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Thread: The Clausewitz Collection (merged thread)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Too many year in and watching the critter that is the US Army lead me to take strong exception. If something can be misused, it will be....
    Perhaps this is true. However, it seems that it would be extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, to build a body of doctrine which would be impossible to misuse. It is hard to think of a concept which hasn't been misinterpreted, misrepresented, misused, or even abused at one time or another.

    Humans are imperfect creations which give rise to imperfect ideas and actions. Armies are made from humans, ergo....

    We're probably stuck trying to do the best we can with the best ideas we can think of. And although I agree with you that the Army has its share of morons masquerading as leaders, it is as much a commentary on American society as it is the institution.

    In short, I largely agree with your formulation of the problem, however, the solution seems to me to border on impossible.
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    For those uninclined to buy the book, he makes a brief(er) version of his argument in the latest issue of JFQ

    http://www.ndu.edu/press/war-and-its-aftermath.html

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Perhaps more so..

    Quote Originally Posted by M.L. View Post
    ...it is as much a commentary on American society as it is the institution.
    Armies represent the society from which they come...
    In short, I largely agree with your formulation of the problem, however, the solution seems to me to border on impossible.
    Given the current attitudes and culture, you're correct. However, there is a solution. Required is raising the standards for entry, officer and enlisted. Yes, that means fewer people in the active Army and thus a major strategic (and operational...) recast away from big Organizations and mass to flexible organizations and agility. We should allow the ArNG to be larger than the active Army with effectively current standards for available mass when required. Most importantly, we must significantly improve training, particularly initial entry training (also both officer and enlisted...). We train now better than ever but it's still just a bit above marginal...

    All that must lead to fostering innovation and initiative as opposed to the current largely unintended but highly effective stifling of those traits. That will be difficult, American society's risk aversion has migrated into uniform.

    However, those fixes will be for naught lacking a major revamp of the personnel system. The 1919 Per System with Congressionally mandated add-ons in the interest of 'fairness' are a major part of the problem. Trying to stick round pegs in square holes, the HRC goal, is a big part of that misuse problem...

    The Per mavens will fight any change tooth and nail -- it'll make their job far more difficult. The senior Generals will not change it, the current system worked for them so any reform -- sorely needed -- will have to start at the bottom and work upward.

    My belief is that Congress in the next few years will largely be receptive to logical changes. That window should be used.

    I've spent many years frothing about our wasted potential -- but it's still there, it just needs to be unleashed (an advised term...).

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    Though on further review (I came across this thread while curious about the book cited at the top), neither Sherman, Clausewitz, or an argument for total war appear in the JFQ piece. Instead his argument here is a much tamer "offensive war requires subsequent military governance".

    Still, I find his argument for militarizing strategy by making the Joint Chiefs a centralized combatant command a questionable application of the World War II model to the regional problems of today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Wilf may have a problem with operational art. I do not, it exists and is useful.
    Well I don't have a problem with "Operational Art," if its the art of planning operations. Not just useful. It's essential.

    Here are my "problems."

    a.) There is simply no need to interject a concept between Strategy and Tactics. It isn't need. Most military men never needed it. Why do it? (it may exist as an "idea", but there are many "ideas" that lack utility)

    b.) The idea of "levels of war," is not useful, especially when expressed in terms of Strategic, Operational and Tactical. For example, you can't have Strategic, Operational and Tactical "Mobility" in ways you can usefully define.

    c.) The claim that Napoleon "invented" the operational level is without evidence or any form of proof. What Napoleon did was conceptually no different from what Marlborough did in 1704, and Napoleon studied Marlborough! Based on the idea that the operational level of war is "battles and engagements are planned and executed to achieve military objectives assigned to tactical units or task forces," then this exactly defines how Hannibal and Ghengis Kahn fought. If the Operational level existed for the last 200 years, then it always existed!
    If anyone can furnish any actual historical evidence to the contrary, I will happily study it in detail.

    d.) The whole concept of "Operational Level" is, IMO, steeped in a lack of clarity. The definitions used in JPub 1-02 are not rigourous. Warfare is done by Command, so Corps, Division, Formation, etc. Commands make plans and issue orders. That is simple, effective and proven to work. What proven advantage does the "Operational level" deliver.

    In conclusion, I see the "Operational level" as something like Manoeuvre Warfare, and EBO. Something that at best adds nothing, bar sophistry, and at worst is highly counter-productive.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

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    - 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

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    Having Mr. Melton as my tactics instructor the past year -

    His main point is that none of the Iraq governance/occupation debacle should have been a mystery. We planned for 3 years prior to 1945 how we would govern Germany, and it paid off, with similar planning for Japan. If we had started with our 1945 governance regs/books we would have been better off.

    He notes that before a country can be effectively occupied its will must be broken, and that our decisive/CoG effort against the Iraqi military failed to break the will of the population prior to occupation.

    Thus he advocates an attritional campaign prior to any occupation operation. He does not advocate attrition in all things, but cites "maneuver warfare" as appropriate for limited and raiding war, not occupation war because it does not break the will of the populace to carry the fight.

    A simplified version of his book.
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    His main point is that none of the Iraq governance/occupation debacle should have been a mystery. We planned for 3 years prior to 1945 how we would govern Germany, and it paid off, with similar planning for Japan. If we had started with our 1945 governance regs/books we would have been better off.
    Strongly concur. So would Carl.
    He notes that before a country can be effectively occupied its will must be broken, and that our decisive/CoG effort against the Iraqi military failed to break the will of the population prior to occupation.
    Same again.
    Thus he advocates an attritional campaign prior to any occupation operation. He does not advocate attrition in all things, but cites "maneuver warfare" as appropriate for limited and raiding war, not occupation war because it does not break the will of the populace to carry the fight.
    As there is no functional difference between "attrition" and "manoeuvre" I can't see the issue here. For example, raiding is aimed at causing attrition.
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by M.L. View Post
    it seems that it would be extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, to build a body of doctrine which would be impossible to misuse. It is hard to think of a concept which hasn't been misinterpreted, misrepresented, misused, or even abused at one time or another.
    I propose that misuse of doctrine is not quite as significant a problem as abuse of it. Instantiating the apparent truth of the Bentham quotation in M.L.'s signature block, I propose two ways that doctrine is abused:

    1. Unthinking application of doctrinal "school solutions" to solve operational problems I do not mean problems at the operational level of war. I do mean problems we encounter while trying to conduct any operation(the second definition for operation found in my earlier post of J Pub 1-02 definitions). Doctrine is a guide to help one formulate a solution for problems, not a canned set of solutions.

    2. Trying to be too fine-grained when defining doctrinal terminology. In Chapter 3 of the Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle cautions the reader as follows:
    Quote Originally Posted by Aristotle
    We must not expect more precision than the subject-matter admits. . . . Our discussion will be adequate if it has as much clearness as the subject-matter admits of, for precision is not to be sought for alike in all discussions, any more than in all the products of the crafts. . . . We must be content, then, in speaking of such subjects and with such premisses to indicate the truth roughly and in outline, and in speaking about things which are only for the most part true and with premisses of the same kind to reach conclusions that are no better. In the same spirit, therefore, should each type of statement be received; for it is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits; it is evidently equally foolish to accept probable reasoning from a mathematician and to demand from a rhetorician scientific proofs.
    Expecting doctrine to provide an all-inclusive list of necessary and sufficient conditions for the correct application of any given term is actually a variation on the first instance of abuse, one which I would describe as solving problems by definition. This often works just fine in mathematics and theoretical physics, but not so well when we are contemplating the actions of those finitely rational creatures with feet of clay that we call human beings.
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
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    We also went into Germany expecting the German people to fight us for every inch of ground; whereas we went into Iraq expecting to be greeted like the the guys who liberated Paris. Query: Did we have master plan for rebuilding France?? I suspect we didn't.

    Most problems in life are foreseeable if you have your eyes open and are looking at things with a clear perspective. On Iraq, there was no room for clear perspectives, those voices where shouted down, ignored, or simply mowed over. (Speaking from one working on the Army staff during the period that the concept of going into Iraq first came up and watching in shocked amazement as it developed...)
    Robert C. Jones
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    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Sherman, was my kind of General wherever he could he made War against Rich civilians which was the real key to victory. He understood it is about breaking the will of the State no so much about breaking the will of the Army. He destroyed the Civilian Infrastructure (he choose CvC type 2 War) that caused the Government, the People and the Army to ALL collapse, because the Civilian Infrastructure of Food,Weapons,Recruits is the real key to most Wars IMO............And Karl Marx wrote about this as a reporter in London before it happened, he actually said that Georgia was the Center of Gravity along with about 300,000 rich slave owners. Economic analysis is vastly underrated as a Strategic and Criminal analysis tool IMO. OK I am done now

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    Default Counter Insurgency On The Cheap

    Interesting way to do COIN with the idea of establishing Economic Advantage.


    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v26/n15/alex-de...y-on-the-cheap

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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    I propose that misuse of doctrine is not quite as significant a problem as abuse of it. Instantiating the apparent truth of the Bentham quotation in M.L.'s signature block, I propose two ways that doctrine is abused:

    1. Unthinking application of doctrinal "school solutions" to solve operational problems I do not mean problems at the operational level of war. I do mean problems we encounter while trying to conduct any operation(the second definition for operation found in my earlier post of J Pub 1-02 definitions). Doctrine is a guide to help one formulate a solution for problems, not a canned set of solutions.

    2. Trying to be too fine-grained when defining doctrinal terminology. In Chapter 3 of the Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle cautions the reader as follows:

    Expecting doctrine to provide an all-inclusive list of necessary and sufficient conditions for the correct application of any given term is actually a variation on the first instance of abuse, one which I would describe as solving problems by definition. This often works just fine in mathematics and theoretical physics, but not so well when we are contemplating the actions of those finitely rational creatures with feet of clay that we call human beings.
    Fair criticisms. As you point out, the nature of doctrine is less a problem than the application of it. The villain here may be planning, or the application of doctrine to a given problem. The whole idea of "planning" in a military sense is formulating a solution for a given problem from beginning to end before any action has been taken. While this idea is useful for simple problems, it is less useful for complex problems.

    The Cynefin framework is a useful tool for categorizing problems (http://www.slideshare.net/kdelarue/k...3-presentation).



    You will see that simple and complicated problems lend themselves to the sort of planning espoused by many military professionals: sense the problem, categorize/analyze it, and apply the appropriate doctrinal solution based on previous analysis/categorization. Unfortunately, most military problems are not simple or complicated, but trend toward complex. In the case of complex problems, "planning" as we know it is less useful than acting, making sense of the response, then adapting. Obviously, a dogmatic adherence to doctrine precludes this sort of adaptive process.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    ... it just needs to be unleashed (an advised term...).
    Watch out, Ken might be about to cry "Havoc" and let slip the beagles of Fayetteville.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    c.) The claim that Napoleon "invented" the operational level is without evidence or any form of proof....
    I was going to leave this entire entry alone since it is basically a rehash of previous arguments. However, the above statement merits a brief response.

    I never claimed that Napoleon "invented" the operational level. Although there has been some discussion to that effect, the broad consensus is that the first vestiges of operational warfare "emerged" during the Napoleonic era.

    To say that someone "invented" it is like saying that someone "invented" strategy. On the contrary, operational warfare, like strategy, is an evolving conglomeration of ideas.
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    Default What are the Napoleonic vestiges ?

    from ML
    ....the broad consensus is that the first vestiges of operational warfare "emerged" during the Napoleonic era.
    As I think has been obvious, my interest in this topic is historical and in the 19th century texts (CvC, Jomini, Mahan, Halleck, Bigelow, as examples). I don't have the professional competence to judge what "operational warfare" and the "operational level of war" are or are not in the present-day; or whether the present-day usage of those terms (obviously replete in US manuals) is good, bad or indifferent.

    What I do see in the 19th century is replete with references to the planning and execution of operations and campaigns - and a very rich vocabulary (of what I would call "terms of art") dealing with operations and campaigns; as well as something of a hierarchy of divisions (e.g., theatre of war, theatre(s) of operations, zone(s) of operations).

    What are the "vestiges" of "operational warfare" in the Napoleonic era as you see those "vestiges" ? If those "vestiges" exist, they are not readily apparent to me. I see a very well developed "operational art" in what I've read (cited above); but I do not see "operational warfare" and the "operational level of war" until into the 20th century - e.g., Fuller as cited by the Brit LTG in his article.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Copy of an article from (JFQ latest edition) one the other CvC threads. Has some stuff to say about the Operational Level of War, it appears he agrees somewhat but not completely with Wilf. It is a very good article at any rate IMO.


    http://www.ndu.edu/press/war-and-its-aftermath.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Copy of an article from (JFQ latest edition) one the other CvC threads. Has some stuff to say about the Operational Level of War, it appears he agrees somewhat but not completely with Wilf. It is a very good article at any rate IMO.


    http://www.ndu.edu/press/war-and-its-aftermath.html
    Ack. I was excited to read this until I saw it was by Steven Melton. You might want to read the first 30 pages or so of his book, The Clausewitz Delusion. IMO, he is pretty mixed up and has some very wrong ideas.

    However, just my opinion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    As I think has been obvious, my interest in this topic is historical and in the 19th century texts (CvC, Jomini, Mahan, Halleck, Bigelow, as examples). I don't have the professional competence to judge what "operational warfare" and the "operational level of war" are or are not in the present-day; or whether the present-day usage of those terms (obviously replete in US manuals) is good, bad or indifferent.

    What I do see in the 19th century is replete with references to the planning and execution of operations and campaigns - and a very rich vocabulary (of what I would call "terms of art") dealing with operations and campaigns; as well as something of a hierarchy of divisions (e.g., theatre of war, theatre(s) of operations, zone(s) of operations).

    What are the "vestiges" of "operational warfare" in the Napoleonic era as you see those "vestiges" ? If those "vestiges" exist, they are not readily apparent to me. I see a very well developed "operational art" in what I've read (cited above); but I do not see "operational warfare" and the "operational level of war" until into the 20th century - e.g., Fuller as cited by the Brit LTG in his article.

    Regards

    Mike
    Mike,

    I agree that the operational level as we know it emerged in WWI, specifically 1916-18, as the combined arms battlefield.

    However, some of what we now lump into operational warfare did emerge during the Napoleonic wars. The French Revolution gave rise to a new era in warfare in the sense that virtually all the resources of the state were mobilized for war. Among the many impacts of this change, two seem salient here. First, it broadened the necessary scope of strategy (to include non-military considerations, such as a state's economic base). Second, it gave rise to huge land forces, and as you say, the rough outlines of modern command echelons began to emerge.

    This meant commanders had to coordinate the activities of large units which were not necessarily collocated, and perhaps even in multiple theaters (think US civil war). Furthermore, these activities had to be linked to broader strategic objectives related not just to military means, but to the state itself, as well as the people of the state.

    The operational level did not emerge suddenly and totally in the early 1800s, nor did it do so in 1918. Rather, it emerged over a long period of time between Napoleon and WWI. Certainly, it continues to evolve, but the combined arms battlefield of 1918 is not too much different from, say, Desert Storm in 1991.
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    Quote Originally Posted by M.L. View Post
    Ack. I was excited to read this until I saw it was by Steven Melton. You might want to read the first 30 pages or so of his book, The Clausewitz Delusion. IMO, he is pretty mixed up and has some very wrong ideas.

    However, just my opinion.
    I think this will be under the Kindle tree so I will let you know.

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    Default LTC Melton - Cavguy comments

    LTC Melton was the teacher; Cavguy was the student. Some brief (subdued) comments by the latter are here (Wilf Bait: The Clausewitz Delusion; post starting thread), here, and here.

    Here is not the place for me to comment on LTC Melton's article, Conceptualizing Victory Anew (2011), which is subtitled "Revisiting U.S. Law, Doctrine, and Policy for War and Its Aftermath" - thus, entering my ballpark.

    Basically, Melton mixes military strategy with "grand strategy" (a term he uses; also expressed inter alia as: Policy/Politik; the National Security Strategy; or Beaufre's "total strategy"). I'd argue that the results in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan (whether one calls them victories, half-victories or defeats) were primariily set by Policy/Politik. All four cases involved "first halves" and "second halves" (the latter still being played out in the continuations of OEF and OIF). Tell truth, Melton's article has little content re: either "Law" or "Policy" - and the "Doctrine" discussed is military. The military does not establish Policy/Politik except in the early 1990s science fiction of Charlie Dunlap (one of our great military lawyers, who should visit here), where the military makes a real hash of it.

    Like the poltergeist, I'll be back - with discussion of agreement with LTG Kiszely re: Jomini and Fuller; and, taking off from that, my summary of what Jomini included in "Strategy", "Grand Tactics" and "Logistics".

    Regards

    Mike

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