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Thread: A Modest Proposal to Adjust the Principles of War

  1. #41
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    Default Well said, Global Scout.

    You packed a lot of wisdom in that post.

    Steve, you have to admit that, at the very least, Larry was an original (or should I say inventive) thinker.

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    You packed a lot of wisdom in that post.

    Steve, you have to admit that, at the very least, Larry was an original (or should I say inventive) thinker.

    He and Ralph were two people I NEVER want to follow as a speaker. Last time I saw Larry the two of us were speakers at the SF Branch Conference. I met a two star named Schoomaker who was running it.

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    Default 7 steps for COIN?

    I'll look around, we had the 7 phases of U.S. sponsored unconventional warfare forever (a somewhat limited perspective of UW, focuses on using guerrillas/insurgents to support our conventional forces), but I don't ever recall seeing the 7 steps for COIN? I'll look though and see what I can come up with.

    The UW steps are:

    1. Psychological preparation of the target audiences
    2. Initial contact between guerrillas and U.S. contacts
    3. Infiltrating USSF
    4. Organizing the guerrillas
    5. Build up the guerrilla forces
    6. Employ the guerrillas (guerrilla warfare)
    7. Demobilize the guerrillas (turn the weapons into plows again, yea right).

    There is a lot that goes into each step, but this is the general idea. I guess you could draw some parallels to COIN, but I wouldn't.

  4. #44
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Good post. I don't think we disagree significantly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Global Scout View Post
    Having been involved in a few COINs I respectfully disagree...
    That's fine, your nations involved and mine probably differ and people and experiences differ. Other than with Latin Americans (with no great culture or religion gap), It still tracks in my experience.

    I haven't been involved in Iraq or the 'Stan but I did live in the ME for a couple of years and got to travel about. Certainly no expert but I did learn four things in the ME:

    1. They are exceedingly polite.
    2. That politeness leads them to tell you what they think you want to hear.
    3. They will hew to you as long as they perceive any advantage to them, their family, their Tribe or their country in that order.
    4. Nothing in the ME is as it seems.

    My son who's been to both theaters says the Afghans are different in many respects and are far easier to work with and that they can be won over to a far greater extent. Different strokes.

    ...however, I agree that the many in the American military are far from the ideal individuals to execute COIN. Too many of our Soldiers and officers are arrogant and assuming, and unwilling to "really" listen to the locals, thus too quick to burn bridges with the indigenous personnel in whatever country they manage to put boots on the ground in. Special Forces is one of the only units that is actually trained to establish and maintain rapport with the locals, and trust is absolutely essential (it takes time to develop and constant work to maintain it). Unfortunately we too have started to lose that trait since 9/11, since everyone, including SF wants to play whack-a-mole and engage in bankrupt concepts like network targeting.
    Agree on all counts. I'd also say that some Americans will never be able to be trained to lose some of those negative aspects you cite -- which complicates the COIN problem for the non-SF Army.

    Problem is that there aren't enough really qualified people who can pass honest Selection and fill the Groups, therefor the rest of the Army in all likelihood going to have to get involved and better cooperation between Green and big Army is necessary...

    Some people, I believe Kilcullen is one, say there are two strategies in COIN. One is enemy focused, and it only works when the insurgency is in the incipient phase . . . Instead some simply want to build schools and naively assume they're having the desired effect.
    Agree. No caveats.

    I for one don't think that COIN is sole fight of the future . . . Now we think the gravest threat to our security is transnational terrorism (I would argue this isn't reasoned analysis at all, but regardless it is where we are at now), and COIN is the response, everything else is a distant second priority.
    Agree.

    As always we need to maintain the capability to do both. I still generally agree with GEN Shinseki when he said something along the lines of we can lose a COIN and still survive, but we cannot survive losing a conventional war. I think that argument is still valid, and we have to accept that some insurgencies can't be won without an unreasonable amount of dollars and blood, because the HN government is simply inept. In those cases we have the option of saying enough, we tried to help you.
    And I agree with that as well. It all goes back to a frank assessment before commitment. Given that the 'national leadership' (scary phrase, that...) over the next decade or so is not likely to have any military experience at the helm; it is up to the Army to produce a full spectrum capability, to better operate with SOCOM and to let said leadership know what's in the too-hard box. As one of Shinseki's predecessors said, "We 'can-do' ourselves to death." That needs to stop. However, excessive caution and disinclination to commit also merit thought...

    Good post. I just want to see some balance and have watched for a great many years the swings to opposite poles in doctrine. Those are not good.

    And I still never got to Europe...
    Last edited by Ken White; 12-17-2007 at 02:52 AM. Reason: Typos

  5. #45
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Default Read Leonhard

    Gentelman,

    As previously stated I strongly suggest reading Leonhard. Despite the title, it is real "old school" stuff, and does a away with a lot of the rubbish that Fuller, Liddell Hart, and FM-100/5 comes up with.

    SEMANTICS

    Words are important. If we were all doctors, all words used would have a universal and precise meaning. Same is true if we were physicists or engineers.

    We can't talk about surprise, initiave or economy of force unless there is a precise, accurate and useable definition. Look at the way Ken White and I have utterly different understandings of Agility and Initiative.

    It would seem to me, that the calibre of men on this board (and it is exceptional - most boards like this are populated by morons) should be able to focus on developing a common understanding to ensure greater use.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Global Scout View Post
    I love these conversations where those indoctrinated at CGSC in pseudo-intellectual theories of war rally around Clausewitz and Army doctrine that frequently isnít worth the paper it is written on. .

    1. Mass is no longer required to prevail at the tactical, operational or strategic levels. Whether we call it a level of war (LIC, MIC, or HIC), 4GW (I donít like the term either), or something else, desired effects can be achieved without mass.
    If there is no theory to underpin the profession of arms then it is not a true profession, as in medicine, engineering or law. Its just a job, like being a hairdresser or shop assistant. You just need to be trained. You don't have to be able to reason. - and as it is a true profession, I submit that sound theory is vital - otherwise you just have opinions. You don't see engineers having "opinions" about single span bridges.

    If mass is no longer required, then when a J-TAC calls in a combined Fast Air, NGF and Atry strike on a high value target, is he not concentrating mass in time and space?

    If mass is no longer required, what is the opposite of mass, that we should be emphasising?
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    The Curmudgeon: Just curious, what was the success rate for operations conducted under this system?
    Works more often than not. British and Anzac operations in Malaya, Kenya, Cyprus, Borneo, Oman, and Northern Ireland were more-or-less successful, although some of them were rather more "Militarized" than others. Palestine, India, and Aden are the more spectacular failures - although the Brits themselves left in order. Canada had to use thousands of troops in 1970 during the FLQ Crisis (a debatable case admittedly), and again in 1990 to deal with Mohawk disquiet (not as debatable as the FLQ) - tense times, but nothing like the aforementioned examples.

    Table 5. Leonhard’s Laws of War and Principles of Information Age Warfare.34

    LAWS OF WAR:

    The Law of Humanity
    The Law of Economy
    The Law of Duality

    PRINCIPLES OF INFORMATION AGE WARFARE
    Principle of Knowledge and Ignorance (Independent Principle):


    Two Principles of Two Principles of Two Principles of
    “Aggression”: “Interaction”: “Control”:

    Dislocation and Opportunity and Option Acceleration
    Confrontation Reaction and Objective

    Distribution and Activity and Security Command and
    Concentration Anarchy


    In late 1998, Robert R. Leonhard, an active duty U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, released a provocative, yet insightful book titled The Principles of War for the Information Age.30In his book, Leonhard rejects the entire set of principles of war based on what he considers both their obsolescence and intellectual bankruptcy in dealing with conflict.31 Leonhard does not reject the notion of identifying and espousing principles of war. He asserts, though, that a “principle” must not be treated as an “aphorism” (which he defined as “a truth of some sort”32) or a prescription; but rather, as a basis for dialogue and argument. 33He proposes three, immutable “laws of war” underpinning his seven “principles of information age warfare.” These are summarized in Table 5. Though his proposed principles may at first appear to carry a format roughly similar to the traditional nine, that is where any similarity abruptly ends. [] Leonard’s calls for a radical shift in how the military uses and thinks about principles of war, and his ideas deserve careful consideration.9
    As to Leonhard's Three Laws of War, I discern recourse to the Just War Doctrine in the First, and Sun Tzu and Clausewitz in the latter two, and especially hard/ordinary/conventional and soft/extraordinary/unconventional elements (zhi and qi) in the Third Law. Good, solid, traditional stuff.

    The "Seven Principles of War for the Information Age" offhand make sense, but since this is very new to me I have not grasped it beyond the superficial, although I see elements of the Three Laws reflected in the Seven Principles, especially the last two Laws. I am in full agreement with Leonhards' view of the role and purpose of "Principles of War" as bases for "dialogue and argument" - thinkin' n' learnin'. More good stuff.

    There does seem to be an un- or under-stated element or principle of time/speed here, and I'm not certain that Leonhard merely implies it, or that its covered by his "Two Principles of Interaction" and "Option Acceleration and Objective" from the "Two Principles of Control". This is well worth thinking about, but it's going to take me some more time to really assimilate.

  8. #48
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default That's one opinion...

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    If there is no theory to underpin the profession of arms then it is not a true profession, as in medicine, engineering or law. Its just a job, like being a hairdresser or shop assistant. You just need to be trained. You don't have to be able to reason. - and as it is a true profession, I submit that sound theory is vital - otherwise you just have opinions. You don't see engineers having "opinions" about single span bridges.
    There are a number of competing theories that underpin the profession of arms. There always will be as people of differing experience levels and intellect espouse their version of the 'correct' theory. If the profession of arms is the management of violence as some say, that implies order from chaos. That has been achieved by proponents of various theories and I suggest, as the saying goes, there is no wrong answer -- unless one wishes to relegate it to an academic pursuit. I think that would be a very bad mistake. Academic precision is nice, combat rarely is.

    Yes, you do see engineers having opinions about single span bridges -- if we did not, then there would be no need to seek proposals for design selection.

    If mass is no longer required, then when a J-TAC calls in a combined Fast Air, NGF and Atry strike on a high value target, is he not concentrating mass in time and space?
    I'd say no -- I'd say he was achieving Local Superiority.

    If mass is no longer required, what is the opposite of mass, that we should be emphasising?
    Agility, initiative and local superiority?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Global Scout View Post
    I'll look around, we had the 7 phases of U.S. sponsored unconventional warfare forever (a somewhat limited perspective of UW, focuses on using guerrillas/insurgents to support our conventional forces), but I don't ever recall seeing the 7 steps for COIN? I'll look though and see what I can come up with.

    The UW steps are:

    1. Psychological preparation of the target audiences
    2. Initial contact between guerrillas and U.S. contacts
    3. Infiltrating USSF
    4. Organizing the guerrillas
    5. Build up the guerrilla forces
    6. Employ the guerrillas (guerrilla warfare)
    7. Demobilize the guerrillas (turn the weapons into plows again, yea right).

    There is a lot that goes into each step, but this is the general idea. I guess you could draw some parallels to COIN, but I wouldn't.

    Global Scout, due to the time frame that I read it I would you have found what I was thinking of. Associating this with COIN was just my sometimes bad memory and my interpretation if it. Thanks for finding it. Slap

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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    If mass is no longer required, then when a J-TAC calls in a combined Fast Air, NGF and Atry strike on a high value target, is he not concentrating mass in time and space?
    To me he is massing an effect on a target.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    There are a number of competing theories that underpin the profession of arms. There always will be as people of differing experience levels and intellect espouse their version of the 'correct' theory. If the profession of arms is the management of violence as some say, that implies order from chaos. That has been achieved by proponents of various theories and I suggest, as the saying goes, there is no wrong answer -- unless one wishes to relegate it to an academic pursuit. I think that would be a very bad mistake. Academic precision is nice, combat rarely is.

    Yes, you do see engineers having opinions about single span bridges -- if we did not, then there would be no need to seek proposals for design selection.



    I'd say no -- I'd say he was achieving Local Superiority.



    Agility, initiative and local superiority?
    OK, but all the engineers proposals will use same the basic criteria, and be measurable. Load, cost, materials etc, will not be opinions or should not be.

    No one is looking for academic precision. I was utterly dismissive of doctrine until I realised that it was 100% essential to a subject that needed to be taught. No doctrine, no nothing. Doctrine = that which is taught.

    How is achieving local superiority, different from creating greater mass than the enemy has, in that time and space?
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    To me he is massing an effect on a target.
    Without wishing to be pedantic, effects are the result of actions, so massing effects implies many effects from many actions. This is still many things being concentrated in one place. Is this not mass?
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default All true.

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    OK, but all the engineers proposals will use same the basic criteria, and be measurable. Load, cost, materials etc, will not be opinions or should not be.
    However, the combination of load, cost materials, etc and in what design package esoterically will be different opinions -- all will work, most likely. Which is selected will be in the eyes of the selection committee (they'll use a committee so no one is responsible if it's a cockup).

    No one is looking for academic precision. I was utterly dismissive of doctrine until I realised that it was 100% essential to a subject that needed to be taught. No doctrine, no nothing. Doctrine = that which is taught.
    Totally agree -- but that has little to do with semantics and I submit that the Doctrine followed by Brazil, China, Russia, the UK and the US will differ markedly and will be culturally based and semantically different. I contend that is not only acceptable but desirable -- cultures differ and while words are indeed important, usage varies as you earlier pointed out. I'd add trunk / boot, petrol / gasoline, elevator / lift and dozens of others. Recall also that excessive standardization breeds decay; competition OTOH, tends to foster improvement.

    Still, if semantics are important to one, I submit that dictionaries exist and that most doctrinal tenets are usually textually expanded (ad infinitum and ad nauseum at that). It seems to me you're proposing a solution in search of a problem.

    How is achieving local superiority, different from creating greater mass than the enemy has, in that time and space?
    Not one whit -- thus my point about the semantics making little difference.

  14. #54
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default If it's one JDAM against

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Without wishing to be pedantic, effects are the result of actions, so massing effects implies many effects from many actions. This is still many things being concentrated in one place. Is this not mass?
    a hardened shelter containing a fighter, it's not mass ( .9 metric tons against ~ 15,000) but it is local superiority...

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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Without wishing to be pedantic, effects are the result of actions, so massing effects implies many effects from many actions. This is still many things being concentrated in one place. Is this not mass?

    No it is not pedantic, it is a good point. But it is difficult to measure hence the confusion over it being a principle one could follow. How many actions equals massing? How do you measure something like that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    No one is looking for academic precision. I was utterly dismissive of doctrine until I realised that it was 100% essential to a subject that needed to be taught. No doctrine, no nothing. Doctrine = that which is taught.
    As an aside but to comment on this definition of doctrine, I prefer a definition that a good friend of mine recently gave me:

    "Doctrine is how an army thinks out loud about war."

    gian

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    Default And, it is written by

    SLUGS like us (iron Majors and LTCs active and retired).

    A brief comment on professions: I noted no disagreement that the Law is a profession (only good lawyer jokes please). While most lawyers worldwide recognize a professional affinity, their theoretical basis differs drastically. Consider the differences between Code Law and Case (or Common) Law countries. Consider too those legal systems based on religious law as well as the hybrids. Finally, note the differences in legal theory in US law as taught in US law schools.

    So, I submit that a profession that draws its theory from SunTzu, Machiavelli, Clausewitz, Giulio Douhet and Billy Mitchell, John Warden, Max Manwaring, Steve Metz, and Dave Kilcullen, among many others and produces an international debate at a high level on this board is clearly a profession - the profession of arms.

    Cheers and a salute to all of you

    JohnT

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    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    So, I submit that a profession that draws its theory from...Max Manwaring
    JohnT
    Speaking of whom--today is his 75th birthday. Drop him a line!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    Dear Norfolk:



    Curmudgeon's quote here is a good example of why i am interested in this problem. He states that Coin is not war at least in terms of Principles, so then if that is the case then perhaps we should recommend to the writers currently working on FM3-0 to ditch the Principles all together and not include Coin in its discussion of full spectrum operations.

    gian
    Sir,

    First, I would like to clear up one misunderstanding; I did not mean to infer that COIN is not war, although along the spectrum included in full spectrum operations there are a number of things that are not conflict. When someone blows up a vehicle in your convoy, engages you in a running gun battle while you try to recover your vehicle, you have to call in CAS and you take prisoners, I would agree that is war, even if all we were trying to do was build a road.

    Second, as professionals, I think we are capable of recognizing that different problems have different solutions. That there are general guidelines we can follow but that not every one applies in every situation. Rather than the engineering example, I will use a doctor and a patient. You examine the patient, determine the disease, determine the appropriate treatment, treat, monitor to ensure the treatment is working, and if not adjust.

    So if you treat a cold different than cancer, why not treat COIN different than Nation-State conflicts. Why do we always feel the need to beat that square peg into that round hole?

    I would also like to throw out there that there are different insurgencies. That you should treat an external insurgency (AQ) different than an internal insurgency (Sunni). That you should destroy one while you might want to co-opt the other.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 12-17-2007 at 01:30 PM.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

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    ---

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    Sir,

    First, I would like to clear up one misunderstanding; I did not mean to infer that COIN is not war, although along the spectrum included in full spectrum operations there are a number of things that are not conflict. When someone blows up a vehicle in your convoy, engages you in a running gun battle while you try to recover your vehicle, you have to call in CAS and you take prisoners, I would agree that is war, even if all we were trying to do was build a road.

    Second, as professionals, I think we are capable of recognizing that different problems have different solutions. That there are general guidelines we can follow but that not every one applies in every situation. Rather than the engineering example, I will use a doctor and a patient. You examine the patient, determine the disease, determine the appropriate treatment, treat, monitor to ensure the treatment is working, and if not adjust.

    So if you treat a cold different than cancer, why not treat COIN different than Nation-State conflicts. Why do we always feel the need to beat that square peg into that round hole?

    I would also like to throw out there that there are different insurgencies. That you should treat an external insurgency (AQ) different than an internal insurgency (Sunni). That you should destroy one while you might want to co-opt the other.
    I'm actually commenting on Gian's post that you quoted--I just can't find it.

    I think the logic is kind of off. 3-0 is about military operations, not war. Counterinsurgency includes military operations. Just because the authors of 3-0 elect to include what are normally called the "principles of war" does not mean that all military operations become war.

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