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Old 02-19-2011   #21
Polarbear1605
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Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Ken White has mentioned this several times, and I think this author provides accurate supporting fires that our current structure for developing effective strategies is deeply flawed.

http://www.ndu.edu/press/war-and-its-aftermath.html#
Could not disagree with that statement more (not the Ken White part, but). Mr Moore, if that is your definition of “adequate supporting fires” then I have this vision of you providing a box of rocks to a private and ordering him to go prep a combat LZ. Throwing PC rocks at the current command structure LZ is not adequate prep fire for solving the "strategic" issue.
LTC Melton’s article is fundamentally flawed. To blame bad strategy on the current Joint Goldwater Nichols Command structure is the PC way of avoiding the issue. Bad strategy comes from bad generals and bad generals exercise bad strategy when they practice service sub-optimization to the detriment of combat operations. Service sub-optimization is one of the major reasons for the establishment of the current joint command structure. My opinion is that Melton has not done his research…he can START by reading “Victory on the Potomac” after he puts down “Unrestricted Warfare”. Bad Strategy comes from bad generals and no one is willing to admit it in the US Military. How many different generals touched Iraq from the invasion until the surge…Franks, Sanchez, Abazaid, Fallon, Casey, Chiarelli…that is just a start on that list without even including Afghanistan. How many of those generals have been held accountable for things like Abu Ghraib, catch and release, and an occupation strategy that allow a full and bloody insurgency to grow and almost succeed. General Chiarelli is the current Army Chief of Staff for “crying-out-load”.
The general officer corps fought Goldwater-Nichols and never studied it nor embraced its purpose. Instead they continue to wiggle in their service loyalties that undermines and dominates their own combat command structure. In order to be Chief of Staff you need to be PC…and Combat Command is nothing more that a stepping stone to service chief. Being a good strategist has been left to the individual general and college professors. Fixing that issue does not start with the command structure; it starts with the general officers.
Give me a break! ….JMM99, I am with you…Cheers and where is the beer?
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Old 02-19-2011   #22
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Originally Posted by Polarbear1605 View Post
Throwing PC rocks at the current command structure LZ is not adequate prep fire for solving the "strategic" issue.
Take standing broad jumps at potentially wrong conclusions often?

I'm not at all sure that Bill Moore is being PC -- I do know that would be quite unlike most of his peers I know and that he has shown no such tendency here to date.
Quote:
LTC Melton’s article is fundamentally flawed. To blame bad strategy on the current Joint Goldwater Nichols Command structure is the PC way of avoiding the issue.
Is it? Or could it be a significant part of the problem that causes this:
Quote:
Bad strategy comes from bad generals and bad generals exercise bad strategy when they practice service sub-optimization to the detriment of combat operations.
I for one do not question that and I have so written a bunch of times. We have a sort of disconnect here, I think:
Quote:
Service sub-optimization is one of the major reasons for the establishment of the current joint command structure.
That's partly true and the reverse is also true, so we have a Chicken-Egg situation. This:
Quote:
Bad Strategy comes from bad generals and no one is willing to admit it in the US Military. How many different generals touched Iraq from the invasion until the surge…Franks, Sanchez, Abazaid, Fallon, Casey, Chiarelli…that is just a start on that list without even including Afghanistan.
is a list similar to one I could pull out that I have been complaining about for years. Every one of those plus McChrystal, Eaton, Myers, Pace and a few more. Not that it's done much good, they still did the damage that they did...
Quote:
How many of those generals have been held accountable for things like Abu Ghraib, catch and release, and an occupation strategy that allow a full and bloody insurgency to grow and almost succeed. General Chiarelli is the current Army Chief of Staff for “crying-out-load”.
Chiarelli, BTW is the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. Not an inspired choice, I know...

The answer to your question is none of the above, though Sanchez did get forced into early retirement (as have a few others) -- that seems to be the standard punishment of the Gen-Gens who embarrass the system. Question: Was that true prior to G-N?

Another question is how much of that ease into retirement rather than Courts Martial or other action is due to the JAG saying "It's not worth the trouble?" I ask that not to pick on the JAG types but to point a finger at Congress and the UCMJ -- and human nature.
Quote:
The general officer corps fought Goldwater-Nichols and never studied it nor embraced its purpose. Instead they continue to wiggle in their service loyalties that undermines and dominates their own combat command structure. In order to be Chief of Staff you need to be PC…and Combat Command is nothing more that a stepping stone to service chief.
That's true on all counts and the political and stepping stone parts have always been true and are likely to remain so. I think that's human nature thing thus is unlikely to change. What would you change it to?

As for embracing its purpose, it got embraced; a bear hug -- on all the items that allow prerogatives and perks while evading responsibility. It was and is a good idea, it's just flawed and does not accept the vagaries of humans. It needs to be adjusted.
Quote:
Being a good strategist has been left to the individual general and college professors. Fixing that issue does not start with the command structure; it starts with the general officers.
Give me a break!
Nah -- on the break issue. While I agree with your point that we've wrongly left strategy to the professors, that is largely a function of deeply flawed personnel policies imposed by Congress in the interest of 'fairness' (It does little good to yet again mention that I continually harp on the fact that war isn't fair...) and that is partly a result of the unintended consequences engendered by the creation of DoD and by G-N.

You have identified a problem. More correctly, you have served up the latest iteration of a problem that has been surfaced by many on this board, to wit, the relatively poor quality of Flag Officers. Others here including me have recommended improved military education, significant change to the OPMS (noting that most of its appalling ideas are Congressionally mandated), identifying and selecting innovative thinkers, rewarding initiative -- a lot of things that we now pay lip service to but in actuality stomp on to insure compliance and conformity. If you have anything to add to that list, that would be great.

You raise a good point. Your point also raises questions:

Are our current personnel selection and promotion problems better or worse as a result of the invention of DoD, Goldwater Nichols and Nunn-Cohen?

Have those acts and the accompanying plethora of micro managing efforts from Congress and DoD been causative in the development of the current environment and its concomitant promotion of predominately truly faceless bureaucratic types to 'high command?'

Has the broader American societal change been instrumental in the trend you identify and, if so, what can be done to ameliorate that?

Would or could a change to our organization for the defense of the nation, specifically by adjusting the National Security Act of 1947 as amended and both Goldwater-Nichols and the Nunn-Cohen amendment, be beneficial to achieve your aim of better and more competent strategies and strategists and my aim of less politically inclined, innovative Flag Officers who are not risk averse and who encourage and accept initiative by the simple expedient of reversing the diffusion of responsibility (and thus accountability) those Acts all instil?
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Old 02-19-2011   #23
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Quote:
Am I being a wet blanket ?
Mike the answer to this question is obvious , but it is good to keep at least one foot grounded in reality. However, I don't think I am challenging the Constitution if I'm recommending a return to a former C2 arrangement/structure for military forces. Bill

Last edited by Bill Moore; 02-19-2011 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 02-19-2011   #24
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Not a wet blanket but you have done one thing -- illustrated how the sclerotic bureaucracy has taken charge of DoD. Good job.

To address with full specificity is beyond my capability right now but quickly, I for one would not advise doing away with DoD or even trying to do so. It was IMO misguided but it's probably irreversible. That does not mean the organization and structure cannot be tweaked and significantly reduced in bureaucratic reach. Specifically, it needs to butt out of service personnel matters (that will offend Congress, who likes the nominal but really delusional linearity and uniformity -- 'fairness.') That will be difficult due to Congressional interest but a good case can be made for some special concern and disregard of 'American values.'

Any reorganization of DoD will be admittedly difficult as it will trample on several Congressional Rice Bowls -- as they are a significant part of the problem, I believe those Bowls should be smashed...

Difficult is not impossible.

The only problem with G-N is adjusting the duties and responsibilities, a relatively minor tweak to the Statute and job security for the OLRC. Most significant would be giving the CJCS a new title -- say, Director of Military Operations -- and real command authority UNDER the SecDef and the CinC of Cincs. It would mean tabbing strategic planning responsibility to the JCS with a diktat to do broad plans and policy while leaving the details not to the GCCs but to the actual, not supposed warfighting commands. The GCCs are really political and are going to stay that way...

Consider the fact that two CentCom Commanders got involved in warfighting, the first successfully (with a lot of help...) the second not so much -- but that both were while so involved NOT watching their 'theaters.' The GCCs need the ability to form large JTFs to do the actual fighting -- and they need to be able to get specific competencies for the Commanders of those Forces. The recent history of Iraq might have been quite different had Dan McNeill been in charge in Baghdad instead of Rick Sanchez...

As for the DoD Policies and the Joint Pubs, those get routinely revised in all cases; we could just do substantive modifications instead of cosmetic changes of "glad" to "happy."

The current structures were designed to ameliorate responsibility and decentralize planning and execution. The first part is successful beyond anyone's dreams, the second has not been really even marginally, much less successfully achieved...

Last edited by Ken White; 02-19-2011 at 07:38 PM. Reason: Typos
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Old 02-19-2011   #25
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Default Bill is unconstitutional ! ...

Bill is unconstitutional !! What's a matter, you quit taking walks in the morning.

Seriously, as to this:

Quote:
from Bill
However, I don't think I am challenging the Constitution if I'm recommending a return to a former C2 arrangement/structure for military forces.
where did you get that idea from ? I certainly did not say that the current structure is mandated by the Constitution.

The Constitution's provisions re: the military, military installations and military appropriations are quite flexible:

Quote:
Article I, Section 8.
The Congress shall have Power ...
.....
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Article I, Section 8.
The Congress shall have Power ...
.....
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards and other needful Buildings; ....

Article IV, Section 3

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Article II, Section 2.

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;
the most expressly limiting being the 2-year limit on Army appropriations (the same not being applicable constitutionally to the Naval Services ).

The only constitutional requirement as to command and control is the President's CinC power (Art. II, Sec. 2). So, variants in the C2 structure are very much permitted by the Constitution - e.g., as Weighley's Army history shows in its Appendix of C2 charts.

Bill Moore is a PC ! Bill Moore is a PC !! That is funny.

In conclusion, this (from PB1605): "Cheers and where is the beer?"

Virtual beers for virtual bears. Enjoy.

Regards

Mike
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Old 02-19-2011   #26
Bill Moore
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PolarBear if you think I'm PC I'm seriously concerned about you. Please put down your crack pipe, that stuff isn't good for you

I wrote a long response to your comments and then lost it (you would have liked it). Damn my computer and my fat thumb for accidently hitting the mouse and then clicking something that resulted in the data loss.

In short, I think your comments are off from the topic being addressed. You seem to be talking about military operational strategy and I'm talking about national level strategy.

I went to classes that taught us about the National Security Act of 1947 and its amendments in 1949 and the G-N Act. The reason behind both Acts seemed perfectly logical, and the problems they were addressing were real. I don't think they solved the problems.

NS-Act 47/49

DOD being unified and falling under a civilian secretary that was empowered seems appropriate, and I'm a lukewarm proponent of the Air Force as a separate service. I don't think we would have developed our strategic bombing capability if they were left under the Army. On the other hand the ground forces have not been as well served by the Air Force as they have.

The bigger issues from this act in my opinon was the formation of the CIA and the NSC. Was the CIA a better solution than the OSS? The CIA remains an obstacle to the one team, one fight concept, but beyond that wouldn't it be better to have an overarching intelligence organization like the OSS that is a hybrid civilian-military organization that not only does intelligence, but can effectively conduct unconventional warfare (the DOD definition, not SF's)? It would address many of our current shortfalls in what we're now calling irregular warfare. As for the NSC, it is an appropriate body for developing and recommending National Security Policies, but what is missing (especially after the G-N Act) is an appropriate body to develop supporting national strategy.

G-N Act in my opinion was somewhat effective in forcing DOD to be more joint, but in the process it has overdone joint and we have unqualified officers based on background in key positions all in the name of jointness. Second it has empowered the COCOM's as strategic HQs and cut the nut sack off the Pentagon. I think something like a strategy development body under the NSC and physically located in the Pentagon (but not led by the Pentagon) is required to ensure we have an interagency strategy (not just policy), and a director (other than the President, he still retains overall authority) that has the authority to compell all agencies to comply with the strategy.

The shortfalls you addressed in our General Officer ranks has always been true. We have always had great Generals and we have always have Generals that represent the Peter Principle, and rarely are they held accountable, but that is really immaterial to the topic. Even a great General can't develop an effective operational strategy for a non-existant national strategy.

The SECDEF's directive for the services to get better at irregular warfare is the correct thing to do in my opinion, but we shouldn't confuse failure at the tactical level as the reason we're in the mess we're in. It can be argued that even expert execution at the tactical and operational level won't win the strategic objective when we don't know what it is.

Had a lot more in the original post, but this will suffice for now.
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Old 02-19-2011   #27
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Posted by Mike,

Quote:
Bill Moore is a PC ! Bill Moore is a PC !! That is funny.
Wouldn't that qualify me to be a lawyer?
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Old 02-19-2011   #28
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Default Wouldn't that qualify me to be a lawyer?

Seems PC is becoming a mandate:

kanBARoo - 86th Installment

Quote:
Florida State Bar enforces “political correctness”—the Mitchell and Mooney matters

Friday, January 7, 2011

In events many observers find unfathomable, the Florida State Bar disciplined two lawyers for trading e-mailed insults. What’s unfathomable to the observers is not, unfortunately, the Florida Bar’s disciplinary action but the attorneys’ conduct, whose frequency in general practice everyone underestimates. In this Installment, we’ll “fathom” both the Florida State Bar and its victims.

Comparing the severity of disciple imposed on each—10-day suspension for Kurt D. Mitchell but only a public reprimand for Nicholas F. Mooney—betrays its motive. What occurred between them is sometimes termed a “flame war”, an escalating exchange of insults, often attributed to the absence of the inhibitions direct contact would foster.

The only significant difference between the two attorneys’ conduct consists in the political incorrectness of Mitchell’s mockery of Mooney’s handicapped offspring: While I am sorry to hear about your disabled child, that sort of thing is to be expected when a retard reproduces. Compare with Mooney’s strongest: Then check your children if they are even yours. Better check the garbage man that comes by your trailer to make sure they don't look like him. .....
So much for lawyers and snarks.

On the other hand (I think on a higher plane), we have folks who gnaw at generals' ankles:

Quote:
The Sins of Generals, Part One: An open letter to General Michael Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps (2003-2006), October 11, 2008.

The Sins of Generals Part Two: Undue Influence from the Start, October 30, 2008.

The Sins of Generals, Part Three: An open letter regarding Haditha to General Peter W. Chiarelli, Commander of the Multi-National Corps in Iraq (November 2005-February 2006), February 8, 2009.

The Sins of Generals Part Four: The Loss of Strategic Legitimacy, December 1, 2009.

The Sins of Generals Part Five: Political Equivocation at LtCol Chessani's Board of Inquiry, December 6, 2009.
These flesh out one context for the current discussion.

Cheers

Mike
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Old 02-20-2011   #29
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Default Excuse me for the rant

Gentlemen, I apologize, excuse me for the rant. Ken and Bill, thank you for your patience, I can see it in your replies and it is greatly appreciated. I will, however, still stand by my opinion that you will not correct the lack of good US military strategy by changing current DOD structure (or G-N). Please understand I certainly am not a fan of the current national command structure but it does work when generals understand how it operates procedurally and they do not fall back into their service procedures and policies …for example, when they activate their Crisis Action Teams (or whatever buzz word they call it now a days).

In my mind strategy and command structure are two very different things. I recognize this thread is about “getting strategy right” and that’s good…but why introduce it with the Melton article…it’s a rabbit trail that will disappear into more rabbit trails. Melton’s creates the perception that strategy, operations and tactics as three separate things with his “reframes” (great!... another buzz word). Operations (and the Army is still trying to sell that term to the world) and tactics are contained within strategy …they are one thing and taking a step by step process…first strategy…then operations and then tactics… continues the excuse for failures. In Viet Nam we won the tactical war but lost the strategic war (thank you Harry Summers)…that’s “horse-pucky” because it’s an excuse for general officers to hide behind. Strategy is a general officer’s job as is selling it to the national command authority. When Rumsfield went astray with Iraq, we saw a couple replacements as normal retires, but we did not see a general’s revolt over bad strategy or a Vandergrift “bend knee” speech. Why didn’t Pace (your name) throw the bad strategy flag and call for a “reframe”? He could have done that with or without a different command structure. I am not saying we should court martial generals but identifying a problem and taking correctives actions is something all generals can recognize.

Bill Said:
Quote:
The answer to your question is none of the above, though Sanchez did get forced into early retirement (as have a few others) -- that seems to be the standard punishment of the Gen-Gens who embarrass the system. Question: Was that true prior to G-N?
My counter question here is why do you think changing the current command structure a third time will work? … third time is a charm? …if it has not worked in the past why do you thing it will work to produce good strategy with another try? It is a general officer disease; perceived bad command structure is a symptom.

Bill Said:
Quote:
As for embracing its purpose, it got embraced; a bear hug -- on all the items that allow prerogatives and perks while evading responsibility. It was and is a good idea, it's just flawed and does not accept the vagaries of humans. It needs to be adjusted.
Strongly disagree with the bear hug theory…check O-6 and general officer promotion results against joint service requirement waivers from G-N to present. And that helps answer the next question: Are our current personnel selection and promotion problems better or worse as a result of the invention of DoD, Goldwater Nichols and Nunn-Cohen?

Have we followed what few promotion policies that G-N initiated? ( I am hoping here that questions adds meaning to my word “wiggle” in my first post)...and will personnel selection and promotion policies ever be a “joint service” responsibility? Let’s follow (or enforce) the current joint promotion requirements…make them work and then enhance with some sort of “produce good strategy” rules. Example: “General…you can be either a combat commander or a service lead…it’s either or… not both.” (even better would be to start that last sentence with LtCol vs general).

Another way to say that is “general do you want to be a war fighter (strategist) or a service administrator? I suspect the Chairman could make that change with a presidential action paper the next time the president calls together a Afghanistan military strategy review committee.

Bill said:
Quote:
Have those acts and the accompanying plethora of micro managing efforts from Congress and DoD been causative in the development of the current environment and its concomitant promotion of predominately truly faceless bureaucratic types to 'high command?
Answer: NO! It’s the generals (leadership). Again: It is a general officer disease; perceived bad command structure is a symptom.

Quote:
Has the broader American societal change been instrumental in the trend you identify and, if so, what can be done to ameliorate that?
That word “societal” is getting too “touchy-feely” for me. When you were talking about “crack pipes” in your response were you talking about mine or …yours? I will say this. US Military is a different society contain with the US society…we (the military) tends to get into trouble when generals try and blur or purposely confuse that line.

Quote:
Would or could a change to our organization for the defense of the nation, specifically by adjusting the National Security Act of 1947 as amended and both Goldwater-Nichols and the Nunn-Cohen amendment, be beneficial to achieve your aim of better and more competent strategies and strategists and my aim of less politically inclined, innovative Flag Officers who are not risk averse and who encourage and accept initiative by the simple expedient of reversing the diffusion of responsibility (and thus accountability) those Acts all instill?
Yes!…sure. But if it has not worked on two other occasions why is the third time a charm? Again: It is a general officer disease; perceived bad command structure is a symptom and IMO until you get at least a couple of these folks on your side and leading this effort your peeing up the command structure rope.

Quote:
The SECDEF's directive for the services to get better at irregular warfare is the correct thing to do in my opinion, but we shouldn't confuse failure at the tactical level as the reason we're in the mess we're in. It can be argued that even expert execution at the tactical and operational level won't win the strategic objective when we don't know what it is.
Could not agree more but why a directive instead of retirement papers? Is a general worth his salt if he does not know how to fight an insurgency? BTW the retirement papers route does not require a command structure change.

Gentlemen, I mean no disrespect in anything I have stated above…I recognize I usually make my points crudely. I also apologize for the length of this response…I surprised myself here. Maybe we should pick teams?!...if we do, I got dibs on JMM99 and WILF.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-20-2011 at 05:36 PM. Reason: Replace " with quote marks, hopefully in the right places.
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Old 02-20-2011   #30
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Mike,

I just read the letters at the links you provided and while interesting they're is nothing there that surprises me, nor is there any there that is related to the overall strategy issue. The author claims the investigation was in violation of the intent of the G-N Act. I'm familiar with many cases where individuals were accused of violating regulations or laws while under COCOM authority and their cases were reffered back to their Services for the investigation (with COCOM oversight) and if guilty punishment. I don't think that is a violation of Title 10 since the services are responsible for the morale and discipline of their people. The COCOM on the other hand is responsible for conducting operations, and unfortunately by default for developing strategy. This is your field of expertise, not mine, but I think the COCOM retains the right of first refusal. In other words if the COCOM wants to take the case they can, but they can also refer it to the Services.

On a side note, and while I feel very much for the young Marines that were run through the ringer on this, is it possible that the Generals (right or wrong) in this case were not so much focused on protecting their own butts, but rather protecting their Services and while whether right or wrong in this case, it counters the argument made by the author that they were cowardly and self centered.

Regardless of real motives, and I don't see how this is relevant to the larger "getting strategy" right discussion? What am I missing?
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Old 02-20-2011   #31
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Post Jmm...probably best I answer these questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Mike,

I just read the letters at the links you provided and while interesting they're is nothing there that surprises me, nor is there any there that is related to the overall strategy issue. The author claims the investigation was in violation of the intent of the G-N Act. I'm familiar with many cases where individuals were accused of violating regulations or laws while under COCOM authority and their cases were reffered back to their Services for the investigation (with COCOM oversight) and if guilty punishment. I don't think that is a violation of Title 10 since the services are responsible for the morale and discipline of their people. The COCOM on the other hand is responsible for conducting operations, and unfortunately by default for developing strategy. This is your field of expertise, not mine, but I think the COCOM retains the right of first refusal. In other words if the COCOM wants to take the case they can, but they can also refer it to the Services.

On a side note, and while I feel very much for the young Marines that were run through the ringer on this, is it possible that the Generals (right or wrong) in this case were not so much focused on protecting their own butts, but rather protecting their Services and while whether right or wrong in this case, it counters the argument made by the author that they were cowardly and self centered.

Regardless of real motives, and I don't see how this is relevant to the larger "getting strategy" right discussion? What am I missing?
Jmm...probably best I answer these questions...just can't do it right this minute. lol...I am exhausted from my last post...
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Old 02-20-2011   #32
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I will definitely weigh in on this thread, but I held one hell of a smart, dog as she died after 15 years of faithful service today, and any comment on the death of strategy is just going to have to wait.
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Old 02-20-2011   #33
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virtual bears like they used to - "exhausted", indeed.

I'll defer to your lead (in responding to Bill) on the "Sins of Generals" series.

My complaint (and rant) is more along the lines of the "Sins of the National Command Authorities" - which, in my mind, have had much more to do, e.g.: (1) with creating the situations in which your Marines and such as CPT Roger Hill found themselves; and (2) with screwing up the policy-strategy interface.

That, after others have their say.

---------------------------------
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RIP to both my dad and to my first dog who died in my arms:

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Old 02-20-2011   #34
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Wink No apology needed, however...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarbear1605 View Post
I will, however, still stand by my opinion that you will not correct the lack of good US military strategy by changing current DOD structure (or G-N).
Don't think anyone is claiming that. What is being said is that the current structure is not conducive to correcting that problem. On a broader note, the US government is never likely to have a coherent strategy for much of anything short of an existential war -- the US political system and electoral cycle will always preclude that. What can be done is improve the chain of responsibility which is now totally obscured.
Quote:
Please understand I certainly am not a fan of the current national command structure but it does work when generals understand how it operates procedurally and they do not fall back into their service procedures and policies ...
Agreed.
Quote:
In my mind strategy and command structure are two very different things. I recognize this thread is about “getting strategy right” and that’s good…but why introduce it with the Melton article…
In reverse order, it's a as good a way to introduce it as any -- and as I said, he's a smart guy -- he say what I've been saying since the 60s...

Agree that strategy and structure are two very different things but just as the structure of the USG and its political milieu impeded construction of strategy, so to does the structure of DoD. The USG checks and balances were by design. The DoD checks and imbalances were unintended consequences (mostly...)
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Operations (and the Army is still trying to sell that term to the world) and tactics are contained within strategy...
Agree on the Army and its fetish with 'Operational art.'

However, tactics are used to implement strategies as you say and our deficiency is that no ONE is responsible for strategy. We have devolved the job to committees -- geographically dispersed and parochial committees at that...
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Strategy is a general officer’s job as is selling it to the national command authority. When Rumsfield went astray with Iraq, we saw a couple replacements as normal retires, but we did not see a general’s revolt over bad strategy or a Vandergrift “bend knee” speech.
I agree. But. The Personnel system forced by Congress (as I mentioned earlier) insures that no one today is likley to do that. The first problem is that FlagOs are too vested in the system, the second is that they all know that if they fall on their sword, the system will just keep digging until it finds someone who will do what he or she is told (and that's another story). Most have enough ego to believe that they can do the job their way and it will all work out (witness Franks...).
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Why didn’t Pace (your name) throw the bad strategy flag and call for a “reframe”? He could have done that with or without a different command structure. I am not saying we should court martial generals but identifying a problem and taking correctives actions is something all generals can recognize.
I have no problem court martialing a few, I've serve under a couple who deserved it. However, a quick read of history --Army and Marine shows that the escape of marginally qualified FlagOs is not DoD or G-N related...

Pace was a far better man for the job than the one he replaced but he, too was constrained by the system.
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Bill Said: “The answer to your question is none of the above, though Sanchez did get forced into early retirement (as have a few others) -- that seems to be the standard punishment of the Gen-Gens who embarrass the system. Question: Was that true prior to G-N? ”
My counter question here is why do you think changing the current command structure a third time will work? ... It is a general officer disease; perceived bad command structure is a symptom.
That wasn't Bill, 'twas I. The changing of the command structure would have little to do with that phenomenon, that's a human thing. The reason for suggesting change is not to address that issue but to put the strategy design at the national level where it belongs and to fix responsibility.

National strategy cannot be designed (and sold to the civilian masters...) by Warlords who do not particularly like each other dispersed about the world, it should -- must, I'd say -- be done at the seat of power. Fixing responsibility for that on a firmly identified legal chain would improve strategic effort. It will not improve Generals -- that's a human factors and personnel management thing. However, it will provide a straightforward chain of command that will not be a straitjacket saying the guy is 'an advisor' G-N's biggest failure was that it created the GCCs but no one COMMANDS them. You can say that legally the Prez does through the SecDef but why then even have a JCS and a Chairman thereof. We've forced the NCA to deal with the Consuls scattered here and there...
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Bill Said: ”As for embracing its purpose..."Strongly disagree with the bear hug theory…check O-6 and general officer promotion results against joint service requirement waivers from G-N to present.
Me again. I think you just supported my position. Why are / were waivers granted? You and I can disagree but the fact that those aspects of G-N were embraced and those waivers were granted prove it's flawed legislation.
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Have we followed what few promotion policies that G-N initiated?...Example: “General…you can be either a combat commander or a service lead…it’s either or… not both.” (even better would be to start that last sentence with LtCol vs general). Another way to say that is “general do you want to be a war fighter (strategist) or a service administrator?
I agree that starting at General is bad -- I'd go lower and start with Captains being selected for Major, personally. I disagree that the joint folks are war fighters -- they're staff guys, period. The Cinc (GCC type) may be a 'warfighter' but the rest are staff weenies. Since I'm firmly convinced all our Staffs are vastly overpopulated and underemployed (not underworked... ), I cannot see much value in joint assignments. We need a Command track and a Staff track but that's another thread.
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Bill said: “Have those ... truly faceless bureaucratic types to 'high command?'” Answer: NO! It’s the generals (leadership). Again: It is a general officer disease; perceived bad command structure is a symptom.
And again me. Two factors at play. Congressionally forced OPMS means the services have to select more marginally qualified persons for high rank because the criteria are designed not select excellence but to be broadly considered as 'fair.' That is fact.

That fact, IMO, rewards mediocrity and it fosters the go-along and get-along attitude you and I both despise. I further contend that the poor design of DoD and G-N exacerbate the problem by diffusing accountability and allowing people to hide behind that diffusion. If you do not concur, we can disagree.
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“Has the broader American societal change ...?”
That word “societal” is getting too “touchy-feely” for me. When you were talking about “crack pipes” in your response were you talking about mine or …yours? I will say this. US Military is a different society contain with the US society…we (the military) tends to get into trouble when generals try and blur or purposely confuse that line.
You're confusing -- rather conflating -- Bill and I. He did the crack pipe, I asked the question about society. I'll let you two talk about crack but on the subject of societal change, I appreciate your support --Generals do indeed try to blur and confuse that line. The question is how much of that blurring and confusing by the General who commands here or there is caused by Congressional or other civilian politician pressure? That's the societal pressure.
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Yes!…sure. But if it has not worked on two other occasions why is the third time a charm? Again: It is a general officer disease; perceived bad command structure is a symptom and IMO until you get at least a couple of these folks on your side and leading this effort your peeing up the command structure rope.
Nobody's gonna change human nature. The Flag guys and gals all got where they are in the current system, none -- certainly few if any -- of them will see any need to change. Any change will have to come from the bottom up -- or an existential war...

They seem to have a cathartic effect on the body politic and the service bureaucracies.
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Could not agree more but why a directive instead of retirement papers? Is a general worth his salt if he does not know how to fight an insurgency? BTW the retirement papers route does not require a command structure change.
With all due respect, I think you're making the same mistake Congress made with OPMS. All Generals are not equal, never have been and never will be. One of the non-entity Flag types on my personal is of failures is former CJCS Myers, Great Arirman but a bad guy to be the 'military adviser' to the Prez and SecDef when we were fighting a major insurgency (that we created but that's also another thread...). Good guy, wrong job at the wrong time -- the SYSTEM put him there, not another General...

We cannot change human nature -- we can change things that will force humans to do the right (or at least a better) thing. Most of us don't do stuff unless we have to and if they system encourages inaction -- which it does -- then you have a systemic problem. To say that it would work if only everyone did it right is idealism, which I applaud, to fail to recognize that everyone will not do it right is possibly an error...

Apologize for any typos -- I have to run out for a bit...

Last edited by Ken White; 02-20-2011 at 11:00 PM. Reason: Typos
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Old 02-20-2011   #35
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Default Here we go..."honey dos" done.

Please remember, the “Sins of Generals” letters were written to attack and attack at personal level by challenging something that should be important to generals …their leadership. The letters are an attempt to change their opinion. I also recognize it is an attack upon windmills. Where they support my argument about strategy vs command structure…they point out bad leadership and failure to follow the command structure.

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The author claims the investigation was in violation of the intent of the G-N Act. I'm familiar with many cases where individuals were accused of violating regulations or laws while under COCOM authority and their cases were reffered back to their Services for the investigation (with COCOM oversight) and if guilty punishment.
Correct…however, Gen Chiarelli then sends the investigation to the in county MARFOR Commander and he then involves the service lead, the Commandant. Chiarelli did not probably refer the investigation before the Commandant got involved and violated the unified command structure. Yes, he has the right to refer but he must refer through the G-N command structure…after all…it’s the LAW.
Now another argument …and this has never been tested in a court martial (and IMO it is just a matter of time before a lawyer figures this one out) COCOM rests with the Combat Commander and cannot be delegated. G-N specifically provides the COCOM court martial authority. Haditha was clearly a combat action conducted by Marines properly deployed to Iraq with a unified command deployment order. (BTW I believe we cannot say the same for all of the 65 NCIS agents sent to Iraq, probably TAD vs deployment order, to conduct and complete Chiarelli’s investigation.) Do the services have the authority to prosecute actions resulting under COCOM authority when COCOM cannot be delegated? The unwritten leadership rule here is if you have an issue within your command … you handle it.
The battalion commander’s court martial is dismissed because of undue command influence by the I MEF convening authority, General Mattis. The military judge ordered charges against the battalion commander dismissed, citing unlawful command influence. That ruling determined that a legal adviser for the prosecution should not have had any role in the case. The adviser, Col. John Ewers, had investigated each of the accused Marines and was listed as a prosecution witness. The military judge concluded Col Ewers presence at the I MEF meetings with General Mattis overseeing the Haditha cases and prosecutors created an unacceptable perception of unlawful command influence. The short answer here is the lawyers forgot that I MEF and MARFORCENT are two separate commands, one with the traditional service chain of command and the other the unified chain of command. BTW I also think the Commandant forgot about the unified command structure opening him up for undue command influence charges.
The three above items are leadership issues because general officers did not properly use the unified command structure.

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I don't think that is a violation of Title 10 since the services are responsible for the morale and discipline of their people.
Or have we not properly integrated Title 18 (War Crimes) into the unified command structure? Sorry, this is a distraction…just could not resist.

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The COCOM on the other hand is responsible for conducting operations, and unfortunately by default for developing strategy. This is your field of expertise, not mine…
No offense to JMM here, but don’t do that. This was a leadership issue and not a legal issue…the general’s deferred to the lawyers and got themselves into a real mess. Again JMM …no offense intended here.

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Regardless of real motives, and I don't see how this is relevant to the larger "getting strategy" right discussion? What am I missing?
Haditha is a case of “strategic legalism” and that is a symptom of bad strategy and not a bad command structure. The battalion operations and the squad’s tactic were excellent. The general’s strategy??? My opinion is fixing strategy is not a matter of fixing the command structure…it is a matter of fixing strategic leadership.
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Old 02-20-2011   #36
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Posted by Polarbear,

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Haditha is a case of “strategic legalism” and that is a symptom of bad strategy and not a bad command structure. The battalion operations and the squad’s tactic were excellent. The general’s strategy??? My opinion is fixing strategy is not a matter of fixing the command structure…it is a matter of fixing strategic leadership.
Flaws in military leadership exist, have existed and will continue to exist regardless of C2 structure. Lack of moral courage to change the criteria for becoming a senior officer (most important is character, is he is a self serving politician or a true warrior that believes in mission first, men next and finally him/herself) will probably continue, because as either you or Ken stated those who have the means to change the system are not about to do so, because they're a product of the current system.

I agree with most of your comments, and I am not going to pretend to have enough expertise in the legal arena to challenge either you or Mike. In that field I only ask questions and offer uneducated opinion. I think the Haditha issue was both a leadership and legalistic issue that turned into a national embarassment because of the way it was handled. It shouldn't have even been an issue, but again as either you or Ken pointed out the military tried to converge its values with civilian values. This was a war, not a police action and we can't afford to pause after shooting event where civilians die and investigate it. It will destroy us a fighing force. Can you imagine this level of control during WWII?

However, I still think you are intentionally avoiding the real issue of overall national strategy, which is the result of the national level command structure. Yes both Haditha and Abu Ghraib had strategic impact, but neither were part of a strategy. Let's not forget that civilian leaders like the Vice President and SECDEF openly endorsed enhanced interrogation methods, which probably clouded the perception of right and wrong by uniformed leadership at that time. Don't really want to go down that path, but it wasn't just military leadership that failed. There are numerous examples of leadership failures that had strategic impact, but few of these events (if any) were part of a coherent strategy, but rather the tragic result of human behavior when we're at war. We can't allow these events to derail us from the pursuit of the larger strategy (assuming it actually exists).

You said if a General Officer doesn't know how to execute counterinsurgency operations he should be told to retire? Another way to look at it is if he got to where he is by demonstrating competence in the required fields, then obviously COIN was not a required competency, and many before him should also be held to blame (I'll take it a step further, now we're raising a generation of officers that don't know anything but COIN, what will happen if they have to fight a real war?). However, I don't think it was the inability to execute COIN that was our strategic failure, but rather getting put in a position where we had to do COIN to begin with (in both Iraq and Afghanistan).

I don't want to cross any security lines, but I was involved in the initial planning for OIF and can state confidently there was clearly a strategic planning shortfall for what came after Saddam's regime fell. There was also a period of a few weeks/months after we occupied the major cities in Iraq where the military was largely operationally paralyzed in my opinion because we didn't know what our civilian leadership wanted. Out of necessity individual units started acting on their own, policing the streets, standing up local governments, etc. towards no particular end other than some semblance of stability while our national leadership decided on what next. Is that a failure at the General Officer level, or is the result of not having a national level strategy planning capability above the COCOM?
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Old 02-21-2011   #37
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Default No offense given and certainly none taken

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from PB
No offense to JMM here, but don’t do that. This was a leadership issue and not a legal issue…the general’s deferred to the lawyers and got themselves into a real mess. Again JMM …no offense intended here.
Accords with these rules:

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McCarthy's Rule No 1: He who represents himself by being his own lawyer has a fool for a client even if he is a lawyer.

McCarthy's Rule No 1 (lots of Rules Nos 1): The leader (business or military) who defers to his lawyers to make substantive (business or military) decisions is a very foolish client - and probably a very CYAing one to boot.
Operational lawyers ("operational law" not having any origin in the operational level of war) should not be making either strategic or tactical decisions. They should advise as to the available legal alternatives under the law as it stands. Lawyers who are part of the prosecutorial or defense teams should not engage, or have engaged, in advising commanders re: the case.

Haditha et al (e.g., the underlying problem faced by CPT Hill) evidence a problem in integration of the Rule of Law and the Laws of War. That problem comes more from the civilian side ("National Command Authorities") and its unrealistic taskings; but also comes from the "Generals" who accept those taskings.

You don't see much from non-lawyer military officers on the problem (aside from Weimann). Pete Newell is the only other one that I've run into - for his thesis, see my post, LoW, ROEs & the ethics/morality of warfare ...

What I call "unrealistic taskings" permeate the structure from top down - one may start with Korea (as LTC Melton does), a "police action" - Ken, you still have your badge ? FM 3-24 is a modernized version of the same in some particulars.

I do believe in complete integration of the political struggle and the military struggle in all armed conflicts (yup, Mao and Giap - more Giap); with the realization that the political struggle will be of lesser consequence in conventional warfare, and of more consequence in unconventional warfare (that line of thought from Bill Moore a while back). So, my take is a bit different than Wilf's (he is more Brig. "Trotsky" Davies; I am more Envar Hoxha - my post, A fundamental divide).

Yet, even where most of the struggle is political (let's say 95%), you still have a 5% violence component that is not best handled under the Rule of Law. However, that 5% can be handled under the Laws of War - and the other 95% can handled under that specialized Rule of Law which subsists under Military Occupation or Martial Law. In short, you can have a very broad hunting license, but refrain from killing everything in the forest.

Nuff said for now. I speak when spoken to. Woof

Regards

Mike

Last edited by jmm99; 02-21-2011 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 02-21-2011   #38
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Default lol...I thought I was doing everything but avoiding

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However, I still think you are intentionally avoiding the real issue of overall national strategy, which is the result of the national level command structure. Yes both Haditha and Abu Ghraib had strategic impact, but neither were part of a strategy.
Bill thanks for the comments and especially your time. I do not agree I am avoiding the issue...lol…with this many postings in this short period of time I think I have demonstrated engagement by trying to explain my argument. Yes, I agree, we need and we are not getting a national strategy. What I cannot see is how changing the military command structure will correct the deficiency. The current system with it current deficiencies could produce a national military strategy if the chairman wanted to step up to the plate or if the president told him to create it (of course that assumes the president understands what a national military strategy is).
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… the initial planning for OIF and can state confidently there was clearly a strategic planning shortfall for what came after Saddam's regime fell. There was also a period of a few weeks/months after we occupied the major cities in Iraq where the military was largely operationally paralyzed in my opinion because we didn't know what our civilian leadership wanted. Out of necessity individual units started acting on their own, policing the streets, standing up local governments, etc. towards no particular end other than some semblance of stability while our national leadership decided on what next. Is that a failure at the General Officer level, or is the result of not having a national level strategy planning capability above the COCOM?
Yes, it is a failure at the general officer COCOM/CENTCOM level of strategic planning and execution. All of those deficiencies you mention are COCOM/CENTCOM responsibilities that were not fulfilled. Before OIF General Zinnie, as CINCCENT, ran a series of war games called Desert Crossing. Those war games resulted in a number of issues that were ignored and forgotten and they were very same issues we hit after the initial invasion of Iraq. COCOM is set up under the current command structure to avoid those political and strategic mistakes. I don’t see how moving those missed responsibilities to a national command authority would correct those issues. Four stars or five stars….general officers are general officers. We don't need to change the command structure we need to change general officers
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Old 02-21-2011   #39
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Polarbear, you're absolutely right you're not ignoring this issue, and I appreciate your intelligent input to the discussion. Where I accused you of ignoring the issue in actuality is simply disagreement. We have found a lot of common ground, but we still disagree on the causes of strategy failures in some cases, and the proposed structure changes (not sure you think a structure change is needed, and agree a structure change by itself will accomplish nothing).

If the civilian leadership told the military to plan an occupation of Iraq, and then CENTCOM leadership failed to plan to be an occupation force then I agree that would be a failure of the Generals and their staff.

While not certain, I don't believe our civilian leadership told CENTCOM to do that. I recall Rumfield (civiilan leadership) discouraged large troop numbers and actually implied GEN Shinseki was a fool to propose up to 400k troops to facilitate an occupation. Of course we know who the fool is now. Anyone correct me if I wrong, but I believe the intent/vision at the time in the White House was to conduct rapid decisive operations to throw Saddam out (and don't forget we assumed the Iraqi military would capitulate and join ranks with us), then DOD civilian leadership would put in their puppet leader in place and we would all go home. I know some Generals addressed this issue and were told to be quiet and row the way they were being told to row, since these issues were above their paygrade. If it unfolded that way can we really blame the Generals? If they resigned in protest a butt sucker would gladly step up to row the way he was told to do so.

Again if civilian leadership told CENTCOM they were responsible for occupying, stabilizing and then facilitating a transition to a democratic government in Iraq I'm confident that the Generals would have planned to do that. Maybe I'm naive, but I don't think they would have blown that off.

I also recall quite a bit of bickering between DOD and DOS about the future of Iraq and how to get there. That all should have been decided by a stragetic planning body in my opinion prior to crossing the point of no return.

However, I'll entertain your point that this was a CENTCOM responsibility. One problem we actually had was the critical issues with Turkey, which falls under EUCOM. CENTCOM and EUCOM had different views on how to proceed. Who is the final arbitrator in the current system?

I also want to propose a future scenario where we have another Axis like coalition that we go to war with that has allies in multiple COCOM AORs (kind of like Al Qaeda, but I'm now talking about States now, much more serious threat). We need a global strategy to deal with it, who prepares it? Who leads it? What COCOM in the current structure is responsible? Of course that is just DOD, so who compels the other interagency members to row with us? We talk whole of government approach, but that doesn't happen much above the PRTs in combat zones.

Maybe there are answers to these questions and the current system would work if we used it as designed. If that is the case I'm not aware of the processes. Rumfield made SOCOM the global synchronizer for the War on Terror, but they have no authority to compel anyone to do anything. Each COCOM does what they want, and the different government agencies do what they want. Hell of a way to fight a war.

I still think there is a valid argument for structure change, and agree that we need better Generals in some cases.

Last edited by Bill Moore; 02-21-2011 at 02:00 AM. Reason: Strengthen argument
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Old 02-21-2011   #40
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Default Checks and balances.

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Originally Posted by Polarbear1605 View Post
...The current system with it current deficiencies could produce a national military strategy if the chairman wanted to step up to the plate or if the president told him to create it (of course that assumes the president understands what a national military strategy is).
I don't believe that's correct. G-N says the Chairman is the principal military adviser to the President but he specifically does not have command authority. He can direct the Joint Staff to do all sorts of things and make neat plans that the Prez approves but he cannot force the GCCs to accept said Joint Plans -- nor, really can the SecDef. That's why you're confronted with Schwarzkopf being visited by the SecDef and CJCS, Franks, Petreaus and McChrystal going to the WH (and Fallon getting his walking papers; that too is another thread). That is the issue with G-N -- it made the CJCS a fifth wheel.

With some of them, that's not all bad but with the wrong SecDef or President, its an invitation to stupidity at best or disaster at worst.
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Yes, it is a failure at the general officer COCOM/CENTCOM level of strategic planning and execution. All of those deficiencies you mention are COCOM/CENTCOM responsibilities that were not fulfilled...I don’t see how moving those missed responsibilities to a national command authority would correct those issues. Four stars or five stars….general officers are general officers. We don't need to change the command structure we need to change general officers
For OIF, both the G3 of the Army and the Army War College produced detailed studies which specifically targeted the post attack actions. I have heard that J3 JCS did also. Franks ignored them.

CentCom has done more damage to the prosecution of the effort in both Afghanistan and Iraq than should have been allowed -- yet the system does not allow anyone to tell them they're wrong or force them to change their MO...

Changing the Command structure will not fix the problem of marginally competent FlagOs. That is a human frailty and personnel selection and management problem. Changing that structure will fix a chain of command that is awry and will delineate responsibilities and thus improve accountability. It will stop five and a half plus one geographically distantly located and focused Commands from doing it their way. As I said, the idea of decentralization was great. As you say, we do not have the FlagO quality to make it work.

To develop that FlagO quality will take years and major changes in the personnel, education and training systems. To improve C2 to lessen the adverse impact of less than stellar commanders who rotate through their jobs far too rapidly is a simple fix. Check their ability to do harm and balance them with a more powerful military adviser to the President...

Last edited by Ken White; 02-21-2011 at 02:08 AM.
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