Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Modest Proposal for a Restoring the Force

Given human nature, a large long service standing military will do what takes to keep their jobs even if it means defeat in war, would rather play at war than win, and present a standing threat to civil authority, regardless of intent. This tendency is found in any profession, doctors who kill more patients than cure hide behind their union, lawyers who lose behind theirs. And unlike doctors and lawyers, the military doesn’t practice it’s profession so the public, the government or themselves can find out whether or not they are competent.

Before JFK’s renaissance of the military and before Vietnam as I experienced it, shined boots and belt buckles, paint over dirt, shoe tags for parts, and properly formatted lesson plans were the elements of combat readiness. This is the default setting after a decade of peace. The post Vietnam army avoided this by training to specific contingencies which provided a realistic framework for training even when the contingency changed. We lost a lot of people in Vietnam due to shined boots and belt buckles, etc.

It is for these reasons that we can adopt either the default military that won all our wars before DoD was invented, and demobilize the active components of the military and turn the equipment, personnel, and material over to the Guard and Reserves, OR we can adopt a more modest proposal:

The Modest Proposal
1. End the Up or Out System. There is no good reason why once on reaches his or her level of competence to stay there.

2. Open the promotion system to all qualified regardless of component or service.

3. A rank or grade goes with you, regardless of service or component promotion in one is good for any other.

4. A service member may compete for positions of a lower grade with no loss of grade on retirement.

5. All service is computed in points and at 7200 points, the benefits of a twenty year full retirement are available.

6. All service in any component is by contract such as is done for enlisted personnel.

7. The President may designate service with other countries or government branches as creditable service for experience and points as authorized by the Congress.

8. The Congress will resume the practice of authorizing the creation of units and activities and personnel therein for the duration any emergency or contingency deemed of importance.

9. The federal military reserve components will contain units intended to be deployed as units and of units and other activities intended to provide trained individual replacements to the other services and components as needed.

10. No civilians will be employed in combat save as under the UCMJ and meeting minimum training standards for deployment as the military services.

11. The Total Forces in active or drill status will be maintained at a level to allow for expansion of a fully mobilized force of ten percent of the population within three years. This is the same level achieved during WW2.In such a modest proposal, a service member can come and go when needed or as desired and in a career path suited to the individual’s and the service’s needs.

This proposal, if it seems oddly familiar is the traditional method used in the Guard and Reserves for personnel management. The model for the Total Force is us. It returns to the model for raising forces used prior to the Cold War. It allows the rapid development of the forces needed from the talent available free of considerations of career paths, or promotion flow point and opportunity as forces impacting on the organization, equipment, tactics for war and combat operations.

The Rough Riders, the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry, was raised from scratch as such and certainly did well on San Juan Hill. The officer in charge of the Mulberry project for the D-Day invasion was called from civilian life and given the rank needed for the job. Most of the generals on both sides of the Civil War including graduates of the academies returned to active duty from civilian life. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more academy graduates in the Guard and Reserve anyway.

Certainly the type of risk takers needed for quick decision making in murky circumstances wither on the vine in vacuous staff positions marking time for field duty. The Navy in WW2 picked sailors whose annual income exceeded $30,000 for duty in on shipboard Command Information Centers (CIC), which is similar to recent experiments in using stockbrokers as players in a certain recent major exercise.

The quandary we face in the War on Terror is that the forces needed for irregular warfare and stability operations are not those required for high tech intensive war but include talents normally found in the Guard and Reserves. The forces required for high tech intensive war can be maintained in the Guard and Reserves at one third to one sixth the cost. The kind of eclectic force needed in irregular warfare and operations should include a very professional active force of special operations troops augmented, supplemented, and complemented by specialist units and personnel from the Guard and Reserve.

Otherwise, the basis for a standing military force should be the need for forces whose sustained deployment or presence is required such as sea and service overseas of duration. In this regard, it makes no sense to bring forces from bases in Asia and Europe to the US so they can be deployed more quickly to places farther away than where they were.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Story Telling in Counter Terror

Narration Analysis, the analysis of the story form through which ideologies is expressed and absorbed, is also the study of stories, of story telling, fables, legends, and fiction writing. Story telling is the oldest form of communicating culture since before writing hit the scene. “Daddy, tell me a story” is a phrase that brings warm cozies to the hearts of many a parent. It is the way children learn the roles, rules, and wreckage that happens when trouble this way happens.

The Old and New Testaments, the Koran, and many other religious texts are largely stories in which what is right and wrong is told and which serve as models to follow or avoid to remain in good graces. And it is those models and stories that inspire heroic action by a culture’s standards and which now send young educated Islamic men to blow up market places, temples, schools, and American check points and convoys by blowing themselves up as well.

Story analysis and writing is big business and tons of advice can be had for a price on how to win fame and fortune in fiction or not. Google “fiction”, go to Wikipedia or other Google search on “elements of fiction”, or “fiction writing”, and you will find more than you can afford in time and money in how to write the story. We, however, are concerned with reading someone else’s story with a mind to read their minds and with a chance of changing the story line to something less lethal.

We look to fiction as the real stories we like most fit the mold of fiction, real reality is more Old Testament than New, messy, tragic, and full of sex, violence, betrayal, triumph, and occasionally, redemption. These are elements of Plot which starts with a situation; a problem is introduced resulting in a rising of action to a climax and a resolution of the problem.

The stories of Christ, Mohammed, Stalin, Adolph Hitler, Jimmy Carter, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln regardless of flavor of virtue are Characters whose conflict with an opponent (Hero vs. Villain, Protagonist vs. Antagonist) is what Plot is all about. Joseph Campbell (Google) is considered the foremost experts on Heroes and Villains, what they do, the problems they get into and out of, written in many of his works such as “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” which describes what is called the Hero’s Voyage.

The Narration Analyst uses the tools of Transactional Heroes, Villains and role switches, Plots, Conspiracies, Inverse Attribution, and Stamp collecting to add meat to the bones of plot and character.

Hollywood, Bollywood, Broadway, and books, movies, TV, and comics have conditioned the modern citizen to story form, heroes, villains, plots, twists, climaxes, and painted backdrops galore and have created an unrealistic expectation that life should fit fiction. We believe in marriage till death do part, of retirement with gold watch and pension, of justice in court, and a level playing field when the reality is more Old Testament than New, more Soprano than Sainthood, without the resolution of Law and Order or CSI and more like Soap, endless, and pointless. Which is why we like good stories.

In order to effectively make war, business, and/or love, it is essential to know the stories of friend and foe. We need to know who are the counterparts of Paul Bunyon, Pecos Bill, Thor, Wodin, Ulysses, Snively Whiplash, Simon Lagree, Peter Pan, and Captain Hook.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Narrative Analysis, Terror, and Buzziology

Narrative Analysis, the analysis of the story form through which ideologies is expressed and absorbed also examines the flavor and nature of the buzzwords used to transmit the game system, role switches, Stamps, Scripts, payoffs, and attributions used. Most of us are familiar with Buzzword Bingo, an office game in which totally meaningless phrases can be assembled out of words with a high “buzz” factor and perhaps connotative meaning.

A “Buzz” is the emotive connotation of a word, generally classified as “Warm Cozies” or “Cold Prickly”.  In defamation propaganda, the goal is to arouse both Fear and Loathing.  Fear of a threat to family and culture, and Loathing toward the threat.   In one sense the threat is superior enough to pose a threat, and inferior enough to squash without remorse.

The Katyn Massacre by Soviet Troops in their half of Poland was powerful propaganda,
which ignored the small matter of the Final Solution
  Some infer a level of societal status, such as the use of the Norman French polysyllabic substitutes for your basic Anglo-Saxon, a throwback in the English language to where the French speaking Lords lorded over the conquered and crass, crude, Saxon peasants. In Shakespeare’s day it was more polite to say “I don’t give a foot” instead of “I don’t give a fuck” which disregards the fact that “foot” is a polite alliteration of “foutre” the old French word for fuck. As the Saxon absorbed more French words, the Norman French absorbed the language of the servants which shows in our legal language of “will and testament”, “metes and bounds” which a pairs of words from each language meaning the same thing.

Thus in Buzzword Bingo, the aggregation of multiple polysyllabic attributive allegoric functional distributive Transformational Expeditionary stabilized rotations must mean something important because it uses all them big fancy words. When dealing with your basic Red Neck, it is wiser to stick to the Anglo-Saxon as the Scots Irish have a serious case of the ass against the Frenchified fancy pants college pukes that remind them of the Scottish and English aristocracies of their ancestors. 
Buzzwords can be clustered together by Buzz, all warm fuzzies or all cold prickly insofar as the specific culture or group is concerned such as the example above. An environmentally friendly, progressive, integrated, planned, and economically and socially just program is very Left. While a family oriented, independent, God-fearing, Constitutional program with no additional taxes is very Right.

The negative side is not hard to envision. A reactionary market driven capitalist imperialistic oppression is, of course, very Fonda. While Godless, liberal, alien, immoral, illegal, and degenerate broken borders is pure Buchanan. These are Buzz Clusters, either Warm or Cold.

The combination of Warm Buzz Clusters and Cold Buzz Clusters is, of course, a Cluster Buzz where the hot and cold create an synergy between them as they whirl around each other. Thus “stay the course” is a warm counterpart to “stay the course”.

Cluster Buzzes are intended for internal shouting which is considered by True Believers to have some effect on the evil forces external. Thus campaign rhetoric is not a form of communication between sides as in a debate or even at each other as in a shouting match, but is largely shouting past each other to hear themselves emote. Such is the Buzzery between Bush and Bin Ladin. Or between the Campus Left and the Christian Right. They don’t even hear each other.

There are exceptions, sometimes there is a shouting match, and sometimes Cluster Buzzes overlap. Sometimes a buzzword means something entirely different such as “market economy” which to business school students means where goods and services are exchanged for things of value, while across the rest of the campus it means theft of labor value by corporate imperialists.
Herod's Law, a Mexican movie about how a corrupt minor official rose to
the Presidency at the verge of being massacred by his village
Buzzwords, Buzz Clusters, and Cluster Buzzes are shifting constellations with often internally inconsistencies that belie ordinary logic. But logic is the function of the Adult ego state, and Buzzes and the science of Buzzes, Buzziology, is in the domain of the Child Ego state acting as if it were an Adult or a Parent, nurturing or protective. 

The proper analysis of a Narration pays careful attention to the buzziology of the target as it is the language of propaganda and is very culture sensitive.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Inverse Attribution and Brown Stamps in Terror


Narrative Analysis, the analysis of the story form through which ideologies is expressed and absorbed, can also be factored by the Truthiness Factor, first introduced by Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report and by the Brown Stamp Flavor favored in Stamp collection by True Believers.


A basic law in the science of BS, in the application of Truthiness, is called the Law of Inverse Attribution. We see used car dealers with the title “Honest”, sturdy paper towels, unbreakable glass, the least number of dropped calls, etc. The First Law of Attribution is to Tout Ones Least Best Attribute, the honesty of the used car dealer, politician, lowest cost, etc. These attributes may, in fact, be positive but they are likely to lowest on the list of positive attributes. Paper towels are cheap, disposable, but hardly sturdy. The British Monarchy fought WW1 and WW2 for democracy in order to preserve their empire. Great empire, but it as such wasn’t a democracy.

The justification for victimization of the Germans is the victimization of the Jews?
The Second Law of Attribution is that of blaming the opposition with one’s worst attribute. “My opponent is a crook” is a sure fire giveaway. “The President has no plan” say the plan-less Democrats. The President blames the Democrats for having no plan which confirms that he doesn’t have one either.

So when someone, like the IRS comes to you and says “I’m here to help you” the BOHICA factor is being invoked.

Al Qaeda and the other religious fanatics, seeking to collect Red and White stamps, assert that they are coming to “rescue” their target audience from rampant sexuality and corruption, for which the reward for those whose stamps are stamped is two dozen virgins in Paradise. An Arab (or for that matter, any politician) who rants about corrupt governments is, of course, a subject matter expert.

Combining the Laws of Inverse Attribution together with Stamp collecting and Role Switching, we come to the most frequently used Brown Stamp or Brown Stamp Collection consisting of a wide variety of Red, White and Blue Stamps. Blue Stamps are not liberal in the modern connotation but in one a bit older, associated with Prohibition and the term “Blue Nose” indicative of moral uppityness.
“…take not life, which God hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.” Al- Quran 6:151   
Freud posits three most common stages of child development as Oral, Anal, and Phallic during which trauma can cause all or part of the personal development to freeze or malfunction marking the person for life as Oral, Anal, or Phallic. Most Brats have a strong Oral dent. Traumas occurring in the Anal phase where society demands that the Child stop shitting at will and do it in the proper place and introduce the first significant socialization in the Child. 

Trauma in the Anal phase commonly produces two variants, Anal Retentive and Anal Expletive. One is concerned with retaining the pleasure of a good shit until society’s designate and proper shitting custom has been observed. The Anal Expletive gains additional pleasure in violating the appropriate shit custom and goes through life shitting on perfectly clean things while the Anal Retentive goes through life cleaning up shit that isn’t there. These two share a pretty dark view of the world, and the synergy between them is a major driving factor in Narrative development. And sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference as it appears that they often switch sides.

“Clean up the environment” is an inverse attribution by those whose manner of dress and behavior is peacefully demonstrated with Molotov cocktail and baseball bat through Starbuck windows. “Law and Order” inversely respond the black helmeted riot police. The SS at the Death Camps were obsessed with cleanliness as the butchered their quarry in the name of purification of the German Race and Culture. In fact, the Nazis, the Chinese Communists, and certain factions on the TV make their stand against sexual degeneration, gay marriage, pornography, racial purity, the White Race, etc. They with the poof-poof hair, flashy dress, and copy of the Authoritative book such as Mao’s Red Book in hand.

On the surface Right Wing/Conservative propaganda tends towards the Anal Retentive, with Left Wing propaganda tends to the Anal Expletive. As such the Right represents the dysfunctional Daddy and the Left the dysfunctional Mommy. The first beats, the second manipulates, bitches, whines and nags. Add alcohol, stir and the police get a domestic disturbance call. Like the one in Iraq.

Conservatism or Liberalism, in this sense does not refer to any specific dogma, doctrine or ideology, but to the psychological position of the advocate. Conservative Communists act the same way a Catholic conservatives on pretty much the same issues. In fact, there are very few really true ideologies that cannot be broken down into the basic typology of Narrative Analysis, and the language used is not based on rational thought but upon Buzziology.

But that’s another story,

TA in Terror, Pt 2 - Stamp Collecting

Narrative Analysis, the analysis of the story form through which ideologies is expressed and absorbed is a methodology by which the strengths, weakness, vulnerabilities, fracture lines, and potency of the ideology and organizations based on them can be engaged. In other words, money talks, but bullshit walks. And in Iraq and throughout the Muddle East, there is a lot of lethal bullshit walking around.

Previously I introduced the notion of Transactional Analysis (TA) as a tool to decode the basic bullshit game system of the dysfunctional Heroic Villain, based on his/her adoption of Heroic roles to mask Villainous roles such as the Rescuer who turns into a Manipulator to gain or retain control of things. As seen on TV a thief may deem himself a victim which entitles him to rob and/or steal and as such act as Bitch or Bastard, which invites Prosecution from the authorities, which returns the thief into a victim again. It’s the drama or Karpmann triangle.

At each role switch, TA tells us that there is a payoff, a gotcha, or prize for a successful role switch. The thief gets a payoff in terms of the cash stolen, but most thieves blow off the cash, as that isn’t the real objective which comes with his arrest and he gets what TA calls a “Stamp” which in this case is an arrest which entitles him to play victim again. That’s the Brat in full flower, and most of us know Brats that are continuously getting in trouble, and they love it as it gives them the attention that a Child needs. The ignored child doesn’t survive, and getting in trouble is a way of survival.

The process of gaining a Stamp is called a Game which when repeated habitually becomes a Script at the end of which all the Stamps can be cashed in for a free Grand Prize. TA classifies Stamps by color: White stamps are righteous stamps, Red stamps are anger stamps, Brown stamps are … brown, and as many colors as the analyst can imagine. The Narration of Al Qaeda is Red Stamp collecting with each Suicide Attack, which Stamps can be turned into a free White Stamp of Righteousness in the name of Allah. I have doubts that Allah has duly certified this Game system, as I doubt God has certified its Christian counterpart(s). Or Sunni or Shia.

While this may seem whimsical, I find it more than disturbing as I see the daily news with frantic families rushing blown up children to crowded hospitals, children in Africa with swollen bellies and flies in the eyes. Or American soldiers with missing parts yearning to get back into battle with what amounts to a murderous enemy bent on collecting Red and White stamps to fill dents in their Inner Child.

And that’s why they call it War, and War is Hell.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

FM 3-24 Counter Insurgency plus Hypocracy Analysis

FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33...5 Counter Insurgency:

Narrative – the central mechanism, expressed in story form, through which ideologies are expressed and absorbed.

Civil Considerations – How the manmade infrastructure, civilian institutions, and attitudes and activities of the civilian leaders, populations, and organizations within an area of operations influence the conduct of military operations

The Army/Marine Corps new manual on Counter-Insurgency introduces analytical tools for the analysis of a civil population so that military power can be effectively used as a part of an overall national effort to achieve and maintain peace in a given region or conflict. This is the first time that an effective doctrine has been created to maximize and integrate a nation’s resources in conflict resolution outside of a theocratic Bamboo or Iron Curtain, or Terrorist training camp. It is the product of thousands of combat veterans from the conflicts of the last twenty years and picks up the dropped doctrine learned at a terrible cost in Sunny South Vietnam. And it goes far beyond the titled “Counter Insurgency” and is applicable to war in general, including how to avoid it, end it, and make a lasting peace.

The manual introduces such tools as population support overlay, ethnicity overlay, perception assessment matrix, social network analysis, activities matrix, and association matrix which will be added to the existing tools of IPB (Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield) regarding trafficability, fields of fire, range fans, and the like from direct combat.

In reviewing these innovative tools and given my checkered careening through life, I another set of tools to be added to allow the commander to analyze the passion of politics and war as it effects both or all sides of a conflict. These tools are based on the works of Eric Berne, father of Transactional Analysis, and author of the best selling book “Games People Play” with a small twist on these I have been working on since reading the book Berne wrote the year before “Games People Play”, called “Structure and Dynamics of Organizations and Groups” in 1963.

This latter book was written with the objective "to offer a systematic framework for the therapy of ailing groups and organizations." In this book, Berne discusses the structure and dynamics of groups, classification of groups, the analysis of transactions, an overview of games, group psychotherapy, and other subjects. There is one copy left at I got the other one.
The Soldier as Parent, Nurturing and Protecting

Berne introduces concepts such as the sources of authority that are part of what FM 3-24 calls the “narrative” of a culture, group, or organization that define and transmit purpose and manner of group dynamics. Sources of authority can be formal, such as the US Constitution, or informal such as the “American Way of Life”, Mom and Apple Pie, and heroes and gods such as John Wayne, George Washington and Jesus Christ. Likewise, the Islamic culture has its formal and informal structures of authority including legends and religious doctrine and Islamic society has its narrative in terms of values, norms, as expressed by its heroes.

As a former Psyops officer and lobbyist on Capitol Hill, I have been working on a general theory to integrate Transactional Analysis (TA) into propaganda production and analysis and which fits into the concept of a narrative as defined in FM 3-24. As in TA, Eric Berne divides the unconscious ego state of mind just below the conscious into three parts: Parent (P), Adult (A), and Child (C). These three states have little to do with relative age or maturity, but of three different ways of dealing with the past, present, and future.

The Parent is a compendium of values, behaviors, and attitudes learned or born that regulate proper behavior to maintain the social, personal and family life. Its primary focus is survival of the species as expressed in a given culture. It is the part of the ego that gives permission or authority to act. It excites action more than passion. It acts as if instinctive and is evoked by such things as danger to the family or children, and is culturally sensitive. It is evoked by symbols of authority such as the Bible, Koran, Torah, or Constitution.

The Parent has two sides, protecting and nurturing the child and the future of the family.  In the human species, the Father is the Protector, and Mother is the nurturing, at least on the surface.  This dualism of purpose is at the center of values of social status.

The Adult is a computer. It does not emote. It is Mr. Spock on the Enterprise.

The Child is the seat of passion and is the center of where a person feels his or her place in life is. As Eric Berne wrote, it is either OK or Not OK, the title of another of his books. An OK Child is at peace with himself/herself and, given the inexperience of most parents, few of us get out of childhood without a few dents. It is the Not OK Child that is the source of all evil and distress throughout human history. And as those of us with children of all ages, some never grow up.
Which one will raise a family?

The Child is the best and worst part of life without which there is no joy or anger. Boys have their toys whether it is a Lego or a Lamborghini, girls have dolls or diamonds. And the big part of it is sex, be it fun or fear. And as we go through life, we like to play like we did as children of the roles of our family and local society. I played Cowboys and Indians before that became Politically Incorrect, and today’s children of all ages duke it out with the forces of evil on X-Box or PC.

The Child in any species represents the future of the family and society.   It is the focus of parental efforts, and judged by the success of successive generation.s

In the roles we play on X-Box or life, our basic framework is define largely by our perceptions of the original nuclear family we grew up in consisting of Father, Mother and Child in which the Parent of TA is divided into the nurturing side (Mother) and protective side (Father). When the nuclear family is threatened, the Mother grabs the kids to nurture them while the father grabs his club, cannon or laser to defeat the dinosaur or demons or the bully next door.

If a child’s real parents were dysfunctional, the child will adapt normally to a crazy world which, taken out of the original context, is dysfunctional. The dysfunctional Parent or Child can be characterized in two types of persona, Heroic or Villainous and from two angles, yours and the other guys. One wishes to play the role of the Heroic and blame the other as Villainous. And there is a dynamic between the three parts of the Child, the personas adopted and the angles portrayed.

It’s called the Karpmann or Drama Triangle and consists of the role of Victim, Rescuer and Prosecutor. The typical victim is the Innocent Helpless Child which requires the Rescue by a Heroic Mother or Father against a Villain. A typical Villain is one which combines all the characteristic of a dysfunctional Mother, Father and/or Child: The Bitch, Bastard and/or Brat. The Bitch manipulates, the Bastard beats, and the Brat is, well, a brat … avaricious, vicious, greedy, savage and mindless.

The Heroic counterparts of the Father include Crusader Rabbit, Dudley Doright, John Wayne, Chow Yung Fat, the US Cavalry, and/or the Marines. The Heroic counterparts of the Mother include Mother Theresa, Harriet Nelson (of Ozzie and Harriet fame), or the Virgin Mary. The Child is, well, a child …innocent, pure, and helpless.

These relations taken around the Triangle have one important part that gives life its spice, and it is called the Role Switch. The Not OK Child might start out as a victim who would justify adoption of a Bastard or Bitch course of action to achieve justice, but these would be cloaked as the position of Protector by attacking a perceived Bastard. Thus a criminal thinking himself put upon by injustice would seek balance by robbing a store, which would get himself arrested and get to play the role of victim again. The prosecuting attorney gets to persecute (batter) the Brat, in order to protect the victim (store owner and the public in general) while the defense attorney gets to portray the prosecuting attorney as a Bastard or manipulative Bitch in order to protect his helpless Innocent Child. Source: Law and Order, Perry Mason, CSI, Sherlock Holmes, Captain Kirk, et al.

Any given group will have its own variation of the game system between Hero, Villain and Child as a part of its system of authority and roles played within the group and with relation to other groups. The Jihadi takes his parental source of authority as the Koran as seen as the pure truly Fatherly persona, which gives Heroic permission to act as Bastards against the Infidel Bastards and Bitches.

And so starts the story which follows the standard Hollywood formula as embellished by Joseph Campbell. But that is another story.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Quadrennial Defense Rubbish

On February 2006, SecDef Rumsfeld signed off on the Quadrennial Defense Review Report. This is a typical Pentagon report in which the competing demands of the various factions within the various services staple their druthers under a cover sheet that blesses them all without resolving the differences between them. For example, the preface of the QDR lists a number of the “shift of interest:” including the following:

-From “one size fits all” deterrence - to tailored deterrence for rouge powers, terrorist networks, and near-peer competitors.

-From threat based planning – to capabilities planning.

-From focus on kinetics – to focus on effects.

-From static defense, garrison forces – to mobile, expeditionary operations.

-From battle ready forces (peace) – to battle hardened forces (war)

-From large institutional forces (tail) – to more powerful operational capabilities (teeth).

-From forces that need to deconflict – to integrated, interdependent forces.

-From exposed forces forward – to reaching back to CONUS to support expeditionary forces.

-From set-piece maneuver and mass – to agility and precision.

-From predetermined force packages – to tailored flexible forces.

The “From-To” dichotomy creates a false picture of what was in place in order to provide a nifty counterpart for the new Light Fantastic. Combat veterans of the last fifty years would dispute the assertion that their battles were set-piece, needing “deconfliction” to maneuver, and that their battles were fought from static garrisons. This never happened.

What is more important is that the “to’s” are contradictory. The rejection of “one size fits all”, flies in the face of the current Army plan to create “one size fits all” modular expeditionary brigades. Likewise, the other services are devising identical “expeditionary” forces.

Of greatest oddity is the assertion that threats are to be ignored and focus should be made on effects and capabilities. Rogue powers, networks, and near-peer competitors are very different threats each with differing strengths and weaknesses. It is contradictory to prattle on about intelligence integration if the intelligence is going to be ignored in favor of “capability and effects”.

Likewise, basing forces stateside (CONUS) presumes that forces can be deployed faster to the Muddle East from Kansas than Germany or Kuwait. The intent here is to rotate one size fits all modular brigades to “Spartan” exposed bases without adequate logistics support while the family remains in Kansas so the spouse doesn’t have to change the drapes every PCS. Small wonder the divorce rate is sky rocketing. This smacks of Dien Bien Phu and Little Big Horn.

Only a corporate whiz kid could come up with the notion that out-sourcing the logistics “tail” would change a ton of ammo into a pound. In the event that we have to fight a near-peer, the needs for artillery ammunition will once again drive the logistics train. The default calculations (the old FM 101-10-1) for near-peer warfare call for an average of one ton of artillery ammunition per rifle squad or tank across a near-peer battlefield. This equates to ten tons per gun per day. Ten tons per gun means one 5-ton truck with 5-ton trailer on the road every day which requires engineer support to maintain the roads, MP’s to secure the routes, fuel dumps and pipelines, and mechanics with spare parts to support the whole structure. Tails tend to be five to ten times the size of the teeth, even in the VC/NVA forces operating against us in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

In Iraq, Field Artillery battalions are being used as infantry leaving convoys without artillery support in the mounting pace of ambushes. Meanwhile, unarmed civilians are being shot up, decapitated, and charred in convoys sent in what is best described as behind enemy lines. That is murder by government decree.

This QDR is more an agreement to disagree between the defense department factions than a Chinese Menu. Rumsfeld likely did not read it, or maybe he didn’t care as he likely he had no intention to let the DoD staff think they knew what they were going to do. To do would ruin his fun in jerking the brass around. The QDR is a mish mash more like the Emperor’s New Clothes than coherent policy. If implemented as intended, the entire war making capability will be rendered useless and impotent.

Of lasting concern is the focus of DoD’s focus “from battle ready (peace) to battle hardened (war)” which is another way of stating that DoD intends to wage war without end which goes maintaining the problem so the warrior stays in business.

Congress has the powers to determine what the shape of the military is to be. Given the utter nonsense in the QDR, perhaps it is time for Congress to form a Blue Ribbon Panel of a wide variety of combat veterans, and other experts from the diplomatic community and the defense industry to determine what kind we need. This QDR continues the disastrous policies that have led to the edge of defeat despite having the best trained, best equipped, best led, and best motivated combat force this nation has ever fielded.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Movie Sets, Oil Wells, Infantry and Unholy Terror

Plots, conspiracies, oil drilling, research labs, infantry companies and movie crews all are capable of achieving an objective through collective action, but vary considerably on the amount of central direction to do it. Whether facing one or running one, it is important to understand the differences.

Plots imply considerable formal planning covering a large number of details on the part of at least one of the participants, with decisions reached collectively or through manipulation. Most successful plots depend upon a supreme manipulator who can keep the inner secrets to him/herself like a spider in the middle of a web. Because of the vast number of details, long term plots are usually limited to the reign of the supreme plotter and the nature of the plot is the retention of his/her control. Such was the case of Adolph Hitler and Joe Stalin.

Conspiracies, in the Common Law, do not necessarily require detailed central direction, only common action to an identifiable end. Those involved in a lynch mob, or those involved after the fact can be convicted of conspiracy even if no central plan or agreement has been made so long as the objective is illegal. Theoretically, rush hour traffic is a conspiracy, particularly here in Houston with thousands of illegal speeders invading the central city each day and nationally resulting in annual casualties in excess of the Vietnam War.

There is no word for good conspiracies, but there are numerous examples of collective action for positive ends without central direction. These are often called customs. Christmas shopping and decoration are customs with predictable results. Teenage social prancing within any given community or high school can achieve high degrees of complexity. In the days of “American Graffiti”, “dragging the main” was a ritualized method of mating behavior no less relevant than birds, bees, and bucks. There is a “way” of doing things. Many corporations have an instinctive “way” of doing things that defy central direction developed without central direction.

Infantry companies and the military in general have highly ritualized methods of making decisions and the military sends its members to formal residential training lasting as much as ten percent of a career soldier’s time to learn it. Houston traffic patterns vary little month to month, but the situation that an infantry unit faces can change radically in seconds which requires rapid and effective delivery of the decision making process even when the key decider has been killed. This is the military “way”, a decision making process independent of objective or motive.

The entertainment industry and the oil exploration business have something in common, a highly developed and intricate business process. The oil exploration industry is a vast conglomerate of independent, sometimes mom and pop, specialized companies like mud companies, mouse hole companies, hot wax companies, hot shot companies and fishing companies each dedicated to one particular slice of the drilling process. A mouse hole company drills the three holes the drilling stems are place when the bit is replaced.

Like drilling, the movie industry is a vast aggregate of small companies and talented individuals who have a specific role in a highly defined work process. Movie production is so defined that there is a specified number of checks that must be written “above and below the line”. Just look at the credits of a movie. That’s advertising and the credit counts in the trade. It’s a long list.

Research labs and intelligence agencies are full of giant egos, manipulative back stabbers, and incredible talent. Fortunately there are some standards of what constitutes professionalism, but mavericks abound. Leading such a mob is like herding cats. Put a plate of food in the room and get out of the way. Or find a chief cat the other cats admire and get out of the way.

While long term plots as the legendary Protocols of Zion, or International Communist Conspiracy, or Corporate-Media Capitalist conspiracy or Islamic terror are not the products of central direction but of custom, collective “ways” of direction which may include a formalized decision making process. There is, most importantly, no snake whose head removal will affect anything anymore than arresting the lead speeder at rush hour, other than a temporary slow down of gawkers. The Zionist "conspiracy" in effect is the custom of hard work and study which in many less energetic communities is seen as a personal threat. The Final Solution had little effect on a culture used to pograms, purges, and persecution.

The current Islamic Jihadi is a compendium of “ways” of doing business including the tribal connectivity of relatives, and the flotsam and jetsam of the various Communist efforts to overthrow capitalism. The Communist system of cells, methods of warfare, infiltration, propaganda, subversion, and deception developed in the Russian, Chinese, and Vietnamese experiences were passed on formally in the Lumumba Institute in Moscow, in Ghaddafi’s desert training camps, teach-ins at Berkeley, and in the mountain vastness of Afghanistan and mingled with various revolutionary dogma to add a flavor of righteousness to bloody business.

Ironically, while the terrorists trained in this network espouse ideological purity, the camps were quite ecumenical regarding ideology. Irish Catholic members of IRA trained peacefully with Maoist Shining Path, and Islamic members of the Brotherhood. Even Al Qaeda is composed of often opposing views of Islam. And this is the important point, psychology not ideology counts.

This is the central theme of Eric Hoffer’s book “The True Believer” a title which has become a noun. Hoffer was a University of California Professor of Philosophy who never went to school and whose day job was as a Longshoreman on the San Francisco docks. He clearly pointed out that True Believers change sides, as he noted regarding former SS soldiers recruited in the East German Volkspolizei. It is doubly ironic is that Joseph Goebbels greatest achievement in the early Nazi days was to recruit the Communist Red Front into the SA “Brown Shirts”.

The psychology of the True Believer is not ideology or purpose, but rage. A rage most likely derived from a dysfunctional and abusive early family life. Hitler was beaten to an inch of his life by his half Jewish father. Hitler’s revenge was to turn his father’s gravesite into an artillery impact area and by extension the Final Solution. Stalin and Saddam likewise fared poorly from the immediate family male members and were coddled by an over protective mother. Their rage, like the rage expressed by Mohammed Atta drives the War of Terror which runs on rails of Red rails of Ways of doing business.

And there are lots of very angry folks out there acting out Oedipal rage.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Plot Centric Warfare, Dealing with Conspiracies

No better excuse for war has been the existence of an overarching plot by a fiendish, manipulative, and vicious conspiracy, plot, class, race or collective interest, often personalized by a single villain such as Hitler, Stalin, Saddam, Togo, or the Devil himself. The Neo-Marxist Left rails against a Corporate-Media Fascist plot to steal the excess labor value from the unworking class to establish a Fascist corporate global state. Lou Dobbs railed against a corporate-media GOP-Dem plot to steal the hard earned wages of the Middle Class and establish a globalized corporate elitist class of the super wealthy. Hitler, likewise, railed against a Socialist-Capitalist Jewish global plot to steal the hard earned wages of honest Aryans. Most recently David Duke and the Neo-Klan masquerading as Identity Christians have made common cause with Iran against the aforementioned Jewish global plot. Then again, there is the Islamic plot to invade and enslave America.
The Final Solution to Racial Pollution
Each of these plots is described by their critics as bound by central direction, often represented by an identifiable creed or game plan known to all as their Conspiracy Theory. Such include the Elders and Protocols of Zion, Das Kapital, the Communist Manifesto, the Bilderbergs, etc. It helps if these various conspiracies are seen as omniscient, omnipresent, devious, and unrelenting.
The problem with conspiracy theories is that no one is that smart. Anyone who has organized a company picnic, a festival, or family reunion knows that even what takes a couple of hours needs weeks of preparation in which everyone is at everyone else’s throat. The military decision making process, done properly, is an organized method of covering the bases, done under pressure, and against a lot of uncertainty, largely caused by an uncertain knowledge of what the enemy is up to who is also under the same pressures. As an intelligence officer for over twenty years, I expected to predict what the enemy was going to do, while my counterparts on the other side were trying to figure out what my boss was going to do after I figured out what he was going to. I’m not that smart.

The problem with conspiracy theories is that the conspirators are too busy conspiring against each other in order to determine who is in charge of what. And the focus of interest is not what, but who. The histories of bona fide conspiracies such as Hitler’s Chancellery or Stalin’s Kremlin are monuments of in-fighting fostered deliberately by El Supremo to maintain control. Hitler’s principle of survival of the fittest meant that he gave the same job to different subordinates or gave different orders to people with identical responsibilities, the survivor was the most fit. In fact, even democratic or corporate leaders stay in power by divide and control by acting as the instigator of strife than the decider of them. FDR was famous for this. Abraham Lincoln couldn’t reveal his long term plans without risking them and instituted what he wanted as time and circumstance allowed.

The net effect is in real conspiracies chaos is the normative state, often with comic-tragic effects such as the late ludicrous Coalition Provision Authority in the Emerald City of the Green Zone. Or the workers paradises in North Korea and Cuba.
It is equally tragic to go to war against a true conspiracy with the notion that said conspiracy is in fact a conspiracy and not a bunch of clowns clawing at each other for control of increasingly rare resources. By treating a conspiracy as cohesive, we create cohesion. Strategic bombing assumed that a rational leader operating in the best interests of his conspiracy would cut a deal when the means of waging war were threatened with extinction. The central issue of the dictator is to remain dictator even of a pile of rubble.

The Romans and Imperial British were masters of the art of dividing and conquering their enemies, while it appears that the US has got it backwards.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bush's Bad Rap

Bush and Rumsfeld are taking the wrath of the chattering classes on the nose and the mass defection of the willing and supportive. Military punditry posits courses of actions tagged Go short, go big, go long, or get out. All seem to accept the status rotative that destabilizes any effort regardless of intent. Some say that the US military was trained for the wrong war and can’t fight the right one. It is true that Rumsfeld announced on Saddams fall that the Ghost of Vietnam was dead and that the Transformed Light Fantastic had won.

It is true that Transformation wasn't Rumsfeld's idea, and the evil that it has wrought would have visited itself upon either Democratic Presidential candidate had either of them won. There was, and is, a sinister synergistic effect between the Pentagon's union protectionism of Elitist Warriorism and Neo-Conservatism's fetish for privatization. Both don't want Warriors to do un-warrior non-union jobs like logistics, intelligence, civil affairs and military government, psychological operations, or military police.

The Pentagon's penchant for stabilized unit rotation to maintain Warrior unit cohesion has necessitated unstabilized rotation and cohesion in non-union jobs and defeated the attempts of the Warrior class to maintain stability in Iraq and would have done so with the proper ratio between troops and Iraqis. What is a tribute to the quality of the leadership of the troops in the field is the ability to function efficiently with remarkable effectiveness given the chaotic state of the command, control, and support structure in support of the rotating brigades.

The definitive study on psychological war "Cohesion and Disintegration of the Wehrmacht" by Berelson and Janowitz held that as long as the troops' primary group was intact and a basic faith in Germany remained, the troops would fight on. A primary group is rarely larger than a company. The concept of unit rotation for combat units benefits from this principle, but the process of derivative "units" cherry picked from the Guard and Reserve can only be interpreted as an attempt to wreck the reserves. Nice try, but our Guard and Reserve troops have weathered this and have soldiered on with an attendant cost in PTSD.

The disintegration of Iraq can be reversed by reversing the rotation of units and mobilizing the proper command structure for stability operations from the Guard and Reserves as intended by the Congress and all previous planning. In short, go there and come back with their shields or on them. This is war, not a live fire exercise.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

When Jane Comes Marching Home Again, Does She Run For Office?

A standing long service professional military force and victory in war is a conflict of interest like psychological counseling and curing the patient is for the shrink. The rice bowl is broken when the patient is cured or the war is won. In both cases, successful professional practices are to work on the problem, fight the battles, make progress, but short of solving the problem.

The Italian Condottieri hired by Italian city states in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth centuries were extremely well trained, equipped, and led but managed to develop a tactical system that maintained the payroll at minimum loss of blood or decisive action. Machiavelli despaired of their cost and indecision and so recommended in his “On War” that the best military for the city state was a well regulated militia of the best of it’s citizens. French firepower and disregard for French casualites under King Charles VIII eventually ended the reign of the Condottieri.

Perhaps it is time to return to those golden years of yesterday where the ambitious warrior would ride off to war with a mind to a triumphant return from victory in war so he(she) can run for office, get the prettiest girl/richest man in town, the best paying job, and life time bragging rights. While transitional rotations emulate the cycle, there is no requirement for actually winning anything, except survival. Statistical allocation and normalization readily papers over any embarrassing lack of booty.

A large standing professional army was only adopted around1979 with the post Vietnam purge of reservists on extended active duty and abolition of the draft. A post Vietnam mustering out of Guard and Volunteer units, the normal custom., was moot as the Guard and Volunteer units were not called. The rotation of Guard and Reserve units and personnel as an “operational reserve” precludes any messy purge to maintain the purity of essence of the true warrior force. It also precluded a decisive victory.

In order to protect the closed nature of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Full Time Warriors, it will be necessary to blame the non-union Weekend Warriors for failing to be effectively mobilized, and to reduce that apparent threat to the continued largesse of the largely ignorant Congress.

Sunday Punditry misses the point

The Sunday pundits meeting the press or facing the nation assert with good reason that the reasons that we as a nation face serious defeat in Iraq due to the incompetence of leadership and inability of the military to adapt to the conditions of counter insurgency. They say that the military misread the Iraqi mind, failed to have a reconstruction plan, unable to train a new Iraqi military, and obsessed with conventional war of the Cold War. The truth of the matter is that these were failures of the Pentagon, and that the services themselves had the correct capabilities and doctrine, mostly in the Guard and Reserves which were committed piecemeal and ineffectually. And in so doing, double crossed the President.

The Pentagon has a management culture and way of doing business that bears little relationship to military staff and command procedures. The military themselves are rotated in and out of the Pentagon with too short a tour to have lasting effect, likewise with most appointed officials. The real power in the Pentagon is wielded by long serving civil servants including the formidable clerical staff and the Machiavellian super-grades who maintain the continuity of policy regardless of the intent of the military and political assigned there.

As in the case of the courtiers of Versailles, the Tsar, Imperial Rome or the Forbidden City, survival depends on flattery of the powerful and on assuaging their insecurities, by raising the powerful above the decision making process which the courtier and bureaucrat is only to willing to assume. In this way, the Pentagon’s civil service treats it’s clients as a closed union shop, like ancient nobility, which excludes the lesser and less noble. Such is the case of the Guard and Reserves who are treated as seasonal workers fit only for non union, less noble work. This process, in Pentagonese, is called Transformation.

Transformation, like the Emperors New Clothes, is aimed at transforming the military from something that used to win wars against real enemies, to one that battles imaginary ones, by creating standardized expeditionary packets of troops that rotate to and from the battlefield so that every gets a crack at being up to bat. We no longer hear of campaigns like Tet, the Bulge, Normandy, or Meuse Argonne, but of Rotations 1, 2, 3 or 4. Imagine WW2 being fought with two thirds of the Army resting up for a rotation to the Pacific or the ETO.

The Pundits assert that the military doesn’t have the capacity to win this war. They do, but it’s being kept out of the fight. The solution is simple. Stop unit rotation so that the commanders on the ground can achieve a stable and consistent presence. Mobilize the necessary Guard and Reserve units as such for the duration. By pass the Pentagon by creating a direct link to a single theater commander which includes the necessary incident management system to coordinate all government agencies involved.

The real tragedy for our military is that they have never been so well trained, equippped, or led by their field commanders nor have they ever had such high morale and esprit de corps than in any previous war, far more than the "greatest generation", and that their best efforts have been tossed like used toilet paper by a wacked out puzzle palace. Even today where the troops outside the Beltway are training to best practices for Full Spectrum Warfare, inside the Beltway the golden cockroaches and embedded charlatans make a full court press to achieve "Transformation", already proven to be a prescription for defeat.

And now the Loony Left, unaware that the Third International is privatized, goes after the troops not the nuts by Shutting down JROTC in Fog/Fag City. The last time the Left got their pants in a tie-dyed twist, military retirees lost thier medical care which took thirty years to recover.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Military Review (MR) on Counter Insurgency

I recommend to all and sundry to read the current edition of Military Review, a special edition regarding Counter Insurgency (COIN). This compilation is a comprehensive, albeit sometimes excessively verbose, summary of the essence of how to deal with circumstance such as the current unpleasant. In short, it is good governance that is the objective of Counter-Insurgency. It is water, food, income, and a modicum of security.

I agree, but say that such is the same role for the military within the context of any war. It is not a grunt on the ground, but a cop on the beat that counts. A cop backed by courts and sanctions that effectively enforce policies supportive of the victors’ best interests. It means, most often, enforcing the treaties they sign.

After Treaty of Westphalia (1648), Europe tried to ameliorate the barbarities of warfare that had nothing to do with combat operations. Rape, pillage, and plunder and butchery of the beaten became less politically correct as Europe moved into the Enlightenment. And as a practical matter, given constant switches of conquest, it became useful to use the existing political structures including the mayor, council, courts and cops. Clausewitz wrote his gaggle of aphorisms after the Napoleonic Wars when thing appeared to have returned to enlightened normality and assumed that defeat of the enemy’s military constituted victory in war. He forgot about the part where the defeated were typically sold into slavery or gutted for fun or sacrifice.

Islam did not go through the Enlightenment, and after centuries of Turkish occupation, had forgotten their own enlightened period under the Caliphates before the Turks, Mongols and Crusaders came. And the Pentagon forgot, if they even knew, of the necessity for maintaining the pride of the enemy’s warriors by recruiting them into the King’s service. As well as their cops, courts, and sanctions, upgraded of course by the introduction of the Common Law (or Code Napoleon) .

US Civil Affairs/Military Government (CAMG) units in WW2 certainly understood the need for maintaining the appearance of continuity. Unfortunately the term “military government” became politically incorrect although the Civil Affairs units themselves were not changed, but put out to pasture by a Warrior cult. And in Iraq, Civil Affairs were committed piecemeal and their advice ignored by the Warriors on top.

Fortunately, the US Army’s educational system for senior officers includes full spectrum conflict resolution with the Chosen Few groomed at Georgetown and given Masters degrees in international relations. Military Review cites the commanders of the 101st Airborne, and the 1st Cavalry (my old unit) as excellent examples of how governance and the minimum services of life defeat insurgency quicker and cheaper than firepower. In Sadr City, there was a near perfect correlation between sewage in the streets with terrorist cells and incidents.

Returning vets from Iraq, however, note that once they get the terrorist situation under control, they or their next higher gets “rotated” out and new guys come in with a new way of doing business. No way to win a war.

The COIN word is back in vogue like it was before CORDs. The word Counter Insurgency is a double negative which isn’t a positive. We defeat the Iraqi insurgents over and over again, just as the Israelis do to the Palestinian terrorists. It doesn’t do any good. And the insurgents are encouraged by Hitler’s dogma of “Triumph of the Will”.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Volunteers for Victory

The Baker Report misses the point, the Sunnis want their cut of the oil money and fear the Sunnis will not only hog the profits but use it to fund pay back ethnic cleansing. The Neo-Cons want to convert the Muddle East into the Middle West with Texas style governance … where government does what it is told. The Pentagon is absorbed in rotating O-6 command slots in and out of the combat zone to blood the troops and sharpen the competition for flag rank. The only clown in the room calling for victory is W, and no one cares.

The Neo-Con penchant for privatization of warfare inadvertently coincided with the Pentagon’s long awaited plan to disarm the threat to their market position as Warriors to the World represented by the combat experienced National Guard and Reserves. This is a natural course of action for such unions as the Teamsters, AMA, ABA and plumbers union, and the Pentagon considers the military as a closed union shop with the Guard and Reserves seasonal workers at best, fit for non union jobs such as military intelligence, psychological warfare, civil affairs, logistics, etc. Better a contractor in civilian clothes getting blown away than a uniformed citizen raising the specter that the national defense can be done at one sixth the cost.

In short, W got the shorts and the GOP took up the short end in the current election. The lunatic left is foaming at the mouth at the prospect that Haight Ashbury might rise again, Woodstock reborn, and that Flower Power will reign. Talk of the draft has surfaced again despite the fundamental fact that the first trained unwilling private won’t show up on the battlefield for two years, ignoring the fact that we need trained troops for the full spectrum of rank and experience.

The principal obstacle to victory in the Muddle East is the Pentagon. Victory can be obtained by cutting them out of the action by starting a full spectrum reclassification of the civil service in the place while reallocating the office space based on relevant irrelevancy. Next the chain of command of troops in the field must go direct from the President to the commanders in the field. That will totally absorb the Pentagon and the war can be prosecuted in a professional fashion.

As for raising the needed troops, we only need to revert to the Old Fashioned Way of War … by calling for Volunteer units like the Rough Riders and asking the governors of the states to raise the necessary troops called for by the commanders in the field. A full brigade of Middle Eastern linguists could be raised here in Houston in about a month with detachments of already trained vets deployable in ninety days with the remainder deployed within nine months. They would be federalized but not in the other components which isn’t much different than currently mobilized Guard and Reserve personnel.

America's Neglected Empire - the UN

FDR, Harry and Eleanor built the UN as a US clone in order for the US to provide governance to the world without appearing to do so, particularly to the isolationist Red stater. Unfortunately, the isolationist has devolved into the unilateralist and we find ourselves crafting an increasingly entangled web of bilateral treaties, the kind that George Washington warned us of.

FDR, Harry and Eleanor knew an effective American world empire would require imperial American citizenship and taxation with representation and that neither would pass muster in the US Senate or the necessary three quarters of the state legislatures needed to change the Constitution where sovereignty is treated as if it were virginity.

Consequently the UN Security Council was created to maintain the good old boy network at the top and to provide the illusion of allowing the rest of the world participation in good old boy status. And, the General Assembly was created in a similar fashion to fashion the appearance of true governance, while segregating international treaty negotiations with behind the door legislative negotiations to hide the normally messy underpinnings of politics.

Once the little problem of the Soviets Unions’ attempt to deprive the US as the normal leader of the world failed in the Cold War, work can proceed on world governance provide by the US as originally intended. The US, however, lacks the necessary focus to proceed towards imperial dominance, as the American electorate has Attention Deficit Disorder when it comes to a consistent imperial policy. After all, the rest of the world is full of foreigners.

Once, isolationism could be defined as letting each nation go its’ own way and if trouble came, we insisted on talking about a solution. In unilateralism, we’ll tell them what the solution is giving the appearance that we might actually step into the imperial throne. Unfortunately as the next hot topic on the networks distracts the electorate, like the Chandra Levy controversy, or Bill Clintons blow job, and the rest of the world is dismayed, distraught, and disappointed that the imperial nabob with the nuclear football trades world peace and prosperity for a crusade against gay marriage.

FDR could not know, however, that the linchpin of world empire is an imperial army. Any decent empire in days past in our situation would have already formed the Iraqi Republican Guard with US officers and NCOs like the Brits did in India. An ambitious officer seeking medals, combat experience, and a heavy warrior reputation in Victoria’s British Empire would have gotten himself a commission in Her Imperial Majesty’s Iraqi Army, and taken command of the best the Iraqis had.

The Brits usually hired the best their former enemies had in the way of troops, trained them with the best NCOs in history and a century later these units would be more British than the British. Alas, the Pentagon, and it’s predecessor, the War Department, would never stand for an American officer having his career managed by the officer himself. It would unbalance the rotation of the fair haired version of the day that gives the personnel weenie the illusion of potence.

While it may seem far fetched that the fortunes of the nation and global peace and prosperity would be sacrificed over such trivia as centralized career management, it should be remembered that the military attracts, retains, and promotes the Anal Retentive, whose central obsession is micromanagement. And that warriors, like doctors, lawyers, candle stick makers, and plumbers seek the respect of their peers, and a steadily increasing pay check.

And that accounts for the failure of the Project for the New American Empire. The Pentagons’ narrow career centric order of battle focused on creating career enhancing Brigade Combat Teams without a cohesive support structure or coherent strategy to be rotated in and out of the combat zone leaving no consistent or stable effect on the battlefield in order to stabilize the opportunity for command in combat for selected field grade officers. This also aimed at reducing the trauma on the military family as permanent changes of station means changing schools for the kids and getting new drapes.

There is, however, hope for the future. US Special Operations Command, and the Special Forces in particular are specifically trained to operate in diverse situations and to form and lead foreign forces. And inasmuch as the likely hood of an invasion of the US mainland taking place in any time soon, Special Operations should be formed as a separate service and the mission, functions and equipment of the Army and Air Force, less strategic forces, be transferred to the Reserves and Guard.

The Congress should also allow US officers and NCOs to serve in Blue Hat capacities as in the manner of the British such as “Chinese” Gordon who commanded a Chinese
Army, before losing his head leading a Sudanese one. UN peace keeping operations are a goat rope with differing national agendas and rules of engagement. Given the opportunity for a US officer to gain promotion and retirement points, these problems would achieve short shrift.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Is St Barbara Dead or Asleep?

Is St. Barbara, patron saint of the artillery, dead, or asleep? I hear of our troops in Iraq being ambushed repeatedly by Iraqi insurgents and terrorist, and do not hear evidence of prompt and accurate artillery fire in support of our troops. I hear of troops pinned down and waiting for aerial support which takes what appears to be an excessive period of time based on my own expectations in Vietnam under similar conditions. If rounds were not on the way (“shot out”) in two or three minutes, some one failed to do their job. I hear further than artillery battalions are now patrolling the streets as riflemen.

The reason presented for the failure to protect the grunts, guys and dolls on the ground is that artillery is “too indiscriminate”. This is can understand with the ballistic bullet of olden days, but isn’t this the day of the precision munition? Based on the advertising of the “Revolution in Military Affairs”, artillery can be put in the back closet of the second floor of any offending real estate. Proper fusing, shell selection and terminal guidance to do this isn’t rocket science anymore.

Perhaps the dissolution of Division Artillery and devolution of firing batteries to support the resurgent Battle Group of Pentomic fame, the Brigade Combat Team, has something to do with it. Even in the Pentomic Division, Divarty controlled the guns. The reversion of cannon to grunts is a throw back to the WW2 and Korean War “cannon company” of the Regimental Combat Team.

Until Transformation, artillery was rarely attached, but in support: direct, reinforcing, or general support. When the Queen of Battle wanted some balls thrown in harms way, they came from anywhere within range regardless on any specific command relationship. There was a thing called the Fire Support Net and a guy called the FSCOORD who wielded the most deadly hand held weapon on earth … a radio handset.

In Korea and Vietnam, an isolated and besieged outpost could be defended by a veritable ring of interlocking grazing fragments of steel. My father, a WW2 105mm battery commander, told me to get everyone into holes and walk the rounds in until the steel whizzed overhead. In Vietnam, we called that Danger Close. What we could do then with a battalion of guns, precision munitions could be handled by a battery or less.

It was considered a career terminator to commit troops outside an artillery fan in Vietnam, and it should be today. With precision munitions and a geographically based array of guns netted with today’s net technology, any potential sniper better have more than one layer of homogenous steel over head.

What with Predators and the new lethal toy airplanes in the hands of troops, there should be no one committed outside eyeball range, large or small.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Square, Triangular, and Modular Madness

Modularization of Army divisions is a reversion to a type of organization last used in combat in the Spanish-American War which also was the last war before Desert Storm in which mobilized Guard and Reserve troops were not incorporated into the Army of the United States which was a single structure covering all components. The US Army combat division came into being in the run up for the Great War (WW1) with an organization called the “Square Division” of 27,000 men (40,000 with attached elements) consisting of two brigades of two regiments of three battalions of four companies each (48 companies compared to a ten battalion division today of thirty companies). The Square Division was replaced in the run up for WW2 in a formation more familiar today with three regiments of three battalions of three companies each. The brigade structure with two regiments disappeared but the two BG brigade commanders stayed on as Assistant Division Commanders.

The triangular division came in two types: Armored and Infantry. The armored division had three “Combat Commands” instead of regiments and the battalions of the division were attached to Combat Commands as needed. This structure later became the “ROAD” division applicable to all divisions during the Kennedy Administration and is the one being phased out now.

After the Korean War, the thought was that the new battlefield would be a nuclear “atomic” battlefield which was thought to need smaller and more nimble units than the regiment and a new “Pentomic” division was born with five “Battle Groups” of five companies each was born. The Battle Group was commanded by a Colonel which left no command positions for Lt Colonels, which fault doomed the Pentomic. The return to a triangular division structure added at least ten O-5 command slots at the expense of two O-6 slots. The new modular brigades fixes the O-5 problem and gains back the missing O-6 positions as well as ending the dominance of the Armored division by moving the Armor School to Ft Benning.

George Marshall organized the Army in the field into two kinds of battalions, divisional and non-divisional, plus headquarters companies to manage all sorts and manner of battalions. This structure served us well from WW2 through Vietnam and was designed to be adaptable to all manner of mission, enemy, terrain, and weather. All that was required was the task organization by attachment to fit what was needed. It worked in desert mechanized war, jungle war, trench war, and counter-insurgency war.

Characterizing the “cold war” division as solely designed for fighting the Soviet hordes on the plains of Germany and in the Fulda Gap is misinformation if not disinformation. The so-called revolution of precision munitions and sensorized battlefields and netted intelligence systems were fielded and used in Vietnam, set aside for the resumed Cold War which was suspended for Vietnam, and rediscovered in Desert Storm. But the triangular division transcended all that change.

The rush to field modular brigades without figuring out what the fielded combat and combat support structure has tasked the organizational abilities of the commanders in the field more than was needed. This has been exacerbated by the resistance of the Pentagon to mobilize the requisite structure as organized and trained for thirty years as that structure was predominately in the Army Reserve and National Guard. The Pentagon has preferred to send civilians and contractors paid from Operations and Maintenance funds (O&MA) instead of Guard and Reserve troops on Military Pay (MPA) funds.

Unfortunately, the units and their command structures included certain critical functions relevant to the conquest and stabilization of unstable states such as the logistical command and control structures (movement control centers, material management centers, rear area operations centers) and the military police, civil affairs and psychological operations commands that would have protected the lines of communication, preserved the structure, treasures, and order of the state (Iraq and Afghanistan), and facilitated the establishment of a stable government. The fact that the Active Component has just established Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations as branches is testimony to the realization of that error.

A return to the structure of the Army of the United States (AUS) would have been far more efficient but would have required the usual messy Reduction in Force procedures to flush out those pesky Guard and Reserve combat vets from amongst the ranks of True Warriors. And, most importantly keep them from retiring with a twenty year retirement.

On the bright side, those missing O-6 positions have been restored.

A Modest Proposal for Resetting the Force

Candidates for Congressional office most lately have been presenting argument about what they would do in Iraq and Afghanistan, about staying the course or cutting and running. The Constitution, however, gives those kinds of decisions to the President in his specified powers as in charge of foreign affairs (less trade) and as Commander in Chief. The President, however, does not have the authority to determine what kind of military he has to command unless the Congress has given him by appropriation or law, the authority to do so.

Too many on the Hill, in the White House and across the Potomac think that Congress’s authority in military affairs is limited to just raising the money. The Pentagon now takes the position that Congress doesn’t have the authority to dictate what kinds of weapons it gets. It does have that authority and is more specific in the case of war and the military than in any other endeavor as is specified in Article I, Section 8 and Section 10 of the Constitution along with the Second Amendment, extracted here:

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

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

In accordance with these specified powers, the Congress dictated that all reserve component units be trained and mobilized as units, and that each has a mission tied to specific war plans. As such and under both the Powell doctrine and Abrams doctrine, a Total Force was built, trained, and exercised to a high degree of detail and competence. A division of labor ensued in the progress between components with the less sexy types of units and functions such as combat support and combat service support being concentrated in the reserve components and the combat forces concentrated in the active components. The Guard retained its traditional combat focus. But these divisions seemed to have been worked out as I witnessed in dozens of major field and command post exercises. As an MI battalion commander in support of the 49th Armored Division, I knew exactly where in Northern Germany my battalion would bivouac. As acting Chief of Intelligence of US Army Japan in an Operation Yama-Sakura with the Japanese Self Defense Forces, I met 49th Armored Division troops also preparing for their role in the defense of Japan. A co-worker of mine at the City of Houston spent one AT in Korea doing the same thing.

But the Pentagon really never intended to go through with it. There were early signs of it before Desert Storm, and during Desert Storm, the Pentagon just couldn’t let the mobilized National Guard combat brigades deploy. That was just too much of a challenged to their image of self importance. And when the deployments in the Balkans arose, the tools of evasion of Congressional mandate were developed with the creation of “derivative” tables of organization to cannibalize and cherry pick reserve component units.

Despite the Congressional mandate that reserve component units be trained and mobilized as units, the Pentagon never really intended to obey that requirement. As I assumed my duties as commander of the 204th MI Bn, I found all my MI troops being trained as replacements for NSA field stations (aka Elephant Cages) at a facility in Austin in ways unrelated to my combat mission of operating and maintaining a direction finding base at the front of a moving armored division.

Most recently, the BRAC closings and rearrangements of RC units included consolidated training of pilots at a great distance from home station and closing down facilities in the pilots home towns. The arguments presented by the Pentagon included bogus data, and retired aircraft with years left of service on them. The high degree of competence in battle of Guard and Reserve pilots shook the Air Force to its core, and such a Clear and Present Danger to the Active Component’s budget had to be squashed lest the Congress find out that a superior force could be maintained at one third the cost.

Likewise, as the requirements for a green water and brown water navy became apparent in the War on Terror, the Navy began to shut down Navy Reserve units with those capabilities. Instead of units with equipment, the Navy Reserve is being relegated to the function as a repple depple for the “fleet”.

The disastrous circumstances we face today in Iraq is directly related to the division of labor of the Total Force with such functions as logistics, psychological operations, civil affairs, and combat support such as military police and rear area security in the Guard and Reserves, particularly the Army Reserve, being left out, civilianized, sub-marginalized and out-sourced. It is now commonly accepted that the failure to properly identify the reaction of the Iraqi people to our incursion, and to properly plan for the governance of Iraq is at the root of our disastrous performance there. And it is US Army Reserve Psychological Operation units and Civil Affairs units that have the expertise to have prevented all this with proper Estimates of the Situation and with proper deployment of the units with the requisite expertise.

In short, the Pentagon’s evasion of Congressional mandate expressed in law and appropriations that is the root cause of our failings in Iraq.

Once the forces crossed the border and drove into Iraq, as a military analyst on News24Houston, I expected to hear of Civil Affairs units racing forward to secure the archives, monuments, and museums against mob rule. They weren’t there. Once Saddam’s irregulars attacked the flanks of our advancing troops, I expected National Guard Rear Area Operations Centers to deal with them using National Guard Light Infantry Brigades and other RC Military Police units as I as a 75th Division controller had watched them do in countless command post exercises. They too weren’t there.

I had been a 75th Division Controller on several major combat support exercises including one with MG Hultman’s Corps Support Command in which supplies and transportation were managed by Movement Control Centers and Material Management Centers and protected by MP Brigades and RAOC’s. And the supplies were carried by USAR logistics units including Petroleum Groups, Area Supply Groups, Ammunition Groups, and the like. They weren’t there, and still aren’t. What is there are contractors, some armed, some not, traveling on mined roads through ambushes in accordance with a jury rigged accommodation in lieu of established doctrine.
The best one can say about the Pentagon is that their intense focus on the ten percent of the forces up front left them to ignore the ninety percent that keeps them there. This is a natural unintended consequence of the Warrior Ethic and is at the root of the original separation of functions. Logistics, administration, psychological operations, civil affairs aren’t really warrior-like and not sexy enough for Warriors and in particular, one doesn’t want them competing for promotions against Real Warriors. Thence, out of sight, out of mind.

And we come now to the Center of Gravity of the problem, promotions, for promotions are the profit motive for all save entrepreneurs, investors, and the self employed. It all boils down to what gains advantage in the boss’s eyes, and the boards behind them. It’s about suck up, kick down, and move up. Failure to do so has serious consequences, one fails to put food on the table, a roof over one’s head, and to provide for the kid’s education.

Essential for survival is self esteem and self confidence, for pride in accomplishment and for the support of one’s peers and one’s family. Survival is, however, seen as a zero sum game. Even when it is not, the predisposition continues.
Arrogance, however, begets incompetence. Over confidence begets defeat in battle. Western arrogance under-rated Japanese competence, and at Hong Kong on December 8, 1941 the British reported that Japanese aircraft were flown by Germans as it was impossible for Imperial Britain to believe that little yellow people could whip us. Despite having decoded Japan’s Declaration of War before the Japanese Embassy in DC had, we claimed them and do now, that Pearl Harbor was a “sneak attack” despite the military dictum that says that unsneaky attacks are called defeats. And then there is the business of “bitter enders”.

Exclusion of outsiders is an ancient social device to exclude competition for the gene pool and limited food supplies. Or promotions to the next higher grade. It is natural, it is normal, and it is important in the survival for the tribe, plus or minus a wipe out or two, or maybe taken for slaves or an interesting protein supplement. There are some serious downsides to career centrism in combat development.

The competition within the services for a place on the promotions list impacts on force composition and weapons development. We all know of the competition within the Navy between surface, sub-surface, and air forces. Some war essential capabilities such as ASW and Anti-mine warfare lack the panache and glamour of other parts of the Navy and as such are either left to wither or transferred to the Navy Reserve. The Air Force slipped its UAV/drone warfare units experienced in Vietnam to oblivion or to the reserve components.

The desire for exclusivity at the promotion trough is manifested in other walks of life such as found in those special places for the elite to water such as in the lunch room, the play ground, certain stalls at Mel’s Drive in, the country club, and in exclusionary professional groups such as the AMA, ABA, Teamster’s union, and the Regular Army. And, DOD is a union shop run by the unions of the unions and for the unions, and the Guard and Reserves are scabs.

Desert Storm proved the Total Force worked and that was totally unacceptable as deep down the union fears, loathes, and despises the Guard and Reserves. It is natural, normal, inevitable, and ineradicable. And they have a great deal to fear.
The days of the shoot and run village militia are gone. The popular image of Guard and Reserve units made up of under-trained, poorly led amateurs misses the simple fact that the Guard and Reserves are like Napoleon’s Old Guard. They (we) are the veteran force, the post graduate force, the troops with the most experience on the ground, in the seas and in the air. The Guard and Reserve forces are not only veteran, but older and mature with the eclectic experiences required for the War on Terror. This is what scares the Pentagon, and what generated their response which they call Transformation.

Much of Transformation is modernization and an infatuation with the technological trickery first introduced in the Vietnam War and which was crowned as the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). Systems engineering was applied to notional enemies that fit the kind that Warriors would fight ignored the simple fact that enemies don’t all have systems or critical nodes. Such was the lessons of Lenin, Mao, Ho and Giap in Protracted War as was taught in the terrorist training camps in Libya, Moscow, and East Germany which is now taught by their graduates in the Muddle East.

After Vietnam we decided to fight only in the Fulda Gap and after the Cold War ended we had to find a justification to keep the Cold War active force structure employed. Otherwise, the country might revert to the default small regular force and large Guard and Reserve force structure that had won all the wars before the Cold War. The Marine Corps moved first and re-occupied their traditional role as adjunct to the Navy’s role in securing the sea lanes of communication and as such a role in preserving global commerce including oil. The Corps’ expeditionary model suddenly became the rage and everything Air Force or Army had to have the “E” word in addition to the “T” word to be truly warrior-ish.

This ignited a long festering conflict within the Army between the Infantry and Armor branches and schools, a conflict as serious as any within the Navy. And from my viewpoint of 33 years of service beginning in the Pentomic Army of the Fifties, I could see the battle unfold. When I enlisted in 1957, there were two types of combat divisions, the Armored Division and the Pentomic Infantry Division. The Armored Division had four four-company Armored Rifle Battalions and five four-company tank battalions of which one was heavy. These battalions were assigned as needed between three Combat Commands (A, B and C). The Pentomic Infantry division had five Battle Groups of five line companies each. A Colonel commanded the Battle Group.

The logic behind the Battle Group was that the atomic (nuclear) battlefield required independent rapidly moving groups to avoid destruction by nuclear weapons. The battle group concept, however, didn’t give command experience to Lt Colonels and as such, had to go. The armored division model was then adopted for all divisions with battalions reduced to three companies to increase the number of O-5 command slots but at a cost of two O-6 command slots in the division.

Back in 1986, I had returned to the 75th Division and attended a briefing from DARPA on the next big thing in tactics called Units of Action which were described as independent rapidly moving groups to avoid destruction by nuclear weapons. Imagine my surprise when these Units of Action became Modular Brigades each with two maneuver battalions of three companies each. Thus a ten battalion division would now have five Modular Brigades each commanded by a Colonel. The Battle Group returned, but with the O-5 bug command bug fixed. And, the Armor School was moved from Knox to Benning to mind meld with the Infantry. Strange, I thought, since there hasn’t been a “leg” infantry division in the Army since Vietnam except in the Guard.

DARPA also was the author of a tactical system in vogue after Vietnam we called “mathema-tactics” in which over eighty percent of maneuver forces were committed forward and little left in reserve. Someone had figured out that in a maneuver division using the two-up, one-back formation left eight maneuver (infantry/armor) companies on the front line out of twenty seven in a nine-battalion division with two brigades forward, one back with the two brigades each with two battalions with two companies forward in each. Mathema-tactics allocated units along “axes of advance” defined by the gaps between the green on a map with little consideration for the ability of forces to maneuver in forests. As G2 controller of the Division Exercise Group of the75th, I watched NG division staffs try to cope with a typical Soviet offensive finding themselves unable to shift forces laterally across the front of an advancing enemy.

Thus the Modular Brigades were sold as a thirty percent increase in firepower by adding ten Colonels with staffs to the existing number of battalion then organized in thirty three brigades, both divisional and non divisional. As such it is a thirty percent increase in Colonel Command slots. In order to support these modular brigades, the brigade’s slice of support from division is now organic to the brigade such as a two battery artillery battalion. The net effect on promotions for O-5 was reduced for the Combat Support branches by twenty percent which has recently been addressed by the Army Chief of Staff by allowing Engineers and Artillery officers to compete for maneuver battalion command. Those having prior battalion command experience are ineligible, of course.

It gets worse. The Army’s new Modular Brigades are task organized by Table of Organization (TOE) to fight as is without further task organization in accordance with METT (Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops available). The battalions and companies are pre-task organized into “combat arms” companies. While armored cavalry units had been combined arms, the commander could always scramble or unscramble then to meet the situation. The new Transformational Modular Brigade was task organized by the Pentagon instead of by the unit commanders. This intent was made clear to me by a former project manager of this program during a briefing he made as 4th ID commander enroute to Iraq at a meeting of the Houston Military Affairs Committee. He bragged about making sure all the new brigades had exactly the same TOE, unappreciative of the fact that enemy firepower has the capacity of punching holes in TOEs. Besides, the TOE and MOS’s are highly structured paper drills that keep the Anal Retentive busy until their talents in cleaning up messes is needed on the very messy place battle tends to be.

No commander in his/her right mind would even think of employing any such force as is, and aren’t according to all reports I read or hear of action on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. We fight the way we always have, with what we have to do what we have to do. And in the War on Terror and our other missions world wide, we are using and are training in the training base to use whatever resources are needed in the eclectic dynamic mix of military, political, economic, and social tools we need. And the Guard and Reserves, due to their eclectic mix of those experiences are better suited than the narrow scope of the Modular Military.

The old Battle Group, however, was flat enough to allow for detachments and still keep a two-up one-back formation without breaking up the forward companies. The Modular Brigades, by design and intent, are not to be further task organized and leave the Brigade commander no choice than to violate the intent of DCSPER to form a reserve. The old Pentomic division did leave the Division Artillery intact to allow massed fires across the battle field. Division artillery in the Transformed Modular Military is now a maneuver brigade with it’s guns penny parceled amongst the Modular Brigades. Thus the DARPA designed DCSPER centric Transformed Army unable to form a reserve or mass fires on the intensive battlefield.

Added to this madness are the unintended consequences of a marvelous innovation called the National Training Center (NTC) first at Ft Irwin, CA and now in other parts. NTC afforded the opportunity for large forces up to brigade to maneuver in a computer assisted simulated near real force on force field exercises. In no small way are our victories in battle are due to NTC and the Action-Condition-Standard system of training adapted from SAC in the Army in 1974. But since NTC only handled one brigade at a time, brigades have been “rotated” between home station and NTC on a scheduled basis. Thus the concept of rotational warfare was born with our forces being rotated in and out of the combat zone. We no longer hear of campaigns, but of rotations.

One of the dictums of training is to train the way you fight. The downside is fighting the way you train and training against the enemy you think you are going to fight which may or may not be a bad decision. Given the rotational system of unit replacement, continuity on the battlefield is sacrificed despite some innovative and creative ways to minimize the disconnect on relief in place. Stability operations require stability of forces and experience as war is an act of politics and all politics are local. I hear the same story over and over again about one unit stabilizing an area only to be destabilized when the next unit moves in.
Unit rotation was adopted as an incorrect evaluation of low morale and effectiveness in Vietnam as being attributed to individual rotation. Units in Vietnam tended to stay in the same general area and became familiar with the terrain and the enemy. A radio intercept related to me told of a VC commander in 1968 telling a subordinate to hit the Americans at the same place they hit the French in 1952. Ditto the AQ, the Sunni, Shiite, and Pashtun.

The morale problems in Vietnam were related to the fact of over-reliance on the draft, the failure to call the Guard and Reserve, the exodus of the WW2-Korean War vets and the concurrent expansion for war stripped middle management bare. Whole classes of OCS grads were often wiped out within ninety days of graduation. We had “shake and bake” NCOs. And 18 months in service to the grade of Captain. And to which we add the Red ranting of the Viet Cong activists on those socialist madrassas we called institutions of higher education and thousands of them marching under enemy flags in our national capitol.

Unit commanders in combat cannot handle one year tours as was found out in Korea, Vietnam in both world wars. There is too much responsibility for too many lives at risk. Likewise, there were always the old guys who had survived to keep the FNGs (funny new guys) alive or to serve as examples of how to get another wake up. Under rotational warfare, the whole rotational brigade is FNG. And the terrorists rotate back into cleared areas.

It gets worse. Transformation proceeded with the immediate fielding of these top heavy under-gunned Modular Brigades without a clear concept of what the higher echelons were going to look like. The division has been gutted, and the Army Corps hasn’t been configured to provide support to the brigades. The places for Reserve Component CS/CSS plugs to plug into weren’t there or filled by the Transformational Lifer-Contractor paradigm deemed better than the Life-Conscript force that fails on export such as in Indo-China and Algeria for the French, the Falklands for the Argentines, and US in Vietnam. Under the Lifer-Contractor paradigm, forces are provided by Civil Servants, private contractors, and the Guard and Reserves employed in derivative cherry picked chunks. While the Civil Servants and contractors include many reservists and veterans, they are paid from Operations and Maintenance Funds, while the Guard and Reserves are paid for by Military Pay which competes with the active component at least at the level where a cost cutter might get the idea that maintaining the same force at one sixth the cost might bet a bigger bang for the buck.

Even worse, the rotation of units of the Guard and Reserve are done at least in the Army by ARFORGEN (Army force generation) which is organized to rotate RC units in and out of a deployment on a seven year basis. The personnel person loves projections and predictions of predictability, career paths, all to smooth out promotion flow points and opportunity. All to be done without even the benefit of a good crystal ball. And, without considering the perils of death and injury on the pool of eligible. During a recent Mid-Winter ROA Convention, I asked LTG Helmly, then Chief of the Army Reserve, about how we would deal with casualties in this rotational caracole. He was taken aback, it appeared as if he hadn’t considered it and he gave no answer except to refer to his rotational module.

In short, the problems in the Arc of Instability require solutions of stability enhancement which, as is being taught at NTC, are eclectic, dynamic, multi-talented ad hoc forces deployed with a long term stable presence. The rotational expeditionary personnel centric modular military is none of these. Its purported magic is all smash and no grab, a whack-a-mole modality more suited to 18th Century piracy on the Main without the employee benefits at worse and 19th Century gunboat diplomacy without the diplomats at best.

Even worse, this essentially counter-productive rotational force is being rotated back to CONUS where they are too close to the flag pole and too far from the unstable. The Founders were very clear about their fear of the Man on Horseback, of a neuveau Oliver Cromwell, that the only default force guaranteed in the Constitution is the Guard as in the Second Amendment under conditions specified in Article 1, Sections 8 and 10. Given that the Founders were well aware of their own British history and through their classical education knew that the Roman Republic gained an Emperor when its citizen legions became a long serving standing military. The quintessential guru of political gamesmanship, Niccolo Machiavelli, considered a citizen force as the best and most reliable force for the state.

We are at a major crossroads in the continued existence of our republic in deciding what to do with the first even long serving standing military. To be sure, there are threats out there. Ask any soldier. But then again, soldiers, if he/she is any good will seek out and destroy our enemies unbidden. Wouldn’t be any good otherwise. As such, empires have risen and fallen to the ordinary ambitions of the ambitious warrior. The Roman Empire was built by ambitious governors and generals often without approval from the Roman Senate or Emperor. The French conquered North Africa in defiance from orders from Paris. Most of the Japanese conquest of China was in defiance of orders from commanders in the field and from Tokyo. Soldiers worthy of the name go in harms way and if no harm is available, stir some up.

Given this natural normal tendency to stir up trouble and the transformed silliness of the means devised to do that, the simplest solution to preserve the republic and the tax base is to demobilize our forces not needed overseas, and transfer the mission and equipment to the Guard and Reserves. For those overseas, they can come home with their shield or on it.

Or, one can adopt a more modest proposal that deals with Congressional revision of the promotion process, the military’s center of gravity.

1. End the Up or Out System. There is no good reason why once on reaches his or her level of competence to stay there.

2. Open the promotion system to all qualified regardless of component or service.

3. A rank or grade goes with you, regardless of service or component promotion in one is good for any other.

4. A service member may compete for positions of a lower grade with no loss of grade on retirement.

5. All service is computed in points and at 7200 points, the benefits of a twenty year full retirement are available.

6. All service in any component is by contract such as is done for enlisted personnel.

7. The President may designate service with other countries or government branches as creditable service for experience and points as authorized by the Congress.

8. The Congress will resume the practice of authorizing the creation of units and activities and personnel therein for the duration any emergency or contingency deemed of importance.

9. The federal military reserve components will contain units intended to be deployed as units and of units and other activities intended to provide trained individual replacements to the other services and components as needed.

10. No civilians will be employed in combat save as under the UCMJ and meeting minimum training standards for deployment as the military services.

11. The Total Forces in active or drill status will be maintained at a level to allow for expansion of a fully mobilized force of ten percent of the population within three years. This is the same level achieved during WW2.

In such a modest proposal, a service member can come and go when needed or as desired and in a career path suited to the individual’s and the service’s needs. This proposal, if it seems oddly familiar is the traditional method used in the Guard and Reserves for personnel management. The model for the Total Force is us. It returns to the model for raising forces used prior to the Cold War. It allows the rapid development of the forces needed from the talent available free of considerations of career paths, or promotion flow point and opportunity as forces impacting on the organization, equipment, tactics for war and combat operations.

The Rough Riders, the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry, was raised from scratch as such and certainly did well on San Juan Hill. The officer in charge of the Mulberry project for the D-Day invasion was called from civilian life and given the rank needed for the job. Most of the generals on both sides of the Civil War including graduates of the academies returned to active duty from civilian life. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more academy graduates in the Guard and Reserve anyway. Certainly the type of risk takers needed for quick decision making in murky circumstances wither on the vine in vacuous staff positions marking time for field duty. The Navy in WW2 picked sailors whose annual income exceeded $30,000 for duty in on shipboard Command Information Centers (CIC), which is similar to recent experiments in using stockbrokers as players in a certain recent major exercise.

The quandary we face in the War on Terror is that the forces needed for irregular warfare and stability operations are not those required for high tech intensive war but include talents normally found in the Guard and Reserves. The forces required for high tech intensive war can be maintained in the Guard and Reserves at one third to one sixth the cost. The kind of eclectic force needed in irregular warfare and operations should include a very professional active force of special operations troops augmented, supplemented, and complemented by specialist units and personnel from the Guard and Reserve. Otherwise, the basis for a standing military force should be the need for forces whose sustained deployment or presence is required such as sea and service overseas of duration. In this regard, it makes no sense to bring forces from bases in Asia and Europe to the US so they can be deployed more quickly to places farther away than where they were.