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Old 11-27-2008   #1
xander day
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Post dissertation help please! US military culture and small wars.

To the valued members of the small wars journal community.
i am currently in my third year studying war in Swansea, Wales, and am writing my dissertation. the title that i have chosen is: 'How Does the Culture of the American Military Prevent Them From Waging Small Wars Effectively?'
I was wondering if anyone would care to help me with ideas / book proposals/ suggestions. anything would help! i need particular help in relation to how the american military is changing to deal with the increasing prevalence of small wars - i have read ALOT about everything else, but can find very little about the current policies (force modularity?).
here is my basic outline:

The thesis of my dissertation is that the culture of the American military prevents it from fighting small wars effectively. The overarching focus of the essay will be upon how the U.S. Army’s preference for conventional warfare weakens significantly both their capacity to fight small wars, and their willingness to do so. The dissertation will show how this preference is a result of cultural biases and will extrapolate the various themes that feed these biases.
The essay will centre upon how the American military’s preferred paradigm of conventional war is incompatible with the context of a small war and begin with a summary of why this is so. It will also look at the history of the American Army, and so will comment on the traditional division between the civilian sector and the military. It will outline this split and will look at how it came to exist, with particular reference to Upton’s ‘reforms’ of the Army in the wake of the civil war. It will also look at the Jominian basis for the army over a Clausewitzian ‘politics by other means’ stance, and discuss how this influences the United States’ ‘Big War’ paradigm, although this description and analysis will be kept to a minimum for reasons of brevity.
Of major importance to this work will be the concept and ramifications of the so called ‘Vietnam Syndrome’. In itself the syndrome is incredibly significant in regard to the Big War paradigm, however the changes in doctrine that followed it, namely the ‘Never Again’ school, the Weinberger and Powell doctrines and the more recent ‘Decisive Force’ concept have damaged the U.S. Army’s small war fighting capability by codifying the idea that the expenditure of huge amounts of firepower can create a quick resolution to a conflict. This discussion will feature an analysis of the real impact of the Vietnam Syndrome, which Cassidy believes to effect the military’s willingness to fight wars far more than it effects the populations support of them: a paradoxical issue which may prove useful in discussing how cultural issues within the military may actually reinforce each other. The essay will widen this subject to include the ‘CNN’ and ‘bodybag’ effects in order to give a true account of the Vietnam Syndromes causes and strength as a concept, while referencing instances such as the withdrawal from Somalia and non-involvement in the Balkans to illustrate its impact. The war in Vietnam itself will be looked at of course, both to partially explain the Syndrome but also as a useful case study of how conventional warfare is inapplicable in a small war context. The war is again useful because the extensive amount of material regarding it has thrown up a number of cultural analyses which have exposed the Army’s cultural dedication to ‘Big War’ at the time.
As part of the essays investigation into the American Army’s devotion to conventional warfare the issue of doctrinal forgetfulness will be reviewed, with particular reference to the small wars that the U.S. has fought, such as the Indian wars, the war of independence and obviously Vietnam itself. It will draw the conclusion that because of this cultural devotion to a big war paradigm, small wars are not accepted as pertinent, and so the lessons that are learned while fighting them are forgotten as soon as the war ends. One of the instances linked to this is that even during the irregularity of the Indian wars, the American Army was developing itself as a reflection of the Prussian (conventional) model of organisation. This section may also include reference to the power of the military industrial complex and interest groups in rejecting the change required to fight small wars.
As with any work regarding unconventional warfare, the essay will give an overview of what is required of a military to win a small war, such as force limitation, the use of native forces, the importance of legitimacy (Kaldor’s book: New and Old Wars is particularly useful in this regard) and the relevancy of the political campaign. It will also talk about the currently changing nature of small wars, with reference to Al Qaeda and in particular its religious motivation. The essay will talk about these changes only where they effect the chances of American success, such as how the increasingly religious nature of such conflicts is making the political aspect of the campaign harder to win. It will also talk about the paradox of a large power fighting a small one, and so will discuss the relevancy of support, means and aims in relation to each side of the conflict. The main area of this will be a discussion of the asymmetry of will which is inherent in every small war engaged in by a large power and its relevancy in regard to the Vietnam Syndrome and conventional warfighting in general. This will conclude, in short, that small wars are long term affairs which often take decades to complete and that a conventional war stance is unprepared for such a time frame. It will also state that the unprofessional and inexperienced U.S. Army is unable to fight such protracted campaigns because of issues with public backing, a statement which will obviously refer back to both the American preferred paradigm of big war and the Vietnam Syndrome / bodybag effect.
In explaining how American small war fighting methods can be improved, the essay shall feature an analysis of British examples of success in this field and why the British model is so effective. This will include an assessment of historical reasons for this effectiveness which will centre on the regimental system. The conclusion that will be drawn will be that the close nit nature of the regimental system serves as a home-away-from-home and as the support that American forces usually get from the public. It will also show how the colonial history of the British Army means that the public is more accepting of unclear missions and of casualties that occur in faraway places. An analysis of successful British unconventional missions will echo the tenets of the previous paragraph regarding what is required to win small wars, and will emphasise the minimal force emphasis of the Northern Ireland and Malaya campaigns. It will also look at how the British have traditionally taken a Fabian approach to warfare, with the Napoleonic wars and, again the colonial campaigns as the main instances of this. This approach, while lessening the Army’s effectiveness in conventional wars has made it more affective in unconventional confrontations.
An investigation into the problems that big powers face while fighting small wars shall be carried out by looking into the Soviet and Russian experiences of unconventional warfare in Afghanistan and Chechnya. This section shall serve as a summary of many of the points that have already been made in the essay, but shall serve to show the similarities between the American problems and those of other large powers, and so shall support the asymmetry of will and paradoxes inherent within such confrontations. This section will be useful again because it will compare the cultures of each military and extrapolate relevant information from it, with particular relevance regarding the problems of big war when instigated in the wrong context.

rest to be added in a second....
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Old 11-27-2008   #2
xander day
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Default the stuff that didnt fit...

As a continuation of the Weinberger and Powell doctrines renewal of the conventional war dedication, one section of the essay will deal with how the belief in Decisive Force is self defeating. It will concentrate upon several distinct areas; technology, denial and self validation. In regard to technology the section will look at how such developments do not help the fighting of small wars. To do this it will look at a number of different authors arguments on the subject as well as drawing conclusions from previously successful irregular wars. Part of this will also look at the arguments for and against the relevancy of the current (disputed) revolution in military affairs (RMA), many critiques of which will prove useful not only for this section, but for the dissertation as a whole. The idea of self validation will look at how the first Gulf War ‘proved’ the relevancy of conventional warfare to the military leadership and is related to the previous assessment because the first Gulf War was enabled by technological superiority and is given by many as the evidence for the existence of the current RMA. This section will illustrate how the success of the Gulf War paradoxically weakened American military power and also how it relates to the military’s forgetfulness in regard to irregular war: President George H.W. Bush’s speech in which he claimed that America had finally got over the Vietnam Syndrome is the centrepiece for this argument and is a grand instance of denial.
The final section of my dissertation will be a discussion of the changes that are taking place within the American military, such as the ‘Modular Force’ concept, and their, and its, relevancy. This section will, like so many others, be intentionally brief so as to not dominate the piece, but must be included if my essay is to be an accurate account. It will feature a summary of the proposed changes and their foreseen effects, with particular reference to the culture of individual units of the Army and how this culture will be altered with the implementation of these changes. The marine corps shall serve as the personification of this change because of their developed unit culture and individual lexicon.

particular focus is upon the vietnam syndrome and the conventional warfighting stance of the U.S.

for those that have spent the time reading this and helping me out, i thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Xander
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Old 11-27-2008   #3
Ken White
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Default Perhaps another title for your dissertation

might be "Does the Culture of the American Military Prevent Them From Waging Small Wars Effectively?" I suggest that because I'm unsure that what you've posted here justifies your thesis. In any event, some thoughts for you:

Is the British model superior and if so what recent proof exists of that?

You might wish to be careful with "the withdrawal from Somalia and non-involvement in the Balkans..." The former was an aberration and a political miscalculation due to another political miscalculation; the latter was due to the misplaced belief that Europe could and would take care of a European problem of little concern to the US. I.e. both events were due to political -- not military -- errors and thus have little bearing on your thesis.

While this is true and deserves mention "...power of the military industrial complex and interest groups in rejecting the change required to fight small wars." you should also consider that the US Congress has as much or more say in that seeming and nominal 'complex' than do the military and the industrialists.

Caution is needed with this as well: "This will conclude, in short, that small wars are long term affairs which often take decades..." while that may historically be marginally correct; need it be that way? I'd say no.

Same here: "It will also state that the unprofessional and inexperienced U.S. Army is unable to fight such protracted campaigns because of issues with public backing, a statement which will obviously refer back to both the American preferred paradigm of big war and the Vietnam Syndrome / bodybag effect." Unprofessional or just undertrained and poorly focused (for counterinsurgency small wars; one presumes you did not mean to apply that to large wars as well -- else you'll have a dichotomy... ) -- the two are not at all synonymous. I do not disagree at all with your preferred paradigm statement but I do think the Viet Nam syndrome and bodybag effect can be and are overdone. The One Third Rule applies. I also believe that if you talk to the British Army today, they will not concur that the US army today (as opposed to five years ago) is either unprofessional or inexperienced with regard to small wars.

This statement: "and will emphasise the minimal force emphasis of the Northern Ireland and Malaya campaigns." is subject to serious question on many levels. For example if X force for Y years is minimal, then is X force for (Yx4) years still minimal? Far more importantly, be very sure you consider the fact that in both those operations, Britain WAS the government; a situation the US has not been involved with since the Indian wars of the 19th Century and the Philippine involvement in the early 20th. It makes a difference. A big difference. I think you need to be rather careful in the assumptions on this one...

When you complete your dissertation, I look forward to reading your treatment of this: "As a continuation of the Weinberger and Powell doctrines renewal of the conventional war dedication, one section of the essay will deal with how the belief in Decisive Force is self defeating."

My overall perception is that your effort is based on common wisdom (Heh) and perceptions. They're not totally incorrect but they do bear a great deal more thought than they seem to have been given thus far. Good luck.

I suspect you might attract a few more responses after the US Thanksgiving holiday -- which essentially lasts until next Monday. Gian may stop by...

Last edited by Ken White; 11-27-2008 at 06:24 PM.
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Old 11-27-2008   #4
John T. Fishel
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Default If you were writing a dissertation (thesis/paper)

for me, I would be telling you to NARROW YOUR FOCUS! A common fallacy among new thesis writiers is to try to do too much. The second thing I would tell you is that you clearly believe that you know what the answer is so you should be developing this as a hypothesis to be tested. By testing I mean that you must state your tentative conclusion in a form such that you can collect and analyze data so that it could prove your hypothesis false or wrong. If you can't disprove your hypothesis then it will stand as a firmer conclusion.

In the case of your topic, the evidence is all over the map. There are cases which support your thesis and other cases which tend to disprove it. All the caveats theat Ken mentioned apply. Here are a few sources you could look at: the 4 colonels report on El Salvador, Schwartz's Rand study of the same, Chapter 7 of Max Manwaring and my Uncomfortable Wars Revisited which refutes both studies of El Sal, my 1995 article in Low Intensity Conflict & Law Enforcement, "Little Wars, Small Wars, LIC, OOTW, the GAP, and Things That Go Bump in the Night." Also see John Nagl's Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife and Richard Downie, Learning From Conflict.

Good luck

Cheers

JohnT
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Old 11-27-2008   #5
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I agree with Dr. Fishel. You've thrown a lot of red meat on the grill. I wouldn't call it a disertation, I'd call it an epic novel.
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Old 11-28-2008   #6
xander day
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guys, i am amazed by both the speed of your replies and also the effort that you have all put in to help me with this! thanks so much!

Oh, before going any further, I am sorry about the unprofessional and inexperienced comment. This was a statement taken from an analysis of American experience in small wars, the inexperienced part was because of the lack of doctrinal information regarding small wars available to U.S. servicemen and women (at the time of writing, which I believe was the start of the 1980s). The unprofessional part (I groaned when I re-read that) was referring to the differences between the British Regulars and the American draftees of Vietnam and the high turnover of recruits – DEFINATELY not in any way trying to say that the U.S. Army is in any way unprofessional.

on to business:

one of the problems that I have with this dissertation is in sourcing material. I do not, unfortunately, have access to the most up to date books and journals, and as such I am having to rely upon many useful, but old, sources- of which the university library only has a limited number. Hence why what I have outlined may well sound re-hashed or done before. Also, being a 21 year old student, I rely upon firsthand accounts, and so the quotes that I use and my writing in general will reflect the points raised by their authors. Please note however that I am using only accounts from the most long-serving and respected men and women.
Since writing that outline (and it is very basic, for that I apologise) I have come across some more information to add in. Carnes Lord describes the role of Congress too, but the message of his article was rather confused; on the one hand he described how Congressional interference adds another voice to a large number of powerful voices and so splits small-war efforts (gave the CIA, Defence, Treasury and State Departments as other instances), but on the other presented the Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) Board as an area where Congressional ‘interference’ has helped America to wage low-intensity wars. He then later on described how (in 1992) the LIC was a ‘dead letter’ department and was essentially useless. Given that he is the only author that I have read so far that has talked about the role of congress in small warfighting, I am rather confused as to how in fact it does influence American capacity to wage such wars.
The Vietnam Syndrome will be, I think, the central area of my essay. I recognise totally the need for constant evaluation and questioning of authors comments and I am going to evaluate the significance and actual impact of the Syndrome using different viewpoints. Robert M. Cassidy raises the idea that the Syndrome had more of an impact on military leaders than Vietnam actually had upon the American people: that decision makers were so scared of the Syndrome that they treated it with more trepidation that it infact needed to be. I will evaluate this argument, but from what I have read, his argument seems valid and easily supportable, especially in relation to the pullout from Somalia after the ambush of the Quick Reaction Force.
Ken, what is the One Third Rule please?
Finally guys, I recognise that you are the experts about this. Alot of you seemingly have had first-hand experience and/or write books on the issue that I am but glimpsing and accordingly I am sorry if anything of what I have said in this outline sounds... well... ridiculous. But I am a student: being wrong and having those with experience tell me in detail how and why I am is what I do, and it is how I will make this piece of writing better, so please PLEASE keep it up (in particular any authors or works that may be useful), you have already been incredibly helpful.
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Old 11-28-2008   #7
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Xander Day,

Having read what you have provided, I think you may be making a number of assumptions about the UK and COIN that are simply not supported by the historical and operational record.

Comparing US and UK performance, with reference to the US conduct of the Vietnam War(S) and UK colonial anti-terrorist operations is, in my opinion, an intellectual dead end. There are no useful grounds for comparison, bar that which is simplistic.

Why the US does not actually practice it's own doctrine and listens to the wrong folks may be a subject worthy of examination. IMO, US military thought is only applicable to the US and does not travel well.

However the same could be asked of the UK. Our post 1945 performance being far from stellar.

Having said that, well done for studying war and hopefully warfare as well.
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Old 11-28-2008   #8
xander day
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Mr Owen, could you go into more depth as to what parts of my planning are incorrect. From what you said it seems like you know a lot of information that I would find very helpful, and it seems as though I might have missed these ideas in my reading!
Thanks!
Xander
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Old 11-28-2008   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xander day View Post
...Carnes Lord...described how Congressional interference adds another voice to a large number of powerful voices and so splits small-war efforts (gave the CIA, Defence, Treasury and State Departments as other instances), but on the other presented the Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) Board as an area where Congressional ‘interference’ has helped America to wage low-intensity wars. He then later on described how (in 1992) the LIC was a ‘dead letter’ department and was essentially useless.
The LIC Board is a beautiful example of how our essentially dysfunctional Congress interferes with good intentions that go astray. Congress directed the board br formed in the NSC, it was -- but it was overcome by events as USSOCOM was activated and the Assistant SecDef for SO and LIC was established. It was an approach that was probably not needed.

The bigger impact of Congress is in the funding of the Army. While they really fund all of DoD, they hang their hat on the clause in the Constitution that charges them with the responsibility to raise Armies. They use that clause to force single year appropriations all too often for purchases even though billions could be saved by going to multi-year contracting (this allows them to tinker with the budget every year and write in obscure clauses that direct certain things -- like the LIC Board that was not needed); they do not like to fund training very heavily -- training does not provide financial benefit to more than a very few of the various States and Congressional electoral Districts.

Congress can force the purchase of major items of equipment (i.e. big war stuff like Tanks) which produce jobs for the voters in many districts. It is said, only partly in jest, that the C-130 has sub-contractors in every Congressional district. It's more about them buying votes than it is about what's really required. In fairness, they do force some good things on occasion but I'd guess that's about a fourth or less of the time.
Quote:
The Vietnam Syndrome will be, I think, the central area of my essay...Cassidy raises the idea that the Syndrome had more of an impact on military leaders than Vietnam actually had upon the American people: that decision makers were so scared of the Syndrome that they treated it with more trepidation that it infact needed to be.
It is my firm belief that Cassidy is absolutely correct -- and that the concern over bodybags also permeates the Armed Forces leadership to far too great an extent; we over emphasize force protection at the expense of mission accomplishment.
Quote:
Ken, what is the One Third Rule please?
Simply, it states that in the US for any given war, about 1/3 will support it, 1/3 will accept it OR oppose it based on how well it is going at the time (i.e. they're fickle) and the remaining third will strongly oppose it. While there are those that dispute it, it is historically borne out. I'd also suggest that the 1/3 in opposition is composed of a hard core of true anti-war types but many will go to that end of the spectrum depending solely upon ideology. Here in the US, many Republicans opposed the Democratic Administration's forays into the Balkans while many Democrats opposed both Bush Republican Administration's entries in the ME.

There is also a two (some say three) year rule -- Americans will support a war for two or three years and then just want it over so they can get on with other things. Many also dispute that but again, it is historically validated -- even in WW II, by early 1944, everyone was tired of it. We are an impatient bunch and just want to get it fixed and get back to barbecueing in the back yard.

I personally am strongly convinced both 'rules' are valid and that this has a significant effect on your hypotheses. I also believe that the US can and should avoid small wars if at all possible for those reasons. That does not mean we should not know how to conduct them; we must and should be prepared to do so -- but they are not the US way of doing business so we should try to stay out of them if able. My sensing is that many in the US instinctively share this view but may not be able to or wish to articulate that.
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Old 11-28-2008   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xander day View Post
Mr Owen, could you go into more depth as to what parts of my planning are incorrect. From what you said it seems like you know a lot of information that I would find very helpful, and it seems as though I might have missed these ideas in my reading!
A.) call me Wilf and B.) I may not know more than you, however...

Quote:
'How Does the Culture of the American Military Prevent Them From Waging Small Wars Effectively?'
I would suggest that in order to progress this effectively, you have to define small wars, and a measure of effectiveness.

A lot of criticism of the US conduct of Vietnam is based on the "if my mother had wheels, she would be a bus," line of thinking.

...but Vietnam was not a small war. It covered the whole spectrum of warfare from 1950 to 1979, and the US was only really there from 65-73 (well 56-75 for some!!)

When left to their own devices, the US are actually pretty/very good. ...and they do learn fast, and there is ample material to support this, but what they learn the do seem to forget. Why they do, may be worthy of some study.

I think a lot of US guys here would agree that they are constantly re-inventing the wheel and coming up with some very dubious concepts to support the latest fad, so that may be worth looking at.

Comparing the US to everyone else may not be useful and may be misleading. - but that's just my opinion.
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Old 11-28-2008   #11
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Default I agree with Wilf on all that and as for

reinventing the wheel -- that's due to massive egos and arrogance "I don't need help, I have all the answers" is as American as the proverbial apple pie. We're arrogant twits at times...

On the fads, that's our short attention span and constant search for quicker and better ways to do things (never cheaper...).

War is a very human endeavor; the attitudes and proclivities of people permeate it and will influence the way they go about it. While people are people the world over, Americans are rather different from Europeans in many aspects of collective psyche.
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Old 11-28-2008   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
my 1995 article in Low Intensity Conflict & Law Enforcement, "Little Wars, Small Wars, LIC, OOTW, the GAP, and Things That Go Bump in the Night."
Go ahead and JUST TRY and get that article (or journal). I've been plying our electronic sources librarian with adult beverages for two years and Purdue isn't exactly a small school.
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Old 11-28-2008   #13
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As a person working on my PhD dissertation I would mention to the council in general that there is an underlying push to make the dissertation a book. It is all about the book. If you don't have a book when you are done you can't get the faculty job. I already have the vaunted tenured faculty job so I've told THREE book publishers no. BEFORE the dissertation is even done. I don't agree with the pressure for the book but I do understand where the pressure is coming from.

For the record my dissertation is a "sample" of the work I've done in the area. Right now I'm writing the methods section and really really really (x10K) struggling with an a-typical approach to reversing a representational model which is non-empirical.

Xander, there are a variety of resources published by Air University at Maxwell in the 1980s. The books are all about low-intensity conflict and perceptions post Goldwater-Nichols Act on how small wars can be fought. You can get them for.... FREE... via PDF or postage if you can find their resources person.
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Old 11-28-2008   #14
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You might also want to do some searches of the DTIC archive as part of your literature review if nothing else.
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Old 11-28-2008   #15
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Default Wilf gives good advice ...

and for Sam, I believe that Taylor & Francis (who bought out Frank Cass) the publisher of LIC&LE and Small Wars & Insurgencies would reproduce all the articles in these journals (and their others) for a price. I do suspect that the UK libraries will have the journals. In the US, I am sure that the libraries of the military graduate schools have these journals - CARL at CGSC (Leavenworth), the AWC, the NDU library. All work with interlibrary loan. Indeed, that is probably the best way to go (but you may have to tell your librarians where to look.

Cheers

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Old 11-29-2008   #16
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Default Serious flawed logic in my opinion

xander day wrote,
Quote:
The thesis of my dissertation is that the culture of the American military prevents it from fighting small wars effectively. The overarching focus of the essay will be upon how the U.S. Army’s preference for conventional warfare weakens significantly both their capacity to fight small wars, and their willingness to do so.
xander, like the others I applaud your efforts, but find your thesis statement flawed.

First, when you state that the American military has difficulty fighting small wars, that implies that other nations don't and are actually good at it. I would argue that most modern countries (especially democracies) have major difficulties waging small wars, especially small wars that endure over a long period. I'm sure you can list many failed European attempts to hold onto their colonies.

Furthermore, the recent trend to compare Malaysia to Vietnam is shamefully deceptive and unproductive. Put the Malysian Emergency in perspective, it was a British colony, and the Brits defined the rules, which gave them considerable freedom of movement. And while the emergency was serious, it paled in comparison to the problem set in Vietnam. As Owen stated the Vietnam War was not just a small war, combat with NVA regulars was as conventional as it got, and it was the conventional fight in the end that was decisive when NVA regulars rolled into Saigon.

Concurrently there was an insurgency, and some criticism directed against the U.S.'s early COIN efforts in Vietnam is deserved (although it frequently over hyped in my opinion). However, what seems to be overlooked is our many successes in Vietnam against both the NVA and the insurgency. GEN Abrams developed an appropriate COIN strategy, so we did learn, and we did concurrently while waging a conventional fight, and in a country where we didn't write all the rules. When we pulled out the VC were largely contained, at least to the point that they were not a vital threat to S. Vietnam, and the NVA was back in their box.

There are some new historical books coming out without the political agendas of the past, that shine a new light on our conflict in Vietnam. By all means criticize our shortfalls, but please keep it in perspective. If you want to compare America's performance to Europe's colonial wars, then I recommend you look at our conflict in the Philippines. We adapted rather quickly and in most respects did better than other modern countries.

Second, since your thesis is focused on the American Military's shortfalls, which there are many, but I think Ken put in perspective well when he explained the political and social factors on our homefront that shape our military policy and strategy.

I have to thank William Owen for this statement,
Quote:
When left to their own devices, the US are actually pretty/very good. ...and they do learn fast, and there is ample material to support this, but what they learn the do seem to forget. Why they do, may be worthy of some study.
We do have the doctrine for small wars, and we had it long before the new COIN manual came out a couple of years ago. Why we failed to adapt to the situations we were in sooner still confounds me, but we do adapt.

My final point is that some small wars are not winnable for America or anyone else because the objectives are too lofty, too expensive and take too much time, which means the social and political factors that Ken addressed will preclude success. That is not a problem unique to America.
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Old 11-29-2008   #17
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Originally Posted by Xander Day
The thesis of my dissertation is that the culture of the American military prevents it from fighting small wars effectively. The overarching focus of the essay will be upon how the U.S. Army’s preference for conventional warfare weakens significantly both their capacity to fight small wars, and their willingness to do so.
I wouldn't call the above a thesis but more of a research motivation. On the social side of things there is a lot of academic literature that says we don't fight wars very well at all. That body of work tends to make the militant military types very uncomfortable because in reality what does a good war look like? Sun Tzu and Clausewitz both would say the one you don't have to fight.

Here are a few you could look up. None are going to have "THE ANSWER" I've found some value in reading them.

Barno, D. (2006). Challenges in fighting a global insurgency. Parameters(Summer), 15-29.

Dunlap, C. (1997). 21st century land warfare: Four dangerous myths. Parameters, Autumn, 27-37.

Fleming, B. (2004). Can reading Clausewitz save us from future mistakes. Parameters, 2004(Spring), 62-76.

Hooker, R. D. (2005). Beyond Vom Kriege: The character and conduct of modern war. Parameters, 2005(Summer), 4-17.

Meigs, M. C. (2003). Unorthodox thoughts about asymmetric warfare. Parameters, 2003(Summer), 4-18.

Szafranski, R. (1990). Thinking about small wars. Parameters(September), 39-49.

Gross, L. (1948). The Peace of Westphalia, 1648-1948. The American Jouranl of International Law, 42(1), 20-41.

Brubaker, J. R. (2005). Low-intensity cultural conflict: Critical art, terrorism and the neurolinguistic environment. Anthropology of complex societies, 2005(Spring), 1-7.

Low-intensity conflict and modern technology. (1986). Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air University Press.

Blank, S. (2003). Rethinking asymmetric threats. Carlisle, PA: Stategic Studies Insitute U.S. Army War College.

Blank, S., Grinter, L. E., Magyar, K. P., Ware, L. B., & Weathers, B. E. (1990). Responding to low-intensity conflict challenges. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air University Press.

Dean, D. J. (1986). The Air Force role in low-intensity conflict. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air University Press.

Echevarria, A. (2005). Fourth-generation war and other myths. Strategic Studies Institute: United States Army War College.
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Old 11-29-2008   #18
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The Utility of Force by General Rupert Smith
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Old 11-30-2008   #19
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thanks for all of your replies guys! each is very helpful!
reading the amazon book review for The Utililty of Force as linked by Schmedlap, the author of said review says the following:

a year ago, an outraged British brigadier wrote a slashing (and according to some American officers, deeply unfair) critique of the U.S. Army's conduct of the Iraq War, attacking everything from its jargon to its general officer culture, something remarkable happened. The U.S. Army published the piece in its premier tactical journal, Military Review, and the Army's chief of staff passed the article around to our general officers.

anyone know who this brigadier was and where i could get his critique (and responses if anyone knows where they are) other than in the Military Review?

also, Selil, you are my hero! thanks for all of those bib references, i am sure that they will be incredibly helpful.

in regard to fourth generation warfare, what does this term actualy mean? some authors seem to treat the subject as something removed from purely unconventional / small warfare, whereas others appear to use the terms interchangabley.

thanks!
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Old 11-30-2008   #20
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in regard to fourth generation warfare, what does this term actualy mean? some authors seem to treat the subject as something removed from purely unconventional / small warfare, whereas others appear to use the terms interchangeably.
Ahhhh... welcome to our world!

a.) 4GW is highly controversial. I know and respect both TX Hammes and Bill Lind, as intellects - and nice guys, but I will have nothing to do with 4GW. Some folks swear by it, but it is full of wholes, and states opinions as facts.

b.) The words "Small War" and "Unconventional" are not academically or doctrinally precise. 4GW refers to a "generation of warfare." If you think that's rubbish (which I do) then don't get caught up in the semantic slugfest which dogs the study of war and warfare.

if you look at 4GW like I, and others here, do then 4GW is not something you come across either in the study of war, or warfare, as it does not survive rigour in either discipline.
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