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    Council Member CPT Foley's Avatar
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    Default Warrior Ethos

    I read an article a few years back by a British General who raised concern that the U.S. Army's Warrior Ethos may be counterproductive in the COIN environment - that it reinforces the 'kill-capture' culture. I didn't give it that much thought, but when I was reading Galula's "Pacification of Algeria", he was adamant that that last guys he wanted in his command were 'warriors.' For anyone who has been in combat we know the attitude of courage and can-do spirit we want around us, and we generally consider them - warriors. But I think both men are on to something. I don't think we are looking to mold kinder & gentler Soldiers, but rather Soldiers who have better appreciation for non-kinetic methods. Revising the some of our bedrock tenets/creeds may be in order. It's a sensitive subject because of the intense pride involved, but I think it is worthy of consideration.

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Default Words and education

    Quote Originally Posted by CPT Foley View Post
    But I think both men are on to something. I don't think we are looking to mold kinder & gentler Soldiers, but rather Soldiers who have better appreciation for non-kinetic methods. Revising the some of our bedrock tenets/creeds may be in order. It's a sensitive subject because of the intense pride involved, but I think it is worthy of consideration.
    I think the problem here is the very idea of a "Warrior." Silly word. Do not use it.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member CPT Foley's Avatar
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    Default Warrior Ethos

    I do worry the word conjures up images of raping & pillaging, or at least killing over pacifying, i.e., not the best word to convey what we want from Soldiers. I prefer a Soldiers Ethos.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Warrior is not only poor usage when applied

    to what is supposed to be a disciplined and trained Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman. Warfighter as a term is just sort of silly; warrior so applied is simply wrong -- it's also an insult.

    Agree that Warriors don't have an ethos other than fight anything and everything whether it need it or not so that means the phrase is stupid.

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    I always thought the Warrior Ethos was an extension of the black beret idea. The rationale, as I understood it, was that elite Soldiers don't earn berets - beret-wearers morph into elite Soldiers. Likewise, a Ranger Creed for the masses would make them even more elite. We'll call it the Warrior Ethos. The only thing left to do is to rename our Brigades as Regiments.

    This seems to be a much wider trend than just neat ideas from the top. Ever notice how much stuff people attach to their weapons when the only thing that they use them for is to point the muzzle into a clearing barrel? Or the amount of stuff the fabled "PX Ranger" dons - presumably to ensure that he survives his treks between the DFAC, PX, bed, phone center, and Pizza Hut?

    The American Army, in some ways, is adapting some of the bad traits of Arab Armies. It seems to be about face, about an outward display, and concern with what others think, rather than emphasis about doing your job with discipline and diligence and not asking for adoration, sympathy, victim-status, or special treatment when you go home.

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    Council Member Boot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    This seems to be a much wider trend than just neat ideas from the top. Ever notice how much stuff people attach to their weapons when the only thing that they use them for is to point the muzzle into a clearing barrel? Or the amount of stuff the fabled "PX Ranger" dons - presumably to ensure that he survives his treks between the DFAC, PX, bed, phone center, and Pizza Hut?
    This is funny to me because of an incident on the "rhino" that runs between the GZ and VBC. I was on the bus in full gear, no convoy was running there when I needed to be there and couldn't catch air, so it was the rhino I had to ride.
    I had all my mags fully loaded (8). Another officer saw me and started to chukle. I asked him (who happened to be overweight looking by the way) what he was laughing at. He looked at my gear and shrugged. I said well the last time I was out I emptied all my mags and only had 5. He assumed (you know what they say about ass-uming) that because I was on the rhino I must be some fobbit who was enamored with gear. His response was, how is that, who are you with. I said I got a TT at FOB Loyalty, who are you with? He said "oh", and avoided me after that.
    I know its off topic, but you reminded me of something I had forgotten about until I read you post.


    Boot
    Last edited by Boot; 05-31-2009 at 12:24 AM.

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    Council Member IntelTrooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    to what is supposed to be a disciplined and trained Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman. Warfighter as a term is just sort of silly; warrior so applied is simply wrong -- it's also an insult.

    Agree that Warriors don't have an ethos other than fight anything and everything whether it need it or not so that means the phrase is stupid.
    As usual, totally agree with Ken here. Furthermore, what is going on with an organization that needs to quantify its ethos?
    "The status quo is not sustainable. All of DoD needs to be placed in a large bag and thoroughly shaken. Bureaucracy and micromanagement kill."
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    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default ok ok ok a little history on the Warrior Ethos

    I will leave the discussion as to the efficacy of the term "Warrior" as a one-word descriptor for what we want our Soldiers to embody to others...

    However, I can offer a little history as back dialogue...

    The Warrior Ethos was developed and furthered as part of TF Soldier, which itself was part of a series of initiatives launched by then newly installed CSA Schoomaker. The Task Forces were meant to identify gaps he and his staff identified during their transition... I don't think its a stretch to say that the gap the ethos was meant to address in part was largely spurred by the incident involving the Patriot Maintenance Company that got lost and captured without acquiting itself very well (remember PFC Lynch?)

    It was determined that a separate culture had developed amongst non-combat arms troops (one that embraced the specialist skill at the expense of the basic soldier skills). As I'm sure all will note, an ethos/motto isn't the path to changing a culture... real change in initial entry, advanced individual, unit and PME is necessary - and the Army has made those types of changes in addition to the adoption of the Warrior Ethos.


    Soldier Creed
    I am an American Soldier.
    I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.
    I will always place the mission first.
    I will never accept defeat.
    I will never quit.
    I will never leave a fallen comrade.
    I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
    I am an expert and I am a professional.
    I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
    I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
    I am an American Soldier.

    Not exactly the stuff of rape and pillage...

    Now for truth in advertising... I served with and didn't always see eye to eye with the GO who led TF Soldier... I thought him a very blunt instrument at times (a description he'd probably agree with and take pride in), and much debate occurred in which senior officers debated whether Warrior was the right label...

    However, for my money... the benefits of the changes instituted by TF Soldier (to include the Warrior Ethos) far outweighed any perceived baggage regading a term.

    Have fun storming the castle...
    Hacksaw
    Say hello to my 2 x 4

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    Council Member jenniferro10's Avatar
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    Default somebody over at Leavenworth was reading your mind...

    Maimonides: "Consider this, those of you who are engaged in investigation, if you choose to seek truth. Cast aside passion, accepted thought, and the inclination toward what you used to esteem, and you shall not be lead into error."

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenniferro10 View Post
    Totally brilliant! You know, I think I may just use that in my class this fall !

    As an FYI - here's one of the other ones
    http://nerds.unl.edu/pages/preser/se...abertooth.html
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Council Member CPT Foley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenniferro10 View Post
    It is clever. "Quest for Fire" meets "Who Moved My Cheese."

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    Council Member Brandon Friedman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umar Al-Mokhtār View Post
    IMHO the people that routinely participate in this forum have a higher than normal curiosity about the world around them and the events which impact theirís and otherís lives. The vast majority of people, however, tend to live within very narrowly focused world views. Politicians know this, in fact they rely upon it.
    They do. Thatís why itís important for people like us--with our experience and military values--to actively involve ourselves in the political process. If youíre not willing to do that, then youíre conceding control of American defense policy to the people like youíve described.

    Quote Originally Posted by jenniferro10 View Post
    That's a good piece. Part of the problem with inflexible leadership is that military leaders are never evaluated by their subordinates. So theyíre never accountable to the troops they lead. I think this would help:

    I've never understood why officers are officially evaluated primarily by their superiors, when it's their subordinates who really know whether or not they're effective. I've always wondered why the Army doesn't implement an evaluation program much like those administered in colleges and universities around the country--teacher evaluations. At the end of each semester, the professor leaves the room, the TA passes out the Scantron questionnaire forms with the extra sheet for comments, and the students fill them out anonymously. Then the forms go to the Dean. Why doesn't the military evaluate PLs, COs, and BCs like this? But instead of every soldier filling out the form, it would be answered by, say, only subordinate NCOs and officers.

    I typed up my own forms and did this for one of my platoons at the end of my time, and it was the best, most honest feedback I ever received in the Army. If similar questionnaires on the other PLs had been passed up to my commander and the BC, they would've been able to better compare the effectiveness of their PLs.
    To go along with that, Schmedlap also suggested peer reviews. This way, leaders who werenít responsive to changing conditions would eventually be outed by their subordinates and, hopefully, not promoted into critical positions like the ones weíre talking about.

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    Surferbeetle,

    You provided some good info in that last post. Now my question is, where are those people? Where were they? If we have people tasked for the purpose of standing up a government, are they doing it? Were they trying in 2003? Were they even in theater? Are they now?

    Assuming that we have properly identified the skill sets necessary to do this, and tasked the job appropriately (at least on paper), do we have nearly enough of these people to do the task that they have purportedly been given?

    Somewhat related point - I think the real crux of the issue regarding whether we need to "train Soldiers for COIN" and also "train Soldiers for high-intensity operations" rather than "training them to operate across the full spectrum" is a debate that completely misses the point. The real crux of the issue is not just one of whether you can pack in a certain amount of knowledge and skills into one brain. Rather, it is a question of whether you can expect the average 19-year-old Soldier to adjust his mental and emotional state on the fly to operate across the full spectrum of operations. The average 19-year-old rifleman is intelligent, resourceful, and creative. He can learn the skills and apply the knowledge. But 19-year-old riflemen are generally not emotionally mature. They have a difficult time transitioning from close-quarters combat, where the interaction is an exchange of deadly force, to face-to-face non-lethal engagements where the interaction is an exchange of information. The real question should be, can we expect most Soldiers to operate effectively in this environment? (I think the answer is yes, but....) If so, for how long? If deployments were 4 to 6 months in length and units maintained a habitual relationship with their AOR (meaning you deploy to location X, redeploy and maintain dialed in to what is occurring in location X, then deploy again to location X, and so on) and we kept Soldiers at their duty stations for 5 or 6 years, rather than 3, then we would see much better results and there would be no more wondering about the counterproductive distraction known as the Nagl-Gentile debate.

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    Somewhat related point - I think the real crux of the issue regarding whether we need to "train Soldiers for COIN" and also "train Soldiers for high-intensity operations" rather than "training them to operate across the full spectrum" is a debate that completely misses the point. The real crux of the issue is not just one of whether you can pack in a certain amount of knowledge and skills into one brain. Rather, it is a question of whether you can expect the average 19-year-old Soldier to adjust his mental and emotional state on the fly to operate across the full spectrum of operations.
    Very much the point. This is the danger in the "COIN is not Warfare" approach that suggests that "in COIN" you do X and Y, instead of emphasising WHY things are done give an particular circumstance or condition, and this dependant on judgement. You want to provide a broad set of tools and education that is as widely applicable as possible. This is impossible in a culture that has become emotionally dependant fitting warfare into separate boxes.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member Brandon Friedman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    Somewhat related point - I think the real crux of the issue regarding whether we need to "train Soldiers for COIN" and also "train Soldiers for high-intensity operations" rather than "training them to operate across the full spectrum" is a debate that completely misses the point. The real crux of the issue is not just one of whether you can pack in a certain amount of knowledge and skills into one brain. Rather, it is a question of whether you can expect the average 19-year-old Soldier to adjust his mental and emotional state on the fly to operate across the full spectrum of operations. The average 19-year-old rifleman is intelligent, resourceful, and creative. He can learn the skills and apply the knowledge. But 19-year-old riflemen are generally not emotionally mature. They have a difficult time transitioning from close-quarters combat, where the interaction is an exchange of deadly force, to face-to-face non-lethal engagements where the interaction is an exchange of information. The real question should be, can we expect most Soldiers to operate effectively in this environment? (I think the answer is yes, but....) If so, for how long? If deployments were 4 to 6 months in length and units maintained a habitual relationship with their AOR (meaning you deploy to location X, redeploy and maintain dialed in to what is occurring in location X, then deploy again to location X, and so on) and we kept Soldiers at their duty stations for 5 or 6 years, rather than 3, then we would see much better results and there would be no more wondering about the counterproductive distraction known as the Nagl-Gentile debate.
    This is spot on. One solution I've kicked around would be to focus unit training on kinetic, force-on-force engagements--as we've always done. At the same time, create a 10-week, stateside, permanent, counterinsurgent course focused on basic language instruction, customs, regional negotiation tactics, etc.

    You send all junior combat arms officers through the course after OBC and you send E-4s and above when you can get them there. One of the primary purposes of Ranger School is that you train these guys from across the Army, and then sprinkle them evenly throughout combat units, so that no infantry platoon is without at least one or two Ranger-qualified soldiers. These soldiers, then, are supposed to be the ones who pass on mental toughness, confidence, and expertise (the ability to march while sleeping, I guess?).

    By setting up a course like this, you wouldn't have to spend time training every young soldier on the tenets of COIN while he's just trying to learn how to fight and how to use the 240 and the ANCD (if we still use those). Let the leaders in each platoon handle the counterinsurgency. (Because realistically, how often do 19-year-old riflemen need to interact and exchange information? That's a job for NCOs and officers and, fortunately, with the exception of maybe checkpoints, there's usually an E-5 or above present in most situations.) This way, COIN becomes ingrained in combat units, while they focus their unit training on shooting, moving, communicating, and fighting.

    This would be expensive and excessively time-consuming, but when nature builds a better mousetrap, you have to become a better mouse. We have to be able to do both.

  16. #16
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Default SWC break...

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    Now my question is, where are those people? Where were they? If we have people tasked for the purpose of standing up a government, are they doing it? Were they trying in 2003? Were they even in theater? Are they now?

    Assuming that we have properly identified the skill sets necessary to do this, and tasked the job appropriately (at least on paper), do we have nearly enough of these people to do the task that they have purportedly been given?
    Schmedlap,

    Google Links for On Point

    link

    Öand On Point II

    link

    The U.S. Army's Combat Studies Institute describes this report as the "US Army's first historical study of its campaign in Iraq in the decisive eighteen months following the overthrow of the Baathist regime in April 2003." It "examines both the high-level decisions that shaped military operations after May 2003 as well as the effects of those decisions on units and Soldiers who became responsible for conducting those operations".
    These are very large documents and I have only sampled portions of them, however this would be a starting point from an official standpoint.

    JFQ has an article on Civil Affairs manning

    From a personal standpoint, Civil Affairs needs more troops...
    Sapere Aude

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    Council Member Umar Al-Mokhtār's Avatar
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    Default Actually...

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Friedman View Post
    If youíre not willing to do that, then youíre conceding control of American defense policy to the people like youíve described.
    From where I sit, I have more control over Defense policy then most elected officials. Which is in a way scary.

    As to politics, with my checkered past, were I to run for high office, the press would have a field day.
    "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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