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Thread: Officers With PhDs Advising War Effort

  1. #101
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default Some thoughts...

    Hi Bill,

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    The military is the only organization in the U.S. government that is robust enough to execute the DIME/MIDLIFE tasks in a situation like this. It would be worthwhile for me to see what the military's role was in post war Japan and Germany for reference.
    I think that one of the underlying problems goes back to a perception that derive from the nation state model and the functional differentiation between "politics", "military", "economics", etc.

    First off, most nation states have developed bureaucracies around these functional areas which tend to produce institutional mindsets that are rather narrowly focused. Increasingly, nation support / building activities and humanitarian protection actions (e.g. Darfur, etc.) in partial states require a totally integrated approach that is at odds with any of the functionally defined institutions.

    Second, there appears to be a very poor definition, including debate, on what the actual missions are. Part of this stems from the functional splitting, but some of it also stems from the requirement to achieve some form of international consensus on the action. Another part appears to stem from a reluctance to state in unequivocal form a desired end state for the action in a flexible enough form that the mission can adapt to changing conditions. For example, the public "spinb" on the end state of OIF was that there would be a popular uprising into a democratic state - n debate, and not much flexibility either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    If we are going to take those missions on, then I would argue we need a cadre of PhD (forget the PhD, we guys and gals educated on how to do this) advisors to enable us to perform these functions at an acceptable level.

    ...None the less, I think we need this capability in the military.
    While I don't think we should conflate PhD with experience (I think both would be useful), I do agree that it is important a) to have the capability in the military and b) to us that capability in the initial mission definition stages as well as in the operational planning stages.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
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  2. #102
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    Default Thus the need for intellectuals

    Marc,

    Exactly, and I'll borrow a concept I saw on a discussion thread on the Global Guerrilla site, where the commentor made reference to the "Red Queen" hypothesis, which is in short is, "for an evolutionary system, continuing development is needed just in order to maintain its fitness relative to the systems it is co-evolving with". Since the author was obviously better educated than I was, I couldn't follow it all, but he appeared to be making parallels to organizations as biosystems. The thoughts that I developed off that was that networked organizations (if they are organizations) adapt on an open feedback system. To me that means they adapt to changes "outside" of their organization. Bureaucratic organizations adapt based on input from within their organization, thus they actually be living in a parallel reality that isn't reality at all. I think you touch upon this point when you address the State Department, it is organized to deal with other nations, not non-state actors, and I have seen little change (as an outsider, beyond words and concepts) that are they adapting to this new player in the global arena. I think the State Department is much more bureaucratic than the military. They have several highly educated employees who are company men, but very few intellectuals capable of accepting and adapting input from outside their closed feedback loop. Their leadership, for the most part, wants to protect the status quo. Read the "Ugly American" and you'll see things haven't changed that much. Unlike the State Department, the CIA, Commerce, and assorted other agencies, the military must achieve results, and is far and away the nation's leader (outside of niche industries) for change. We have wars and conflicts to win, we can't wait on the rest of the government to catch up. We need educated, experienced, and men and women with the courage to be objective enough to understand the true cause and effect nature of the conflict, and not blindly rely on doctrine. PhD is a misnomer, but we should encourage our officers and select NCOs to pursue this type of liberal education (not liberal politics, don't confuse the two). More courses should be made available for free on-line, etc. When I was trying to stand up a local government in a region in Iraq I sure as heck which I had that knowledge at my finger tips.

    I'll drag part of this conversation/thread into the interagency section eventually, because I want to pursue organization structure and roles in more depth. However, I don't think we strayed too far off course from the underlying issue of this thread, which is PhD's in the military. I think I am building a case on why we need them.

  3. #103
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Wm,

    You are one of the few that implies that our interagency process is functional. They still teach us about the country team, and I have it seen it work well for missions in Liberia, Senegal, Philippines, etc.; however, there was no country team in Iraq or Afghanistan. There is a "huge" difference in scale from advising a government, to standing one up; advising a gov on economic models, to standing up a working model, etc.

    The State Department (and this is only one agency) still can't mobilize enough resources to perform their functions in Iraq. The military is the only organization in the U.S. government that is robust enough to execute the DIME/MIDLIFE tasks in a situation like this. It would be worthwhile for me to see what the military's role was in post war Japan and Germany for reference.

    If we are going to take those missions on, then I would argue we need a cadre of PhD (forget the PhD, we guys and gals educated on how to do this) advisors to enable us to perform these functions at an acceptable level.

    Obviously State needs more funding, but just throwing money at the problem won't solve the problem, it will also require a significant culture change. Second, do we want to throw that much money at State for this type of venture? If we make that investment, it would imply we're signing up for a few more regime changes down the road. I don't think that is cost effective. The military will always provide the bulk of the doers in hostile situations.

    By no means am I taking taking anything away from the country team, I seen it function well when the "right" personalties were in place.

    We have all seen the result of what happens when the military waits for an alleged capability. I'm not faulting State, I understand some of the beltway politics that led to this. None the less, I think we need this capability in the military.
    Bill,
    I do not believe I implied the country team was still functioning. I said that it seemed it was no longer in use and suggested that we ought to revitalize it. I also suggest that we need to do a much better job of planning post-hostilities activities before we ever get around to crossing the old line of departure.
    As the only real "world" power left, America has only one real reason for engaging in war--to establish a better state of peace. To that end we need to make sure that our planning and execution are designed to facilitate that state. Anything less coming from the workld's leading civilized demnocracy is just unacceptable

  4. #104
    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    George and 120,

    I disagree with both of you. Both of you are trapped in the dillemma of what was the objective of the war. 120, general officers I respect still debate the "hard versus soft approach"; the very debate is tied to the lack of a clear objective for the war.

    Best

    Tom
    Tom, as usual, it is a joy to debate with you. Very few people on the internet come off as pleasant to disagree with than you. Thank you.

    I don't agree with either the "hard" or the "soft" approach. I think there is "some" utility in discarding the "image" of the white hat when invading someone else's country. At the very least, claiming to oppose Saddam, and not Iraq, leads Iraqis to believe you are lying when your ordnance kills the wife and kids.

    I would suggest there might be some merit to the "appear to be hard, when you are actually soft" method of operation.

    Either way, what we did, didn't work.

  5. #105
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    The whole interagency process, both in Washington and in the field at the Country team level, is dependent on the quality of leadership being exercised. It also depends on the resources made available. Planning for post-war Germany and Japan actually began in 1942 concurrent with the fielding of Civil Affairs units. Although it was George Marshall's intention to transfer them lock, stock, and barrel to DOS, that never happened and the capability to stand up governments remained in the military, where it still resides. Unfortunately, the AC Civil Affairs is tiny while the RC is far smaller than we need. That said, planning for Phase IV, as stated by none other than Tommy Franks in his memoir, AMERICAN SOLDIER, was something that was left to USD Policy which thought that "hope [really was] a method."

    Summary statement: although the military has more of the necessary assets than any other agency, it is both short handed and fails to use what it has as well as it should.

  6. #106
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    Default Concur

    John,

    Concur with your summary statement, especially where we failed to use what we had. The Civil Affairs folks in my sector during the phase III/IV transition period were paralyzed initially. They were reservists with a variety of skills, but I remember their commander told me they weren't prepared for this, they were trained to assist struggling governments, not stand governments up. None the less, once they got past the shock they started making head way into the unknown with no guidance from higher, to include DoS. Interesting TTP, the combat arms commander assigned a combat arms officer to each CA function to provide the Type A personality leadership needed at that point to overcome the inertia. The combat officer would have the CA officer/NCO explain the problem, what needed to get done, find out what resources he needed, then help him develop a plan to execute. The CA effort was the primary effort, so my hat is off to the Commander for organizing the force this way, it worked out great.

    Wm, our planning for OIF was the worst I have ever seen. You're absolutely correct that we shouldn't cross the LD if we don't have a feasible plan to make a better peace.

    I'm not sure I follow your comments on the country team. Country Team's exist where there are embassies, and some do great work. My point was when you do a regime change, there is no country team in the lead. I may be the only naysayer in this council, but I don't consider OIF a counterinsurgency like El Salvador, Philippines, etc. It is a post war reconstruction project that got off to a slow start, and now has evolved into a state of anarchy. COIN strategy probably won't work.

  7. #107
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Wm, our planning for OIF was the worst I have ever seen. You're absolutely correct that we shouldn't cross the LD if we don't have a feasible plan to make a better peace.

    I'm not sure I follow your comments on the country team. Country Team's exist where there are embassies, and some do great work. My point was when you do a regime change, there is no country team in the lead. I may be the only naysayer in this council, but I don't consider OIF a counterinsurgency like El Salvador, Philippines, etc. It is a post war reconstruction project that got off to a slow start, and now has evolved into a state of anarchy. COIN strategy probably won't work.
    Bill,
    I suggested earlier that we revitalize the country team concept. I was not real clear as to what I meant. Revitalize implies more than just taking an old concept off the shelf and using it again. I am not proposing a return to the status quo country team that I learned about in the early 80's at CGSC.
    We are no longer in the kind of world that such a construct supports. A new team structure might not restrict itself to a single country. In fact in light of the globalizing of today, a regional approach is probably even more apropos. At a minimum, it ought to include State, Commerce, Energy, and Defense reps in its management structure. Depending on where and what is being contemplated, other Federal agencies also get pulled into the planning and execution process.
    You may very well be correct that the uniformed services own the hands-on work for a large part of the time. That, however, mandates some serious reconsideration of what our AC/RC force mix looks like. It probably also requires that a whole lot more of the Federal civilian workforce be subject to deploying to an AOR.

    To bring this back on thread, we need smart people (some of whom may be Ph.D.s) from a wide range of "nation-building" disciplines to be more than just advisors. We need them to be active particiapnts in the planning and execution of any expedition that the US chooses to consider or launch.

  8. #108
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default PhDs and Country Teams

    Greetings WM !

    Long ago and far away in the Land of Ahs (the marketing campaign used by the Kansas department of tourism when I lived there in the mid 80s), the Army taught me during CGSC about a thing called the "country team." I guess that hummer is passť now.
    One would think that DoD and DoS should be joined at the hip throughout the planning and execution process whenever the US gets ready to involve itself in some OCONUS adventure. Likewise, one would think that a similar relationship would exist between DoD and DHS for a CONUS-focused operation.
    It is not clear to me that we need a bunch of Ph.D's in uniform to solve the problem in Iraq.
    Having served in 9 embassies in various capacities I can tell you that the CT is a good example why DoD and DoS will never be joined at the hip. There were indeed folks with PhDs and some who even thought they were PhD material.

    That meant precious little during civil wars and upheavals. It would be that very same PhD (know to some as JJJ) who sent my boss on a hopeless mission only to later disregard factual reporting. JJJ would later show to have his passport stamped crossing the Rwandan border, and ask "Tom, what's that smell?" "That would be death Jon" Tom replied. JJJ never returned on our watch

    DoD and DHS had difficulties, but far less than with State. Most surrounded personnel. The majority of the NCOs are "on loan" and now outside of their environment and PMOS. So if DHS was trying to retain and at times reward her personnel, I didn't see it.

    Regards, Stan

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    Bill--

    You are so right that there is no CT concept at work when war goes down. In fact, when there is a major military operation (and sometimes not so major but greater than an El Sal or exercise) even if there is an ambassador in country he is not in charge of the military. In the first Gulf War, as I wrote in an eariler book (Civil Military Operations in the New World), there was no ambassador in Kuwait or Iraq and the ambassadors in Turkey and Saudi supported GENs Schwartzkopf and Galvin (who was in support of the former). A real problem comes when there is dual authority between State and DoD as in Iraq. Hopefully, the Petraeus/Crocker co-consulship will work well, but if it does, it will be because the two men are working very hard to make it work. The real question, in my mind, is why no president in living memory has ever done the finger pointing exercise that Max Thurman did with Carl Stiner and Wayne Downing putting Stiner in charge of all operations in Panama. The President can do that as he does in his appointment letter to ambassadors and he could do it without the restriction regarding military operations. Unfortunately, he hasn't told either Petraeus or Crocker that he is in charge (nor, I might add, is the Chain of Command/Commo clean). Thus all resolution of disputes will have to be done by the President if they are to be resolved.

    A final word on CTs. If you have a strong ambassador (like Ed Corr in El Salvador) then the CT will work well - the ambassador is its commander. If you have a weak ambassador (like Arthur Davis in Panama), then the CT is just a BOGSAT (bunch of guys sitting around a table - with apologies to Jeff Fuller who coined the term and who I haven't seen since we worked on the USSOCOM Joint Mission Analysis nearly 20 years ago).

    Cheers

    John

  10. #110
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default The Ambassador is Key

    John,
    How very correct. I didn't want to come off sounding as if the CT does not have its place. I also don't mean that a PhD is insignificant. We had a few very good "career" Mission Chiefs, some without PhDs. When the situation became more than upheaval, the military came in and the CT took a back seat. In our case, they even refuted our reports in spite of the fact they were nearly a thousand miles west of the problem. That was more agenda.

    Regards, Stan

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    There are many problems with inter-agency cooperation from the CT level to D.C. The ability of state to provide personnel is huge issue. There are also internal problems as well. I know these issues very, very intimately. The Rick's article has everybody focused on the PhD qualification. If you look at what Mansoor, McMaster, and Kilcullen have done professionally, meaning experience, then you realize that PhD's are merely a nice to have. McMaster and Mansoor got their PhD's when they were on the history faculty at West Point. The history department makes you complete your PhD while you are on the faculty. Traditionally, the officers who get picked up to teach at West Point go to very good programs that specialize in their discipline. There is a long standing relationship between Princeton and West Point for International Relations. The History department has been heavy with Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, and Texas A&M for military history. As far as the quirky Australian, well Dave is kind of quirky, and pretty damn funny.

  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Reber View Post
    Greetings WM !



    Having served in 9 embassies in various capacities I can tell you that the CT is a good example why DoD and DoS will never be joined at the hip. There were indeed folks with PhDs and some who even thought they were PhD material.

    That meant precious little during civil wars and upheavals. It would be that very same PhD (know to some as JJJ) who sent my boss on a hopeless mission only to later disregard factual reporting. JJJ would later show to have his passport stamped crossing the Rwandan border, and ask "Tom, what's that smell?" "That would be death Jon" Tom replied. JJJ never returned on our watch

    DoD and DHS had difficulties, but far less than with State. Most surrounded personnel. The majority of the NCOs are "on loan" and now outside of their environment and PMOS. So if DHS was trying to retain and at times reward her personnel, I didn't see it.

    Regards, Stan
    Having only served in and around two country teams my experience is limited but I can tell that here in the Philippines the Country Team does work. There is an extremely effective CT organization which is probably a function of the right combination of personalities focused on the right mission priorities but it is certainly an example that can cited as working. The DoD-DoS relationship as well as the DoD-and other agencies relationships are very, very good.
    David S. Maxwell
    "Irregular warfare is far more intellectual than a bayonet charge." T.E. Lawrence

  13. #113
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default It Works

    Hello Max161 !
    I gave my previous post some more thought and posted again to John. A CT should work as well as your last two CTs have. I would have welcomed that relationship.

    Marct on this SWC forum writes frequently and has made more sense out of things than almost any State person has done in my 23 years (18 overseas). Marc, as far as I know has not been to Africa or Iraq, but has a wealth of knowledge and shares it with all of us.

    I recently told Marc, we could have used a person of your expertise (and PhD) years ago.

    There's definitely room in my professional work for folks like Marc. So long as we don't lose sight of the mission and personal agendas don't get in the way, a CT should function well. It contains more than just State and all those ideas, opinions and resources should not be neglected.

    Regards, Stan

  14. #114
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Stan,

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Reber View Post
    Marct on this SWC forum writes frequently and has made more sense out of things than almost any State person has done in my 23 years (18 overseas). Marc, as far as I know has not been to Africa or Iraq, but has a wealth of knowledge and shares it with all of us.
    Geeze! I think I'll get you to write a letter of reference for me the next time I apply for a job .

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Reber View Post
    So long as we don't lose sight of the mission and personal agendas don't get in the way, a CT should function well. It contains more than just State and all those ideas, opinions and resources should not be neglected.
    I'd certainly agree with that, although I think WMs idea of regional or, possibly, global equivalents might be a better option. I suspect that the most effective form of organization would be a "matrix organization" with a sliding scale local - regional - global for any given "project".

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  15. #115
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Mr. Maxwell,

    Let me also extend a greeting. We need members like yourself to add to the depth of writing here at the Council. Please feel more than free to share opinion, correct misperception, and most importantly, offer dissent so that our discussions are more than one-layer deep.

  16. #116
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default An effective form of organization

    Thans JC, Well Put !

    Max, Sorry. Welcome aboard !

    so that our discussions are more than one-layer deep
    Evening Marc !
    I'd certainly agree with that, although I think WMs idea of regional or, possibly, global equivalents might be a better option. I suspect that the most effective form of organization would be a "matrix organization" with a sliding scale local - regional - global for any given "project".
    I like Wikipedia BTW !

    The Country Team originally provided us with a weekly view of "what's happening" as well as any relavant USG (State) objectives. You already had your organzation's objectives, but that doesn't mean they were the same. Often they were not. You also received a review of the other-than-State happenings (those would vary from "no comment" to "extremely interesting"). Armed with the info for the day or week, you set off to cover those objectives. Now it gets interesting. Agendas take priority.

    We were reporting on the "general strikes" in and around the city. They were set in motion by the new political party apposed to the current Mobutu regime. The first strike worked as planned. Future strikes were called, but people simply could no longer participate with salaries in the balance for a no show at work. The agendas at the CT were simple. People wanted their dependents back at post, but State would approve only if the political process was working and the situation was safe. Neither were the case.

    The DAO report was based on fact (both of us out and on the ground) and the State view was gathered from drivers and gardners (the State folks would not go outside and look). DAO's report lost.

    In sum, the CT is a matrix organization and if tuned correctly without personal agendas, will work smoothly.

    Marc, don't quit your day job just yet

    Regards, Stan

  17. #117
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Strong Ambassaddor and Team Work

    John


    Absolutely correct: a strong Ambassador who is focused on the team is the key

    A weak Ambassador means the childrendon't play well together.

    But a strong Ambassador focused on himself is just as bad. Then the bad "kids" play to egos and that usually means trouble.

    Best

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    John


    Absolutely correct: a strong Ambassador who is focused on the team is the key

    A weak Ambassador means the childrendon't play well together.

    But a strong Ambassador focused on himself is just as bad. Then the bad "kids" play to egos and that usually means trouble.

    Best

    Tom
    I could not agree more. That is the situation we have in the Philippines. Not only is the Ambassador focused on the team, more importantly she is focused on the entire spectrum of missions, including the military mission. Her support to the JSOTF-P mission is a key component to our being able to successfully execute operations.
    David S. Maxwell
    "Irregular warfare is far more intellectual than a bayonet charge." T.E. Lawrence

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    There are many problems with inter-agency cooperation from the CT level to D.C. The ability of state to provide personnel is huge issue. There are also internal problems as well. I know these issues very, very intimately. The Rick's article has everybody focused on the PhD qualification. If you look at what Mansoor, McMaster, and Kilcullen have done professionally, meaning experience, then you realize that PhD's are merely a nice to have. McMaster and Mansoor got their PhD's when they were on the history faculty at West Point. The history department makes you complete your PhD while you are on the faculty. Traditionally, the officers who get picked up to teach at West Point go to very good programs that specialize in their discipline. There is a long standing relationship between Princeton and West Point for International Relations. The History department has been heavy with Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, and Texas A&M for military history. As far as the quirky Australian, well Dave is kind of quirky, and pretty damn funny.

    Don't forget Florida State! That's where my History P went when I was there. I agree with you though, these guys not only have PhDs, but the operational experience to go with it. Personally I'd take the operational experience first but when you combine successful operators with a PhD, to me that's a winning combination.

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    Tom and Max--

    My, but we are in violent agreement! I especially want to echo Tom's second point. But I would also note that a strong but self centered leader will generally screw up any endeavor.

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