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Thread: The McCrystal collection (catch all)

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    Council Member rborum's Avatar
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    Default The McCrystal collection (catch all)

    Gen. McChrystal’s "Strategic Assessment Group"

    Col. Chris Kolenda - Director/coordinator, Strategic Assessment Group
    Col. Daniel Pick- Assistant coordinator, <http://www.faoam.elnonio.net/bios/Pick.doc> .

    • Sarah Chayes, the NPR reporter turned Kandahar-based humanitarian
    • Fred Kagan - American Enterprise Institute – Former military historian at USMA
    • Kimberly Kagan, President of the Institute for the Study of War http://www.understandingwar.org/people
    • Anthony Cordesman - Center for Strategic and International Studies
    • Stephen Biddle - Council on Foreign Relations
    • Andrew Exum, a former Army Ranger, counterinsurgency expert, and blogger <http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama> at the Center for a New American Security
    • Jeremy Shapiro, a civil-military relations analyst at the Brookings Institution
    • Terry Kelly, a senior researcher at the Rand Corporation
    • Catherine Dale of the Congressional Research Service
    • Etienne de Durand of the Institut Français des Relations Internationales in Paris
    • Luis Peral of the European Union's Institute for Strategic Studies
    • Whitney Kassel of the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense
    • Lt. Col. Aaron Prupas, a U.S. Air Force officer at Centcom

    Source: http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/po...stals_advisors
    Randy Borum
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    Default The McCrystal collection (catch all)

    Moderator's Note

    I have merged ten threads on General McChrystal today and re-titled the thread 'The McCrystal collection (catch all)'. Also moved to this theme, although the content covers many subjects.(ends)


    I don't know enough about the British media to say how reliable the Telegrpah is. But if it is accurate, I can't imagine this is good news.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...ghanistan.html
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-04-2013 at 11:54 AM. Reason: Add Mod's note

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Neither good nor bad news, more like made-up news.

    Both of them are old enough to have worked with dozens of people they didn't like and / or who said things they disliked. No big thing; mostly political foolishness and some mid level staffers trying to foment something. Journalists are gullible and need bad news to survive.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Accurate UK media?

    Oblong,

    I too noticed The Daily Telegraph report on presidential anger. The author is a Washington DC based correspondent and I would suggest he has taken the bait from a local briefing. In the past year the same newspaper has accepted remarkable stories from US sources and months later are accepted as truthful, if uncomfortable (CIA & FBI active - maybe spying - in the UK).

    Has the story been echoed in the US press?

    davidbfpo

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Gates Stresses Privacy in Chain of Command

    Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates appeared to subtly rebuke America’s top commander in Afghanistan on Monday for publicly speaking out against calls for scaling back the war effort there.

    “I believe the decisions that the president will make for the next stage of the Afghanistan campaign will be among the most important of his presidency, so it is important that we take our time to do all we can to get this right,” Mr. Gates said at a gathering here.

    “And in this process,” Mr. Gates went on, “it is imperative that all of us taking part in these deliberations — civilians and military alike — provide our best advice to the president candidly but privately.”

    “And speaking for the Department of Defense,” Mr. Gates said, “once the commander in chief makes his decisions, we will salute and execute those decisions faithfully and to the best of our ability.”
    I think the leak of the original McChrystal report was the real target here, and not really the general's London speech. That leak was a far more egregious breach, IMO.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default True. But.

    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    I think the leak of the original McChrystal report was the real target here, and not really the general's London speech. That leak was a far more egregious breach, IMO.
    Who -- which side of the 'debate' (if there really is one) -- leaked it? And for what purpose?

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    Default I would add

    that speeches like McChrystal's are supposed to be cleared by DOD for security issues AND for policy - that is, they must state policy correctly. So, if the speech was submitted for clearance and cleared - most probably - nobody has a legitimate gripe.

    Cheers

    JohnT

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    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    I would add that speeches like McChrystal's are supposed to be cleared by DOD for security issues AND for policy - that is, they must state policy correctly. So, if the speech was submitted for clearance and cleared - most probably - nobody has a legitimate gripe.
    That's kind of why I asked earlier...

    This is shaping up to be an odd debate. It seems that the ISAF Commander advocates one thing and the administration wants another. Did McChyrstal hold his press conference on his own accord, or was this something that the administration told him to do?
    ... seems odd that a commander would do this - hold a press conference in which he rejects a suggestion from a VP that is, apparently, still being considered by the President. What if the President accepts the plan? That will be awkward. I wonder if, when faced with a question about Biden's strategy, that he felt the duty to reject it - or if it was his plan to speak out against such a plan from the start, and thus the motivation for the conference.

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    Here we go again?

    Will this evolve into an ignorant press, pressing guess's and playing the personality assination card to support a sliverin support structure?

    A president who doesn't maintain much of a contact with his top general and staffers who have no idea about militiary moves and a rudimentary understanding of politics providing the interaction direction between the Commander in Chief and the Troops.

    I maybe premature, but I'm not happy with the way this is drifting.

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Well, at the end of the day, the military must shape its operations to achieve the political objectives of our civil leadership. Period.

    We certainly have a duty to provide our professional opinions as to what we think will work best to achieve that guidance, and what we believe will not work as well.

    Personal opinion, the Administration gave DoD a policy equivalent of a "Column Right" command several months ago, and so far has received a fairly reluctant "Column half-right" in return in terms of execution. The Boss knows what he wants, but his advisers don't know how to produce it apparently, so it is really incumbent upon those who understand the problem the best to derive and produce solutions that meet the commander's express intent. I don't think we have provided that yet to the Boss.

    And in this business, "half-right" just isn't good enough.


    (As to the leak, Bob Woodward presented at SOCOM the day after he released that. He named no source obviously, but took great pains to brag about how he essentially blackmailed the senior leadership ["I have this and am going to publish it, so either work with me to redact what is really dangerous, or I will publish it whole"]; and took great pains to ensure we all had his email address so that we could send him more classified material. He also spent a great deal of time justifying his actions, as how important it is for the public to have insights to such internal security communications as soon as possible in order to avoid drifting off track like we did in Vietnam, etc. He may have made some valid points, but it was a sleazy bit of business all the same).
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    Council Member 82redleg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Personal opinion, the Administration gave DoD a policy equivalent of a "Column Right" command several months ago, and so far has received a fairly reluctant "Column half-right" in return in terms of execution. The Boss knows what he wants, but his advisers don't know how to produce it apparently, so it is really incumbent upon those who understand the problem the best to derive and produce solutions that meet the commander's express intent. I don't think we have provided that yet to the Boss.
    Could you expand on this? It seems to me that there has been little, if any, policy guidance on A-stan at all, and what little there has been changes (seemingly by the day). The previous administration was misguided (IMHO, A-stan is not a functional nation, never has been, never will be, much less a functional democratic nation- the best we can hope for is a functional, probalby semi-feudal, state that controls internal activity by buying off local power brokers), but the current administration doesn't seem to know what it wants. A-stan was the good war, but certain elements (may or may not include the POTUS, I can't tell) don't want any war. They CHOSE GEN McChrystal, implemented a "new strategy" (which, again IMHO, was NOT a strategy) and then immediately began to shift the playing field. No way in hell would I want GEN McChrystal's job.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Any thoughts about the London speech from the perspective of it also being from the NATO perspective - e.g. trying to articulate why NATO countries should continue or increase their level of support to ISAF as opposed to wavering while the U.S. decides its role?

    Combined commands have more than their share of problems operationally, however, it would also seem the business of keeping the coalition's will from flagging is a monumental task in itself.

    I'm trying to imagine if I were one of the other "partners"/allies (leader, pundit or citizen) who I might prefer to hear why we should continue to support the current ends/ways/means lineup - the folks in D.C., geographically twice as distant as myself, and politically in pursuit of things that either may not be terribly important to me, or may in fact go in other directions, or the guy on the ground to who my forces and those of little Johhny get their orders from?

    Best, Rob

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Were NATO listening?

    Rob Thornton's query:
    Any thoughts about the London speech from the perspective of it also being from the NATO perspective - e.g. trying to articulate why NATO countries should continue or increase their level of support to ISAF as opposed to wavering while the U.S. decides its role?
    The venue, IISS is well known for attracting a variety of members and observers. Many embassies etc are members. I was not there, but on past attendance some NATO nations would be there - notably the Czechs and Germans. I'd expect some Central Asian states to be there too and Indian diplomats.

    By using the IISS will ensure other audiences will notice, even without the press being in attendance.

    davidbfpo

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    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Well, at the end of the day, the military must shape its operations to achieve the political objectives of our civil leadership. Period.
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    We certainly have a duty to provide our professional opinions as to what we think will work best to achieve that guidance, and what we believe will not work as well.
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Personal opinion, the Administration gave DoD a policy equivalent of a "Column Right" command several months ago, and so far has received a fairly reluctant "Column half-right" in return in terms of execution. The Boss knows what he wants, but his advisers don't know how to produce it apparently, so it is really incumbent upon those who understand the problem the best to derive and produce solutions that meet the commander's express intent. I don't think we have provided that yet to the Boss.
    Here's where I disagree. Gen. McCrystal was asked to develop a strategy for Afghanistan. He did (see your second point). The problem now is that his strategy isn't politically expedient in terms of the current administration's domestic agenda. In terms of your analogy, Gen. McCrystal was asked "what's the next command?" In his professional judgment, "Column Right" marched us off a cliff.

    The current administration, and many of its supporters, criticized the previous administration ‘for not listening to the generals.’ They apparently do not want to listen to McCrystal because, quite simply, he didn’t give them the message they wanted to hear.

    This controversy, and the discussion surrounding it, is currently being manipulated for political goals. The General gave a speech to IISS. He was asked questions regarding his statements about strategy and tactics for dealing with his current situation. If people want to disagree with his take on what kind of war we have in Afghanistan, and how best to fight it, well and good. That’s one of the things we do at SWC.

    On the other hand, attacking him because the recommendation based on his best military judgment doesn’t support the goals of the administration’s base voters is wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    And in this business, "half-right" just isn't good enough.
    Agreed. It gets good people killed.
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    Default Afghanistan and Leadership

    WSJ
    Gen. McChrystal needs more troops now precisely so Afghans can take over the war effort later.
    By MARK MOYAR

    'We're at a point in Afghanistan right now in our overall campaign," the U.S. general says, "where increasingly security can best be delivered by the extension of good governance, justice, economic reconstruction." Afghan security forces "fight side by side with us" more and more frequently, he adds, and American troops are working hard to develop the Afghan security forces. Coalition forces are focusing on securing the population, because "the key terrain is the human terrain."

    This all sounds like Gen. Stanley McChrystal's proposed strategy for victory. But those words were spoken in May 2006 by Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, then the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan.

    Should we be concerned that the McChrystal strategy advocates the same counterinsurgency approach that has failed to achieve success in years past? Not necessarily. The easy part of any counterinsurgency is formulating the strategy and tactics. The hard part is implementing them.


    (Snip)

    Mr. Moyar is a professor at the Marine Corps University in Quantico, Va., and the author of three books on counterinsurgency, including "A Question of Command: Counterinsurgency from the Civil War to Iraq," published this month by Yale University Press.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I question that

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Well, at the end of the day, the military must shape its operations to achieve the political objectives of our civil leadership. Period.
    Not that -- I agree with that statement.
    Personal opinion, the Administration gave DoD a policy equivalent of a "Column Right" command several months ago, and so far has received a fairly reluctant "Column half-right" in return in terms of execution. The Boss knows what he wants, but his advisers don't know how to produce it apparently, so it is really incumbent upon those who understand the problem the best to derive and produce solutions that meet the commander's express intent. I don't think we have provided that yet to the Boss.
    However, in that paragraph, you seem to lose the bubble.

    There may have been a 'column right' but the comment above about cloumn right heading off a cliff applies -- more pointedly, if the command heard was 'colummmm ralghep, hoor' then the guidance might be flawed.

    However, if the command was sensible and understood and the effort is only half way there, is that a deliberate failure to comply or due to the sheer complexity of trying to turn the large blind elephant that is the DoD (not Army, DoD -- specifically including thy portion...) bureaucracy onto a new azimuth?

    It isn't too distressing when the ignorant media or almost as ignorant politicians do not understand the problem, that's to be expected. It is distressing that many who should know better parrot the media position or something akin to it. Equally distressing is the tendency on the part of some who apparently do not understand how this government really works to attribute to it a speed, agility and sense of continuity that it has never had and never will have -- it was specifically designed NOT to have those attributes -- and efforts by Congress and various Administrations to ignore the Constitution continually run afoul of that reality. We're ponderous, that simple.

    Senators Levin and McCain visited last month and actually talked to McChrystal -- they understand the issue. (LINK).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Not that -- I agree with that statement.However, in that paragraph, you seem to lose the bubble.

    There may have been a 'column right' but the comment above about cloumn right heading off a cliff applies -- more pointedly, if the command heard was 'colummmm ralghep, hoor' then the guidance might be flawed.
    I agree with civil control of the military. I also agree that clear communication is critical, both to the civil control, and to any mission.

    I actually take this to be a promising sign. In the past, generals have just gone along and then only when they got out spoken up about what they thought was wrong. Assuming that they had legitimate complaints, and weren't just cynically seeking political advantage, I think that is the wrong way to do things. After all, if it is important, you should be brave enough to stick your neck out when you have some influence.

    I agree with Sec. Gates that talking should occur within the command structure, as well. However, realistically, Generals are at least partly politicians. That means that if he can only get 25min of the CO's time in over 9 Months, then his appeal to the higher commands "open door policy" might legitimately be through a leak or a speech. At least he is having the courage to say what he thinks before a decision is made, and a portentious policy is enacted. However, GEN McCrystal must also be realistic and understand, that when you play political games, there will be political repercussions.
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    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Default Gen. McCrystal address to IISS

    I don't think it's been posted elsewhere. It can be found at this link: http://www.iiss.org/EasySiteWeb/Gate...spx?alId=31537 or on this page at IISS.
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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    That means that if he can only get 25min of the CO's time in over 9 Months, then his appeal to the higher commands "open door policy" might legitimately be through a leak or a speech.
    Doesn't the chain of command factor in here? McChrystal is a sub-theater commander. Do GEN Petraeus and Adm. McMullen still count for something? How about SecDef Gates?

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    Default Tequila, the chain of command is

    POTUS - SECDEF - COMCENT (Petraeus) - McChrystal. Admiral Mullen, the CJCS, is in the chain of communication but NOT in the chain of command. In practice, however, (and discussed on another thread) when you put another 4 star as commander in a theater then you have said that that theater is as important or more important than the GCC AOR. In that case, the theater commander really often has direct communication with the SECDEF and POTUS. Korea predates the modern command structure but even there the theater commander - MacArthur and Ridgeway - communicated directly with the SECDEF and POTUS. Same in Vietnam for COMUSMACV and there was a lot of tension with PACOM. In the post G-N era we have put 4 star commanders in Iraq and now Afghanistan. If you recall, Admiral Fallon, COMCENT, tried to bring Petraeus to heel and was fired for his efforts. The point is that our current C2 system is not well designed for this situation. Neither McChrystal nor Odierno should work for Petraeus; indeed, Petreaus should be supporting them. In C2 terms, McChrystal is the supported commander while Petraeus and Stavridis and all the other unified command commanders are supporting commanders. All de facto.

    Cheers

    JohnT

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