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Thread: The McCrystal collection (catch all)

  1. #181
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    Default Listen, learn, lead: Gen. Stanley McChrystal on TED

    Listen, learn, lead: Gen. Stanley McChrystal on TED

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  2. #182
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    Default Gen McChrystal Shares Insights about Campaigns

    Gen McChrystal Shares Insights about Campaigns

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  3. #183
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default What is Stanley McChrystal sharing?

    The thread's title is a slight variation on General McChrystal's book title 'My Share of the Task: A Memoir'.

    Earlier this week Dave D. added a post on SWJ Blog, referring to a book review by Gary Hart, a former US Senator, which had appeared in The National Interest:http://nationalinterest.org/bookrevi...l-way-war-8149

    Dave cited the review in part:
    Unlike Tolstoy's families, uninteresting books are uninteresting in their own way; interesting books all operate on several levels. Retired U.S. Army general Stanley McChrystal’s My Share of the Task operates on three levels: first, the level of military memoir; second, as a detailed, even intimate, inside perspective on the concurrent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and third, and perhaps most important historically, as an account of the U.S. military’s transition from traditional wars between nation-states to the unconventional and irregular insurgency warfare of the early twenty-first century...

    It would be a great surprise if this book does not become required reading at U.S. (and perhaps other) military academies and even more so in the network of command and staff colleges for rising officers. There is much to be learned here about strategy, tactics and doctrine, as well as the necessity for their adaptability in often rapidly changing circumstances. This is especially true as our military has been transitioning into an era marked by increased integration of services and commands and the rise of special operations...
    I enjoyed Gary Hart's review and now cite McChrystal's own words on Afghanistan:
    I had a nagging feeling that a whole world of Afghan power politics . . . was churning outside our view. I felt like we were high-school students who had wandered into a mafia-owned bar, dangerously unaware of the tensions that filled the room and the authorities who controlled it.

    (Later). I’d watched as a focus on the enemy in Afghanistan had made little dent in the insurgency’s strength over the past eight years and, conversely, had served to antagonize Afghans. Not only was Afghans’ allegiance critical, but I did not think we would defeat the Taliban solely by depleting their ranks. We would win by making them irrelevant by limiting their ability to influence the lives of Afghans, positively or negatively. We needed to choke off their access . . . to the population.
    IIRC SWC has been rather critical of him in the past, judging from the title of the threads: An Open Letter to McChrystal (started July 2010), McChrystal did it on purpose (started July 2010), vietnam mccrystal (RFI for his 1987 thesis), Obama Angry at McCrystal Speech (July 2009) and McKiernan replaced (by McChrystal in May 2009)

    I have not read his book, although one Amazon reviewer compared it to the memoirs of Grant and Slim. Link:http://www.amazon.com/Share-Task-Gen...ley+McChrystal
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-04-2013 at 11:55 AM. Reason: Copied here as fits merged thread.
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  4. #184
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    Default A Conversation With Stanley McChrystal

    A lengthy interview in FP and has some interesting passages, notably on the development of SOF in Iraq:http://www.foreignaffairs.com/discus...kill?page=show
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  5. #185
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    Default McChrystal on ISIS: his tips

    Following on a CNN interview a previously unheard blogsite provides four tips to defeat ISIS, using excerpts, to read more follow link:http://www.havokjournal.com/national...ht-terrorists/

    The CNN interview cannot be readily id'd.

    The four tips are:
    1.The effectiveness of a group is not its numbers, it’s how effectively it’s connected.
    2. Killing the individual (leader) almost never solves the problem.
    3. You have to get after the people who get things done.
    4. You go after the idea that makes people want to be a part of it.
    The last tip is the most important - from my armchair - so I cite a liitle more:
    Only by giving them an idea they care more about, whether that is an idea that gives them a better vision for the future, or one that gives them a bleak outlook if they hold on to one they currently have, we’re not going to make positive permanent change if we neglect the ideological battle.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-15-2015 at 12:51 PM. Reason: Redundant link removed
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  6. #186
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Default

    I respect Gen McCrystal immensely - but he still sees these problems through the lens of his nation, his duty and his experience. Until he can step back from those things he can only offer tactical advice designed to suppress the symptoms of the problem.

    At some point we must move beyond the fears of our bias and simplistic targeting of the higher order effects that scare us so...
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  7. #187
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    Bob is correct as always---he is basically still locked into his JSOC days---and they have also not worked at all in AFG---killing does not solve the mid and long term issues and as one recently pointed out from Israel to a US commenter---IS is here to stay and only the Sunni's can address the issue. To think anything else is a waste of thought power.

    Besides just look at the current map of Syria and just how much Assad really controls vs the islamists (all groups) that David posted yesterday on the Syrian thread.


    AND again even Mac does not --and notice it does not speak of a strategy--he has never left the tactical and operational tactical level of their targeting cycle.

  8. #188
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    I respect GEN McCrystal, he was one of our greatest leaders during the past decade of war by a wide margin, but the following comment does give me pause.

    Only by giving them an idea they care more about, whether that is an idea that gives them a better vision for the future, or one that gives them a bleak outlook if they hold on to one they currently have, we’re not going to make positive permanent change if we neglect the ideological battle.
    The parallel view from our opposition would be, if Americans would just give up their culture and legal system based principally on Judeo-Christian values and believe in Islam and submit to Sharia law we could end the war. The point being that of course it would be nice if so-called extremists rejected what we label as extremist views, but figure the odds. Strategy can be based on grand views, but the grander it is the more unlikely it will be achieved. We in the West like to over simplify problems (the center of gravity disease) and think if we just focus on one area such as ideology, political systems, economics, or killing their fielded forces we can win.

    Clausewitz got quite a few things right that continue to endure, such as war is an attempt by one or more opponent's to impose their will on another by force. That implies that the opposing wills are not amiable to a peaceful solution, they're irreconcilable wills, which is why the fighting began in the first place. This is not something short of war, it is a war where forces is being used between multiple opponents with irreconcilable wills to impose their will on another. In addition to violence, other types of forces are also being employed, but violence is essential (to varying degrees) if the state is going to remain viable as a state and protect its citizens and interests from those who are attacking it. Even if you believe the state is at fault, who is at fault really doesn't matter.

    There is no political solution if all those groups fighting to impose their will don't accept it, and when there are multiple opponents reaching consensus is increasingly unlikely. The paradox is a political solution is the only viable means to reduce the violence, but neither side (the West being one side, although like its opponents it is a loose coalition with various views) at this point is willing reduce what they're asking for. One side wants to impose democracy, free markets, women's rights, etc., while another wants to impose Sharia law and all that goes with it.

    As CvC noted, the more you seek from your opponent the more effort you'll have to apply to achieve it. Ask little, and the effort required to achieve it will be less (and more feasible). This should prompt to consider backing off our armed evangelism where we are trying to push Western values down everyone's throats, and instead pursue more realistic objectives via force. That doesn't mean we have to forfeit our ideas and values, we just pursue them by other means over time.

    This gets us back to GEN McCrystal, he recognized at least part of this fight is based on two competing ideologies that are irreconcilable (by choice). Until we adjust our ends, or apply more force to achieve them (and we won't, because the level of force needed is illegal), the fighting will continue. Philosophy aside, if we're engaged in war, and we are, violence is a necessity to achieve one's ends.

    CvC

    Kind-hearted people might of course think there was some ingenious way to disarm or defeat an enemy without too much bloodshed, and might imagine this is the true goal of the art of war. Pleasant as it sounds, it is a fallacy that must be exposed: war is such a dangerous business that the mistakes which come from kindness are the very worst. The maximum use of force is in no way incompatible with the simultaneous use of the intellect. If one side use force without compunction, undeterred by the bloodshed it involves, while the other side refrains, the first will gain the upper hand. That side will force the other to follow suit; each will drive its opponent toward extremes, and the only limiting factors are the counterpoises inherent in war.

    This is how the matter must be seen. It would be futile - even wrong - to try and shut one's eyes to what war really is from sheer distress at its brutality.
    This supports my criticism of focusing on economic development over fighting. It is a cruel ruse that only drags the violence out longer than it needs it to be. Assuming that a cause is worth going to war over, then we need to go to war and wage it at the level necessary to reach a decision. We have failed to do that since WWII. Clearly there were time we didn't need to go to war, but we did anyway. I'm not debating that issue, I'm just pointing out the obvious which war has a nature that seems to be enduring, a nature that the West has increasingly rejected, and in so doing has become less effective militarily.

  9. #189
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Thanks to WoTR a review of McChrstal's latest book 'Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World' which starts with:
    Stan McChrystal has written an interesting and important book about organizational change. His argument, told through the experience of reconfiguring the Joint Special Operations Task Force in Iraq from 2003-2009, is that organizations, to be successful, need to create cultures of sustained adaptation. Doing that requires leadership with the vision to foster an organizational ethos that is resilient in response to change, creates trust and common understanding through shared information, empowers decisions and actions at the lowest possible level, inculcates and sustains that culture throughout the organization, and prevents leaders using transparency to micromanage.
    Link:http://warontherocks.com/2015/06/is-.../?singlepage=1
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Thanks to WoTR a review of McChrstal's latest book 'Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World' which starts with:
    Link:http://warontherocks.com/2015/06/is-.../?singlepage=1
    I'm about halfway thru it.

    I reckon it's quite a good book.

    It seems to keep an effective balance between civ/.mil consumers appealing sufficiently to both sides of the fence.

    Key points I found so far include:

    1)differentiating complicated/complex

    2)shift main doctrinal effort from efficiency to flexibility

    That's what I found so far......

  11. #191
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Brad Pitt plays Stan

    A review of a forthcoming, if not released film - on Netflix only - by Ahmed Rashid, War Machine. So a couple of passages:
    Hollywood movies do not ask the difficult strategic questions. Should the US invade or interfere in countries it knows little about, how do US troops win over local support, is nation building and promotion of democracy feasible by one part of the US government while another part pursues a war strategy? Can the US ever understand tribal societies through the barrel of a gun?
    Hollywood has left us devoid of any understanding of the escalating global chaos.
    That is until now. A remarkable new film, War Machine starring Brad Pitt, which at first whiff sounds like a gonzo-type war movie, brilliantly portrays these themes outlined above. David Michod, the Australian writer and director, and Netflix have made a movie that is both dark and satirical, emotional and belly-laugh funny, as well as being educative about US interventions.
    (Concludes) It helps us understand why counter-insurgency is failing, terrorism expanding and why wars have destroyed so many countries. It helps explain why after 16 years Washington is still debating troop numbers.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-40418967


    This is an appropriate place to add this, so I must now discover Netflix.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-02-2017 at 11:12 AM. Reason: 76,959v
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