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Strategic Compression The compression of roles and effects. The Strategic Corporal meets the "turn left" National Security Advisor.

View Poll Results: Is the US Corporal of the future a Strategic Corporal?
Yes -- let our enemies beware! 13 59.09%
No -- too little education or knowledge of foreign cultures 7 31.82%
No -- modern commo moves authority up, not down. 2 9.09%
No -- strategy has become too complex for NCOs to understand, let alone execute. 0 0%
No -- some other reason, explained below. 0 0%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-06-2006   #1
Fabius Maximus
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Default Let's Vote

Let's get off the dime on this threat and express your opinions. Please post a brief explanation for your vote. OK to just agree with a previous post on this thread or another in this section.
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Old 03-06-2006   #2
Bill Moore
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There seems to be an overwhelming opinion that the strategic corporal is the answer to our woes in Iraq, but achieving this is as likely as making our Infantry soldiers as capable as the famed Science Fiction Starship Troopers within the next decade.

1. Educated and aware citizens do not volunteer for the Army in droves. While pay is one issue, I would argue it is a minor one. The main reason is the human material that could become the strategic corporal doesn't want to work the 1st SGT, SGM, CSM or CPT whose focus is on conforming to mindless uniformity and regulations. We have to develop senior leaders in the Officer and NCO ranks first that can groom strategic corporals. This requires a significant cultural change within our ranks, and perhaps a purging of our ranks of those who confuse discipline with uniformity. While some degree of uniformity does instill a sense of discipline, the point is we have to many so called leaders that take the mindless to the extreme and drives smart kids out of the Army, or into Special Operations. Our system actually dumbs kids down, because they are taught success is simply conforming and mouthing off with hoo’a giving the illusion of motivation. If you want thinkers, you have to create a culture that accepts them.

2. Our education system that our kids endure does not produce strategic corporals. One could argue that our kids have been dumbed down by computers and computer games. There is very little incentive or cultural emphasis on really thinking.

I agree that if the strategic corporal concept could be initiated, it would be very helpful, but I want to see the plan for implementing it. Maybe a special cohort unit with hand picked leaders?
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Old 03-06-2006   #3
Fabius Maximus
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Bill raises an important point.

Of course we can produce a small number of Strategic Corporals. But the context here is Strategic Corporals in large forces, at least like Marines with 200k. Otherewise we're playing with miniatures, in a strategic sense.
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Old 03-06-2006   #4
Martin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore
If you want thinkers, you have to create a culture that accepts them.
Agreed.

You may want to have a look at The Creating Brain, by Nancy Andreasen.

Martin
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Old 03-06-2006   #5
Merv Benson
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Default Strategic ice cream shops

If an ice cream shop in Iraq or a pizza resturant in Israel can be a strategic target, I suppose a corporal who has to defend these locations has some strategic decisions to make, but he is still reacting within the framework of the overall strategy set by the commanders.

One can question whether these are really strategic targets, or just a reflection of an enemy too weak to target those who oppose him. It cannot be said that an ice cream shop or a pizza resturant is the same as the trains carrying troops and supplies that Lawrence taught his followers to stop with booby traps. I would argue that targeting them reflects a poverty of both moral and military demisions. It is a reflection of the cultural cowardice of the enemy.
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Old 03-06-2006   #6
GorTex6
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Wink my vote- Yes, better than losing

Quote:
The main reason is the human material that could become the strategic corporal doesn't want to work the 1st SGT, SGM, CSM or CPT whose focus is on conforming to mindless uniformity and regulations. We have to develop senior leaders in the Officer and NCO ranks first that can groom strategic corporals.
SSG is the peak of an NCOs career; the survival of the fit. Progressing further past this rank, they get senile and it becomes survival of the stubborn. By CSM, they get alzimers and become crazy.

This also goes for CPTs. Upon making Maj. a frontal labotomy is performed. They may recover at a later rank but are never the same.

"Leaders" get jealous and resentful when a young stud takes the initiative on the battlefield without permission. Peers will also do anything to undercut the competition. Retrobution is exacted indirectly through administrative errors(ie losing awards/promotion paperwork, filing paperwork late, lying about it, ect) Peers can undermine the reputation of a leader by subverting their subordinates.

Last edited by GorTex6; 03-06-2006 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 03-06-2006   #7
slapout9
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Default Keep pay grades seperate from rank.

Why not try keeping pay grades seperate from the rank structure. That way highly skilled people would not seek promotion just to get more money. Some police departments have done this with great success. They are called master patrolman and they stay on the street where their hard earned skills have the most use. But the pay keeps going up regardless of the actual rank they have on their sleeve.
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Old 03-06-2006   #8
DDilegge
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Default Iron Majors and Senior SNCO's

Quote:
Originally Posted by GorTex6
SSG is the peak of an NCOs career; the survival of the fit. Progressing further past this rank, they get senile. By the time they reach CSM(survival of the stuborn), they get alzimers.

This also goes for CPTs. Upon making Maj. a frontal labotomy is performed. They may recover at a later rank but are never the same.

It is about colliding egos. "Leaders" get jealous and resentful when a young stud takes the initiative on the battlefield without permission. Their peers also hate it when someone ramps the competition. Retrobution is exacted indirectly through administrative errors(ie losing awards/promotion paperwork, filing paperwork late, lying about it, ect)
Many generalizations here GT-6, and while some of us have seen examples in our careers of "ROADS" scholars, I believe that such a sweeping statement concerning senior SNCO's and field grade officers is unwarranted.

Not much time to respond here, just want to state for the record that in many military communities the senior SNCO and "Iron Major" are the backbone of successful operations. While that may not be true in every MOS, I would offer that infantry and other combat arms S-3's, XO's and CO's do not fit your one-size fits all generalization. Same, same for SNCO billets in infantry and other combat arms battalions. I also believe that holds true for SOF.

Yes, success ultimately depends on the junior leadership on the ground - the strategic corporals and lieutenants - but to just release them into a battle space without training, fire support, combat service support, operation plans, etal, would be foolish at best.

Are there exceptions? Of course, but to stereotype by rank does not do justice to the "good ones" who stuck it through...

Again, just a quick thought on your post.

Last edited by DDilegge; 03-06-2006 at 08:44 PM.
 
Old 03-06-2006   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDilegge

Again, just a quick thought on your post.
It was meant to be humorous
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Old 03-07-2006   #10
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I'd like to say yes, but modren commo leads to micro managing
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Old 03-07-2006   #11
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I agree completely with point 1 in your post, Bill Moore. But be careful about comparing the strategic corporal to the Starship Troopers of science fiction. Remember, submarines and airplanes were science fiction not that long ago.

Also, I think the "dumbing down" of kids has less to do with computers and video games than with the education system that acts much the same as the military. Conformity is the key, and nowhere are students encouraged to seek out knowledge that they want just for the sake of learning. I have far more academic reading since graduating college than I have ever done before, just for the fact that I have the time and freedom to read what I want to learn instead of getting tired old classic novels and worthless algebraic formulas down my throat.
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Old 03-07-2006   #12
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Default Classics

"...instead of getting tired old classic novels and worthless algebraic formulas down my throat."

Oh, I don't know. Dostoyevskii's The Possessed looks pretty relevant these days.
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Old 03-09-2006   #13
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And certainly it is. If only that had been assigned reading. Instead we get crap like Ragged Dick and Flowers for Algernon. Middle school level books at the max, being taught in college. You should see the crap high schoolers are forced to waste their time on now.
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Old 03-09-2006   #14
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Default Heh

"Instead we get crap like Ragged Dick..."

Resisting.....joke...too.....easy....

I agree, totally inappropriate for the college level. Or even serious H.S. courses in the honors or A.P. vein. I imagine these books are kept on reading lists because so many students have reading and critical thinking skills years behind their chronological age. A H.S. in an affluent area will have juniors reading Paradise Lost and Moby Dick while schools in an impoverished area - well - nothing comparable.

OTOH I retain a certain fondness for Flowers For Algernon - a good way to have younger students contemplate the nature of intelligence, perception, moral reasoning and so on.
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Old 03-20-2006   #15
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Default Strategic Corporal requires the right command philosophy

The strategic corporal is only possible when the Commanders lead by Commander's Intent rather than conduct battle management by detail.
The trends I have observed in C2 by JFCOM and the Army seem to emphasize concentration of power and initiative at the higher levels taking away the initiative from the lower levels. The Marine Corps with it's emphasis on leadership and initiative at the lowest level maybe able to achieve this, but only time will tell.
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Old 04-04-2006   #16
Nat Glozer
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Couple of points:

1) I think that there is alot of underestimation of the quality of folks in the junior enlisted ranks. There are many, especially in the cohorts that enlisted after 9/11, who have an ability to understand other cultures, and the interaction of politics and foreign policy. Gone are the days, if they ever existed, where the military was made up of individuals with no other prospects in society.

2) The strategic corporal is not a pipe dream, it is a necessity. It is not a cliche to say that this war and future wars are fought heavily in the media. With instantaneous communication, the corporal must understand the broader consequences of his actions, or we will lose the media war.
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Old 04-05-2006   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore
If you want thinkers, you have to create a culture that accepts them.
Root out and exterminate the resentful and retrobutive egos, extinguish the intercliquish politics, reward enginuity....

Surgically, a baseball bat could fix our problems.
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Old 09-17-2006   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zenpundit View Post

OTOH I retain a certain fondness for Flowers For Algernon - a good way to have younger students contemplate the nature of intelligence, perception, moral reasoning and so on.
How about A Message to Garcia as an example of the strategic lieutenant 100 years ago. That's what we're looking for in our junior soldiers now. And, believe it or not, we're seeing a lot of them.
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Old 09-17-2006   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RTK View Post
How about A Message to Garcia as an example of the strategic lieutenant 100 years ago. That's what we're looking for in our junior soldiers now. And, believe it or not, we're seeing a lot of them.
I'm not sure if A Message to Garcia teaches young leaders the right lessons. Especially if they are going to be directing tactical operations with strategic consequences, leaders need to know it's okay to ask questions, know the environment in which they are operating and gain an appreciation for the enemy situation before executing. MtG just sends the message to take the initiative blindly, without knowing what you are getting into.
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Last edited by CR6; 09-17-2006 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 09-17-2006   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CR6 View Post
I'm not sure if A Message to Garcia teaches young leaders the right lessons. Especially if they are going to be directing tactical operations with strategic consequences, leaders need to know it's okay to ask questions, know the environment in which they are operating and gain an appreciation for the enemy situation before executing. MtG just sends the message to take the initiative blindly, without knowing what you are getting into.
I see where you're coming from on this, but I'm going to stand my ground for the following reason.

Obviously the story was written in a very different era with much different circumstances. The important points I'd like to highlight are the fact that the young lieutenant was selected due to his abilities. His leadership trusted him to get the message to Garcia. We all have the "go-to" specialist in our organizations that we call upon when it comes down to it. I'm not just talking about the orderly room either.

Perhaps it's dawning on me that my experience is perilously different from others. I had young E5s and senior corporals in charge of towns and individual AOs within my troop AO. There were certain areas I just didn't need to go to often since they had the handle on it. They had the relationships with the local leadership. They interacted with the muktar, imam, mayor, and police everyday. They made progress. I resourced them with what they needed for success. I didn't have to get involved because they were innovative junior leaders who took a commander's intent, key tasks, and end state and ran with it. Picking out the ones that understand 2nd and 3rd order effects helps too.

In that respect, I would submit that the impact of second and third order effects is much more understood at the smaller tactical level than it is at higher levels. Strategic implications oftentimes circle back around and hit a unit in the throat tactically. For this reason, many junior leaders are cognizant and sensitive to the fact that Newton's Law of Motion has real consequences in the COIN environment and that the reaction usually has dynamic and real impacts on their day to day operations.

In the context of MTG, the young LT fulfilled the desired endstate, which is really all I was attempting to highlight.
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