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Old 11-04-2005   #1
DDilegge
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Default Iraq education and training (merged thread)

4 Nov. Reuters article: Army Adapts to 'War of the Flea' in Iraq. Excerpt follows:

"In small steps and without fanfare, the U.S. Army is adapting its training to 'the war of the flea,' the type of hit-and-run insurgency that is gripping Iraq, where more than 2,000 American military personnel have been killed."

"Counterinsurgency training, military experts say, largely vanished from the curriculum of Army schools after the Vietnam War. It began a slow comeback after the Iraq war, which opened with a massive ground and air assault, turned into a protracted conflict of ambushes, bombings and hit-and-run attacks."

"Now, there is counterinsurgency (instruction) at every level, from the warrior leader course (for front-line sergeants) through to the war college, said Brig. Gen. Volney Warner, deputy commandant of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College."

Last edited by DDilegge; 11-13-2005 at 06:52 PM.
 
Old 11-04-2005   #2
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One of the books that will be required reading at the college -- an essential career step for all officers who want to rise above the rank of major -- is a textbook by David Galula which was first published in 1964.
Just curious. Why is Galula's book excluded from your reading list?
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Old 11-04-2005   #3
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Default We Do Not 'Exclude'

As they say, you don't know what you don't know. Will add the book and we expect a review from you most ricky-tik -
 
Old 11-05-2005   #4
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Default Quantity vs. Quality

Quote:
Originally Posted by DDilegge
4 Nov. Reuters article: Army Adapts to 'War of the Flea' in Iraq. Excerpt follows"

"In small steps and without fanfare, the U.S. Army is adapting its training to 'the war of the flea,' the type of hit-and-run insurgency that is gripping Iraq, where more than 2,000 American military personnel have been killed."

"Counterinsurgency training, military experts say, largely vanished from the curriculum of Army schools after the Vietnam War. It began a slow comeback after the Iraq war, which opened with a massive ground and air assault, turned into a protracted conflict of ambushes, bombings and hit-and-run attacks."

"Now, there is counterinsurgency (instruction) at every level, from the warrior leader course (for front-line sergeants) through to the war college, said Brig. Gen. Volney Warner, deputy commandant of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College."

While this is a good first step, one should ask why the Army has also announced that is going to try to push more non-resident PME vice resident PME, and is looking to cut the length of their CGSC course. How much of this is window dressing? The obvious answer is because of resource shortfalls in manpower and funding. Again I ask, is this all window dressing? How does one conduct effective COIN ops from Stryker vehicles, Bradleys, and tanks? I've read Galula's work, and dont remember a chapter that covers this.

Last edited by Strickland; 11-05-2005 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 11-05-2005   #5
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Originally Posted by Major Strickland
? How does one conduct effective COIN ops from Stryker vehicles, Bradleys, and tanks? I've read Galula's work, and dont remember a chapter that covers this.
Galula advocated the widespread use of light infantry instead of heavy forces. Heavy units have a very limited role in COIN ops and should adapt along light infantry characteristics.

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As long as the insurgent has failed to build a powerful regular army, the counterinsurgent has little use for heavy, sophisticated forces designed for conventional warfare. For his ground forces he needs infantry and more infantry, highly mobile and lightly armed
-ch 6
The Stryker is a lemon

Last edited by GorTex6; 11-05-2005 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 11-06-2005   #6
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Default Galula had an opinion, it isn't gospel

I don’t think we should take Galula’s comments out of context, nor assume his comments are a gospel that must be followed. We can fall into the same mental trap that big Army was stuck in for years, when they assumed their Fulda Gap doctrine would apply to all conflicts around the world equally. While Galula’s comments reference armor are probably spot on in several case studies, such as fighting a small war where the foe is using Maoist tactics and the terrain limits maneuver of Armor as it did in Vietnam, Cambodia, El Salvador, etc. However, a sound argument can be made that armor facilitates infantry maneuver in Iraq. Can you imagine how long and how costly the battle for Fallujah would have been without armor enablers? It is the right tool at certain times and locations. Note we don't have armor to any great extent at all in Afghanistan.

As for the Army's PME being shortened in length I would caution to avoid associating length with quality. The Army has a long habit of cramming four weeks of solid instruction into three months. I strongly recommend shortening the PME pipeline where we can, so we can get our soldiers back into the fight. You’ll learn more about waging so called small wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, than taking a couple of COIN electives at Ft. Leavenworth. As for professional reading assignments, why can’t we do those via distance learning and save the Army (and tax payers) money, and allow the soldier to spend more time at home with his family?
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Old 11-06-2005   #7
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Default Tanks and COIN

I couldnt agree more that Galula's, Thompson's, or Kitson's opinions arent gospel; however, they are all the products of experience, and thus I would rather have my young Marines learn about them from a book in a controlled environment, than "learning by doing" in OIF and OEF as they make mistakes that cost lives. This "learning by doing attitude" has resulted in a lot of needless casualties.

As for your reference to armor in Fallujah as evidence its utility in COIN, I think you are missing the point. Yes, armor facilitates movement during engagements in urban terrain where there is NO concern for collateral damage such as in Fallujah. Yes, during these types of engagements, I would request tanks to destroy houses so that my Marines did not have to enter and take unnecessary risks, but this is the exception, not the rule. Tanks are a symbol of occupation NOT cooperation or security. Tanks send the wrong IO message. Tanks in Iraq appear to Muslims as tanks in Gaza or Ramallah, etc. They require a tremendous amount of infantry support to clear avenues of approach for them in the urban terrain and river valleys of Iraq.

As for you comment that non-resident PME has the same utility as resident PME, you are simply wrong. I have completed the non-resident Command and Staff College Course, and now am attending the resident course. The courses are like night and day, and having spent time in Iraq with another tour in my future, I dont feel as if I am wasting the tax payers dollars.
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Old 11-06-2005   #8
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Like most people who visit this site I read everything I can get my eyes on (time permitting) that provide any insight into insurgency and counterinsurgency operations. However, taking lessons from the past and attempting to template them on current situations without truly analyzing the major and minor scenario differences won’t get us to the right answer for solving the problems we face today. Cause and effect will be different for almost every conflict, thus the potential beauty of true effect based operations if the emerging doctrine is used properly.

My background is Special Forces, but unlike many of my peers, I have a great respect for conventional Army and Marine capabilities. Of course for these capabilities to be productive vice counterproductive you must have outstanding officer and NCO leadership that are astute enough to adapt their TTP to the situation (first do no harm). Some of our units, like the 4th ID in 03 failed at this for a number of reasons, and maybe it was due to a "Mech mentality", along with some other problems, but I bet when they come in this time with a different mentality they will do very well.

I do have a strong difference of opinion with your previous statement where you wrote,

How does one conduct effective COIN operations from Stryker vehicles, Bradleys, and tanks? I read Galula’s work, and don’t remember a chapter that covers this”.

I hope someone from the Stryker Brigade that just left Mosul writes a book or article from the operational perspective on how they conducted COIN. By all accounts (from Special Forces soldiers and reporters embedded with them) they did an outstanding job. No doubt they made mistakes, but overall they did a great job, and more importantly they were effective. The Stryker vehicle did not prevent them from executing effective HUMINT, Civil Military Operations, Presence Patrols, dismounted infantry operations, etc., but it did enable them to conduct effective sophisticated surgical strikes that maximized the C4I and combat power of their Strykers in a very dangerous situation. I don't think an 82nd ABN BDE with light skinned vehicles could have done as well in this environment.

Galula wrote primarily about counter colonial wars, and while many of the lessons are relevant to some degree; the scenarios were different. I'll make two points, both probably worthy of a separate discussion.

1. I don't think we want to castrate our Army's combat power to become more like Brit like. While the Brit's were very effective at conducting COIN prior to WWII, they couldn't fight a conventional war effectively and therefore were unable to counter the Nazi Germany offensive effectively. While we may not face another conventional threat from a near peer in the immediate future, I think it is premature to throw the baby out with bath water at this point. Insteand of going to a lighter force, I think we simply need to train our heavy forces in COIN. This isn't near as efficient or effective as forming a SASO or COIN force, but we still retain our ability to dominate any ground conflict. Maybe this is a dinasour's answer, but I still see conventional threats in the world.

2. We constantly talk about conducting COIN in Iraq, but are we really conducting COIN? I think it can be argued that we’re not conducting a counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq yet, because we haven’t completed the regime change. Once the regime change is in place, then we can shift to a truer COIN model. Maybe attempting to use COIN doctrine at this point is counter productive? Did we conduct COIN in post war Germany? In Iraq we are an occupying force until we get a viable government in place. We didn't come in to protect a threatened government, we removed a government. I know this will open a can of worms, but I think it is worthy of discussion.

As for PME, I hope your comment about window dressing is off the mark, but I fear you might be right. I still think there are many subjects that can be addressed via distance learning if we develop a learning culture in our ranks. In turn this will better prepare the student to maximize his return for time at the resident PME facilities, but this must be done correctly, not just to facilitate saving dollars and time (boots on the ground time). If you’re right and our PME is being degraded, then the impact will be strategic over time.
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Old 11-07-2005   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore
I don’t think we should take Galula’s comments out of context, nor assume his comments are a gospel that must be followed. We can fall into the same mental trap that big Army was stuck in for years, when they assumed their Fulda Gap doctrine would apply to all conflicts around the world equally.
I never said Galula was gospel. His book attempts to sway the reader away from the conventional warfare Jominian dogma. You should fight for the popular support instead of physical destruction- and win at the moral level, eroding the insurgents ability to move and interact so freely.

Quote:
I hope someone from the Stryker Brigade that just left Mosul writes a book or article from the operational perspective on how they conducted COIN.
We should worry more about how we think rather than how to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Major Strickland
Tanks are a symbol of occupation NOT cooperation or security. Tanks send the wrong IO message. Tanks in Iraq appear to Muslims as tanks in Gaza or Ramallah, etc.
That was a breath of fresh air!

Last edited by GorTex6; 11-07-2005 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 11-07-2005   #10
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Originally Posted by Bill Moore
I hope someone from the Stryker Brigade that just left Mosul writes a book or article from the operational perspective on how they conducted COIN.
Well, right now you can access the SBCT Initial Impressions Report - Operations in Mosul, Iraq dated 21 Dec 04. It is available on the CALL website and in the CALL Web Products folder in the AKO KC files.
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Old 11-07-2005   #11
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Default Win at the moral level?

His book attempts to sway the reader away from the conventional warfare Jominian dogma. You should fight for the popular support instead of physical destruction- and win at the moral level, eroding the insurgents ability to move and interact so freely.

Winning at the moral level is hard to define and harder to do. Obviously we failed to that during the Vietnam War with our massive bombings and relentless pursuit of higher body counts. I’ll still argue it wasn’t the tools (bombers, artillery, etc.), but the application of the tools, or strategy. West Pointers have traditionally been terrible at formulating strategies, beginning with our Civil War where we somehow hold certain Generals in high esteem for leading their Armies to slaughter. Let’s not forget our military strategy is a by product of our industrial superiority, which makes us particularly unsuited to wage wars where we’re not able to destroy another Nation State’s fielded forces.

Getting back on to Iraq, your arguments don’t ring true to me because the conflict in Iraq isn't a true COIN, since we're still in the midst of regime change, nor is Iraq some simple banana republic host to a Marxist insurgency where the insurgency springs up from the soil based on economic disparities creating a base susceptible to Marxist ideology. This is the type of insurgency we have all studied, and now (after the fact) have great strategic and operational ideas for addressing this type of challenge.

However, we’re on the verge of making the same mistakes we made in Vietnam by failing to understand the true nature of the war. If we simply think we’re going to apply counter-Marxist/Maoist strategy to tackle this threat, then we’ll probably be reading about ourselves in the history books a few years from now on how we miss read the situation once again. The conflict in Iraq is a confluence of religion, ideological, economical, outside agitators, and ethnic tensions. Saddam was left in place by President Bush senior because he saw Saddam as the lesser of two evils, one who was actually a stabilizing influence who managed to keep Pandora’s Box closed. Sometimes the high moral ground is a chose between the lesser of two evils.

Now that Pandora’s Box is open we need to start thinking pragmatically instead of continuing to promote idealistically based strategies that have little application in the real world. As you stated, we need to learn how to think, not what to think.

In Iraq the winning at the moral level needs to be defined, and not by Sun Tsu, but by someone familiar with the world we live in today. Once it is defined, we have to determine how to translate it into action at the strategic and operational level. These are far from simple tasks. We can quote authors from Sun Tzu to Kaplan, but it won’t get us there.

Do you really believe that if we loaded our tanks up on ships in Kuwait and sent them back to Texas that Iraq would be better off? Do you think lightly armed infantry in cities with a dedicated foe supported by a number of nations and non-state entities will simply loose their will to carry on the conflict? That the Iraqi people will suddenly raise to the occasion and poison the pond making it untenable to the insurgents? Perhaps if we build a few more schools and medical clinics in various Iraqi cities in the Sunni dominated areas, then the Iraqis will suddenly see the light and embrace our form of democracy? Of course we can't provide adequate security for people to actually go to school in these areas yet, so I wouldn't be in too much of a hurry to get rid of our forces.

As for winning the war, does the military win the war, or do we establish conditions to enable another organization to win the war? What are the conditions? What organization actually wins it? If it is the Iraqi government, then what do we need to do to actually stand up an effective government? We’re far from figuring this one out, but I trust we will this time, because we have to.
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Old 11-11-2005   #12
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Default Lessons learned

Jedburgh, thanks for the pointer. Going by the date, these would be their lessons learned and impressions after only a couple of months on the ground. I would really like to contrast these with their lessons and perceptions towards the end of their tour. Based on my readings and discussions with some of the officers there, they adapted very effectively.

That brings me to my question for you, how do you feel about how we manage lessons learned? Do you feel the websites are used to the extent they should be? Do they effectively change POI's in our schools? Seems to me that too much pull is involved, and not enough push. Although I have absolutely no suggestions to make it better, so maybe we're doing the best we can.

I had a very sharp boss that suggested we don't have lessons learned, we simply have lessons, meaning they're the same lessons again and again because we fail to learn them. I sometimes think that assessment is correct more often than not.

Bill
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Old 11-12-2005   #13
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Default Small Wars and Counter-Insurgency Warfare: Lessons from Iraq

Just in via e-mail from Major M. W. Shervington to the SWJ and posted on the SWJ Operation Iraqi Freedom / Telic / Falconer / Catalyst page in the Reference Library.

Small Wars and Counter-Insurgency Warfare: Lessons from Iraq - Major M. W. Shervington, British Army. Cranfield University thesis, July 2005.

On 1 May 2003, President George W. Bush stood aboard USS Abraham Lincoln, in front of a banner stating ‘Mission Accomplished’, and declared that ‘major combat operations have ended. In the battle for Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.’ The President’s declaration has proved to be a false dawn. Despite a breathtaking conventional military campaign that removed Saddam Hussein’s regime in 43 days, the US-led Coalition has since been embroiled in countering an increasingly violent, diverse and unpredictable insurgency.

This dissertation provides some historical perspective to the development of insurgency and counter-insurgency. It traces the background to the creation of the modern state of Iraq. It examines the post-conflict insurgency in Iraq. It considers those decisions made by the Coalition that most contributed to its emergence and growth. It analyses those lessons that should contribute to future British counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine.

The paper addresses four themes. First, the US military alone in Iraq is conducting a COIN campaign against an insurgency that is unprecedented in history. Secondly, key lessons for British COIN doctrine must be learnt from the American politico-military experience; the British Army must therefore be receptive and open-minded. Thirdly, Iraq has witnessed a continued failure by American and British policy-makers to learn the lessons from history. Lastly, COIN operations in Iraq have to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people as they have to do with the perceptions of the wider Muslim world and the American and British electorates. It is a battle of perceptions in a war over ideas.
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Old 11-12-2005   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore
Going by the date, these would be their lessons learned and impressions after only a couple of months on the ground. I would really like to contrast these with their lessons and perceptions towards the end of their tour. Based on my readings and discussions with some of the officers there, they adapted very effectively.
Here's more on the SBCT in Mosul:

3/2 SBCT and the Countermortar Fight in Mosul

Edit to add: Examining the SBCT Concept and Insurgency in Mosul, Iraq

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore
That brings me to my question for you, how do you feel about how we manage lessons learned? Do you feel the websites are used to the extent they should be? Do they effectively change POI's in our schools?
Some old dead guy once said, in effect, Any idiot can learn from his own mistakes. An effective combat leader learns from the mistakes of others. I feel we do an excellent job of collecting lessons learned - but we do very poorly in disseminating them and putting them into practice. The websites are certainly not being used anywhere near to the extent that they should be. Look at NCO Net, as an example of the BCKS system - it is used by only a relatively small number of NCOs, and the discussion of lessons learned is minimal - given the current operational environment. Many of the NCOs who do use the forum are not aware of the resources available through CALL etc. The NCO education system does a very poor job of informing and pushing effective exploitation and use of such resources by our NCOs. A tremendous potential exists for using these lessons learned and integrating them into unit training that is not being effectively leveraged.

This issue certainly does goes beyond unit training to the POI at MOS-producing schools in TRADOC. I can only speak from my experience in the MI field, but both Huachuca and DLI lag far behind operational reality, and do a poor job of exeditiously integrating lessons learned into current instruction.

Last edited by Jedburgh; 11-13-2005 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 11-13-2005   #15
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Originally Posted by Bill Moore
In Iraq the winning at the moral level needs to be defined, and not by Sun Tsu, but by someone familiar with the world we live in today.
While the classical three levels of war carry over into the Fourth Generation, they are joined there by three new levels which may be more important. Colonel Boyd identified these three new levels as the physical, the mental and the moral. Further, he argued that the physical level -- killing people and breaking things is the least powerful, the moral level is the most powerful and the mental level lies between the other two. Colonel Boyd argued that this is especially true in guerilla warfare, which is more closely related to Fourth Generation war than is formal warfare between state militaries. The history of guerilla warfare, from the Spanish guerilla war against Napoleon through Israel's experience in southern Lebanon, supports Colonel Boyd's observation. This leads to the central dilemma of Fourth Generation war: what works for you on the physical (and sometimes mental) level often works against you at the moral level. It is therefore very easy in a Fourth Generation conflict to win all the tactical engagements yet lose the war. To the degree you win at the physical level by pouring on firepower that causes casualties and property damage to the local population, every physical victory may move you closer to moral defeat. And the moral level is decisive.
-FMFM-1A, 4GW

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Old 11-14-2005   #16
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Default Boyd on Counterinsurgency Warfare - Moral Dimension

Check slides 105 -111 with emphasis on 108

Patterns of Conflict:
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Old 11-15-2005   #17
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Default Understand the concept, not the application

Thanks for the patterns of conflict of brief. I read the biography on Boyd a little over a year ago, and only wish I had read it sooner. I still wonder how such a profound thinker came out of the seat of fighter jet, but the answer was in his bio, he applied the principles of physics to war and sociology.

I understand the the concept behind your argument that we must win on the moral level, but remain sceptical that removing our Strykers and Armor will put us on the moral high ground. Regrettably I have to over simplify your arguments to keep this short. The question I asked before remains unanswered, how do we win the moral battle in Iraq?

Using Boyd's three forms of conflict, I think it is safe to say we won the maneuver fight, and we're now waging a war of attrition and a war on the moral front. The war of attrition doesn't need explanation, it may or may not be decisive.

The moral war is extremely challenging on at least three different levels: the moral war with the homefront, a moral war with the global audience, and most importantly a moral war with the Iraqi people (or more accurately peoples/tribes).

I won't belabor our challenges for gaining the moral high ground on the home front and with the global audience when the alleged reasons we went to war didn't bear any fruit yet. This is an extremely difficult obstacle to surmount, and the only mitigating factor may simply be time.

Winning the moral war with the Iraqi people is just as, or more, challenging outside of Kurdistan, as winning the moral war on the home and global fronts. We destroyed the Iraqi government and put a band aid in its place, and then we wonder why they can't respond to a crisis that is much more significant in scale than Huriccane Katrina? That is why I argue that OIF isn't a true counterinsurgency; furthermore, if this is true, then it is probable that strictly counterinsurgency strategies will probably fail to get us to the endstate we desire. Regime change requires a doctrine that is separate from counterinsurgency, even if many (if not most) of the lessons from previous counterinsurgencies are relevant.

Winning the moral war with Iraqi people will be extremely challenging when we attempt to establish a political system that flies in the face of their culture and history. Radical changes probably requires radical supporting actions like Mao and Lenin implemented. Obviously we don't want to go down that route. To compound the matters you have several different ethnic groups that do not trust one another, almost as bad as the Democrats and Republicans.

In the end I agree with the concept of winning on the moral level, but I think we better find other viable options in the meantime until we figure out how to achieve this concept on the ground.

On a happy note, I believe that if we stick with it we'll triumph, because our enemy is his own worst enemy. While we're struggling to define and obtain the moral high ground, our enemy doesn't even understand the concept. In time the Iraqi people will see this, and we'll have a cascading success.
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Old 11-15-2005   #18
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Default From my little piece of the pie...

I agree that the Army is not fighting a counterinsurgency here in Baghdad. There is most certainly an insurgency going on, but much of what we do isnt aimed at defeating it, just protecting ourselves. The use of tanks and Bradleys is necessary in some situations, and I wouldnt remove them from theatre, but I would greatly scale back their use. However, this would require drastic changes in the way the Army conducts operations here, changes that arent going to happen. Here's the problem: IEDs are far and away the biggest killers of Coalition and Iraqi troops. Where are most of the IEDs? On the MSRs. What do we INSIST on using to get around Baghdad? The MSRs. And this is why we use tanks and such here: route security. Because HMMWVs dont fare as well as a tank in IED attacks. So we use tanks and Bradleys to patrol routes and find IEDs.

Why don't we just stop using the MSRs? Hell if I know.

Are there any aviation knowledgable people here who can tell me why we cant move people and stuff by helicopter, like in Vietnam? We move a little by air, but not much. (Rather ignorant of this aspect, really. Please correct me if Im wrong.)

In the urban environment, I believe the Bradley to be the ideal vehicle. Lighter and more maneuverable than a tank. The tank has more firepower, but very rarely do you need 120mm sabot rounds on the flimsy structures here. The 25mm rounds are quite sufficient, and cause vastly less collateral damage. Best of all it carries it's own dismounts ("dirtmounts" according to one of my old section sergeants...). For these reasons, I'd keep at least some Brads around for heavy street fighting occasions, and some tanks too, in smaller numbers.

But a change in the way we operate would largly eliminate our need for them. We would stay off the MSRs almost entirely. My battalion has proven this works. Our LTC said "No more route security on this route. So, no driving on this route, except in an emergency or with my personal approval." Lo and behold, we freed up half the battalion for other things, there has been no interference with our operations, and no one's been hurt on that route since. Would this not work on a larger scale with a guy wearing stars making the same proclaimation? I think it would.
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Old 11-15-2005   #19
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Winning on the moral level in regards to armor is a matter of perception and feelings. Besides the possible consequences of how a civilian Iraqi perceives a war machine of steel and cannons in their streets, patrolling the streets on foot does not only eliminate such aspects - if not completely, so at least partially. It also moves it in the other direction as you have a much better opportunity to interact with the people on their level. Continuing this train of thought, you're signalling security and self-confidence, among other things.

Staying off MSRs... how about rolling out armor to staging points, which are changed to keep from ambush (would it be intelligent to ambush a heavy armor column?) and mining at its opening. Troops could then patrol from there or be inserted by chopper. Or with only heli/air support.

I don't know if that's possible or smart, but it's pretty interesting pondering what the insurgents would do if they have far fewer targets for their IEDs. Maybe more VBIEDs, or attacks on population, or they might be drawn out into the open - forced to fight to have effect.

Just another perspective... interesting discussion.

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Last edited by Martin; 11-15-2005 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 11-16-2005   #20
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Originally Posted by Bill Moore
While we're struggling to define and obtain the moral high ground, our enemy doesn't even understand the concept. In time the Iraqi people will see this, and we'll have a cascading success.
At the ground level(E-1 to E-6), we do not want to understand the concept Pop culture demands it !

The enemy exploits it

Last edited by GorTex6; 11-16-2005 at 04:17 AM.
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