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Old 03-04-2010   #181
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Armed services are bureaucracies. This explains a lot.
It explains prejudices, limited perception, the piling up of problems, red tape, slow reaction, rigidity - few problems really surprise you once you understand that armed services are bureaucracies.


There's a kind of solution.

Have an army. Observe how it turns into an inefficient bureacracy.
Take a selection of 100 high potential people, educate them and let them found a Marine Corps.
Let the Marine Corps take over the army's mission step by step.
Downsize the army to zero within 25 years. Don't transfer more than one selected per cent of army personnel to the MC.
Observe how it (the MC) turns into an inefficient bureacracy.
Take a selection of 100 high potential people, educate them and let them found an army.
(...)
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Old 03-04-2010   #182
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Why does doctrine progressively get more complicated and misty - the estimate process is turning into a doctrinal thesis. I'm waiting for the Doctrine guy who chucks most of the manuals and is able to issue doctrinal pamphlets that can be carried by, issued to, read and understood by all leaders at all levels. When I show this stuff to my Sergeants, they laugh and say "whatever". Pretty bad when doctrine is spit out and not read by 95% of the target audience.
Could it be that this advance on complexity is part of a self-fulfilling prophecy? We are being told that conducting COIN is the graduate level of military operations. If one accepts that premise, then the doctrine needed to execute "graduate-level" warfare must also be on the order of some Ph.D. dissertation in an area of arcane wisdom.

After slogging through the opening chapters of the FM, I concluded that its authors could have summed up design with the sentence, "Submit the environment to circumspection ere traveling some feet of space via muscular projection."
I also suspect that most folks on the ground who are performing successfully and not just reacting to what happens around them could express that one sentence summary much more succinctly: "Look before you leap."
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Old 03-04-2010   #183
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Hacksaw,

Well, like I said before, I’m no experts on FM 5.0 or design but here is a view as I see it.

Our doctrine is changing to meet the complexity and competitive nature of the environment in which we now must operate. For example, battle command, the art of maneuvering forces and managing violence shifts toward mission command, to reflect the reality that the instrument of military power is also largely a national tool for doing many things traditionally outside the military’s purview.

FM 3.0, describes full spectrum operations (FSO) as Offense, Defense, and Stability Operations, which means leaders must be grounded not only in the tactics, techniques and procedures of force on force, but also in integrating capabilities with others in a battlespace that’s increasingly crowded and transparent.

Therefore, if we decentralize capability and authority to lower tactical levels, to empower the edge, then leaders at these levels need mission command type orders that are broad and not so prescriptive that they can’t develop the situation on their own.

I see design as the means that empowers these junior leaders to do just that—develop the situation.

Bill Jakola
Like Wilf... this isn't being an internet troll for the sake of being obtuse... and I know you aren't the author... and what you are doing is in fact an element of IO (that isn't a bad thing), but the problem is that the message has to be credible... Sorry, but the last two paragraphs don't cut the mustard... I am intimately aware of the trust and responsibility that we put in junior leaders... however, they have an MTOE and METL... we have a reasonable expectation that if given a tactical task, that they can develop the implied tasks necessary to achieve the desired endstate in their AO... If the Army's envisioned actions of a Junior Leader is that he parses the higher headquarters order... and says well I know what it says but I don't agree with the problem to be solved and moves ahead on that assessment... well we need to dispense with BN, DIV, Corps HQs...

If a BN can't give clear enough orders to a CO-Grade LDR so that he understands his environment, adjacent and high missions, and tasks... no amount of Design rub is going to solve that fundamental problem...

I would argue that if BCT & below are conducting Design as most recently described in Doctrine... it is a failure of senior leadership and the SAMS program. Must a tactical unit continually develop their understanding of the battlespace? Ah yea... Should a tactical unit, as a matter of routine, have to question what the hell they ought to do??? ah no....

Now I would characterize Gian (my friend) issues with the Army as the "COIN-ification" of the force... that FM 3-24 has become our operational doctrine and that this is bad.... I'm not sure I agree, I think he over-estimates the effect but I understand the concern....

This Design nonsense is I think far more worrisome... It essentially proposes that our doctrine didn't tell us that we had to think critically about our environment during the mission analysis/running estimate process... that of course is not the case - its just that (the corporate) we didn't do it... we didn't demand it of ourselves... we became great at inserting google earth screen captures and GPS, but lost the ability to look at contour lines and envision what the hell they really meant, see an overhead picture of urban sprawl and forgot who populated those structures that weren't on our maps... Strategic planners forgot what they learned as tactical and operational planners... namely that you have to understand the task org and its capabilities, you have to give a task that makes SENSE, and you have to give a piece of terrain to the subordinate leaders that, in terms of both geography and logical boundaries, allows the subordinate to achieve the mission... and you have to organize that activity in relation to the other military activities in the battlespace...

I really don't like to rant, and lack the patience to go back through this and take out the invective, but in the immortal words of Lewis Black... "well I can't help it, this sh!t pisses me off"

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Old 03-04-2010   #184
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Still slogging through it, but I am getting increasingly frustrated by the way "uncertainty" is being used in such an uncritical, one might almost say "superstitious", manner.
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Old 03-04-2010   #185
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Ahh...good ole uncertainty. I'm pretty sure Tuthmose III was uncertain as his chariots rumbled into Megiddo. Isn't uncertainty just a by-product of human (thus, not always rational or predictable) interaction. How is uncertainty new?
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Old 03-04-2010   #186
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Ahh...good ole uncertainty. I'm pretty sure Tuthmose III was uncertain as his chariots rumbled into Megiddo. Isn't uncertainty just a by-product of human (thus, not always rational or predictable) interaction. How is uncertainty new?
Uncertainty is most definitely not new. But the following may be worth pondering.

The more uncertainty one has, the more risk to which one is exposed. One way to reduce risk is to reduce uncertainty. I suspect that in an organizational milieu characterized by a low tolerance for risk (the organization is very risk averse), the reduction of uncertainty tends to assume a large role in the thinking of that organization's members.

On the move to Megiddo, Thutmose III may well have faced uncertainty about which road through the mountains was best to take, but the fact that he chose the narrow middle route seems to demonstrate that he was not risk averse.
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Old 03-04-2010   #187
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While uncertainty is war is definitely not new, the things about which we are uncertain are: What are out national goals in Iraq and Afghanistan? When will the remaining components of national power start contributing? What is the military's endstate? Does the Global War on Terrorism have an end in sight, or will the military be deployed indefinitely? How long can our economy support the current spending in Iraq and Afghanistan? What will our nation's stance be if Iraq's elections go south or Maliki loses but refuses to give up power?
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Old 03-05-2010   #188
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I'm sure Roman consuls asked the same questions, just with different names and places.
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Old 03-05-2010   #189
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Ok, I am going to take a serious look at this, but must confess, I couldn't get past the title.

Operating under Conditions of Uncertainty and Complexity in an Era of Persistent Conflict

Or, said another way:

Employment of Military Power to Force Compliance with an Obsolete Foregin Policy in a Era of Strategic Uncertainty and Social Change

We can keep trying to build the perfect hammer at Defense, or we can draft a better blueprint at State. I look forward to reading this, and hope it strongly suggests the importance of the latter.
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Old 03-05-2010   #190
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We can keep trying to build the perfect hammer at Defense, or we can draft a better blueprint at State. I look forward to reading this, and hope it strongly suggests the importance of the latter.
OK, but Armed force serves policy. The Army has to provide what the Policy maker requires - NOT provide what would work if the policy was easier to fulfil by military means. Armies are contractors, not clients.
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Old 03-05-2010   #191
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Default True, yet military duty does not equate to blind obedience

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OK, but Armed force serves policy. The Army has to provide what the Policy maker requires - NOT provide what would work if the policy was easier to fulfil by military means. Armies are contractors, not clients.
Take the following quote from a General following his command tour in Afghanistan for example:

"We have nothing to fear from Afghanistan, and the best thing to do is to leave it as much as possible to itself. It may not be very flattering to our amour propres, but I feel sure I am right when I say that the less the Afghans see of us the less they will dislike us. Should Russia in future years attempt to conquer Afghanistan, or invade India through it, we shold have a better chance of attaching the Afghans to our interest if we avoid all interference with them in the meantime.


When General Frederick Roberts published that statement upon his return to Britain from the 1879 campaign it was because British policy toward Afhganistan was a matter of tremendous debate, and I suspect that as the recent commander on the ground there he felt he had some worthy insights for the policy types to take into account.


It is a bit chilling at how easy we could replace "Russia" with "AQ" and this insight would remain quite valid today.
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"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)

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Old 03-05-2010   #192
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While uncertainty is war is definitely not new, the things about which we are uncertain are: What are out national goals in Iraq and Afghanistan? When will the remaining components of national power start contributing? What is the military's endstate? Does the Global War on Terrorism have an end in sight, or will the military be deployed indefinitely? How long can our economy support the current spending in Iraq and Afghanistan? What will our nation's stance be if Iraq's elections go south or Maliki loses but refuses to give up power?
Have you noticed that all of these areas / sources of uncertainty are political and not the purview of the military (with the possible exception of #3)? I'll also note that the uncertainty contained in these points is derived from uncertainty about the actions of US politicians....
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Old 03-05-2010   #193
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Default The military's role in foreign policy

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Have you noticed that all of these areas / sources of uncertainty are political and not the purview of the military (with the possible exception of #3)? I'll also note that the uncertainty contained in these points is derived from uncertainty about the actions of US politicians....
While these areas are political, they are very much the purview of the military in the operational environment in Iraq and Afghanistan (whether they should be or not is another topic - see ADM Mullen's comments to KSU http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/us...html?ref=world). US military commanders oversee the Gov of Iraq up through the Provincial level, and the MNF-I commander has considerable influence and responsibilty at the Iraqi national level (though he does have an Ambassador beside him).
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Old 03-05-2010   #194
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Default I'm not sure that is necessarily true...

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While these areas are political, they are very much the purview of the military in the operational environment in Iraq and Afghanistan (whether they should be or not is another topic...)...
That it is another topic. If one accepts that as true and the default position, perhaps. OTOH if one accepts that much of that 'default position' is due to budget and turf battles in DC as opposed to what makes sense in the wider world or even in Afghanistan and Iraq -- which I do -- then one might come to the conclusion that the priorities AND the developmental and implementing authorities are skewed.

While you're correct that the US Armed Forces are directly involved in making political policy (domestically and internationally), I think the question ought to be "should they be doing that?" Many would say that's an immaterial question, they are.

However, I ask why they seem to want to continue to make policy in a realm that is not and should not be theirs. I don't like the answer I keep coming back to...
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Old 03-05-2010   #195
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However, I ask why they seem to want to continue to make policy in a realm that is not and should not be theirs. I don't like the answer I keep coming back to...
Neither do I Ken, which is why I raised the point. Just what does the concept of the military being subordinant to civilian control mean when the military is exercising powers, for whatever reason, which are clearly the responsibility of civilian groups without the umbrella of something such as "military occupation"?

At the conceptual level, and that's really where a lot of this discussion is at, should political decisions of this type be part of the military's decision making process with the assumption that they are (potentially) under military control? Wouldn't it make sense to categorize uncertainties by source where the "source" is the group that (supposedly) have "control" (whatever that means! ) over the decision?
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Old 03-05-2010   #196
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While you're correct that the US Armed Forces are directly involved in making political policy (domestically and internationally), I think the question ought to be "should they be doing that?" Many would say that's an immaterial question, they are.

However, I ask why they seem to want to continue to make policy in a realm that is not and should not be theirs. I don't like the answer I keep coming back to...
The military commanders with whom I have had contact (up through division) never seemed like they wanted to make policy, foreign or domestic. I cannot not speak to commanders at corps and above (far above my paygrade). Not sure which answer you come back to Ken, but the answer I keep coming up with is: because nobody else will.

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OK, but Armed force serves policy. The Army has to provide what the Policy maker requires - NOT provide what would work if the policy was easier to fulfil by military means. Armies are contractors, not clients.
though our contract is fairly open-ended. The issue comes back to "what do the policy makers require?"
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Old 03-05-2010   #197
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This cartoon pretty much sums up what I see as design and my issue with FM 5.0. And, by the way, the cartoon also shows what it will take for the folks who should be making national foreign policy decisons to actually make them and then express the requirements in a way that will enable the the "contractors" in DoD to fufill them.
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Old 03-05-2010   #198
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Default The answer I keep coming up with is the one mentioned earlier.

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The military commanders with whom I have had contact (up through division) never seemed like they wanted to make policy, foreign or domestic.
I generally agree with that - but as you get to the Army MaComs and DA -- not to mention the CoComs and DoD proper -- they are quite concerned with policy and politics. Excessively so, some say.
Quote:
Not sure which answer you come back to Ken, but the answer I keep coming up with is: because nobody else will.
There's a bit of nobody else will -- or wants to -- but there's also a lot more of nobody else has the reach and the capability. That goes back to my recurring answer "OTOH if one accepts that much of that 'default position' is due to budget and turf battles in DC as opposed to what makes sense in the wider world or even in Afghanistan and Iraq -- which I do..."

Thus my belief that the priorities AND the developmental and implementing authorities are skewed...
Quote:
Wilf is correct...though our contract is fairly open-ended. The issue comes back to "what do the policy makers require?"
The answer is that they too often require things that DoD purposely has elected to not give them, therefor they must use ad-hoc solutions that are at least nominally within the capability that DoD can and will provide. We've seen since 1950 how that's worked out for us -- my take is not at all well...
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Old 03-05-2010   #199
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....but that is simply not true.
a.) It could be that the doctrine was always very poor and badly written. No one seems to want to ask that one.
William,

Your suggestion that our doctrine was not well written may have merit; let’s explore this. Measuring how well or poorly we developed doctrine requires us to understand the context. Thus for example, the 1993 FM 100-5 Operations captures the essence of this context question:

“Never static, always dynamic, the Army’s doctrine is firmly rooted in the realities of current capabilities. At the same time, it reaches out with a measure of confidence to the future. Doctrine captures the lessons of past wars, reflects the nature of war and conflict in its own time, and anticipates the intellectual and technological developments that will bring victory now and in the future.”

Now, just because the writers here intended to base their thinking on the past, current and future realities, does not mean they succeeded; and in retrospect, the validity of their doctrine (any doctrine) depends more on assumptions than intentions. Thus, we need to evaluate the validity of their assumptions.

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....b.) Warfare simply cannot get more complex and competitive than it was 600-1,000 years ago! - however the US Army can be less-skilled than it was in understanding the application of force for political purpose.
This is where earlier doctrine writers may have come up short; for example, assuming certainty as the ability of technology to deliver us knowledge dominance -- the quality of firsts (see first, understand first, act first, and win decisively) – is not valid. But even here complexity is not new to our doctrine, as the following quote shows.

Chapter 1, page 1-1 of the 1993 FM 100-5; “Unlike the Cold War era when threats were measurable and, to some degree, predictable Army forces today are likely to encounter conditions of greater ambiguity and uncertainty. Doctrine must be able to accommodate this wider variety of threats.”

FM 5.0 seems to have assumptions of complexity, uncertainty, and continuous change. But let’s be clear; this appears as an acknowledgement of the nature of war and not a new aspect of war. War is war. Thus to say the operational environment is complex is not to say that war is more complex, it is just using the inherent complexity as an assumption to build doctrine.

Whereas, the increase may be in the competitive and transparent nature of the environment. Here we have some justification, as during the Cold War, we thought in terms of a bipolar world competition. Even though this was not completely accurate it did inform doctrine at least well enough to prevail in that conflict. But today our competition includes a number of near peers and other organizations below the nation-state like al Qaeda or a drug cartel. The transparency comes in the form of the 24 hour news cycle and the explosion of information available to almost anyone on the internet.

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....So essentially you are saying people do not understand the application of military power? - Regular and Irregular Warfare are not mysteries. We know exactly what works and what does not. The only place confusion exists seems to be in Western Armies concepts and doctrine.
Perhaps you can draw this conclusion; and I do not deny it. But your conclusion is further than I am willing to go; because like I said, doctrine development depends on the context of the times. So instead of looking back to how well we did doctrine in the past I am purely focused on the validity of this current doctrine.

Bill Jakola

P. S. The March/April 2010 edition of Military Review has been posted online.

This issue includes the article "Field Manual 5-0: Exercising Command and Control in an Era of Persistent Conflict" by Colonel Clinton J. Ancker, III, U.S. Army, Retired, and Lieutenant Colonel Michael Flynn, U.S. Army, Retired. This article highlights the debut of the new manual.

http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/Military...430_art005.pdf
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Old 03-05-2010   #200
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Zen mate, not having a pop but...


ALL WAR has ALWAYS been uncertain and complex. Adaptation has ALWAYS been required. Media attention is utterly irrelevant unless commanders are taking their orders from the BBC. You conduct operations in line with political guidance from your chain on command. You do not modify a plan because you fear the media. You modify a plan so as it best gains the political objective you Commander in chief is seeking to achieve.


You cannot "manage" anything in war. You either react to it, or force it to do your will, by what ever means (ask nicely, ask, tell, and then force )

Sorry, the idea that "The media" has changed War is evidence free. The idea that modern war is complex, is progressed by those unable to understand it.

Media: I'm not sure the bombing of Dresden or Hamburg would possible today due to media influence. The Allies killed 200,000 people in 3 days (mostly all civilians). There's no way we could do that today. Do you think we could get away with bombing Tehran like we did Dresden or Tokyo?
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