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Thread: Secretary Gates at National Defense University

  1. #21
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    One can argue a BCT shouldn't be doing some or all of these tasks - but the AOE MTOE was worefully inadequate to those demands, and thus required pulling lots of manpower from BN's to meet the demands for increased operations by a BCT. Now the BCT staff has those people organically since the Army envisions the BCT continuing its operational vice tactical focus.

    No one is for bloated staffs, but the amount currently being required of a BCT requires a large and experienced set of operators.
    Getting off thread but OK. No argument on tasks or the AOE MTOE in current fight BUT the BCTs are still sucking manpower up--with a critical emphasis on experienced manpower. And we are rebuilding much of what was supposed to be replaced at the division and even corps by the more robust BCT staff. In all of this we have reduced the maneuver/shooter capacities at BN and below through end strength and again experience. Gratefully we have over the past 5 years at least won some gains in strengthening C3I capacity at the troop/company level.

    Now back to the SecDef

    I didn't see the speech as a one dimensional endorsement that Small Wars define the future. I saw it more as an endorsement that Small Wars will be part of that future and we must maintain capacity to deal with them. Interesting to see how changes wrought to force structure and capacity in this environment will adjust to MCO.

    I do agree that the bureacracy is too slow inside the Beltway. It is not, as it as often said, a Cold War machine that was geared solely to a set conventional war and therefore unable to deal with a 21st Century War. It could be quite slow in the Cold War; it could also be very fast and efficient--when it needed to be. If you doubt that look at the Moon race as a Cold War non-kinetic effort involving lots of rocket fuel.

    The services are not fighting a small war; the effort with regard to the size of the services makes it a large war. The rest of the government and the American public see it as a small war. I am not confident that anyone can change that without really establishing an atmosphere that accepts we all are in a large war. I am confident that no one is going to really do that in an election year.

    Tom

  2. #22
    Council Member MSG Proctor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkm_101_fso View Post
    Booyah.
    Exactly Right.
    HHC BDE was almost as big (in numbers) as my entire BN.
    The reason I advocate more IBCTs is that they are cheaper than HBCTs/SBCTs and are highly effective in the type of warfare that the SECDEF refers to in the above quoted speech at the NDU.

    • The current modular BCT can conduct, analyze and develop its own ISR (as Cav guy points out);
    • The current modular BCT has the RSTA Squadron (Recon, Surveillance, Target Acquisition) which can do ISR or maneuver (best used as ISR);
    • The two true maneuver units (Infantry Battalions or Combined Arms battalions in the HBCT design) are augmented by a Fires Battalion that performs maneuver type operations in COIN fights;
    • The IBCT provides its own sustainment with the BSB/FSCs;
    • The effects-based operational approach to COIN based on targeting cycles and emphasizing nonlethal engagement requires a robust support staff - in COIN, the best weapons don't shoot.
    "Its easy, boys. All we have to do is follow my simple yet ingenius plan..."

  3. #23
    Council Member jkm_101_fso's Avatar
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    Default giant staff to the rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    The only caveat I will add is that the larger BCT staff was in response to the additional tasks expected of a BCT - tasks that used to be the province of Corps and Brigdaes. BCT's never had to manage security force assistance cells, conduct information operations, conduct public affairs, operational-level planning, manage interagency add-ons (ePRT), conduct coordinated civil development, or build local governance.

    One can argue a BCT shouldn't be doing some or all of these tasks - but the AOE MTOE was worefully inadequate to those demands, and thus required pulling lots of manpower from BN's to meet the demands for increased operations by a BCT. Now the BCT staff has those people organically since the Army envisions the BCT continuing its operational vice tactical focus.

    No one is for bloated staffs, but the amount currently being required of a BCT requires a large and experienced set of operators.
    It's easy to loathe a large staff. For that, I am intellectually lazy.

    You are correct and what you said is all true. I would add that from my foxhole, I saw these staffers work on this areas specific to COIN at the BDE level, but the BNs ended up executing their specific tasks in many cases.

    For example, we had a section on BDE staff (with a Major, three NCOs and two Soldiers) who had the sole mission of assessing CF/IA battle damage to civilian buildings and possessions, etc. I forgot what branch he was or what his position was called. Certainly a needed position and critical mission. Not sure it required a Major and five others with that as their sole mission.

    Here's the point: when an incident occured in the BDE where the IA or CF damaged local property, said Major would just call down the battalion or MiTT responsible and tell them to take pictures, write a report and bring it to him at the FOB. From there, he would look at the pictures, read the report and make his analysis, call the BNs or MiTTs back, and tell us what to do about the situation. I would argue we probably could have cut the middle man out in this instance. If I am a commander that owns the AO, and I know what my guys did and I was there when it happened or shortly afterward, then I can probably make the decision on how to handle that. I don't need another layer of Bureacracy from BDE to help me do that, so that some Major can justify his existence. But maybe someday I'll be that Major. Then I will be a big, fat hypocrite.

    I have many more examples, but they are not necessarily IRT too much staff, but that big staff certainly not going out of their way to support the BNs and MiTTs. My remaining beefs are with the Comptroller and ISF Cell. Stories for another day...
    Sir, what the hell are we doing?

  4. #24
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkm_101_fso View Post
    It's easy to loathe a large staff. For that, I am intellectually lazy.


    Here's the point: when an incident occured in the BDE where the IA or CF damaged local property, said Major would just call down the battalion or MiTT responsible and tell them to take pictures, write a report and bring it to him at the FOB. From there, he would look at the pictures, read the report and make his analysis, call the BNs or MiTTs back, and tell us what to do about the situation. I would argue we probably could have cut the middle man out in this instance. If I am a commander that owns the AO, and I know what my guys did and I was there when it happened or shortly afterward, then I can probably make the decision on how to handle that. I don't need another layer of Bureacracy from BDE to help me do that, so that some Major can justify his existence. But maybe someday I'll be that Major. Then I will be a big, fat hypocrite.(emphasis added by WM)
    Ah Grasshopper, you learn the lessons of bureaucracy quickly
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. Sydney J. Harris

  5. #25
    Council Member Umar Al-Mokhtār's Avatar
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    Default The Rand Study...

    'Bureaucracy Does Its Thing' by Komer, which Secretary Gates refers to, is here.

    Another great point Secretary Gates made is we have to focus on the fight, while we keep an eye on the 'peer' threats, but we cannot focus on both at once. He supports that by pointing out while Russia has started flexing its muscle again, it is not nearly the threat the Soviet Union was.
    "What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women."

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