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Thread: 'The General Mattis collection: a mixture

  1. #41
    Council Member Umar Al-Mokhtār's Avatar
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    Default Of mice and men

    It is as much about the commander clearly explaining his intent and plan as it is for the subordinate to carry it out with minimal further direction. But as it is said even the best plan rarely survives contact.

    I agree that “turning off the radios” is a bit much plus our over reliance on technology is not so much radios as it is those things that replace solid field craft, like GPS. While GPS is a great thing the art of map reading and navigation using the compass are falling by the wayside. That is an over-reliance on technology. Comms are comms and short of wig wag and heliograph there's not much else you can do to replicate them.
    "What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women."

  2. #42
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Contrary to popular opinion, there were radios when I started

    wearing a war suit...

    I really do post date the Smoke Signals and even the Telegraph and Heliograph.

    ...Barely...

    However, I'm old enough that radio was the primary comm means and we did back then turn 'em off for training and for real when our emissions might have been a problem.

    There was no replicate to it, the idea was not to find alternatives or substitutes, it was to do the job without using them at all. Hard as it is to believe with all the modern gee whiz stuff, GPS, BFT, etc. (those are just aids -- and that's all they are, aids, they are not imperatives) and amazing as it may seem that units were trusted to the extent that they were released from view and 'positive control' to perform actual combat missions in a fairly active war or two, it was done. You can really do that...

    One would be remiss to not understand that even if non use of comm and the other aids was not intentional it did, does and can happen due to both technological and logistic problems -- and even more frequently as a result enemy or combat action. Combat is hard on equipment...

    The problem is that we are not using our aids as aids-- they are too often being used as substitutes for a lack of training. They have ceased being a cane and have become a Walker (or even a Wheelchair in some cases...) That's what Mattis is warning against...

  3. #43
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    Slap, have you considered going to a Warden recovery clinic?
    They wouldn't take me....said it was a pre-existing condition

  4. #44
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    One can never know when technology will fail you - only that it is sure to fail at some point.

    For a time I was in charge of training the new intel people that came to the unit directly from Intel schoolhouse. At first I had them prepare a brief on some topic and in the middle of delivering their brief I would turn off the computer running their powerpoint slides. I had them finish the briefing and, unfortunately, they usually didn't do too well. Next I would have them develop a briefing on a topic without the use of the SIPRnet or JWICs for research which got them acquainted with the pub library.

    Technology can be a monkey on your back if you let it.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

  5. #45
    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    One can never know when technology will fail you - only that it is sure to fail at some point.
    ...

    Technology can be a monkey on your back if you let it.
    I may have read more into Gen. Mattis quoted comments than was actually present in his speech, but this is my take away from his comments. I remember the level of resources an erstwhile adversary invested in Radio Electronic Combat (REC). If the force is reliant on all the high tech networking and commo, what happens when a dedicated opponent takes them away? Are our leaders fully prepared to effectively prosecute their mission when that happens?

    I may also be mistaken (observer bias), but I assumed his term "mission command" meant Auftragstaktik. Which, as Wilf points out, "...is not enabled just by switching off radios."
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  6. #46
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default True. But...

    Quote Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
    ..."mission command"...Which, as Wilf points out, "...is not enabled just by switching off radios."
    It is not. It is enabled by decent training. However, given even marginal training, a Commander with enough testicular fortitude to turn off the radios forces his subordinate commanders to perform -- whether they want to or not.

    You'd be surprised (or maybe not...) by the number of folks who take an entirely too great amount of comfort in being told what to do by a Staff or a Commander miles away instead of making decisions on their own. That forcing effort is beneficial as it pushes the marginal types to become better. Or be pushed off the cart...

  7. #47
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Mission command can also be enforced the other way - by subordinates turning off their radios and acting on the last "commander's intent" they liked. This has been done up to Army HQ level, and very often at division and regiment level.

    This part of Auftragstaktik - to violate orders when one thinks it's better like that is at the root of the whole system and pretty much ignored in U.S. writings. It was also a critical component of the birth of Blitzkrieg, and the greatest mistake of the Fall Gelb campaign in France 1940 happened when generals obeyed an order even though they knew it was wrong..

    Auftragstaktik has its roots in the 18th century, and I can recount an interesting anecdote (albeit not accurately; merely out of the memory):

    A major had followed his orders during the seven Years War and done something very stupid because the orders were outdated. A prince arrives and questions the man why he had done something that stupid. The major answered that this had been his order.
    The prince replied "His majesty made you a major because he believed you would know when NOT to follow orders!"
    Last edited by Fuchs; 05-23-2010 at 10:45 AM.

  8. #48
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default It may be ignored in US writing...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    ...to violate orders when one thinks it's better like that is at the root of the whole system and pretty much ignored in U.S. writings.
    but I can assure you it is or at least was emphatically not ignored in practice by a great many US commanders and leaders.

    That's why the current push for mandatory interconnectivity, BFT, PLRS and all that (not to mention UAVs which offer a way to be the 'Commander in the Sky' without hovering overhead in a Helicopter). Guys who as Captains ignored their Lieutenant Colonels or as LTCs ignored their Generals by "turning off their radios" are now Generals and want to make sure that no one does the same thing to them...

    The sad thing is that they really ought to be encouraging initiative instead of inadvertently destroying it.

  9. #49
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    Default Technology is not the enemy

    Not sure I understand the tech aversion by so many here.

    Take UAS for example. In OIF 1, there was virtually no V Corps UAS support because Predators were concentrating on trying to find “strategic” SCUD targets. Would having more Army direct support tactical UAS have reduced brigade and below commander initiative or enhanced it? If you no longer had to rely on movement-to-contact or intelligence tasked by some distant operations center and fed to you from the U.S., but instead had access to your own assets and combat information, wouldn’t that help?

    If you had the UAS video in your combat vehicle or on a dismounted patrol, accessible to the JTAC and F/A-18, company commander, and providing information to the FS officer in the battalion CP, the Shadow GCS being influenced by the brigade CP, and visible to Apaches supporting you, doesn’t that help?

    If the enemy attempts to jam the local UAS digital line-of-sight signal, he is emitting and can be targeted. If instead, he takes out the satellite controlling the "theater-capable" UAS, the temporary loss of information may not be so temporary. And do you prefer to rely on a Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) analyzing UAS video and communicating with you from California, or would analysts operating inside your battalion/brigade CP DCGS-Army be more immune to loss of signal to provide more timely analysis based on the tactical commander’s CCIR?

    Would we prefer combat information to come exclusively at the speed and range of the mounted or dismounted Soldier/Marine, whose ground perspective may be limited and events may change minutes after the patrol passes by? Can you see or influence the Taliban shooting at you from 700 meters away? Can you watch that mosque 24/7 with a secure dismounted 2-man OP? Do you trust the lead vehicle keeping an eye out for ground disturbances more than the UAS operator using coherent change detection? Is it possible that just because you don’t understand a technology's value, it still might help you?

    When the enemy starts launching long range missiles, rockets, and mortars against your unit (or allies), aren’t you glad we have counter-mortar radars, C-RAM, and Patriot/THAAD/SM3/Aegis…not to mention HESCO and stealth aircraft and satellites with sensors that may detect missile launch? When you cross that minefield or unknown ground near the attack objective, aren’t you glad that tank has a line charge on it? Will that line charge be as effective if every commander mounts his mounted assault based on personal preferences without the benefit of that line charge breech, pre-planned fires, and support-by-fire that one commander may be providing another at specific times and phase lines?

    As for commander’s intent, isn’t it fair to say that tactical and strategic actions must mirror that of the national command authority and joint force commander?

    In 2003, our probability for success to go all the way to Baghdad was good since we had planned the logistics to support heavy force refuel efforts and had BFT to track unit locations, provide digital comms and graphics, and prevent fratricide.

    In contrast, a continued Desert Storm attack well beyond what was logistically supportable and that could have increased fratricide risk and attacks by bypassed threats was not in the cards, despite what a squadron commander may have wanted. And the commander’s intent of the POTUS and General Schwarzkopf were not to go that far. Should those orders have been disregarded?

    Just my personal view.
    Last edited by Cole; 05-23-2010 at 07:30 PM. Reason: Clarify terms and grammar

  10. #50
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I'll tell you the same thing I told you on the front page.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cole View Post
    Not sure I understand the tech aversion by so many here.
    No one is being tech averse so far I can see. Several of us caution that you cannot totally -- remember that word, totally -- rely on it and you should be prepared to implement alternatives, that just seems prudent. That inability to totally rely on it is only partly due to technological flaws or failures, it has much more to do with potential enemy disruptive action or own side human error. No one suggested not using anything...

    I will, though, point out that every thing you cite has been used in a relatively benign environment. One cannot always rely on that relatively low degree of combat action and friction. I said I'd say the same things I said on the front page. Here are some:

    "Mattis didn't say don't use technology, he pointed out that it is rarely failsafe for a variety of reasons and he adds that if you lose a techno-capability, you'd better have a fallback."

    "No one I've seen here including Mattis is suggesting doing away with any technology, the issue is to not become over reliant on technology and to attempt to let it substitute for poor or missing training."

    "The issue is not less technology, no one said that; the issue is a better balance between technology and training and a suggestion that total reliance on technology can be dangerous. Any thinking peer opponent of the US is going to seek ways to degrade or render useless our technological edge. We would be foolish IMO to not prepare properly for such unknowns."

    Could you please point out where I or anyone else in this thread has really been "tech averse" or suggested NOT using any of the systems you cited?

  11. #51
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    A thorough training should begin with little technology and then make things ever easier with technology as performance expectations rise during training.

    An example: GPS
    A map and a suitable compass should suffice, and soldiers should know the polar star (or whatever the people on the southern hemisphere use).
    GPS-dependent soldiers are often an embarrassment when they're being tasked to navigate without GPS.


    I'm also in favour of having plenty motorcycles in an army for traffic control, courier and rear scouting (such as finding a good spot for a depot or hospital).

  12. #52
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    Default Well, since you asked

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Could you please point out where I or anyone else in this thread has really been "tech averse" or suggested NOT using any of the systems you cited?
    Your comment about UAS was what caught my eye. There is nothing wrong with having good situational awareness at a higher echelon CP via UAS full motion video access. It allows that commander/staff to get the quick reaction force and other support moving while avoiding questions about danger close or collateral damage.

    I understand doctrine about radio silence to avoid being targeted. But that must be weighed, IMHO, against the unlikelihood that it will occur at all due to weak threat opponents, or because his EW emissions or artillery would result in a near instant more capable friendly response. Don't we remote antennas for a reason? Is a communicating moving target likely to be struck...although admittedly a stationary CP in Baghdad was hit in OIF 1.

    A similar quandary exists in air combat training. How many pilots are lost annually in training versus actual air combat? Couldn't simulators perform more of that training? Threat opponents don't get anywhere near our flight hours or simulation training. Look at Russian airpower problems over Georgia. Read DefenseTech to see how confident Chinese leadership is regarding homegrown reverse-engineered old tech jets. Yet we always seem to consider the threat to be a 10 feet tall boogeyman on land, sea, and in the air.

    FCS had embedded simulation as a KPP and many other promising technologies...largely victimized by JTRS not being ready. Isn't the use of technology for training a good idea? Pursuit of promising BCT Modernization tech like Class I UAS should not be eliminated due to imperfect datalinks on someone else's development schedule.

    Should testers be committing fratricide by claiming that hearing a UAS at 2 kms and seeing it at 4 kms is unacceptable? Can you see and hear a tank or cavalry scout vehicle at 2-4 kms? Why is one shockpower and exploitable via deception and the other is a no-go? And how much shock does the heavy BCT create when it never arrives before the war is over and then runs out of gas because we decide we need 50 ton infantry fighting vehicles?

  13. #53
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I asked because I fail to grasp your point...

    Quote Originally Posted by Cole View Post
    Your comment about UAS was what caught my eye. There is nothing wrong with having good situational awareness at a higher echelon CP via UAS full motion video access. It allows that commander/staff to get the quick reaction force and other support moving while avoiding questions about danger close or collateral damage.
    Totally agree and I did not object to that use -- I did make a snide comment about possible misuse by a poor Commander. Poor Commanders can misuse anything, high tech or no tech.
    I understand doctrine about radio silence to avoid being targeted. But that must be weighed, IMHO, against the unlikelihood that it will occur at all due to weak threat opponents, or because his EW emissions or artillery would result in a near instant more capable friendly response. Don't we remote antennas for a reason? Is a communicating moving target likely to be struck...although admittedly a stationary CP in Baghdad was hit in OIF 1.
    I also totally agree with that. The key is that in "must be weighed." I would hope and really expect most units would do that competently.
    A similar quandary exists in air combat training. How many pilots are lost annually in training versus actual air combat? Couldn't simulators perform more of that training? Threat opponents don't get anywhere near our flight hours or simulation training. Look at Russian airpower problems over Georgia. Read DefenseTech to see how confident Chinese leadership is regarding homegrown reverse-engineered old tech jets. Yet we always seem to consider the threat to be a 10 feet tall boogeyman on land, sea, and in the air.
    Uh, yeah. However doesn't that paragraph tend toward less technology? You seem to be arguing with yourself. Or is it just certain Air Force and Naval technology that is objectionable?
    FCS had embedded simulation as a KPP and many other promising technologies...largely victimized by JTRS not being ready. Isn't the use of technology for training a good idea? Pursuit of promising BCT Modernization tech like Class I UAS should not be eliminated due to imperfect datalinks on someone else's development schedule.
    Yes to all that -- and no one here has suggested otherwise. I trust you are not an employee of or are yourself a Contractor who lost out on the FCS cxl...

    Regardless, valid points all -- and, again, no one here is arguing otherwise.
    Should testers be committing fratricide by claiming that hearing a UAS at 2 kms and seeing it at 4 kms is unacceptable? Can you see and hear a tank or cavalry scout vehicle at 2-4 kms? Why is one shockpower and exploitable via deception and the other is a no-go? And how much shock does the heavy BCT create when it never arrives before the war is over and then runs out of gas because we decide we need 50 ton infantry fighting vehicles?
    I frankly do not understand that. I would submit that we have no Cavalry Scout Vehicles, that the vehicles we use for that role travel in packs and are prepared for combat. If an opponent sees one, he knows there will be more nearby and they are looking for trouble.

    A recon or surveillance UAS OTOH may be employed hopefully covertly or at least stealthily to not let a targeted enemy know of our interest in a specific area of ground. In short, I think we have a Pomegranates and Kiwi Fruit comparison...

    The 'solutions' to your latter conundrum are many, not least that we should plan better and / or develop a C5 replacement (and those are both quite serious comments).

    You're fighting the age old protection versus mobility battle which has never been resolved. It is also unlikely to be resolved because every war is different even though a lot of planning is expended on re-doing the last one. I personally opt for mobility in most cases but acknowledge the need for the protection afforded by 50t IFVs and 80t Tanks on occasion. The US Army is trying to sort out which way it will go. My bet is a compromise that annoys many because that's the only reasonably prudent course.

    I may be wrong but I believe that you did not provide an example of me or anyone else in this thread really being "tech averse" or suggesting the US not use any of the systems you cited. Thus I'm still unsure of your point. My apologies for being old and dense...

  14. #54
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    I'm also in favour of having plenty motorcycles in an army for traffic control, courier and rear scouting (such as finding a good spot for a depot or hospital).
    We did experiments with that in the 70's in the 82nd Airborne. They were used as couriers between units to deliver orders and maps just to practice what we would do if we lost our radio communications due to electronic jamming or lack of battery resupply. Don't know if they ever formally adopted it as a permanent procedure.

  15. #55
    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Default In response to Cole...

    Ken covered it so well, that I won't add to it. I will take a step back and add one thing: In the US, we seem to have a peculiar belief that technology can solve any and every problem, and so we can have an "Easy Button" for war if we just spend enough money to build the right gadget. Most of us on this board reject that approach.

    (e.g. Embedded training is a nice "gadget" if used as a supplement to field training. It can not replace field training. It should never have been a KPP. But it, like many other "neat" technologies, were loaded into FCS as "must have KPP" rather than "nice, but only if we can afford the burdens after we've taken care of shoot, move, communicate.")
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  16. #56
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    Default Gen Mattis to CENTCOM

    It was announced today that Gen Mattis will be taking over CENTCOM.

    Fox makes much of his previous gaffe about shooting people being fun:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010...ntral-command/

    Seems like a logical choice. Interesting part will be how he interfaces with Gen Petraeus. Realistically Gen Petraeus will be working directly for the president, but it will be a unique situation for both generals.

    Does this mean EBO might be spared by JFCOM?

  17. #57
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
    It was announced today that Gen Mattis will be taking over CENTCOM.

    Fox makes much of his previous gaffe about shooting people being fun:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010...ntral-command/

    Seems like a logical choice. Interesting part will be how he interfaces with Gen Petraeus. Realistically Gen Petraeus will be working directly for the president, but it will be a unique situation for both generals.

    Does this mean EBO might be spared by JFCOM?

    EBO, at least as JFCOM defined it in the late '90's and early 2K’s is dead as a doorknob.

  18. #58
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    EBO, at least as JFCOM defined it in the late '90's and early 2K’s is dead as a doorknob.
    Will Mattis push Maneuver Warfare as a replacement?

  19. #59
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    Default EBO Replacement?

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Will Mattis push Maneuver Warfare as a replacement?
    According to the SAMS instructor that talked to my class today, design is being written into the new joint doctrine.

    I know the AF is still trying to keep its version of EBO... which is different than what JFCOM used.

  20. #60
    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default A couple of thoughts....

    A Petraeus/Mattis lash-up will work just fine... they are of a similar mind on the most important things, and Mattis will leave AFG to Petraeus except where it impacts the rest of the AOR and at that point the will work cooperatively... not sure there was a better selection possible

    EBO is DEAD DEAD DEAD...
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