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Old 09-12-2012   #61
Bob's World
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Well much of this discussion is apples and oranges.

First, I spent nearly 8 years as a regular army officer, serving in a mech infantry unit in the waning days of our Cold War presence in West Germany, followed by my team time in 5th SFG, which included all of Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

With that experience under my belt I felt I had accomplished my military goals, having become a Green Beret and and commanded men in a combat zone, so I honored a commitment to my family and left the active force to pursue a civilian career. I went to law school and joined a Guard unit. The unit in my state was what we called an "Enhanced Infantry Brigade," one of 15 separate combat brigades established by the Army to receive extra training and serve as the initial units to be mobilized in time of war. For some three years I didn't get it. Things were so different in the Guard that it made no sense to me as a Regular. But I did not just observe it or attempt to train it. I owned it. I commanded, I took major staff positions, as a BN and BDE S-3, for example, and did my best to make these units as good as they could be. But here something I learned most regular officers don't have a clue about: AC Army is a training readiness organization. National Guard is a personnel readiness unit. The measure of success, and therefore the focus, of each organization is completely different. Why do some AC commanders conduct outrageous training events? Because their commander loves it and it gets them promoted. Why do some Guard commanders do outrageous recruiting or retention events (like a fraternity rush week)? For the same reason. As a Guard Commander you are judged by how many billets you fill, not by how your unit performs. A little fat? no worries. If you fire that overweight E-7 it is on you commander to go find a civilian, convince them to join, and then grow them up to be an E-7 someday. No AC officer has to worry about that.

So, I never claim RC units are as proficient as AC units; only that they don't have to be while in a pre-mob status. One reason they take so long to get up to mobilized status is that AC leaders don't know F-all about training Guard units and tend to just think of them as F'd up regular units. Our training doctrine is all written for AC units with the term "RC" sprinkled in here and there. METL is one's warfighting tasks. So like units in the AC and RC should have the exact same METL, yet too often we provide a dumbed down METL for the RC unit to train to. Wrong approach. What RC units need is the same METL, but they need to focus their pre-mob training on a solid foundation of fundamental skills. Best task I found in the ARTEP manual was "maintain opsec." Try to sell that to a general. I tried, and he thought I was on crack. He wanted to do movement to contact, attack and defend; just like the AC units. So we end up building a half-ass ability to do high echelon tasks with no foundation of core skills underneath it. Then, once mobilized, units need to start from scratch and go back to square one and build a foundation. Better if our RC units did nothing but focus on simple foundational skills for collective training at BDE and BN level until mobilized.

But go try to find guys who have commanded both regular army and national guard units. There aren't many. Guard generals don't understand the AC and vice versa.

But my concerns now, as a strategist, are way bigger than these training issues I wrestled with as a Major. Our national security is much more than just our military. It is our economy, our influence, our education, etc. If we focus on just one line of operation and build far too much military when it is truly not needed at the expense of every other line of operation we will fail as a nation. Bill is right about the small picture, but he is wrong about the big picture.

Wars are fought by 18 year old kids. Wars are fought by units that did not exist the year prior. Wars are fought by citizen soldiers. These little adventure of choice of the past 20 years? Those aren't wars. Combat? sure. Not wars. There is a big difference. Can America be attacked? Of course. But no one can bring war to America without giving us years of advance warning. (exchanging nukes is another matter, and no amount of army will help there).

Likewise we are better off when we cannot so easily bring war to others. Having a warfighting army on the shelf disrupts our system of governance and enables presidents to do what was never intended to be within their power to do. That is a fact. Will that mean that we would not longer be able to attempt to control everything in the world and bend it to our will? Yes, and that is not a bad thing.
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Last edited by Bob's World; 09-12-2012 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 09-12-2012   #62
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Bayonet Brant -

BN Breach - 3-5 Cav Kirchgoens Germany. We trained and were evaluated on a BN breach both before we left and when we got in country. There’s ONE BN that did it counter to your statement. I’m sure the four sister BN’s also trained the mission.

AC vs, Guard training OPTEMP comparison - The training optempo of guard units increases as well as those of the Army. I was the deputy for the Infantry school task force that did an analysis of yearly training before an AC unit deploys in ’05. If you are going to mention the new Guard approach to training you have to look at the Army’s also. Painting rocks, post support, etc. at most deduct four months of collective training. Units still do substantial training even in red cycle. Guard units don’t get a red cycle and having been with guard units I can tell you 25% of drills were devoted to the same kinds of BS. You can’t have different standards if you want to compare organizations. You make it sound like Guard units make the most out of the 30 days they train in a year. NOT true and I don’t think reciting a list that includes Christmas parties, classroom vs. field training etc. would be constructive.

Deployment and it’s impact on training - When the troops are needed on the ground impact deployment schedules slip but you’re fooling yourself if you think in today’s risk averse litigious environment that the Army is going to push a Guard unit out early rather than replace it with an AC unit.

Ken – General thoughts:
Quote:
The Army is pretty good at feeding perceptions.
The AC isn’t the only organization good at molding perceptions.

Quote:
Bob's World is correct in that after 60 days or so in a real middle-sized or big war, you or anyone else would be hard put to tell what a unit's pedigree happened to be…
well I guess we’ll need a middle or big sized war to bear that out.

Army picking fights with Marines – fights is plural, you listed one. : )

Army size – The Army provides it’s own support. The Marines do not e.g. Marines rely on the Navy for all medical care

Rotation issues - Army home station rotation policy has changed drastically since 911. Most Marine units deployed to OIF, OEF were deployed via air just like the Army. Float times were not an issue.

Marine over Army quality – Marine reserve tankers deployed. You mean the reserve tankers that had to be reinforced by Army AC mechanized forces? : )

Marine vs. Army commitment to training reserve units. I commanded the nine man AC training detachment for a guard separate infantry BN in 2000. I was backstopped by another 40 man Army detachment to assist on drill weekends. That would make the Army density of AC to guard an even higher proportion of five per unit. That is on top of Active component soldiers selected to serve full time in reserve components and in effect transfer to the Guard.

Granted my Air Assault example may apply to OIF OEF (but it none-the less applies). Bob’s observation “60 days and can’t tell the difference” has yet to prove itself out . The last time we deployed Guard units to a mid or big size fight and they did well was WWII and they trained as active duty units for over a year with huge influxes of active troops. You saw it in Korea? Where and when? I’d like to look at how much time they had to train up and record of performance.

BTW, I categorically reject your characterization of me as “AC uber alles”. Let’s refrain from simplistic attacks when we don’t have evidence to support our anecdotal positions? Having served shoulder to shoulder with Guardsman I can tell you they have my deepest respect and there are certain missions where Guard units are superior to their AC peer. Pulling a 40 hour week and trying to meet the unrealistic expectations the Army has for Guard units one weekend a month is an incredibly difficult row to hoe. There is ZERO doubt they are patriots. Let’s separate ego from capability?

Fuchs – yes, one of Germany’s great mistakes. It still takes two to fight and we didn’t have to “choose” to take on Germany on their home turf and first. That was our “choice”.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-13-2012 at 10:55 AM. Reason: Fix quotes
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Old 09-13-2012   #63
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A little step back to the marines topic:

I assume that marines could serve well in a "conventional" war not only as invasion (Normandy) and flank invasion threat (Inchon), but also as specialists for river crossings, riverine warfare, warfare in swamps and as the premier heliborne ground combat force.


Why not carve out a role set for the marines that includes this into conventional warfare roles (and thus replaces the army heliborne elements) with about the same level of doctrinal authority as army armor or army national guard units have?

The rapid deployment role with MEUs could be the second pillar, parallel to USAF wings, CVBGs and paras.

The 3rd pillar could be the presidential helo + embassy guards role; rather representative security functions.

4th pillar; stupid small wars - preferably in a quick & dirty pattern as the French used it with success in Africa (possibly again in competition with army paras if they finally get some decent vehicles for their jobs; equals to BMDs).


Get some doctrinal clarity and thus clarified purpose, then you can define what kind of budget is needed (as opposed to keeping things on autopilot and let bureaucratic instincts influence this decision).

I guess the USMC could be halved over the next ten years (with early full pension retirement of senior personnel, in order to avoid a poor chieftain_to_indian ratio). It wouldn't lose its relevance.
Suck it up, nobody is going to recapture those island chains in front of China's coast if China captured them. Not going to happen.
Without that,there's simply no doctrinal equivalent of Plan Orange and thus no reason for the USMC as it exists today.

P.S.: Main battle tanks in a marine corps ranks right next to supersonic strike fighters for a marine corps close to the top of the list of possible marine corps stupidities.
Oh, wait.
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Old 09-13-2012   #64
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Talking Complicate stuff for the good of the system; it's the American Way...

Quote:
Originally Posted by major.rod View Post
“The Army is pretty good at feeding perceptions.” The AC isn’t the only organization good at molding perceptions.
True, that's why I wrote in response to Bill Moore's "...and the unrealistic expectations we have of them.":

""There we agree -- and you've summed it up nicely. The Guard is NOT supposed to a part time active Army; they are to comprise a limited capability force for State emergencies and a force in being that can expand the manpower of the Active Army given adequate training and time. The unrealistic expectations are the fault of many, to include the Guard themselves (and of Guardsmen like Bob) who try to make it into something it is not -- and was never intended to be.""

The guard -- and Reserve -- are as good or better at that perception gig than the Regular Army...
Quote:
Bob's World is correct in that after 60 days or so in a real middle-sized or big war, you or anyone else would be hard put to tell what a unit's pedigree happened to be…” well I guess we’ll need a middle or big sized war to bear that out.
We had a big one, WW II and a middle sized one, Korea -- where it was proven; no reason to believe it would not be again.
Quote:
Army picking fights with Marines – fights is plural, you listed one. : )
Actually, I wrote that the Army picked fights with Congress, not the Marines: ""the Marines try to keep Congress happy; the Army goes out of its way to pick fights with them over inconsequential issues."" Them being Congress, the last entity mentioned prior to the pronoun.
Quote:
Army size – The Army provides it’s own support. The Marines do not e.g. Marines rely on the Navy for all medical care
And more as well as on the Army for much support in many cases. Still IMO way too large a tail in both cases. Doesn't change the fact that the Marines could -- and have -- deployed many more than 30K (DS/DS, OIF, OEF Surge) but the 30K afloat is hull and underway time limited.

Quote:
Rotation issues - Army home station rotation policy has changed drastically since 911. Most Marine units deployed to OIF, OEF were deployed via air just like the Army. Float times were not an issue.
They are or were for those Marines that had to float while others were in the Stan or Iraq...

The Corps, like the Army has to cope with other things than the war at hand.
Quote:
Marine over Army quality – Marine reserve tankers deployed. You mean the reserve tankers that had to be reinforced by Army AC mechanized forces? : )
As the Marines at the time had no mech forces to support those Tanks, yeah, them. How many RC tanks did the Army deploy for anyone to support?

Point is the Army could have and elected to not do so; the Marines elected -- for good political if not military reasons to put a lot of money and effort into forcing that deployment. That's yet another example of the Marines acceding to Congressional desires and the Army refusing to do so -- by stalling.
Quote:
Marine vs. Army commitment to training reserve units. I commanded the nine man AC training detachment for a guard separate infantry BN in 2000. I was backstopped by another 40 man Army detachment to assist on drill weekends. That would make the Army density of AC to guard an even higher proportion of five per unit. That is on top of Active component soldiers selected to serve full time in reserve components and in effect transfer to the Guard.
Things change and I'm glad to hear that. That was pretty much getting started when I retired from civil service in 1995. Glad it worked out. Is it still going?
Quote:
Granted my Air Assault example may apply to OIF OEF (but it none-the less applies).
It does; how much of the reason for that is due to capability and how much is due to perception bias or other factors neither of us can know.
Quote:
Bob’s observation “60 days and can’t tell the difference” has yet to prove itself out . The last time we deployed Guard units to a mid or big size fight and they did well was WWII and they trained as active duty units for over a year with huge influxes of active troops. You saw it in Korea? Where and when? I’d like to look at how much time they had to train up and record of performance.
First, not huge influxes of active troops, there weren't that many active troops -- huge influxes of Draftees and rapidly promoted ROTC Officers called up for the duration -- very different thing.

Second, re: Korea. The 40th (CA ArNG) and 45th Inf Divs (OK ArNG) and the 65th RCT (PR ArNG) all served on the line in Korea, I saw elements of the 65th and of the 45th several times each -- couldn't tell the difference between the 65th and the rest of 3d ID. There were numerous CS/CSS units -- ArNG Arty was particularly good, some of those NCOs had been Chiefs of Section for 8 or 10 years. One I recall was the 623d FA Bn (155 T) Ky ArNG) they were GS to 1st Mar Div for a while. All that's available on Google as I'm sure are reports of relative performance. Here's some Guard propaganda -- I have no reason to believe it is inaccurate; (LINK) and here's more from California (LINK).

Here's the Wiki on the 45th. Scroll down to Korea. I witnessed much of the Old Baldy fight; the 45th took it and held it, turned it over to 2d ID who promptly lost it and had a hard time getting it back. Couldn't really see much difference in the two Divisions...
Quote:
BTW, I categorically reject your characterization of me as “AC uber alles”. Let’s refrain from simplistic attacks when we don’t have evidence to support our anecdotal positions? Having served shoulder to shoulder with Guardsman I can tell you they have my deepest respect and there are certain missions where Guard units are superior to their AC peer. Pulling a 40 hour week and trying to meet the unrealistic expectations { * } the Army has for Guard units one weekend a month is an incredibly difficult row to hoe. There is ZERO doubt they are patriots. Let’s separate ego from capability?
Yes, lets. Heres' what I wrote: "The only hubris in this exchange is your apparent AC uber alles attitude." (emphasis added / kw). Note the apparent. I have no reason to believe it is more than "apparent" due to your choice of words and phrasing but the word 'hubris' implies that either Bob or I were / are deluded. Neither of us is -- we may differ from you in our opinions and some matters -- and Bob and I differ on some also -- but there's no hubris involved. So let's indeed refrain from simplistic attacks. Sounds like a plan...

Interesting aside. After DS/DS and not too long after Congress passed the laws that resulted in formation of your and the other RC Training Detachments and the revamp of Readiness Groups et.al., I was in his office when the then CG of then Second Army who had earlier been at OCLL called a Congressional Staffer he knew on Steven's staff and asked him why on earth they passed such an expensive in many ways scheme that was certain to make no significant improvement in RC mobilization capability. The answer was "We wanted to make sure the next time the Army went to war, they took the Guard." The CG's response was appropriate -- "Why didn't you just pass a law that said that."

Few things are as simple as they seem...

* Perceptions again -- and not just the Army but also the Guard itself, the Politicians at both Federal and State level. Sadly, there's plenty of blame to go around for unrealistic expectations. Good news is that they still beat recruiting from scratch...

Last edited by Ken White; 09-13-2012 at 05:01 PM. Reason: Unfix the quotes David 'fixed.' I do not use the QUOTE feature when quoting myself.
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Old 09-13-2012   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by major.rod View Post
Guard units don’t get a red cycle and having been with guard units I can tell you 25% of drills were devoted to the same kinds of BS. You can’t have different standards if you want to compare organizations. You make it sound like Guard units make the most out of the 30 days they train in a year. NOT true and I don’t think reciting a list that includes Christmas parties, classroom vs. field training etc. would be constructive.
I want to address just this comment. Guard training varies greatly from state to state and battalion to battalion, so blanket staements like this are not productive. My time in an infantry unit in the AKNG and ORNG would find this statement to be BS. We had 2-3 days not productivly training and those were christmas party and SRP and we often had additional training oppertunities outside of the drill & AT schedule. My time in an ORNG CSS unit and my current WANG infanty unit would find 25% waaaay to low a number, more like over 50%. So your lone unit experience does not make you an expert.
I do think that the "all combat units to the NG" was a poor choice and that state and inter-Army politics effects there readiness far greater then any lack of training time. Guard units that use training time effectivly and keep soldiers in, can also advance beyond the basics in training, which is harder for AC units since they have a constant turn-over in soldiers.
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Old 09-13-2012   #66
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I spent 10 years spread across 3 different states (CA, SC, OH) and worked in a straight line tank battalion, eHSB TK BN, and a BDE HQ.
We had 1-2 "BS" drills each year: Xmas party, and usually some form of community open house to support recruiting.
We also routinely had 3-5 extra training events every year, and while the entire unit might not have been at all of them, by the end of the year, pretty much everyone in any of those units had pulled at least 2 of them.

In SC, we were in a train-up cycle for NTC (pre-9/11), and just the NTC train-up had us pulling double weekends for 6 months leading up to it, plus a 3-week AT, instead of the normal 2, on the ground at FICA. You don't want to know what the training schedules looked like for the mobilization just to support Op Noble Eagle... checking ID cards at gates resulted in 6 months of 2-3 drills per month

From CA, we deployed to Yakima one year, which added extra drills to rail-load vehicles at both ends, plus the leaders' recon, coordination meetings, etc. And another year most of us pulled double-AT b/c the BN/BDE staffs all went to FLKS for a DIV warfighter.

In Ohio, there was always at least 1 unit downrange, so we never had a full BDE to train in the field, but the ramp-up for the '08 Kuwait deployment might as well have been an active duty train-up, once they put 300+ people on full-time orders one year out and had the rest pulling double-drills, plus a total of 5 weeks of AT before they ever hit the mob station.

Three states.
10 years.
No one was wasting time painting rocks.

Can't say that about any of the 4 years I was on active duty.
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Old 09-14-2012   #67
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The story of the USMC reserve tank company in Desert Storm is illustrative. I'll need to do a little research, but they may be credited with taking out more Iraqi armor than any other similarly sized unit in the conflict. Right place, right time, sure, but it highlights one aspect of the RC that we fail to leverage to our maximum advantage:

RC units have a stability of personnel that allows them to produce key individual and crew skills that AC units simply cannot match. Call for fire; howitzer and tank crew drills, snipers, etc. If we were smarter we would stop trying to get RC units up to AC standards on BN and BDE-level coordinated operations, and instead focus on identifying and developing these critical skills.

This is equally true in the Air guard/reserve; but due to the air mission it is recognized there. Who can tell the difference of if the C-130 they are being transported on is an active or reserve or guard crew?? You can't, other than that the Guard aircraft is likely to be better maintained, just as Guard vehicles in general are better maintained than active vehicles (an other advantage of the RC that is not well appreciated).

RC Flag officers don't help. They tend to want to prove that they are just like the AC, so they focus on building these Hollywood set units (looks real from the front, but it is all propped up BS behind the scene) instead of playing to their strengths. Sad that.

But to this thread. We need to take a hard look at every aspect of our military team and get past the fiction and the rumors and the egos and get down to the reality of what we really need, what we can afford, and then dedicating ourselves to building, fielding and employing the best possible mix. We are not doing that.

I am dealing with this today within SOCOM. Every aspect of SOF has their own narrative/legend of who they see themselves as; they have what it is they want to do; and they they have what it is they are really good at and what they need to do. Many of those things don't match up. Re-balancing forces to what you really need them to do is hard work and no one will be happy if done right. Current senior leaders, retired senior leaders, etc. All have a version in their mind that they believe is correct. We're all wrong. Let's start from there and figure this out.

No one except the American populace and the system of governance we exist to protect will be happy if we do this right. For me, that is not just good enough, for me that is the purpose of this whole little enterprise.
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Old 09-14-2012   #68
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Big difference with USMC reserves vs ARNG/USAR:

USMCR units are often trained at company level, and organized to fall-in on an active duty battalion.

ARNG units are trained, organized, equipped, etc from the division level on down. Do we return to the 'roundout' concept that everyone criticized after DS/DS? Probably not, but it is a significant reason why the USMC can get guys out the door faster as reservists than the ARNG can - none of those pesky BN/BDE-level tasks to train.

Oh, and that complete and total lack of state-level MSCA missions...
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Old 09-14-2012   #69
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This thread has moved away from the primary mission of the USMC into questions of around the mobilisation and the competence of reserves. It is of interest to this British "armchair" observer for two reasons.

First, the current UK defence planning to have an army split into a 'Reaction' and an 'Adaptable' structure. See the UK 2020 thread for a diagram and some discussion:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=16516

It is easy to imagine in a crisis that the deployable part will need supplementing from the second echelon. In Gulf War One the UK deployed an armoured division, which required substantial reinforcement from the whole army and the reserves.
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Old 09-14-2012   #70
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Quote:
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[T]he current UK defence planning to have an army split into a 'Reaction' and an 'Adaptable' structure. See the UK 2020 thread for a diagram and some discussion:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=16516
Is the TA to become part of the Adaptable side, or are its personnel allocated across the two? (Or is it “its own thing” apart from the two?)
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