Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 21 to 40 of 46

Thread: Planning and the proverbial "Squirrel!"

  1. #21
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    3,195

    Default

    Because it's the business school mentality that's been drilled into the US forces since the middle 1950s, Fuchs. That's why. And no, I don't support it or believe in it. You would be sadly confused if you thought I believed that the current "system" was a good thing.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  2. #22
    Council Member Pete's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North Mountain, West Virginia
    Posts
    990

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jobu View Post
    I think a mission type order (in a narrative format like the five-paragraph order) can create a lot of harmony and overcome a lot of seams...for a short period. The staffing process to keep it updated with FRAGOs or complete re-writes is not feasible these days to keep pace with the fight...or organizational entropy.
    To keep pace with the fight, or the information overload that we have these days? When fax machines began showing up in the field in 1983 I could see that the floodgates were just starting to open up, information-wise.

  3. #23
    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    CO
    Posts
    681

    Default

    So how much of the staff problem is a result of the growth of peace-time staffs to handle increased admin requirements? It seems to me that peace-time staffs have gotten bigger even since I first came on active duty in late '91. All those people on peace-time staffs don't go away in war time. Commanders would be used to using them and they themselves would want to insert themselves into the process. It seems only natural that as peace-time staffs get bigger, war-time staffs will increase also.
    “Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.”

    Terry Pratchett

  4. #24
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Posts
    1,127

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Hmm, I read an article in Armor Magazine (or was it infantry?) from the 90's which was about how a U.S. division fought its way through France and Germany iirc almost entirely without written orders.
    It was by Don Vandergriff in ARMOR about a decade ago about MG Wood and 4th Armored Division. I have it in my files somewhere. Will try and find a link.
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
    Who is Cavguy?

  5. #25
    Council Member Jobu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    18

    Default

    To keep pace with the fight, or the information overload that we have these days? When fax machines began showing up in the field in 1983 I could see that the floodgates were just starting to open up, information-wise.
    That's a good question...and one that goes back to my original point. Are we in an age where it is expected to both digest and produce a large amount of info (for CYA and other reasons)? Does that explain the large staff sizes? Is there any turning back? I'm not sure using the excuse that there's too much info will hold water these days.

  6. #26
    Council Member Kiwigrunt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Auckland New Zealand
    Posts
    466

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jobu View Post
    Is there any turning back? I'm not sure using the excuse that there's too much info will hold water these days.
    Probably not, we simply haven't got enough info to make that case.
    Nothing that results in human progress is achieved with unanimous consent. (Christopher Columbus)

    All great truth passes through three stages: first it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
    (Arthur Schopenhauer)

    ONWARD

  7. #27
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    223

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jobu View Post
    That's a good question...and one that goes back to my original point. Are we in an age where it is expected to both digest and produce a large amount of info (for CYA and other reasons)? Does that explain the large staff sizes? Is there any turning back? I'm not sure using the excuse that there's too much info will hold water these days.
    Staffs are large because commanders are asking them to do a lot. They are large because we have rank-inflation, with three-stars doing a one-star job and so forth. They are large because we are doing things jointly, which requires more liaison and coordination. They are large because it is much easier to start doing things than it is to stop doing things. They are large because the headquarters they service don't have to move.

    They are large because commanders have the leisure to micromanage (see rank inflation, above). They are large because many of the functions that used to be performed by subordinate units are now performed by staffs. They are large because our current operations are labor-intensive when it comes to staff work; you can't do key leader engagement, for instance, with a computer program.

    They are also large because a lot of information is coming into the headquarters, but any body who thinks that is the prime mover is mistaken. It is much more a result of American military culture meeting Parkinson's Law

  8. #28
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    3,189

    Default

    edited away
    Last edited by Fuchs; 10-14-2010 at 08:10 PM. Reason: wrong memory

  9. #29
    Council Member Pete's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North Mountain, West Virginia
    Posts
    990

    Default

    True enough, Jobu, but some information is a lot more important than other information. "Glass cockpit synrome" is said to happen when a pilot becomes overloaded with information; it also happens to air traffic controllers or new lieutenants in FDCs. In the Army people are supposed to stay in their own lanes and do their jobs to the best of their ability, including staff officers working in their comparatively trivial niches. The net result is that we're overwhelming ourselves with our own staff processes.

    When the COIN manual was being conceptualized I believe Gen. Mattis said that journalists made some of the best contributions, probably because they'e big-picture guys who don't stay in narrow little lanes.

  10. #30
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    3,189

    Default

    http://www.knox.army.mil/center/ocoa...00/5wood00.pdf


    After viewing his division’s first written order in combat, MG John S.
    Wood, commander of the 4th Armored Division, told his G3 (operations officer)
    not to issue any more. Wood believed the formatted, five-paragraph
    order taught to U.S. Army officers at the Command and General Staff College
    at Fort Leavenworth would only slow down his division’s decision cycle
    in combat.
    The fact that MG Wood could dispense with written orders while leading
    his division across France highlights the level of training, cohesion, and education
    that a unit would need to achieve in order to execute verbal mission orders.
    The 4th Armored Division’s “daring, hard-riding, fast-shooting style” was
    made possible through the execution of mission orders. But only by “throwing
    away the book,” ironically, did the division accomplish the armored warfare
    envisioned by the writers of FM 17-100, Armored Command Field Manual,
    The Armored Division.2
    The war exposed Regular officers to responsibilities far beyond anything
    they had experienced, and forced them to rely on subordinates who were
    essentially commissioned amateurs.
    Most division commanders and their regimental commanders, who were
    largely pre-war regulars, turned toward authoritarian, top-down methods of
    command. They issued detailed orders, insisted on unquestioned obedience,
    and used their staff officers to check on compliance. Reposing trust and confidence
    in a subordinate entailed the possibility that he might fail, and embarrass
    his ambitious superiors with their eyes on one of the many commands
    being formed.13
    Wood was the exception to this trend, taking the pain of creating autonomy
    that would allow his officers to learn from their mistakes. He won their loyalty,
    and developed subordinate leaders not afraid to take risks in the face of
    German actions.
    Wood speeded up decisions by using this ability to change task organizations
    to solve a particular tactical problem. From the first day of his command,
    Wood did his utmost to ensure that his commanders and their staffs were not
    focused on processes or formulas. Wood understood that over time,
    through constant training, officers memorized and verbalized a seemingly
    complex decision-making process He was against these tidy methods of control
    and written prescriptions for ensuring control.
    The division trained on how to task organize for a particular
    mission, and then, on Wood’s orders, reform the task forces while on the
    move to meet a new threat. Wood did this with no fancy briefings or lengthy
    rehearsals. He used the radio, and face to-face oral instructions to train his
    division to operate without written directives.
    Speed was always on Wood’s mind as he trained, not just speed of
    motion, but speed in everything the division executed. The training enabled
    the division’s officers to do away with many standardized procedures that
    would slow down their actions, such as abiding by strict radio procedures.
    For example, Wood’s battalion commanders and the division command
    learned to recognize each other by voice — authentication by familiarization.
    This increased flexibility, and translated into the ability of commanders
    to change directions more quickly, without worrying that the orders received
    were false. Rapid decisionmaking increased with operating procedures
    that eased the ability of commanders to make decisions. This translated
    into fluid tactics.
    The article is probably a bit coloured by the fact that Vandergriff is a Maneuver Warfare mafia guy.

  11. #31
    Council Member Pete's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North Mountain, West Virginia
    Posts
    990

    Default

    Keep in mind that Wood commanded the 4th Armored Division during Third Army's breakout from Normandy and the exploitation across France, a very fast-moving time when Third Army would literally advance right off the maps it had. Wood was removed from command during the more static campaign in Lorraine in the vicinity of Metz for arguing with his corps commander, a man who also was sent home a couple of months later for health reasons. Wood was upset by how his 4th Armored was being repeatedly used as a fire brigade to bail out less dynamic units. At the time the fuel and ammunition shortage and a reconstituted German line had slowed things to a crawl.

  12. #32
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    The Midwest
    Posts
    180

    Default 5 Paragraph Order/MDMP Origins

    Quick question-

    I have heard that the 5 paragraph order and the MDMP process were developed in case the Big One kicked off vs. the USSR. The story was that if the IRR/inactive reserves were activated the AD cadres could use MDMP as a simple way of leading the not as proficient callups.

    Any truth to this? Thanks!

    V/R,

    Cliff

  13. #33
    Council Member Pete's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North Mountain, West Virginia
    Posts
    990

    Default

    The five-paragraph field order dates from the First World War. It can also be found in the World War II version of Field Manual 100-5, Operations.

  14. #34
    Council Member Pete's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North Mountain, West Virginia
    Posts
    990

    Default

    At times saying you need more data upon which to form an informed analysis is a kind of bureaucratic and CYA cop-out. In the DoD operations research and R&D communities it is a standard excuse for excusing oneself in advance for not having for not having been an omniscient genius. Take your ORSA and shove it, give me a good infantry battalion or brigade S-3 operations NCO with field experience.

    In any event, most of the bottom lines of DA-level operations research analyses during the last 40 years have been rigged in advace to confirm what the powers-that-be had already decided they wanted them to be. It's a standard joke with the DA ORSA guys: "What answer do you want it to be?"
    Last edited by Pete; 10-15-2010 at 05:47 AM.

  15. #35
    Council Member Jobu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Take your ORSA and shove it...
    I love it! If I had a dollar every time I'd like to use that phrase...

    How often do we see assessment teams (including modeling and sims) run amok...in cost/time/effort...all to turn out something that is tossed aside because intuitively it just isn't right?

    Undoubtedly, that becomes a massive distraction here in the Beltway...how much is it so in the field these days? More so than current ops?

  16. #36
    Council Member TAH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    115

    Default U Dog!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    filthy beast...
    especially if we allow females into the Combat Arms

  17. #37
    Council Member TAH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    115

    Default MDMP by another name

    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
    Quick question-

    I have heard that the 5 paragraph order and the MDMP process were developed in case the Big One kicked off vs. the USSR. The story was that if the IRR/inactive reserves were activated the AD cadres could use MDMP as a simple way of leading the not as proficient callups.

    Any truth to this? Thanks!

    V/R,

    Cliff
    MDMP is nothing ore then the classic scientific method of problem sovling with different names for the steps.

    Two problems/issues with that.

    They are both designed to provide the "Best" solution as opposed to a workable solution. Its efficency versus effectiveness. You can be effective and inefficent at the same time. What commanders need in most cases is a workable solution NOW not a better one in a couple of hours.

    The other problem is the issue of time. MDMP doe not really account to time. The commander who employs a workable solution NOW will most likely be done and on to the next task/mission before the "Better" guy even gets he order published.

    Read a guy named Gary Klein. He defines a much better decision making method he calls recogniztion primed. Much better but assumes a high level of subject matter expertise. Much higher then is commonly found in our Army and it staffs today. Too many people move or change jobs too often to make Klein's method work.

  18. #38
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    DeRidder LA
    Posts
    3,949

    Default

    Much better but assumes a high level of subject matter expertise. Much higher then is commonly found in our Army and it staffs today. Too many people move or change jobs too often to make Klein's method work.
    True indeed. MDMP is a patch to fix that through process; it fails in that it gets abbreviated to meet time constraints. Meanwhile the personnel system has institutionalized the duality of inexperience and ignorance to create stupidity. Inexperienced people take over new jobs as staff officers and commanders, essentially beginning with a base plate of ignorance that they overcome via experience learning. As soon as they have time to really understand their job, they move on to the next. That system defines stupidity. MDMP is merely a bandaid on a sucking chest wound.

    Tom

  19. #39
    Council Member TAH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    115

    Default Said another way

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    True indeed. MDMP is a patch to fix that through process; it fails in that it gets abbreviated to meet time constraints. Meanwhile the personnel system has institutionalized the duality of inexperience and ignorance to create stupidity. Inexperienced people take over new jobs as staff officers and commanders, essentially beginning with a base plate of ignorance that they overcome via experience learning. As soon as they have time to really understand their job, they move on to the next. That system defines stupidity. MDMP is merely a bandaid on a sucking chest wound.

    Tom
    MDMP is a great way for a group of amateurs with alot of time on their hands to use a structured lock-step way to analze a situation and over look absolutely anything, even stuff that should be overlooked.

  20. #40
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
    Posts
    3,947

    Default

    How is it that men who need something like the MDMP get to be officers?
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •