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    Bill,

    Wyly's article was dated 1995 while Smith's book was published in 2005.

    Both - obviously - made a contribution to military thinking in their time.

    Despite the writings of these two persons the 'civilian leadership' in both respective countries have learned nothing during the intervening years. This is the really bad news.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    His three points



    Don't disagree with any of them, but I think the second and third points are well known and bring little new to the table. His second point is critical, it is also the point that Gen Rupert Smith makes well in his book, "The Utility of Force," but Wyly doesn't address the so what of this comment (at least in the article you provided a link to). I know I sound like I'm defending military officers, and to some extent I am while also remaining highly critical, but what Wyly is pointing out is deeply flawed understanding of war and its requirements by our civilian leadership that our defense industry reinforces with their insistence that technology will save the day. To some extent they're right, and we don't want to be disadvantaged by being technically trumped by our adversaries, but that doesn't mean people aren't ultimately decisive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by former_0302 View Post
    @ Fuchs--forum conversations tend to take on a life of their own. Since I'm new here, if the consensus is that I'm dragging the thread too far in a wrong direction, I'll stop.
    Run with it man, it goes where it goes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    Equally nice is the appeal to emotion found in a You Tube extract from a Hollywood production.
    I sense a bit of sniffing disapproval there.

    Emotion is a rather important thing when dealing with human motivation, especially motivation of people fighting in wars since the war will get a lot of those doing the fighting killed. The people know that and yet very often they kept on going up that hill, running toward the Japanese battleships or land at Kham Duc anyway. The reasons they do that are many and I think, remember I'm an always a civilian, the most important ones are emotional when the steel can be seen or it is flying through the air so fast as to be invisible. So I very much see a place for referencing emotion in back and forths like this.

    Now back to the general fray.

    To this civilian defending excel spreadsheets as a military decision making tool is...silly. The great leaders of the past didn't need them and there were a lot of great leaders in the past. If they had them they still would be who they were and if McClellan had excel that wouldn't have made him Grant. The problem is for the military to find those Grants and I fear that if proficiency with excel is valued the next incarnation of Bill Slim (sorry British, we're taking your man) who happened to be a computer klutz will be lost to us. That is not a good thing.

    As far as women in combat goes, I figure way back when before the dawn of email and before even writing the humans did try mixed sex groups in combat. I think people tried everything way back when. It wasn't tried too much after that because the ones who thought that was a good idea lost their fights and they all got killed. The reason I figure that is because humans are very pragmatic and if mixed sex groups had worked in battle, people would have kept on doing it because winning is a good thing. Even people who couldn't read could figure that out. So the idea died and lay dead for so long that people forgot why it was so, it just seemed the natural thing. Then PC came along and it looks as of we may have to learn that lesson all over again.

    And we will. Most people don't think of it like this but to my knowledge all the ships of the USN have mixed sex crews and when the next big sea fight comes we will be conducting an experiment that has never before been conducted in the history of the humans, mixed sex crews in fighting ships in combat (and I mean real fighting the IJN in the Slot at night type combat, not firing a cruise missile at a third world nation). We'll see if this experiment works. I hope so because the price foe defeat will be very high.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl
    To this civilian defending excel spreadsheets as a military decision making tool is...silly. The great leaders of the past didn't need them and there were a lot of great leaders in the past. If they had them they still would be who they were and if McClellan had excel that wouldn't have made him Grant. The problem is for the military to find those Grants and I fear that if proficiency with excel is valued the next incarnation of Bill Slim (sorry British, we're taking your man) who happened to be a computer klutz will be lost to us. That is not a good thing.
    Those are two different issues. And the first part is not "defending excel"; excel is a tool. It's about the lack of rigorous intellect applied to military problems. This is not strongly cultivated in the officer corps until senior leadership - and only narrowly. Another poster referenced this problem implicitly with the failure of the senior leadership to understand sociology, et.al and how it fits with military science. Embarking on military campaigns in the complexity of the modern security environment without appreciating the nuances of practical understanding is both ignorant and deadly. Modern general officers are no longer galloping on horseback to break the enemy's center - they're managers of a complex multi-layered bureaucracy embedded in an tightly-woven political-economic-social fabric and engaged in a highly disruptive enterprise with long-term multi-ordered effects. There is no excuse for ignorance, especially for officers.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl
    I think people tried everything way back when. It wasn't tried too much after that because the ones who thought that was a good idea lost their fights and they all got killed. The reason I figure that is because humans are very pragmatic and if mixed sex groups had worked in battle, people would have kept on doing it because winning is a good thing.
    That's a highly superficial reading of history. Care to provide any examples? Humans are pragmatic - to an extent. They're also rationalizing, which means they're better at excusing their condition than rationally improving or understanding their condition. Fuchs is right about the historical condition of women, which indicates that exclusion of women from combat is a socio-political construction rather than one based strictly on military proficiency. The destruction of mythologized forms of femininity is the greatest problem facing the integration of women in the hyper-masculine culture of the military. And this social construct is enforced through very deeply-held norms that are practiced through structurally discriminatory practices - and not just in the military, but from the moment of birth. Success in combat, like sports, is not exclusively a question of maximizing physical strength. It also requires technical skill, intellect, and moral and physical courage. Is the 'worst' male soldier more effective in combat than the 'best' female soldier?

    Quote Originally Posted by TC
    Also, the military is a reflection of the society. There is currently a significant "me first" attitude of the Ayn Rand "virtue of selfishness" variety. Combined with the "everyone deserves a prize" crowd you get the drive for "disruptive thinkers", people with little or no actual experience who believe they know what is best for everyone else but don't really want to work their way up the ladder and earn that position, they want it given to them. The military is a argot society that is dependent on the idea of "duties", not "rights." You get people suing the Army over policy because they have the "right" to be part of a unit. That is hard for many people who have grown up in the "me first" generation to assimilate to.
    If the "military is a reflection of society" and society is changing, shouldn't the military also change? Similarly, if the conduct or character of war is changing, doesn't that also necessitate a change in military culture? Is a 19th century military culture optimal for 21st century conflict?
    Last edited by AmericanPride; 05-04-2014 at 09:23 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    If the "military is a reflection of society" and society is changing, shouldn't the military also change? Similarly, if the conduct or character of war is changing, doesn't that also necessitate a change in military culture? Is a 19th century military culture optimal for 21st century conflict?
    My answer to the first question is "No", the military should not change, at least not in the same way. My reasoning here is far to complicated to put forth here. I can send you something privately if you want to understand it.

    The answer to the second question is that those are two separate issues. The character of war has not really changed. Conduct has changed enormously in the last 100 years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    That's a highly superficial reading of history. Care to provide any examples? Humans are pragmatic - to an extent. They're also rationalizing, which means they're better at excusing their condition than rationally improving or understanding their condition. Fuchs is right about the historical condition of women, which indicates that exclusion of women from combat is a socio-political construction rather than one based strictly on military proficiency. The destruction of mythologized forms of femininity is the greatest problem facing the integration of women in the hyper-masculine culture of the military. And this social construct is enforced through very deeply-held norms that are practiced through structurally discriminatory practices - and not just in the military, but from the moment of birth. Success in combat, like sports, is not exclusively a question of maximizing physical strength. It also requires technical skill, intellect, and moral and physical courage. Is the 'worst' male soldier more effective in combat than the 'best' female soldier?
    "Superficial" != "wrong." Apologies if I came across as harsh yesterday, but the reason your point is not relevant is because you aren't going to fix it in your lifetime, and probably not in your grandkid's. What you are speaking of is the result of thousands of years of natural selection. You're not going to change the cumulative effect of that in a generation, unless you start playing God with people's DNA.

    There are examples of mammalian species where the female is larger/stronger than the male, but they evolved that way due to factors that necessitated it. It didn't happen with us, and the impetus to get it to change hasn't happened yet. I'd argue that the military's role and purpose in society is too important to make it that impetus.

    Being a graduate of IOC, I've followed the attempts to get a woman through it with interest. To date, only one has completed the initial event, and she managed to break herself in the course of doing it. The initial event at IOC isn't even in the top five of events at IOC in terms of level of difficulty. I imagine that there are some women out there who can do it... but I doubt they meet USMC height/weight standards for females. I think the build necessitated by those standards is too slight to be able to make it.

    Lost in all of this is the simple fact that not a single female Marine I know would choose to go into a combat arms field if given the choice. Admittedly, I don't know all of them, but the fact that the ones I do aren't clamoring for this change to be made leads me to believe that the drive behind doing this isn't coming from what I'd consider a "pure" source.

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    If the "military is a reflection of society" and society is changing, shouldn't the military also change? Similarly, if the conduct or character of war is changing, doesn't that also necessitate a change in military culture? Is a 19th century military culture optimal for 21st century conflict?
    Why should the military reflect society? Do you want a military that reflects a fascination with Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, or any of the rest of the inanities that our society loves? The military requires its members to live a standards-based existence, and IMO a lot of those standards are not as stringent as they should be. What standards there are in civilian American society pale in comparison.

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    Quote Originally Posted by former_0302 View Post
    Why should the military reflect society? Do you want a military that reflects a fascination with Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, or any of the rest of the inanities that our society loves? The military requires its members to live a standards-based existence, and IMO a lot of those standards are not as stringent as they should be. What standards there are in civilian American society pale in comparison.
    I am going to disagree with you a little on this. Young enlisted and officers have a fascination with popular culture. Civilians have a fascination with combat video games. That is just entertainment.

    What I am referring to are the social standards of duty and loyalty that are part of the military. I care much less about other standards like uniform or haircut standards, or even PT and height/weight to a point (No soldier ever stayed back home because they were too fat or could not pass a PT test, we took them with us anyway.) Standards are only important in as far as they reflect a necessity on the part of the mission and, secondary to that, a dedication to accomplishing that mission. When the standards become more important than the mission than we have lost focus.

    In garrison before the war we were strict on enforcing uniform and decorum standards because they kept the Soldier sharp and situationaly aware. When some senior NCOs and Officers tried to enforce the same standards on the FOB the standards made less sense and the NCO's and Officers lost respect. They did not understand the purpose of the standard. Standards became a self-licking ice cream cone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    P.S. Curmudgy! In it Wyly discusses what every Marine must know about the future of warfare and list 3 suggestions for every Marine(I would think it applies to Army officers to) to know in order to be prepared.

    Here is the link to the article as usual comments are welcome.
    http://www.dnipogo.org/fcs/wyly_4gw.htm
    Slap,

    I have a bit of a problem with #3. Interpreting the Constitution is not easy. First, you have to decide if you believe it is a living document that is meant to be read and interpreted by people today, as Justice Roberts would advocate; or is it a dead document that was written in stone the moment it was signed and must be interpreted as the drafters understood things as Justice Scalla believes. If you get past that you have a document that Nine Constitutional scholars can interpret as it applies to a specific situation and still disagree almost right down the middle -- 5 to 4 -- on many key issues. And you want a Marine in combat to make decisions on the interpretation of the Constitution in a split second that these justices have months to research and think about and still not come to the same conclusion? I think that is utter nonsense.

    Give them some basic values, like the Army's seven values, and have those guide their decisions. DO NOT expect them to interpret the Constitutionality of any action. Let their senior officers worry about that. They are the ones that need to understand if the orders they are given are just and legal.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 05-05-2014 at 02:10 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    I am going to disagree with you a little on this. Young enlisted and officers have a fascination with popular culture. Civilians have a fascination with combat video games. That is just entertainment.

    What I am referring to are the social standards of duty and loyalty that are part of the military. I care much less about other standards like uniform or haircut standards, or even PT and height/weight to a point (No soldier ever stayed back home because they were too fat or could not pass a PT test, we took them with us anyway.) Standards are only important in as far as they reflect a necessity on the part of the mission and, secondary to that, a dedication to accomplishing that mission. When the standards become more important than the mission than we have lost focus.

    In garrison before the war we were strict on enforcing uniform and decorum standards because they kept the Soldier sharp and situationaly aware. When some senior NCOs and Officers tried to enforce the same standards on the FOB the standards made less sense and the NCO's and Officers lost respect. They did not understand the purpose of the standard. Standards became a self-licking ice cream cone.
    I agree that, in reality, some standards are more important than others. I also agree that the standards for a deployed unit should be somewhat different from those for a unit in garrison, and even ones in the field during exercises (I had a platoon sergeant once who wouldn't let Marines ever be outdoors without something on their head, which I thought was a bit extreme).

    Having said that, moral and performance standards in particular matter. I don't care so much for PT standards, like you, mainly because our PT standards are not a metric of anything that is all that important to job performance (how fast you can run three miles in shorts and sneakers is not at all indicative of how mission-ready you'll be after you've walked 10 miles carrying 50 lbs, in my experience). If you can't hit a target under specific conditions, I don't want you on that gun/mortar/whatever. If you can't navigate, I don't want you in any job where your GPS batteries die and you have to use a map and compass to get somewhere.

    The moral standards are a similar thing. If you don't have the discipline to not drink and drive, or use drugs, or even cheat on your spouse, I don't think you should wear a uniform. None of those things will necessarily get you fired from civilian employment, but they'll get you booted out of the service pretty quickly.

    Those are the main things I'm referring to when I speak about standards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by former_0302 View Post
    The moral standards are a similar thing. If you don't have the discipline to not drink and drive, or use drugs, or even cheat on your spouse, I don't think you should wear a uniform. None of those things will necessarily get you fired from civilian employment, but they'll get you booted out of the service pretty quickly.

    Those are the main things I'm referring to when I speak about standards.
    Yep, with you 100%. Without morals, the rest is just window-dressing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    Those are two different issues. And the first part is not "defending excel"; excel is a tool. It's about the lack of rigorous intellect applied to military problems. This is not strongly cultivated in the officer corps until senior leadership - and only narrowly. Another poster referenced this problem implicitly with the failure of the senior leadership to understand sociology, et.al and how it fits with military science. Embarking on military campaigns in the complexity of the modern security environment without appreciating the nuances of practical understanding is both ignorant and deadly. Modern general officers are no longer galloping on horseback to break the enemy's center - they're managers of a complex multi-layered bureaucracy embedded in an tightly-woven political-economic-social fabric and engaged in a highly disruptive enterprise with long-term multi-ordered effects. There is no excuse for ignorance, especially for officers.
    I'll go with using the old noodle to solve military problems. But I'm not so sure how study of things like sociology fits into it. History absolutely but not some amorphous subject like sociology. Temuchin didn't study sociology nor Scipio nor Washington nor Nelson. But they knew all about leading and motivating men in battle. To me it is most important to somehow someway find guys who have the innate ability to lead and fight rather than somehow trying to teach and put in there what they may not have. To me leadership and fighting ability is born into a man, you can hone it, but you can't put in what God didn't put there in the first place.

    Nobody has galloped on horseback to break the enemy's center, high up commanders anyway, for a long time. Grant didn't and he and Lincoln both were "managers of a complex multi-layered bureaucracy embedded in an tightly-woven political-economic-social fabric and engaged in a highly disruptive enterprise with long-term multi-ordered effects."

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    That's a highly superficial reading of history. Care to provide any examples? Humans are pragmatic - to an extent. They're also rationalizing, which means they're better at excusing their condition than rationally improving or understanding their condition. Fuchs is right about the historical condition of women, which indicates that exclusion of women from combat is a socio-political construction rather than one based strictly on military proficiency. The destruction of mythologized forms of femininity is the greatest problem facing the integration of women in the hyper-masculine culture of the military. And this social construct is enforced through very deeply-held norms that are practiced through structurally discriminatory practices - and not just in the military, but from the moment of birth. Success in combat, like sports, is not exclusively a question of maximizing physical strength. It also requires technical skill, intellect, and moral and physical courage. Is the 'worst' male soldier more effective in combat than the 'best' female soldier?
    Any examples? No, remember I said this may have been long before the long time before. But I think if you look at all the accounts we have of preliterate fighting groups from the Commaches to the Mongols to the Zulus men have done the fighting. The women stayed home with the kids. I think the whole of human history militates against the belief that men fighting and women not is a "socio-political construction". Except for one or two exceptions the women stayed home and the men fought. It strains credulity, mine anyway, to think that way back when in the time before the time before people decided to create a "socio-political construction" that didn't have a pragmatic basis.

    Maybe that is superficial but maybe too some things don't need a lot of words to explain. The family dog doesn't bother the family cat anymore because it doesn't like getting its muzzle cut up. Simple.

    I'll expand upon this tomorrow and explain also why going to far with the women in combat may result in coercing abortion.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Quote Originally Posted by former_0302 View Post
    The moral standards are a similar thing. If you don't have the discipline to not drink and drive, or use drugs, or even cheat on your spouse, I don't think you should wear a uniform. None of those things will necessarily get you fired from civilian employment, but they'll get you booted out of the service pretty quickly.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    Yep, with you 100%. Without morals, the rest is just window-dressing.
    I don't buy it.
    Career soldiers have a tendency to think of themselves (or the military) as superior to the general
    population - particularly if they happen to write in English. It was only a question of time till this
    attitude would resurface once the topic wandered towards the civ-mil-relationship and
    representativeness issue.

    There's nothing that special about the military. And the people in it aren't that special either. Many of
    them would be (or were) failures in civilian life, for example - and this includes officers and NCOs.

    The more strict the military pretends to be on minor offenses, the more likely they are to be hidden from
    official records. You don't really think a general loses his job for driving drunk or cheating on his wife, do
    you? And abuse of 'go drugs' by flying personnel is an open secret if not officially endorsed.
    The ones who get into great trouble for such things are the ones who have made the wrong enemy in
    the system.

    Besides, there are plenty civilian jobs in which stuff like drunk driving or drug abuse may be career-
    ending. German policemen live in perpetual fear that some stain in their personnel records could stall
    their career indefinitely, for example. A great share of the working population depends on their driver's
    license and lives in fear about losing it.


    There's also nothing special about job requirements for a very large portion of the military. Office work is
    office work, workshop work is workshop work - for most of its jobs and much of the time the military
    cannot really claim to be in need of substantially elevated standards.
    It's easy to find a great many civilian jobs with more critical demands on the personnel than for most of
    the military personnel, even at wartime.
    Think of a railway control centre, a surgeon, a bus driver, a pilotage, a lab technician, ... the dumbass
    doing an inventory list in a depot full of spare parts cannot come close to them only because he's
    wearing a BDU. So why would him cheating on his wife or smoking pot on weekends be of interest at all?

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    Quote Originally Posted by former_0302 View Post
    I agree that, in reality, some standards are more important than others. I also agree that the standards for a deployed unit should be somewhat different from those for a unit in garrison, and even ones in the field during exercises (I had a platoon sergeant once who wouldn't let Marines ever be outdoors without something on their head, which I thought was a bit extreme).

    Having said that, moral and performance standards in particular matter. I don't care so much for PT standards, like you, mainly because our PT standards are not a metric of anything that is all that important to job performance (how fast you can run three miles in shorts and sneakers is not at all indicative of how mission-ready you'll be after you've walked 10 miles carrying 50 lbs, in my experience). If you can't hit a target under specific conditions, I don't want you on that gun/mortar/whatever. If you can't navigate, I don't want you in any job where your GPS batteries die and you have to use a map and compass to get somewhere.

    The moral standards are a similar thing. If you don't have the discipline to not drink and drive, or use drugs, or even cheat on your spouse, I don't think you should wear a uniform. None of those things will necessarily get you fired from civilian employment, but they'll get you booted out of the service pretty quickly.

    Those are the main things I'm referring to when I speak about standards.
    I actually find my position closer to Fuchs than yours on this issue oddly enough, and perhaps that is due to being in the Army through the late 70s to recently and watching the evolution of the impact of the Christian Right on the Army in particular. It was getting to the point I thought we may have been in the North Korean military or the former Soviet military with everyone spying upon one another looking for dirt they could report on. The type of dirt that gets reporting on today such as drinking, Joe cheating on his wife, etc. would have resulted in the tattler being told to mind his own business a couple of decades ago. On the other hand, hopefully every effort would be made to hammer the self-serving individual who cheated on his travel voucher or used his position in other ways to personally gain from it. There is a difference between professional values that are important to the organization and subjective personal values (how one lives his or her life).

    Quite frankly I knew several good soldiers to include officers that drank and some even cheated on their spouses, but wouldn't for a second do anything unethical professionally and you wouldn't hesitate to count on them in combat if you knew them. They just came from a different school of thought when it came to how they conducted their personal lives. Morals are absolutely important, but morals that are related to the profession, not subjective morals where you get to evaluate someone's personal life. This focus on people's personal lives is little more than political correctness concealed as discipline, and it is ruining our society and our military. We boot these guys out, while keeping those who appear to be squeaky clean by appearances, yet it is the squeaky clean ones more often than not that end up betraying their country, perhaps because it didn't live up to their high expectations? Snowden and the specialist who provides droves of classified material to Wikileaks are examples of these types of crusaders. We're in a human organization and if we don't get that humans will error and that each will have different personal values we'll only create the illusion of a force that conforms to a particular set of morals in their personal life. We need to focus on their professional lives and not keep trying to peer into their bedrooms. I can recall two officers who made a huge issue of infidelity and excessive drinking. One later was caught in an act of infidelity and the other finally got called out (and kicked out) when he got his 4th Driving While Intoxicated ticket. There seems to be a correlation between those who are the most self-righteous and also the most guilty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    I sense a bit of sniffing disapproval there.

    Emotion is a rather important thing when dealing with human motivation, especially motivation of people fighting in wars since the war will get a lot of those doing the fighting killed. The people know that and yet very often they kept on going up that hill, running toward the Japanese battleships or land at Kham Duc anyway. The reasons they do that are many and I think, remember I'm an always a civilian, the most important ones are emotional when the steel can be seen or it is flying through the air so fast as to be invisible. So I very much see a place for referencing emotion in back and forths like this.
    Carl, good point (again).

    We can once again reference Lord Moran's "Anatomy of Courage" (now available on Kindle)

    The applicable chapter in this regard is "Moods'. This deals with emotion and his comparison between the English and our Teutonic friends in this regard.

    Pertinent to other discussions in this thread is this quote from that chapter:

    War is said to expose the savage that lurks in men. It excites, we are told, those ugly primitive passions which civilization had decently interred. It may be so – yet I have seen more cold cruelty in a month of the competitive life of London in peace than came my way in more than two years with a battalion in war.
    I put it to these people who indulge in this nonsense discussion that there is a greater risk of 360 degree barbarity in Wall Street, London and whatever the equivalent is in Germany than you will find in the respect militaries of those countries. You need to be exposed to war for a sustained period to fully appreciate the truth of Moran's observation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by former
    "Superficial" != "wrong." Apologies if I came across as harsh yesterday, but the reason your point is not relevant is because you aren't going to fix it in your lifetime, and probably not in your grandkid's. What you are speaking of is the result of thousands of years of natural selection. You're not going to change the cumulative effect of that in a generation, unless you start playing God with people's DNA.
    Quote Originally Posted by carl
    Any examples? No, remember I said this may have been long before the long time before. But I think if you look at all the accounts we have of preliterate fighting groups from the Commaches to the Mongols to the Zulus men have done the fighting. The women stayed home with the kids. I think the whole of human history militates against the belief that men fighting and women not is a "socio-political construction". Except for one or two exceptions the women stayed home and the men fought. It strains credulity, mine anyway, to think that way back when in the time before the time before people decided to create a "socio-political construction" that didn't have a pragmatic basis.
    It's superficial because it is a reading of history without any factual basis. It has no more evidence than any modern day conspiracy theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by former
    I imagine that there are some women out there who can do it... but I doubt they meet USMC height/weight standards for females. I think the build necessitated by those standards is too slight to be able to make it. Lost in all of this is the simple fact that not a single female Marine I know would choose to go into a combat arms field if given the choice. Admittedly, I don't know all of them, but the fact that the ones I do aren't clamoring for this change to be made leads me to believe that the drive behind doing this isn't coming from what I'd consider a "pure" source.
    And those are excellent examples of the normative barriers that I have been speaking about. Here is a good research paper addressing these normative obstacles. Some excerpts:

    Quote Originally Posted by abstract
    The Article examines four problems with the physical strength rationale: (1) stereotyping – the assumption that no woman can do the job without testing the abilities of the individual woman; (2) differential training – the failure to account for the potential for improvement for women who often have less prior physical activity; (3) trait selection – measuring only tasks that are perceived to be difficult for women, while ignoring equally mission critical tasks that women may be better at performing; and (4) task definition – not considering if there are other ways to get the job done. Each of these problems reveals a distortion based on an underlying normative belief that the military should be a male realm. It is this belief, not the reality of physical strength, that motivates the de jure exclusion, the very type of justification forbidden by law, and detrimental to women, men, and the military mission.
    Quote Originally Posted by excerpt
    A pattern emerges from these four problems. What appears to be a biological truth is actually better understood as a normative belief that the military’s job is in some way peculiarly suited to men. It is not that
    women’s bodies do not measure up against an objective standard, but
    that the standard is defined so women do not fit it. This Part examines
    the normative claims exposed as underlying the physical-strength arguments.
    Quote Originally Posted by excerpt
    It goes beyond stereotyping, however, because in believing men are stronger, we both train them to be stronger, and we create a military designed around their abilities—in other words, we make the belief real. Epistemologist Sally Haslanger has termed this cognitive mechanism
    “assumed objectivity.”207 Members of a powerful group ascribe characteristics to a weak group in a way that makes the differences real, and in a vicious cycle, the ascribed characteristics help make the weak group
    weak.208 For example, slave owners might ascribe a lack of intelligence
    to slaves, claim that this characteristic is innate, use this professed belief
    to justify a lack of education, and in this way make real a difference that
    keeps the slave owners in power.
    Quote Originally Posted by carl
    I'll go with using the old noodle to solve military problems
    Where did I suggest otherwise?
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

  16. #496
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    I sense a bit of sniffing disapproval there.

    Emotion is a rather important thing when dealing with human motivation, especially motivation of people fighting in wars since the war will get a lot of those doing the fighting killed. The people know that and yet very often they kept on going up that hill, running toward the Japanese battleships or land at Kham Duc anyway. The reasons they do that are many and I think, remember I'm an always a civilian, the most important ones are emotional when the steel can be seen or it is flying through the air so fast as to be invisible. So I very much see a place for referencing emotion in back and forths like this.
    No sniffing disapproval. In a later post responding to AP, I believe I suggested leaders' need for both quantitative intelligence and emotional intelligence.
    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    To this civilian defending excel spreadsheets as a military decision making tool is...silly. The great leaders of the past didn't need them and there were a lot of great leaders in the past. If they had them they still would be who they were and if McClellan had excel that wouldn't have made him Grant. The problem is for the military to find those Grants and I fear that if proficiency with excel is valued the next incarnation of Bill Slim (sorry British, we're taking your man) who happened to be a computer klutz will be lost to us. That is not a good thing.
    Please do not confuse the tool with the skill. Excel is a tool that provides data for decision makers. Grant most assuredly had data presented to him that helped him decide what to do. McClellan may have had too much attachment to data, producing a species of the paralysis of analysis. I would suggest that Viscount Slim shares my view. On page 194 of his book Defeat into Victory, he says
    Quote Originally Posted by Field Marshall Slim
    From start to finish they [the men of the Fourteenth Army] had only two items of equipment that were never in short supply: their brains and their courage.
    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Most people don't think of it like this but to my knowledge all the ships of the USN have mixed sex crews and when the next big sea fight comes we will be conducting an experiment that has never before been conducted in the history of the humans, mixed sex crews in fighting ships in combat (and I mean real fighting the IJN in the Slot at night type combat, not firing a cruise missile at a third world nation). We'll see if this experiment works. I hope so because the price foe defeat will be very high.
    US Army tactical SIGINT/Electronic warfare teams have had women in them since at least the mid-70s. These teams deploy well forward on the battlefield, farther forward in fact than most of the infantry, armor, and artillery soldiers. They will even be found either with or in advance of the cavalry units that are the advanced scouts of the US Army.
    BTW, I doubt that we will see ship to ship fighting of the type you described between the USN and IJN around Guadalcanal. I suspect future naval combat to be like the action that took place at the Battle of Midway, with a significant portion of the manned aircraft replaced by missiles of various kinds. Instead of a picture of muzzle flashes as destroyers and cruisers slug it out with cannon fire in the Slot, a more likely better image might be the sight of an Exocet slamming into the HMS Sheffield off the Falkland Islands, fired from a delivery platform completely out of the range of the ship's organic weapons.
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. Sydney J. Harris

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    Taking fuchs' last comment to the next step, and also understanding some of the statistics I posted earlier, what is the minimally accepted threshold for knowledge, skills, or abilities to make someone an effective soldier (or airman, sailor, marine, etc)? By mythologizing military service, are we artificially placing that threshold too high, and therefore excluding segments of the population that would otherwise be fit for military service? Is the military just another profession with its own set of required skills and abilities, norms and functions?

    Also - I'd be curious to know if there's data available about the average age of senior leaders over time. Time in grade/service requirements more or less make the military a gerontocracy by default. It is not a meritocracy where promotions and assignments are based strictly on abilities, achievements, and potential. It is dependent on your institutional age.

    As for the historical participation of women in modern combat, I'd reference the experience of Soviet women during World War II. On the face it, there seems to be broad experiences (snipers, tankers, infantry, pilots and navigators, etc). Are there any works out there looking at this experience from a 'should women be in combat' perspective?
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Quite frankly I knew several good soldiers to include officers that drank and some even cheated on their spouses, but wouldn't for a second do anything unethical professionally and you wouldn't hesitate to count on them in combat if you knew them. They just came from a different school of thought when it came to how they conducted their personal lives. Morals are absolutely important, but morals that are related to the profession, not subjective morals where you get to evaluate someone's personal life. This focus on people's personal lives is little more than political correctness concealed as discipline, and it is ruining our society and our military. We boot these guys out, while keeping those who appear to be squeaky clean by appearances, yet it is the squeaky clean ones more often than not that end up betraying their country, perhaps because it didn't live up to their high expectations? Snowden and the specialist who provides droves of classified material to Wikileaks are examples of these types of crusaders. We're in a human organization and if we don't get that humans will error and that each will have different personal values we'll only create the illusion of a force that conforms to a particular set of morals in their personal life. We need to focus on their professional lives and not keep trying to peer into their bedrooms. I can recall two officers who made a huge issue of infidelity and excessive drinking. One later was caught in an act of infidelity and the other finally got called out (and kicked out) when he got his 4th Driving While Intoxicated ticket. There seems to be a correlation between those who are the most self-righteous and also the most guilty.
    Can people's personal lives make them professionally vulnerable? Why do we spend six figures on a background check before giving someone a TS/SCI clearance? Would you personally be comfortable with giving a clearance to a known philanderer? A known drug user? Etc?

    I also know some people who value their oath of enlistment/office more highly than any other commitment they ever made, but I'm struggling to think of any objective method by which you could differentiate them from anyone else who just didn't want to live up to the commitments they've made. The oath of office/enlistment is a lifetime commitment, in the same way that marriage vows are (or, at least, that's how they're designed). A lack of willingness to live up to one doesn't necessarily indicate a lack of willingness to live up to the other, but it does indicate a lack of good judgment on the part of that individual, and a possibility of being put into a vulnerable position by enemy intelligence services. I can't be the only Archer fan here, but the 'honeypot' is not just Sterling Archer's favorite intelligence operation; it does actually happen.

    That's only one example of the sort of things that people who aren't ethically sound can be drawn into. There are lots of examples of bribes, kickbacks, embezzlements, etc., involving military personnel. All of those are, IMO, moral issues.

    I suppose that while I understand your distinction between personal and professional ethics, I don't consider them separable as you apparently do.

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    Let's exclude the non-combat and non-reconnaissance troops, the air force and navy for a while.

    For line-of-sight-to-threat army troops the special requirement is military discipline.

    Historical German army experiences stress that the need for discipline has its roots in the extraordinary demands of combat itself.
    The German keyword here is Gefechtsdisziplin - "combat discipline". It's the compound of obedience with thinking and comradeship.
    A (small) unit cannot withstand the stress of battle without discipline, thus discipline needs to become natural for army soldiers. (...)
    Other than that there are some slightly special requirements (firearms safety, explosives safety, secrecy, psychological stress), which have equivalents in select civilian jobs.
    Gefechtsdisziplin has only remote equivalents in civilian jobs, such as some professional divers (doing welding works underwater in teams, for example), some firefighters (I wouldn't add police raid and hostage rescue teams).


    note: Combat does not demand that you don't cheat on your wife. It may demand that no ill-controlled long hair creates gaps in your NBC protection, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Let's exclude the non-combat and non-reconnaissance troops, the air force and navy for a while.

    For line-of-sight-to-threat army troops the special requirement is military discipline.



    Other than that there are some slightly special requirements (firearms safety, explosives safety, secrecy, psychological stress), which have equivalents in select civilian jobs.
    Gefechtsdisziplin has only remote equivalents in civilian jobs, such as some professional divers (doing welding works underwater in teams, for example), some firefighters (I wouldn't add police raid and hostage rescue teams).


    note: Combat does not demand that you don't cheat on your wife. It may demand that no ill-controlled long hair creates gaps in your NBC protection, though.
    I think it's a bit more complicated than that.

    1) Everyone who carries a gun in combat is by necessity privy to a large amount of sensitive information.

    2) The miracle of satellite phones and satellite internet make the transfer of information from personnel engaged in combat operations to the outside world much easier than ever before.

    3) The combination of the above two circumstances makes soldiers in combat accessible to enemy intelligence in a way they never have been before.

    If you don't consider the above to be a big deal... we'll have to disagree. If you don't think that the above necessitates an interest in the moral character of the people you put into that role... again, we'll have to disagree.

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