View Full Version : Rumsfeld's War Games

04-27-2006, 12:14 PM
26 April Military.com commentary - Rumsfeld's War Games (http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,95496,00.html) by Joe Galloway.

Of those generals who have stepped forward to criticize Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his conduct of the Iraq War, none has pointed out the mistakes of a man who admits no error with more specificity than retired Marine Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper.

Van Riper is widely respected as a military thinker who emerged from combat in Vietnam determined to help get to the bottom of what went wrong there and why and how it should be fixed...

Van Riper told Knight Ridder that in looking at Rumsfeld's leadership he found three particular areas of inability and incompetence.

First, he said, if any battalion commander under him had created so "poor a climate of leadership" and the "bullying" that goes on in the Pentagon under Rumsfeld he would order an investigation and relieve that commander.

"Even more than that I focus on (his) incompetence when it comes to preparing American military forces for the future," Van Riper said. "His idea of transformation turns on empty buzz words. There's none of the Scholarship and doctrinal examination that has to go on before you begin changing the force."

Third, he said, under Rumsfeld there's been no oversight of military acquisition.

"Mr. Rumsfeld has failed 360 degrees in the job. He is incompetent," Van Riper concluded. "Any military man who made the mistakes he has made, tactically and strategically, would be relieved on the spot."

One event that shocked Van Riper occurred in 2002 when he was asked, as he had been before, to play the commander of an enemy Red Force in a huge $250 million three-week war game titled Millennium Challenge 2002. It was widely advertised as the best kind of such exercises -- a free-play unscripted test of some of the Pentagon's and Rumsfeld's fondest ideas and theories...

In the computer-controlled game, a flotilla of Navy warships and Marine amphibious warfare ships steamed into the Persian Gulf for what Van Riper assumed would be a pre-emptive strike against the country he was defending.

Van Riper resolved to strike first and unconventionally using fast patrol boats and converted pleasure boats fitted with ship-to-ship missiles as well as first generation shore-launched anti-ship cruise missiles...

When the figurative smoke cleared it was found that the Red Forces had sunk 16 Navy ships, including an aircraft carrier. Thousands of Marines and sailors were dead.

The referees stopped the game, which is normal when a victory is won so early. Van Riper assumed that the Blue Force would draw new, better plans and the free play war games would resume.

Instead he learned that the war game was now following a script drafted to ensure a Blue Force victory: He was ordered to turn on all his anti-aircraft radar so it could be destroyed and he was told his forces would not be allowed to shoot down any of the aircraft bringing Blue Force troops ashore.

The Pentagon has never explained. It classified Van Riper's 21-page report criticizing the results and conduct of the rest of the exercise, along with the report of another DOD observer. Pentagon officials have not released Joint Forces Command's own report on the exercise...

Merv Benson
04-30-2006, 01:29 PM
From PrairiePundit:

AP (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,193700,00.html)/Fox News:

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell advised President Bush before the Iraq war to send more troops to the country, but the administration did not follow his recommendation, Powell said in an interview broadcast Sunday.


Powell said he gave the advice to now retired Gen. Tommy Franks, who developed and executed the Iraq invasion plan, and Rumsfeld while the president was present.

"I made the case to Gen. Franks and Secretary Rumsfeld before the president that I was not sure we had enough troops," Powell said in an interview on Britain's ITV television, according to a transcript released by the network. "The case was made, it was listened to, it was considered. ... A judgment was made by those responsible that the troop strength was adequate."


"The president's military advisers felt that the size of the force was adequate, they may still feel that years later. Some of us don't, I don't," Powell said. "In my perspective, I would have preferred more troops but you know, this conflict is not over."

"At the time the president was listening to those who were supposed to be providing him with military advice," Powell said. "They were anticipating a different kind of immediate aftermath of the fall of Baghdad, it turned out to be not exactly as they had anticipated."

Rumsfeld has rejected criticism that he had sent too few U.S. troops to Iraq, saying that Franks and two other generals who oversaw the campaign's planning — John Abizaid and George Casey — had determined the overall number of troops, and that he and Bush agreed with them.

Why can't the critics be as honest as Powell and acknowledge that the President and the Secretary of Defense followed the adivce of the military leaders who were responsible for combat operations in Iraq? In hind sight, I tend to agree that we need a larger force in the Phase IV part of the operation, but I don't blame Rumsfeld or the President for that. The generals who have been complaining need to take another look at the chain of command, and quit criticizing the Secretary of Defense for following the adivce of the military commanders rather than the advice of those who were not in the chain of command.

04-30-2006, 04:42 PM
General Van Riper wrote:

"There's none of the Scholarship and doctrinal examination that has to go on before you begin changing the force."

Either the general is completely uninformed, which I find difficult to believe, or he is alluding to something else he left ill-explained or he is peddling pure political spin. This is nonsense.

"Transformation" which has evolved up out of the " revolution in military affairs" debates have been going on since the (early, I believe) 1970's ( and that grew out of the earlier " flexible response"). The Red Army general staff understood its importance for US-Soviet rivalry, Arthur Cebrowski preached it, reams of papers, studies etc. have been written. This did not come out of thin air when Rumsfeld became Secretary of Defense and would have substantially proceeded had somebody else been nominated for the position.