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  1. #1
    DDilegge
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    Default Iraq education and training (merged thread)

    4 Nov. Reuters article: Army Adapts to 'War of the Flea' in Iraq. Excerpt follows:

    "In small steps and without fanfare, the U.S. Army is adapting its training to 'the war of the flea,' the type of hit-and-run insurgency that is gripping Iraq, where more than 2,000 American military personnel have been killed."

    "Counterinsurgency training, military experts say, largely vanished from the curriculum of Army schools after the Vietnam War. It began a slow comeback after the Iraq war, which opened with a massive ground and air assault, turned into a protracted conflict of ambushes, bombings and hit-and-run attacks."

    "Now, there is counterinsurgency (instruction) at every level, from the warrior leader course (for front-line sergeants) through to the war college, said Brig. Gen. Volney Warner, deputy commandant of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College."
    Last edited by DDilegge; 11-13-2005 at 06:52 PM.

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    One of the books that will be required reading at the college -- an essential career step for all officers who want to rise above the rank of major -- is a textbook by David Galula which was first published in 1964.
    Just curious. Why is Galula's book excluded from your reading list?

  3. #3
    DDilegge
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    Default We Do Not 'Exclude'

    As they say, you don't know what you don't know. Will add the book and we expect a review from you most ricky-tik -

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    Default Quantity vs. Quality

    Quote Originally Posted by DDilegge
    4 Nov. Reuters article: Army Adapts to 'War of the Flea' in Iraq. Excerpt follows"

    "In small steps and without fanfare, the U.S. Army is adapting its training to 'the war of the flea,' the type of hit-and-run insurgency that is gripping Iraq, where more than 2,000 American military personnel have been killed."

    "Counterinsurgency training, military experts say, largely vanished from the curriculum of Army schools after the Vietnam War. It began a slow comeback after the Iraq war, which opened with a massive ground and air assault, turned into a protracted conflict of ambushes, bombings and hit-and-run attacks."

    "Now, there is counterinsurgency (instruction) at every level, from the warrior leader course (for front-line sergeants) through to the war college, said Brig. Gen. Volney Warner, deputy commandant of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College."

    While this is a good first step, one should ask why the Army has also announced that is going to try to push more non-resident PME vice resident PME, and is looking to cut the length of their CGSC course. How much of this is window dressing? The obvious answer is because of resource shortfalls in manpower and funding. Again I ask, is this all window dressing? How does one conduct effective COIN ops from Stryker vehicles, Bradleys, and tanks? I've read Galula's work, and dont remember a chapter that covers this.
    Last edited by Strickland; 11-05-2005 at 10:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Major Strickland
    ? How does one conduct effective COIN ops from Stryker vehicles, Bradleys, and tanks? I've read Galula's work, and dont remember a chapter that covers this.
    Galula advocated the widespread use of light infantry instead of heavy forces. Heavy units have a very limited role in COIN ops and should adapt along light infantry characteristics.

    As long as the insurgent has failed to build a powerful regular army, the counterinsurgent has little use for heavy, sophisticated forces designed for conventional warfare. For his ground forces he needs infantry and more infantry, highly mobile and lightly armed
    -ch 6
    The Stryker is a lemon
    Last edited by GorTex6; 11-05-2005 at 11:07 PM.

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    Default Galula had an opinion, it isn't gospel

    I don’t think we should take Galula’s comments out of context, nor assume his comments are a gospel that must be followed. We can fall into the same mental trap that big Army was stuck in for years, when they assumed their Fulda Gap doctrine would apply to all conflicts around the world equally. While Galula’s comments reference armor are probably spot on in several case studies, such as fighting a small war where the foe is using Maoist tactics and the terrain limits maneuver of Armor as it did in Vietnam, Cambodia, El Salvador, etc. However, a sound argument can be made that armor facilitates infantry maneuver in Iraq. Can you imagine how long and how costly the battle for Fallujah would have been without armor enablers? It is the right tool at certain times and locations. Note we don't have armor to any great extent at all in Afghanistan.

    As for the Army's PME being shortened in length I would caution to avoid associating length with quality. The Army has a long habit of cramming four weeks of solid instruction into three months. I strongly recommend shortening the PME pipeline where we can, so we can get our soldiers back into the fight. You’ll learn more about waging so called small wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, than taking a couple of COIN electives at Ft. Leavenworth. As for professional reading assignments, why can’t we do those via distance learning and save the Army (and tax payers) money, and allow the soldier to spend more time at home with his family?

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    Default Tanks and COIN

    I couldnt agree more that Galula's, Thompson's, or Kitson's opinions arent gospel; however, they are all the products of experience, and thus I would rather have my young Marines learn about them from a book in a controlled environment, than "learning by doing" in OIF and OEF as they make mistakes that cost lives. This "learning by doing attitude" has resulted in a lot of needless casualties.

    As for your reference to armor in Fallujah as evidence its utility in COIN, I think you are missing the point. Yes, armor facilitates movement during engagements in urban terrain where there is NO concern for collateral damage such as in Fallujah. Yes, during these types of engagements, I would request tanks to destroy houses so that my Marines did not have to enter and take unnecessary risks, but this is the exception, not the rule. Tanks are a symbol of occupation NOT cooperation or security. Tanks send the wrong IO message. Tanks in Iraq appear to Muslims as tanks in Gaza or Ramallah, etc. They require a tremendous amount of infantry support to clear avenues of approach for them in the urban terrain and river valleys of Iraq.

    As for you comment that non-resident PME has the same utility as resident PME, you are simply wrong. I have completed the non-resident Command and Staff College Course, and now am attending the resident course. The courses are like night and day, and having spent time in Iraq with another tour in my future, I dont feel as if I am wasting the tax payers dollars.

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    Like most people who visit this site I read everything I can get my eyes on (time permitting) that provide any insight into insurgency and counterinsurgency operations. However, taking lessons from the past and attempting to template them on current situations without truly analyzing the major and minor scenario differences won’t get us to the right answer for solving the problems we face today. Cause and effect will be different for almost every conflict, thus the potential beauty of true effect based operations if the emerging doctrine is used properly.

    My background is Special Forces, but unlike many of my peers, I have a great respect for conventional Army and Marine capabilities. Of course for these capabilities to be productive vice counterproductive you must have outstanding officer and NCO leadership that are astute enough to adapt their TTP to the situation (first do no harm). Some of our units, like the 4th ID in 03 failed at this for a number of reasons, and maybe it was due to a "Mech mentality", along with some other problems, but I bet when they come in this time with a different mentality they will do very well.

    I do have a strong difference of opinion with your previous statement where you wrote,

    How does one conduct effective COIN operations from Stryker vehicles, Bradleys, and tanks? I read Galula’s work, and don’t remember a chapter that covers this”.

    I hope someone from the Stryker Brigade that just left Mosul writes a book or article from the operational perspective on how they conducted COIN. By all accounts (from Special Forces soldiers and reporters embedded with them) they did an outstanding job. No doubt they made mistakes, but overall they did a great job, and more importantly they were effective. The Stryker vehicle did not prevent them from executing effective HUMINT, Civil Military Operations, Presence Patrols, dismounted infantry operations, etc., but it did enable them to conduct effective sophisticated surgical strikes that maximized the C4I and combat power of their Strykers in a very dangerous situation. I don't think an 82nd ABN BDE with light skinned vehicles could have done as well in this environment.

    Galula wrote primarily about counter colonial wars, and while many of the lessons are relevant to some degree; the scenarios were different. I'll make two points, both probably worthy of a separate discussion.

    1. I don't think we want to castrate our Army's combat power to become more like Brit like. While the Brit's were very effective at conducting COIN prior to WWII, they couldn't fight a conventional war effectively and therefore were unable to counter the Nazi Germany offensive effectively. While we may not face another conventional threat from a near peer in the immediate future, I think it is premature to throw the baby out with bath water at this point. Insteand of going to a lighter force, I think we simply need to train our heavy forces in COIN. This isn't near as efficient or effective as forming a SASO or COIN force, but we still retain our ability to dominate any ground conflict. Maybe this is a dinasour's answer, but I still see conventional threats in the world.

    2. We constantly talk about conducting COIN in Iraq, but are we really conducting COIN? I think it can be argued that we’re not conducting a counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq yet, because we haven’t completed the regime change. Once the regime change is in place, then we can shift to a truer COIN model. Maybe attempting to use COIN doctrine at this point is counter productive? Did we conduct COIN in post war Germany? In Iraq we are an occupying force until we get a viable government in place. We didn't come in to protect a threatened government, we removed a government. I know this will open a can of worms, but I think it is worthy of discussion.

    As for PME, I hope your comment about window dressing is off the mark, but I fear you might be right. I still think there are many subjects that can be addressed via distance learning if we develop a learning culture in our ranks. In turn this will better prepare the student to maximize his return for time at the resident PME facilities, but this must be done correctly, not just to facilitate saving dollars and time (boots on the ground time). If you’re right and our PME is being degraded, then the impact will be strategic over time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore
    I don’t think we should take Galula’s comments out of context, nor assume his comments are a gospel that must be followed. We can fall into the same mental trap that big Army was stuck in for years, when they assumed their Fulda Gap doctrine would apply to all conflicts around the world equally.
    I never said Galula was gospel. His book attempts to sway the reader away from the conventional warfare Jominian dogma. You should fight for the popular support instead of physical destruction- and win at the moral level, eroding the insurgents ability to move and interact so freely.

    I hope someone from the Stryker Brigade that just left Mosul writes a book or article from the operational perspective on how they conducted COIN.
    We should worry more about how we think rather than how to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Major Strickland
    Tanks are a symbol of occupation NOT cooperation or security. Tanks send the wrong IO message. Tanks in Iraq appear to Muslims as tanks in Gaza or Ramallah, etc.
    That was a breath of fresh air!
    Last edited by GorTex6; 11-07-2005 at 02:25 AM.

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    Default Win at the moral level?

    His book attempts to sway the reader away from the conventional warfare Jominian dogma. You should fight for the popular support instead of physical destruction- and win at the moral level, eroding the insurgents ability to move and interact so freely.

    Winning at the moral level is hard to define and harder to do. Obviously we failed to that during the Vietnam War with our massive bombings and relentless pursuit of higher body counts. I’ll still argue it wasn’t the tools (bombers, artillery, etc.), but the application of the tools, or strategy. West Pointers have traditionally been terrible at formulating strategies, beginning with our Civil War where we somehow hold certain Generals in high esteem for leading their Armies to slaughter. Let’s not forget our military strategy is a by product of our industrial superiority, which makes us particularly unsuited to wage wars where we’re not able to destroy another Nation State’s fielded forces.

    Getting back on to Iraq, your arguments don’t ring true to me because the conflict in Iraq isn't a true COIN, since we're still in the midst of regime change, nor is Iraq some simple banana republic host to a Marxist insurgency where the insurgency springs up from the soil based on economic disparities creating a base susceptible to Marxist ideology. This is the type of insurgency we have all studied, and now (after the fact) have great strategic and operational ideas for addressing this type of challenge.

    However, we’re on the verge of making the same mistakes we made in Vietnam by failing to understand the true nature of the war. If we simply think we’re going to apply counter-Marxist/Maoist strategy to tackle this threat, then we’ll probably be reading about ourselves in the history books a few years from now on how we miss read the situation once again. The conflict in Iraq is a confluence of religion, ideological, economical, outside agitators, and ethnic tensions. Saddam was left in place by President Bush senior because he saw Saddam as the lesser of two evils, one who was actually a stabilizing influence who managed to keep Pandora’s Box closed. Sometimes the high moral ground is a chose between the lesser of two evils.

    Now that Pandora’s Box is open we need to start thinking pragmatically instead of continuing to promote idealistically based strategies that have little application in the real world. As you stated, we need to learn how to think, not what to think.

    In Iraq the winning at the moral level needs to be defined, and not by Sun Tsu, but by someone familiar with the world we live in today. Once it is defined, we have to determine how to translate it into action at the strategic and operational level. These are far from simple tasks. We can quote authors from Sun Tzu to Kaplan, but it won’t get us there.

    Do you really believe that if we loaded our tanks up on ships in Kuwait and sent them back to Texas that Iraq would be better off? Do you think lightly armed infantry in cities with a dedicated foe supported by a number of nations and non-state entities will simply loose their will to carry on the conflict? That the Iraqi people will suddenly raise to the occasion and poison the pond making it untenable to the insurgents? Perhaps if we build a few more schools and medical clinics in various Iraqi cities in the Sunni dominated areas, then the Iraqis will suddenly see the light and embrace our form of democracy? Of course we can't provide adequate security for people to actually go to school in these areas yet, so I wouldn't be in too much of a hurry to get rid of our forces.

    As for winning the war, does the military win the war, or do we establish conditions to enable another organization to win the war? What are the conditions? What organization actually wins it? If it is the Iraqi government, then what do we need to do to actually stand up an effective government? We’re far from figuring this one out, but I trust we will this time, because we have to.

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    Default Small Wars and Counter-Insurgency Warfare: Lessons from Iraq

    Just in via e-mail from Major M. W. Shervington to the SWJ and posted on the SWJ Operation Iraqi Freedom / Telic / Falconer / Catalyst page in the Reference Library.

    Small Wars and Counter-Insurgency Warfare: Lessons from Iraq - Major M. W. Shervington, British Army. Cranfield University thesis, July 2005.

    On 1 May 2003, President George W. Bush stood aboard USS Abraham Lincoln, in front of a banner stating ‘Mission Accomplished’, and declared that ‘major combat operations have ended. In the battle for Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.’ The President’s declaration has proved to be a false dawn. Despite a breathtaking conventional military campaign that removed Saddam Hussein’s regime in 43 days, the US-led Coalition has since been embroiled in countering an increasingly violent, diverse and unpredictable insurgency.

    This dissertation provides some historical perspective to the development of insurgency and counter-insurgency. It traces the background to the creation of the modern state of Iraq. It examines the post-conflict insurgency in Iraq. It considers those decisions made by the Coalition that most contributed to its emergence and growth. It analyses those lessons that should contribute to future British counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine.

    The paper addresses four themes. First, the US military alone in Iraq is conducting a COIN campaign against an insurgency that is unprecedented in history. Secondly, key lessons for British COIN doctrine must be learnt from the American politico-military experience; the British Army must therefore be receptive and open-minded. Thirdly, Iraq has witnessed a continued failure by American and British policy-makers to learn the lessons from history. Lastly, COIN operations in Iraq have to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people as they have to do with the perceptions of the wider Muslim world and the American and British electorates. It is a battle of perceptions in a war over ideas.

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    Default Developing Iraq’s Security Sector: The CPA’s Experience

    Very recent history, but a good read, in this new product from RAND:

    Developing Iraq’s Security Sector: The CPA’s Experience
    Soon after the coalition’s occupation of Iraq began in April 2003, it became evident that prewar assumptions about the security situation that would follow the ouster of Saddam Hussein had been unduly optimistic. The environment was not benign—in fact, it was deteriorating. Iraqi security forces had largely disintegrated, and those that remained were incapable of responding to rising criminality and political violence. In this environment, the coalition confronted three security imperatives: (1) to restore order and neutralize insurgents and terrorists; (2) to rebuild Iraqi security forces, which could eventually take on responsibility for Iraq’s security; and (3) to build security sector institutions, such as national security management institutions, the interior and defense ministries, and the justice sector, to ensure that the Iraqi security sector could be an effective bulwark for a democratic Iraq in the future.

    At the time that the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) handed over authority to the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG) on June 28, 2004, it was clear that the coalition had made little progress in the first task. Insurgent and terrorist violence was escalating, organized crime was flourishing, and the security situation was threatening both the political transition and the reconstruction program. The coalition’s record on the second and third tasks, however, is somewhat less simply categorized. From April 2003, the coalition embarked on efforts to rapidly field Iraqi security forces and to build security sector institutions. This effort was broad in scope, but its implementation was patchy, its results were varying, and its ultimate success or failure remains difficult to determine.

    Significant analysis has focused on the inability of the coalition to adequately counter political violence and crime in post-Saddam Iraq. There has also been considerable discussion about the coalition’s effort to develop Iraqi security forces. The matter of institutionbuilding, however, has been largely ignored by observers and policymakers; it is often seen as a long-term issue that is too far removed from immediate security needs. But the three efforts are interdependent: Iraq’s future security depends on its indigenous security forces, and these forces’ success and sustainability depend on the institutions that support them. This report concerns itself with the efforts to build both forces and institutions in Iraq. It provides a historical record of the coalition’s experience and seeks, insofar as is possible at this early stage, to draw lessons from the successes and failures of that experience.

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    CSIS just published a report looking at the same topic from a different perspective: The Iraq War and Its Lessons for Developing Local Forces
    Iraq, like so many other serious Post-WWII insurgencies, shows that successful counterinsurgency means having or creating a local partner that can take over from US forces and that can govern. Both Vietnam and Iraq show the US cannot win an important counterinsurgency campaign alone. The US will always be dependent on the people in the host country, and usually on local and regional allies. And to some extent, will be dependent on the quality of its operations in the UN, in dealing with traditional allies and in diplomacy. If the US can’t figure out a way to have or create such an ally, and fight under these conditions, a counterinsurgency conflict may well not be worth fighting.

    This means the US must do far more than creating effective allied forces. In most cases, it find a ways to help its partners reshape their process of politics and governance so that the development of security forces is matched by the steady development of governance, and a matching civil presence and the provision of effective government services.

  14. #14
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    Default Lessons Learned in Iraq Show Up in Army Classes

    21 Jan. Washington Post - Lessons Learned in Iraq Show Up in Army Classes by Tom Ricks.

    A fundamental change overtaking the Army is on display in classrooms across this base above the Missouri River. After decades of being told that their job was to close in on and destroy the enemy, officers are being taught that sometimes the best thing might be not to attack but to co-opt the enemy, perhaps by employing him, or encouraging him to desert, or by drawing him into local or national politics.

    It is a new focus devoted to one overarching topic: counterinsurgency, putting down an armed and political campaign against a government, the U.S. military's imperative in Iraq.

    Officers studying at the Army's Command and General Staff College here are flocking to elective courses on the subject, with three times as many enrolled this year as last. Soon the Army will require a block of instruction in counterinsurgency for all of the 1,000 or so majors who attend the college each year.

    In an adjacent institution, the elite School of Advanced Military Studies, where the Army trains what are known colloquially as its "Jedi knight" planners, 31 of 78 student monographs this year were devoted to counterinsurgency or "stability operations," compared with "only a couple" two years ago, said Col. Kevin Benson, the school's director. In the college bookstore, copies of a 1964 book, "Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice" by David Galula, a French army officer who fought in North Africa, are piled on a cart and selling swiftly...

    The new emphasis on studying how to respond to guerrilla-like campaigns underscores how the Army has been tempered, even chastened, by three years of fighting an unexpectedly difficult war in Iraq.

    The air of hubris that some Army officers displayed just a few years ago, after victories in Panama, Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo and Afghanistan (and an outcome in Somalia that they blamed on their civilian overseers in the Clinton administration) has dissipated, replaced by a sense that they have a lot to learn about how to operate effectively in Iraq, and about the cultures and languages there and in other likely hot spots...

    "What we're trying to do is change the culture, to modify that culture, that solving the problem isn't just a tactical problem of guns and bombs and maneuver," said retired Army Col. Clinton J. Ancker III, director of the "doctrine"-writing office here that defines how the Army does what it does. He is involved in an effort to restructure the Army's "interim" manual on insurgency, which some insiders see as a mediocre stopgap.

    Unusually, the Army and the Marines are collaborating on the new manual and also asking for input from the British army, which has had centuries of experience in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Conscious that it largely walked away from counterinsurgency after the Vietnam War -- the subject was not mentioned in the mid-1970s version of the Army's key fighting manual -- the service now is trying to ensure that the mistake is not repeated...

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    Most of all, they said, the key to victory is not defeating the enemy but winning the support of Iraqis and making the insurgents irrelevant.
    ........
    Last edited by GorTex6; 01-21-2006 at 08:37 AM.

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    Default Makes sense

    It makes sense. Why would we ever want to limit actions to only one form?

    Sun Tzu says, "... the skillful leader subdues the enemy's troops without any fighting..."

    And,

    "[T]o win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill."
    Mark
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    "The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." - G. K. Chesterton

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    Default Destroyin the enemy

    Destroying the enemy and achieving victory still works, but it does not always take a kinetic form. When you read Bill Roggio and and Michael Yon's observations you see that US forces are already interacting with the locals and working with the shieks, building relationships that are helpful to the mission of destroying the enemy. Operations around Ramadi reflect this policy and when al Qaeda sends a human bomb into a line of police recruits, the people know who is responsible. It is al Qaeda that is losing the hearts and minds battle in Iraq.

    But the kinetic operations till have their place and the Iraqis in Western Anbar seem glad that US and Iraqi forces removed the enemy from their cities. Some may still be lurking in the weeks and allies, but because of our work with the Iraqis and the Iraqi forces, our intelligence is improving and the enemy is having more trouble hiding his oeprations and resources.

    Take a look at Michael Yon's latest post on Operation Iraqi Children. The link is on my blog in a Friday post.

    It is a mistake to underestimate the intelligence of our military in Iraq. The enemy has made that mistake, but we should not repeat it. While the enemy in Iraq has been resourceful, his resourcefulness is not necessiarily the result of mistakes made by out forces our our prewar planning. One of the things that makes wars difficult is that unlike other productions, your enemy thinks and responds to your actions. You beat him by doing a better job of thinking and responding to his.

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    Default Ooda Loop...

    Quote Originally Posted by Merv Benson
    It is a mistake to underestimate the intelligence of our military in Iraq. The enemy has made that mistake, but we should not repeat it. While the enemy in Iraq has been resourceful, his resourcefulness is not necessiarily the result of mistakes made by out forces our our prewar planning. One of the things that makes wars difficult is that unlike other productions, your enemy thinks and responds to your actions. You beat him by doing a better job of thinking and responding to his.
    Sometimes called the strategy of the fighter pilot thanks to Col. John Boyd. The following is from the LexNotes web site:

    It is strange that John Boyd should be unknown. His ideas have been profiled in a plethora of publications, including Forbes, Fortune, Time, The Economist, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, and The Los Angeles Times. (OODA: Col. Boyd's description of the OODA Loop as derived from his original briefing slides) "Carried into the private sector, [Boyd's theories have] been adopted and adapted by businesses such as Toyota, General Electric and Wal-Mart." (Dale Eisman, Air Force Col. John R. Boyd: The man who shaped the military, The Virginian-Pilot, December 9, 2002.) Just this past summer, Fast Company carried an article saying Boyd, "focused his tenacious intellect on something grander, an expression of agility that, for him and others, became a consuming passion: the OODA loop ... an elegant framework for creating competitive advantage." (Keith H. Hammonds, The Strategy of the Fighter Pilot, Fast Company, Issue 59, page 98, June 2002.) Hammonds says Boyd "enjoyed distinctive unpopularity in official Pentagon circles. But even among critics, his OODA loop was much harder to dismiss. The concept is just as powerful when applied to business." Google "john boyd" "ooda loop" and you'll have a few days of reading ahead of you. Google just "ooda loop" and the reading expands to a week or more.

    Boyd was not only a pilot who gave the enemy fits in Korea. Nor was he only the first person ever to codify air-to-air combat techniques. Nor was he only "the original Top Gun" teaching air-to-air combat at the Fighter Weapons School, Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. Not was he only the pilot nicknamed "40-Second" Boyd because of his standing challenge to all comers: Starting from a position of disadvantage, he'd have his jet on their tail within 40 seconds, or he'd pay out $40. Legend has it that he never lost. Nor was he only the Georgia Institute of Technology student of thermodynamics who applied his knowledge as a fighter pilot to create his Energy-Maneuverability Theory that gave us the F-16. Small, cheap and simple, the F-16 used only enough technology to make it more efficient -- fly-by-wire control systems to save the weight of hydraulics, one engine to keep it small, cut costs and make it hard to target. He had to design it clandestinely because the military-industrial complex did not want cheap weapons just because they were effective. "It was one of the most audacious plots ever hatched against a military service and it was done under the noses of men who, if they had the slightest idea of what it was about, not only would have stopped it instantly, but would have cut orders reassigning Boyd to the other side of the globe." (Biographer Robert Coram quoted by Dale Eisman, Air Force Col. John R. Boyd: The man who shaped the military, The Virginian-Pilot, December 9, 2002.) Nor was he only the commander of a top-secret intelligence center in Thailand so sensitive that for the first three years of its operation it did not officially exist. Nor was he only a leading voice in the post-Vietnam War military reform movement. After rewriting the air combat rulebook, he began looking at the broader flaws in U.S. military theory.

    Boyd's OODA Loop is the product of a singular, half-century-long autodidactic journey through the realms of science, history, and moral philosophy. He devoured the writings of Heisenberg and Newton, and he read thousands of books, journal articles, and newspapers. Boyd studied warfare from the beginning of time, engaging history's strategists such as Hannibal, Belisarius, Genghis Khan and von Clausewitz to find the vulnerabilities of their ideas. The only theoretician Boyd did not attack was Sun Tzu, author of the oldest book on war. Instead he used contemporary ideas from diverse disciplines such as mathematics, physics, anthropology, biology, economics, and philosophy to update and reaffirm Sun Tzu's work.

    The acronym OODA represents Observe-Orient-Decide-Act. Boyd's biographer, Robert Coram, says, "Simply rendered, the OODA loop is a blueprint for the manoeuvre tactics that allow one to attack the mind of an opponent, to unravel its commander even before a battle begins." (Robert Coram , Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War, Little Brown & Company: 2002. ISBN 0316881465. Amazon sales rank at time of writing, 102) The target is not the troops or weapons of the enemy. The target certainly is not the civilians of the enemy. "In Boyd's notion of conflict, the target is always your opponent's mind," says Grant Hammond, director of the Center for Strategy and Technology at the Air War College and author of The Mind of War: John Boyd and American Security (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001). Victory comes by destroying an opponent's frame of reference, not necessarily by destroying so much of the opponent's materiel or personnel...

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    Default Fighting Ourselves in Falluja

    23 New York Times Commentary - Fighting Ourselves in Falluja by Bing West.

    The persistence of the insurgency in Iraq has divided America in a way not seen since Vietnam. Now the blame game among the principals has begun. The former presidential envoy to Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, has written in his new memoir that he informed President Bush that the military did not have "a strategy to win."

    Quite. The lesson the Pentagon should learn from Iraq is to avoid another L. Paul Bremer. This is less a reflection on Mr. Bremer, who accurately described himself as "the American viceroy" in Iraq and "the president's man," than on the position he and the American military commanders in Iraq were placed in by the White House's failure to put one person in charge.

    In 1967, when confusion among military and civilian officials in Vietnam was undermining the war effort, President Lyndon B. Johnson placed all civilian reconstruction and security functions under the top general, William Westmoreland, insuring unity of command under Westmoreland's successor Creighton Abrams. Confronting similar confusion in Iraq, President Bush unfortunately assigned to the military the responsibility for security but gave Mr. Bremer the authority to shape, recruit, train and finance the Iraqi military and police.

    This disunity of command reached its tragic apex in the spring of 2004, during what Mr. Bremer calls "the most critical crisis of the occupation." When four American contractors were killed and their bodies mutilated in Falluja on March 31, Mr. Bremer joined with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. John Abizaid, the commander of American forces, in ordering the fractious city seized.

    Five days later, however, Mr. Bremer changed his mind after Sunni members of the Iraqi Governing Council threatened to quit in protest. He prevailed on General Abizaid to order the Marine battalions that were advancing through Falluja to halt. Mr. Bremer acknowledged that this "temporary cessation of offensive action" would be "rough on the military."

    Secretary Rumsfeld, for his part, disagreed with the halt and urged General Abizaid to finish the attack. But as the military prepared to end things quickly, Mr. Bremer changed his mind about the "temporary" cessation. He told President Bush that the assault would "collapse the entire political process"; the president sided with his viceroy and told General Abizaid "to let the political situation there develop."

    Develop it did. The insurgents' morale soared and their defenses toughened...

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default U.S. - U.K. Split in Iraq?

    The 12 March issue of the London Daily Telegraph contains several items on this subject...

    The Fatal Divide at Heart of the Coalition commentary by Max Hastings.

    ...There is a widespread belief in both British special forces and line regiments that American tactics are heavy-handed and counter-productive; that firepower continues to be used as a substitute for a "hearts and minds" policy; that local people will never be persuaded to support Coalition forces unless Americans, in uniform and out, treat ordinary Iraqis vastly better than they do today.

    Historical parallels should be cited cautiously. But it is impossible to study any informed critique - including some written by Americans - of operations in Iraq without recalling the Vietnam debacle. There, too, most Americans treated ordinary Vietnamese with contempt, whatever their political allegiance. American convoys forced Vietnamese vehicles off the road, killed peasant livestock with impunity, brought down fire on suspected enemy positions heedless of civilians in the target zone, and treated even educated, professional Vietnamese with condescension.

    All this is being repeated in Iraq, with predictable and identical consequences. Iraqis feel a bitter resentment towards foreign troops, whom few would call liberators without irony. US special forces are perceived as behaving, if anything, worse than line combat units because they have a wider and more aggressive mandate, an intensely macho ethos, and less accountability....

    In fairness, we should acknowledge that when Britain was "top nation" in the last days of empire, the British Army was sometimes less good at "hearts and minds" than we delude ourselves. Things happened in Kenya during the Mau Mau insurgency, in Cyprus, Aden and elsewhere that would today result in an orgy of war crimes trials.

    Counter-insurgency experts and many special forces officers of all nationalities would assert that it is impossible to fight a campaign of the kind being waged in Iraq with completely clean hands. The enemy strives to goad or deceive Coalition forces into actions that will harm innocents. In Northern Ireland, the British Army learned over 30 years how hard it is to fight insurgents without alienating the civil population.

    In Iraq, the problem is multiplied many times by the gulf of language and culture, and by the fact that the declared allied aims are probably unattainable. With wholly inadequate forces on the ground, the Americans and British are striving to hold the country together as a unitary state; to restore economic and social activity; and to enable local forces to provide security against criminality as well as terrorism. All this, in place where historically law and order has been enforced exclusively by terror, torture and summary execution.

    There is a further dimension, even more fundamental. From the day the first American forces crossed the border into Iraq in 2003, neither they nor their government have resolved the issue of whether they are there to serve Iraqi interests, or those of the United States. Whatever Washington may say, most Americans think they are working for their own country...

    It is often justly said that the US army respects the British, and in particular our special forces. But mass matters, and we do not have it. There is no way of getting around this. If Britain, with its tiny armed forces, chooses to engage alongside the US in Iraq or anywhere else, we should never again delude ourselves - as have so many British prime ministers - that the mere fact of throwing a few chips on the table will enable us to call the turn of the wheel.

    Reading all that I have written above, I dislike it because British bleating about our position vis a vis the United States sounds so unattractive. There is a case for putting up and shutting up, acknowledging that we are in Iraq whether we like it or not, and should simply persevere.

    Yet are the things true, said by people like Ben Griffin and John Geddes? The answer is almost certainly "Yes". They are what make it so hard to be optimistic about Iraq and what our forces are trying to do there, hanging on to American coat tails.
    SAS Soldier Quits Army in Disgust at 'Illegal' American Tactics in Iraq by Sean Rayment.

    An SAS soldier has refused to fight in Iraq and has left the Army over the "illegal" tactics of United States troops and the policies of coalition forces.

    After three months in Baghdad, Ben Griffin told his commander that he was no longer prepared to fight alongside American forces.
    'I Didn't Join the British Army to Conduct American Foreign Policy' by Sean Rayment.

    As a trooper in the Special Air Service's counter-terrorist team - the black-clad force that came to the world's attention during the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980 - Ben Griffin was at the pinnacle of his military career.

    He had already served in Northern Ireland, Macedonia and Afghanistan as a member of the Parachute Regiment, and his sharp mind, natural fitness and ability to cope with the stress of military operations had singled him out as ideal special forces material...

    Unknown to any of his SAS colleagues at their Hereford-based unit, however, Mr Griffin, then 25, had been harbouring doubts over the "legality" of the war. Despite recognising that Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator and posed a threat, albeit a small one, to the West, he did not believe that the case for war had been made. The events he witnessed during his three-month tour in Baghdad, and especially the conduct of the American troops, would force him into making the most difficult decision of his life.

    During a week's leave in March 2005 he told his commanding officer in a formal interview that he had no intention of returning to Iraq because he believed that the war was morally wrong. Moreover, he said he believed that Tony Blair and the Government had lied to the country and had deceived every British serviceman and woman serving in Iraq...
    Your thoughts please... Disgruntled soldier + "if it bleeds it leads" liberal press or the tip of an iceberg?
    Last edited by SWJED; 03-12-2006 at 01:03 PM.

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