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Thread: Mass Insanity: Latest Trend in Army Doctrine

  1. #21
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    I saw some incredibly irrelevant U.S: field manuals. There's for example on about Distributed Operations (USMC). I wanted to read it because I was interested in learning about DO and there was absolutely nothing of interest in it. Page after page irrelevant bureaucratic stuff, it sounded like a "make up work for the hierarchy and staffs" paper, not like a paper about dispersed small team actions. -.-

    Well, that's what I remember about it, maybe I'm unfair.

  2. #22
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    I saw some incredibly irrelevant U.S: field manuals. There's for example on about Distributed Operations (USMC). I wanted to read it because I was interested in learning about DO and there was absolutely nothing of interest in it. Page after page irrelevant bureaucratic stuff, it sounded like a "make up work for the hierarchy and staffs" paper, not like a paper about dispersed small team actions. -.-

    Well, that's what I remember about it, maybe I'm unfair.
    You are probably being kind.

    Here's an example:

    In "On War" a guy named Carl von Clausewitz briefly discusses a broad concept to help commanders focus on what is most important in a battle or campaign. He calls it a "center of gravity" (or whatever the German for that is, I defer to you on that)

    In Army doctrine we adopt this concept and write a half a page or so to describe it. Then guys like Dr. Strange at the USMC university started to do some really fascinating work on various ways to dissect and analyze the concept. Soon the doctrine evolved to be nearly an entire chapter prescribing a rigid set of bins one must fill in a set order, etc. Any thinking on COG from that point forward was either "doctrinal" (followed the prescription) or "non-doctrinal" (dares to actually apply a little creativity and color outside the lines a bit). CvC would roll over in his grave.

    I never did well in Kindergarten art class. I just couldn't color inside the lines very well.
    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)

  3. #23
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    You don't seem to understand the extent of the stupidity surrounding the CoG stuff in the USMC...

    http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot....f-gravity.html

  4. #24
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    Posted by Bob's World,

    But the world is changing far faster than BYAMs can write and memorize doctrine. In many ways doctrine is becoming as much a part of our problem as it is part of our solution.
    I don't know if the world is changing faster now than before. I think as you have frequently commented that the Cold War created a temporary freeze frame bi-polar world from a strategic perspective, but once the Wall came down the world rapidly resumed its normal level of geopolitical unpredictability.

    If the world is changing too quickly for our doctrine writers, then I think an argument can be made we're making doctrine overly prescriptive. Prescriptive processes and suggestions should be restricted to TTP manuals (which are not doctrine) and unit SOPs. Doctrine should be rather broad, but provide enough structure for the services to determine how to organize, equip, and train in general terms. However, doctrine shouldn’t prevent commanders from making whatever changes they need to make to organizations, processes, etc. when they employ, but we all know it does.

    The worst part about doctrine despite the claims to the contrary is that it does tell its adherents how and “what” to think, which is one reason “group think” is so prevalent in our forces. We don’t go to military professional development schools to liberate our thinking, but to get indoctrinated, which are why our officers that go to Harvard, Yale, etc. frequently outperform graduates of our military colleges in so called complex environments.

    Doctrine provides paradigms, and paradigms provide restrictive constructs that limit our view of a situation to fit within the paradigm. It is an endless cycle, because new ideas that create paradigm shifts evolve into their own paradigms over time, so in the end it is something we have to be aware of take efforts to mitigate the negative impact on our thinking process. Doctrine still serves a purpose, as does tradition, but they should serve as enablers not a inhibitors.

  5. #25
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Minor point with major implications.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    ...once the Wall came down the world rapidly resumed its normal level of geopolitical unpredictability.
    True dat.
    If the world is changing too quickly for our doctrine writers, then I think an argument can be made we're making doctrine overly prescriptive.
    Absolutely correct!!!
    Prescriptive processes and suggestions should be restricted to TTP manuals (which are not doctrine) and unit SOPs.
    This is my minor quibble -- I wouldn't even go that far because if it's in a book, many will assume it is the only way (whether for career enhancing or staying alive...) to do things. I strongly believe most current manuals and even some from WWII when a rapidly changing Army needed more prescriptive literature are entirely too prescriptive. That inhibits flexibility of thought at best and stifles initiative at a moderate level and is prone to get regurgitated and expanded as the Manual is rewritten at worst.
    Doctrine should be rather broad, but provide enough structure for the services to determine how to organize, equip, and train in general terms. However, doctrine shouldn’t prevent commanders from making whatever changes they need to make to organizations, processes, etc. when they employ, but we all know it does.
    True again -- and transmutation of doctrine to manuals exacerbates the problem...

    Agree with the rest of your post.

  6. #26
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I don't know if the world is changing faster now than before. I think as you have frequently commented that the Cold War created a temporary freeze frame bi-polar world from a strategic perspective, but once the Wall came down the world rapidly resumed its normal level of geopolitical unpredictability.
    Heh...the military is all about controlling and minimizing variables in the pursuit of defined objectives while the World has always and ever been about 'complexity'.

    Recall that most do not buy into the 'fully controlled and minimized variables' paradigm/schtick...how many of our peers (recalling that all men are created equal) really read and believe 'doctrine'? How many of us have met Murphy in his various guises in various parts of the world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    The worst part about doctrine despite the claims to the contrary is that it does tell its adherents how and “what” to think, which is one reason “group think” is so prevalent in our forces. We don’t go to military professional development schools to liberate our thinking, but to get indoctrinated, which are why our officers that go to Harvard, Yale, etc. frequently outperform graduates of our military colleges in so called complex environments.
    Self reliance, personal responsibility, and an open mind are what made this country great.

    Expensive schools provide access to expensive networks and are a way to allow others to control one via debt if care is not taken.

    Knowledge, however, is accessible to anybody via online, state, or elite 'delivery vehicles'....the GI Bill or other options await those who have the strength and courage to grasp them. Not easy, not painless, but always worth the trip...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Doctrine still serves a purpose, as does tradition, but they should serve as enablers not a inhibitors.
    Everything has it's place, while 'rules' are sometimes/often meant to be broken...
    Sapere Aude

  7. #27
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    The Army as an organization is obsolete(and so are the other services except SF and Marine Corps,but Marines are going in wrong direction) until that is fixed doctrine isn't going to matter much. It's the better operating manual for the crew of the Titanic.
    Last edited by slapout9; 02-19-2012 at 07:36 PM. Reason: stuff

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    Posted by Surferbettle,

    Heh...the military is all about controlling and minimizing variables in the pursuit of defined objectives while the World has always and ever been about 'complexity'.
    Read something recently in an unclassified SOCOM publication related to your comment that prompted an aha momement, since it brought a lot of thoughts together coherently (something I can rarely do without help).

    Apparently it was extracted from Francois Jullien's book A Treatise on Efficacy: Between Western and Chinese Thinking:http://www.amazon.com/Treatise-Effic...9687314&sr=1-4 . He writes a truly skilled strategist makes a careful study of a complex situation to ascertain the natural inclination of the system (that will make slapout happy), then uses this knowledge to put himself in a position of strength. They use a river analogy to describe: Identify how the river naturally surges and moves and then use these powerful forces. Once others seek to act further downstream, the flow of the situation and power of the river becomes irresistible.

    The Chinese supposedly seek to transform the situation and not act to reach goals, as western thinking does. We definitely try to achieve goals/effects, and spend a lot time trying to measure if we're succeeding, when in reality the trend is the trend (or the river is the river) and we're only fooling ourselves with our efforts to "force" change. Chinese logic states to continue any effect DO NOT link it to force, force is temporary in nature, as compared to the natural tendency of the situation. The more one merges with the natural proclivity of the situation, the more effective one is.

    No truer words were ever written, and we have demonstrated that our attempts to force change have almost always failed. There are limits to military power (as most of us know, unfortunately our politicians don't get it). We can and should use force to kill terrorists that threaten the homeland, if removing Saddam was really in our interest, then using force to do so was appropriate; however, using force to transform the Iraqi, Afghan, and Vietnamese societies was and is a futile effort, we were rowing against the tide.

    This gets to Bob's point about not using control as a strategy (I think); however, population control for temporary periods of time can be an effective tactical tool to achieve limited objectives. The key to clear, hold, build being successful is enabling the trend, if we're pushing against the trend we'll only clear and hold as long as we apply force, as soon as we stop, the trend will assume its course.

    Funny how people with Phds, Graduate degrees, etc. can't grasp this. Higher education is effective for those that can liberate their thinking from the assumptions others have proposed and can think independently, for others it is a piece of paper that checks the block.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-19-2012 at 09:36 PM. Reason: Add link for book

  9. #29
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Yep...

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    The Army as an organization is obsolete(and so are the other services except SF and Marine Corps,but Marines are going in wrong direction) until that is fixed doctrine isn't going to matter much. It's the better operating manual for the crew of the Titanic.
    ...and Submarines...

  10. #30
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/dod_dictionary/index.html

    Type in "War" and see what comes up.

    (For those who can't wait: 111 results, but no actual definition for "war" itself. With the advent of Irregular warfare, which covers many area that are clearly not "war" I suspect it just to the point where to write a definition for war that included everything that the DOD wants to include under that umbrella it simply became to embarrassingly ridiculous to publish. Easier to just delete it and let everyone merrily go on making virtually anything and everything "war."

    After all, if we actually live in an era of 'forever war" or "perpetual conflict" as some dark souls proclaim, I guess war is everything, and everything is war. Cool. (not!)

    Someone needs to turn this donkey cart of doctrine around before the good idea fairly drives it off a cliff.

    If you are really feeling adventurous type in "insurgency"

    insurgency
    (DOD) The organized use of subversion and violence by a group or movement that seeks to overthrow or force change of a governing authority. Insurgency can also refer to the group itself.
    Source: JP 3-24


    Seems semi-reasonable, but has been heavily shaped to fit recent US operations. Consider the Army's definition from 1962 in comparison:

    "Insurgency is a condition of subversive political activity, civil rebellion, revolt, or insurrection against a duly constituted government or occupying power wherein irregular forces are formed and engage in actions, which may include guerrilla warfare, that are designed to weaken and overthrow that government or occupying power."

    While I have a couple minor quibbles with the 1962 version, it is a very workable understanding of insurgency. The current version? That is simply our perspective of Iraq and Afghanistan, and forces our thinking into a narrow little box.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (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)

  11. #31
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Default Rivers of doctrine...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    He writes a truly skilled strategist makes a careful study of a complex situation to ascertain the natural inclination of the system (that will make slapout happy), then uses this knowledge to put himself in a position of strength. They use a river analogy to describe: Identify how the river naturally surges and moves and then use these powerful forces. Once others seek to act further downstream, the flow of the situation and power of the river becomes irresistible.
    Bill,

    Appreciate your well thought out comment, and the river analogy.

    So if we were to accept that the Army is a channelized river, and that much time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears were spent to make it so...what can we do to help our beloved river as we watch it silt up, become increasingly saline, experience decreased dissolved oxygen content, and experience volume reductions?

    How to get it back to running wild and true?

    Dismantling the myriad intellectual dams which choke it, might be a place to start. A damning/hoarding of ideas has obvious security benefits however it obviously leads to a intellectual stagnation cost. So far we have been able to a maintain a balance that allows for a hegemony that's in our nation's favor, but it's a common theme among many in the field - dissatisfaction with the status quo.

    How about an American solution? IMHO Harvard Business Review is worth regular review. Business Model Innovation was addressed in the January - February 2011 edition and along the lines of dismantling intellectual dams the following articles were quite interesting:

    • When your Business Model is in Trouble, by Rita Gunther McGrath


    • Reinvent Your Business Before It's Too Late by Paul Nunes and Tim Breene


    • How to Design a Winning Business Model by Ramon Casadesus-Masanell and Joan E. Ricart


    • New Business Models in Emerging Markets by Matthew J. Eyring, Mark W. Johnson, and Hari Nair


    • The CEO's Role in Business Model Reinvention by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble


    These particular articles are built upon the article, in the same issue, How to Fix Capitalism (Creating Shared Value) by Michael Porter & Mark Kramer. It's my sense that Davos, Washington DC and other concentrations of power are still discussing it....but that one has to go elsewhere to find people who are strong enough/concerned enough to try and implement the concept

    If this looks like too much reading, underlining, highlighting, note taking, reflecting, and discussing with friends and peers how about a concept we learned all about way back in high school...one that the whole world uses to advance knowledge?

    Peer Review by wikipedia

    Professional peer review focuses on the performance of professionals, with a view to improving quality, upholding standards, or providing certification. Professional peer review activity is widespread in the field of health care, where it is best termed Clinical peer review.[6] Further, since peer review activity is commonly segmented by clinical discipline, there is also physician peer review, nursing peer review, dentistry peer review,[7] etc. Many other professional fields have some level of peer review process: accounting,[8] law,[9][10] engineering (e.g., software peer review, technical peer review), aviation, and even forest fire management.[11] In academia, peer review is common in decisions related to faculty advancement and tenure. Peer review is used in education to achieve certain learning objectives, particularly as a tool to reach higher order processes in the affective and cognitive domains as defined by Bloom’s Taxonomy. This may take a variety of forms, including closely mimicking the scholarly peer review processes used in science and medicine.[12]
    It has been suggested that traditional anonymous peer review lacks accountability, can lead to abuse by reviewers, and may be biased and inconsistent,[39] alongside other flaws.[40][41] In response to these criticisms, other systems of peer review with various degrees of "openness" have been suggested.

    Starting in the 1990s, several scientific journals (including the high impact journal Nature in 2006) started experiments with hybrid peer review processes, often allowing open peer reviews in parallel to the traditional model. The initial evidence of the effect of open peer review upon the quality of reviews, the tone and the time spent on reviewing was mixed, although it does seem that under open peer review, more of those who are invited to review decline to do so.[42][43]

    Throughout the 2000s first academic journals based solely on the concept of open peer review were launched (see e.g. Philica). An extension of peer review beyond the date of publication is Open Peer Commentary, whereby expert commentaries are solicited on published articles, and the authors are encouraged to respond.
    Sapere Aude

  12. #32
    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    In Army doctrine we adopt this concept and write a half a page or so to describe it. Then guys like Dr. Strange at the USMC university started to do some really fascinating work on various ways to dissect and analyze the concept. Soon the doctrine evolved to be nearly an entire chapter prescribing a rigid set of bins one must fill in a set order, etc. Any thinking on COG from that point forward was either "doctrinal" (followed the prescription) or "non-doctrinal" (dares to actually apply a little creativity and color outside the lines a bit). CvC would roll over in his grave.
    What you are describing is representative of our current cultural mania for "process." It has a great appeal to bureaucrats in that you can measure how well you're filling up bins and checking boxes without ever being held accountable for achieving a goal.

    Which is where the great problem with "metrics" comes from. Think about how often you've seen organization or activity measured against achieving a goal, versus the number of times you've seen them measured by all the little stepping stones associated with the goal. e.g. 'We dug x wells, handed out y blankets, and distributed z MREs, culturally suitable," but not 'The region has been pacified.' The former is, of course, trivially simple to measure, while the latter - which is the real goal or why the hell are we there - is notoriously difficult, which is, equally of course, the reason bureaucrats prefer the former.
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    An unruffled person with some useful skills.

  13. #33
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    It's not just doctrine that is becoming overly prescriptive and overly influenced by what we believe the "lessons learned" of the past 10 years to be; we have an equally dangerous situation developing in the area of plans and planning.

    Plans are managed by geographic combatant commanders in large part. Regional perspectives on regional issues. But what, in today's emerging environment, is truly "regional"?

    Increasingly, regional problems demand global perspectives and solutions; equally, regional actions can have global implications. GCCs and GCC-driven planning do not serve this emerging reality very well. Similarly, a "plan" tends to lock one into a certain perspective and sequence of events. Particularly when those doctrine-loving Army boys break out their sequentially numbered phases and start filling in the blanks.

    How then, do we evolve in how we think about and write doctrine and plans?? This is a question we need to put some serious energy into. If we are to evolve to be as effective as we need to be, and equally as quick, flexible and agile as we need to be, we must first address how we think about the things we do or believe we might do; and how we balance the need for detailed preparation with the need for flexible execution.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (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)

  14. #34
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    I never thought of doctrine as something for the very high levels, such as theatre command.

    Doctrine or 'similar lines of thinking' are good for company to corps command, where there are great benefits to be found in having trust and reduced frictions because officers know that other officers think alike (just imagine Guderian working with a chief of staff or subordinate division commander who's of the French artillery school!).
    (Another example, from small wars: Think of one battalion CO following a rough cordon + search + demolish + arrest approach while the next CO in the rotation follows a hearts + minds + indigenous militia approach. It won't work, it wouldn't work even if both approaches were correct!)


    You better get your doctrine right and be ready for quick adjustments if much of your officer corps thinks along its lines, of course.

  15. #35
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Systems Rule

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    (that will make slapout happy)



    Systems rule .....BUT Systems Engineering can get you into a lot of trouble when you try to apply Engineering against Biology.

  16. #36
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Slap,

    On the lighter side of the fusion of biology and engineering...Cyborgs If they actually pull that one off there will be trouble:

    Pentagon’s Project ‘Avatar’: Same as the Movie, but With Robots Instead of Aliens, By Katie Drummond Email Author February 16, 2012 | 4:51 pm, Danger Room

    In the agency’s $2.8 billion budget for 2013, unveiled on Monday, they’ve allotted $7 million for a project titled “Avatar.” The project’s ultimate goal, not surprisingly, sounds a lot like the plot of the same-named (but much more expensive) flick.

    According the agency, “the Avatar program will develop interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier’s surrogate.”
    Apollo 11 Tech - Kalman Filtering, systems control via prediction, observation, and correction. Still high tech for '80's era hedge funds, now run on home computers.
    Sapere Aude

  17. #37
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    Systems rule .....BUT Systems Engineering can get you into a lot of trouble when you try to apply Engineering against Biology.
    Mankind has always done that, remember the 6 Million Dollar Man

    That is closer to reality everyday, and now we're able to map genes and even execute genetic engineering. Nanotechnology and artificial intelligence will take into a brave new world that could in fact dominate biological systems. We missed it, but our grand kids may be turn out to be super warriors (cyborg types), or they may all get killed do to the development a superinfection that is created in a lab in someone' garage.

    Tying it back to the thread, there is a serious danger of missing the boat when you tie your future doctrine and force structure based on the last 10 years of warfare.

  18. #38
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    In the SecDef's most recent strategic guidance there is a section on large scale coin operations that directs us to capture the lessons learned from the past 10 years from these operations (as in, don't just flush the experience, write it down so we don't do this process again); but then in italics makes it very clear that we will not resource the force for these types of operations as we move forward.

    I think the Army is working hard to leverage that statement on lessons learned to validate force structure into the coming cuts. I also think they are reading the strategy in a light most favorable to them (as are SOCOM and all the Services), but are picking the wrong missions and the wrong "lessons" to hang their hopes upon. God knows there are few men who have spent more time dedicated to waging the current fight than the current Army Chief. He's earned his bias. But we still need to get to the force we need with the focus we need; and in most cases that is not the force we want with the focus we want.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (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)

  19. #39
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    But we still need to get to the force we need (...)
    "Foreign policy" recently had an article about the perceived #1 threat to the United States; Iran with 32% in the poll.
    That basically means there's no real-world threat at all.

    Wrong continent, small 1970's coastal navy, worn-out 1970's air force, an army that's technologically largely stuck in the 1960's, much smaller economy and population, little technology base, no nuclear weapons and no nuclear weapons program (according to Mr. Panetta!), no missiles that reach even halfway tot eh United States, no history of attacking other countries for centuries, no history of attacking other countries for even more histories if you discard a case where a foreign ruler did it.

    The force you need is the National Guard...you'll get way more than you need, no matter how the doctrine and budget discussions in Washington end.

  20. #40
    Council Member gute's Avatar
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    I just finsihed reading this article in the March/April edition of Military Review and by the time I was done I had a headache. IMO opinion this new doctrine looks like it written up by a bunch of attorneys This is the same kind of crap I see in my job. Have you guys every read the Federal crimnal code statutes - put it by the toilet and give it a look see next time you make a visit. You will either sh** a pink twinkie or get constipated.

    See Post 43 for working link (Added by Moderator)
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-07-2012 at 10:21 PM. Reason: Add note re link

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