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Thread: TRADOC Losing Its Edge?

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    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Default TRADOC Losing Its Edge?

    One would hope that FM 3-24 and counterinsurgency doctrine are not regarded as "not invented here" topics by TRADOC. From an entry today in The Best Defense blog by Tom Ricks:

    There was a time a couple of decades ago when the Army's Training and Doctrine Command was an intellectual powerhouse, leading the way in rebuilding the post-Vietnam Army. But in recent years, it hasn't been clear to me what it is doing down there on Ft. Monroe. I mean, in interviews I did for The Gamble about how the counterinsurgency manual was written, TRADOC didn't come up much -- and when it did, it was portrayed as a minor obstacle.
    To read the rest of Tom Ricks' piece, click on the below link:

    http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts...ened_to_tradoc
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-11-2009 at 11:37 PM. Reason: Add quote marks

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default

    Over the past 5 years or so TRADOC and the rest of the generating force have been significant bill payers for a service that has also been a huge bill payer for a department that has been the primary bill payer to meet operational requirments in multiple theaters.

    One can argue that this is good as it gets folks back into operational positions and as such should bring that experience back into the generating force. While that may be true, a hole is hole. If you think of the generating force as a mechanical generator that provides a power supply to operating force, how many kilo watts are required to provide power? How much is required to provide minimal power (meet current requirments) and maximum power (meet current and future requirements)? How many kilo watts do we have on hand relative to the requirment(s)? I don't know the answer to that question, and I don't think many others do as well.

    I do think TRADOC has managed to do its part in ensuring that the wheels don't fall off as we increase the demands on the Army - demands that will likely increase with additional mission creep. This is a feat in itself, and I think a testimony to stewardship of an important and limited resource - our Army. Some may argue it could be done more efficiently or more effectively, I'd only ask them to prove it. I'd add that there are lots of folks in and outside the Army who are in fact trying to do that, its proven to be harder than some have thought.

    I think we've done OK, and could perhaps do better, but I'm not totally sure how - or if in fact its within a given leader's, organization's, command's, service's, or department's authority to make it so. While that is frustrating, I do beleive that there are a lot of folks trying hard to get things more right, and that the leadership has set a mostly conducive and tolerant atmoshpere. That they don't jump to every proposed solution may seem recalcitrant or obstinant, however I'd offer it may in fact be the knowledge and experience that recognizes that while an organization as big as the Army can recover from not getting it quite right, its very hard to recover from getting it completely wrong.

    Best, Rob
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 12-11-2009 at 08:30 PM.

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    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default Ricks is a dope

    Wow so this is what happens when I guy excuses himself from the rigor of writing for a respected news agency...

    "yes, got it, adaptability is key for the future of the service -- but the points he makes getting there are just intellectually sloppy."

    Ricks accusing Dempsey of being intellectually sloppy is the pot calling the kettle black...


    Hmmm...
    "I mean, in interviews I did for The Gamble about how the counterinsurgency manual was written, TRADOC didn't come up much -- and when it did, it was portrayed as a minor obstacle."

    Let's see the Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate (CADD) is a major subordinate organization of the Combined Arms Center... a Major Subordinate Command of TRADOC... so it is an organizational failing that the higher headquarters didn't get in the way of the subordinate organization's mission... if only it were so more often...

    I wonder when was the last time Ricks spent some time, beyond a stop and pop to pimp a book, to discover how TRADOC/CAC is organized and what it is up to...

    Rather you get this type of silliness (nicest term I could come up with)... recommend we just kill this one, it doesn't deserve much more...

    Oh by the way, I may be the biggest critic of TRADOC...

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    AWG - is that a TRADOC effort?

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    Council Member IntelTrooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    AWG - is that a TRADOC effort?
    Wikipedia claims that they are.
    Last edited by IntelTrooper; 12-12-2009 at 12:37 AM. Reason: verb confusion
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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Huh?

    Check the LINK.

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    I found no reference to TRADOC in that Wikipedia page or its links.

    TRADOC itself doesn't mention it as a subordinate unit.
    http://www.tradoc.army.mil/about.htm#MSOs

    The AWG is pretty much doing what TRADOC was supposed to do.

  8. #8
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Not really.

    It is charged with developing new technologies and techniques in rapid fashion but aimed specifically and narrowly at asymmetric current and possible future threats which TRADOC isn't addressing. It is also charged with identifying (not in competition with the Intel community or SOCOM) such threats. That specifically because the formal mechanism is rather slow and ponderous while being directed at all threats. The focus, the inability to conduct major studies and such are quite different.

    AWG is supposed to be light and agile and is supposed to be to the Army what these guys LINK are to Lockheed Martin.

    It could be. It could also become hidebound, overcautious and simply another arm of the bureaucracy. Too early to tell
    Last edited by Ken White; 12-12-2009 at 04:25 PM. Reason: Typos, fix link

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    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default Hmmm.....

    AWG...

    AWG was established by then HQDA G3/5/7 Gen Cody... One of several efforts like JIEDDO that sprung up, I think, in response to operations after OIF 1...

    I would offer that AWG as currently organized makes little sense... the same as the 1st IO Command... they were aligned they way they were in order to take them "out of the system"... much like an AD HOC planning element, the lead for OEF in the early stages, in USCENTCOM once worked out of the J3 Exercises...

    The problem with these types of "extra-ordinary" C2 arrangements is that they are out of system... I will clarify... first, much like the human body... an organism/organization will fight against a foreign "element" inserted artificially... second, since they exist "outside the system" the solutions they develop are likewise outside the system; An ingenius box delivered to a deployed HQ in theater, with one time training, is a door stop within two rotations...

    As wikipedia indicates AWG is obviously not organizationally aligned to TRADOC, but does in fact work directly with TRADOC in order to accomplish some of its missions... they feed off established lessons learned structure... they team with other training elements... etc etc...

    I suppose Ad Hoc(ery) has its place, but it is terribly inefficient... and the question you have to ask is.... If the system is bad, why not fix the system as opposed to establishing yet another bypass... and I think the answer is that there are a lot of good reasons/advantages to a system that doesn't respond to every single bump in the night... maybe the institutional base shouldn't be easily moved to reflect the whims of a leader who is in place for 24 mths as a rule...

    TRADOC has real faults... needs to relook its internal processes (did so about 5 years ago, re-wrote the TR 10-5 series, and then ignored it) and adhere/act upon what they agree is the best way forward (that means moving resources to reflect their operational & organizational plans...

    got me lots more, but will spare all the bile...

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    Default Lead, coordinate and synch all

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    Default Positive experiences with AWG

    I had some good experience with the AWG guys. I'd sum the organization up as SF NCOs conducting FID with regular US military.

    Prior to deployment (spring 2006), they provided dedicated marksmenship training for three of my NCOs at Bragg. Several school houses deploy training teams CONUS these days (Scout course, Sniper School) IOT maximize training opportunities.

    In country, they embedded with my company for two weeks to observe and coach. I liked it b/c it gave my leaders and I a second set of neutral eyes to evaluate our company's operation and TTPs.

    Overall, the program is win-win. The AWG gets to train units and pass on what works/doesn't work, and they also get the observe many different units.

    Mike

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    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Default What Happened to TRADOC? (II)

    Retired Army Major General Robert Scales says the following in today's Best Defense blog by Tom Ricks:

    You have made some very useful observations about TRADOC. But really the issue is not TRADOC so much as the state of intellectual capital in the Army. When we overused our equipment in units we "circle x'd" minor faults (then called deferred maintenance). If the odometer or the fuel gauge went on the fritz units deferred maintenance so vehicles could still be driven. Inevitably the fleet melted down under the cumulative effect of neglect over time. We are at a similar place now with our intellectual capital.
    Click on the link below to read the rest of the article.

    http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts..._in_the_scales

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    I would offer that AWG as currently organized makes little sense...they were aligned they way they were in order to take them "out of the system"..."
    Ture but adjustments will be made...
    an organism/organization will fight against a foreign "element" inserted artificially... second, since they exist "outside the system" the solutions they develop are likewise outside the system; An ingenius box delivered to a deployed HQ in theater, with one time training, is a door stop within two rotations...
    Your premise is of course totally correct but the latter part is not true in this case. They're successfully working on the fourth year of rotations and not as door stops. Most there are totally aware that if the Army functioned as it was supposed to, they would not be needed. They are also regrettably aware that they are needed. They also know that even if they went away today, company intel cells and a number of other things they introduced are in fact embedded in the organism...
    I suppose Ad Hoc(ery) has its place, but it is terribly inefficient...
    I disagree. Strongly. Not that ad-hocery is inefficient, it sometimes is (it is also sometimes wonderfully efficient) -- but with the implication that ad-hocery is bad. I suggest that a minimal reading of US military history shows a rich and effective tradition of ad hocery. Bureaucracy is not a 21st Century invention...
    and I think the answer is that there are a lot of good reasons/advantages to a system that doesn't respond to every single bump in the night... maybe the institutional base shouldn't be easily moved to reflect the whims of a leader who is in place for 24 mths as a rule...
    That's true but that also is not the total answer. Hidebounditis and turf protection also come to mind as equally salient reasons why the system cannot or will not tell the difference between a genuine need to adapt versus a bump in the night...
    "(did so about 5 years ago, re-wrote the TR 10-5 series, and then ignored it)
    Is that akin to this?
    "maybe the institutional base shouldn't be easily moved to reflect the whims of a leader who is in place for 24 mths as a rule..."

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    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default In re:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Ture but adjustments will be made...Your premise is of course totally correct but the latter part is not true in this case. They're successfully working on the fourth year of rotations and not as door stops. Most there are totally aware that if the Army functioned as it was supposed to, they would not be needed. They are also regrettably aware that they are needed. They also know that even if they went away today, company intel cells and a number of other things they introduced are in fact embedded in the organism...I disagree. Strongly. Not that ad-hocery is inefficient, it sometimes is (it is also sometimes wonderfully efficient) -- but with the implication that ad-hocery is bad. I suggest that a minimal reading of US military history shows a rich and effective tradition of ad hocery. Bureaucracy is not a 21st Century invention... That's true but that also is not the total answer. Hidebounditis and turf protection also come to mind as equally salient reasons why the system cannot or will not tell the difference between a genuine need to adapt versus a bump in the night...Is that akin to this?
    I was not referring to AWG as door stops, rather literal boxes... as for Company Intel team... that isn't permanent until it is reflected in MTOEs... permanence being a relative term... again has its place, but it would be far better if the MTOE of Companies reflected the reality of the requirement as opposed to a temp fix (temp being relative as well)...

    I don't think I characterized ad hoc(ery) as inherently bad.... rather that in comparison to fixing the base reason for the ad hoc(ery) is generally preferred... and at the institutional level ad hoc(ery) is TERRIBLY inefficienct... for the simple reason that it spends half its time defending itself

    That's why ad hocery has a place.... as I noted in an earlier post in this thread, I'm actually a genuine critic of TRADOC... mostly for its hidebound tendencies... but I can't tell you how many times I had a GO tell me he wanted to work relatively routine actions (extra-ordinarily) because they thought the process to hidebound, but in fact they understood very little about the process they criticized...

    Again, I'm not a fan... but some critics... especially the Tom Ricks of the world are ill-informed and unwilling to learn...

    As for AWG... intent wasn't to take a crack at AWG... it fills a role that you could argue TRADOC should, but maybe it shouldn't... it's role is better filled by an Ad Hoc organization (this being its proverbial place)...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    I would offer that AWG as currently organized makes little sense... the same as the 1st IO Command... they were aligned they way they were in order to take them "out of the system"... much like an AD HOC planning element...
    I think the good outweighs the bad. To me, these arrangements are analogous (maybe not by design) to spinning off subsidiaries or joint ventures in the business world to develop a new competency/technology/skill.

    AWG, 1st IO, and similar do in-house training, farm out their personnel in support of other units, learn, then personnel come back, share lessons with fellow "subject matter experts" (for lack of a better term), and then adjust their training... and repeat. Imo, they provide a higher quality augmentee than individual units are currently poised to provide and they help to speed up the process of developing a new (or neglected) competency.

    Obviously, we would all prefer greater unit integrity, rather than augmentees, but the general lack of competence/proficiency/etc across the force in certain areas makes the ad hockery a good plan for now. The lack of unit integrity is mitigated by having only Officers and (usually senior) NCOs in these units who generally don't need a lot of supervision. They show up having done their own SRP and bringing their own gear and put little to no logistical burden on the receiving unit.

    Just my take on the situation. I have no idea what the actual intent was for said ad hoc arrangements. But, those are the upsides as I see it.

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    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default In Re:

    I think I'm going to excuse myself from this thread only because I seem to have clouded the discussion rather than shed light... but as a last ditch effort at explaining myself...

    I argued, and still hold the opinion, that the current C2 alignment of AWG and to a lesser extent 1st IO Command are less than logical... just an opinion, but I think if after 4-5 years... they still exist because they still add value... then we might think about making them a more permanent fixture... and if we think the system can't take the shock, then we might be better off healing the system rather than working around...

    It was not my intent to denigrate the efforts or contribution of either organization.... Both are professional and provide added value to their "customers"....

    But, and its a big but, is something that has existed for 4-5 years still considered ad hoc... and if its not, I'd argue that its not, why still held out as extra-ordinary in C2 arrangement??? and if the reason is institutional ineptness... might want to put a little energy into fixing that... then again I think TRADOC is perfectly capable of institutionalizing AWG, might even help it transform from within...

    My original beef was with a "personality" who decided to take an ad hominen swipe at TRADOC in general and General Dempsey in particular, and cited as an example the creation of FM 3-24 which in fact was perfect illustration of TRADOC writ large and CG, TRADOC in particular (then General Wallace) acting/not-acting exactly as designed...

    I now bow... head bloody and beaten... and back away from the thread

    Just an idle thought.... but as the or
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    Council Member IntelTrooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    I found no reference to TRADOC in that Wikipedia page or its links.

    TRADOC itself doesn't mention it as a subordinate unit.
    http://www.tradoc.army.mil/about.htm#MSOs

    The AWG is pretty much doing what TRADOC was supposed to do.
    If you click the link for G-3/5/7, it sends you to the Wikipedia entry for TRADOC.
    "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 Pete's Avatar
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    Here in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia hocery pucks are hard to find.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    I think I'm going to excuse myself from this thread only because I seem to have clouded the discussion rather than shed light...
    I don't think anything can get any cloudier after Ricks handles it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    It was not my intent to denigrate the efforts or contribution of either organization....
    I didn't get that impression - hopefully no one else did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    I argued, and still hold the opinion, that the current C2 alignment of AWG and to a lesser extent 1st IO Command are less than logical... is something that has existed for 4-5 years still considered ad hoc... and if its not, I'd argue that its not, why still held out as extra-ordinary in C2 arrangement??? and if the reason is institutional ineptness... might want to put a little energy into fixing that
    Can't argue with that.

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    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    My original beef was with a "personality" who decided to take an ad hominen swipe at TRADOC in general and General Dempsey in particular, and cited as an example the creation of FM 3-24 which in fact was perfect illustration of TRADOC writ large and CG, TRADOC in particular (then General Wallace) acting/not-acting exactly as designed...
    Actually it wasn't Tom Ricks who brought up the subject of FM 3-24 in his blog, it was me in the post that started this thread. In the comment section to Rick's online article on Friday I made a point of saying that it was the Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center that was the agency responsible for writing the manual. The reason I mentioned FM 3-24 is because I suspect there's a reluctance within the Army to consider converting two or three active duty mech infantry divisions to a lighter TOE more suitable for COIN operations. Some company grade officers have also remarked that the COIN instruction at the branch basic and career courses isn't that great.

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