View Poll Results: Unconventional Warfare Command - Yea or Nay?

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  • Great Idea, Long Overdue

    10 22.73%
  • Bad Idea, Another Useless Command Structure

    34 77.27%
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Thread: Unconventional Warfare Command?

  1. #1
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Unconventional Warfare Command?

    Support Grows for Standing up an Unconventional Warfare Command - Sean Naylor, Armed Forces Journal.

    An idea that wouldn't die may be getting a new lease on life. Despite years of the idea being shot down at the highest levels, there are again growing calls from inside and outside the military for the establishment of an "unconventional warfare command" that would oversee those special operations forces whose primary mission is not killing and capturing the enemy.

    Recent leadership changes in Congress, the Defense Department and U.S. Special Operations Command have given supporters of the idea fresh hope that the PowerPoint slides might finally become reality.

    At the core of the debate are the Army's Special Forces, who specialize in working "by, with and through" indigenous forces. They have long complained that they play second fiddle in U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to those units that specialize in direct action, i.e. missions focused on capturing or killing enemies. SOCom gives direct-action units, particularly those that fall under Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), priority in resourcing, and it is from those units that most of SOCom's leadership is drawn, they say. Only by the creation of an unconventional warfare command will the special ops units that emphasize indirect action get a fair shake on the battlefield and inside the bureaucracy, their argument goes...

  2. #2
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Nope, just another hamstrung command...

    Let those soldiers do their job, unimpeded.

    The SOCs and JSOCs are working, but not to full potential.

    Why do we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing ? Back in 2004, DTIC thought we had a gap to bridge between operations and command. That never really went anywhere, but years later, we're back on the carousel.

    Seems we're back at stashing all our special toys in one box, under one command, and no joy.

    We don't need to reorganize, just fine tune and get off the micro management stool.

  3. #3
    Council Member redbullets's Avatar
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    Default

    Seems to me, this should remain SOCOM's job, and should be command-directed and resourced accordingly. DHS is still getting itself sorted out how many years after its creation? Creating new commands or cabinet-level departments is not the solution. Providing resources and command emphasis to those already tasked is, or should be.

    Cheers,
    Joe

    Just because you haven't been hit yet does NOT mean you're doing it right.

    "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." President Dwight D. Eisenhower

  4. #4
    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default new command a mistake

    Creating a new command structure is a waste of time. The issue lies within the force providers, the Services as force providers decide what forces to create and source. If you want UW capability that is effective you dont need new command lines you need dedicated forces, that comes from the Services. This will not happen unless the Pres and SECDEF say do it. ( I am not advocating any changes just pointing out whay a new COMMAND would be a waste of resources). Think of the wasted manpower: a new command = a 4 star, and several thousand staffers UGLYwaste of manpower in a time when manpower is already strained.

  5. #5
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default

    It seems to me that it would be one of those "solutions" that avoids the real problems, and only complicates making real headway in addressing the threats we face. It would just add more layers of misplaced bureaucracy and CMD structure. Useful change has to come from evolving our existing institutions and having better understanding of the world and how it effects us; our enemies and how they attempt to deter/injure/destroy us; and the objectives that protect our vital interests, and our allies or who share common interests and goals.
    Regards, Rob

  6. #6
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Dumbb with two 'b's...

    Let SOCOM do the DA bit, transfer the the SF groups back to the Army proper and move on. That is a worse idea for a separate command than even SOCOM.

    If they just gotta stand up a new Joint command, do it with a Medical Command -- that's dumb but with only one 'b'b and it won't do nearly as much damage as as a UWCom -- which anyway would sound too much like EuCom and confuse the media even more than their normal state...

    Come to think of, it if we really want to improve things, we should try the Singlaub apparoach to DoD.

  7. #7
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    I've got the snail's eye view of things, but why re-organize into yet another command structure.

    We already have numerous commands in place, not to mention the SMU's and other little TF's that get put together from time to time.

    I just don't understand why we need another command, seems like more "leadership by penmanship" (not my phrase btw).

  8. #8
    Council Member MattC86's Avatar
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    Default

    Given the littany of complaints about military bureaucracy from Vietnam and Iraq, I fail to see why adding a new layer is going to solve these problems.

    For starters, where would such a command fit in with the regional CinC structure? Would their assets be loaned out to the various COMs for contigency operations? Or would they be entirely seperate like SOCOM units?

    Such a command would have so much turf fighting to do that I doubt it would ever make it to an unconventional battlefield. . .

    Besides, IMO, the military is going to do less full-scale COIN/nation-building and more FID-style operations in the post-Iraq world anyway.

    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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    Default New organizational structure

    An assuption for any unconventional warfare (UW) structure is that SOF are the resident experts and sole sorce of UW operations. This assumption may not be accurate and may lead military services in the wrong direction. In Iraq, SOF conduct direct action conventional operations primarily (not exclusively but the majority of their actions are capture/kill). UW is conducted by "conventional" forces. The complexity of operations and battlespace make direct action only one component of combat operations. A typical BCT or TF in Iraq conducts reconcilation with Sunni and Shia elements, civil support operations, governance support operations, economic development and reconstruction operations, security forces training and partnering, and direct action. These complex tasks require living with and intimately knowning and understanding Iraqs on a neighborhood basis.

    SOF move into an AO they do not own, coduct a capture/kill operation and exfil. The consequences of their actions are not focused on them but on the "land" owner. This is not a criticism of the superb operations CF SOF do daily, simply a recognition that Iraq has unique envrons that allow conventional forces to conduct UW operations.

    US forces do not need another command. What is needed is developing the tools and skills within conventional and special forces to operation in the dynamic complexity of current and future battlefields.

  10. #10
    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Let SOCOM do the DA bit, transfer the the SF groups back to the Army proper and move on.

    Good God, no. Transfering SF back to the regualar Army will only hamstring us. There is a huge difference in mind-set. No good can come from putting us back under big Army control.


    SFC W

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    Good God, no. Transfering SF back to the regualar Army will only hamstring us. There is a huge difference in mind-set. No good can come from putting us back under big Army control.


    SFC W

    That will never happen! However, don't kid yourselves when you look at who answers to who in our current theaters of war. If you pay attention, you will see the JSOTF's answering to the conventional commanders on the ground and I won't get into the CAS and trans reliance on the conventional forces as well in each theater. It's a little muddy in the water when you think about UW, but then again what is UW and who is really doing it right now? It's the same debate I hear about FID, who really conducts it and who doesn't? If I go on patrol with ANA or IA, is that FID? What if they're turds and I don't trust them as far as I can throw them? Am I conducting FID? I have seen PowerPoint slides that say 'yes' this is FID, so this debate will rage on like a case of farts after a chili cook-off and smell just as bad. Personally, I think UW is a great concept and in its purest form you saw 5th SFG do it during the earliest days of OEF, but the shame there was the conventional guys didn't have the slighest CONOP on Afghanistan, so when they rushed into theater to do the hand-off to take C2 of the war they were less than prepared.


    PT

  12. #12
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    Default With caveat

    OK, I'll join the chorus but with a caveat. There are times when reorganization actually does provide a solution to a problem. The only way to fix DOD in the 1980s was something like Goldwater-Nichols (full name, the DOD Reorganization Act of 1986). Incidentally, it was supplemented by the Cohen-Nunn Amendment that created USSOCOM and ASD/SO-LIC which also was a real problem solver. That said, it was the implementation by the first CINCSOC, GEN Jim Lindsay, that really resolved the problems the new organization was meant to address. Lindsay conceived of a Joint Mission Analysis process that served to get the regional CINCs behind him and defined SOCOM's mission. A better solution to the current problem than another reorganization might well be a Linsay like initiative to revisit the Joint Mission analysis for SOCOM. Do it honestly and take its findings to heart.

    Cheers

    JohnT

  13. #13
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Heh. Thought that might get some attention...

    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    Good God, no. Transfering SF back to the regualar Army will only hamstring us. There is a huge difference in mind-set. No good can come from putting us back under big Army control.

    SFC W
    Having been there in another lifetime when the Groups did work for big Army, it isn't that bad.

    Parochialism exists today and the fact that you guys work for SOCOM possibly exacerbates the friction on the ground more than it would if you were all working for the same Commander...

    There will always be conflict between the plodders and the hot-shots. Those, terms, by the way are not pejorative and not accurate but are merely hyperbolic usage to illustrate the perceptions of some people in each grouping.

    That conflict is as old as warfare and is probably not going to go away.

    Recall also that I -- and I know I'm not alone in this thought -- have bemoaned the fact that SF as a branch has eliminated to a too great extent the movement of Officers between big Army and the Groups. Both have suffered from that loss.

    In any event, it's unlikely to happen.

    Just in case, though, I'm using my chemistry set and am working on a Non Parochial Just Get the Job Done pill to be called Nopajugjodone...

  14. #14
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default Hey Ken will

    Just in case, though, I'm using my chemistry set and am working on a Non Parochial Just Get the Job Done pill to be called Nopajugjodone...
    it have one of those cool commercials like Cialis and Viagra? Or will it just have a tag that says..."continued use could make you more effective.... however if you turn purple for more then 2 missions see your branch rep for an assignment to the Pentagon"

    Best regards, Rob

  15. #15
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    Default Why stop with a command?

    Why not create a service specifically for "Counter-Insurgencies" and generally mixed military-police roles (overseas ONLY of course)? Maybe something that is roughly to the army what the Coast Guard is to the Navy.

    The biggest problem I see is the opposition from the established services - no one wants to give up their "turf".

  16. #16
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I'll have to get back to you on that. My people

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    it have one of those cool commercials like Cialis and Viagra? Or will it just have a tag that says..."continued use could make you more effective.... however if you turn purple for more then 2 missions see your branch rep for an assignment to the Pentagon"

    Best regards, Rob
    are talking to Bob Dole's people...

    On the side effects, the one you cite is a problem; the solution is to lengthen WesPac tours, expand Thule and reopen Several compounds up north in Korea...

    Then use Jack Singlaub's solution to the Pentagon problem.

  17. #17
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default Oh, How I remember

    my first WestPac - it was 1986 and my world was different- and for that matter so was I - yep that would do it - if I sound off anymore Dave or Bill will accuse me of sounding like Stan. It was the WestPac that convinced me I should go do Embassy Duty.
    Best, Rob

  18. #18
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default Thought I better clarify something

    yep that would do it - if I sound off anymore Dave or Bill will accuse me of sounding like Stan
    I hope everyone understands that was a harken back to days gone by (and a soldier's compliment) - while from what I know of Stan through SWC - I'd trade 100 guys for 10 Stans in any fight somebody was sending me to - I'd be a bit wary of accompanying Stan to say Pataya Beach, Thailand - I could see myself getting into trouble real fast - and having allot of explaining to do when I got back

    Stan I think (from what I know of him through the site & the guys I know like him) is the guy you want next to you when somebody drops you off alone in some #### hole with 1000 lbs of the wrong stuff, and clock is ticking away while people who don't much like you are figuring out ways to make life miserable or end it. He will make his own luck, procure those things you need, find people who you can work with, provide the most common sense answers that have somehow eluded you, and keep you alive so the mission gets done. He is a professional, tactically and technically competent SNCO - he keeps us straight and focused.

    But going on liberty/R&R - he'll also know where all the ladies and alcohol are at!

    God bless Stan and all those like him!

  19. #19
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    Default

    I will state up-front that I fall into the group-think crowd in the belief that creating yet another separate command just for UW would be a bad idea. However, I figured that I would throw this older NPS thesis into the mix:

    Transformation: A Bold Case for Unconventional Warfare, Jun 04
    Our “Bold Case for Unconventional Warfare” argues for the establishment of a new branch of military service called the Department of Strategic Services. The single mission for this new branch of service would be the conduct of Unconventional Warfare (UW). The thesis statement is: Unconventional Warfare is a viable tool for achieving national security objectives under certain circumstances. There are two hypotheses. Hypothesis One states that in order for UW to be effective it must be managed in accordance with specific principles. Hypothesis Two states that, to optimize UW, a new branch of service under the Department of Defense is required.

    The first part of this study thoroughly deals with the concept of UW. Chapter II establishes the strategic requirement and lays the foundation of our argument by explaining the differences between UW and conventional warfare. Chapter III explains the requirements for dealing with substate conflicts. The salient point is that substate conflicts are essentially local conflicts. Therefore, intimate “microclimate” knowledge of a given local level environment is necessary for proper solutions to be applied. Chapter IV is essentially the heart of this study. In it we articulate our operational construct for UW, which revolves around an indigenous-based force used to provide security at the local level in order for the US to gain influence in a targeted population. A UW Model is offered to support this operational construct.

    In the second half of this thesis we build our case for the creation of a new UW branch. Chapter V analyzes policy directives given to the DoD by civilian leadership, military doctrine, and schooling. In sum, these reveal a conventional military aversion to the use of UW. Chapter VI includes a comparative case study analysis of US Special Forces efforts in the Vietnam War and El Salvador. The conceptual discussion in Chapters I thru IV supported by the research and analysis of Chapters V and VI together make up “A Bold Case for UW”.
    Complete 129 page document at the link.

  20. #20
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    Default Half-vast

    UW so offends the mindsets and skillsets of the general run of generals that SOF is about as fur as they kin go in that direction without getting all dizzy-like. When approaching vast projects that include nation-building or reconstruction, their approaches are consequentially half-vast. Kill the right selection of bad guys and move on.
    Ain't happenin'.

    Something like a permanent EPRT orientation of SOMEBODY higher is needed. Whether that can be achieved in less than a generation or two without a new command is the question. Personally, I kinda doubt it; the usual sequence of cleaning house in time of war at the Big P or waiting for incumbents to die off seems to be kind of klutzy, but it's the entire present toolset.

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