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  1. #21
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Steve,

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    I understand that all institutions are founded on myth, but in the case of the AF they appear all too often to allow those myths to clog their perception of what's really going on. I tend to compare them to the Army during Vietnam in that sense (the Army as an institution, not individual segments that adapted well).
    I think that's a good analogy. What I was trying to get at, in my ham fisted way, was that at some points in time, all institutions founding myths get them in trouble with reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    Another factor with the AF is the legacy of both the breakaway from the Army and the dominance of Curtis LeMay and SAC for many years within their own organizational structure. This left them wedded (at least in terms of presentation) to high tech and certain mantras (if you will). I'm not sure why they have proven so unable to tweak their own myths (as the navy managed to do with steam power, the carrier, and so on), unless it's part of their short history as an organization and limited leadership "generations" that they can draw from, but it's really going to end up doing them more harm than good in the long run.
    Honestly, it may be a result of too few generations. I'd also forgotten that your AF started out as, what was it called, the Army Air Corps? I've noticed the tech mantra as well, which was certainly appropriate during the LeMay Imperium but, I have serious duobts about it's current validity.

    On that note, I just finished MG Dunlap's Comment and I feel I have to point out something that he slipped in

    and by "airpower" I mean air, space, and cyberspace
    Since when is cyberspace part of the USAF Imperium? As we about to see a raft of articles on "The usage of Strategic Bombing (DDOS) in Cyberspace" and new Hollywood / USAF productions such as "Top Mouse"?

    The internalization of a Technology mantra should not, to my mind, include an automatic assumption that one technology equals another and that, therefore, cyberspace is part of the USAFs balliwick.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    The call for joint doctrine isn't surprising, either, considering that there are segments within the AF who are convinced that they are the only service that "gets" joint warfare. It will be interesting to see what community ends up dominating their leadership corps once the current fighter generals disappear. That might be what it takes to break their public rhetoric in COIN.
    I agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    And as an aside to Jimbo's post, I would fall into the NO category here as well. People join the services for different reasons, and each attracts a certain personality type in many cases. Just as some of the folks who join the Army would go nuts in the AF, there are some who join the AF that aren't suited for other work. We have some here who are on the officer track that I wouldn't trust with an M-16 if my life depended on it. And that's not what they join for. So it would be a bad fit all around.
    Me too - one of my brother-in-laws is a 22 year USAF veteran and I would not want to see him running around with an M16 (beer bottles at the Oak island beach are bad enough!).

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
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  2. #22
    Council Member LawVol's Avatar
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    I've read everything in this thread, but have yet to find a link to Maj Gen Dunlap's article. I like to read the actual article being critiqued before forming my own thoughts. I assume from the comments here that everyone else has read it. I'd appreciate anyone providing me a link. Thanks in advance.

  3. #23
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    I was commenting on the blog on MG Dunlap's response to Hoffman's blog entry, as well as Hoffman's entry itself.

    BTW, someone calling himself/herself USAF Insurgent just posted a pretty hard reply to Dunlap.

    ETA: Just looked at the USNI site, and the feature in question isn't available online (at least through them). It was in the May 07 issue.
    Last edited by Steve Blair; 05-23-2007 at 07:53 PM.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  4. #24
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi LawVol

    Quote Originally Posted by LawVol View Post
    I've read everything in this thread, but have yet to find a link to Maj Gen Dunlap's article. I like to read the actual article being critiqued before forming my own thoughts. I assume from the comments here that everyone else has read it. I'd appreciate anyone providing me a link. Thanks in advance.
    Their server seems to be slow right now. I'm trying to get it for you.

    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
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  5. #25
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Article

    Quote Originally Posted by LawVol View Post
    I've read everything in this thread, but have yet to find a link to Maj Gen Dunlap's article. I like to read the actual article being critiqued before forming my own thoughts. I assume from the comments here that everyone else has read it. I'd appreciate anyone providing me a link. Thanks in advance.
    I've read it - hard-copy - it is not online.

  6. #26
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Since when is cyberspace part of the USAF Imperium? As we about to see a raft of articles on "The usage of Strategic Bombing (DDOS) in Cyberspace" and new Hollywood / USAF productions such as "Top Mouse"?

    The internalization of a Technology mantra should not, to my mind, include an automatic assumption that one technology equals another and that, therefore, cyberspace is part of the USAFs balliwick.
    Marc
    They latched onto this a few years ago, though I don't think anyone else has really conceded that it's USAF property.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  7. #27
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default I HATE asp pages...

    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    I've read it - hard-copy - it is not online.
    Frustrating <sigh>. I had to open an IE tab to get into the site. If this is an example of "technological sophistication"....

    Maybe MG Dunlop would agree to post a copy here so that we can all read it?

    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
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  8. #28
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    They latched onto this a few years ago, though I don't think anyone else has really conceded that it's USAF property.
    Maybe they just aren't running their recruitment campaigns well enough. Hmmm, they could always "nationalize" Geek Squad .

    On a more serious note, have they actually done anything in this area directly related to the current conflicts, or are they just saying "come to me my precious...."?

    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/

  9. #29
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Maybe they just aren't running their recruitment campaigns well enough. Hmmm, they could always "nationalize" Geek Squad .

    On a more serious note, have they actually done anything in this area directly related to the current conflicts, or are they just saying "come to me my precious...."?

    Marc
    Aside from jacking up their own internal networks in the name of security, I don't think they've done much. Of course, I'm not an IM-type or anything close to that, but from what I've heard and seen their efforts are more related to security (albeit their own version of same) and not really IO or any sort of active cyber-operations.

    My vantage point is pretty narrow, though. There may be others who've seen more and have opinions informed by more experience.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  10. #30
    Council Member LawVol's Avatar
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    I appreciate the attempts at locating a copy of the Dunlap article. I'm pursuing other avenues as well.

    I agree with Gen Dunlap on one point I took from his rebuttal. I do not think we'll be in any extended COIN campaigns in the near future although I am unwilling to put a time frame on it like he did. We can't even keep 125k (give or take) on the ground for four years without an uproar. Do you really think Congress and the American public would go for a 12 year campaign like Iraq? I would imagine we'd take casualties exceeding 10k over that period of time. Maybe some of you with more experience can extrapolate a better casualty number based on past COIN episodes (although given technology I'd assume we'd be higher now).

    Another point I see some AF trying to make (and one in which I agree) is the danger in focusing too much on COIN. If we cast aside our big war, technological advantage in favor of what wins in COIN are we dooming ourselves to fighting the last war again in the future? I'm all for doing what it takes to win this one and have written on how airpower can help, however, we need to be aware of, and be ready for, all potential threats not just the ones we want to face. I don't propse to speak for Gen Dunlap (although I have spoken with him), but maybe that's a point he's trying to make.

    Here's how Gen Moseley put it: http://aimpoints.hq.af.mil/display.cfm?id=18841

    Oh, and one last point in reference to USAF Insurgent's post. To argue that an AF guy can't offer a critique of FM 3-24 because AF leadership chose not to perticipate is disingenuous. First, they didn't ask me to participate. Second, of those they did ask to participate, how was this presented? Was it truly full participation or we they simply checking a box? I don't know.
    Last edited by SWJED; 05-23-2007 at 08:54 PM. Reason: add link

  11. #31
    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default It ain't over 'till its over

    Quote Originally Posted by LawVol View Post
    "I agree with Gen Dunlap on one point I took from his rebuttal. I do not think we'll be in any extended COIN campaigns in the near future although I am unwilling to put a time frame on it like he did. We can't even keep 125k (give or take) on the ground for four years without an uproar. Do you really think Congress and the American public would go for a 12 year campaign like Iraq?"
    One issue here, that both LAWVOL and the MGEN miss, yes it is four years on since the Iraq war started, there are nearing 150k troops in country filling many different roles. While there is debate over withdraw timelines and benchmarks troops are still flowing in and out of country. The Army and Marines are growing in size adapting to the war and the flow of troops. The current administration has and will continue to resist withdraw. The next administration will be faced with the same issue withdraw or stay. How long will that take? What will the situation on the ground be? By the time it is all said and done it is concievable that 12 years will have passed before the war will be over, ending most likely in a similiar vein to Malaya: with the closure of a logisitics clerks ledger book and a standing independent government in charge. My main issue with the AF arguments has been that it has already assumed defeat and the critique of FM3-24 is a post mortem not a constructive dialogue. Lastly small wars, COIN, happen in many ways all the time, note that Senator Biden (dem from Deleware) has just called for a U.S. troops on the ground response to Sudan-Darfur. -T

  12. #32
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    I agree with Gen Dunlap on one point I took from his rebuttal. I do not think we'll be in any extended COIN campaigns in the near future although I am unwilling to put a time frame on it like he did.
    That is all a question of definition. Even if we do drawdown OIF we are still in OEF. Meanwhile the GWOT/Long War or whatever we call it is a COIN campaign and it is most definitely happening on the ground in the Phillipines, the Horn of Africa, and elsewhere.

    Another point I see some AF trying to make (and one in which I agree) is the danger in focusing too much on COIN. If we cast aside our big war, technological advantage in favor of what wins in COIN are we dooming ourselves to fighting the last war again in the future? I'm all for doing what it takes to win this one and have written on how airpower can help, however, we need to be aware of, and be ready for, all potential threats not just the ones we want to face. I don't propse to speak for Gen Dunlap (although I have spoken with him), but maybe that's a point he's trying to make.
    I certainly would not disagree with what you say on this. Where it all gets lost in the current debate is not focusing too much on COIN but rather ignoring COIN altogether or seeking to modify COIN thinking into a kinetic targeting effort.

    Best

    Tom

  13. #33
    Council Member LawVol's Avatar
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    Troufion: I think its a stretch to say the AF has admitted defeat. Even the hardcore airpower folks don't say that. As for your Darfur example, I did not say we wouldn't be involved somewhere, I just said America wouldn't go for an [I]extended[I] COIN campaign. I specifically chose this word to account for what I do see us getting into.

    Tom Odom discusses this with his reference to the continuing "long war." Darfur would also be an example. Darfur, however, is more of a humanitarian effort at this point. I wonder what public opinion would be in 3 years (after a withdrawal, substantial or total, from Iraq) if the President proposed overthrowing the Sudanese government to accomplish Darfur relief? That would approach the scale of Iraq.

    The continuing "long war" is also different than Iraq because of its scale in individual locations. We don't hear much about HOA or the PI because our forces are small there. Someone (Max Boot,maybe?) recently wrote something about how keeping our engagements small helped maintain public support simply because the public was basically unaware. Maybe there is something to this.

    Tom: I wholeheartedly agree with you. We cannot completely toss COIN out the window or attempt to solve it with kinetic solutions. I firmly believe that the AF can offer alot in a COIN environment in non-kinetic ways. We obviously need more focus on this, but by the same token we (i.e. AF) cannot foresake our own mission of air superiority and that requires money, lots of it. Many of my AF bretheren focus on China as a rationale for ignoring COIN and focusing on kinetic solutions. I however, am not so sure that a war with China wouldn't involve conventional-style tactics and COIN-style tactics. Their "total war" concept, combined with recent military buildup and satellite tests, would seem to support this.

  14. #34
    Council Member Ironhorse's Avatar
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    Default Metaphorical rants on COIN and MTW

    In running react drills for Marines in embassies, I learned how much harder it was for them to deal satisfactorily with less lethal intruders. They were far better prepared (mindset, equipment, posture, etc.) to deal with the fantasy deadly ninja teams than with a relatively harmless hooligan or activist. The Kent State flowers-in-rifles picture always came to my mind. And it froze them. We're reacting to having similar things happen to us on a much larger and deadlier, higher stakes scale.

    We have seen that good capabilities in COIN are not lesser included capabilities for major theater war (MTW). They are different capabilties. In many ways, more complex and more challenging for the individual and small unit than MTW. But that doesn't mean that the reverse is true, that MTW is a lesser included capability of COIN. I happen to believe that the individual who can do COIN well can more readily adapt to MTW than vice-versa, but the scope and scale of the equipment, organization, and realted collective skillsets for MTW prevent a true two-fer in that direction. For a tiny window into that, picture a 1990s Bn from 1st Marines, all MEU(SOC)'d up, trying to do a CAX -- about as painful as 7th Marines in boats.

    The sole remaining superpower is, almost by definition, not going to go toe to toe with a peer competitor. So we need to continue to adjust the "loaded for bear" idea that dominated the last decades, and reload for squirrel. History shows that our military's subsistence diet is squirrel, even when there are other bears out there.

    Unfortunately, we don't need a peer to have a MTW requiring conventional skills, and the consequences of losing a MTW are at least as painful and probably far more immediate than of being neutered in our inability to successfully prosecute a small war or COIN. Even the baby bears have claws and teeth, and the cornered squirrels bite like hell.

    So, we can't afford to suck at either, and it isn't good enough to optimize one since there is no two-fer. But we can't afford to field the dream team for either type of war, let alone both. It is a vexing problem.

  15. #35
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    While not directly COIN, I'd say the AF and Navy are going to be in Iraq and the area around Iraq for sometime after we've assisted them (the Iraqis) in attaining internal security.

    Somebody is going to have to provide cover for the Iraqi military as it shifts the bulk of its security efforts from defeating threats from inside its borders, to securing its borders from other aggressors in the region. The USAF and the USN will probably continue to do that job - enforcing no fly zones, etc, while the Iraqis restructure to meet those challenges. This will continue to tie up lots of planes and frames, and will go largely unnoticed by the public - along with the advisors, ground units and others who rotate through.

    We won't abandon Iraq to the ambitions of its neighbors after the investment we have made. New administrations will try and minimize it, but it will tax our air forces (much like the enforcement of the "No-Fly Zones" in the interim of Desert Storm and OIF 1), and the OPTEMPO of the other services for a long time to come.

    Meanwhile, most here agree that small "limited" wars are on the rise and we are not optimally equipped to respond in a compelling manner if the political objective requires it. Our requirements (both real and predicted) for "mass" (not effects, but people) has exceeded the ability of technology to compensate for a lack thereof. This was not brought about by the publication of the COIN manual; it was brought about by an enemy strategy for protracted war. The COIN manual is doctrine to help us deal with the challenges of this war.

    MG Dunlap is correct that is not chance that decisions on land power increases coincided roughly with the publication of the FM. There was a strategic epiphany at about the same time across the board as we began to realize the value of people again. To equate the FM as the catalyst for troop increases is bad logic. There is no smoking gun.

    Towards funding, I'd say its not just a question of what we need, but what we need right now. The Army just took a big chunk out of its modernization plans to ensure dominance against the 2015 and 2025 time frames. It did so to fund things right now like MRAP, refitting key platforms, and hopefully investing in people! It (the Army) is understanding that it can't do everything it would like to, and as much as we'd like the quick kill and come home, which does not appear to be our lot in life.
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 05-23-2007 at 10:05 PM.

  16. #36
    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default lawvol

    As you say you chose your words carefully, as did I. I said the AF has 'assumed' defeat not 'admitted.' Meaning the AF or at least MGen D has assumed that FM3-24, the troop surge and all current activity will fail if not altered towards the Axiological Air Operations or some other as yet undisclosed AF designed COIN concept. -T

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    It's not his most recent article, but here's a link to the Dunlap's article "America's asymmetric advantage" from the September 06 Armed Forces Journal.

  18. #38
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Here for info on Axiological

    Here for a Rand study on the effects of Air Power in Milosovic's decision cyle

    The problem I have with systems theory (of any flavor) is people and what they value, and how they pecieve that ( or how you perceive it through your specific cultural lense).
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 05-23-2007 at 10:49 PM.

  19. #39
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default Into the wild blue - way out into the wild blue

    It's not his most recent article, but here's a link to the Dunlap's article "America's asymmetric advantage" from the September 06 Armed Forces Journal.
    Wow - "Earth to Buck Rogers", "Buck we have a situation down here - a human one - and well, we are going to be off the net for awhile, but don't worry." "Oh and Buck, one of the mission tech says he left a couple of things loose on your craft, and .....

    War is about people - often its about killing them and compelling them, but its a human endevour. Any formula that tries to mimimize that into a technological one ignores the obvious, and risks the political objectives. Wouldn't life be simple if it were a parking lot?

  20. #40
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    I think Kaiser So-say should speak at the Air War College and explain things to them.

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