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Thread: Shortchanging the Joint Doctrine Fight

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default Shortchanging the Joint Doctrine Fight

    An alternative Air Force view on Dunlap's critique of the new Army/USMC COIN manual. Go to the link below and scroll down to the section called-IN My Humble Opinion-then look for Short Changing The Joint Fight-An Alternative View by LTC. Buck Eaton USAF.


    http://www.maxwell.af.mil/au/aunews/

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Didn't seem all that alternative to me, Slap

    Dunlap revisited, more like. While he offers a slightly different approach, the message is essentially the same.

    Not that I totally disagree with what either he or Dunlap have to say; just that I think in both cases they unfortunately come across as a little whiney and "Hey, you left us out..."

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Dunlap revisited, more like. While he offers a slightly different approach, the message is essentially the same.

    Not that I totally disagree with what either he or Dunlap have to say; just that I think in both cases they unfortunately come across as a little whiney and "Hey, you left us out..."
    Agreed. I am not convinced Buck like Dunlap ever read 3-24. He read passages and filled in with what he wanted it to say. More Hap Arnold airmindedness mess.

    Tom

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    Anyone know when JP 3-24 is due? It will be interesting to see how the joint vision of COIN ends up.

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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    Anyone know when JP 3-24 is due? It will be interesting to see how the joint vision of COIN ends up.
    Early next year if the timeline holds up. The lead author is at Leavenworth and works near us.

    No drafts for passing around yet. I do know the USAF is participating fully.
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    You know, it is nice to have the capabilities that the Air Force offers however when you get down to brass tacks you have to have boots on the ground to accomplish the mission effectively.

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    In one of the LIC books commissioned by the USAF in the late 80s early 90s I read recently it said something to the effect "It is as imperative to mission success that the Air Force have infantry as the Army have Air Power" I about fell out of my chair.

    C4ISR Journal this month has some pretty good articles on detecting stealthy air craft using ultra-violet and other out of visible spectrum light techniques. Cheap, inexpensive, useable for targeting (as anybody who knows anything about missiles will tell you), light is a big handicap for stealth. High power lasers of course are the answer for AAA and SAMs. But, then who needs stealth. Somebody smarter than me likely has figured that out.
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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Shortchanging the Joint Doctrine Fight

    Shortchanging the Joint Doctrine Fight
    One Airman’s Assessment of the Airman’s Assessment

    by LtCol Buck Elton, Small Wars Journal

    The traditional, often bitter inter-service battle for resources has been taken to a new level in a senior Air Force officer’s recent assault on service doctrine. In late December, 2007, Air University published a 111-page monograph written by Air Force Deputy Judge Advocate Major General Charles J. Dunlap, Jr. entitled Shortchanging the Joint Fight? An Airman’s Assessment of FM 3-24 and the Case for Developing Truly Joint COIN Doctrine. The study analyzes the pitfalls of accepting Army and Marine tactical doctrine as the joint solution and offers an Airman’s perspective to deliver “fresh” alternatives for joint counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine development. This heavily referenced monograph (438 end notes) relentlessly attacks the Army and Marine Corps doctrine for its almost exclusively ground-centric perspective and failure to reconcile the full potential of today’s airpower capabilities. Although General Dunlap discusses several interesting ideas regarding how the Airman’s perspective can help shape joint COIN doctrine, his undue criticisms of Army philosophies, conventional approaches and dogmatic mindset distract from his argument and recommendations. Readers will likely focus exclusively on the unwarranted and erratically referenced land-power condemnations and accuse the Air Force of advocating a COIN solution that involves Airmen or airpower for their own sake, which the author half-heartedly adds as an imperative at the end of the essay. This Airman’s assessment of “an Airman’s Assessment” will provide an alternative perspective of Field Manual 3-24 and offer counter arguments to many of the monograph’s criticisms...
    Download interim version of article as PDF

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    I posted the above article here a week ago and we had started a discussion on it so I guess they go together but I don't know how to do that so I just posted the link..

    http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...&postcount=130
    Last edited by slapout9; 07-12-2008 at 01:27 PM. Reason: link stuff

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    Default Thanks Slap...

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    I posted the above article here a week ago and we had started a discussion on it so I guess they go together but I don't know how to do that so I just posted the link..

    http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...&postcount=130
    I missed your post - LtCol Elton e-mailed SWJ his article last night for posting here - double-tap...

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    Default Great Point

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Agreed. I am not convinced Buck like Dunlap ever read 3-24. He read passages and filled in with what he wanted it to say. More Hap Arnold airmindedness mess.

    Tom
    Tom:

    Great point; many people have lots of things to say about FM 3-24 but seemingly have not taken the time to sit down and carefully read it; word for word, page for page.

    Ironic that you point out Hap Arnold because my work on the World War II USSBS shows heavy influence by Hap Arnold and other airmen in the reports and conclusions of it. In fact in late 1944 as the USSBS was ramping up Hap Arnold had commissioned a report by a group of leading American historians (Carl Becker, Henry Commager Steele, Bernadotte Schmidt, Edward Meade Earle, to name a few who were leading American and World historians at the time) but became increasingly frustrated with the group because they couldnt finish their report on time and were not prepared to make the sweeping conclusions that Arnold and other airmen were looking for.

    You know how those historian-types can be; go figure...

    gian

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Ironic that you point out Hap Arnold because my work on the World War II USSBS shows heavy influence by Hap Arnold and other airmen in the reports and conclusions of it. In fact in late 1944 as the USSBS was ramping up Hap Arnold had commissioned a report by a group of leading American historians (Carl Becker, Henry Commager Steele, Bernadotte Schmidt, Edward Meade Earle, to name a few who were leading American and World historians at the time) but became increasingly frustrated with the group because they couldnt finish their report on time and were not prepared to make the sweeping conclusions that Arnold and other airmen were looking for.
    Gian

    And that exact same thing happened after Desert Storm with the AF study--modeled on the USSBS--with the Af historians and the CSAF GEN McPeak. When he could not force the team to force its conclusions to fit his preordained conclusions, the study suddenly went classified.

    Airmindedness is faith-based doctrine. You believe it so it must be true. All non-believers are flawed, small-minded creatures incapable of grasping the truth--like me.

    Tom
    Last edited by Tom Odom; 07-12-2008 at 06:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    And that exact same thing happened after Desert Storm with the AF study--modeled on the USSBS--with the Af historians and the CSAF GEN McPeak. When he could not frce the team to force its conclusions to fit his preordained conclusions, the study suddenly went classified.

    Tom:

    Right, the last chapter in my book was a look at the GWAPS led by Eliot Cohen, Wick Murray, and others which was a very objective view of air power in the gulf war which is why it specifically drew the ire of some senior airmen. Further, I still cant believe that Dick Halion (in Storm over Iraq) had the chutzpah to proclaim that the gulf war had proven that airpower could now control ground from the air without the need for ground forces.

    gian

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    Believe it.

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    Colleagues,

    Yes, I have read FM 3-24...and quite a few other sources.

    Actually, I am a fan of much of what FM 3-24 says - and it can work. My view is that we also need to look for options beyond a manpower-intensive one.

    I think that in the post-Iraq era - which, I'd respectfully suggest is coming upon us faster than many may realize - if the only option offered decision-makers is one that requires the deployment of thousands of ground forces, then we may not be offering our civilian masters a really viable option.

    FWIW, I think that we ought to study very carefully what the Colombians have done rather successfully with US support... True, a very different COIN situation than Iraq, but still worthy of real study.

    In any event, I am very concerned about what seems to be an over-correction in the Army towards COIN. Yes, we need to have that capability, but I think we also need an Army ready - sooner rather than later - to conduct high-intensity operations against a peer or near-peer competitor - at least in a regional scenario.

    For many reasons, I don't want to see our Army become too much of a constabulary force. I am concerned that in a few years the ongoing Army manpower plus-up, as well as over-investment in certain COIN-only equipment, will drain resources from Army modernization.

    I am one of a minority - I guess - that believes we need a powerful, truly high-tech, and full-spectrum Army...teamed with an Air Force with similar qualities.

    Just FYI, I have posted something of a counterpoint to Lt Col Elton's essay, and I have an article coming out in the next issue of Parameters that talks about airpower in COIN today. So lots more targets for everyone to shoot at!

    Regards, Charlie

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieDunlap View Post
    ...In any event, I am very concerned about what seems to be an over-correction in the Army towards COIN. Yes, we need to have that capability, but I think we also need an Army ready - sooner rather than later - to conduct high-intensity operations against a peer or near-peer competitor - at least in a regional scenario.
    Don't think you'll get a whole lot of disagreement on that here, though there will be a tad. Most denizens of SWJ advocate balance and multi-spectral capability; hard but not impossible.
    I am one of a minority - I guess - that believes we need a powerful, truly high-tech, and full-spectrum Army...teamed with an Air Force with similar qualities.
    Nor will you get much argument on that score -- other than a cautionary re: going too far...

    None of the above should be construed as saying there will be no mostly jocular Air Force bashing; that after all, is idle entertainment and in the job description for all us earthlings...

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    Default What can the Air Force do? What will do they do?

    I have a well worn, dog earred, highlited, and written on FM 3-24. It is a good manual, but there is room for significant improvement. I believe the intent of releasing the manual in its current state was to get it in the field for comments and then execute a relatively rapid rewrite.

    If any service was neglected, then they have an obligation to step up make their case. I would argue that the Navy wasn't addressed either, yet the Navy could play a major role in controlling brown water areas (interdicting insurgent movement and support) and controlling blue water to disrupt international support to an insurgency. The Air Force has a similiar role, but what else does the Air Force do to support COIN?

    1. Provide Air Lift (project and sustain ground forces)
    2. Conduct interdiction missions and provide fire support
    3. Provide intelligence support
    4. Provide numerous types of support ranging from medical to EOD.
    5. Provide subject matter expertise to the host nation's Air Forces

    etc.

    Of course the Air Force provides this type of support for all operations, but the only difference the ratio of the type of support provided. In COIN we need less fire support (compared to a higher intensity conflict), but more intelligence and air lift. The C17 pilots and UAV crews are the heroes of this type of fight. Unfortunately, CFC has asked for more Unmanned Aerial Systems to help provide that intelligence, but the Air Force has resisted the call according to media reports and even comments from Mr. Gates our SECDEF. The Air Force apparently wants to provide more interdiction and fire support, which indicates that some of their theorists still don't understand the nature of COIN. The challenge in COIN is controlling the population, then identifying who the insurgents are and surgically removing them, while at the same time convincing the populace not to support the insurgents, so we don't end up in Sisyphus's shoes. I'm not quite sure how dropping bombs on the populace will help us. We're already using the Air Force to effectively interdict "known" insurgent hold outs relatively surgically, so I don't see what their beef is.

    So readdressing 3-24, what can the Air Force do to support COIN (and hopefully it won't be trying to redefine COIN to make it look like a conventional fight to justify spending $$$ on weapons systems irrelevant to the COIN fight)? Then what will the Air Force do to support COIN? Will they provide more UAS's, or will they continue to drag their feet on this issue? I don't think the Army or Marines neglected the Air Force's role, I think they were frustrated by senior Air Force leadership.

    As a discussion point I would offer going back to the Army Air Corps and allowing the Army to control all tactical / operational air assets, and maintaining the Air Force to support Strategic lift, Strategic Interdiction, and Space. This would allow the Army Air Corps to develop and fund appropriate air platforms and develop doctrine to support ground forces. While this may may be too difficult to do and probably a bad idea, why is it a bad idea?

    In any event, I am very concerned about what seems to be an over-correction in the Army towards COIN. Yes, we need to have that capability, but I think we also need an Army ready - sooner rather than later - to conduct high-intensity operations against a peer or near-peer competitor - at least in a regional scenario.

    For many reasons, I don't want to see our Army become too much of a constabulary force. I am concerned that in a few years the ongoing Army manpower plus-up, as well as over-investment in certain COIN-only equipment, will drain resources from Army modernization.
    I don't disagree with this, but at the same time I concur with the SECDEF's statement that we must first win the fight we're in before we divert to much effort towards a "possible" future fight. In certain situations like Iraq and Afghanistan where we conduct a regime change (or move into a failed State like Somalia) we need to provide the COIN force for an interim period until the struggling new government is ready to assume security force responsibility.

    However, I don't see how this relates to FM 3-24 being flawed. What should be added that would be value added from an Air Force and perhaps Navy perspective?

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieDunlap View Post
    My view is that we also need to look for options beyond a manpower-intensive one.
    - if the only option offered decision-makers is one that requires the deployment of thousands of ground forces, then we may not be offering our civilian masters a really viable option.
    I have the greatest of difficulty with the idea that airpower saves on manpower in terms of numbers. The RAF has done it's best to corrupt the operational and historical record with this argument and it just doesn't hold water. Some air assets can give ground forces greater capability, but you can't make a 650-man battalion a 300 man battalion just because of air support. Air power can never have the persistence, endurance, discrimination, precision and proportionality that land forces have, regardless of the threat, and the environment.

    I think that we ought to study very carefully what the Colombians have done rather successfully with US support... True, a very different COIN situation than Iraq, but still worthy of real study.
    I don't think any study would really be necessary. The Colombian use of air assets seems very simple and very obvious to me. I think it might be germain to ask why the USAF does not have similar types, (or useful numbers of such types) such as the Super Tucano, Schweizer SGM 2-37, and the OV-10 Bronco. On one possibly simplistic level the SGM 2-37 would seem the challenge the high costs associated with Predator procurement and operations.

    Yes, we need to have that capability, but I think we also need an Army ready - sooner rather than later - to conduct high-intensity operations against a peer or near-peer competitor - at least in a regional scenario.
    At a conceptual level, I agree, but who is a near-peer competitor that is in any way of comparable competence, that may be a threat framed in a possible geo-political reality? I don't see why China and Iran are going to form up in land manoeuvre formations for the convenience of the USAF.

    For many reasons, I don't want to see our Army become too much of a constabulary force. I am concerned that in a few years the ongoing Army manpower plus-up, as well as over-investment in certain COIN-only equipment, will drain resources from Army modernization.
    As Ken White said, few folks do. I agree the COIN agenda has been misused by some, but I can't see how any focus USAF capabilities corrects that. I also have difficulty seeing any "COIN only" equipment. A lot of the COIN equipment requirements are not ones of choice, but necessity.
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    Default Good post

    Air power can never have the persistence, endurance, discrimination, precision and proportionality that land forces have, regardless of the threat, and the environment.
    Mr. Owen we had our philosophical disagreements before, but think your last post was perfect. Reference the persistence, and may I add speed of response, GEN Franks reportedly prohibited artillery from flowing into Afghanistan during the initial surge and wanted the ground forces to rely on air for fire support. That presented numerous problems, and "probably" resulted in unnecessary casualties. Air power is great, but you have to wait up to several minutes for them to respond (if they weren't pre-planned), and they cannot provide persist suppressive fire while the infantry maneuvers. The Air Force was critical in breaking the Taliban's back during the initial push, so this isn't a criticism against the Air Force, but we need to recognize their limitations.

    I think it might be germain to ask why the USAF does not have similar types, (or useful numbers of such types) such as the Super Tucano, Schweizer SGM 2-37, and the OV-10 Bronco.
    Bravo!

    I don't see why China and Iran are going to form up in land manoeuvre formations for the convenience of the USAF.
    I might add that China and Iran probably won't form up large maneuver formations for that very reason, so we'll see more of an asymmetrical threat (even from other States) to help mitigate the threat our Air Force presents. Also worth mentioning for historical vignettes is the Israeli Air Force's operations in Lebanon intended to suppress the Hezbollah. Again it shows the limitations of Air Power in certain types of operations.

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieDunlap View Post
    .
    Actually, I am a fan of much of what FM 3-24 says - and it can work. My view is that we also need to look for options beyond a manpower-intensive one.
    I guess I'll argue with you about COIN tomorrow. See you at the conference. I'm the invisible one.
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