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Thread: Ill Informed Blog Post at AM on Advisors

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Ill Informed Blog Post at AM on Advisors

    I guess I expect more from AM. This one does not cut it. The reasons for the shift to Polk deal with the congruence in training objectives at the JRTC.


    Polking the Advisor Mission in the Eye
    This is the third in a four part series on training advisors.

    Six years into the Long War, efforts to train advisors remain mediocre. But they are improving. Fort Riley Training Mission commander Colonel Jeff Ingram deserves special plaudits for taking a thankless mission after having the combat forces gutted from his brigade and attempting to foster effective, survivable combat advisor teams.

    As an advisor-in-training in October 2006, the training we received was the worst I had received in the Army to date. The training schedule seemed to be an hour ahead of our current location, and often an hour behind. The idea that operating in Afghanistan might be different than Iraq had perhaps crossed the trainers' minds, but the solutions was simply to train as though we would go to Iraq and finish by saying, "Well, this should help for Afghanistan as well." If I had ten dollars for every time an instructor said, "So, where are you guys headed in Iraq? Oh, you're going to Afghanistan. Well, its about the same thing," I could have foregone combat pay.
    A really ignorant comment read:

    The main reason is that Polk is looking for a mission in life vs the somewhat low number of personnel going through the JRTC---why not go to Irwin which is in fact in the desert- replicates both Afghanistan and Iraq has a 1200 role number of Iraqi/American, has a replicated IA/IP, a very active OPFOR, and a scenario built to replicate Diyala Province down to the governance piece, has HTTs, PRTs, NGOs,-has a BCT every month going through and is being strongly supported by the SOF community.
    It is dumbfounding how ignorant some folks are. JRTC has trained the majority of units in both theaters for the past 5 years. Most of what goes on at Irwin replicates the JRTC.

    Tom
    Last edited by Tom Odom; 06-06-2008 at 04:51 PM.

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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post

    It is dumbfounding how ignorant some folks are. JRTC has trained the majority of units in both theaters for the past 5 years. Most of what goes on at Irwin replicates the JRTC.

    Tom
    The one positive part of that Blog is that they do take criticism - I would send a post there.

    I think Kip's overall beef is the short shift SFA is going to get in the future - with proponency to SOCOM and only an O-6 billet at Polk responsible for training it. Some validity to that.

    Will be interesting to see whether the Army assigns its proponency to the SF or makes it a GPF/TRADOC responsibility. If it goes to SF, it will never be heard from again in the GPF.
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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    I think Kip's overall beef is the short shift SFA is going to get in the future - with proponency to SOCOM and only an O-6 billet at Polk responsible for training it. Some validity to that.
    Partly true as an 0-6 will command. But a GO has the training center and the SFA will fall under him. That is the same set up for the Ops Group and it has worked quite well.

    Personally I would rather see an active and civilian component approach to the mission. Why? Because when an Army unit stands up with a civilian component (DAC not contractor) that is a statement of probable longevity.
    That also addresses some of the issues regarding moving to Louisiana.

    I agree with your point that giving SFA in total to the SF community will essentially remove it from the lexicon of the conventional force. I have long argued that the happy bridge between the two needs to be at the MiTT training with SF providing a significant core of instructors. Perhaps that will emerge here once this gets started given our SOF role.

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Partly true as an 0-6 will command. But a GO has the training center and the SFA will fall under him. That is the same set up for the Ops Group and it has worked quite well.

    Personally I would rather see an active and civilian component approach to the mission. Why? Because when an Army unit stands up with a civilian component (DAC not contractor) that is a statement of probable longevity.
    That also addresses some of the issues regarding moving to Louisiana.

    I agree with your point that giving SFA in total to the SF community will essentially remove it from the lexicon of the conventional force. I have long argued that the happy bridge between the two needs to be at the MiTT training with SF providing a significant core of instructors. Perhaps that will emerge here once this gets started given our SOF role.

    Tom
    Tom,

    No real disagreement. But even a 1-star being the highest advocate for SFA training seems low to me given it's agreed upon import.

    My earlier on SF wasn't meant to slight them - they're true pros at what they do, but so far I have seen little desire from SF to "outreach/integrate" with the evil "big army". So if they get TAA/SFA proponency in the Army, it will lose focus. Just as COIN will if the Army does the same to it.

    I'm truly hoping for different, but expecting the worst.

    Niel
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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    Tom,

    No real disagreement. But even a 1-star being the highest advocate for SFA training seems low to me given it's agreed upon import.

    My earlier on SF wasn't meant to slight them - they're true pros at what they do, but so far I have seen little desire from SF to "outreach/integrate" with the evil "big army". So if they get TAA/SFA proponency in the Army, it will lose focus. Just as COIN will if the Army does the same to it.

    I'm truly hoping for different, but expecting the worst.

    Niel
    I saw no slight on SF; the real issue is what happens with CF if that were to happen. From my perch we would be right back where we were just 5 years ago with everyone happily saying "well that's an SF mission we don't need to worry 'bout that," until another need slapped us in the face.

    You are dead right when you say the same thing would happen to COIN if the Army did the same with it.

    Tom

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    Default Maybe ill-informed

    I second CG's rec that you post straight to AM blog. You know the issues. For all we know, "Kip" may be gathering intell from thousands of miles away. He certainly did not research the background leading to the DP to move TT/PRT to Polk.

    One of the really remarkable aspects of SWJ is the quality of the posts. We also do a decent job of self-policing the responses. So many of the other sites where I do research just don't have that kind of discipline.

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    Council Member Randy Brown's Avatar
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    I'd hate for some of the ground-truth detail of Kip's observations to be lost in the "Why Polk?" speculations/arguments posted both here (SWJ) and there (AM). Particularly juicy stuff such as:
    As an advisor-in-training in October 2006, the training we received was the worst I had received in the Army to date. The training schedule seemed to be an hour ahead of our current location, and often an hour behind. The idea that operating in Afghanistan might be different than Iraq had perhaps crossed the trainers' minds, but the solutions was simply to train as though we would go to Iraq and finish by saying, "Well, this should help for Afghanistan as well." If I had ten dollars for every time an instructor said, "So, where are you guys headed in Iraq? Oh, you're going to Afghanistan. Well, its about the same thing," I could have foregone combat pay.
    Hate to say it, but I've come across numerous such opinions regarding ETT advisor training--near word-for-word, even--from 2006 to present.

    Too many people in the Army can't even spell "ETT." You find yourself clarifying by saying things like, "They're like 'MiTTs,' but in Afghanistan."

    Basically, Joe Advisor-to-be doesn't care if he trains at Fort Riley or Fort Polk or Fort-Hole-in-the-Wall, but he and his buddies and his family DO care about getting him the best, mission-focused training and preparation possible. Personally, I'm not convinced that Fort Polk is the answer. At the very least, moving training sites seems to inherently carry some risk of diminishing the existing quality of training in the short-term. I'm hopeful in the long-term, of course--I just wish we'd cracked the code on how/where to train these guys years ago.

    In the meantime, it sucks to be the guys who are going through the last days of Riley or the first days at Polk. Particularly if you're deploying to Afghanistan. Somethings going to be lost in the shuffle, and it's most likely you.
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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Basically, Joe Advisor-to-be doesn't care if he trains at Fort Riley or Fort Polk or Fort-Hole-in-the-Wall, but he and his buddies and his family DO care about getting him the best, mission-focused training and preparation possible. Personally, I'm not convinced that Fort Polk is the answer. At the very least, moving training sites seems to inherently carry some risk of diminishing the existing quality of training in the short-term. I'm hopeful in the long-term, of course--I just wish we'd cracked the code on how/where to train these guys years ago.
    Randy,

    A number of us on here are more than passingly familiar with the growing pains of the advisor effort. I agree that where the training takes place is not germane; whet counts is how the training is given and the quality of the content. My former NCO just went through said training and has some pretty blunt things to say about his ETT training for OEF went. He will also tell you it was not from a want of trying by the trainers--most of whom were not advisor veterans.

    But in the article in question, the thesis that Polk will not be able to do a good job ignores the reality that the JRTC has been doing MREs for 5 years now and made a concerted effort to build MiTTs, PRTs, and other similiar complicating and bedeviing play into those rotations. The decision to move the MiTT effort here was well debated and studied. The drive to move the effort here was to stengthen the connections between MiTT and MREs. As you say you are not convinced Polk is the answer, exactly where do you think that answer might lie?


    Tom

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Isn't Polk the

    Joint Readiness Training Center? Don't SOF units also cycle through there?

    Makes sense to me...

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    I can imagine what the differences in operational considerations would be between a deployment to OEF and OIF. However, beyond that I'm curious how the training-mission (MTT, PTT, etc.) specific training would differ.

    Cheers,
    Jill

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post

    But in the article in question, the thesis that Polk will not be able to do a good job ignores the reality that the JRTC has been doing MREs for 5 years now and made a concerted effort to build MiTTs, PRTs, and other similiar complicating and bedeviing play into those rotations. The decision to move the MiTT effort here was well debated and studied. The drive to move the effort here was to stengthen the connections between MiTT and MREs. As you say you are not convinced Polk is the answer, exactly where do you think that answer might lie?
    Tom,
    Good points as always. In the long term it makes more sense than Riley for that particular mission (especially if NTC converts back to being primarily a maneuver center in the years to come) given its MRX integration. I know there is talk as well of moving the PRT training there as well (from Ft. Bragg). Integrations with MRX units rotating in the box would help reduce some of the friction that occurs in theater between TT's and their partner US units.

    Kip does have a good point that the move will incur some short term pain as the new instructors (unless the current ones PCS to Polk) get used to a) their roles, and b) Ft. Polk. I imagine a significant amount of wheel reinvention (could be good in some cases) will go on.

    Kip also highlighted what I think is an enduring excellent point. Like everyone else here, I have known many people who have cycled through Riley for training. The comments, especially from those who went 1-2 years ago, are uniformly negative, often scathing. They have moderated somewhat, but still remain critical from my peer groups. Most are along Randy's line - the instructors did the best they could, but had never been advisors and just didn't meet what the Army should be providing those going on this demanding mission.

    One can look at the army's failure to provide such instructors as a measure of how much the Army values the TT mission in fact as opposed to rhetoric.
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    Council Member Randy Brown's Avatar
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    Default Some of my best friends are from Louisiana ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    ... the thesis that Polk will not be able to do a good job ignores the reality that the JRTC has been doing MREs for 5 years now and made a concerted effort to build MiTTs, PRTs, and other similiar complicating and bedeviing play into those rotations. The decision to move the MiTT effort here was well debated and studied. The drive to move the effort here was to stengthen the connections between MiTT and MREs. As you say you are not convinced Polk is the answer, exactly where do you think that answer might lie?
    Tom:

    Thanks for your kind reply. Please don't get me wrong--I'm in no way singling out Polk for criticism. My point about training suffering immediately before, during, and after a hand-off would apply regardless of the installations involved. And, admittedly, that's a concern that's decidedly short-term.

    We're already feeling some of the effects, for example, as we hear from attendees that instructors at Riley are not being replaced, as that installation draws down its advisor-training role. That (fact? rumor? does it matter?) naturally causes concerns from those who are still scheduled to go through Riley, and not Polk.

    As a potential customer, so to speak, I personally like all the resources and capabilities that you and others have described as being available at JRTC. In fact, it sounds like a Tactical Disneyland. So I'm hoping that Polk does prove to be the long-term fix.

    Given the realities of the OEF mission, however, I'm specifically looking forward to seeing if/how Fort Polk manages to create Afghantomorrowland (maybe EPCOT Center would've been a better analogy?) as well as Iraqadventureland. Although outside of my personal experience, it seems to me that some of the dynamics present in the former are not necessarily present in the latter.

    I guess the larger question--one with which we're wrestling daily as we send more guys into the pipeline--is: How do you create a training scheme and environment that adequately prepares citizen-soldiers to mentor ANA/ANP/other counterparts while working in a combined, joint, and AC vs. RC operation (in other words, whose branch, country and/or task force is in charge?). And, while they'll train as teams, they'll mostly be deployed as individuals once they hit country, often in functional areas completely disassociated with their military/civilian expertise.

    One former ETT member described the best-possible training as: Put everyone's job description in a hat, and draw for mentor assignments randomly, regardless of rank or MOS. Now, go mentor that person, who doesn't necessarily speak English, in an area that's 60 percent likely to be controlled/administered by a NATO ally.

    Sorry if all this sounds defeatist or negative. Rather, my objective is just the opposite: The guys who have gone before want to make it better for the guys who are about to go. Any insights you or others might offer on how Polk can meet their needs would be appreciated; and, to flip that question around, any insights you might offer on how soldiers can show up to Polk better prepared for ETT training would also be appreciated.

    Thanks for your attention ...
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    Default HRC strikes gain...

    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    ...One can look at the army's failure to provide such instructors as a measure of how much the Army values the TT mission in fact as opposed to rhetoric.
    They and the institutional culture...

    The TT mission and those selected for it. I guess there are missions and then there are 'missions.' Sad.

    Hmm. Maybe Gates could...

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Brown View Post
    Tom:

    Given the realities of the OEF mission, however, I'm specifically looking forward to seeing if/how Fort Polk manages to create Afghantomorrowland (maybe EPCOT Center would've been a better analogy?) as well as Iraqadventureland. Although outside of my personal experience, it seems to me that some of the dynamics present in the former are not necessarily present in the latter.

    I guess the larger question--one with which we're wrestling daily as we send more guys into the pipeline--is: How do you create a training scheme and environment that adequately prepares citizen-soldiers to mentor ANA/ANP/other counterparts while working in a combined, joint, and AC vs. RC operation (in other words, whose branch, country and/or task force is in charge?). And, while they'll train as teams, they'll mostly be deployed as individuals once they hit country, often in functional areas completely disassociated with their military/civilian expertise.

    One former ETT member described the best-possible training as: Put everyone's job description in a hat, and draw for mentor assignments randomly, regardless of rank or MOS. Now, go mentor that person, who doesn't necessarily speak English, in an area that's 60 percent likely to be controlled/administered by a NATO ally.

    Sorry if all this sounds defeatist or negative. Rather, my objective is just the opposite: The guys who have gone before want to make it better for the guys who are about to go. Any insights you or others might offer on how Polk can meet their needs would be appreciated; and, to flip that question around, any insights you might offer on how soldiers can show up to Polk better prepared for ETT training would also be appreciated.

    Thanks for your attention ...
    Great post and excellent questions. Old Eagle, Rob Thornton, and others on here with have pondered these for a few years now. I put together the CALL Newsletter on this subject and it was a moving target because even as we worked it Riley's training evolved for the better thanks to guys like John Nagl.

    There are some fundamental issues, however, that remain relevant and to a large degree unanswered:

    a. What is the future of SFA and advisory capacity? Yes we are moving the training to Fort Polk and I see that as a good thing. But is a "for the duration" only effort? What does that mean if we are truly in a long war?

    b. What are we training? Military basic skills or advisor skills? A purely military (as in uniformed) effort is a partial answer that works OK if you are concentrating on the former, especially if your trainers are conventional military, few of whom have advisor experience. But it is not sufficient for training advisors; they need to start as a ready for war Soldiers and then go through training. It cannot be a mobilization station or extended EIB camp with advisor tacked on. You need military who have done the mission in different locales and different cultures and you need civilians with skills that come from previous military experiences as well as those who practice the skills of an HTT. A great friend of mine who just got promoted and is going back to the line to take an infantry brigade to war is always saying, "it's all about people." He is correct; what he says has even greater meaning in regard to advisors. Advisory duty is all people, meaning you have to deal with people effectively when your cultures are in conflict.

    c, How long are we going to train advisors? I will tell you that 60 days is NOT enough time even if their soldier skills are up to speed. Six months would be better for novice advsors. Should we do second tier training for experienced advisors? I believe we should especially if we can do that as a parallel and connected effort with novice training. I hammer the point to people that I cannot teach/train experience. I can teach and train you on skills; you have to use them in a meaningful way to develop relevant experience. Recycling advisors as advanced students who serve as trainers would take a step in toward sustaining experience in the advisor force. If we cannot have a standing advisory corps we have to do something to retain hard won experience. Maybe we need a warrant program for advisors?

    Anyway gotta scoot to Houston so I will chat with you folks later..

    Best

    Tom

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    At a Change of Command ceremony yesterday, I ran into my old 1SG when I was an XO, and he is on mid-tour leave from MiTT in Balad. He said he is lucky that he's attached to a good IA unit, that are not hesitant to go out and get the bad guys. He also said they've cleaned up the Balad area. As a former convoy commander, going through the Balad Market area on MSR Tampa was never a pleasant experience, so clearly the IA and US are working well together. His complaints, though, were with the MiTT training. He wondered why he was doing BRM and licensing for a humvee? He is a MSG, he has driven a truck, and zeroed a rifle before. He enjoyed the culture and language classes, but felt the basic Soldier tasks were a waste of time considering the experience level on the team. He wanted more advisor/culture, not check the box training. Anecdote from another friend on MTT, during live fire, their "instructor" advised them to carry a drop weapon in case wrong person was shot. They reported him and he was removed, but that was the instruction they were receiving.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    b. What are we training? Military basic skills or advisor skills? A purely military (as in uniformed) effort is a partial answer that works OK if you are concentrating on the former, especially if your trainers are conventional military, few of whom have advisor experience. But it is not sufficient for training advisors; they need to start as a ready for war Soldiers and then go through training. It cannot be a mobilization station or extended EIB camp with advisor tacked on. You need military who have done the mission in different locales and different cultures and you need civilians with skills that come from previous military experiences as well as those who practice the skills of an HTT.
    The Army is having a hard enough time filling these teams for 60 days + 12 months, and out. To resource 6 months of training for each advisor, Combat Advisor needs to become a branch or functional area (with that new tab?). Wait, there already is a branch that does FID. Those who want to advise, have already submitted packets and went to selection. Further, many captains do not want to go on these teams because they take you out of the command loop for a year and a half. Could the Army only put key developed (formerly branch qualified) captains in these slots? Good luck finding them, they're already being used elsewhere. Senior NCO's I know on teams look at it like a Korea tour (pretty routine with senior Bragg SGT's), but they mostly wonder what they know about advising and hated the training. Random 13 series NCO's are serving as Fire Support Advisor, even though they have spent their years behind the cannon or MLRS, not calling for fire.

    The Army has to "reward" current members with a "say" in their next assignment. If you locked people in at Fort Polk, as an Advisor lifecycle, with 6 months training, 12 months deploy, 18 months trainer, you would take these officers and senior NCO's out of the force for 3 years at a time, and leave them stuck in Polk. How many people would volunteer for that? Also, aside from SOF community and previous MiTT members, where can we find qualified instructors in sufficient numbers? There's already a numbers problem.


    c, How long are we going to train advisors? I will tell you that 60 days is NOT enough time even if their soldier skills are up to speed. Six months would be better for novice advsors. Should we do second tier training for experienced advisors? I believe we should especially if we can do that as a parallel and connected effort with novice training. I hammer the point to people that I cannot teach/train experience. I can teach and train you on skills; you have to use them in a meaningful way to develop relevant experience. Recycling advisors as advanced students who serve as trainers would take a step in toward sustaining experience in the advisor force. If we cannot have a standing advisory corps we have to do something to retain hard won experience. Maybe we need a warrant program for advisors?
    This is a key mission, but the Army is not resourcing or managing it as such. Training, personnel management, promotions, schools, etc, need to change to reflect the MTT mission. Right now, the Army seems to be paying lip service. If this is going to become a core function of the Army, realize that many people do not want to do it, and the makeup of the Army may change. Effects of GWOT are already hurting Field Artillery branch (all but 2 1LTP in my battalion submitted a packet to change branches). Moving MiTT to Polk, to tie it in with the JRTC resources, is a good plan if all the support (pax, $, training) it needs will actually move with it. If it is just being moved to free up a brigade from 1 ID, then it is essentially doing the same thing over again, "Hey, JRTC, do this now." (Earlier, "Hey, 1st ID, do this now.")


    Late night in Fayetteville, so if this is slightly disjointed or rambling, I apologize. Good discussion despite my efforts.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Real Soldiering Versus MiTTs?

    Quote Originally Posted by patmc View Post


    Late night in Fayetteville, so if this is slightly disjointed or rambling, I apologize. Good discussion despite my efforts.
    All good points and all tied to the very first question I posted:

    a. What is the future of SFA and advisory capacity?
    All things flow from that issue. Much of what you describe is US Army culture driven based on a decades-old mindset that dictates how one gets ahead. For instance:

    If you locked people in at Fort Polk, as an Advisor lifecycle, with 6 months training, 12 months deploy, 18 months trainer, you would take these officers and senior NCO's out of the force for 3 years at a time, and leave them stuck in Polk. How many people would volunteer for that?
    We already lock folks at Fort Polk on a 3 year cycle as OCs. IF advisor success is the key to a strategy of drawdown and turnover, asking for volunteers is not the answer. Your 3 year cycle would be a good way to do it.

    The idea that MiTT tours are Korea tours is the same thinking that dogged efforts early on in Iraq; the belief this is not what real soldiers do is at this stage like praising the Maginot Line in 1939. The Army has to put up some of its best and brightest and then reward them for what they are doing. The answer to the issue of captains missing command cycle opportunities is to give priority for command to those who have MiTT tour under their belt as well as using MiTT duties as a discriminator on selection to battalion command. That too goes back to the original question.

    Tom
    Last edited by Tom Odom; 06-08-2008 at 03:27 PM.

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    I agree with you, but O/C, AC/RC, etc are suppossed to be post-command (key developed aka branch qualified) jobs. Instead, some junior captains are now moving into these slots, and upon completion, being moved to MiTT or deployment bc of dwell time, not to command slots. BZ MAJ and Functional Area boards are dropping to around 7 years for the first look now, very scary yes, but if you put a junior captain into a 3 year advisor tour, he's not getting picked up, or not getting a command. "Commanding late," which my battery cdr did and recommends bc it better prepares you (which I agree with already as a learning junior cpt), can end up hurting you. Promotions shouldn't be your motivation, but they do impact morale.

    My first BN CDR followed the old FA career plan: FSO > PL > XO > ICCC > BN FSO > staff >2x BTRY CDR > JRTC O/C > CGSC > S3 > special staff job > bn command. My current commander did basically the same, minus the OC duty. Its too soon to see what the new path will be, but on paper, it seems to be command if lucky, then whatever job you're given. Not very encouraging.

    I'm MI now, which no longer "requires" command, but nobody honestly believes that command is not still the best job. Transformation and GWOT realities have already shrunk MI commands, and the Army is basically saying, "yeah, it sucks, but come on." With near 100% promotions, nobody really needs any job now, but serving on staff with no light at the end of the tunnel, may be too much. May be one of the reasons MI was top tier for the captains bonus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    All things flow from that issue. Much of what you describe is US Army culture driven based on a decades-old mindset that dictates how one gets ahead. For instance:

    We already lock folks at Fort Polk on a 3 year cycle as OCs. IF advisor success is the key to a strategy of drawdown and turnover, asking for volunteers is not the answer. Your 3 year cycle would be a good way to do it.

    The idea that MiTT tours are Korea tours is the same thinking that dogged efforts early on in Iraq; the belief this is not what real soldiers do is at this stage like praising the Maginot Line in 1939. The Army has to put up some of its best and brightest and then reward them for what they are doing. The answer to the issue of captains missing command cycle opportunities is to give priority for command to those who have MiTT tour under their belt as well as using MiTT duties as a discriminator on selection to battalion command. That too goes back to the original question.

    Tom

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Pat,

    Again you are bringing important issues up but they do not get at the heart of the matter. This thread was and is focused on the issue of MiTT training and how to improve that training.

    If we first answer that A. MiTTs and advisory effort is critical and will be a long term effort--lets use 20 years as a start--then we need to improve that training. We cannot do that with a 60 day summer camp approach regardless of where we put it. That means a fundamental change in career culture, one that I have yet to see. Ken loves to say come the revolution first blow up personnel command. This would be a good thing to light a match about.

    My point is quite simple: we are still talking the talk rather than walking the issue forward.

    Tom

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    like nukes.........

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Tom
    Good points. I think what needs to be got at is that this and many issues like it are beyond ascribing a temporary value to in terms we are generally comfortable with.

    There are some advisory skill sets in high current demand such as those at the ministerial level which take years to grow. These institutional level advisors are key in achieving sustainable capacity, but there is a significant gap in the USG's ability to provide them. In addition to the personal attributes and skills of our 03-06s advising at the tactical echelon in foreign environments, these ministerial level advisors have to have technical skills we might normally attribute to a policy guy or gal working as Assistant Deputy in OSD, or those of an ambassador or senior FSO, etc. Its not so they can come in and impose a template, but so they can have a fundamental understanding of how institutions work and the purposes they serve. From there they can advise and bring assistance to help their foreign counterparts grow their own institutions in a manner that fits their environment and supports their political goals. This is not where we should draft pick up teams of 05s and 06s. If we decide to develop those skills to support 3000.05 then we start now by assigning the right people to assignments where they can get that experience and learn those skills.

    We often articulate the components of our defense institutions in DOTMLPF terms. We like to cherry pick from the DOTMLPF tree for the ones that seem easiest and offer the least amount of risk. We like to do it in an ad-hoc fashion for the same reasons. Unfortunately this is the least effective, and I'd argue at a certain point the least efficient. This method of change may even be the one which holds the greater risk as the parts become incongruent and confusing as some evolve and some remain unchanged - but its what we do.

    We could be discussing any aspect of DOTMLPF, but we also need to consider the broader USG, and even the US Codes and authorization that allow us to be flexible for long term efforts that change over time through interaction. 1206 and 1207 are examples of authorizations that need to be followed up on and considered in light of what we are trying to accomplish. Without some of the external DoD changes, we'll wind up with capabilities that are hard to employ because of shortfalls and self imposed constraints.

    Best, Rob

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