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Old 03-19-2011   #248
Vitesse et Puissance
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Location: Fredericksburg, VA
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Originally Posted by Cole View Post
Believe some are reading too much into the relationship between uncertainty and complexity. Believe "uncertainty" came about as the partly correct answer of anti-FCS leaders who correctly identified that sensors will never find all the enemy or his intentions....But there is a major difference between not finding hunter-killer dismounts on complex terrain versus finding and dealing with massed armored forces in the year 2010. The anti-FCS leaders want to discount sensors, long-range fires, and air attack. Claims of uncertainly support the need for more close combat and more armor protecting against anti-armor weapons...despite the fact that those dying are being killed by IEDs, small arms, and RPGs used as massed artillery... "Uncertainty" became the rallying cry used to reject the FCS idea that tactical/MI sensors and scouts are adequate to achieve perfect SU. It correctly identifies that even if possible, seeing the enemy isn't enough, especially if he hugs non-combatants, and does not play by the rules of "chess or football." Uncertainty correctly rejects Effects Based Operations where long range fires and air attack are sufficient...if the enemy stays massed and out in the open...and if we are willing to spend/rebuild under fire afterwards to repair EBO damage.

Fortunately, the expansion and up-armoring (double V-hull coming) of Stryker, remaining FCS spin outs, and continued testing of Stryker etc. networking advantages will salvage some of the "baby" of the rejected FCS all is not lost. Heavy BCTs will arrive eventually, and hopefully we will never find ourselves running out of fuel with "superior" armor as the Germans did in WWII, losing to lesser armored Americans/allies.

I hear you on the architectual versus engineering design. Architectual and military design may involve visualizing and describing space in a building or on the ground. But ability to do that does not guarantee ability to engineer/plan and more importantly execute the design. Aren't the days of the Howard Roark/Frank Lloyd Wright one-man-does-it-all design/engineering not feasible anymore than one staff member and commander doing it all in design or planning? Isn't it kind of egotistical to try to design it all alone, or rule with an iron my-way (plan)-or-highway authority in the CP?

Isn't it comparable to the automotive designer who draws and sculpts clay to look a certain way...then reality on the ground (engineering/enemy vote)distorts it to look much different in execution.
Several unsolicited comments here.

1. I think that the argument against FCS - that it could not totally eliminate fog of war or friction - was a fallacious misinterpretation of what the TRADOC Battle Lab experiments were trying to do. BECAUSE they could not simulate network degradation and the fog of war well enough, the experimenters limited their scope to human factors questions. ASSUMING perfect intelligence (obviously false, but not invalid for the purpose of analysis), they examined issues like information overload and screen clutter. But no one with a clue would ever claim that perfect intelligence was achievable, irrespective of the depth of clutter, and all the physical impediments to sensor performance. The more much interesting question should have been - and to some extent was - how does one employ these additional sensing capabilities best to improve situational awareness and to tighten the OODA loop ? There was no need to ignore what we already knew about battle command. The ghost of White, Yale, and Manteuffel's 1970 book, Alternative to Armaggedon and its vignettes of Charlie Dare and Tex Goodspeed in the Automated TOC still ring true...but the young 'uns don't read old books.

2. Stand-off engagement has been a kind of debated non-debate within the Armor and Cavalry community for a long time. Another history lesson - the "lessons of the 1973 war" maintained the maximum range engagement was the way to go, while CALL and NTC - based on training battles - maintained just the opposite. For battalion and brigade commanders, the idea of fighting out past the 4000-5000 max limit of direct fire weapons was attractive - and the sensor technology made it possible to look out that far. Cometh Excaliber and the concept of Beyond Line of Sight Fires (we'll leave ghost of NLOS-LS aside out of respect for the dead) - and you now have weapons capable of participating in this battle. But the problem was that people both in and out of uniform did not understand that "deep battle" means using the ENTIRE depth of the battlespace - acronymism admitted - write in "entire depth of the operational environment" it it makes sense to you. The wrong assumption of the FCS BCT in defense was that there would be and could be no victory in a close fight. Why should anyone have accepted that myth ? But they did - on the same logic as we were debatting the proper positioning of break points at or around battlesight range in the active defense, loosely speaking. Same fallacy, same error in reasoning.

3. Personally, I cannot see either the promise or the outrage over the use of the term "effects based operations". Since EBO was supposed to have had a psychological as well as a physical component, I would presuppose that successful prosecution of psychological effects would be unpredictable, hard to achieve but also hard to measure. When you read Ralph Peters these days, it is all about breaking the enemy's will to fight before losing your own will to win. Can we accept that this element of Clausewitz's theory has yet to be revoked ?

4. Last point and I'm done. There was a time in the US Army when we were not afraid of structured concepts. Remember the "Architecture for the Future Army" ? Like so many other catchy slogans, that one had the normal 4-8 year shelf life - but the fact that we could even use words like that back then typifies an existential confidence that appears to have been lost - and the Army needs to get it back. We cannot prevent our military theorists from thinking pragmatically and teaching on the lines of pragmatic philosophy - we and they are all too American to do otherwise. But here is a quote from a real philosopher whose work reminds us of the danger of confusing the reductive methods of pragmatism with the actual order of being (you get that debate whenever anyone, normally a Myers-Briggs INTP type, hauls out the "O-word", trying to superimpose their logic on the Other).
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