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Thread: Strategic Compression

  1. #21
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default The Ghost of General Gavin

    1- I have written about this before but since you brought historic examples I will add some more. This is based upon his "War and Peace in the Space Age"written in 1958 and a personal interview at his winter home in Winter Park,Fl. in 1985. He no longer believed that Strategy at the military level existed! Here is why. He believed in 58 that once the earth was mapped with satellites and ICBMs came on line the whole world was now a tactical battlefield. Anyplace in the world could be hit with a missile. So all military functions of shooting-moving and communicating would be sent to a tactical battle command system, i.e. C4ISR. Strategy was now in the realm national policy only. Wars would become "Pushbutton" fast and furious with breaks in between for political solutions. This is why he fought so hard for a national missile defense system. My personal opinion is this is why he had a winter home in Florida near the Martin Co. which actually produced an operational missile defense system before Henry Kissinger gave it away in SALT treaty one.
    Last edited by slapout9; 09-21-2006 at 12:14 AM.

  2. #22
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default Pushbutton Warfare part 2

    I had more to post the first time but I hit a wrong button so the rest of my original post is lost in cyber space somewhere. However to continue. General Gavin also believed and never really understood why ICBMs could only be equipped with nuclear warheads, he would very much agree with the Navy's recent proposal to put conventional warheads on long range submarine launched missiles. Or land based missiles. He also thought ALL ships in the navy should be submersible.

    He was highly upset over the military failure to understand the implications of the Falkland islands missile attacks on British ships. Besides being better than aircraft missiles are cheap.


    Finally he thought good generals should know tactics. He literally believed that the only way military strategy could be defined was generalship. If a general had to have a strategy then he had failed to realize that he (the general himself was strategy) and good generals know tactics.

    To me this makes a lot of sense. Example look at Iraq, if our strategy is clear, hold and build. That makes know sense. Clear,hold and build might be goals or objectives but they are not a strategy.The general must know (how) which tactics to use before anything happens. If you don't know clearing tactics and holding tactics you will not reach your objectives. How to do something is the hard part, what to do is easy.


    We have talked a lot about the Strategic corporal maybe Strategic Compression is nothing more than how to be a "One Minute General"

    From the Slapout, Alabama the cultural center of the universe, good night.

  3. #23
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Default

    I intend to post some more on this subject, as it's very fascinating to me. I just want to go over the main points and get my own thoughts sorted and organized.

  4. #24
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Default Ruminations on Strategic Compression

    Here are a few more thoughts on strategic compression:

    1)Your point about this not being a new phenomenon is well-taken and needs to be remembered. Many of the historical examples of Hitler meddling in the decisions of his subordinate commanders could be taken as examples of strategic compression (France in 1940, operations in Russia from the very beginning, and many more examples).

    2)It's worth keeping in mind as well that while combat unit size/numbers may be decreasing, their supply and logistics “tail” often does not shrink at the same pace. Modern units may be more efficient, but they still consume large amounts of ammo and POL. There is also the base area syndrome to consider. By this I mean that the level of creature comforts “needed” by the troops (in many cases it's the supply line troops and higher command levels “needing” the goodies) tends to increase, putting a greater strain on the supply line.

    3)In my mind, I see the biggest problem with strategic compression coming from the higher command levels. We DO need better training with regard to independent operations, decision making, cultural awareness, and so on, but it all goes out the window the exact second someone with more junk on his or her shoulders decides to “help” the tactical leaders. It's also worth remembering that strategic compression can make the results of that “help” more damaging than ever (it's hard to dismiss as outdated an order that arrives in real time), and the “helper” quite often escapes unscathed if something goes wrong. While I see much talk about improving lower-level training, there is a great silence regarding the training of higher-level commanders. It should be remembered that every time they “help,” micro-manage, or lead by video-conference or Charlie-Charlie bird, they are undercutting the authority and confidence of their subordinate leaders.

    For the most part, I feel we have a well-trained basic force, one that understands the impact the CNN Effect can have on their operations – if for no other reason than they've seen it happen before they enlisted or during the early stages of their active duty time. With proper guidance, training, and above all moral support (meaning the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them), this force can adapt to strategic compression. What worries me is the response of higher command levels (battalion command and higher, especially above brigade command) to strategic compression. You cannot use fears of the CNN Effect to clamp down on lower level leaders and then turn around and complain that they do not show enough initiative. Of course they don't! They've been “educated” not to.
    It should also be remembered that much of this real time information is going to be incomplete and even incorrect. The ability on the part of higher commanders to correctly evaluate what they're seeing and hearing will become even more important than it has in the past. Being able to put information in context, especially when it's pouring in from a number of sources (many of which are unreliable), may become THE key job for at least part of a commander's staff.
    I used the example of Hitler earlier for a reason. He created his own strategic compression, reacting to his own vision of what was happening at the front and his own (often fuzzy) strategic goals. And he would interfere down to the battalion and even company level when it came to combat orders and postings. Given today's level of communication, ANY higher commander could take on the role of Hitler within his own chain of command, reacting to faulty intelligence and/or vision and giving operational or tactical orders that result in a poor outcome or possibly disaster, or at the very least gumming up the works.
    One final observation: There is a flip side to strategic compression. Given the speed of operations, it is now more possible than it has ever been (perhaps) for a small unit (company sized) to have the impact of a much larger unit. This may come through combat power, or through a company commander's decision to not use his combat power in a particular way. This makes the ability of our senior NCOs, lieutenants, and captains to function independently more important than it has been since the days of the Frontier Army. If they are over-controlled they will not be able to make correct decisions. However, if they are trained to think for themselves and understand the impact their decisions may have on a higher level, we may gain an edge in time against our enemies. Being able to react while they are still pondering a response is invaluable, and we too often find ourselves on the receiving end of this situation.
    Also, an increased reliance on communications makes us more vulnerable than we have ever been to some sort of attack on our communications systems. Commanders who are conditioned to wait for “help” from higher will not respond well when that “help” goes away. We can use the possibility of strategic compression to follow a training system similar to that used by the German army after World War I. Train each subordinate leader to think of and consider the problems of a commander one or two levels higher. That doesn't mean they're being prepared for such command positions, but that they become aware that their decisions in a village may have an impact on operations in the province, the situation in the country, and possibly throughout the world depending on the media presence. And then train the senior commanders to sit back and let their subordinates do their jobs with a minimum of “help.”

  5. #25
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    Default starting thoughts

    This is an interesting thread that is provoking some random thoughts, but nothing close to a conclusion.

    First we need to separate micromanagers from what we’re currently calling the strategic compression syndrome. Several civilian and military leaders have opted to micromanage based on their personality, not necessarily in response to the media getting in their OODA loop. C4I technology empowers this personality trait, but doesn’t necessarily always create it.

    I don’t think the phrase strategic compression accurately describes what we’re discussing, but it will do for now. As I understand it, it is simply a realization by traditionalists that there are not clear lines of delineation between the three layers of war in 4GW. Delineation of tactical, operational and strategic only applies in the arena of maneuver warfare where armies can engage in tactical fights as part of a larger operation. The negative second order effect of recognizing strategic compression exists is that civilian leaders and high ranking military bureaucrats feel compelled to micromanage the war and call the shots for the company commander. If they can’t call the shots, they impose stifling policies to restrict freedom of maneuver/ thought, resulting in operational / decisional paralysis and frustration, thus causing our C3 procedures to disable instead of enable.

    Before I surface some ideas on how to counter this, I want to explore it a little more.

    Who does strategic compression affect positively and negatively?

    The asymmetry isn’t strictly in tactics, but in strategy. Our extremist enemy only views the fight from the perspective of strategic effects; he doesn’t visualize winning tactical battles. Their strategic corporal may be a 15 year old suicide bomber from Gaza Strip. We’re focused on tactics and operations, like the recent offensive in Afghanistan, or in the recent past: Fallujah and Tall Afar in Iraq. We think tactically and operationally while realizing we are creating strategic effects. The enemy thinks strategic all the time, and every terrorist attack in Baghdad has strategic effect, while a successful coalition raid is simply a successful raid. Instead of focusing on three layers of war, we need to think more like the enemy and focus on the three (or more) audiences: the enemy, the home front, and the global community. We know this, but our current doctrine doesn’t facilitate this. Pardon me, I know this sounds like a plug for effects based operations, but only on the conceptual level.

    Other asymmetries need to be addressed and managed.

    1. Managing bad news: The kids at Abu Ghrab we’re punks, the LT at My Lai lost temporarily lost his mind, the murder / rape cases in Iraq are inexcusable, and these incidents have managed to elevate to the strategic stage. We can’t defend these acts, but we can put them in perspective and counter attack. The perspective is these are aberrations and that they will be punished, which should make us the envy of every rate nation where it is the norm to have thugs for cops and soldiers. Second, while we’re putting our guys in jail, we need to point out where the enemy did much, much worse and awarded their guys for doing so. The contrast is white and black if it would only be depicted. When we have we forced the enemy to defend their incidents like they have forced us to defend our actions?

    2. Media Access: We allow the media full access, warts and all. The enemy allows select access.

    3. Will: Strategic compression rapidly depletes our national will power, yet seems to have little effect on villages supporting the Taleban in Afghanistan or Sunni insurgents in Iraq. Why?

    4. Political Infighting: The enemy has their share of infighting, but it is not as vulnerable to strategic compression as a democracy. One party will exaggerate the effect of a problem to gain political currency, thus playing into the hands of the enemy, yet not challenge the other party hinders our democratic process.

    5. Further political: The media influences the orientation of decision maker within the OODA loop, part of that dance is in response to enemy actions and propaganda and part is in response to opposing political parties. Thus resulting decisions may not be the best militarily.

    How do we counter the negative effects of strategic compression? Just some very rough thoughts:

    1. Create another story, a bigger story “wag the dog”. This is somewhat of a joke, but if we can make the enemy atrocities a bigger story?
    2. Current doctrine still supports cold war maneuver fight, and new technology creates more hierarchical organizations. We need new doctrine that will develop ways to mitigate the negative impacts of C4I technology and accentuate the positive.

    More to follow, I need to clear these thoughts up, but thought getting them out in rough draft may prompt some new ideas.

  6. #26
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Default

    I think a key point to remember is that this entire discussion centers around time and...well...time, really.

    Communications revolutions make it possible for commanders to "help" in real time. It also makes it possible for an opponent to spread propaganda and exploit situations through the media in real time (or damned close to it). I'm still not totally convinced that this is a 4GW thing. It may rather be the logical extension of the 3GW OODA loop run at a higher speed because new technology allows it to do so.

    I don't know that I'd necessarily call your reply a call for effects based operations, Bill. Personally I tend to consider some of the points you mentioned (public opinion, home front, and so on) as centers of gravity in a more pure, non-monolithic sense. To me a center of gravity is not a fixed location or thing, but rather a number of shifting priorities that change based on your opponent. I also don't think the intent of maneuver warfare was necessarily cold war in focus (at least as the Marine Corps originally discussed it...what it turned into is something else again). But I digress...

    With the media, that requires a much more aggressive stance than we seem prepared to take. As mentioned in another thread, I feel very strongly that we should be VERY aggressive when it comes to IO. Things like our opponents routinely beheadding captives, committing atrocities, and the like, should be pushed forward vigorously. I know there are some out there who dislike this approach for a number of reasons, but it is the best way of seperating us from them in simple IO terms. It also has a handy internal focus of explaining "why we're fighting," something that the leadership has been reluctant to deal with since the end of World War II if you want to get really picky about it.

  7. #27
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Default Pardon the double post

    Pardon the double post, but I wanted to comment on some of Bill's great remarks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post

    1. Managing bad news: The kids at Abu Ghrab we’re punks, the LT at My Lai lost temporarily lost his mind, the murder / rape cases in Iraq are inexcusable, and these incidents have managed to elevate to the strategic stage. We can’t defend these acts, but we can put them in perspective and counter attack. The perspective is these are aberrations and that they will be punished, which should make us the envy of every rate nation where it is the norm to have thugs for cops and soldiers. Second, while we’re putting our guys in jail, we need to point out where the enemy did much, much worse and awarded their guys for doing so. The contrast is white and black if it would only be depicted. When we have we forced the enemy to defend their incidents like they have forced us to defend our actions?
    One reason we don't do this is I think there is a great reluctance on the part of political leaders in general in this country to do anything that might get the masses stirred up. There's also the lack of will when it comes to exposing enemy atrocities, and a distinct media reluctance to report on those same atrocities. They're all too afraid of being accused of being racist to report the truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post

    2. Media Access: We allow the media full access, warts and all. The enemy allows select access.
    This ties into #1 very well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post

    3. Will: Strategic compression rapidly depletes our national will power, yet seems to have little effect on villages supporting the Taleban in Afghanistan or Sunni insurgents in Iraq. Why?
    I think our national will is a very fluid thing, influenced the reluctance of our leaders to actually rally the national will and the over-reliance on polls conducted with the same 200 people in the greater New York/LA metro area... Seriously...there has been little effort made to rally the national will, and politicians show little interest in doing so. I don't think anyone really knows what the national will of the people of the United States can take.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post

    4. Political Infighting: The enemy has their share of infighting, but it is not as vulnerable to strategic compression as a democracy. One party will exaggerate the effect of a problem to gain political currency, thus playing into the hands of the enemy, yet not challenge the other party hinders our democratic process.
    This sadly will not change soon, not without a major demonstration of the national will mentioned above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post

    5. Further political: The media influences the orientation of decision maker within the OODA loop, part of that dance is in response to enemy actions and propaganda and part is in response to opposing political parties. Thus resulting decisions may not be the best militarily.
    This ties into a number of failures. We have the failure of the major media outlets to present a balanced picture of events (on average...there are exceptions), the failure of senior military leaders to present balanced advice and actually speak up when the need is there, and a constant effort to keep the public confused and passive so that they do not question the actions of leaders in either political party. Also, our current government officials (of both parties) tend to be ignorant of military affairs, and almost as ignorant of the realities of the world and diplomacy. This makes them especially vulnerable to strategic compression. Couple this with the reluctance to mount an aggressive IO campaign as mentioned in another thread, and you have the makings of what we see today.

  8. #28
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    Default Time?

    Steve

    If strategic compression is only time, then I assume it is the flash to strategic impact time? If it is impossible to fix our IO (another phrase I can't stand, because it means everything), and we're the only ones that are adversely affected by strategic impact, then our center of gravity will rapidly, in comparision to our foe, reach a culminating point.

    I think strategic compression is more than time, it is perception, and perception changes over time. Regardless, I still stand by my comments in other threads that we to limit our military ventures to the rapidly achievable based on the reality of strategic compression within a democracy.

    Occupations are out of the question. I listened to Secretary Rice on 60 minutes last night and she made some strong arguments based on her childhood experiences why we should push the democracy line of operation in the Middle East, but moral imperatives without means and ways are empty words that send us down endless circular roads where we expend assets and acheive no ends.

    Successful small wars strategy requires more than tried and true COIN TTP. If we did everything right at the tactical level, we still wouldn't be victorious without a sound (acheivable) umbrella strategy.
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 09-25-2006 at 04:16 PM. Reason: grammar, always grammar

  9. #29
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    I agree with just about everything said above. This has been a great discussion on a subject that needs addressing.

    My entire career, save for about 6 months, has been in small tactical units at the Troop level and below. Without boring you all with the details of a biography, I can safely say that I have a pretty decent handle on tactical matters within the COIN environment. Having said that, there is a tremendous strain on tactical units placed upon them by higher leadership who do not understand the cause and effect cycle of COIN operations. As has been said before (though maybe not this way and for lack of better terms) we are 4GW Army being lead by people with a 3GW mindset. Let's break this down:

    COIN is a tactical endeavor. Small units working in conjunction with each other towards a common endstate spell success. Due to the nature of 4GW there is a much greater importance of placing small unit leaders who "get it" in positions of greater responsibility at the tactical level than having crack staff officers at BDE and above. Staff officers hate this concept, as they feel it deligitimizes their role. While it is important to have competent people in staff jobs at higher levels, their interaction with local populaces is almost nonexistant, thus, their effects on the COIN environment is less perceptible.

    Unfortunately, for those at the pointy tip of the spear, much of their success (ie. projects, funding, etc.) is merried to the capacity or ability for higher level staff officers to get them what they need for success.

    I'm not saying that higher headquarters have no place in COIN; quite the contrary. However, their inability to understand the implications of their decisions at the tactical level has repeatedly lead to frustration at the tactical level. Hypothetically, having a water project turned down due to a "lack of necessity" within my AO will be nothing more than a penstroke to a higher level staff officer. For me, it means I've got to find a way for the townspeople to access water, usually by truck, which will enhance my force protection posture as I now have a greater accessibility to the population of trucks with a high explosive capacity.

    The bottom line is that 2nd and 3rd order effects, however much we're talking about them in the Army today, are felt most heavily at the tactical levels. What this means to me, in laymans terms, is that if some idiot above me makes a decision without ever leaving the friendly confines of the FOB he has no idea what reprocussion are felt by my soldiers (ie. a skeptical populace within my AO, increased attacks along my LOCs, etc). This is bad.

    In 3GW, battles are often won or lost by the decisions a BDE or BN commander makes regarding the tactical employment of his forces. Where he positions his reserve, where he breaches a situational obstacle belt, or where he defends are all decisions that often must be dictated from higher. Once the plan is in place, it's the responsibility of tactical units to take the guidance and form it into the most feasible COA (ie. can't breach at Point A, as the plan states, due to terrain restrictions. It's better to breach at Point B, etc.). In the COIN environment, due to most actionable intelligence being generated at the team, squad, and platoon level, the inverse of 3GW mindset takes place. Tactical units then must take the bull by the horns and develop and act upon the information given.

    This presents an issue to those with the 3GW mindset; they feel deligitimized as decision makers and (potentially) commanders because they aren't as necessary within the tactical OODA loop as they once were. In attempting to rectify the situation, or, perhaps to feel a bit more relevent, they start poking their fingers into areas they want more progress. In the end, this becomes counterproductive. Luckily, I was in an organization where this didn't happen, but I've seen much more units with this problem than those who didn't.

    In the end, what does this all mean? It means, as has been stated countless times before, that the action a platoon or troop on the ground takes has implications far above the tactical level. Whether I decide to improve SWEAT-MS commodity areas within my AO means that I have to run the traps through my command all the way to the MNF-I level. Getting a water project in my area will take a water project away from another. Smart tactical units found a way around this by outsourcing at the lowest level, which, in turn, increased employment in their area through security, construction, or other jobs. Still, someone at a higher level needs to turn on the faucet of economic relief to pay these people, thus strategic compression.

    When you look at combative action, surely the firefight 1st platoon enters into in the Sarai District of Tal Afar will most likely be presented in Western and Arab media outlets. Depending on the tactical unit's situational understanding of what media is in the area can mitigate what effects a slanted story may have in the international media community. By keeping reporters and camaramen at close hold, explaining to them the situation, and granting them access to part of the tactical OODA loop (ie. Why am I conducting a cordon and search? Because ISF gained a source saying this block is where the terror cell is making IEDs) I can begin to spin the story at my level as conducting a combined operation based off Iraqi intelligence with Iraqi soldiers as the main effort and Americans in a support role to enhance and provide security to the people of Tal Afar. We're getting better at this.

    In the end, tactical leaders need to understand that their actions (and inactions) will impact the larger strategic objective. What guys at the bottom end are owed is what the desired endstate is. Once this is established and dictated, trusting the lower echelon leaders to get the job done and resourcing them for success becomes the main job of those at the Operational and Strategic levels.

  10. #30
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Steve

    If strategic compression is only time, then I assume it is the flash to strategic impact time? If it is impossible to fix our IO (another phrase I can't stand, because it means everything), and we're the only ones that are adversely affected by strategic impact, then our center of gravity will rapidly, in comparision to our foe, reach a culminating point.

    I think strategic compression is more than time, it is perception, and perception changes over time. Regardless, I still stand by my comments in other threads that we to limit our military ventures to the rapidly achievable based on the reality of strategic compression within a democracy.

    Occupations are out of the question. I listened to Secretary Rice on 60 minutes last night and she made some strong arguments based on her childhood experiences why we should push the democracy line of operation in the Middle East, but moral imperatives without means and ways are empty words that send us down endless circular roads where we expend assets and acheive no ends.

    Successful small wars strategy requires more than tried and true COIN TTP. If we did everything right at the tactical level, we still wouldn't be victorious without a sound (acheivable) umbrella strategy.
    Bill,

    I don't think it's only time, but I do feel that time plays perhaps the most important role in its creation and thus management. Perception plays an important role to be sure, but perception is also created to an extent and certainly molded by time. By that I mean a person forms certain perceptions based on information seen and heard. If that information is arriving sooner and in greater volume, perceptions will be formed faster than they were in the past.

  11. #31
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    Default A bit off-topic....

    I've been doing a bit of thinking about this, and I think that one thing that may accelerate strategic compression (at least with the US) is our two-year maximum outlook. By that I mean that there is always some sort of election going on in the US every two years (be it House, Senate, or Presidential). This means that the majority of our decision makers are looking inward (at poll results, attack ads, spin factories, you name it) and not outward at developing situations. If you look back at Vietnam, for example, you see that many critical decisions were made more with election politics in mind (the Flaming Dart attacks, the pace of Rolling Thunder, bombing halts, and so on) and not necessarily the reality faced on the ground in Vietnam. Later on, decisions regarding equipment in Somalia and the level of forces used in Operation Anaconda were made with internal political goals in mind (in my view, at least) and not necessarily with a longer-term goal. Most of our political leaders are trained or conditioned to think in short-range terms (a handful of years at the most) and not take the long view. One could also argue that our constantly rotating personnel system creates a similar mindset in our career officers.

    How this may impact the strategic compression discussion I don't know, but it was something that came out of my own thoughts on the subject.

  12. #32
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    Default The Five Reasons for Compression

    First and foremost – thanks much for the input so far. It is helping us focus our efforts and shape further discussion and research…

    Our (USMC) Canadian Army LNO dropped off an article (not online) titled Military Command: The Compression of Levels of Command by Henning Frantzen. This article appeared in a 2004 edition of Challenge and Change for the Military – New Missions, Old Problems. This journal is published by the School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University and the Canadian Forces Leadership Institute. While much of the article addresses the items discussed above on this thread – it does break down the reasons for compression into five distinct categories – Multinational nature of operations, limited commitment, media, the nature of conflicts (internal, irregular), and technology. I can’t break copyright nor desire to “retype" the entire article – so here is a bulletized summary:

    • Military doctrines, for the most part, separate the levels of war between strategic, operational and tactical. Of these, only the strategic level is explicitly concerned with politics. The operational and tactical level is concerned with fighting.
    • While most recognize the Clausewitzian thesis that war is a continuation of policy… it is often taken for granted that the political issues are concerned with the decision to wage war, the objectives and resources necessary for war and the constraints and limitations facing military commanders.
    • Compression of levels of war blurs this traditional understanding – the levels are being merged.
    • The result is that commanders seem to spend less time on actual command (formal definition) and more time and energy struggling with political affairs.
    • The best that commanders can now hope for is that they contribute to a political success rather than military victory.
    • The first reason for compression of the levels is the multinational character of current military operations. This results in a reduction of military commanders’ authority due to national restrictions and limitations. Issues that under other circumstances are strictly military are transformed into complex issues of international affairs and traditional levels of command seemingly do not apply.
    • The second reason for compression (merger of politics and military) is the limited commitment with which we engage in contemporary conflicts and war. They tend to rank lower on the security agenda and the issues of risk and casualties develop a high priority.
    • The third reason contributing to compression is media scrutiny and the speed by which information is broadcast and then has an effect on public opinion and political decision-makers. Military operations cannot be conducted separately from the world of civilians. Military judgments and reasoning are increasingly questioned by civil society and military commanders cannot exercise their profession in a vacuum.
    • All that said, the more important source of compression is the nature of current conflicts – internal wars of various sorts… Because these wars are fought within civil society it is much harder to separate military aspects from political aspects… The objective of the intervention – situation conducive to peace – demands more than a military victory.
    • The decentralized character of these conflicts drives operations down to the company and battalion level rather than corps and division. While operations are not just political all tactical decisions cannot be made without considering their potential political effect.
    • The fifth source of compression refers to new ideas on how to organize and command military power for future conflicts. The Strategic Corporal is one example… Experiments with strategic corporals and network-centric warfare are ways of dealing with new technological opportunities… Technology offers the opportunity of micro-management.
    • Concepts for command should be adjusted to reflect the changes caused by compression and to deal with the associated issue.

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    Default You are spot on...

    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post

    The CNN effect is also unlikely to diminish. Inexpensive, ubiquitous cameras and the ability to post images and video on the internet by amateur reporters will increasingly contribute to this phenomenon. Sources of news will likely proliferate and instances of media responding to tactical mistakes are likely to grow. This will place greater emphasis on General Krulak’s strategic corporal idea as tactical actions should be expected to receive hyper-scrutiny in the future. The CNN effect will play an increasingly important role in small wars relative to major combat operations (MCO), because unlike the enemy in MCO, the two major centers of gravity in small wars—the occupied population and the American public—depend upon news media to gain information and formulate opinions about military actions. Ensuring that tactical actions are well understood by both audiences is essential. Small wars are also likely to be increasingly fought in urban environments. The likelihood that collateral damage will occur during operations and be documented by international media is dramatically increased. As such, the CNN effect is additionally exacerbated when American forces are operating amongst urban civilian population centers.
    I think that your analysis in this paragraph is spot on. There is some diversion from the key issue in this discussion with some prefering to comment on the micromanagement by senior officers rather than look at the central issue - the easily available images which are then transmitted to large audiences in a matter of hours and can have a massive impact in terms of the ability to achieve the strategic goal. Actions by a small number of very junior soldiers can prejudice the whole mission.

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    Default Does "Wag the Dog" really work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Other asymmetries need to be addressed and managed.

    1. Managing bad news: The kids at Abu Ghrab we’re punks, the LT at My Lai lost temporarily lost his mind, the murder / rape cases in Iraq are inexcusable, and these incidents have managed to elevate to the strategic stage. We can’t defend these acts, but we can put them in perspective and counter attack. The perspective is these are aberrations and that they will be punished, which should make us the envy of every rate nation where it is the norm to have thugs for cops and soldiers. Second, while we’re putting our guys in jail, we need to point out where the enemy did much, much worse and awarded their guys for doing so. The contrast is white and black if it would only be depicted. When we have we forced the enemy to defend their incidents like they have forced us to defend our actions?

    2. Media Access: We allow the media full access, warts and all. The enemy allows select access.
    Managing bad news is a central aspect of modern warfare, in particular for the US and its allies. The military supremacy leads to a different kind of challenge. However, countering the bad news is easier said than done. As Abu Ghraib was discovered, there was a very active campaign to try and put into perspective, but it failed. This might be because higher standards are expected from the US forces than they are from the insurgents and other thugs, but the fact is that enemy does not need to defend its actions because its core audience approves of them. The contrast might be black and white (I doubt that it is...) but in reality US and allied forces are held to a different standard, and it makes great TV news to show their failures to maintain that standard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    How do we counter the negative effects of strategic compression? Just some very rough thoughts:

    1. Create another story, a bigger story “wag the dog”. This is somewhat of a joke, but if we can make the enemy atrocities a bigger story?
    I don't think you can make the enemy atrocities a bigger story. It is not a story at all as far as the media is concerned apart from when it really goes overboard, but then again we all knew these guys were bad.

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