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Old 09-28-2009   #21
J Wolfsberger
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...More importantly, i think that it does not capture the current uses of cyberspace as a "realm of conflict" well at all. IMO, cyberspace needs to be treated as if it were any other type of terrain in which and through which conflict and co-operation may take place.
Absolutely, 100%, dead nuts on correct.

And adding to it, the entire media is part of the military landscape.
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Old 09-28-2009   #22
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I'm a tactical level guy, so I only have some nitpicky comments about a few of the assumptions. The rest of it reads like a statute for which there is no jurisprudence on point to clarify what the words mean. Maybe that is unavoidable for such big-picture, broad stuff that is written by committee, but it seems that you could read whatever you want into this thing.

My observations, fwiw...

Quote:
Line 607: Military tactical-level networks could remain shielded from an electromagnetic pulse, however, operational-level, interagency and intergovernmental networks could still be at risk.
But aren’t the tactical-level networks in large part dependent upon the larger networks? Okay, so the BN TOC/JOC can all share files. So? They can communicate face-to-face, making network communication irrelevant. The value of the network is the ability of Bn staff to interact directly with BDE & higher staff.

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Line 612: Improved sensors, sensor fusion, communications, and knowledge networking will allow higher levels of information sharing, enabling more effective application of combat power, decentralization, and noncontiguous operations under certain conditions
Decentralization? I hope so. But my experience is that the more information that you are capable of sharing, the more higher headquarters demands it and the more confident higher headquarters becomes that it is able to make decisions that should otherwise be made at lower levels. See slide number 12. If technological improvements are to truly change the way that we make decisions, then they need to be made in step with changes in the organizational culture.

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Line 615: Improved system durability and reliability, fuel efficiency, and precision munitions will reduce sustainment demands and sustainment infrastructure, and will extend the duration of operations prior to required replenishment.
Reduce sustainment demands? I’m skeptical. It seems that with every new gadget or innovation – even procedural innovations – we need another office on a giant FOB to maintain and/or oversee it. On second thought, I would just summarize my skepticism with one acronym: FOB.

Quote:
Line 620: Improvements in immersive technologies will enable development of virtual training areas inside a finite training space…
I hope that they’re not talking about stuff like the EST or whatever that trailer is called that has the pneumatic weapons and the giant computer screen. It’s a neat video game. It is not training – not even close. Or maybe they're talking about that computer simulator that mimics the layout of the Brads/Tanks and allows an entire platoon (or more) to engage in a simulation at one time. That has some value, but it is very limited. The value that I saw in it was just the initial orientation to crew communication and communication between vehicles. New crewmembers were able to gain a quick appreciation for information they needed to more clearly convey and to recognize the complications that arise when multiple people are monitoring multiple nets (internal, platoon, company). Drivers learn to shut up when they hear PLT or CO traffic, learn to ignore fire commands and focus on other traffic, gunners learn to do likewise when the BC is giving directions to the driver, etc. But as for any complex situational training, such as that mentioned in this document, I see absolutely no value in those systems. For brevity, I'll omit an explanation unless someone is just dying to know. For most of us, I suspect it is self-evident.

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Line 630: Improvements in neuroscience will mitigate stress and improve mental, moral, and physical capacity
Improve moral capacity through neuroscience? I guess I'm not clear on what moral capacity is. If it has something to do with ethical decision making, then I am a bit skeptical. I suspect that moral capacity is just about set in stone by age 6, unless there is some life-altering event such as a religious conversion (other than COIN) or a traumatic emotional experience.

Last edited by Schmedlap; 09-28-2009 at 12:26 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 09-28-2009   #23
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Absolutely, 100%, dead nuts on correct.

And adding to it, the entire media is part of the military landscape.
Double no, triple dead on it. Warden was of the first people to mention that in the future whole wars could be won or lost in the Cyber-Phere as he called it.
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Old 09-28-2009   #24
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Hi Schmedlap,

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Line 630: Improvements in neuroscience will mitigate stress and improve mental, moral, and physical capacity
Improve moral capacity through neuroscience? I guess I'm not clear on what moral capacity is. If it has something to do with ethical decision making, then I am a bit skeptical. I suspect that moral capacity is just about set in stone by age 6, unless there is some life-altering event such as a religious conversion (other than COIN) or a traumatic emotional experience.
Yeah, I'm pretty sceptical about that one as well. I'm not an expert in neuroscience, but I read a fair bit in the area and, while it is possible, the current techniques we have for it are either "unacceptable" (intensive meditation anyone?) or pharmacological ("just take this nice bright, red pill, Johnny!" - shades of "Prince Valium to the Rescue!").

The actual field tested and proven techniques - and yes, meditation is one of them - require a lot of work and certainly won't be achieved in a 3 day training special. The pharmacological ones act much faster, but have some very serious side effects - remember the CIA sponsored acid tests in the 1960's and 70's?
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Old 09-28-2009   #25
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Not really sure how to engage this ponderous document, but here is my two cents as relates to my area of expertise:

“The task of the Army is to protect its friends, to reassure and protect populations, and to identify, isolate, and, when necessary, defeat the enemy. War is a three-person, not a two-person, game. In the end, the Army must develop the capabilities to gain, sustain, and exploit physical control and psychological influence over the enemy, people, land and resources.” P. 3, Lines 350-364

Although many other elements apply, one critical component of addressing the above-identified task is a breadth of operational information, systamatically collected and routinely updated, about the people, infrastructure, economic systems applicable to the latter three components---the people, land and resources.

Lord Kelvin, the father of quantitative sciences, claims that: ‘if you can count it, you can know something about it.” Without credible baseline data, established and updated in real time on a systematic regional basis (not just by battlespace), decision-makers are unable to establish effective force deployments, track likely responses and effects, and plan effective post-conflict stabilization.

Moreover, fact and data-driven information systems and regional analytical approaches, including the application of fundamental planning and analytical approaches, such as civilian GIS systems, that are the foundation of modern public administration in all moderately developed countries, provide a fact-based metric for improving the catastrophic performance in developing and implementing integrated, rapid and effective stabilization and reconstruction, less susceptible to graft, corruption and project failure, all of which significantly contribute to an opponent's position.

Collecting accurate civilian data on a systematic basis, even if by proxy sources, and frequently revised, but soundly based, estimates is even more critical in a conflict zone than a stable civilian environment.

Two critical lessons: (1.) the war was easy, the peace was the challenge; and (2.) to plan for either war or peace, especially consistent with the identified goals, decision-makers must know something substantive about the land, people and resources, and not just about the enemy.

The Army has no system for the routine and systematic collection and use of timely and accurate base line regional geography, economics, governmental structure, or infrastructure information, but cannot hope to understand or control the land people or resources in any area without them.

Additionally, as noted below, this information must be used effectively prior to initial contact, to improve decision-making and inform viable strategies to manage each stage of conflict, including post-conflict stabilization.


In Iraq, decades of economic sanctions, and the initial shock-and-awe bombing operations resulted in substantial and unnecessary damage to the people, land and resources necessary for subsequent protection of the population. This excessive and, to an extent, unconsidered destruction in the early phases of conflict (prior to Army engagement), made the later phases much more difficult, thus contributing to a lengthier, more dangerous, and expensive operation.

Decades of economic sanctions substantially eroded civilian resources and infrastructure, and created and sustained substantial black market and organized criminal activities.

While these pre-conflict sanctions may be outside military control, the reality of sanctions, and their logical effects as a likely precursor to any conflict environment demands that the Army become highly adept, on a focused basis, in responding to those effects once it arrives on the scene. Failure to adequately research, track and prepare for sanction-induced effects will substantially compound the challenges of subsequent post-conflict operations.

In the post-conflict environment in Iraq, the Army was immediately faced with two serious problems, both of which were directly attributable to the pre-conflict sanctions phase.

First, sanctions-induced limitations on critical civilian resources like refined fuel led to the establishment of organized smuggling and black market operations which, in large part, defined the post-conflict environment including by limiting restoration of civilian services, providing economic support for enemy activities, and creating an complementary secondary enemy, closely intertwined with the primary enemy, to attack the Army and undermine its activities.

Second, sanction-induced infrastructure maintenance deferral for critical systems like energy and public water and sewer resulted in substantial hurdles in re-establishing public services, extension of effective government, and limiting attacks both on itself, and the fledgling host government.

More significant, in the shock-and-awe bombing phase, much destruction was done to civilian infrastructure and capacity in a manner that substantially impeded post-conflict stability. The “Valley of Broken Bridges” at Bayji, a key oil center and crossroads point for interregional travel and commerce, stands as abundant evidence of unnecessary over-destruction that impeded subsequent stabilization. The decks of the bridge structure were neatly punctured every 150 yards with bomb craters, then, the center sections were knocked out. Thus, reconstruction of the bridge, and subsequent economic restart was seriously impeded until virtually the entire structure was rebuilt. If the goal in the initial conflict was to limit bridge accessibility, this could have been achieved with a great deal more precision, and with an eye to rapid post-conflict restart. The Army’s targeting system is extremely advanced, but needs to brought to bear, in a focused manner, prior to initiation of conflict, in a manner that allows accomplishment of goals with the minimum of unnecessary destruction that might later impede stability operations.

The same is true in the destruction of (or failure to protect) central government civilian record systems critical to rapid stabilization. The Army’s system of lethal and non-lethal targeting needs to be augmented to identify, prioritize, and more carefully scrutinize bombing strategies to prevent unnecessary destruction of critical post-conflict assets.

Most evident in an after action analysis of Iraq was how relatively weak and unstable Iraq’s economic, infrastructure and social systems actually were, and how, with much less effort, the initial conflict mission could have been accomplished with a great deal less destruction, which, in turn, would have allowed more rapid and effective stabilization.

A complete, profound, and abundantly lacking resource critical to the mission is the base line information on regional geography, governmental structure (including provincial, district, and sub-district administration, division of responsibility, the role of national versus non-national government systems), economic and trade patterns, assets, and critical resources, and accurate and timely demographic resources, including credible population estimates, sub-population components (age, familial structure, sex, etc…),and population mobility tracking (including IDPs and displacement effects).

The future battlefield, and the enemy on it, may, in many instances, be more sophisticated in its approaches, and prepared to operate in a complex and less physically bounded space, possibly with a great deal more effective knowledge management-driven strategies. This environment will be significantly less forgiving of an unprepared opponent, and more able to take advantage of routine military and civilian bureaucratic strategic, and tactical blunders such as were evidenced in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Old 09-28-2009   #26
William F. Owen
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Default I may get round to printing it out today...

....but does anyone else feel uneasy about a document of this nature, never using the word "kill," and only ever mentions suppression once. - so essentially it ignores the two primary methods of applying force, or choose to describe them in other ways. Hmmmm...
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Old 09-28-2009   #27
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Default OK, printed it and read it twice.

It is not my intention to be needless rude of provocative here, but having been asked my opinion, here it is.

1. This document serves no useful purpose, as it stands. Doing what it intended should have taken no more 2,500 words and/or 5 pages. Having claimed not to be telling the reader what to think, it then sets out to be telling the reader that the enemy “will do X,” as opposed to “might do X, given Y or Z circumstance, and context, A, B or C.” - and where is the dividing line between Doctrine and Concept?
2. The document lacks clear and precise descriptions, and uses un-clear and highly convoluted language, none of which is helpful. - why use "new terms?"
3. Implicitly this document progresses a vision of conflict that the US Army wishes to fund, and not one based on history. It seems to serve a human and organisational need, rather than a foundation for teaching (Doctrine?).
4. The idea that the US was proficient as “old Warfare” and “new Warfare” is somehow “more complex” and more challenging is untrue, and evidence free.
5. The description is the 2006 Lebanon conflict is highly simplistic, inaccurate, selective and substantially un-true. It is what the US Army wants to believe instead of looking at the facts.

Given the above, the rest begins to fall apart pretty quickly.

As concerns capability you have to wonder about a document that never says “tank,” , and only says “Armor” twice. It says artillery and infantry each only once.
Yet in contrast it mentions :
  • the V-22?
  • Mentions un-manned 5 times?
  • Cyber and network over 30 times?
I can only assume that this is to progress a belief in new technologies and “networks” to serve a budgetary need.
There are some very odd statements such as:
• “The future force requires the support of Joint Synergy (redundancy versus interdependencies) in certain capability areas such as fires and surveillance platforms. – I have no idea what that means.
• The future force requires the capability to conduct combined arms offensive operations and to overcome complex web defenses in complex/urban terrain. – so the US Army does not have this capability? Same capability as 1918 perhaps?

I could go on for another >5 pages, but I hope the largely negative comments so far may serve some useful purpose. There is some good stuff, but that is largely obvious to all, and there is too little of it to bother.
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- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
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Last edited by William F. Owen; 09-28-2009 at 11:07 AM. Reason: less of a rant!
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Old 09-28-2009   #28
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No offense, but I get my meat all pre-packaged from Safeway, and with a little absorbing pack in the bottom to keep that messy blood from dripping all over.

Why not just use lots of media blitz and internet stuff? A lot less messy than using "tanks" to "kill" people. No?

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Old 09-28-2009   #29
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Hi Wilf,

You know, I think we have some of the same concerns gnawing at us .

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1. This document serves no useful purpose, as it stands. Doing what it intended should have taken no more 2,500 words and/or 5 pages. Having claimed not to be telling the reader what to think, it then sets out to be telling the reader that the enemy “will do X,” as opposed to “might do X, given Y or Z circumstance, and context, A, B or C.” - and where is the dividing line between Doctrine and Concept?
As I understand it, and they do seem to be using US Army specific language here, the ACC is a model that they believe is best "rough cut" for the time period under consideration. Now, that I have no problems with, although I wish that they would use the same language as everyone else and call it a "model" or "theoretical model".

Where they start to move into the "will do X", is pretty much where I stopped commenting. If this were being produced as a model, then those would be illustrative examples of how the model would be applied to particular problems. However, I find that those sections in particular are way too prescriptive for my taste because they go against the supposed basis of the concept: uncertainty.

In a similar way, when you wonder if there is a "dividing line between Doctrine and Concept", I am wondering if they are making a dividing line between a model and the results of running the model.

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Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
2. The document lacks clear and precise descriptions, and uses un-clear and highly convoluted language, none of which is helpful. - why use "new terms?"
Sort of agreed; the terms that I believe are "new" - adaptability, complexity, uncertainty - all have precise meanings. What concerns me is that they do not appear to be using them with those meanings. And, to make matters worse, the use of prescriptive language actually goes against the exact meanings of complexity, uncertainty and adaptability.

Let me take up this issue of "clear and precise descriptions" for a bit, because it is a crucial one. When you are building a model, you need to define (at the minimum) states, flows and boundaries. That's for a simple, one-level, 2 dimensional model. When you look at a 3D model, you also have to define "levels", emergence conditions and level boundaries. When you move into a 4D model of socio-cultural action space, then you also have to add in definitions of "resonance functions" and chaotic boundaries (Believe me, you don't want me going into these two 'cause they make an absolute hash out of everything you think you know about space and time!).

What we have in this model is a fairly simplistic, 2D model that is trying to incorporate some of the concepts (used in the technical, not the Army, sense of the term) from 3D and 4D models. Let me take a couple of examples to illustrate what I mean, and some of the common problems with doing this.

First, the cyberspace issue that you and I "disagree" on. How cyberspace is conceptualized in the current ACC is a very good example of the two 4D concepts I was talking about: resonance functions and chaotic boundaries. Let me start with the latter. "Cyberspace", as a "terrain" (a 2D model), is only accessible via technological extension and mediation, and yet it can (and does) have direct, real world effects on people who are not and cannot access it. The simplest effects are in the Just In Time civilian economy that has developed around it, but there are a whole slew of other areas.

Now, how cyberspace is used and understood by people, is a resonance function: the language used to "describe" and "understand" the "terrain" resonates with other cultural (and biological) perception states (think of them as components of a narrative). I believe that the current version of "understanding" shown in this document is resonating with the "understandings" of "air" as a terrain circa 1914-1920 or so. You can see the similarities in the extremely "paranoid" perceptions displayed by language use (think Hobbes' Leviathan as the basis of perception for the "nature" of the terrain); a "kill or be killed", "hack or be hacked" type of understanding with no hope of "peace" except through absolute control and domination. For the analog, go back to the fiction from the 1920's to, say, early 1940's on the devastation of airpower (or, later, on nuclear weapons).

The second example comes with narratives, which are all based around different resonance functions, few of which appear to be understood and described cleanly in this document (an exception, BTW, is the "do what you say, say what you do" meme). The model clearly has no understanding of how resonance functions operate in "narrative space". There is a vague, almost intuitive, understanding that what happens in the real world resonates back into narrative space and vice versa, but no description of the mechanisms or other resonance functions. Put extremely simplistically, you can't fight in a terrain - narrative space - unless you understand the "natural laws" operating there, and that is what a model is supposed to do; give approximations of those natural laws.

Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
3. Implicitly this document progresses a vision of conflict that the US Army wishes to fund, and not one based on history. It seems to serve a human and organisational need, rather than a foundation for teaching (Doctrine?).
4. The idea that the US was proficient as “old Warfare” and “new Warfare” is somehow “more complex” and more challenging is untrue, and evidence free.
Agreed on the first point, although I suspect that that is an artifact from its committee nature. We could get into quibbles on the second. I think it is more "complex" based solely on what I perceive to be the solid addition of a "new" terrain which now has more real world effects than ever before. I think the argument could go either way depending on how we use the term "complex".

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5. The description is the 2006 Lebanon conflict is highly simplistic, inaccurate, selective and substantially un-true. It is what the US Army wants to believe instead of looking at the facts.
Honestly, Wilf, I'll defer to your expertise on that; I don't know enough to critique it. I will say, however, that I was struck by how Hezbollah used a very simple organizational narrative that, in many ways, was very similar to what GEN Van Ripper used in Millennium Challenge.

Cheers,

Marc
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Old 09-28-2009   #30
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No offense, but I get my meat all pre-packaged from Safeway, and with a little absorbing pack in the bottom to keep that messy blood from dripping all over.

Why not just use lots of media blitz and internet stuff? A lot less messy than using "tanks" to "kill" people. No?
LOL - true, that, but, given their current understandings of narrative space, about as effective as saturation bombing of the Pripet marshes !
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Old 09-28-2009   #31
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I wrote:
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... The rest of it reads like a statute for which there is no jurisprudence on point to clarify what the words mean. Maybe that is unavoidable for such big-picture, broad stuff that is written by committee, but it seems that you could read whatever you want into this thing.
But Wilf's comment might have put it into terms that the strategic thinkers can better understand.
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Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
2. The document lacks clear and precise descriptions, and uses un-clear and highly convoluted language, none of which is helpful. - why use "new terms?"
Either way, I think this document suffers from too much committee action. It reads like it was written by too many authors who have been away from the field and in the classrooms and briefing rooms for way too long. It is a bit unsettling to think that "the way ahead" might be heavily guided by a 50+ page document of buzzwords. Also concur with Wilf's other statements, particularly Israel-Hezbollah 2006.
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Old 09-28-2009   #32
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You know, I think we have some of the same concerns gnawing at us .
To quote Rabbi Ken White "Funny dat."

Quote:
In a similar way, when you wonder if there is a "dividing line between Doctrine and Concept", I am wondering if they are making a dividing line between a model and the results of running the model.
...and that in and of itself is alarming for all the obvious reasons. It has implications for the intended purpose of the document.

Quote:
  • Let me take up this issue of "clear and precise descriptions" for a bit, because it is a crucial one. When you are building a model, you need to define (at the minimum) states, flows and boundaries......
  • What we have in this model is a fairly simplistic, 2D model that is trying to incorporate some of the concepts (used in the technical, not the Army, sense of the term) from 3D and 4D models. Let me take a couple of examples to illustrate what I mean, and some of the common problems with doing this.
  • "Cyberspace", as a "terrain" (a 2D model), is only accessible via technological extension and mediation, and yet it can (and does) have direct, real world effects on people who are not and cannot access it.
Yet read the military discussions of late 19th Century and you see how military men have got their heads around steam power, new weapons, railways, telegraph and most of everything else. They are applying what they know for certain and not attempting to hypothesise or guess at what they do not. What wrong foots everyone in 1914 is not the technology, but the vast scale of the endeavour both in numbers and duration - none of which could have been reasonably predicted.

Point being, what is it that we do no get or have evidence for? Why extrapolate beyond what we are certain of? "Just stop it!"

Quote:
Honestly, Wilf, I'll defer to your expertise on that; I don't know enough to critique it. I will say, however, that I was struck by how Hezbollah used a very simple organizational narrative that, in many ways, was very similar to what GEN Van Ripper used in Millennium Challenge.
I would urge no deferring on any ones part. All the evidence is there, if you look for it. One of the key lessons of the Lebanon War - and one ALWAYS ignored - is how was it possible for the IDF to have such an extensive knowledge of Hezbollah - which they did - and not be able to employ that knowledge in a way that allowed effective preparation (lack of money/Leadership?) or for consistently successful operations once the fighting started. (EBO/SOD?)
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- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition
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Old 09-28-2009   #33
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Red face I guess I spent too much time in the buu-ock-rasy...

I saw all the flaws mentioned above but ignored them. Is that conditioning or what...

It is, broadly, a waste of time and the taxpayer's dollar -- but it is the way we do business.

It is, as someone mentioned, as much a pre-budgetary guide as it is a pre-doctrinal guide. It isn't a schedule and certainly isn't a map, it is an Echelons Above Reality encapsulation of syllabus. Maybe not even that, maybe a prospectus.

Having worked for a few years at that level, I can thus ignore the flaws and realize that it is to lay the groundwork for doctrinal revamp that is aimed probably far more at the civilian side of government than it is at working Soldiers. Considering the raw ignorance among many in and working for Congress. Particularly dangerous are those with five years or so of service who think they know the system but really do not and are now staffers and exercise baleful influence on the many more with no service...

It is also designed for the proliferation of Think Tanks filled with academics with little or no experience. It will give them things to mull and prate about. Then there's the clueless media who need elementary guides...

The Army used to be able to write tight, clear and very concise documents and publications. It ceased doing that in the late 70s when masses of civilian Educators were hired into all the TRADOC schools and that unintentionally adverse influence became just that only because they caught the post-Viet Nam Army in a state of flux and angst and flapping about. They meant well, were some smart and hard working folks but they sold the Army an extremely poor industrial training system that is totally inappopriate for a professional force and they created a syndrome that believed volume was a substitute for quality of content in writing.

So look at it as a sales brochure for the layperson.

Last edited by Ken White; 09-28-2009 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 09-28-2009   #34
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Quote:
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The Army used to be able to write tight, clear and very concise documents and publications. It ceased doing that in the late 70s when masses of civilian Educators were hired into all the TRADOC schools and that unintentionally adverse influence became just that only because they caught the post-Viet Nam Army in a state of flux and angst and flapping about. They meant well, were some smart and hard working folks but they sold the Army an extremely poor industrial training system that is totally inappopriate for a professional force and they created a syndrome that believed volume was a substitute for quality of content in writing.

So look at it as a sales brochure for the layperson.
Personally I think it goes back further than that, and has roots in both the much-maligned civilian educators and the military's own mania for "management education" in the aftermath of World War II...but I digress.

Perhaps instead of simply fault-finding we should try to see what we can get right with this effort and suggest some changes that would make the document more useful for practitioners and others who may need to reference the document. I'm about halfway through it myself, and for one am happy that the loop was actually opened up to get some outside input. Especially given the mania of late for flinging every document in the known universe behind one of the many digital portals out there (regardless of the document's classification or, most worryingly, lack thereof). More to the point, if something sucks, identify it and suggest a replacement or workable alternative. Just saying it sucks because you don't agree with it and leaving it at that doesn't accomplish much and may actually work against this sort of thing happening again...which would negate one of the benefits of cyberspace that Marc mentioned earlier.
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Old 09-28-2009   #35
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I saw all the flaws mentioned above but ignored them. Is that conditioning or what...

It is, broadly, a waste of time and the taxpayer's dollar -- but it is the way we do business.
Actually I think you are being unduly hard on yourself. I think you correctly recognised the art of possible and what you might usefully do to progress improvement.

While I truly believe in what I wrote, I am very aware that it will probably have no impact beyond being the advice those seeking advice do not actually want.
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Old 09-28-2009   #36
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Thumbs up Very much the case.

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...both the much-maligned civilian educators and the military's own mania for "management education" in the aftermath of World War II...but I digress.
I would suggest in fact that former are merely doing the job they were paid to do while the latter phenomenon is responsible for most all the flaws that accrued and for any errors on the part of the former. If an employee doesn't do what's needed, the employer is generally at fault. Add that misplaced and misapplied fetish with 'management' to the post VN blahs and you had a recipe for a screwup...
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...we should try to see what we can get right with this effort and suggest some changes that would make the document more useful for practitioners and others who may need to reference the document...Just saying it sucks because you don't agree with it and leaving it at that doesn't accomplish much and may actually work against this sort of thing happening again...which would negate one of the benefits of cyberspace that Marc mentioned earlier.
True. I did just that the very day the Blog entry was first posted.

However, not to pick at you but merely for thought, I'd also suggest that pointing out that a process has been skewed for various reasons, most of which folks can understand even if they don't agree, has a merit all its own in a hopeful attempt to ask, simply; "What are we doing?" or "Is this really the best way?"

Accepting flawed or questionable concepts without question generally perpetuates or even exacerbates the flaw. It's also been my observation that an item which raises any generic pejorative comments often merits at least some of them and that items whose benefit or utility is obvious rarely raise such comments.

I also think comments are sort of like publicity -- all of them are better than none of them and even bad ones are of some benefit.
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Old 09-28-2009   #37
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Hi Wilf,

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Yet read the military discussions of late 19th Century and you see how military men have got their heads around steam power, new weapons, railways, telegraph and most of everything else. They are applying what they know for certain and not attempting to hypothesise or guess at what they do not. What wrong foots everyone in 1914 is not the technology, but the vast scale of the endeavour both in numbers and duration - none of which could have been reasonably predicted.
Bein' in a somewhat picky mood since the seminar I came up to the university for got cancelled with no notice, I do want to make a couple of observations.... Sorry, Wilf, it's just me taking out frustrations

Steam power - 1687 in England with the Newcomen Engine, 177r with the Watts;
"new" weapons - breechloaders, simple design first produced in 1774 (I think or thereabouts) and mass deployed by the Prussians in the 1860's.

Railways - 1827 in the UK

Telegraph - 1847 (I think; this is off the top of my head) with the first oceanic cable in 1857

If they bloody well didn't have it down by the end of the 19th century, they should have all been taken out and shot as hopeless incompetents!

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Point being, what is it that we do no get or have evidence for? Why extrapolate beyond what we are certain of? "Just stop it!"
We have to extrapolate beyond "certainty" because the only thing certain is that we don't have it perfect - isn't that an old military saying ?

I choose airpower as the analog, but I could have also pointed to the armour debates on the 1920's as well, or the debates over crossbows and longbows back in the 14th century. The point I was trying to make with that analog was that it is at the start of the familiarity curve.

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I would urge no deferring on any ones part. All the evidence is there, if you look for it. One of the key lessons of the Lebanon War - and one ALWAYS ignored - is how was it possible for the IDF to have such an extensive knowledge of Hezbollah - which they did - and not be able to employ that knowledge in a way that allowed effective preparation (lack of money/Leadership?) or for consistently successful operations once the fighting started. (EBO/SOD?)
So, knowledge without understanding? I think there is a really good warning lesson there .
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Old 09-28-2009   #38
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In looking at this as a document which is supposed to help the Army frame/prioritize what stuff to buy and how to educate and train soldiers, I found it less than useful. Knowing how the Pentagon works, there is a line in here for everyone. That, unfortunately, is how it will be used: as a source for quotes to support this or that program or initiative.

The only way to prevent that is for this document to become inculcated in the senior leadership. They must read, understand and support. The first paragraph of Gen Dempsey’s introduction states that “ideas matter”—yes they do, but not because they are written, but because they are believed and because they lead to action. Action in these terms is a prioritization of effort and resources. For me, the document didn’t give a clear sense of priority—while stating all the many things that the Army would be capable of, I didn’t get a sense of what was being left out, or left behind.

While I think that I understand the intent and emerging environment, etc., it really bothered me that a guiding document for the future of the US Army would place defeating enemies at the end of every list of key actions and capabilities. If that order is a defacto prioritization, I’m not sure if we are moving in the correct direction.

While I laud the focus on uncertainty and complexity, I was somewhat troubled by the phrasing, once again in Gen Dempsey’s cover, that spoke of “imposing order on chaos.” I’d recommend focusing that we take actions to achieve the mission or to impose our will on the enemy. However, chaos and uncertainly are just a natural part of the environment. Rather than focus on how we can’t change this, we must emphasize how we are going to use it to our advantage—leveraging chaos.

Within Chapter three—the meat of how the Army will design itself, I was confused about the differences between “supporting ideas” and “core operational actions.” Are they differentiated in some way by type, by priority? When it comes to racking and stacking, will a supporting idea get funded while a core action may not be? There needs to be more clarity on how these concepts relate to one another.

Following the same vein of my criticism, the Appendix of required capabilities seems pretty extensive. What I do not get a sense of is how much? This goes to the global operating environment. I can imagine building an Army that can do all of the things listed, but there are only four brigades when the cost is added up. The “how much” factor directly affects the what and capability factor.

All in all, I’d recommend a shorter and simpler document. If the fear is that by not mentioning something in this document, it will not be funded or pursued, then you will always end up with a document of lists. As its is, I still don’t have a clear picture of what the Army contained in this document will look like, or what real choices are being made.

Phil Ridderhof USMC
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Old 09-28-2009   #39
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If they bloody well didn't have it down by the end of the 19th century, they should have all been taken out and shot as hopeless incompetents!
So given let us say 10-15 years from 1865 (US Civil War) to 1870 (Franco Prussian War) what is it we are still confused about RE: Cyber or the Internet, or Media - all of which we have some 20 years experience of? - and given quite a lot more conflict!

I submit that Steam and Telegraph has at least as substantial social and cultural effect, as the Internet, Computers and so-called modern media.

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We have to extrapolate beyond "certainty" because the only thing certain is that we don't have it perfect - isn't that an old military saying ?
Yet no threat we see today was unknown or unknowable in 1991 - 18 years ago? More over, should a Capstone Concept aim at telling the future in the way this one tries? Why seek to predict things more than 5 years away?
Would a Capstone Concept of May 2001, been relevant in October 2001?

I don't think I am knit picking. The scope and aim of the document may be part of the problem.

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So, knowledge without understanding? I think there is a really good warning lesson there .
Precisely. The threat was clearly known and understood, but people failed to use that to their advantage!
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- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

Last edited by William F. Owen; 09-28-2009 at 05:01 PM. Reason: Spelin!
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Old 09-28-2009   #40
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Hi Wilf,

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So given let us say 10-15 years from 1865 (US Civil War) to 1870 (Franco Prussian War) what is it we are still confused about RE: Cyber or the Internet, or Media - all of which we have some 20 years experience of?
I would say the the current version of the ACC is confused about the basic analog to use for cyberspace and, from that, all other problems flow.

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I submit that Steam and Telegraph has at least as substantial social and cultural effect, as the Internet, Computers and so-called modern media - and given quite a lot more conflict!
Don't disagree with you on this at all ! Actually, what I use when I'm analyzing resonance functions is how we, as a species, "adapt" to new technologies, especially communicative ones. Steam power, both in its transport and productive modes, had an insanely huge effect on both society and culture, especially after the deployment of the Watt Engine. Projecting the analog forward, steam would be the rough analog of the transistor chip; it's that fundamental.

At the same time, it's actually harder for people to see the changes being wrought. It's pretty simple to see shifts with the introduction of a steam engine in, say, a cotton factory in Manchester. It's harder to see the changes, and get a gut feel for the interconnections, when we look at chips being embedded in appliances.

Oh well, I guess I'll just have to finish that damn essay off......

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Yet no threat we see today was unknown or unknowable in 1991 - 18 years ago? More over, should a Capstone Concept aim at telling the future in the way this one tries? Why seek to predict things more than 5 years away?
Hmmm, you're quite right that it was "knowable". as for predicting 5+ years into the future, that's also a valid thing to do IFF the freakin' model contains QC feedback loops (which, BTW, this one doesn't appear to). But what is actually being predicted isn't the "unknowable" in the future, it is the growth vector of what we can currently perceive. The QC loops should be in place to cover the possibility (probability) of completely new things happening.

Cheers,

Marc
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