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Thread: Pentagon Studying Its War Errors

  1. #1
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    Sep 2005
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    Default Pentagon Studying Its War Errors

    16 August Boston Globe - Pentagon Studying Its War Errors by Bryan Bender.

    The US military establishment has quietly undertaken a wholesale reassessment of its war strategy with a goal of identifying the mistakes made in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and remedying them before the next conflict.

    This summer, high-level Pentagon officials ordered a pair of secret studies to pinpoint the military's failures in the two conflicts, and, according to one of the authors, ``the results won't be pretty" when the findings are produced this fall. Last week, the Defense Department invited about 50 of the nation's top counter insurgency specialists to a closed-door meeting outside Washington to critique recent operations and chart a way forward.

    The studies, according to several Pentagon officials involved, have found serious deficiencies across the board. For example, US troops in Iraq have often used too much force when conducting operations in civilian areas, unnecessarily alienating local populations. They cite US commanders as being too slow to establish working relationships with local allies, and note that providing security and safety for the Iraqi people wasn't an early priority.

    The military's continuing shortcomings in gathering accurate intelligence about insurgents has particularly hampered its missions: ``We know relatively little about insurgent motivation and morale, leadership, and recruitment," according to an unpublished study produced in June by the government-funded RAND Corporation.

    ``This is a struggle for the soul of the Army," said Colonel Peter Mansoor , a former battalion commander in Iraq who now heads the newly established Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center in Fort Leavenworth, Kan. ``A lot of work needs to be done to change the mind-set of the force. For decades, we focused on high-intensity combat. We are trying to shift the culture of the force and balance it better."

    Top officers are literally re writing the book on how to conduct counterinsurgency operations -- a skill that has atrophied in the three decades since the Vietnam War but has become painfully relevant in Iraq and Afghanistan, where winning hearts and minds has proved far more difficult than killing enemy forces.

    After preparing for generations to fight ``big wars" against large conventional armies, the military is absorbing its toughest lesson of the post- Sept. 11 world: It isn't prepared to wage small-scale, guerrilla wars that have become the hallmark of Islamic extremists and their allies in Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

    In classrooms, on training bases, and even on the battlefield, military scholars and combat veterans are struggling to teach the world's most lethal military force how to calibrate its immense firepower and avoid the kind of heavy-handed tactics and cultural insensitivity that have engendered so much ill will and helped fuel insurgencies in Afghanistan and, especially, Iraq.

    At the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., nearly half the curriculum this fall is focused on guerrilla warfare and tactics to counter it, marking the biggest academic overhaul in decades, according to military officials. A heavy emphasis is being placed on the foreign cultures where analysts believe US forces may find themselves operating in the coming years: failed states in Africa, the Middle East, and central Asia that may become breeding grounds for terrorists...
    Much more at the link above...

  2. #2
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    Oct 2005
    Stafford, VA


    When they refer to re-writing the book on COIN, are they refering to 3.07-22, or some other document?


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