SMALL WARS COUNCIL
Go Back   Small Wars Council > The Small Wars Community of Interest > Miscellaneous Goings On

Miscellaneous Goings On Events, books, new analyses, heard on the street notables, etc.

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-04-2010   #1
Chuck Grenchus, CAPE
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: West Point, NY
Posts: 2
Default The Army: A Profession of Arms

In his recent Army Greenbook article titled “The Second Decade,” the Army Chief of Staff addresses the topic of the Army Profession of Arms, and the merits of examining the impact of a decade of persistent conflict on the profession. (See http://www.ausa.org/publications/arm...Casey_1010.pdf ). The same topic was discussed in one of the Institute of Land Warfare (ILW) panels during the annual AUSA Meeting and Exposition. And earlier this year, the Commanding General of TRADOC dedicated an entire blog discussion to the Army profession. (See http://tradoclive.dodlive.mil/ ). Why an increasing emphasis on this topic and related discussion?

In short, periodic self-reflections and efforts to improve are what healthy professions or organizations do from time to time. In light of the influences , challenges, and even stresses that our Army has operated amidst for nearly a decade, coupled with the fact that ours is indeed an Army in transition, a valid need exists to “review, reemphasize and recommit to our profession” as the Commanding General of TRADOC recently stated. The persistent conflict has impacted both positively and negatively on the state of the Army Profession of Arms. This conflict has exposed strengths that have sustained us, while at the same time it has uncovered tensions and points of friction in our Army culture and DOTMLPF-P.

On 27 Oct 2010, the Army Chief of Staff and the Secretary of the Army signed a Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Review of the Army Profession in an Era of Persistent Conflict. This TOR sets the stage for a future comprehensive review to examine the state of our profession after nearly a decade of war. The review will be comprehensive, and will include a survey of the entire force, analysis of relevant trends and indicators of individual and unit behavior, sustainment of an Army-wide dialog and discussion . . . all of which lead to a review of existing policies and programs that apply to the Army as an institution. A detailed concept plan for this is currently being developed.

The Army Chief of Staff acknowledges the importance of this to our profession’s future: “ . . . it is essential that we take a hard look at ourselves and ensure the we fully understand what we have been through, how we have changed and how we must adapt to succeed in an era of persistent conflict. I encourage all leaders to think about how to accomplish this. It is essential to the continued effectiveness of our profession and to ensure that our young leaders are prepared for success in the decade.”
Chuck Grenchus, CAPE is offline  
Old 11-04-2010   #2
Chris Barnes
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: West Point, NY
Posts: 1
Default Domains of the profession

This Profession of Arms campaign will focus largely on 4 domains: military-technical, human development, moral-ethical, and political-cultural. It is important that the Army ensure strength in each domain.

I'm curious as to what domain people think needs to be studied the most.
Chris Barnes is offline  
Old 11-05-2010   #3
Pete
Council Member
 
Pete's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: North Mountain, West Virginia
Posts: 990
Default

The Airborne guys I knew used to say it was the Profession of Legs that brought the Army low.
Pete is offline  
Old 11-05-2010   #4
Bill Jakola
Council Member
 
Bill Jakola's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 66
Default What does it mean to be a profession of arms?

After 23 years of Army service, I find this question of what it means to be a profession of arms particularly interesting, since it seems to define the cultural fabric of my passion to serve my country while also subordinating that professional culture to our national ideals and civilian leadership. To defend our Nation with the ethical application of force of arms, our profession must maintain a clear sense of who and what we are by honestly studying our history to gain a more complete and nuanced understanding of our successes and our failures. War is such dangerous activity that people have developed the profession of arms, a dedicated group of certified, trained, equipped, organized, and led professional Soldiers, to execute warfare, but in the United States, as in many other countries, the profession remains subordinate to the political leadership who ultimately determine the scope of war.

This subordination of the profession to the political is key to understanding who is a member of the profession of arms and who is not. For example, Soldiers are clearly members, but are retired Soldiers members or newly hired Soldiers who have not completed basic training? Are DoD civilians part of the profession; they are certainly professionals doing military work, but are they working in the profession of arms. Are civilian contractors part of the profession? What about the civilian leadership, the President, or the Secretary of Defense or the Army?

Anchoring it's members in in a unified view of itself is a requirement of any profession and especially important to the profession of arms.
Bill Jakola is offline  
Old 11-05-2010   #5
KNLeavitt
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 1
Default

Quote:
This subordination of the profession to the political is key to understanding who is a member of the profession of arms and who is not. For example, Soldiers are clearly members, but are retired Soldiers members or newly hired Soldiers who have not completed basic training? Are DoD civilians part of the profession; they are certainly professionals doing military work, but are they working in the profession of arms. Are civilian contractors part of the profession? What about the civilian leadership, the President, or the Secretary of Defense or the Army?

Anchoring it's members in in a unified view of itself is a requirement of any profession and especially important to the profession of arms.
Execellent points, Bill. I envision that what we discover and describe will be something of an apprenticeship model--people are initially admitted to the profession through the declaration (oath) of values and loyalty, but new members must view themselves as operating in a limited capacity with much to learn.

One important issue to consider is the roll of experience versus expertise/training. While we have young soldiers with a lot of specific warfighting experience, "credentialling" them without a greater understanding of the profession would be unwise.

Ultimately, professionals are those who have a proper framework for making sense of their experiences, and turn those experiences into useful tacit knowledge. Without that framework, lessons learned in Afghanistan or Iraq won't meaningfully inform these soldiers if they're deployed to a refugee situation, natural disaster, or different combat scenario in the future.

Professionals not only capitalize on experience, but do so in a meaningful way.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-06-2010 at 12:05 AM. Reason: Fix quote
KNLeavitt is offline  
Old 11-05-2010   #6
Bob's World
Council Member
 
Bob's World's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,706
Default

Perhaps part of our current problem are our efforts to overly expand the "profession" of arms to all who bear arms in the defense of their country. Certainly this is not the historic approach in the U.S.

European "professionals" rightfully looked down upon American armies made up of armature citizen soldiers as lacking the doctrinal uniformity of training, dress, mannerisms and tactics found in their professional forces. We wore the fact of our military being made up of such armatures as a badge of honor, and similarly mocked them for their stilted, predictable, "professional" ways.

Too much of a good thing, however is a bad thing, so we created the military academies so as to always have a core of professionals to build our citizen armies around whenever the need for such a force drove its formation.

The current professional force, like the strategies of containment it was formed to implement, is as obsolete as the smooth bore musket. The challenge is to get senior leaders to embrace such thinking after the current model being "what right looks like" for three generations.

Americans like their army being a little rough around the edges, and they like it being something that good citizens form in times of need, and that melts back down to its professional core once that need is over. The irony is, that the "profession of arms" that prevents the formation of such a citizenry, is perhaps the group that grieves their fading from the American fabric the most.
__________________
Robert C. Jones
Intellectus Supra Scientia
(Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
Bob's World is offline  
Old 11-07-2010   #7
William F. Owen
Council Member
 
William F. Owen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
Posts: 3,947
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barnes View Post
This Profession of Arms campaign will focus largely on 4 domains: military-technical, human development, moral-ethical, and political-cultural. It is important that the Army ensure strength in each domain.
OK......

Quote:
I'm curious as to what domain people think needs to be studied the most.
The profession of arms? Arms are for violence. Killing and breaking stuff or maintaining authority by threat of harm. How about studying the application of violence in the service of policy? - the ONLY job armed forces have.

Military-technical, human development, moral-ethical, and political-cultural are all little or nothing to do with that. For example, your policy is ALWAYS ethical. Morals are entirely personal.

What exactly is it that the persons wanting to study all this are so confused about? What is it they feel they are lacking?
__________________
Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

- 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
William F. Owen is offline  
Old 11-07-2010   #8
Bob Underwood
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 7
Default Where to begin?

If it's with Chris Barnes' question, then I would have to say the moral-ethical, and political-cultural domains (as much as I loath the domain-speak) are most important. For, if we exist as profession to do this (BTW I think we do):

Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
the application of violence in the service of policy? - the ONLY job armed forces have.
Then it is curious why we should, as a profession, ignore the context in which we apply force. What if a given application of force will actually undermine the current policy goal? How would we know?

Is this the solution? To assume that

Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
your policy is ALWAYS ethical.
seems to me to be self-defeating. At the very least, we should agree that policies that would lead to defeat, less security etc aren't ethical. Also, if I take your "ALWAYS" to mean in all possible cases, then we might have another problem. Certainly there is at least one case, or even a small set of cases in which the policy in question will not be ethical.

What I think is lacking in our Army is precisely the understanding we need to turn tactical action into effective strategic responses to the hybrid threats we face. For my money, this is because the Army has, for too long, assumed that all policy is, ipso facto (had to use my own latin), ethical and worth killing and dying in service to it.

Regards,
Bob
Bob Underwood is offline  
Old 11-08-2010   #9
William F. Owen
Council Member
 
William F. Owen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
Posts: 3,947
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Underwood View Post
Then it is curious why we should, as a profession, ignore the context in which we apply force. What if a given application of force will actually undermine the current policy goal? How would we know?
Read Clausewitz! If the application of force is not effectively setting forth the policy then it should not applied. - and you should either change the policy or apply the force in a way that serves it.

...and Policy is way above your pay grade. Keep out of it. The profession of arms serves policy. Understand the limits. Do not probe the boundaries!

Quote:
At the very least, we should agree that policies that would lead to defeat, less security etc aren't ethical.
Name me a politician or leader who has ever set forth a policy he states to be "un-ethical?" Policy comes from politics. Politics is power over people. Power is always ethical in the eyes of those holding it.

Quote:
What I think is lacking in our Army is precisely the understanding we need to turn tactical action into effective strategic responses to the hybrid threats we face. For my money, this is because the Army has, for too long, assumed that all policy is, ipso facto (had to use my own latin), ethical and worth killing and dying in service to it.
Well then the problem is a lack of education in basic professional military thinking. The very basics of linking Policy to tactics via strategy are missing. This is not because the world got more complicated. It is because the Army gave up reading books and educating people.

Again, what is it you are confused about?
__________________
Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

- 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
William F. Owen is offline  
Old 11-08-2010   #10
120mm
Council Member
 
120mm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Wonderland
Posts: 1,284
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
Read Clausewitz! If the application of force is not effectively setting forth the policy then it should not applied. - and you should either change the policy or apply the force in a way that serves it.

...and Policy is way above your pay grade. Keep out of it. The profession of arms serves policy. Understand the limits. Do not probe the boundaries!


Name me a politician or leader who has ever set forth a policy he states to be "un-ethical?" Policy comes from politics. Politics is power over people. Power is always ethical in the eyes of those holding it.


Well then the problem is a lack of education in basic professional military thinking. The very basics of linking Policy to tactics via strategy are missing. This is not because the world got more complicated. It is because the Army gave up reading books and educating people.

Again, what is it you are confused about?
Unfortunately, policy has historically been not so well insulated from military service. Amazingly junior officers have set policy in the past, because they were "Johnny on the Spot".

I seem to remember reading about a fairly Junior Brit Naval Officer who started and ended a war with Denmark in one fell swoop and a Reserve Captain by the name of Fertig in the Phillipines who also set policy despite not having guidance from higher.
120mm is offline  
Old 11-08-2010   #11
Bob Underwood
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 7
Default Education?

Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
Read Clausewitz! If the application of force is not effectively setting forth the policy then it should not applied. - and you should either change the policy or apply the force in a way that serves it.
I have read Clausewitz ... one of the reasons I hold my views. So, now what? Also, here you are making a normative or moral claim about policy - "should not". No government has taken up action intending to lead to their own ruin. However, simply because they thought it was smart doesn't make it so. (cf. below).

Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post

Name me a politician or leader who has ever set forth a policy he states to be "un-ethical?" Policy comes from politics. Politics is power over people. Power is always ethical in the eyes of those holding it.
I'm not especially worried about the eyes of those holding power. Simply because somebody has the power to do something does not make it right for them to do it. (Read Plato, or Clausewitz, or Fuller, or Fahrenbach et al.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post

Well then the problem is a lack of education in basic professional military thinking. The very basics of linking Policy to tactics via strategy are missing. This is not because the world got more complicated. It is because the Army gave up reading books and educating people.
On this we are agreed, however, I think we have widely divergent views on what the products of that education should be. But how can we understand policy and our place in it unless we understand the categories of its making? There is certainly more than simple power protecting power here.

Regards,
Bob
Bob Underwood is offline  
Old 11-11-2010   #12
Chris Case
Council Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 14
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
The profession of arms serves policy. Understand the limits. Do not probe the boundaries!

Name me a politician or leader who has ever set forth a policy he states to be "un-ethical?" Policy comes from politics. Politics is power over people. Power is always ethical in the eyes of those holding it.
The first claim seems descriptively false and based on some aspirational notion members of the "profession of arms" hold about themselves. The "profession of arms" helps create policy. Not only that, but it is through the actions of the military that we come to know what policy is doing in order to create more new policy. See Afghanistan for illustrations of this and how the military "can-do" attitude creates policy. Denying this reality seems odd after the earlier invocation to Clausewitz.

For example, take Afghanistan: Is the military preparing to get out of Afghanistan in 2011 like the President said we were going to do when he formulated his policy? Have they been preparing for it, or have they been trying to convince him to stay the course? Does anyway in the military believe we will leave? If not why? Is it because the President lied about his intentions to leave to begin with, that the military convinced him to do otherwise, or something else?

The second claim seems either trivial or a repudiation of much of western thought. What are we to take away from this? Is it that whoever is in power decides what is ethical because they are powerful and therefore we ought not question it? Or does this only apply to people who are members of the power apparatus, in this case members of the "profession of arms?" Are their thoughts on ethics supposed to reduce to might equals right? If so, what does the American "profession of arms" think it can achieve in a counterinsurgency fight in Afghanistan and Iraq? Might equals right conjoined with COIN seems to lead to interesting outcomes and actually might be the result of "anthropolgizing" war. That being the case, Americans ought not be surprised when they are accused of being imperialists by those subject to this use of power.
Chris Case is offline  
Old 12-18-2010   #13
Wargames Mark
Council Member
 
Wargames Mark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Wherever you go, there you are...
Posts: 54
Default Constitution and Authority

I received a digital copy of the white paper the other day. Most of it is very good. One thing though, that will come across initially as lawyer-like nitpicking, but I think has gargantuan weight, especially if you are considering the role of our Army in the United States: On page 16, the white paper gets into the source of authority for the Army. It states -
All Soldiers swear to support and defend the Constitution. However, the Constitution alone is not the source of their authority. The source of military authority flows from the American people through the Constitution, through elected and appointed officials, to the officers they appoint, and finally to those Soldiers entrusted with executing orders. There is a dynamic relationship in this authority hierarchy. The people have the power to amend the Constitution and to elect the political leaders who both authorize and fund the military. The military remains loyal to the people and the Constitution by fulfilling its function in accordance with the guidance, laws, and regulations passed by those with the authority to do so.

This chain of authority argues against the idea that the ultimate loyalty for Army professionals is simply to the Constitution. Rather, Army professionals are loyal to the Constitution, and thus to the people, by being obedient to elected and appointed officials and the Commander-in-Chief. Thus, being willingly subordinate to civilian authority is based on loyalty to the source of its authority. This principle was perhaps best exemplified by General George Washington in his resignation to Congress at the close of the Revolutionary War. By this act he ensured that his immense national popularity as a military leader and hero would not overshadow the necessary power of the fledgling Congress. Thus the American military has long recognized and embraced a moral tradition of subordinating service to country.
The constitution and treaties signed by the president and ratified by the senate make up the highest law in the land. It is the constitution that establishes in the law the components of the federal government. It states how senators and congressional representatives are chosen, describes the powers of congress, describes the powers of the president, describes the means by which the constitution itself may be amended.

Most importantly, for this discussion, the constitution restricts the powers of the federal government to those things explicitly granted to it by the constitution which are not explicitly forbidden to the states or the people:
Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
The very existence of an armed forces controlled by the federal government requires explicit authority, which is given in Article I, Section 8:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

(...skipping through stuff not militarily-related...)

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

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;

(...skipping stuff not militarily-related...)
You could also consider the powers granted to the president as commander and chief, but without the express authority to tax (and therefore spend) to fund a military, there wouldn't be one for the president to be commander-in-chief of. There is no legal way for the federal government to form and maintain such an armed forces except through the powers expressly stated in the constitution. So, it is illogical to see some other sources of authority - there aren't any.

What you have instead is a stream of authority that flows from the wellspring of constitutional law. Everything starts there. The appointment of officers, funding for operations, training, and the procurement of equipment, facilities, and materiel, the uniform code of military justice, so on and so forth...even the process for entering into, signing, and ratifying treaties that affect how our Army conducts itself originates with the constitution.

This is all very significant, and in opposition to the material on page 16, because congress and the president are bound by the constitution. (Again, look at the 10th amendment.) They don't have any "extra-constitutional" powers. If they did, then there wouldn't be any point to even having a constitution. The whole point of the constitution is to establish rule of law, rather than rule of man - aka mob rule. The whitepaper mentions that the "people" can amend the constitution through their representatives - yes, if it is done in the manner described in the constitution, but until they have done so, their whims don't mean diddly-squat.

Mob rule and populism are serious threats to the freedom of individual citizens. Rabble-rousing is a favorite tactic of murderous and oppressive strongmen the world over, the manic speeches of Hitler and Mussolini being the most famous, instantly-recognizable examples. The Soldier must have no confusion on the subject of constitutional supremacy. No order, if it violates constitutional law, is legal and no such order should be carried out.

When the Army starts writing about the profession of arms and the Army's position and role in our society, this stuff needs to be crystal clear and absolutely accurate.
__________________
There are three kinds of people in this world:
Those who can count, and those who can't.

Last edited by Wargames Mark; 12-18-2010 at 03:52 PM.
Wargames Mark is offline  
Old 12-18-2010   #14
jmm99
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,021
Default Mark, I've no disagreement with your theory, ....

But ....

I'm attaching a pdf snip of 4 pages from the 2010 Crim-Law-Deskbook_V-2.pdf (available from CLAMO; navigate from here for the whole manual), which covers Lawfulness of Orders (A through E in the attached snip):

Quote:
XI. THE LAWFULNESS OF ORDERS.

A. Presumption of Lawfulness. Orders from superiors requiring the performance of military duties are presumed to be lawful. MCM, pt. IV, ¶ 14c(2)(a)(i); United States v. McDaniels, 50 M.J. 407 (C.A.A.F. 1999) (order to not drive personal vehicle after diagnosis of narcolepsy); United States v. Nieves, 44 M.J. 96 (C.A.A.F. 1996) (order prohibiting discussions with witnesses); United States v. New, 55 M.J. 95 (C.A.A.F. 2001) (order requiring soldier to wear United Nations blue beret and insignia).
....
(B through D provide specifics)
....
E. Litigating the Issue of Lawfulness of the Order. Lawfulness of an order, although an important issue, is not a discrete element of a disobedience offense. Therefore, it is a question of law to be determined by the military judge. MCM pt. IV, ¶ 14c(2)(a). United States v. Jeffers, 57 M.J. 13 (C.A.A.F. 2002); United States v. New, 55 M.J. 95 (C.A.A.F. 2001); But see United States v. Mack, 65 M.J. 108 (C.A.A.F. 2007) (while the lawfulness of an order is a question of law to be determined by the military judge, submitting the question of lawfulness to a panel is harmless error when the accused fails to rebut the presumption of lawfulness).
Now a question for you all (not just Mark) after reading through the snip - how many service members have the professional competence to determine whether an order is constitutionally lawful ?

Regards

Mike
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 2010 Lawful Orders.pdf (23.9 KB, 632 views)
jmm99 is offline  
Old 05-30-2011   #15
bumperplate
Council Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 53
Default

From Bob's World - my comments in bold.
"We are missing a variety of things...

I would suggest to the Army:
Quote:
1. Stop agonizing so much over how to build an Empire-sustaining army.
Aren't we now bound to act accordingly? I see no other alternative, considering the US is asked (tasked) to intervene in virtually every situation that arises. How we've stayed out of Africa thus far is remarkable. I don't really have an issue with your comment, however. Just don't know if it's a reasonable task for us at this time, to worry about whether we are or are not conducting ourselves as an empire-sustaining organization.
Quote:
2. Stop being so Intel-Driven, and become more Strategy-Driven.
I do agree. However, I don't see us currently as an Intel-Driven unit, at least not at the lower echelons. We are Commander-Driven. I have serious issues with our IC, and their inability to provide information that drives operations at the CO and BN levels - however, that is the fault of that maneuver commander when it gets right down to it. I do feel at higher echelons we are intel-driven, but I read into that and determine the failing there is at the commander level, once again. Our senior commanders reduce their decisions to BUB/CUB slides and the GRINTSUM etc, and they are very much driven by those slides and presentations from "intell experts" and those other experts deemed to be related to the field of intelligence. After all, many of the items on those intell products are related to PIRs, which seem to be related more closely to OER SF items, rather than mission accomplishment items. And, it's that support form those careerist are working for - or so it seems. As for strategy driven, whole can of worms there.

Quote:
3. Make the focus of the military the capabilities needed to deter and defeat major threats to the US (A capability and intent to blow up an Embassy or a ship is not a major threat to the US, these are largely law enforcement matters).
Not sure the force protection issue you bring up is something that can be ignored. I see it as an essential element. I see it as one of thousands of essential tasks that we must be able to do, simply because we cannot predict or count on our political leadership to send us to accomplish missions that are solely related to threats to the US.

Quote:
4. Re-prioritize FID and other support to Department of State activities as a supporting activity.
Don't understand this one. Not really sure how this would work out.

Quote:
5. Down-size the Intel community back to pre-9/11 levels.
Currently the IC is increasing in size. The throughput at MI BOLC for instance is still increasing. I'm all for that. However, I'd say the IC needs to restructure itself into just two communities - tactical and strategic intelligence. Currently there are too many identifiers and specializations, from HUMINT, to All source, etc. Intell people and some of their assets need to move lower. Take them from the top if possible. Perhaps the total number doesn't need to change, but the force tailoring definitely does. Too many GOs (literally too man as well) asking for too many products for their own personal SA, and that's why the IC is top heavy and cumbersome.

Quote:
6. Begin identifying, training and employing strategists before the current Intro to Strategy that is given at the War College. Strategy is not just for Colonels and above, and frankly, those old dogs are not very good at picking up new tricks at that point.
I agree - to a point. I believe this is what the SAMS community is for. Maybe I'm wrong? I think we need to do this, but concomitantly we must focus on our tactical side as well. Our core skills are and have been suffering. This leads to some greater points brought up by others - regarding inflation of our capabilities, getting back to basics, and so forth.

[quote]7. Send the COS and the SECArmy into the SECDEF's office and demand that we stop calling Afghanistan and Iraq "Wars."[quote]

I find it hard to swallow this one down. I think the absence of a true war-time mentality is located mainly with our civilian leadership and our society, overall. I think our service members are certainly aware that we're in a war - not as many as I'd like. But, not so few as to refrain from referring to what we're currently in as a war. Minor stuff though. No one is going to lose sleep over this.

Quote:
8. Submit a proposal at the same time that reduces General Officer billets by 50% and publicly challenge the other services to match that commitment and to implement it when they do. (Make it a 80% reduction for the Marine Corps as they are totally out of control in that regard).
Can't speak for the USMC issues, but I agree about the Army stuff - too many GOs and too many COLs doing nothing but hunting for that star. I think this war has so badly polluted promotion, awards, and the personnel selection methods that we are seeing truly awful leadership at the BN and CO levels, to a far greater extent than before. The "careerist" mentality has crept way far down the paychart and it's disgusting. Purging some GOs would be a great way to start fixing this. I would love to see some forced retirements. Getting rid of the up or out would help as well. All it does is encourage this careerist, rank-hunting mentality and that leads to 2nd and 3rd order effects, none of which are good for the military...."

Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-30-2011 at 10:31 AM. Reason: Fix format, remove bold for replies and Bob's points in quotes. PM to author
bumperplate is offline  
Old 05-30-2011   #16
bumperplate
Council Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 53
Default

My comments are in bold within Mr. Owen's quote.
Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
How long you got? Some consultant will charge you millions for stating what follows here,

Based on speaking to many US Officers and what gets written here, it seems to me you do not have a teaching as what War is, or any basic theory as to how to fight or how to conduct Warfare. If I remember correctly, in the WWI and WWII eras, German officers were taught theory and principles of warfare and began their education at the operational level by studying BN & BDE ops, and working their way down to Squad/Team levels. It is the opposite in the US, at least it was for me. I'd say you are correct. I believe the USMA approaches this topic. However, given the product I see coming out of the USMA, I'd say the majority of the efforts there are related to producing professional students and large underground networks for cheating. Exceptions are there, but exceptions create the rule.

What you have in place is loose collections of concepts, opinions and TTPs, none of which are actually based on a coherent agreement as to the aim, purpose and limitations of armed force. I've heard it said, more than once, that part of the success of US military forces relates to this loose collection and a loose adherence to doctrine, philosophical style of warfare, etc. However, on the graph relating rigor to effectiveness there is a definite inflection point where less rigor leads to less effectiveness. So, to your point, I think we could use a bit of education and rigor. Conversely, adhering too strongly to one brand of warfare or one philosophy also takes you to an inflection point where effectiveness suffers. But, so long as this education does not produce inflexibility then I believe such a point will not be an issue for our forces.

FM3 says

That is utterly wrong, and clearly proves that the US Army is confused as to its purpose, and the US Government does not understand the use of armed force. Fix that and the rest will fall into place.
FM 3-0 sucks, plain and simple. It has become a waste of paper. And yes, it certainly does highlight that the Army has lost an appreciation of purpose. I don't read 3-0 any longer and I pay no attention to the moronic and incessant changes released as some group of people, in some location, dissect mission command from command & control and create circular discussions rather than operationally significant documents.

I applaud GEN Dempsey for publishing this Profession of Arms document. There are good points in it. For instance, it mentions the "zero defect" mentality and the ills it produces. Also, it mentions the following, "A recent report suggests that today‘s operating forces after nine years of war, exhibit more the traits of a profession than the force-generating, or institutional, side of the Army." That's a pretty good rebuke of all that TRADOC does and is - the test will be whether or not TRADOC fixes this issue. It's good that it was pointed out though, albeit in the beginning and in passing.

Negatives to follow.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-30-2011 at 10:34 AM. Reason: Adjust format
bumperplate is offline  
Old 05-30-2011   #17
bumperplate
Council Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 53
Default

However, the document has serious flaws. As mentioned previously, posting the Constitution v. The will of the People is a dangerous proposition and one I find disgusting, misinformed, and just plain wrong. It’s disturbing that a senior officer in the US Army wrote that and the rest of that officer’s chain of command chopped it for approval. We are a republic, not a democracy.

The paper asserts that it is now, after ten years of war that our Army is [quote]out of balance[quote].

Dead wrong. The imbalance was there and was present before 9/11...that imbalance is what brought us to where we are, not a decade of war. We are a warfighting organization. A decade of war should not take us out of balance. It should be what we are trained for. A decade of war results in problems if the problems were there beforehand. Our GOs need to go back and look at what paygrades they were at around 2003 or so - and look at their mentors (read as those raters and senior raters they said "yes" to repeatedly as they worked the system to get to where they are) - then ask themselves some tough questions about what they did to ensure "balance" was there and what they did or did not do that contributed to the problems we face today. That firsthand introspection will help steer them to problems we currently face.

One of the subject headings in the paper reads,
Quote:
How We Fight – With Values and by Ethical Principles
. I guess Army Strong is out - now it's Army Forthright, or Army Ethical, or something. Perhaps I'm just too close to caveman than philosopher, but I'd like the words ‘violence of action’ to more closely resemble how we fight, rather than values and ethics. I'd always assumed the values and ethics to be a part of what makes me a proud citizen of this country, not something I had to fight with. I thought those values and ethics shaped the policies that determined whether I go fight, when, and where.

The position of morality and human rights as bedrock principles is also quite questionable. Morality is relative. So are human rights. The document mentions, [quote]Adapting the Army as Profession of Arms After a Decade of War...To that end, sections of the paper have provided general understandings of the key attributes of the Army as Profession, its Culture, its Ethic, and its external relations. These concepts and definitions will be refined through dialog and later published in doctrine....[quote]

I find this disturbing. We are going to see elements from this paper and discussion, many of which base our profession and our professional actions on moral and human rights foundations, in our doctrine? We are going to doctrinalize morality? Are we going to come up with our own final solution? Is the UCMJ a poor representative of morals and laws to which we are held accountable? Do we not have enough wisdom written down from Xenophon and others to outline moral necessities for leadership and military service?

What is perhaps the best statement in the paper, stating the case for its own demise is the following from the footnotes,
Quote:
In order to establish a moral basis for the Army Ethic we need to examine the good the Army provides. Field Manual 1 states the Army is the defender of ―our way life.‖ However, achieving objectives or defending a ―way of life,‖ are goals that many organizations could adopt as their purpose. Drug cartels, the mafia, or Al Qaeda, could easily make the same factual claim. They too are defending their ways of life. Another view of the Army‘s purpose is that it provides for a ―common defense.‖ Again, other organizations that practice collective violence can make the factual claim that they act in their own ―common defense.‖ However, the defining difference between these organizations and the Army is the moral end, or purpose, which our use of collective violence seeks to achieve. The Army‘s purpose is the defense of the United States as a political nation that protects and respects human rights. This gives the American profession of arms its legitimate claim to employ coercive, and often lethal, force. This moral purpose separates the Army, and Soldiers within it, from organizations that practice unjustifiable collective violence. Not just any state can justifiably defend its power through violence or violence leading to no moral good would be permissible. Simply put, the Army‘s and its Soldiers‘ duty to provide for the ―common defense‖ is more than the simple protection of power.
This statement clearly shows how morality is relative. AQ could change AQ and Army and issue the same exact statement. I take issue with the description of the US as a political nation. Political entities are subject to the whims of voters, other political entities, and so forth. Sovereign nations are not. The Army's mission is not to defend any political body, be it a town hall or nation. The Army's job is to close with and destroy the enemies of the United States, to defend the the United States of America, drawing authority and legitimacy for these actions from the Constitution, and acting on orders from the President and Congress, who also derive their authority and legitimacy from the Constitution.

As to the issue of human rights, the paper admits those rights most closely affiliated with military operations are,
Quote:
rights against torture, rape, unjustified killing, arbitrary imprisonment, access to basic subsistence, and personal liberty.
If we as an Army are to protect and respect human rights as outlined above, then why aren't we engaged within the borders of our own nation on a daily basis? Why isn't 2ID out stopping hunger, working to find rapists and human traffickers? Oh yeah...that pesky Constitution thing. I guess that in accordance with this paper, the Constitution matters when it is convenient for the agenda being pushed. I realize I’m splitting hairs a bit with this piece, but the author(s) really set me off by placing the Constitution below what could seriously be mob rule and “democracy in action”. Awful, awful, awful statement to make in an official military document.

I don't find the issue of morality to be completely irrelevant to military service. However, we fight where, when, and against whom our policy dictates. Our policy is guided in part by our morality as a sovereign nation. Many would argue that our policy is derived solely from our Constitution (or that it should be), which was derived from common, shared items of morality. So, to tackle the issue of morality in a way this paper does seems redundant and unnecessary.

My last comment (though I have many more from reading this paper) relates to the references. An example is footnote 23,
Quote:
The landmark study in this field, of regional economic performance in Italy, found over a 20-year period that social capital in each region was a crucial factor in explaining differences in wealth creation, business innovation, entrepreneurship, and government performance. See Robert D. Putnam, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993).
This footnote is related to the following,
Quote:
A sense of community broadens Soldier‘s identity by developing the ‗I‘ into the ‗we.‘
Somehow the authors deduce that commentary related to Italian social capital is valid for application to US Soldiers. Any ethnographic or social commentary must be applicable to a given population in order to attain validity. The above example is a common occurrence within this paper. Such transfer of conclusions among vastly different populations calls into question the logic with which this paper was put together. It also hints at the desire to produce statements that support a forgone conclusion, at the cost of accuracy - rather than - allowing a thorough, thoughtful, and critical analysis of the available literature guiding the authors to a conclusion.

Finally, if this paper was meant to create discussion then I think it's a mission accomplished (under what moral pretext, I don't know - sarcasm intended). However, if the principles expressed in the paper are designed to steer the Army with and toward in the coming years, then we are in serious trouble. An immediate overhaul is necessary. The paper poses several questions at the end to get the discussion started. None of them mention the Constitution v. The People; Morality, Human Rights, or any other critical assumptions, declarations, and principles set forth. This leads me to believe that our leadership does intend use this as a steering document. I am not encouraged by that.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-30-2011 at 10:39 AM. Reason: Fix format
bumperplate is offline  
Closed Thread

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Towards a U.S. Army Officer Corps Strategy for Success Shek Training & Education 50 05-16-2010 07:27 AM
Current Inadequacy of Small Arms Training for All MOSs in the Conventional Army sgmgrumpy Trigger Puller 13 10-26-2007 04:06 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 04:42 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9. ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Registered Users are solely responsible for their messages.
Operated by, and site design © 2005-2009, Small Wars Foundation