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Old 03-05-2010   #201
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Hi Bill,

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Originally Posted by Bill Jakola View Post
FM 5.0 seems to have assumptions of complexity, uncertainty, and continuous change. But let’s be clear; this appears as an acknowledgement of the nature of war and not a new aspect of war. War is war. Thus to say the operational environment is complex is not to say that war is more complex, it is just using the inherent complexity as an assumption to build doctrine.
That might have to been the intention of the authors, however that intention is not clearly expressed or presented by using a progressive tense in their verbs - e.g. "is becoming more complex", etc.

With the exception of Wilf who, as we all know is in deep and intimate contact with the Platonic aeon of Ideal Forms (), most of us are unable to make pronouncements about the "nature" of anything. we can talk about "our experience" (individual, institutional, national) of war, but when we start talking about the "nature of war", all we are able to do is map our boundaries characteristics (if we can even do that!). Even if we could a) access the Ideal Form of "war" and were b) able to communicate, then we would still have to say "This is where the current thing we call 'war' differs from the Ideal".

Far better, IMHO, to forget about trying to talk about an Ideal Type and, instead, use doctrine as a way of defining "our" perceptions of the important characteristics of what we a) are doing and b) think we will have to do in the future. Saying that war have become increasingly complex is, in this case, rather silly; far better to say that "we" have to handle more considerations (i.e X, Y and Z) than we did in the past.

Cheers,

Marc

ps. This is in light of a general caveat - I'm reading a piece right now that is so conceptually flawed and poorly written that I'm not even sure if it is written in English. By contrast, FM 5.0 is an absolutely brilliant work.

pps. No, Rob, it's not the piece you sent me
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Old 03-05-2010   #202
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Media: I'm not sure the bombing of Dresden or Hamburg would possible today due to media influence. The Allies killed 200,000 people in 3 days (mostly all civilians). There's no way we could do that today. Do you think we could get away with bombing Tehran like we did Dresden or Tokyo?
Sure you could if you had a significant justification for it. Posit a scenario where Iran puts a nuclear device on a ship and blows it up in New york harbour.
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Old 03-05-2010   #203
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Default Only if Iran came out as a state and admitted it,

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Sure you could if you had a significant justification for it. Posit a scenario where Iran puts a nuclear device on a ship and blows it up in New york harbour.
but it is far more likely that they would claim some separate radical group was responsible. We would likely respond with a "measured and proportional" strike using precision guided munitions on "media acceptable" targets. On the other hand, if they detonated a nuclear weapon against Israel, I wouldn’t bet against Tehran ceasing to exist.
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Old 03-05-2010   #204
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Hi Bill,



That might have to been the intention of the authors, however that intention is not clearly expressed or presented by using a progressive tense in their verbs - e.g. "is becoming more complex", etc.
Marc,

I did not find that quote in FM 5.0.

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Old 03-05-2010   #205
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Hi Bill,

The point being illustrated can also be made using the phrase "growing uncertainty", which is in the Foreward.
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Old 03-05-2010   #206
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Hi Bill,

The point being illustrated can also be made using the phrase "growing uncertainty", which is in the Foreward.
Marc,

I don't mean to be pedantic but, uncertainty and complexity are different.

The use of growing uncertainty in the foreward seems to reflect the failure of our earlier assumptions like, if we build a force that can prevail in major combat operations then we will inherently have a force that can prevail in other types of operations; or that our technology will negate the fog of war.

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Old 03-05-2010   #207
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Hi Bill,

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I don't mean to be pedantic but, uncertainty and complexity are different.
No worries . Yes, I know that they are different, but that wasn't my point. I probably should have spelled it out better, but what I was trying to say was that a change in focus, such as that put forward here and in other documents (such as the ACC etc.) which argues that factors X, Y and Z are changing (increasing, decreasing) is different from saying that those factors are part of the "nature" of something.

Quote:
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The use of growing uncertainty in the foreward seems to reflect the failure of our earlier assumptions like, if we build a force that can prevail in major combat operations then we will inherently have a force that can prevail in other types of operations; or that our technology will negate the fog of war.
I'm still working through how many different meanings I can find for how "uncertainty" is used in FM 5.0 (3 different meanings so far ). Still and all, reflecting the "failure" of earlier assumptions certainly is one of the meanings I've seen in it. But were they "failures" at the time they were made, and is "uncertainty" now being used as a catch phrase for "drat, don't know what will happen ?".

What I believe, and it's only a tentative hypothesis, happened was that the US military "got" "conventional" warfare down so well that everyone else said "nuts to this, we ain't playin' that game". The "failure of earlier assumptions" was, IMHO, a conflation of our old conceptualization of conventional warfare as "Warfare" (the Ideal Type). When our opponents said "nuts, we ain't playin' that game" and started to play another one instead, we were so locked into our mindset of "convention warfare" = "Warfare" (a logical error of confusing the specific with the general), that we started to look for convenient ways to say "Drat, we don't know what they are playing!" and glomed onto "complexity" and "uncertainty" because they are cool, hip and happening terms out of science (and they will sell to the politicians). As an indictaor of the plausibility of this, I would point to how GEN Van ripper was treated during Millennium Challenge.

I just did a search through FM 5.0, and do you realize that there is not a single reference to one of the most important concepts stemming from complexity science - emergence? as far as "uncertainty" is concerned, it is defined (1-7) as

Quote:
Uncertainty is what is not known about a given situation or a lack of understanding of how a situation may evolve. Effective leaders accept that they conduct military operations in operational environments that are inherently uncertain.
Umm, that is way too limited and based solely on the perception of individuals. For example, an individual may be certain that X is Y and they may be totally wrong in that assumption. A truly effective leader also recognizes that they may well be mistaken in their assumptions about what is "true" - a point raised later on, but not included in the definition. The current definition places a "lack of understanding" only in the future....

Look, I'm getting exceedingly picky about implications of language and definitions, implications, etc. Probably over picky if truth be told . I know that one of the reasons I'm doing this is because I am dealing with a truly horrid piece of work right now (see my previous posts' pps), but another reason is that I "feel" (thumos or "gut knowledge") that this FM is setting people up to fail by trying to linearize a process that is inherently not linear. I need some time to figure out and be able to communicate where that "feeling" is coming from. Unfortunately, I am running ragged with other things (organizing a symposium, multiple concerts, writing, supervising theses, etc.) and I just haven't had the time to put that feeling into a coherent argument.

Cheers,

Marc
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Old 03-05-2010   #208
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Default no worries

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Hi Bill,
No worries .
Marc,

I agree, no worries; an office mate just suggested our admission of uncertainty reflects an understanding that we will never have a completely accurate view of our environemnt and should proceed on the basis where we constantly question our assumptions, and look to the potential point of failure.

I suggest it is like driving a car where we are quite confident of reaching our destination without incident; but, we remain vigilent and prepared to react in case something goes awry. It is more than just being reactive to the environment; it requires us to constantly envision what could go wrong and then prepare to prevent or overcome potential problems should they materialize.

Bill Jakola

P. S. My less than P.C. office mate just asked me to ask you if you knew the Olympic medal count totals. no worries.
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Old 03-05-2010   #209
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Hi Bill,

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I agree, no worries; an office mate just suggested our admission of uncertainty reflects an understanding that we will never have a completely accurate view of our environemnt and should proceed on the basis where we constantly question our assumptions, and look to the potential point of failure.
I think that a really good description, and I like the driving analogy.

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P. S. My less than P.C. office mate just asked me to ask you if you knew the Olympic medal count totals. no worries.
Top 10 Medal Winners
Country G S B Total
UNITED STATES 9 15 13 37
GERMANY 10 13 7 30
CANADA 14 7 5 26
NORWAY 9 8 6 23
AUSTRIA 4 6 6 16
RUSSIA 3 5 7 15
SOUTH KOREA 6 6 2 14
CHINA 5 2 4 11
SWEDEN 5 2 4 11
FRANCE 2 3 6 11
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Last edited by marct; 03-05-2010 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 03-05-2010   #210
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Default Hockey

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Hi Bill,



Top 10 Medal Winners
Country G S B Total
UNITED STATES 9 15 13 37
GERMANY 10 13 7 30
CANADA 14 7 5 26
Marc,

You are too kind; I thought for sure you would mention hockey.

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Old 03-06-2010   #211
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Sure you could if you had a significant justification for it. Posit a scenario where Iran puts a nuclear device on a ship and blows it up in New york harbour.
How come we didn't bomb Hanoi to the ground as we did Dresden or Tokyo?
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Old 03-06-2010   #212
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You are too kind; I thought for sure you would mention hockey.
Hey Bill, all part of the evil Canadian plot to make everyone think we are polite .
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Old 03-06-2010   #213
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How come we didn't bomb Hanoi to the ground as we did Dresden or Tokyo?
Because the NVA (or their allies) hadn't hit a part of the US? Because the Soviets said "Do it and we'll hit back"? Honestly, I don't know the exact reasons why.

Both Dresden and Tokyo (and Hiroshima and Nagasaki) took place during an "existential" war. Or, to phrase that slightly differently, a war that actually hit civilian areas of the US. Given that most of the wars the US (and Canada - let's be fair about this) have been involved in have had really minimal, if any, damage to our homelands, actual strikes tend to bring out the, hmmm, possibly "vindictive" is the best word, in us.

I suspect that when we actually get hit, it being such an exception to our normal lives, we get truly PO'd to the point where we are willing to do things that we like to believe we wouldn't do under other circumstances. I'll note that, in democracies (or republics ), it is much easier to "sell" a massive strike when emotions are running high.
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Old 03-06-2010   #214
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Default Plain and simple

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How come we didn't bomb Hanoi to the ground as we did Dresden or Tokyo?
Fear of Nuclear Retaliation. (And a heating up from Cold to Hot in Europe)

The U.S. has one policy for how we engage states that either have Nukes or are protected by states that have nukes; and a very different policy for how we engage those who don't.
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Old 03-06-2010   #215
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Bill, thanks for that, and while not wishing to nit-pick,
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“Unlike the Cold War era when threats were measurable and, to some degree, predictable Army forces today are likely to encounter conditions of greater ambiguity and uncertainty. Doctrine must be able to accommodate this wider variety of threats.”
But Vietnam had clearly shown this to be a faulty assumption at the height of the Cold-War.
Quote:
FM 5.0 seems to have assumptions of complexity, uncertainty, and continuous change. But let’s be clear; this appears as an acknowledgement of the nature of war and not a new aspect of war. War is war. Thus to say the operational environment is complex is not to say that war is more complex, it is just using the inherent complexity as an assumption to build doctrine.
Warfare is about the complex thing humans can do. That is my point. It always has been. It cannot become more complex. It always was.
Quote:
But today our competition includes a number of near peers and other organizations below the nation-state like al Qaeda or a drug cartel. The transparency comes in the form of the 24 hour news cycle and the explosion of information available to almost anyone on the internet.
When was this not the case - as concerns non-nation threats?
24 hour news cycles merely effect the rate and frequency of reporting. NOT IT's NATURE!!
The sheer proliferation of differing messages makes them less relevant. The power of the information age is the faith based belief in it, by some and not something grounded in evidence.
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- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
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Old 03-06-2010   #216
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With the exception of Wilf who, as we all know is in deep and intimate contact with the Platonic aeon of Ideal Forms (), most of us are unable to make pronouncements about the "nature" of anything.
Mate, more Aeon Flux than Platonic Ideal Forms!

Let me be clear. My thesis on THE NATURE of war and warfare, is that cannot become more complex, because they always were the almost always MOST COMPLEX things that human beings ever did.

....additionally I would suggest that the belief in complexity has created an erroneous understanding of the problem which continues to compound itself.

So let's provide doctrine with achievable aims, using simple and clear language, based strongly in evidence and very little in belief.
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- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition
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Old 03-06-2010   #217
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Default Design and Force Structure Decisions

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"Design" is more of a power word than "plan"; it conveys more of a "God like" height .
1. In the beginning there was chaos and the chaos was the infantry, for the infantry was alone.

2. And fear was with the infantry and they cried unto the Lord saying, "Lord, save us for we are afraid."

3. And the Lord heard their grunts and set some of the infantry on beasts of burden and these he called cavalry, and the cavalry became armor.

4. And when the Lord had seen what he had done, he laughed saying, "Well, you can't win them all."

5. The infantry and the armor again cried out to the Lord saying, "Lord, save us for we are afraid." And the Lord heard their cries and decided to end their weepings.

6. And the Lord said unto them, "Lo and behold, I send you a race of men noble in heart and spirit," and the Lord created the Gunners.
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Old 03-06-2010   #218
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Default According to the Book of Bollacks....

1. And when Moses returned to his people he found them all reading "FM-3" and "FM-5", and he was mightly displeased.

2. And Moses spoke to his people saying "You have to f**king kidding me, with this ####"

3. But the people cried, "We were lost and so sought comfort in the words of false profits. Verily we did know it was words of no meaning, and empty of content. Save us from this sophistry and confusion for it angers us, so are without purpose."

4. So Moses spoke to his people and said, "Go now, and get your Packs of Alice, and Framed Bergens, and fill them with the rocks you see around, then assemble back here within the passing of two minutes, for it will be a long night, with much pain and gnashing of teeth."

Amen.
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- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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Old 03-06-2010   #219
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Default All I can add to that now, Wilf, is

Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnum misericordiam tuam

If you prefer the prettied up, doctrinal version, it's here
and here
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Old 03-06-2010   #220
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Hi Marc,

I think the discussion on the differences between uncertainty and complexity merits more discussion. What is the real basis for our claim? If complexity is the the quality of being intricate and compounded how does that really apply to us?

I think comparatively, perhaps to how we trained for many years in our relatively simple CTCs and other exercises, experiments, etc., war has provided an opportunity (to ground forces, or those serving on the ground) to see that it is complex by nature. The more the objectives and conditions include other actors - be they populations, combatants, governments, competitors, etc. the more "complex" it becomes.

However, I'm not sure, as you say, that this discovery is entirely useful at this point. What would be more useful is do detail out the possible contributors to what we believe may make it more complex, and how their interaction frustrates or impedes the realization of the objective(s) as part of the conditions. Then perhaps we can figure out how to address those aspects better through the various DOTMLPF processes.

Uncertainty is another matter though. What I think about uncertainty that is important to us is whether or not we will have to do something. That something is in relation to how we have defined the environment and those aspects or contributions that make it more complex and impede our achieving the objective. There is a political aspect to this I think, as some of those uncertain things are tasks which may have to be done, but may be things which military forces are not prepared to do, or in some cases perhaps should not do (or even cannot do). We need to address this by determining exactly what we think those tasks are and when we think they will have to be done, and then have a good discussion on whether or not we have the capability (ability to do them), the authority to do them, - and if they are things we cannot do ourselves - e.g. the objective is contingent upon someone else doing the tasks, we need to discuss how to mitigate it.

If we are going to default to the use of complexity and uncertainty that may be OK, but we need to narrow it down some and place it in context up front (the more the better) as it applies to military forces employed to achieve a political purpose. We need to be specific about what factors make this complex, and we need to name our poison with respect to uncertainty.

Best, Rob
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