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Thread: U.S. Special Operations: Personal Opinions

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
    I would volunteer for that mission in a heart beat!! Jobs I am good at ,in a unit structure I would like, more deployments for shorter durations, nirvana. Salivating just thinking about it. If you make that happen, I will be back active in a heartbeat! I wonder if other soldiers feel as strongly as I do?
    Reed
    I certainly agree that all of the above. I am former SF support (got my short tab while with 1st SFGA), combat deployment with LRS and current ETT. The closest that I have found are IA deployments for NG soldiers attatched to JSOC.

  2. #22
    Council Member ODB's Avatar
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    Default Will try to remain logical

    First I want to address CSS within SF. We have had many discussions over this in recent weeks with a few key points continually coming up:

    1. Currently there are many growing pains with now having a GSB. For years battalions have supported themselves while complaining they needed a GSB, now they have them they are complaining about the support they receive. It is a matter of the GSB folks playing catching up and figuring out the nuances of SF.

    2. The single worst thing that can happen is to send a brand new support soldier to a SF Group. There should be no lower enlisted slots in Group. Nothing worse than hearing a brand new private being inprocessed by specialist calling E-8s by there first name. I got it, different environment but have to draw the line at some point. Then 3 years down the road that private now has to go back to big Army, they are in for a huge culture shock.

    3. There should be some sort of initial intergration/assessment (don't wanna say selection) process. Unfortunately we have a hard enough time even getting CSS personnel who are airborne qualified or want to go to school. This brings up another issue in itself for another conversation.

    Overall I believe having a GSB will pay off in the end, just like anything though there is going to be growing pains. As far as officer manning does anyone honestly believe big Army would give up their best and brightest to SOF?

    I agree with many of the comments regarding SF and DA missions. Many who have come SF since 01' think all SF is is door kicking. Now that DA is winding down they say SF isn't what it used to be, when in actuality it is starting to get back to it's roots. IMHO funding is a huge part of this. There is entirely too much politics involved. The whole look at us we can do this and we can do that, what do you need them for. Everyone is trying to do everyone elses job and forgeting there own missions in the process. When one looks at SOF as a whole all the pieces are there, just get back to using them in their role. Many of us can see SF evolving one of two ways:

    1. Being more of a DA/CT force but then this leaves a huge void to be filled, but then why MARSOF? SEALS tried FID wanting a piece of the action and then realized they want absolutely nothing to do with it. So the question is who fills the void if SF evolved this way?

    2. The way many of us see SF evolving is taking a larger role in HUMNIT and possibly becoming much more focused on this aspect than anything else. In doing so FID/UW would not go on the back burner as FID would be the proverbial foot in the door.

    Another huge issue about to rear it's ugly head is when SF gets back into it's normal role of FID and all these guys are used to operating with a ton of logistical support and conventional forces all over country. What happens when you are the only 12 Americans in the country minus the Embassy personnel? Too many have gone the past 7 years without having to deal with this. There is definately some bumps in the road ahead but nothing that cannot be overcome.

    Ken WhiteThe issue of who works for who (GPF for SOF or SOF for GPF) should be totally mission based and the parochial BS should go. We must fix the unity of command problem in the US armed forces...
    Personally I'd love an Inf company OPCON to me, the things I could do and Battalion would be a dream come true, unfortunately I doubt I'll ever see the day, we are just not there yet. Then again it would depend on the personalities, I definately think Inf companies are doable. Then again why would I need them if I was doing my job developing my FID force?

    My final comment is on credibility.....getting harder everyday. All I'll say on that, many will know what I'm talking about. Will save other ramblings for later.
    ODB

    Exchange with an Iraqi soldier during FID:

    Why did you not clear your corner?

    Because we are on a base and it is secure.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ODB View Post
    Personally I'd love an Inf company OPCON to me, the things I could do and Battalion would be a dream come true, unfortunately I doubt I'll ever see the day, we are just not there yet. Then again it would depend on the personalities, I definately think Inf companies are doable. Then again why would I need them if I was doing my job developing my FID force?
    I like it. Could you give me your two cents on THIS?

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    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ODB View Post
    Then again why would I need them if I was doing my job developing my FID force?
    Perhaps to have a QRF that the Host Nation could actually emulate, instead of our traditional over reliance on arty and airpower, which take longer to train then good infantry and many HN's can not afford. That's my thought anyway. Plus you know it would be NCO heavy and could augment training personnel.
    Reed
    (Of course, I am probably unduly influenced by the fact that I would want that job)
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    This truly is the bike helmet generation.

  5. #25
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Roger that...

    Quote Originally Posted by ODB View Post
    ...Nothing worse than hearing a brand new private being inprocessed by specialist calling E-8s by there first name. I got it, different environment but have to draw the line at some point. Then 3 years down the road that private now has to go back to big Army, they are in for a huge culture shock.
    I know that's true but I've long thought Big army has the wrong approach...
    ...As far as officer manning does anyone honestly believe big Army would give up their best and brightest to SOF?
    Probably not but then, SOF shouldn't get the best and brightest in the support arena, they should get what the pipeline spews forth. If the pipeline spews inadequate people, then the pipeline needs to fixed. Most people are average, period...
    ...IMHO funding is a huge part of this. There is entirely too much politics involved. . .When one looks at SOF as a whole all the pieces are there, just get back to using them in their role. Many of us can see SF evolving one of two ways:

    1. Being more of a DA/CT force but then this leaves a huge void to be filled, but then why MARSOF? SEALS tried FID wanting a piece of the action and then realized they want absolutely nothing to do with it. So the question is who fills the void if SF evolved this way?
    Heh. Precisely. It is not a job for everyone and while many can do both jobs 'acceptably' (in the eyes of some -- casualty count disregarded) there is no question that about ten percent or so of the guys can excel at both jobs and that 70 plus percent of the folks in all the US SOF can do both at a decreasingly acceptable level but that means about 10 percent or so cannot do both -- and it also means that probably about 50-60% can one job much better than they can do the other. Why are we doing this if it's dumb? You answered it just above: "There is entirely too much politics involved."
    2. The way many of us see SF evolving is taking a larger role in HUMNIT and possibly becoming much more focused on this aspect than anything else. In doing so FID/UW would not go on the back burner as FID would be the proverbial foot in the door.
    I hear you and generally agree but be careful, the HUMINT business is necessary but it too takes special qualities. It is not a job everyone is suited for and it can start driving the FID train instead of just aiding it if you aren't careful.
    ...Too many have gone the past 7 years without having to deal with this. There is definately some bumps in the road ahead but nothing that cannot be overcome.
    True dat.
    Personally I'd love an Inf company OPCON to me, the things I could do and Battalion would be a dream come true, unfortunately I doubt I'll ever see the day, we are just not there yet. Then again it would depend on the personalities, I definately think Inf companies are doable. Then again why would I need them if I was doing my job developing my FID force?
    We'll get there. We'll have to, I suspect.

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    Default I think the 82D is the unit you're looking for.

    If I understand your general direction, Ken.

    They are right up the street, attract/cultivate some great leadership, have a small unit culture and big unit assetts, are pretty much have given up on FLS forced entry as a mission. At least if one counts the amount of training they can devote to that.

    My thought was to have a BDE per group and focus them regionally. Get the NCO's to language training and send the O's to some SWC course on FID. The benefit is a very large reinforcement of SF very rapidly, a quick bridging of the cultural divide at the lower level, and CONUS geography (pretty close to SWC already, as well as to the CA/PSYOP guys.)

    Down side is the cultural divide at higher levels, as well as some turf issues on who works for whom. But they follow orders, right?

    This is pretty much what is going on in theatre in Afghanistan anyway (minus some of the lower level coordination) with SF taking point and GPF providing support. In my experience, the lack of formal relations made for redundent and often conflicting missions. (SF makes contact with a tribe, GPF comes through a week later and does an on-your-face cordon and search.)
    The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.

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  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by sapperfitz82 View Post
    This is pretty much what is going on in theatre in Afghanistan anyway (minus some of the lower level coordination) with SF taking point and GPF providing support. In my experience, the lack of formal relations made for redundent and often conflicting missions. (SF makes contact with a tribe, GPF comes through a week later and does an on-your-face cordon and search.)
    As far as who screws up the other's coin efforts - plenty of examples on both sides - I was the recipent of several Black SOF raids gone bad in my sector, where I had to do the consequence management afterwards.

    We consistantly violated unity of effort with SF in Iraq until I left in Feb 07. GPF has little SA on SF ODA ops and vice versa. The "Black SOF" is the worst offender, conducting independent raids into sectors and more often than not leaving a mess for the GPF commander to clean up. Plenty of discussion on the consequence management aspect of SOF raids gone wrong over at company command.

    I never understood why the ODA in a BCT sector was not OPCON or TACON to the BCT or even vice versa. Both sides stepped on each others' toes constantly in SOIs and missions because of the parallel chains of command. Relations were highly dependent on the SF team leader and BCT/BN commander personalities to work well. I have seen examples of both sides failing to work with the other due to personality issues.
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  8. #28
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    Default A Bit More on SOF Enablers

    Good discussion all around.

    People talked a great deal about the ability of plugging into enablers throughout this thread; additionally, it is important to note the amount of organic enablers that are now part of SF Groups, or coming on line: dogs, UAVs, Signal, not to mention the CSS discussed earlier.

  9. #29
    Council Member ODB's Avatar
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    Default Additional thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    As far as who screws up the other's coin efforts - plenty of examples on both sides - I was the recipent of several Black SOF raids gone bad in my sector, where I had to do the consequence management afterwards.

    We consistantly violated unity of effort with SF in Iraq until I left in Feb 07. GPF has little SA on SF ODA ops and vice versa. The "Black SOF" is the worst offender, conducting independent raids into sectors and more often than not leaving a mess for the GPF commander to clean up. Plenty of discussion on the consequence management aspect of SOF raids gone wrong over at company command.

    I never understood why the ODA in a BCT sector was not OPCON or TACON to the BCT or even vice versa. Both sides stepped on each others' toes constantly in SOIs and missions because of the parallel chains of command. Relations were highly dependent on the SF team leader and BCT/BN commander personalities to work well. I have seen examples of both sides failing to work with the other due to personality issues.
    I'm so tired of the who has the biggest d*ck on the block mentality on all sides. When an ODA and BCT get along great things come from it, when they do not we all might as well sit that rotation out. SF feels the same pain of those middle of the night unannounced raids. You'd think with the information highway what it is there would be better communication on all levels.

    My thought was to have a BDE per group and focus them regionally. Get the NCO's to language training and send the O's to some SWC course on FID. The benefit is a very large reinforcement of SF very rapidly, a quick bridging of the cultural divide at the lower level, and CONUS geography (pretty close to SWC already, as well as to the CA/PSYOP guys.)
    Much easier done by integrating both sides early on. Up until GWOT there was very little if any training/operations done between SOF and conventional forces. We sometimes have to sleep in that bed we have made. Coming SF with 14 years infantry experience I had little to no exposure to SF before hand. This can be remedied in multiple ways. CTC rotations, school house, local training, ones imagination is the limit. I do not believe we need set BCTs dedicated to supporting SF Groups, takes too many out of the fight. Big problems arise when you start dedicating troops to one specfic mission, then they always get held back for that just in case we need them excuse. The good thing coming out of the GWOT is the SOF/conventional integration and the experiences being learned. My fear of being OPCON/TACON to a BCT is much like any other attachment; under utilization and misuse. Many conventional and unconventional commanders forget or do not know how to utilize assests properly. My fear goes the same way for conventional forces being OPCON/TACON to ODAs or Group.

    One of my good idea fairies thinks one of the best solutions would be cross pollination so to say. With many younger less experienced soldiers in SF today at some point in their career you kick them back to big Army to be SL/PSG, then they get the feel for conventional ways and nothing wrong with bringing a few SSG/SFC Infantry guys to be an extra bravo on the team. Send SF Majors to conventional staffs and conventional majors to SF staffs. Just a thought and a HRC nightmare but might just get us the most bang for our buck in the long run.
    ODB

    Exchange with an Iraqi soldier during FID:

    Why did you not clear your corner?

    Because we are on a base and it is secure.

  10. #30
    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    SOF MP's I think this article is relevant. I am kind of surprised something similar has not been suggested seeing the difficulty we have had in both A-stan and Iraq training competent police forces.
    Reed
    Quote Originally Posted by sapperfitz82 View Post
    This truly is the bike helmet generation.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by ODB View Post
    I'm so tired of the who has the biggest d*ck on the block mentality on all sides. When an ODA and BCT get along great things come from it, when they do not we all might as well sit that rotation out. SF feels the same pain of those middle of the night unannounced raids. You'd think with the information highway what it is there would be better communication on all levels.
    I'll note some of the same habitual problems as Cavguy; my BN owned an AO in Iraq, but an SF team worked indepedently inside a city in our AO. It wasn't that we had a poor relationship with them, but that we weren't privy to all of the operations and "deals" they made with Iraqi leaders inside the city. When they left the AO, all we heard from the local leaders was "Captain Jimmy (SF TL) said this, Captain Jimmy said that". It was a very frustrating obstacle to try and work through. Additionally, the SF team "hired" their own militia that continued independent ops after the SF team left. They even occupied the SF team safehouse as their HQ. Deconflicting their ops (because they weren't IA) was hard, because they had been empowered by the SF team to do so. I will say that the SF team did a fairly good "battle handover" with us when they left, but it was hasty and we didn't get all the details we should have. Our fault for not asking all the right questions and getting all the info we should have.

    One of my good idea fairies thinks one of the best solutions would be cross pollination so to say. With many younger less experienced soldiers in SF today at some point in their career you kick them back to big Army to be SL/PSG, then they get the feel for conventional ways and nothing wrong with bringing a few SSG/SFC Infantry guys to be an extra bravo on the team. Send SF Majors to conventional staffs and conventional majors to SF staffs. Just a thought and a HRC nightmare but might just get us the most bang for our buck in the long run.
    Agree with much of this. What would be the willingness of the SF officers and NCOs to "go back on the line"? I'm assuming that they wouldn't prefer that. I guess it could be DA mandated. I think there would be much to gain from putting 18 series guys back into 11 series formations.

    In the the field artillery world, we send non-SF majors/post-command CPTs to SF groups to be FSOs. Granted, they are on staff and not with the teams, but still learn from their experiences. I think it's a great program and one that the Army will continue. Of the former SF FSOs that I've seen come out of Group, they are great assets to the FA BNs they go back to, because of what they learned with Group.

    I believe (but don't know for sure) that 13F/13A from the Ranger BNs also support Delta missions, but aren't Operators. I assume they bring great knowledge and experience base back to Rgr BN and other FA BNs they eventually go to.
    Sir, what the hell are we doing?

  12. #32
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ODB View Post
    I'm so tired of the who has the biggest d*ck on the block mentality on all sides. When an ODA and BCT get along great things come from it, when they do not we all might as well sit that rotation out. SF feels the same pain of those middle of the night unannounced raids. You'd think with the information highway what it is there would be better communication on all levels.
    ODB,

    We're in violent agreement.
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  13. #33
    Council Member ODB's Avatar
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    Default Sorry for the delay

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    I like it. Could you give me your two cents on THIS?
    Not a bad thought at all. The right side of my brain keeps going to that if I was doing my job properly I wouldn't need a conventional force because I would have trained and equiped my indig force properly. Definately could see this early on while preparing that indig force or if in an AO that didn't have one. I look at the intel thing kinda like local law enforcement vs FBI.
    ODB

    Exchange with an Iraqi soldier during FID:

    Why did you not clear your corner?

    Because we are on a base and it is secure.

  14. #34
    Council Member sandbag's Avatar
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    I cannot agree more on this. In a SOF organization, the RIGHT fit is always the way to go. Technical or tactical competence only gets your foot in the door to the organization. If you're technically brilliant, but can't get along with others, you're going to pose a danger downrange. This applies not only to CSS but to combat arms officers integrating into SOF. Working and playing well with others counts for a lot when you have a small organization.

    On support personnel: If the problem's at the supply end of the personnel pipeline, let's fix it. Staffing a GSB with a bunch of 82d alumni isn't always the answer. It's already been done, and it was done based on a faulty premise. We're living with it today.

    PS: I've tended to look at the whole "grunt-me-combat-me-best, you-CSS-you-suck" to be a pretty emotionally retarded outlook. I know my fair share of tabbers that couldn't act like a grownup if their lives depended on it. If you're in charge of support guys, treat them and train them like your combat arms guys. If you're driving that wedge for sophmoric branch parochialism, you're part of the problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by max161 View Post
    Bob,

    Second, I would offer that wanting the "best and the brightest" to go to SF/SOF is counterproductive and turns people against us as people think we believe we are entitled to the "best and brightest." I would submit that we are not "entitled" to the best and the brightest but what we really want are the RIGHT soldiers to fill these SOF enabler positions. We need a capable competent soldier who can work in a non-standard even unconventional environment who can support Special Operations.

    Okay off my soap box for now.

  15. #35
    Council Member ODB's Avatar
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    Default Hot topic

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob W. View Post
    Good discussion all around.

    People talked a great deal about the ability of plugging into enablers throughout this thread; additionally, it is important to note the amount of organic enablers that are now part of SF Groups, or coming on line: dogs, UAVs, Signal, not to mention the CSS discussed earlier.
    As of late this new buzzword "SOF enablers" has been a hot topic around the team room beer fridge. Sorry the beer fridge has taken the place of the proverbial water fountain. Personally my verdict is still out there, I'm voting present right now. I see good and bad but don't know if the good out weighs the bad. Instead of streamlining our processes and adding the things we need, we keep getting handed more technology we don't need. I already have too many UAVs watching my every move so arm chair quarterbacks can question the decisions. Additional to this is many know we work the gray areas to get things done, where is my gray area?

    When I think of enablers I think in terms of policies and requirements that are streamlined to enable me to do what it is I'm trained to do. Not add additional requirements and more hands to the pot for me to deal with. Enable me to do what needs to be done!

    I have not yet had the dogs in country, have trained with them and again admittingly there are growing pains. UAVs I see no gain, sorry but the picture from 10,000 feet looks a lot different than the picture on the ground.

    Perhaps others can shed some light that I and others are missing on this.
    ODB

    Exchange with an Iraqi soldier during FID:

    Why did you not clear your corner?

    Because we are on a base and it is secure.

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    Default It takes more than SF to spell SOF

    So I'm brand new to this board, and relatively new to the military in general. I recently went through AIT at the exceedingly broken A/3/1 SWTG for PSYOP, and having just read the article this thread is addressing, I think its just applicable, perhaps even more so, to the little sisters who train across the hall from our Green Beret wearing big brothers at the schoolhouse.

    Soft Power one thing that distinguishes the special operations community from the big Army, and in a time when UW and soft power capabilities are more critical than they ever have been, it seems that we've been just crippling our capacity in that arena through sub par training, shortened timelines, and organizational screw ups.

    Now, maybe I'm wrong, maybe I don't know what I'm talking about, its a possibility, but as an academic consumer of security policy from my undergraduate years through grad school, I have some inkling into whats required of policy actors. And now as a policy actor myself, I think I've gained a wee bit more insight.

    Now, to revisit my point, what happened in this thread is exactly what seems to be happening at SWTG, USASOC, and now USAR - two primary components of SOF, CA and PSYOP, go from being heavily discussed in the article, to virtually ignored in the discussion. Why is that? Is CA not sexy enough? Is PSYOP too much of an unknown commodity?

    Or is it that SF is really the only thing people care about?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Voodoun View Post
    So I'm brand new to this board, and relatively new to the military in general. I recently went through AIT at the exceedingly broken A/3/1 SWTG for PSYOP, and having just read the article this thread is addressing, I think its just applicable, perhaps even more so, to the little sisters who train across the hall from our Green Beret wearing big brothers at the schoolhouse.

    Soft Power one thing that distinguishes the special operations community from the big Army, and in a time when UW and soft power capabilities are more critical than they ever have been, it seems that we've been just crippling our capacity in that arena through sub par training, shortened timelines, and organizational screw ups.

    Now, maybe I'm wrong, maybe I don't know what I'm talking about, its a possibility, but as an academic consumer of security policy from my undergraduate years through grad school, I have some inkling into whats required of policy actors. And now as a policy actor myself, I think I've gained a wee bit more insight.

    Now, to revisit my point, what happened in this thread is exactly what seems to be happening at SWTG, USASOC, and now USAR - two primary components of SOF, CA and PSYOP, go from being heavily discussed in the article, to virtually ignored in the discussion. Why is that? Is CA not sexy enough? Is PSYOP too much of an unknown commodity?

    Or is it that SF is really the only thing people care about?
    Thanks for your comments. Believe me, we do care very much about CA and PSYOP (and everyone should remember that SF grew out of the US Army Psychological Warfare Department and most importantly all war is Psychological!)

    I think your criticisms have merit but I would also like to remind you that institutional training is not designed to make the graduate an expert. Upon graduation you are an apprentice or journeyman at best and it is not until you get to your unit with opportunity formentoring from your leaders with the experience and the opportunity to deploy and employ what you have learned do you begin to develop the knowledge to become an expert. This is as true of CA and PSYOP as it is for SF. We cannot teach everything during the qualification courses.
    Dave
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    Default Training

    I'm not sure that I was suggesting that training should lead to immediate expertise, and if that's what came across I most certainly mis-expressed myself.

    When I said training was broken at A co. 3rd bn I didnt mean that because we didn't all leave as experts it was broken, I meant that my class had a something close to a 40% washout rate, 15 suicide watches, 9 of which were serious, we had instructors making serious advances on trainees (one of them apparently married a trainee within weeks of her transfer to Airborne school, before she was MOS Q'd), trainees were being recycled for drinking, and drug tests were not given despite the cadre being made aware of drug use, and the academic "testing" consisted of being able to remember the answers to multiple choice questions already provided to you, not having any actual comprehension of the material. Don't get me wrong, there was plenty "right" there, and the quality of training was leaps and bounds better than BCT, which also had plenty of positive aspects, but since a riot nearly broke out when we had our final sensing session with an SF officer from SWC command (I'm not kidding, trainees actually stood up in the middle of it and walked out in disgust), I'm pretty confident that something was seriously broken.

    But again, I might be wrong, I always allow for that possibility. I've only got two years of ROTC in college back in the 90's and 1.5 years enlisted under my belt, maybe my perspective will change in 5 years.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Voodoun?

    Welcome to SWC and the debates here, please take time to introduce yourself here: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...t=1441&page=43

    It helps others to understand your perspective and within security an explanation what brought you here.

    davidbfpo

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    I know that CA is expanding and has an aggressive recruiting drive on the active side of the house, but i am skeptical on how many CA skills can be taught in a 13 week AIT. They are also remaining on one base and one unit, which will create an atmosphere of "group think" for active CA. CA would be one area were an exposure to a wide range of ideas and perspectives is important. Just my 2 cents.
    Reed
    Quote Originally Posted by sapperfitz82 View Post
    This truly is the bike helmet generation.

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