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Thread: McGregor Briefing to Danzig????

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    Council Member Kreker's Avatar
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    Default McGregor Briefing to Danzig????

    Supposedly COL Doug McGregor, USA, Ret, briefed Richard Danzig (possible SecDef)the following presentation found at http://web.me.com/steelgunner1977/Co...%20Keynote.swf.
    Best,
    Kreker

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    Council Member jkm_101_fso's Avatar
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    Default Hard to change

    I think there is compelling evidence and reasons to do away with the division.

    I believe there would be incredible resistance...at the highest levels.

    I'd like to see the complete MTOE breakdown for the ICG, CMG, LRSG & STRG.
    Sir, what the hell are we doing?

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    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    I am having difficulty getting the link to load, but I an very familiar with Mr. MacGregor’s Combat Group Concept. Regardless of how you feel about the total concept, there are really good ideas tucked into it. Flattening the command chain, a separate expeditionary combat support group, instead of trying to shoehorn everything into the BCT, rotational readiness (that’s one of my soap boxes btw) and a focus on capability. The main negative is a strong focus on conventional war fighting, but that has some justification as well. My main disagreements with Col Mac are on the nuts and bolts TO&E issues, not the main concept philosophy.
    UPDATE: it loaded, looks like he has fixed and improved his concepts quite a bit. I thought the quote "Some wars simply should not be fought" was telling. Too bad he is still using those ridiculous Clancy like hypothetical operations to show concept viability. I noticed an increase in infantry in his concept, this is good. I question his "rapid prototyping and fielding" concept and some other aspects, but overall I like what he has to say
    Reed
    P.S. anyone mind if I invited Col Mac to the forum?
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    I see that Col. MacGregor is now including the Marine Expeditionary Brigade in the combat group concept. That seems like a good idea but can abandoning the Marine Division in favor of permanent MEBs happen through executive power? I thought the USMC was directed to maintain three divisions by congress?
    Last edited by Rifleman; 11-18-2008 at 07:17 PM.
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    Council Member jkm_101_fso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
    My main disagreements with Col Mac are on the nuts and bolts TO&E issues
    Do you have the MTOE concept for the Battle Groups, down to the platoon level? I'd like to see it.

    P.S. anyone mind if I invited Col Mac to the forum?
    Heck no! Bring him in!
    Sir, what the hell are we doing?

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    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkm_101_fso View Post
    Do you have the MTOE concept for the Battle Groups, down to the platoon level? I'd like to see it.
    I 'll have to dig around and see if I still have the PPT. Changes are mostly at Battalion and above. Fixing Battalion and below are for the weirdos like Wilf and myself (I believe Mr. Odam also had a fairly complete small unit concept as well). There is some justification to focusing on big unit echelons since we seem to do well in small unit engagments, but I feel change needs to go from bottom up, not top down. I believe Wilf feels the same.
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    This truly is the bike helmet generation.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Thanks for posting that. Initial impressions:

    I like the thrust; agree that Divisions need to go and that BCTs do not have enough maneuver strength. The organizations he proposes are sound -- more so than the current versions -- and the concept will work.

    He's correct on one item -- the laws (down with DOPMA!!! Revisit Goldwater-Nichols) will have to be changed and longer tenure for the CofS,A and CMC will be needed or else the bureaucracy will in fact wait them out. Problem also is that powerful Congress critters will oppose this citing it's their business ('raise Armies') and for other, more, uh, personal and concrete reasons...

    Of course, the Navy and thus the Marines are the Executive's bailiwick so the fix could be applied to the Corps which would force the Army to keep up...

    Added: Rifleman makes a good point on the three division statutory requiremnt but I think the executive could finesse that on raw strength grounds.

    The existing power structure will also be opposed for a variety of reasons, mid grade Officers will object, the troops will grumble and the government employee unions will see problems. That said, something along this line is really needed...

    I disagree with him on some organizational issues:

    1. He desires 16 AC CM"' and only 2 ARNG CM"' -- bad ratio. Nine and nine would be better IMO.

    2. He posits 11 IC"' (+12 MarC"') AC apparently all light and triple capable; parachute, airmobile or various vehicle mountings. I'd add four more but do strongly agree that the capability to provide those 11 (or 15), all multi capable exists and needs to be accomplished.

    3. He suggests 20 RC IC"' apparently all w/ LAV/Stryker. Not sure I understand the rationale for that -- and I am not a Stryker fan. Sorry, Rob, I know it's a good vehicle and state of the art; I just think the need has been known for long enough that we should be a little further advanced in vehicle choices -- but I acknowledge we are where we are. In any event, I suspect the AC will want /need some...

    I also think his exemplary scenario is not ideal but that's just me. He did not address the flaws in Goldwater-Nichols but I know that's a separate issue -- it will have an effect on his recommendations, though...

    Other than that, I think he's outdone "Breaking the Phalanx," a great idea that Pete Schoomaker got partly done -- as much as the bureaucracy would allow. Well done, BZ and 25,000 Attaboys...

    I also note his cavalry background is quite obvious. Not a problem IMO, that's one parochial slant I agree with.

    Lastly and importantly, I have long contended that we needed better trained and more capable units; purpose designed equipment and a better personnel structure that flattened the rank structure and that emphasized tactical and operational decision making and flexibility. Further, that we got a wake up call with the Tehran Embassy seizure and our great but failed attempt -- due to a lack of all the foregoing items and that we failed for 20 plus years to rectify those shortfalls -- and are STILL failing. Colonel Macgregor summed all that up beautifully and far better than I have ever been able to:

    "Mobile dispersed warfare demands the tactics of infiltration be elevated to the operational level of war."
    Exactly. I'd also say the obvious future requires it...
    Last edited by Ken White; 11-18-2008 at 07:05 PM. Reason: Addendum, typos

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    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    Just got an email for Mr. MacGregor. He says that the PPT was intended for Mr. Danzig, but that he has not seen it yet. He also stated that he will not be able to participate in the forum at this time due to business constraints. I told him the invite remained open however, perhaps we will see him in the future.
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    This truly is the bike helmet generation.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Along with Ken I see much merit here while I also share many of the same concerns.

    But my central concerns are as follows:

    a. At the theoretical level, he assumes that national strategic thought is a rational process versus an emotional reaction. Suggesting that it is in our interest to avoid long term conflicts makes a great slide because it is attractively simple. I just do not see a historical case on which to build such a theory--unless you go back to a Weinburger/Powell model of only using overwhelming force.

    b. Tied to the above concern, I remain sceptical of a "two week and we're home for XMas" scenario. Offering IDF modeling against the Egyptian forces of 1973 as another sample is just as empty, The IDF won 73 militarily; Sadat won politically.

    c. More central to the discussion of military force structure is the start point. If we are to truly discuss joint, combined, modular forces with flattened C2 arichecture as a central instrument for strategic power then we must include air, naval, and other elements of power. Developing a briefing that discusses how to organize the Army and the Marines to fight in keeping with a new strategic paradigm as claimed by the author is anachronistic to begin with and ultimately limiting.

    Tom

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    If anyone is interested, Col. MacGregor's briefing appears to be based on a chapter he co-authored with Col. G.I. Wilson in a book called America's Defense Meltdown. The intended audience is "President Obama and the New Congress."

    The book is available on a PDF document here: http://www.cdi.org/program/document....e=../index.cfm

    The book also includes chapters on national strategy, personnel, and air and naval reform.

    Yep, Mr. Lind also gets some print time in the book.
    Last edited by Rifleman; 11-18-2008 at 07:57 PM.
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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Evil one, you dashed all my childish illusions...

    I hoped that Macgregor had distanced himself from CDI. Guess not...

    Sigh.


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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    I hoped that Macgregor had distanced himself from CDI. Guess not...

    Sigh.

    Agreed. Consider

    And what of the great victories in the Persian Gulf, the 1991 war to liberate Kuwait and the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein’s hostile regime? Don’t those U.S. operations prove our armed forces’ historic superiority? America did quickly beat Iraq’s armed forces in 1991, and in the early phases of the 2003 invasion, but those victories were both incomplete and against forces best characterized as grossly incompetent – perhaps even the “most incompetent in the world.”1 Against the best of Saddam Hussein’s forces, the so-called Republican Guard, America’s military commanders
    in Operation Desert Storm in 1991 failed to capture or destroy the Guard as the single prop to Saddam’s regime that enabled him to survive the war. In 2003, the Army’s most senior commanders again made fundamental tactical, operational and strategic errors, and in one situation virtually panicked when faced with an enemy that was virtually immobilized by its own incompetence.2
    If you have to go to overstatement to make your point in a preface then your analysis is most likely bent. McGregor is great on some issues; on others he is in left field. I would put the plan to take Baghdad with 50,000 troops over the fence in leftfield.

    The architects of the current war in Iraq slickly proclaim victory in sight thanks to the success of the “surge” there. Politically motivated to their very core, they studiously ignore the internal dynamics in Iraq and the region that have been inestimably more powerful in lowering the violence there. Blind as the proverbial bat, they and even opponents to the Iraq misadventure now proclaim that more of the same in Afghanistan will rescue the collapsing situation there. As Pentagon wags used to remark inside the building, “it’s data-free analysis and analysis-free decisions” that are driving U.S. policy.
    That would be the proverbial pot calling the kettle out...

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    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    If you have to go to overstatement to make your point in a preface then your analysis is most likely bent. McGregor is great on some issues; on others he is in left field. I would put the plan to take Baghdad with 50,000 troops over the fence in leftfield.
    That would be the proverbial pot calling the kettle out...
    That is hardly a constructive comment, and a little snide considering the usual professionalism of this forum. To be fair, MacGregor has backed off that particular logic path a lot since the time that was published (1998-9ish?) and you can see that in how his concept has evolved over time. Note the increase in infantry, the gradual inclusion of other services, and greater acknowledgment for the possibility of needing longer then 6 month deployment times. Yep, he still uses bad Clancy like "hypothetical scenarios" to help visualize the concept, but then again, look at the end audience. Both Wilf and I had serious reservations about your small unit concept, but we don't discount your input in all other areas because of it. Keep your mind open, it is pretty well acknowledged that he has some very sound concepts, he just tries too hard to wrap them into an all encompassing concept. Seeing how it has been evolving, I think he may someday succeed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sapperfitz82 View Post
    This truly is the bike helmet generation.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
    That is hardly a constructive comment, and a little snide considering the usual professionalism of this forum. To be fair, MacGregor has backed off that particular logic path a lot since the time that was published (1998-9ish?) and you can see that in how his concept has evolved over time. Note the increase in infantry, the gradual inclusion of other services, and greater acknowledgment for the possibility of needing longer then 6 month deployment times. Yep, he still uses bad Clancy like "hypothetical scenarios" to help visualize the concept, but then again, look at the end audience. Both Wilf and I had serious reservations about your small unit concept, but we don't discount your input in all other areas because of it. Keep your mind open, it is pretty well acknowledged that he has some very sound concepts, he just tries too hard to wrap them into an all encompassing concept. Seeing how it has been evolving, I think he may someday succeed.
    Reed

    Reed

    Nothing I said was snide. You may disagree with my comments. Have at it.

    The quote that I posted is current. His plan for Baghdad is used in his biographic note in the book. The authors then blame the generals for failure to execute.

    As for my piece on small units, my observations are from years of working the issue here at the JRTC as well as 20 years of military service. Whether you accept what I had to say is your choice. I wrote that piece with a retired SMA. You may criticize at will. Wilf and I have routienly disagreed on certain arenas while agreeing on others.

    Rather than telling me to keep an open mind I would suggest that you use yours to think before opening your mouth. I agree with much of what McGregor has to say when it comes to streamling the force. Indeed I have written on the same subject and my staff model is not that different from his. But in the realm of strategy and operational art, I find his scenarios like his plan to capture Baghdad: too pat by far to work in the real world. His plan for Baghdad was in my opinion very much in left field; it was use as a club by the SecDef to pound over CENTCOM's head to reduce force structure and assume away very likely risks. If in writing for a book that purports to advise the new administration on affairs military under a title of "America's Defense Meltdown", his boiographic note uses that plan to establish his credibility then it is a legitimate point for discussion or criticism.

    Tom
    Last edited by Tom Odom; 11-18-2008 at 09:58 PM.

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    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    I just read the entire article in the America's Defense Meltdown paper, including endnotes and saw no mention of the 50,000 man Iraq invasion. If you are talking about Tranformation Under Fire, the that was published in '03. Five years ago, again, a lot of evolution in the concept since that time. I agree that language is overstated in the CDI paper, but again, look at the end user. Sound military reasoning is rarely very moving to those in politics, so "the sky is falling" sometimes does.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sapperfitz82 View Post
    This truly is the bike helmet generation.

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    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    Also in the CDI pdf, I saw there was a piece by Vandegiff. How does the counsil feel about some of his personel ideas? I tend to feel that he is about 50% correct, but overstates the benifits of regimental recruiting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sapperfitz82 View Post
    This truly is the bike helmet generation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
    Also in the CDI pdf, I saw there was a piece by Vandegiff. How does the counsil feel about some of his personel ideas? I tend to feel that he is about 50% correct, but overstates the benifits of regimental recruiting.
    Reed
    Vandegriff has some very sound ideas, but his regimental recruiting is a throwback to reforms that were considered (and abandoned) in the late 1800s (about 1880-1890). Personally I think the regimental system is the way to go, albeit in a modified form from what one traditionally thinks of as a regiment. Mix and match battlegroups might be interesting from a mass production point of view, but I think there are too many organizational trade-offs (in a negative sense) to make them desirable. I tend to think there's a great deal to be said for unit cohesion and identity: concepts that (IMO) have gotten lost in 2-3 draftee-powered conflicts and a personnel system that is a relic of our dawning Imperial ambitions.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Talking No foul

    Sorry, Rob, I know it's a good vehicle and state of the art; I just think the need has been known for long enough that we should be a little further advanced in vehicle choices -- but I acknowledge we are where we are. In any event, I suspect the AC will want /need some...
    Over time I have realized the vehicle is just the symbol for a very mobile Infantry company with excellent firepower and lots of the finest soldiers around. Whatever the hardware, the key to its success is putting combined arms at the company level and empowering its leadership to make things happen and exploit success. However I would ask for a vehicle that keeps squad integrity if possible.

    Best, Rob

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
    I just read the entire article in the America's Defense Meltdown paper, including endnotes and saw no mention of the 50,000 man Iraq invasion. If you are talking about Tranformation Under Fire, the that was published in '03. Five years ago, again, a lot of evolution in the concept since that time. I agree that language is overstated in the CDI paper, but again, look at the end user. Sound military reasoning is rarely very moving to those in politics, so "the sky is falling" sometimes does.
    Reed
    No the CDI paper does not use the 50K figure. I refer to that from other works like Cobra II, I am referring to the paper by CDI because that was the paper that Riflemen mentioned and first Ken and then I responded to as a point of discussion on the briefing in question. If you look at the biographies that plan is mentioined as a basis of credibility as below:

    In January 2002, Macgregor was directed by the secretary of defense to present the CENTCOM commander with a concept for intervention in Iraq. The plan assumed a no-notice armored attack on two axes and that Iraqi Army and administrative structures would be retained. Though modified
    in unfortunate ways, major elements of his concept were adopted
    .

    Gratefully the ultimate plan included more troops than 50K. Unfortunately the effects of assuming away opposition and turmoil afterward were furtherincreased by the disbanding of the army etc. If an author is going to use hyperbole in selling his points as an author to an audience than he should expect after effects when the audience accepts them and acts on them.

    Tom

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    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    No the CDI paper does not use the 50K figure. I refer to that from other works like Cobra II, I am referring to the paper by CDI because that was the paper that Riflemen mentioned and first Ken and then I responded to as a point of discussion on the briefing in question. If you look at the biographies that plan is mentioined as a basis of credibility as below:

    .

    Gratefully the ultimate plan included more troops than 50K. Unfortunately the effects of assuming away opposition and turmoil afterward were furtherincreased by the disbanding of the army etc. If an author is going to use hyperbole in selling his points as an author to an audience than he should expect after effects when the audience accepts them and acts on them.

    Tom
    Fair eneogh. Glad to see the language is less hostile. Perhaps we should both go to the "Hug it Out" Thread
    Reed
    Quote Originally Posted by sapperfitz82 View Post
    This truly is the bike helmet generation.

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