All the more reason for a cooling off period. Just like we don't let Americans buy a gun in the heat of the moment. Yet we let our presidents start wars in the heat of the moment.

Decisions made post Vietnam are interesting, but not decisive, and not even close to the real reasons why we fight our wars with citizen soldiers in America. The self-serving active army wanted to put all the logistics in the RC and keep the sexy gun-fighting commands in the regular force. It was only the massive political clout of the Guard that forced them to leave combat units in the Guard; and then the Army broke itself so that it couldn't go anywhere or do anything without having to mob the reserves. This abuses the reserves for non-warfighting missions. We need a BALANCED and properly sized regular force. Not sure if the current adversarial process we use will or can produce such an army. But step one is to get the facts and the history straight, and that means all the facts and all the history, not just the past 60-70 years.

major.rod
09-12-2012, 10:02 AM
Ken Ė Iíll have to respectfully disagree with the force structure argument. I donít discount your point. There are political issues but they are not the determining force.

One may use AC prejudice to explain the over 90 days it took to certify the 48th. The fact remains the balloon went up in Sep 90 and four months later the 48th wasnít ready. The fight was over FIVE months later.

Parochailism and budget battles arenít the sole causes of the Guardís inability to be ready to execute across the spectrum as an AC unit does. Iím no stranger to the Guard after spending every day of two years with an enhanced infantry bde. One could not find a better bunch of patriots but itís INSANITY to expect a Guard unit to perform to the same level as an AC unit after all of less than 30 days of training a year or even after hooking it up to the premob firehose of training for another 30 days. Been there. It doesnít work and so we do the best we can by limiting the mission set and getting guardsman capable to execute those missions. Much of this is not the individualís fault. Leaders and staff just canít master the skills in 60 days of training. Blaming budget and parochialism for a lack of time is just hubris.

ďThe 'fact' that Saudi oil is needed by the rest of the world does not give the US reason to insure its provision except for US domestic political reasons.Ē Uh what do we run our factories/cars on? Water? Japan was forced to initiate WWII for very similar reasons. Itís simply not a war of choice when a nation is facing financial ruin and the subsequent turmoil.

Ref the Marine size, ďthe Army goes out of its way to pick fights with them over inconsequential issuesĒ Examples and how does that impact the size issue? The size of the Corps was written into law in 1952.

More importantly, why do we have a force of 250K marines when we can only float 30K?

I donít understand the rapid rotation of key players comment. We have deployed units for almost twice the amount of time that their Marine counterparts deploy for over the last decade.

The Marines field generally better trained units? By what measure? The Marines deploy more active duty troops to train? Example? Iím pretty familiar with what the Army does in this regard. Whatís the Marine model? Iíd like to see your numbers also when it comes to money. BTW, Reserve Marines also train for less than 30 days a year.

Hi Bob Ė
1.A few months in combat does not prepare you to execute missions the same as an AC unit. A simple example would be if you are doing route security or base security you arenít training to conduct an air assault or the priorities or work to stand up a COP.

2.Conflict of choice. Using your standard declaring war on Nazi Germany was a conflict of choice. The constitution says nothing about wars of choice nor does it say anything about the size of the Army. I reject the theory that a large Army means you have to fight. Considering the size of our standing Army since WWII and how much weíve fought since then we arenít doing so bad when you consider our first century and almost constant conflict with a very small Army (Rev War 1775Ė1783, Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War, Tecumseh, the Creek War, War of 1812, Removal era wars, Second Seminole War, West of the Mississippi (1811Ė1923), Texas, Mexican-American War, Pacific Northwest, Southwest, California, Great Basin, Great Plains, Dakota War, Civil War, Sioux War of 1865 Black Hills War)

3.The world has a lot of input on whether a war happens or not and comparing WWI & II to today and the global interdependence we rely on is just faulty logic. (Our founding fathers may have been shocked by the Mexican American War) If you want to withdraw from the world to just our shores your approach makes sense but then again we donít need much special ops except to organize the resistance when the enemy lands on the beach.

4.90 days isnít arbitrary. OPLANS rely on synchronized deployment schedules and the enemy landing on our beaches isnít the only threat we need to be prepared for unless youíre a Ron Paul isolationist.

5.Which leader tasks shouldnít be essential tasks?

BTW, love your Einstein quote

Dayuhan
09-12-2012, 10:22 AM
Bit of digression, but...


The 'fact' that Saudi oil is needed by the rest of the world does not give the US reason to insure its provision except for US domestic political reasons.

This is not exactly so. It's often presumed that if the US ceased to import oil from Saudi Arabia or the Gulf, continuity of supply from those sources would no longer be an American problem. That is of course not true. If oil from Saudi Arabia or any other major supplier was removed from the global supply mix, prices would skyrocket for everyone, including the US, and we'd be paying that price no matter where we buy the oil. If oil at $250/bbl isn't a problem, then we don't have to worry about Saudi production. If oil at $250/bbl would be a problem - and I suspect that it would be - we have to worry about the Saudis whether or not we buy from them.

BayonetBrant
09-12-2012, 02:23 PM
One may use AC prejudice to explain the over 90 days it took to certify the 48th. The fact remains the balloon went up in Sep 90 and four months later the 48th wasnít ready. The fight was over FIVE months later.

It's very easy to not certify someone when you're moving the standard on them. I've personally worked with people who were there at the time, on all three sides: the OPFOR, Ops Gp, and the SCARNG (1-263 AR was sent with the 48th BDE). Every one of them will tell you that the 48th was hitting ARTEP standards within about 30-35 days on being on the ground at NTC. Then the standards started changing, some of it based on "feedback" from the Gulf, some of it quite frankly just silly. There's not a single AC unit that was pulled out of Ft Hood, Ft Stewart, or Germany that was required to train a battalion-sized deliberate breaching operation; the 48th was required to execute it perfectly before they were signed off on it. They were no less ready than any AC unit that was sent. They were given a different standard of "ready".



but itís INSANITY to expect a Guard unit to perform to the same level as an AC unit after all of less than 30 days of training a year or even after hooking it up to the premob firehose of training for another 30 days.

Strip out the time that AC units set aside for block leave, the CSM's rock-painting detail, funeral detail, red cycle, etc, etc, and boil down the actual number of training days that AC units get. It's probably a lot closer to the 30 days that ARNG units get than you realize. Oh yeah, as soon as an ARNG unit gets within 1 year of their deployment, they start pulling double drill weekends/month, sending folks off to individual schools, extended ATs, etc, so that your last year before your actual mob date, you've probably pulled closer to 75 days of training, minimum. More if you're a key leader or a critical MOS. Again, compare to the AC guys and you'll see the number of training days they are actually training start to converge.


90 days isnít arbitrary. OPLANS rely on synchronized deployment schedules and the enemy landing on our beaches isnít the only threat we need to be prepared for unless youíre a Ron Paul isolationist.

90 days is arbitrary. The OPLANS you reference are sequenced, but it's not like they're sequenced to seasonal weather patterns, or tidal variations. They're synchronized to arbitrary numbers. Change the OPLAN synch to 60 days, and suddenly you need ARNG units mob'ed in 60 days. Change the synch to 120 days, and presto! you give ARNG units 120 days to get out the door.
The 90 days isn't the arbitrary number; the decisions in the deployment plans from which those "90s" were derived was what was arbitrary.

Ken White
09-12-2012, 04:18 PM
Ken – I’ll have to respectfully disagree with the force structure argument. I don’t discount your point. There are political issues but they are not the determining force.They are not necessarily so now so far as I know -- they were then and I was peripherally involved. At that time (1978-84 -- and I was in the AC at the time or had just Retired and gone to work as a DAC) force structure decisions were made on AC and RC whims as well as on force requirements, recruiting capability and other factors. The 'one half' issue was designed to reduce the size of the Guard and it was budget driven. The fact that 'studies' and processes were and are used to 'justify' that is typical Army blast and cover. The Army is pretty good at feeding perceptions.
One may use AC prejudice to explain the over 90 days it took to certify the 48th. The fact remains the balloon went up in Sep 90 and four months later the 48th wasn’t ready. The fight was over FIVE months later.Bayonet Brant answered this and did so accurately. Wes Clark kept screwing with the Bde at the NTC and the OCs insisted on a very unusual number of re-dos. The AC deliberately stalled to preclude the deployment. Your "fact" is predicated on that stacking of the deck.
Parochailism and budget battles aren’t the sole causes of the Guard’s inability to be ready to execute across the spectrum as an AC unit does...Leaders and staff just can’t master the skills in 60 days of training. Blaming budget and parochialism for a lack of time is just hubris.You missed the point -- I essentially agreed with that paragraph. My point was just that PLUS the FACT that you can still deploy a Guard or Reserve unit faster than you can recruit a similar force off the street. One gets what one pays for. The design factor is adequate but the limitations are known and have been accepted. The only hubris in this exchange is your apparent AC uber alles attitude. No question that a Guard combat arms Battalion or above isn't equal to most AC Battalions or above most days -- but Bob's World is correct in that after 60 days or so in a real middle-sized or big war, you or anyone else would be hard put to tell what a unit's pedigree happened to be...
“The 'fact' that Saudi oil is needed by the rest of the world does not give the US reason to insure its provision except for US domestic political reasons.” Uh what do we run our factories/cars on? Water? Japan was forced to initiate WWII for very similar reasons. It’s simply not a war of choice when a nation is facing financial ruin and the subsequent turmoil.We can disagree on that -- as well as on the 'fact' that "Japan was forced to initiate WWII for very similar reasons." Forced -- or elected. FDR gave them an excuse to do what they'd planned to do all along...

Not to mention that had we pursued Jimmy Carter's idea to achieve energy self sufficiency -- had he not been distracted by his own poor handling of the Tehran hostage action -- we'd have had fallbacks. We always have had, we just elect to take the easy and politically expedient way out. You're quite right in the avoiding financial difficulties and (political) turmoil, that always drives our train.
Ref the Marine size, “the Army goes out of its way to pick fights with them over inconsequential issues” Examples and how does that impact the size issue? The size of the Corps was written into law in 1952.I'm well aware of the size requirements statute, I was in the Corps at the time. It was enacted due to Omar Bradley's efforts to get the Corps amalgamated into the Army -- Truman was supportive; Congress was not.

Inconsequential issues: Amalgamate the Marines. Size of the Guard and Reserve. ;)

Consequential issues poorly handled: The replacement for the M4 Carbine issue (Barry McCaffrey owes the Army big time for that weapon...). MRAPs.
More importantly, why do we have a force of 250K marines when we can only float 30K?Probably for the same reason we need an Active Army of 450-540K to field a force of 100+K -- and of course, the Army also is not dependent upon the Navy's provision of hulls and underway time to float folks...
I don’t understand the rapid rotation of key players comment...Our terribly flawed 1918 personnel system (with 1945, 1950, 1065 and recent overlays...) now insists that we rotate everyone at two to four year intervals and that people must rotate through many jobs -- thus we develop a crew of Generalists who are jacks of all trades and masters of none. The problem is affecting the Army at all levels but my specific comment was directed at the senior leaders who interface with the Congress, one will start the battle in a fashion, his replacement picks up the Baton and changes tack while his replacement virtually does a 180 on the previous two -- lack of continuity in the fight is not helpful
We have deployed units for almost twice the amount of time that their Marine counterparts deploy for over the last decade.That's a separate issue and a policy issue. The Marines have to cope with that Afloat issue and Navy steaming time, the Army does not. The important thing is that neither service obtains decent continuity in combat operations due to those short tours -- and a year is a short tour just as seven months is...
The Marines field generally better trained units? By what measure?The Marines deployed Reserve Tanks and Tankers in M1s to DS/DS. What was it you said about the 48th? :D
The Marines deploy more active duty troops to train? Example? I’m pretty familiar with what the Army does in this regard. What’s the Marine model?The Marine Corps assigns active duty Marines, Typically an Officer in the same rank as the Reserve unit Commander and a few Staff NCOs -- used to be about five per Company sized unit -- to assist in training and adminstration (a huge time and effort waster in Army RC units...) as well as to insure quality (The I-I Staff also gets inspected to make sure they're performing well). That's probably changed a bit (as has the Army in regard to RC training support) but I suspect the Marines still put more effort and more active folks on a per capita basis into it.
I’d like to see your numbers also when it comes to money.No money numbers, purely anecdotal but based on over 50 years of close contact.
BTW, Reserve Marines also train for less than 30 days a year.True -- but, as you know, in training for combat, quality counts. The Army suffers from that terrible Task, Condition, Standard BTMS foolishness... :wry:

IOW, the Army has a systemic problem that inhibit good training -- that's changing but far too slowly.

I know you addressed this to Bob but:
1.A few months in combat does not prepare you to execute missions the same as an AC unit. A simple example would be if you are doing route security or base security you aren’t training to conduct an air assault or the priorities or work to stand up a COP.You're using Afghanistan / Iraq as models. Bad mistake. To quote Major Rod:
I also reject the common assumption that the next war is going to be like the last one.

Bob meant in medium or high intensity combat, not in the current environment.
2.Conflict of choice. Using your standard declaring war on Nazi Germany was a conflict of choice.Well, yeah...
4.90 days isn’t arbitrary. OPLANS rely on synchronized deployment schedules and the enemy landing on our beaches isn’t the only threat we need to be prepared for unless you’re a Ron Paul isolationist.True on that last item and I, for one, ain't a Ron Paulite -- but Brant's got that right also, the 90 days AND the synchronized deployments are arbitrary both have varied over the years depending upon the exigencies and can and will be again changed. Bet on it.

Fuchs
09-12-2012, 04:37 PM
2.Conflict of choice. Using your standard declaring war on Nazi Germany was a conflict of choice.

Check your history book (or wikipedia if need be). Hitler declared war on the United States himself. The U.S. merely confirmed that it was already at war with Germany.

Bill Moore
09-12-2012, 04:50 PM
Posted by Bob's World


Well said, certainly, but only factually accurate if assessed on a very very short memory/timeline. I would encourage people to study the entire history of the US Army. To study the thinking that went into our Constitution and the debates that took place. Any arguments framed solely in the context of our Cold War and immediate post-Cold war context are incomplete and biased by that incompleteness.

I actually have studied our history and continue to do so. I don't disagree with the statement above, but counter with the simple fact that we're living in a post Cold War world, not in a pre Cold War world. Second, we weren't considered a superpower until WWII, and our role changed significantly at that point. I would like to rewrite history and erase any reference to globalization, American international responsibilities, etc., but that wouldn't reflect the world we actually live in.


We could do it because of our geostrategic strength. The same geo-strategy that validates why we need a strong navy with a very important expeditionary peacetime role for the USMC.

The CJCS might suggest this is no longer a valid argument and in future wars the homeland will be attacked. Can't recall where I saw the comments, but they were fairly recent. We still enjoy geostrategic advantages, but that won't protect us from long range missiles, terrorism, cyber, etc., of course I agree with you that large Army won't protect us from these threats either.


This does not mean NO peacetime regular army, but it does mean we can have a much smaller one than we do today. We have many tools of deterrence, and the best ones are not land forces. Did our large land army deter Saddam from taking Kuwait? No.

I agree we don't need a large Army to defend against these threats, what I disagree is your and Ken's statements about National Guard capabilities. It is the nature of the beast, I don't think it can be fixed, and that isn't directed against the soldiers in the NG, it is the reality that they forced to deal with and the unrealistic expectations we have of them.


We need a BALANCED and properly sized regular force. Not sure if the current adversarial process we use will or can produce such an army. But step one is to get the facts and the history straight, and that means all the facts and all the history, not just the past 60-70 years.

I suspect we all agree with this statement, but not only getting the history correct, but projecting future threats, which won't look like yesterday's threats.

BayonetBrant
09-12-2012, 05:12 PM
Bayonet Brant answered this and did so accurately


but Brant's got that right also

hey - two correct comments in one day! :eek:
I'm declaring success and heading out for a nap :cool:

Ken White
09-12-2012, 06:35 PM
... that wouldn't reflect the world we actually live in... I agree with you that large Army won't protect us from these threats either...I suspect we all agree with this statement, but not only getting the history correct, but projecting future threats, which won't look like yesterday's threats.All that...

This, however:
...what I disagree is your and Ken's statements about National Guard capabilities...You do realize that Bob and I do not agree on Guard capabilities and prospects. I'm somewhere between the two of you.
It is the nature of the beast, I don't think it can be fixed, and that isn't directed against the soldiers in the NG, it is the reality that they forced to deal with...If you mean they can never in peacetime or limited war reach the AC level of capability of combat units, I agree totally. If you mean that Bob's wrong and after 60 days or so in a big war, you couldn't tell the difference, I disagree. I've actually see it in Korea and you cannot tell...
...and the unrealistic expectations we have of them.There we agree -- and you've summed it up nicely. The Guard is NOT supposed to a part time active Army; they are to comprise a limited capability force for State emergencies and a force in being that can expand the manpower of the Active Army given adequate training and time. The unrealistic expectations are the fault of many, to include the Guard themselves (and of Guardsmen like Bob) who try to make it into something it is not -- and was never intended to be.

It is what it is, it provides an acceptable, relatively low cost alternative to no reserve force at all. No more, no less.

Bob's World
09-12-2012, 10:18 PM
Well much of this discussion is apples and oranges.

First, I spent nearly 8 years as a regular army officer, serving in a mech infantry unit in the waning days of our Cold War presence in West Germany, followed by my team time in 5th SFG, which included all of Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

With that experience under my belt I felt I had accomplished my military goals, having become a Green Beret and and commanded men in a combat zone, so I honored a commitment to my family and left the active force to pursue a civilian career. I went to law school and joined a Guard unit. The unit in my state was what we called an "Enhanced Infantry Brigade," one of 15 separate combat brigades established by the Army to receive extra training and serve as the initial units to be mobilized in time of war. For some three years I didn't get it. Things were so different in the Guard that it made no sense to me as a Regular. But I did not just observe it or attempt to train it. I owned it. I commanded, I took major staff positions, as a BN and BDE S-3, for example, and did my best to make these units as good as they could be. But here something I learned most regular officers don't have a clue about: AC Army is a training readiness organization. National Guard is a personnel readiness unit. The measure of success, and therefore the focus, of each organization is completely different. Why do some AC commanders conduct outrageous training events? Because their commander loves it and it gets them promoted. Why do some Guard commanders do outrageous recruiting or retention events (like a fraternity rush week)? For the same reason. As a Guard Commander you are judged by how many billets you fill, not by how your unit performs. A little fat? no worries. If you fire that overweight E-7 it is on you commander to go find a civilian, convince them to join, and then grow them up to be an E-7 someday. No AC officer has to worry about that.

So, I never claim RC units are as proficient as AC units; only that they don't have to be while in a pre-mob status. One reason they take so long to get up to mobilized status is that AC leaders don't know F-all about training Guard units and tend to just think of them as F'd up regular units. Our training doctrine is all written for AC units with the term "RC" sprinkled in here and there. METL is one's warfighting tasks. So like units in the AC and RC should have the exact same METL, yet too often we provide a dumbed down METL for the RC unit to train to. Wrong approach. What RC units need is the same METL, but they need to focus their pre-mob training on a solid foundation of fundamental skills. Best task I found in the ARTEP manual was "maintain opsec." Try to sell that to a general. I tried, and he thought I was on crack. He wanted to do movement to contact, attack and defend; just like the AC units. So we end up building a half-ass ability to do high echelon tasks with no foundation of core skills underneath it. Then, once mobilized, units need to start from scratch and go back to square one and build a foundation. Better if our RC units did nothing but focus on simple foundational skills for collective training at BDE and BN level until mobilized.

But go try to find guys who have commanded both regular army and national guard units. There aren't many. Guard generals don't understand the AC and vice versa.

But my concerns now, as a strategist, are way bigger than these training issues I wrestled with as a Major. Our national security is much more than just our military. It is our economy, our influence, our education, etc. If we focus on just one line of operation and build far too much military when it is truly not needed at the expense of every other line of operation we will fail as a nation. Bill is right about the small picture, but he is wrong about the big picture.

Wars are fought by 18 year old kids. Wars are fought by units that did not exist the year prior. Wars are fought by citizen soldiers. These little adventure of choice of the past 20 years? Those aren't wars. Combat? sure. Not wars. There is a big difference. Can America be attacked? Of course. But no one can bring war to America without giving us years of advance warning. (exchanging nukes is another matter, and no amount of army will help there).

Likewise we are better off when we cannot so easily bring war to others. Having a warfighting army on the shelf disrupts our system of governance and enables presidents to do what was never intended to be within their power to do. That is a fact. Will that mean that we would not longer be able to attempt to control everything in the world and bend it to our will? Yes, and that is not a bad thing.

major.rod
09-12-2012, 10:53 PM
Bayonet Brant -

BN Breach - 3-5 Cav Kirchgoens Germany. We trained and were evaluated on a BN breach both before we left and when we got in country. There’s ONE BN that did it counter to your statement. I’m sure the four sister BN’s also trained the mission.

AC vs, Guard training OPTEMP comparison - The training optempo of guard units increases as well as those of the Army. I was the deputy for the Infantry school task force that did an analysis of yearly training before an AC unit deploys in ’05. If you are going to mention the new Guard approach to training you have to look at the Army’s also. Painting rocks, post support, etc. at most deduct four months of collective training. Units still do substantial training even in red cycle. Guard units don’t get a red cycle and having been with guard units I can tell you 25% of drills were devoted to the same kinds of BS. You can’t have different standards if you want to compare organizations. You make it sound like Guard units make the most out of the 30 days they train in a year. NOT true and I don’t think reciting a list that includes Christmas parties, classroom vs. field training etc. would be constructive.

Deployment and it’s impact on training - When the troops are needed on the ground impact deployment schedules slip but you’re fooling yourself if you think in today’s risk averse litigious environment that the Army is going to push a Guard unit out early rather than replace it with an AC unit.

Ken – General thoughts:
The Army is pretty good at feeding perceptions. The AC isn’t the only organization good at molding perceptions.


Bob's World is correct in that after 60 days or so in a real middle-sized or big war, you or anyone else would be hard put to tell what a unit's pedigree happened to be…well I guess we’ll need a middle or big sized war to bear that out.

Army picking fights with Marines – fights is plural, you listed one. : )

Army size – The Army provides it’s own support. The Marines do not e.g. Marines rely on the Navy for all medical care

Rotation issues - Army home station rotation policy has changed drastically since 911. Most Marine units deployed to OIF, OEF were deployed via air just like the Army. Float times were not an issue.

Marine over Army quality – Marine reserve tankers deployed. You mean the reserve tankers that had to be reinforced by Army AC mechanized forces? : )

Marine vs. Army commitment to training reserve units. I commanded the nine man AC training detachment for a guard separate infantry BN in 2000. I was backstopped by another 40 man Army detachment to assist on drill weekends. That would make the Army density of AC to guard an even higher proportion of five per unit. That is on top of Active component soldiers selected to serve full time in reserve components and in effect transfer to the Guard.

Granted my Air Assault example may apply to OIF OEF (but it none-the less applies). Bob’s observation “60 days and can’t tell the difference” has yet to prove itself out . The last time we deployed Guard units to a mid or big size fight and they did well was WWII and they trained as active duty units for over a year with huge influxes of active troops. You saw it in Korea? Where and when? I’d like to look at how much time they had to train up and record of performance.

BTW, I categorically reject your characterization of me as “AC uber alles”. Let’s refrain from simplistic attacks when we don’t have evidence to support our anecdotal positions? Having served shoulder to shoulder with Guardsman I can tell you they have my deepest respect and there are certain missions where Guard units are superior to their AC peer. Pulling a 40 hour week and trying to meet the unrealistic expectations the Army has for Guard units one weekend a month is an incredibly difficult row to hoe. There is ZERO doubt they are patriots. Let’s separate ego from capability?

Fuchs – yes, one of Germany’s great mistakes. It still takes two to fight and we didn’t have to “choose” to take on Germany on their home turf and first. That was our “choice”.

Fuchs
09-12-2012, 11:39 PM
A little step back to the marines topic:

I assume that marines could serve well in a "conventional" war not only as invasion (Normandy) and flank invasion threat (Inchon), but also as specialists for river crossings, riverine warfare, warfare in swamps and as the premier heliborne ground combat force.


Why not carve out a role set for the marines that includes this into conventional warfare roles (and thus replaces the army heliborne elements) with about the same level of doctrinal authority as army armor or army national guard units have?

The rapid deployment role with MEUs could be the second pillar, parallel to USAF wings, CVBGs and paras.

The 3rd pillar could be the presidential helo + embassy guards role; rather representative security functions.

4th pillar; stupid small wars - preferably in a quick & dirty pattern as the French used it with success in Africa (possibly again in competition with army paras if they finally get some decent vehicles for their jobs; equals to BMDs).


Get some doctrinal clarity and thus clarified purpose, then you can define what kind of budget is needed (as opposed to keeping things on autopilot and let bureaucratic instincts influence this decision).

I guess the USMC could be halved over the next ten years (with early full pension retirement of senior personnel, in order to avoid a poor chieftain_to_indian ratio). It wouldn't lose its relevance.
Suck it up, nobody is going to recapture those island chains in front of China's coast if China captured them. Not going to happen.
Without that,there's simply no doctrinal equivalent of Plan Orange and thus no reason for the USMC as it exists today.

P.S.: Main battle tanks in a marine corps ranks right next to supersonic strike fighters for a marine corps close to the top of the list of possible marine corps stupidities.
Oh, wait.

Ken White
09-13-2012, 02:48 AM
“The Army is pretty good at feeding perceptions.” The AC isn’t the only organization good at molding perceptions.True, that's why I wrote in response to Bill Moore's "...and the unrealistic expectations we have of them.":

""There we agree -- and you've summed it up nicely. The Guard is NOT supposed to a part time active Army; they are to comprise a limited capability force for State emergencies and a force in being that can expand the manpower of the Active Army given adequate training and time. The unrealistic expectations are the fault of many, to include the Guard themselves (and of Guardsmen like Bob) who try to make it into something it is not -- and was never intended to be.""

The guard -- and Reserve -- are as good or better at that perception gig than the Regular Army...
Bob's World is correct in that after 60 days or so in a real middle-sized or big war, you or anyone else would be hard put to tell what a unit's pedigree happened to be…” well I guess we’ll need a middle or big sized war to bear that out.

We had a big one, WW II and a middle sized one, Korea -- where it was proven; no reason to believe it would not be again.
Army picking fights with Marines – fights is plural, you listed one. : ) Actually, I wrote that the Army picked fights with Congress, not the Marines: ""the Marines try to keep Congress happy; the Army goes out of its way to pick fights with them over inconsequential issues."" Them being Congress, the last entity mentioned prior to the pronoun.
Army size – The Army provides it’s own support. The Marines do not e.g. Marines rely on the Navy for all medical care

And more as well as on the Army for much support in many cases. Still IMO way too large a tail in both cases. Doesn't change the fact that the Marines could -- and have -- deployed many more than 30K (DS/DS, OIF, OEF Surge) but the 30K afloat is hull and underway time limited.


Rotation issues - Army home station rotation policy has changed drastically since 911. Most Marine units deployed to OIF, OEF were deployed via air just like the Army. Float times were not an issue.

They are or were for those Marines that had to float while others were in the Stan or Iraq...:wry:

The Corps, like the Army has to cope with other things than the war at hand.
Marine over Army quality – Marine reserve tankers deployed. You mean the reserve tankers that had to be reinforced by Army AC mechanized forces? : )

As the Marines at the time had no mech forces to support those Tanks, yeah, them. How many RC tanks did the Army deploy for anyone to support? ;)

Point is the Army could have and elected to not do so; the Marines elected -- for good political if not military reasons to put a lot of money and effort into forcing that deployment. That's yet another example of the Marines acceding to Congressional desires and the Army refusing to do so -- by stalling.
Marine vs. Army commitment to training reserve units. I commanded the nine man AC training detachment for a guard separate infantry BN in 2000. I was backstopped by another 40 man Army detachment to assist on drill weekends. That would make the Army density of AC to guard an even higher proportion of five per unit. That is on top of Active component soldiers selected to serve full time in reserve components and in effect transfer to the Guard.
Things change and I'm glad to hear that. That was pretty much getting started when I retired from civil service in 1995. Glad it worked out. Is it still going?
Granted my Air Assault example may apply to OIF OEF (but it none-the less applies).
It does; how much of the reason for that is due to capability and how much is due to perception bias or other factors neither of us can know.
Bob’s observation “60 days and can’t tell the difference” has yet to prove itself out . The last time we deployed Guard units to a mid or big size fight and they did well was WWII and they trained as active duty units for over a year with huge influxes of active troops. You saw it in Korea? Where and when? I’d like to look at how much time they had to train up and record of performance.First, not huge influxes of active troops, there weren't that many active troops -- huge influxes of Draftees and rapidly promoted ROTC Officers called up for the duration -- very different thing.

Second, re: Korea. The 40th (CA ArNG) and 45th Inf Divs (OK ArNG) and the 65th RCT (PR ArNG) all served on the line in Korea, I saw elements of the 65th and of the 45th several times each -- couldn't tell the difference between the 65th and the rest of 3d ID. There were numerous CS/CSS units -- ArNG Arty was particularly good, some of those NCOs had been Chiefs of Section for 8 or 10 years. One I recall was the 623d FA Bn (155 T) Ky ArNG) they were GS to 1st Mar Div for a while. All that's available on Google as I'm sure are reports of relative performance. Here's some Guard propaganda -- I have no reason to believe it is inaccurate; (LINK) (http://www.ngef.org/index.asp?bid=49) and here's more from California (LINK) (http://www.militarymuseum.org/40Korea.html).

Here's the Wiki on the 45th. Scroll down to Korea. I witnessed much of the Old Baldy fight; the 45th took it and held it, turned it over to 2d ID who promptly lost it and had a hard time getting it back. Couldn't really see much difference in the two Divisions...
BTW, I categorically reject your characterization of me as “AC uber alles”. Let’s refrain from simplistic attacks when we don’t have evidence to support our anecdotal positions? Having served shoulder to shoulder with Guardsman I can tell you they have my deepest respect and there are certain missions where Guard units are superior to their AC peer. Pulling a 40 hour week and trying to meet the unrealistic expectations { * } the Army has for Guard units one weekend a month is an incredibly difficult row to hoe. There is ZERO doubt they are patriots. Let’s separate ego from capability?Yes, lets. Heres' what I wrote: "The only hubris in this exchange is your apparent AC uber alles attitude." (emphasis added / kw). Note the apparent. I have no reason to believe it is more than "apparent" due to your choice of words and phrasing but the word 'hubris' implies that either Bob or I were / are deluded. Neither of us is -- we may differ from you in our opinions and some matters -- and Bob and I differ on some also -- but there's no hubris involved. So let's indeed refrain from simplistic attacks. Sounds like a plan... :wry:

Interesting aside. After DS/DS and not too long after Congress passed the laws that resulted in formation of your and the other RC Training Detachments and the revamp of Readiness Groups et.al., I was in his office when the then CG of then Second Army who had earlier been at OCLL called a Congressional Staffer he knew on Steven's staff and asked him why on earth they passed such an expensive in many ways scheme that was certain to make no significant improvement in RC mobilization capability. The answer was "We wanted to make sure the next time the Army went to war, they took the Guard." The CG's response was appropriate -- "Why didn't you just pass a law that said that."

Few things are as simple as they seem...

* Perceptions again -- and not just the Army but also the Guard itself, the Politicians at both Federal and State level. Sadly, there's plenty of blame to go around for unrealistic expectations. Good news is that they still beat recruiting from scratch... ;)

reed11b
09-13-2012, 04:00 PM
Guard units donít get a red cycle and having been with guard units I can tell you 25% of drills were devoted to the same kinds of BS. You canít have different standards if you want to compare organizations. You make it sound like Guard units make the most out of the 30 days they train in a year. NOT true and I donít think reciting a list that includes Christmas parties, classroom vs. field training etc. would be constructive.


I want to address just this comment. Guard training varies greatly from state to state and battalion to battalion, so blanket staements like this are not productive. My time in an infantry unit in the AKNG and ORNG would find this statement to be BS. We had 2-3 days not productivly training and those were christmas party and SRP and we often had additional training oppertunities outside of the drill & AT schedule. My time in an ORNG CSS unit and my current WANG infanty unit would find 25% waaaay to low a number, more like over 50%. So your lone unit experience does not make you an expert.
I do think that the "all combat units to the NG" was a poor choice and that state and inter-Army politics effects there readiness far greater then any lack of training time. Guard units that use training time effectivly and keep soldiers in, can also advance beyond the basics in training, which is harder for AC units since they have a constant turn-over in soldiers.
Reed

BayonetBrant
09-13-2012, 07:06 PM
I spent 10 years spread across 3 different states (CA, SC, OH) and worked in a straight line tank battalion, eHSB TK BN, and a BDE HQ.
We had 1-2 "BS" drills each year: Xmas party, and usually some form of community open house to support recruiting.
We also routinely had 3-5 extra training events every year, and while the entire unit might not have been at all of them, by the end of the year, pretty much everyone in any of those units had pulled at least 2 of them.

In SC, we were in a train-up cycle for NTC (pre-9/11), and just the NTC train-up had us pulling double weekends for 6 months leading up to it, plus a 3-week AT, instead of the normal 2, on the ground at FICA. You don't want to know what the training schedules looked like for the mobilization just to support Op Noble Eagle... checking ID cards at gates resulted in 6 months of 2-3 drills per month

From CA, we deployed to Yakima one year, which added extra drills to rail-load vehicles at both ends, plus the leaders' recon, coordination meetings, etc. And another year most of us pulled double-AT b/c the BN/BDE staffs all went to FLKS for a DIV warfighter.

In Ohio, there was always at least 1 unit downrange, so we never had a full BDE to train in the field, but the ramp-up for the '08 Kuwait deployment might as well have been an active duty train-up, once they put 300+ people on full-time orders one year out and had the rest pulling double-drills, plus a total of 5 weeks of AT before they ever hit the mob station.

Three states.
10 years.
No one was wasting time painting rocks.

Can't say that about any of the 4 years I was on active duty.

Bob's World
09-14-2012, 10:10 AM
The story of the USMC reserve tank company in Desert Storm is illustrative. I'll need to do a little research, but they may be credited with taking out more Iraqi armor than any other similarly sized unit in the conflict. Right place, right time, sure, but it highlights one aspect of the RC that we fail to leverage to our maximum advantage:

RC units have a stability of personnel that allows them to produce key individual and crew skills that AC units simply cannot match. Call for fire; howitzer and tank crew drills, snipers, etc. If we were smarter we would stop trying to get RC units up to AC standards on BN and BDE-level coordinated operations, and instead focus on identifying and developing these critical skills.

This is equally true in the Air guard/reserve; but due to the air mission it is recognized there. Who can tell the difference of if the C-130 they are being transported on is an active or reserve or guard crew?? You can't, other than that the Guard aircraft is likely to be better maintained, just as Guard vehicles in general are better maintained than active vehicles (an other advantage of the RC that is not well appreciated).

RC Flag officers don't help. They tend to want to prove that they are just like the AC, so they focus on building these Hollywood set units (looks real from the front, but it is all propped up BS behind the scene) instead of playing to their strengths. Sad that.

But to this thread. We need to take a hard look at every aspect of our military team and get past the fiction and the rumors and the egos and get down to the reality of what we really need, what we can afford, and then dedicating ourselves to building, fielding and employing the best possible mix. We are not doing that.

I am dealing with this today within SOCOM. Every aspect of SOF has their own narrative/legend of who they see themselves as; they have what it is they want to do; and they they have what it is they are really good at and what they need to do. Many of those things don't match up. Re-balancing forces to what you really need them to do is hard work and no one will be happy if done right. Current senior leaders, retired senior leaders, etc. All have a version in their mind that they believe is correct. We're all wrong. Let's start from there and figure this out.

No one except the American populace and the system of governance we exist to protect will be happy if we do this right. For me, that is not just good enough, for me that is the purpose of this whole little enterprise.

BayonetBrant
09-14-2012, 04:39 PM
Big difference with USMC reserves vs ARNG/USAR:

USMCR units are often trained at company level, and organized to fall-in on an active duty battalion.

ARNG units are trained, organized, equipped, etc from the division level on down. Do we return to the 'roundout' concept that everyone criticized after DS/DS? Probably not, but it is a significant reason why the USMC can get guys out the door faster as reservists than the ARNG can - none of those pesky BN/BDE-level tasks to train.

Oh, and that complete and total lack of state-level MSCA missions...

davidbfpo
09-14-2012, 06:12 PM
This thread has moved away from the primary mission of the USMC into questions of around the mobilisation and the competence of reserves. It is of interest to this British "armchair" observer for two reasons.

First, the current UK defence planning to have an army split into a 'Reaction' and an 'Adaptable' structure. See the UK 2020 thread for a diagram and some discussion:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=16516

It is easy to imagine in a crisis that the deployable part will need supplementing from the second echelon. In Gulf War One the UK deployed an armoured division, which required substantial reinforcement from the whole army and the reserves.

ganulv
09-14-2012, 09:50 PM
[T]he current UK defence planning to have an army split into a 'Reaction' and an 'Adaptable' structure. See the UK 2020 thread for a diagram and some discussion:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=16516

Is the TA to become part of the Adaptable side, or are its personnel allocated across the two? (Or is it ďits own thingĒ apart from the two?)