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Thread: Grunts and Jarheads: Rethinking the Army-Marine Division of Labor

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    Default Grunts and Jarheads: Rethinking the Army-Marine Division of Labor

    Grunts and Jarheads: Rethinking the Army-Marine Division of Labor by Council member Dr. Steven Metz. US Army Strategic Studies Institute Op-Ed.

    Debate rages today about the future of America’s ground forces. Gone are the days when serious strategists could suggest that that utility of landpower was receding. Now no one questions its importance. But there is disagreement on the type and number of ground forces that the nation needs.

    Among the most contentious points are the size of the force (by how much should the Army and Marines be enlarged?), specialized formations for irregular warfare and stabilization operations, and the role of the reserve components. All of these are vitally important. There is, though, another issue which receives less attention: the relationship between the Army and the Marine Corps—the two primary components of America’s ground forces. Does the United States need two ground forces with virtually similar capabilities? I once heard a perplexed foreign officer say, “I’ll never understand your military—not only does your navy have an army, but your navy’s army has an air force!” Is there a strategic reason for this beyond simple tradition? If not, what should the division of labor within the ground forces be? These are not new questions but are ones that should be asked anew, given the evolving national security environment...

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    Council Member MattC86's Avatar
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    Surprised this hasn't triggered a massive schism in the Council yet over the future of "the Navy's Police force" as Harry Truman once un-flatteringly referred to the Marine Corps. Soldiers v. Marines. (Or as one family ex-State Department employee told me, "Both the Army and the Marines have a major Achilles heel: one relies on the Air Force for support; the other relies on the Navy!"

    I think the duplicity of roles and convergence of mission between the Army and Marine Corps has been an inevitable product of bureaucratic stubbornness and the "piece of the pie" attitude the military has taken towards warfighting since at least WWII. Fiscally, it would be most effective, probably, to do just as Metz suggested (although I particularly like the idea of a Marine Corps as a specialized small wars/COIN and amphibious expeditionary force) and try to delineate some specifics about the roles the respective services should play.

    But in my eyes it's impossible. Can any of you imagine a major conflict breaking out, and the national command authorities specifying that the Marine Corps will wage the conflict because it's a counterinsurgency or because it's in Nicaragua and the Army as an institution accepting it? Absolutely not. There would be an immediate and self-righteous fury within the Army and probably a stampeding rush by senior brass to send as many assets as possible to the theater.

    Likewise, a sudden conventional conflict against North Korea would not be limited to a few Army heavy divisions. The Marine Corps would storm ashore anywhere on the Korean peninsula in order to get into the fight.

    The attitude of "it's the only war we got - we gotta get in it" guarantees mission and capabilities convergence. And bureacratic inertia plus the typical attitudes of senior military brass guarantee that attitude will continue.

    This train of thought also pervades budgetary thinking. Any non-military observer, when presented with the data from our most recent conflicts and the likelihood that such interventions and small wars will be the most common combat activities for the US military in the foreseeable (sp?) future, would immediately (and sanely) conclude that within the defense budget, funds allocated for, say F-22s and CG(X)s should be cut to increase funding for the Army and Marine Corps. Yet one would never expect the Air Force Chief of Staff to acquiesce. He will fight tooth and nail for the F-22, offer to rename it the F/A-22 to show what a great and useful tool for CAS in COIN situations it is, and probably get his money. He wants his budget, he wants his kingdom, and he (he being the institution, really) willl invent as many new raison d' etres (or, more accurately, tie any scenario, no matter how far-fetched, to his current raison d' etre) as necessary to keep them and prove the utility and necessity of his budget and service.

    Once again, I've moved from the question at hand and small wars to "why government bureaucracy sucks." For that I apologize, but I think that atmosphere makes Dr. Metz's interesting suggestions more or less moot.

    Matt
    "Give a good leader very little and he will succeed. Give a mediocrity a great deal and he will fail." - General George C. Marshall

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Sitting with three flag officers awhile back (2 army one navy) this topic came up. I as the lowly former Marine kept my mouth shut when after some cigar nibbling one reprobate said "Hell, none of us count the Air Force will do it". One of the others said "But, we want to win!"
    Sam Liles
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    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattC86 View Post
    Surprised this hasn't triggered a massive schism in the Council yet over the future of "the Navy's Police force" as Harry Truman once un-flatteringly referred to the Marine Corps. Soldiers v. Marines.
    Always remember, Truman had a personal grudge against the Marines.

    Quote Originally Posted by MattC86 View Post
    Once again, I've moved from the question at hand and small wars to "why government bureaucracy sucks." For that I apologize, but I think that atmosphere makes Dr. Metz's interesting suggestions more or less moot.
    Yes, it is more or less moot given the current atmosphere, but I feel it is an issue that must be addressed. Like you, I was wondering when this would finally come up. In the end this issue is probably almost as important as any other issue discussed (in this forum.) Although, politically (civilian and military) its a nightmare it needs to be dealt with.

    Adam

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Default Is there a role for a Marine Corps in the world now?

    Dr. Metz brings up the cloying issue that haunts the halls of large five sided structures not that any would be willing to change things, but what if. I’ll be the first to say that force size and structure aren’t my areas of expertise but that’s never stopped me before.

    Why do we have services at all rather than a national defense force? Why are there four national academies (Army, Navy, Air force, and Merchant Marine)? Dr. Metz puts this into the perspective of a budgetary exercise that offers up a few options regarding the geographic or mission objectives of each force but I think there is more.

    I know it’s slightly pedantic but lets generalize heavily for a moment and then I’ll get to one almost original thought. The Navy is about the ocean above and below it and flies airplanes off and onto portable airfields called carriers. The Army owns the brunt of land-based warfare. The Air Force owns the atmosphere. The Marine Corps is special operations. Amphibious assault, small wars, counter-insurgency, police operations, protecting the mail, and securing embassies is what the Marine Corps does. Of course we find every other force stepping up and saying “me too”. Special forces, or special operations commands are stood up in each service to fill that role, and everybody agrees to disagree or vehemently argues the point.

    You can have quick, cheap, quality pick any two

    So what do we know? We set up the military during the cold war to fight a continental theater wide war against another super-power that didn’t occur theater wide but happened as hot spots, only to “transform” that large scale military force into a smaller highly flexible entity that has issues meeting the large scale military force issues in the current conflict, and only to look at the looming baby boomer draw down because grandpa will need his Viagra. I would argue that we need to look generations ahead and see where the next battles are likely to occur or might occur for how we should structure the services. If an aging populace and a hefty current debt are going to affect us let’s plan for the future well ahead and determine the areas of conflict. You can’t know the unknown so let’s build sustainable and flexible without sacrificing capable.

    If catastrophic climate change is real and world wide flooding and coastal erosion decimate the world’s ports and cities a Marine Corps will be vital for fighting in that role or amphibious operations. A Navy capable of shallow water operations will be vital. If climate change causes substantial refugee populations necessitating strategic food or energy a flexible and deployable Army will be more important than Armor and close air support.

    “The Cadillac Desert (1986/1996)” details the issues of fresh water and impending shortages in the Western United States. The Great Lakes represent one of the largest concentrations of drinking water in the world. Domestic and foreign enemies may find this a tempting target as water rights and issues of reclamation become larger. Take the range wars (water wars) of the American west and realistic or not globalize them. What kind of force structure do you need to protect vital resources like a lake?

    Terrain is changing. Two thirds of the planet is covered by water (a point the Navy emphasizes often). There is a resource rich ocean floor that is currently mined and drilled for oil and other high value resources. Aquaculture has taken on a new emphasis as the ocean fisheries have given up to farmed resources that fill the gap. These become points of contention as they move away from the shore into international waters. With corn and other bio-fuel commodities exploding in cost it won’t be long until “vital interest” includes primary suppliers who no longer are national or the concept of national changes. What would infantry operations under water look like? Fanciful? Ask a SEAL.

    Finally the atmosphere envelope is the purview of the Air Force. I’ve personally worked with SPACE COMMAND so I know the Air Force claims outside the atmosphere too. The fact remains that so does the Navy. As a Navy commander reminded me they’re called space ships. The treaty and pacts of space put a damper on military operations beyond satellite right up until somebody forgets about those niggling little details like diplomacy by treaty. What will this new terrain look like? Every body including civilians are getting into the space business. A decade or three from now what will we see? If you think about Burt Rutan Ansari X-prize winner as analogous to Orville and Wilbur Wright in about forty years manned space planes will be the owners of the combat high ground and satellites and such the observation balloons of a by-gone era.

    All of this fanciful discussion and wild flippancy isn’t about the probable. I can’t prognosticate any better than others. What (and here’s the first almost original thought) I’m suggesting it as follows. Systems that are strong and capable have several common themes. They are made of components that are highly redundant. No component has a single use and multiple uses are good. The components may be specialized in their mission but their capability is generalized. Components in highly successful systems should be competitive in the sense that they provide naturally occurring evolution to the system. No one component should make the system fail. The components should integrate seamlessly without increasing complexity. Diversity in supplier and customer strengthens the overall system. Finally, highly successful systems are oiled by success and inter process communication.

    Do you really want to trust your safety to the lowest bidder?

    Should a draw down occur and I’ll be the first to admit that I expect one. So, when the draw down does occur, the reservists go home, the veterans of OIF sip spirits at the Marine Corps Ball there will be the primary services. Not because they are the most cost effective. A military is not about being cost effective. There will be the primary services because they make each other stronger and create a more flexible military platform in their entirety for response to new challenges.
    Sam Liles
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    All opinions are mine and may or may not reflect those of my employer depending on the chance it might affect funding, politics, or the setting of the sun. As such these are my opinions you can get your own.

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    Default Yet another jarhead weighing in

    What Dr. Metz doesn't address is the core competency of forcible entry from the sea, something not currently duplicated and inherent to our role within the Department of the Navy. Certainly, after entry we have served as a second ground Army. But we offer a very esoteric skillset that, as an interventionist naval power, we cannot afford to lose. That is our raison d'etre, though Dr. Metz has a point in that some more thought needs to be given to our role post-entry.

    I have wondered, however, about reconciling the protracted nature of CoIN with the relatively short-term operations that our MAGTF's are structured for.

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    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Default Let me kick off the debate.

    Here's how I see it.

    Note: These two assumptions arbased on what follows.
    - The Army needs to get bigger.
    - The Marine Corp should stay the same size or (don't get angry) perhaps should be smaller and have a even higher level and standard of training. The Marine Corp's size, like special forces, has a dwindling relationship to the population. Yes, during major conflicts the Marine Corp was able to grow significantly while maintaining relatively high standards, but this was partially due to so many men enlisting to avoid being drafted into the Army (I've met a lot of people who enlisted in the Marines for this reason in Korea, WWII and even Vietnam.)

    But in my eyes it's impossible. Can any of you imagine a major conflict breaking out, and the national command authorities specifying that the Marine Corps will wage the conflict because it's a counterinsurgency or because it's in Nicaragua and the Army as an institution accepting it? Absolutely not. There would be an immediate and self-righteous fury within the Army and probably a stampeding rush by senior brass to send as many assets as possible to the theater.

    Likewise, a sudden conventional conflict against North Korea would not be limited to a few Army heavy divisions. The Marine Corps would storm ashore anywhere on the Korean peninsula in order to get into the fight.
    As much as I get what you are saying this argument just doesn't hold up. Even if the services are divided by specialties almost every conflict, with the exception of the smallest of small wars, will require a broad are of specialties. Yes, the proportions of Army/Marines will be determined by this but no matter the conflict they will need each other. This is assuming the specialty breakdown is reasonable.

    Before I go any further I have to adress the AF. The AF needs F22 (but don't dare call the F/A) to maintain air supremacy. Despite their low numbers they will be necessary to take on our enemies equivelant fighters. The only problem with them is how few there are. If for some reason we ever had to take on, for example, China we might run into the situation where they are so badly outnumbered that their technological superiority means nothing. Also, with the price to maintain these marevels I don't know if our fighter pilots will get enough time to practice dogfights (the f22 only carries 8 missiles.) On the other hand the AF desperately needs to decide what they are going to do about bombers. Although the B52's are probably good for another 40+ years, we need to figure this out. Although they may not have the image the AF is going for these days they are more economical the fighter-bombers. They also will be needed if we really get into a big one.

    Marine Corp:
    - Amphibious Operations
    - Securing Littoral Regions
    - Expeditionary Warfare (the Marines should be our high mobility/quick reactions force)
    - COIN (Overlapping duty with sections of the Army. Too many of our small wars are too big.)
    - Non-Combatant Evacutions (Again this area should be overlapped based on the size of the evacuation and location. Anything neer the ocean is a given.
    - The Marines should be used as shock troops to break through, or leapforg over, enemy lines due to the expeditionary capabilites lending themselves to this capability.
    - Humanitarian Operations and Peackeeping (again the expeditionary capabilities lend themselves to this)(there will be more overlap here.

    Army:
    - Everything else and the areas I outlined for overlap. For the Army the issue is more that they ned to understand their job is to have the staying power in smaller operations. Again, most small wars today are too large for just the Marine Corp.

    Annother area that has to be dealt with for all services is special operations. The Marine Corp should have special operations units. What we should be trying to avoid is what appears to be happening today. SOCOM looks as though it is trying to (whether by its own opinion or our former secretary of defense) turn all of the services special operations units into the same thing. Again, they should be able to handle each others jobs, but they should stick to and be utilized according to their specialties when possible. This is almost the same situation as whats happening between the Army and Marine Corp.

    There you have it. Its an outsiders point of view.

    Now that I've said all of that please tell me whats wrong with it.

    So I can fix it. LOL

    Adam

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    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Before anybody responds I took so long writing this thing I didn't see the posts by mmx1 and selil.

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    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    I know it’s slightly pedantic but lets generalize heavily for a moment and then I’ll get to one almost original thought. The Navy is about the ocean above and below it and flies airplanes off and onto portable airfields called carriers. The Army owns the brunt of land-based warfare. The Air Force owns the atmosphere. The Marine Corps is special operations. Amphibious assault, small wars, counter-insurgency, police operations, protecting the mail, and securing embassies is what the Marine Corps does. Of course we find every other force stepping up and saying “me too”. Special forces, or special operations commands are stood up in each service to fill that role, and everybody agrees to disagree or vehemently argues the point.
    Good point. This is to an extent how it should be. Other forces should be able to have special forces in thier areas, but only in their specialty areas. The Marine Corp has their unique specialties and the specialties in the transitional areas between services. It makes sense. I know this is very generalized, but its a start

    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    All of this fanciful discussion and wild flippancy isn’t about the probable. I can’t prognosticate any better than others. What (and here’s the first almost original thought) I’m suggesting it as follows. Systems that are strong and capable have several common themes. They are made of components that are highly redundant. No component has a single use and multiple uses are good. The components may be specialized in their mission but their capability is generalized. Components in highly successful systems should be competitive in the sense that they provide naturally occurring evolution to the system. No one component should make the system fail. The components should integrate seamlessly without increasing complexity. Diversity in supplier and customer strengthens the overall system. Finally, highly successful systems are oiled by success and inter process communication.
    Couldn't hav said it better, I think you really put together all the issues.

    Great post,
    Adam

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam L View Post
    Here's how I see it.

    Note: These two assumptions arbased on what follows.
    - The Army needs to get bigger.
    - The Marine Corp should stay the same size or (don't get angry) perhaps should be smaller and have a even higher level and standard of training.
    I Agree, the Army since the late 80's is too small for her roles and responsibilities. However, I feel we have sacrificed quality for quantity and we're overdue for a change.

    I can't completely support my opinion regarding the size of the Corps, but have been around Marine NCOs and Officers long enough to know, they don't like the Corps' larger size or recent changes in training standards.

    The Army and Marines need a single set of high standards. Why does for example a Marine run 3 miles and an Army soldier only 2 miles ?
    I understand the Air Force folks can elect to jog

    No more lowest bidder to a government contract please ! You'd think we could buy something that works and doesn't include planned obsolescence.
    Last edited by Stan; 09-12-2007 at 10:09 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post

    The Army and Marines need a single set of high standards. Why does for example a Marine run 3 miles and an Army soldier only 2 miles ?
    I understand the Air Force folks can elect to jog
    I don't see the Army maintaining its recruitment/retention numbers if they had to raise their standards across the board. Their combat arms standards are just as high; we just have the luxury of demanding higher standards out of everybody else.

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmx1 View Post
    I don't see the Army maintaining its recruitment/retention numbers if they had to raise their standards across the board. Their combat arms standards are just as high; we just have the luxury of demanding higher standards out of everybody else.
    An interesting observation. I wasn't aware of high standards having an affect on recruitment and retention. Do you have a military study covering that MMX ?

    Actually, we do have the luxury (across the board) of demanding higher standards. It's that, or the insurance premiums will eventually become a luxury the American public cannot finance.

    EDIT: Forgive my 23 years in the Army, but your user profile doesn't help me justify your recent post. Background that is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmx1 View Post
    I don't see the Army maintaining its recruitment/retention numbers if they had to raise their standards across the board. Their combat arms standards are just as high;
    Which is why the USMC embeds two post command captains in the Armor Basic Course and sends all Marine Corps tankers to Fort Knox after the Marine Corps Basic Course.
    Example is better than precept.

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Don't forget that unless something's changed the strength of the Marine Corps is established by public law, so there's a limit to how far you can shrink it before you need to change laws.

    Since the Marines have their own organic air (fixed wing and helicopters) they can respond to a variety of situations quickly and with a good combined arms mix. That's just a given that isn't going to change unless the AF chops close air support assets on a permanent basis (or just gives them up like McPeak was talking about in the early 1990s) to the Army. The size and culture of the force also allows them to reorient faster than the Army when it comes to changes in doctrine and operational methods. They can't sustain some training facilities (hence the guys at Knox and elsewhere), but that has to do with budgeting.

    The Army is better-suited for prolonged engagements/deployments due to both their size and logistics capability. That's pretty much a given as well. You need both the Army and/or Marines to secure bases for the AF, since operating out of theater isn't always possible or practical (nations can restrict overflight, after all, and tanker ops are limited by numbers available).

    Could the Army be trained to do some Marine activities? Of course, but by the same token the Corps could expand and take on many Army duties as well. By nature, history, and training the Corps is an expeditionary force. The Army is not to the same degree. Elements of it used to be, but the great "reforms" of Root and his later followers really changed that. You do see sparks of it from time to time (mainly in the Cav community from what I've seen, but again my experience is somewhat limited when it comes to the infantry side).

    And Stan, the AF's been allowing jogging for some time. All you have to do is complete your 1.5 miles in the time allowed (up to 14 minutes or so if memory serves).
    "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."
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    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default Service Missions and Nat'l Defense Strategy

    I think Stan and RTK have defended the Army's honor well. The discussion should probably avoid arguments over internal standards for recruitment and retention. I think it should target that which went unsaid in the intiating article. In the summary of the article no suggestion was given for a means to rectify the issue of redundancy in the face of force reduction. This is not a new argument.

    Marines of all ranks have to read Victor Krulak's First to Fight it is required. In it particularly chptr 8 -You can't get there from here: the Inchon story-you see a similiar discussion and the way the Corps fought through. Krulak quotes then SECDEF Louis Johnson (28 March 1949): "Admiral , the Navy is on its way out. There's no reason for having a Navy and a Marine Corps. General Bradley tells me amphibious operations are a thing of the past. We'll never have any more amphibious operations. That does away with the Marine Corps. And the Air Force can do anything that the Navy can do, so that does away with the Navy." Then on 15 Sept 1950 the Marines land at Inchon with Navy Surface and air support.

    That said it is a common refrain within the Corps to say: the nation does not need a Marine Corps, it WANTS a Marine Corps.

    With that out of the way, the discussion returns to what are the roles and missions of the 4 services? Which ones over lap and which ones can be consolidated in one service for economy sake.

    For example: Expeditionary Operations, the Marines and Navy tend to have the lead here, @70% of the world is accesible via the litorals, yet almost all op plans for amphibious operations/forcible entry call for integration with the airfield seizure capability of the 82nd Airborne and other like units. Further without AF refuelers airpower for these ops would take a hit. Once in country, most Marines (from my experience) would prefer to let the Army continue the heavy lifting, we can look to the sheer number of armored vehicles and tanks for emperical evidence, the Corps has just 2 battalions of active duty tankers.

    There is a need for better interoperability and there is a need for a division of labor. The downside is that as budgets shrink the acrimony between services grows. No one can tell precisely what the future of warfare is going to be. There are many who claim they do but it is an art not a science.

    The current U.S. nat'l stragtegy as laid out by the President is to maintain Military Superiority in all aspects of warfighting over any of our national rivals. Of course current fight problems with COIN and transnational nonstate threats have clouded this recently. All actions by the services have to be guided by the National Defense Strategy, and the National Defense Budget is the battlefield. The problem arises with the upcoming election and the uncertainty as to what comes after Iraq. Force reductions? Huge budget cuts? That would be the traditional post conflict scenario. The great line by Robert Duvall in Apocalyps Now "some day this war is gonna end..." and he looks sad when he says it. Perhaps he senses the upcoming budget and mission battles.

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Hey Steve !
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    And Stan, the AF's been allowing jogging for some time. All you have to do is complete your 1.5 miles in the time allowed (up to 14 minutes or so if memory serves).
    Well, my point exactly. Time for a change. Yeah, kinda hard to make pilots think about running, so let that one slide.

    I've seen some lean green fighting machines in all branches, so anything's possible. It's not just the CAV, SF and Ranger teams are an impressive bunch, and gun bunnies are some healthy folks too.

    I intend to have even the admin pukes running 3 miles

    You wanna dick up my latest travel voucher while in tennis shoes ? You better be able to keep up then, or it's out ya go.

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    Default Selil has it right. The current system * has built

    in competition for resources and roles that are not cost efficient but are effective. Unification and centralization are money savers but that's not what it's all about. Effectiveness should be the guiding principle and while that inter service competition causes slight degradation of effectiveness in some circumstances, it does far more to enhance it overall.

    Stan's also right on the need to dump the lowest bidder routine, DoD has enough buying power to insist on buying design rights and then competing production on items and systems it owns. We buy a lot of good stuff and we buy a lot of not so good stuff -- and we can, of course, over-engineer anything...

    We will have fewer people because the quality needed and wanted has a cost and that's okay IMO. We do better now than we did but we still waste a lot of spaces in esoteric jobs in all the services. Most of our headquarters could be significantly cut thus forcing the system to put effort and functions at the proper level and curtailing the micromanagement habits built up post Viet Nam.

    * I 'm not a USSOCOM fan in many respects but their procurement system is miles ahead of anyone else's...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    An interesting observation. I wasn't aware of high standards having an affect on recruitment and retention. Do you have a military study covering that MMX ?

    Actually, we do have the luxury (across the board) of demanding higher standards. It's that, or the insurance premiums will eventually become a luxury the American public cannot finance.

    EDIT: Forgive my 23 years in the Army, but your user profile doesn't help me justify your recent post. Background that is.
    Well, my observation is based on
    1) the Army has fallen short of its recruiting goals for some time now
    2) the Army had to lower educational standards (previously above DoD minimums) to address this shortfall
    3) Physical fitness isn't uniformly essential to all jobs

    If you start requiring mechanics and admin clerks to run 3 miles, you'll have to decide what to do with an otherwise competent soldier who is just a fatbody. I'd rather have a fatbody who'll process my travel claim on time than a clerk that loses the paperwork but can run a 300 PFT. I know of otherwise competent SNCO's who've been adsep'd because they couldn't meet the weight standard. Of course, if the choice is between two equally competent soldiers where the only difference is PT, it's an easy choice. You don't always have that luxury.

    If you start getting more selective in one area, say PT, then either your numbers decline or you have to be less selective in other metrics. That's a simple fact. You yourself alluded to grumbling in the Corps about declining training standards resulting from our growth. The Army is an order of magnitude larger and consequently cannot and should not do things the way the Marines do - it's not a rip on the Army, just an acknowledgment that different circumstances require different approaches.

    PT standards make a fun thing to rag other people about - it happens in the Corps between the Division and the Wing. But honestly, I don't expect grunts to turn wrenches nor my mechanics to be lean mean fighting machines. PT isn't the only metric of competency and there are plenty of MOS's where it's not a principal one.

    No, I don't have extensive recruiting experience. I spent some time on TAD as an officer recruiter and exchanged notes regularly with a college buddy who was a goldbar recruiter in the same AO and was tasked out to the RS to help with the enlisted mission. I have tried to wrap my head around the challenges.

  19. #19
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Hey MMX !

    Quote Originally Posted by mmx1 View Post
    Well, my observation is based on
    1) the Army has fallen short of its recruiting goals for some time now
    2) the Army had to lower educational standards (previously above DoD minimums) to address this shortfall
    3) Physical fitness isn't uniformly essential to all jobs
    My beef is not only PT, but nonetheless a weak area today.
    High standards also include MOS proficiency and certainly moral standards. Courage will come from the DS.

    Quote Originally Posted by mmx1 View Post
    If you start requiring mechanics and admin clerks to run 3 miles, you'll have to decide what to do with an otherwise competent soldier who is just a fatbody. I'd rather have a fatbody who'll process my travel claim on time than a clerk that loses the paperwork but can run a 300 PFT. I know of otherwise competent SNCO's who've been adsep'd because they couldn't meet the weight standard. Of course, if the choice is between two equally competent soldiers where the only difference is PT, it's an easy choice. You don't always have that luxury.
    Well, that's indeed interesting, since I've been wrenching on tracks and generators, and still happen to manage not only 290 PT score (I'm 50 BTW), but also critical task-related skills. These are lame excuses from the 70's when ASVAB scores were manipulated, only later in the 80's to be reversed and the loss of good soldiers in the balance. I actually now appreciate getting educated soldiers back. But, an education won't get you through a battle together. Physical fitness is indeed uniformly essential when I recall what happened to a bunch of logistics personnel in the middle of Iraq. Even if one of them had the intestinal fortitude to fight back (like I had to do as a teen in DC), they would have run outta steam and been shot. Now that my log is gone along with the 175mm rounds I desperately needed and the fuel for my M107, I guess I could just run my Alpha off...being I can

    Forgive me for condensing your post, but enough of PT.

    Quote Originally Posted by mmx1 View Post
    No, I don't have extensive recruiting experience. I spent some time on TAD as an officer recruiter and exchanged notes regularly with a college buddy who was a goldbar recruiter in the same AO and was tasked out to the RS to help with the enlisted mission. I have tried to wrap my head around the challenges.
    There's my point ! I know little about you other than your brief intro in June and your user profile. However, what you've provided above still doesn't give me much to go on.

    I don't see the recruiting and retention levels falling. I asked you for a military study (an Army or Marine article will also do just fine) that supports your last post.

    Regards, Stan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    I don't see the recruiting and retention levels falling. I asked you for a military study (an Army or Marine article will also do just fine) that supports your last post.

    Regards, Stan
    Well, we are getting afield of the original topic. I never claimed it to be a proven result, just my personal observation.

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