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Thread: How America can survive and even prosper in the 21st Century

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    Default Solutions -- we demand solutions!

    Ed. by SWC Admin -- spun off from another thread.
    ------------
    Just an FYI…

    As a response to the oft-said -- and quite correct -- comment that my work just criticizes (easy, simple to do) but does not propose solutions (difficult, complex to do), the second in this series has been posted. This looks at geo-pol strategy. Use of force is discussed in the following two parts.

    How America can survive and even prosper in the 21st Century
    4600 words
    http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/fabius_amer...sper_GS-IV.htm

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    Interesting article. It does leave one question unanswered, for me, however. While other countries have been adopting much of our culture (tennis shoes, television, coca cola, etc), they are most decidedly rejecting our military culture, i.e. stand up battles conducted with high technology in accordance with the laws of land warfare. This may simply indicate that they are not mentally defective. However, it does pose a continuing problem.

    I'd prefer not to use loaded terms like terrorism, guerrilla warfare, unconventional warfare or suchlike to describe this problem. I believe each is too limited (as I'll describe below). The problem is that many people, faced with overwhelming conventional firepower, rely on a strategy of attack by informal groups who rely on stealth and deception. Moreover, they frequently conduct acts which are criminal or barbarous in nature. For example, the murder of civilians, random killings, kidnapping (for ransom and intimidation), assassination, mutiliation (including of the dead), torture, intimidation, theft, piracy, sabotage, arson and even graffiti. I mean here to consider the actual acts, rather than the motives of the individuals or groups performing them, which is why I feel terrorism (for example) is too limiting a term. Somali crowds who dragged the bodies of U.S. servicemen through their streets were not terrorists, but they pose the same tactical problem. I think of this as the bandit problem - although I'm open to better terminology.

    The tactical problem, in short, is that such groups are particularly adept at stealth, camouflage and deception (all of which they practice in order to survive). Whether it is a Habr Gidr militiaman hiding in a Somali market or a Taliban soldier in Afghanistan's mountains (or a Viet Minh soldier in the jungles of his country), the enemy has considerable advantages provided by terrain, population or both. The United States military is, compared to its opponents, blind, vulnerable and helpless to strike back efficiently. There is the Hama strategy of simply devastating the enemy's sanctuary, but that is anything but efficient.

    I guess that word, tactical, is at the heart of the issue. Our strategy must be dictated by capabilities, and our tactics by our strategy. Our enemies have a limited set of capabilities - which makes their strategies rather predictable. However, in the hundred or more years it may take for American culture to colonize the world, we're going to have to deal with countless foes who are willing to use those capabilities. Is the issue merely a matter of not responding at all, rather than relying on military force? Given the US record in Iraq and Afghanistan (and the cost of those questionable achievements), we may be best off with a policy of ignoring such outrages.

    The issue is one of moral victory in tactical defeat. Our bandit enemies gain notoriety and strength every time they merely survive the American juggernaut. From Pancho Villa to Zarqawi, enemies of the United States have mainly profited by being wily and creative - hitting wherever they sense an opening and relying on the sheltering protection of an adoring populace and forbidding terrain. Our every mistake is an outrage to world opinion and a victory for the bandits. The bandits, because they retain the initiative, rarely make mistakes.

    It seems to me that with relatively few changes to force structure (and virtually none to weapons systems) we could implement a more effective force for dealing with such foes. Obviously, it would require better human intelligence capabilities. It would also require soldiers who are capable of thriving in the thicket jungle or the highest mountain. Combined with the advantages of air and seapower, such forces might not even have to outnumber the enemies they fight. The problem is one of strategy - under what conditions to we insert such forces? Conditions must be right for U.S. involvement (as they were in Afghanistan in 2002).

    How do you propose the U.S. resolve the issues of a bandit enemy while we pursue a strategy of minding our own business militarily while winning a cultural and economic war?

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    Default not tactical, strategic

    Jones, I don't want to speak for FM, but I didn't see anything in his post about tactically defeating our enemy. As a matter of fact, I think you validate his point that we're an offensive people, who develop quick solutions to complex problems that are always wrong. The goal is to win without fighting, at least offensive fighting, which simply feeds their propaganda machine and makes their movement stronger. We feel we must take action, and it that action that compounds are troubles. We can't win a political or ideological war when we're always on the offense. We're playing into our enemy's hands.

    The strategy isn't force, you can't win this type of war with force. The strategy is to achieve a moral victory by discrediting their ideology, or better letting them discredit their own ideology.

    Presidents are compelled by culture and western logic to respond to a threat with overwhelming force, instead of appropriate force. We're like a big, mad, drunk in a bar fight, you simply dodge a few punches, and the fat man is too tired to do anything else. We're quickly tiring from our "force" response, and we have accomplished very little. On the other hand we have harmed our relationships with other key nations, and in many ways completely changed the way world perceives us for the worse.

    We haven't learned much from our history of small wars. GEN Schumacher was right when he allegedly said we have managed to become the Redcoats. We're a dogmatic military with an inept State Department swinging wildly.

    For FM's strategy outline to work (far from complete by the way, but heading the right direction) it would require intellectual leadership, and a majority of politically active citizens that supported that type of leadership. Do you really think a democracy would allow that? Our political campaigns are largely based on child like assaults on opponents character, and promises based on buzz words that polls indicate will motiviate support like health care, jobs, defense, axis of evil, and other such simpleton expressions.

    I still select elements of our military force need to be applied, but in a well thought out manner, that can be justified, not just to our collesium, but to foreign audiences as well. When we send in conventional forces, then use the Powell doctrine, use overwhelming force to achieve very specific and obtainable objectives, then get out! If we disire to use military forces to "assist" influence an area long term, then use or unconventional/irregular forces as required, but again only if it is feasible and we can maintain the high moral ground.

    FM, I enjoyed your paper as a start for a new strategy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Jones, I don't want to speak for FM, but I didn't see anything in his post about tactically defeating our enemy. As a matter of fact, I think you validate his point that we're an offensive people, who develop quick solutions to complex problems that are always wrong. The goal is to win without fighting, at least offensive fighting, which simply feeds their propaganda machine and makes their movement stronger. We feel we must take action, and it that action that compounds are troubles. We can't win a political or ideological war when we're always on the offense. We're playing into our enemy's hands.

    The strategy isn't force, you can't win this type of war with force. The strategy is to achieve a moral victory by discrediting their ideology, or better letting them discredit their own ideology.
    So, essentially, its the same thing as FM 3-24 dictates as "best practices" in counterinsurgency.

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    Default Pretty much

    Yes, but what is missing, is the non-military lines of operation. It isn't the military's job to write doctrine for other agencies, but I think we need more than guidance from the House stating that State and the Military should try to cooperate better. We need more direction, otherwise the train will keep going down the same track. We also need to take a hard look at ourselves as a nation, and figure out what we want to represent (values wise), and then determine how we will represent them. I love the infantry, but now we need better educated troops who are self disciplined, with good character to avoid making strategic errors downrange. The only way to attract them I believe is creating a culture in the military where they fit (opportunities for intellectual creativity), or go the mercenary route and offer much more pay, but then you might curtail the character we're searching for. We'll never have a "perfect" Army, or a perfect soldier, I'm sure as hell not, so we have to design strategy that fits the means, which I think means (in the future) we need to minimize the time that we leave conventional boots on the ground.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Yes, but what is missing, is the non-military lines of operation. It isn't the military's job to write doctrine for other agencies, but I think we need more than guidance from the House stating that State and the Military should try to cooperate better. We need more direction, otherwise the train will keep going down the same track. We also need to take a hard look at ourselves as a nation, and figure out what we want to represent (values wise), and then determine how we will represent them. I love the infantry, but now we need better educated troops who are self disciplined, with good character to avoid making strategic errors downrange. The only way to attract them I believe is creating a culture in the military where they fit (opportunities for intellectual creativity), or go the mercenary route and offer much more pay, but then you might curtail the character we're searching for. We'll never have a "perfect" Army, or a perfect soldier, I'm sure as hell not, so we have to design strategy that fits the means, which I think means (in the future) we need to minimize the time that we leave conventional boots on the ground.

    Bill,

    we've all talked about this before. Especially in a COIN environment, the outside enablers can almost become the main effort once security is established. At present, we don't really have a good game plan for incorperating outside agencies, NGOs, State, and other organizations into the picture. Had we done so, things probably would have gone much smoother. Taking that, we had better start coming up with a plan in case this happens again (which history dictates, it will).

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    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    Especially in a COIN environment, the outside enablers can almost become the main effort once security is established. At present, we don't really have a good game plan for incorperating outside agencies, NGOs, State, and other organizations into the picture. Had we done so, things probably would have gone much smoother. Taking that, we had better start coming up with a plan in case this happens again (which history dictates, it will).
    Agree.

    Ironic, however, that our first big non-DoD move was still what I feel is our worst -- CPA, Bremer, disband of the Army and de-Baathifaction to 7 deep.

    To reluctantly use a phrase I hate, that "set the conditions" for our years of slop and agony since.

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    Default set conditions

    Ironhorse please explain why you hate the phrase to "set conditions"?

    For me, it tells me what I need to make happen to facilitate the larger plan (instead of just continue the course).

    I thought Bremer worked for Rumfield, not State? Regardless, you are correct, disbanding the Iraqi Army was the worse strategic mistake we made (perhaps in our history). I can't help but think this decision was made simply because he didn't have a strategic plan, and didn't understand phased operations, where one phase sets the conditions for the next. If he was a turn coat working for AQ I could understand his logic, but I trust that isn't the case, he was simply the wrong guy, and regardless of who received the mission at that time, the conditions were pretty much set already for our defeat.

    RTK we talked about this IA process (or lack of) throughout the SWJC, but my comment about guidance from the House that State and DoD needs to work together was based off a recent article. A few Congressmen getting together and telling to entrenched bureaucracies to play nice together won't change anything. I think we need to see more soldiers run for political office.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I think we need to see more soldiers run for political office.
    It won't be me. When I go out to pasture I'm going fishing

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    We also need to take a hard look at ourselves as a nation, and figure out what we want to represent (values wise), and then determine how we will represent them. I love the infantry, but now we need better educated troops who are self disciplined, with good character to avoid making strategic errors downrange. The only way to attract them I believe is creating a culture in the military where they fit (opportunities for intellectual creativity), or go the mercenary route and offer much more pay, but then you might curtail the character we're searching for. We'll never have a "perfect" Army, or a perfect soldier, I'm sure as hell not, so we have to design strategy that fits the means, which I think means (in the future) we need to minimize the time that we leave conventional boots on the ground.
    I don't see how paying Infantry Soldiers what they are worth as being "mercenary." I truly believe that it is time to discard the WWII model of Infantry soldiers as "uni-taskers."

    I think it's time to make the profession of Infantry Soldier into an "artisan's guild" where a guy who wants to "develop the art of individual warfare" can spend a career doing it. And be compensated accordingly. I've come to despise the "up or out" mindset, combined with central, authoritarian control that has come to define how we treat our Infantry Soldiers (i.e., like dirt). I'm not talking about Special Forces, either. I'm talking regular light infantry, who can be reliably expected to take on a wide variety of missions at the drop of the hat.

    If the circa 1900 soldier could be expected to conduct COIN as an ordinary part of his job, surely the 2007 version could be expected, as well.

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    Hi Bill,

    Jones, I don't want to speak for FM, but I didn't see anything in his post about tactically defeating our enemy.
    I didn't see anything in FM's article about tactical responses to this kind of enemy, either. That's why I raised the question. I don't, as it happens, favor large scale military responses to the problem of actors (whether state or non state) who employ underhanded, creative and stealth oriented tactics against the US. However, assuming we use no force at all what is the correct response? This is much larger than Iraq or the GWOT - it's a problem that's arisen time and again and we've almost always responded rather badly to it. The Barbary pirates were paid off for years before military action was authorized, for example. I'm not opposed to paying off the bad guys if it'll keep the nukes from cooking off in downtown Manhattan . . . but other folks take issue with that approach. I'm not opposed to a strategy of American neutrality in world affairs - wherein we don't bother with those 700 overseas military bases, NATO, etc. North Korea wouldn't be a problem for us if we didn't have 30,000 troops in the country right next door. If Iran wants to choke off the world oil supply we can just buy from the Iranians.

    But the fact remains that every so often some clever bastard is going to decide to kill, kidnap or torture Americans anyway - because of that cultural and economic offensive. Suppose that this fellow doesn't feel like quitting, either. What should the correct response be?

    This is my position: when faced with an enemy who relies on intimidation for offense and stealth and remoteness for protection, the United States should take the following steps. First, all efforts must be made to obtain human intelligence on the enemy - specifically including historical matters. Something that happened 10 years ago may be relevant. Second, the United States should make efforts to identify other enemies and victims (and potential victims) of the enemy - and to collaborate. Third, the United States should attempt to contain the enemy geographically - this may be as rudimentary as issuing warrants and ensuring that Interpol is aware of our interest or it may be as drastic as an air and naval blockade of an entire country. Fourth, attempts must be made to negotiate with the malefactor - I don't care how crazy or despicable he or she is. The fact is, police negotiate with worse individuals every day and negotiation saves lives. The difference between police negotiating with a bank robber and most nations negotiating with terrorists is that the police don't negotiate until they have a heavy advantage over the criminal - nations often negotiate from a position of profound weakness. Finally, military force may be deployed as a last resort. This process may take years. It may be headline news (as is the GWOT) or may go almost unnoticed domestically.

    The nature of that last resort, force, is one question that remains wide open. Conventional US forces are not trained to track and surprise a guerrilla enemy, terrorist group, kidnapping ring or cannibalistic cult. Special operations forces may not be appropriate, either, given their high profile nature and limited numbers. Relying on local troops has issues, as well, even when those troops can be covertly supported/trained by US forces. Cities are harder still - even special operations troops may lack the appropriate linguistic capability to walk into the heart of Lagos unnoticed. Resolving the strictly tactical difficulties of locating and sneaking up on a bandit type enemy can take years - but I don't believe force should be employed until those difficulties are resolved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Ironhorse please explain why you hate the phrase to "set conditions"?

    For me, it tells me what I need to make happen to facilitate the larger plan (instead of just continue the course).
    I don't mind it in that context. It is often a placeholder for a larger, and generally squishier, concept. But I hate it that it frequently seems to evolve from acceptable use as a "hyperlink" or a TBD, and into a steadfast lieutenant that stands on its own and precludes ever having to describe those conditions, D the TBD, and create and communicate a real vision and common goal.

    And I'm part whiny bitch, so I do use it. Just with some good Roman Catholic guilt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I thought Bremer worked for Rumfield, not State?
    Technically, yes. But I'd say at a level that transcended Defense and usurped State. Garner and ORHA had the sack to not de-Baathify. When Bremer started running the show, I think we moved abruptly from the uniformed military (and its reluctance to disband/deBaath) and became as close as we'll see in a long while to the scope of a "Goldwater-Nichols 2"-ish manifestation of IA cross-departmental power. Unfortunately, it was all vested in Rumsfeld as a Super SecDef and ad hoc orchestrated by neocons without real IA buy-in, involvement and experitse being cross-functionally and effectively employed. But the power was there, and it briefly transcended the DoD lane as we've come to speak of it lately, even though it was under SecDef.

    Though perhaps how we've come to speak of it of late is smaller than it used to be (e.g. post WW-II occupation) or ought to be?

    And I'm also deeply conflicted, because I think the other agencies (i.e. non-DoD) need to be held to a higher standard of "aye aye" rather than "you have to ask me nicely." So I'm not against the concept. Just the execution. Complete with underlying disillusions and imperial hubris.

    DoD shouldn't be the only civil servants with an oath. Scope and scale of other agencies probably shouldn't be established for global adventurism (could we afford it?), but when the time comes to dig deep, "no" is not an answer.

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    Default Discussion

    Great discussion! Here is some background.

    The next few chapters discuss the use of force in this new century. This attempts to address the major -- often noted -- weakness of 4GW theory: it is descriptive, critical, but as yet not prescriptive.

    Although there are many different ways of viewing America's situation vs. 4GW (or however you wish to describe it), there seems to be a consensus that something new is needed.

    Who knows where the solution will be found? By someone at the sharp end in Iraq? Lind working with the Marines? Most revolutionary, Retired Army Major Don Vandergriff's work to change officer training?

    It's like voting. Everyone can contributes to some incremental amount, as we see on the SWC. So I am tossing some pennies into the discussion, starting from a high-level discussion of "grand strategy."

    For some real answers I strongly recommend reading van Creveld's new book, The Changing Face of War. The first part of the book is excellent. He gives some eye-opening insights in the last few chapters.

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