Monday, January 15, 2007

The Threat, the Task, Two, Three and Four

At present the Battle of Baghdad and the War on Terror is locked in mortal combat … in the halls of Congress and between the A and E Rings in the Pentagon. The former and less significant is broadcast daily on the Telly, while the latter is shrouded in cold fury of a battle of whose bowl is about to be broken. It is a war in which the fate of nations is personified by Bush, Gates and Petraeus on the one hand, and the Dichotomist Ghost of Transformation, not yet dead, on the other as described in the Quadrennial Reviews of 2001 and 204. While much of the dichotomous thinking in the QDR is the result of personnel centric conflict between the services, branches, and components of the Defense Department, it is the result of the psychological conflict between staff functions of intelligence, operations, personnel and logistics.

Intelligence is the determination of the strength, composition, and disposition of the enemy to determine possible courses of action, weaknesses and strengths. Operations is the creation of friendly strength, composition, and dispositions expressed in courses of action that will avoid the enemy’s strengths and exploit his weaknesses to ultimately deny the enemy the ability move, shoot, and communicate and present the enemy with an offer he cannot refuse.

In warfare, operations depend upon intelligence. War is threat driven. In peacetime, we train for war and training is task driven. Intelligence is created to provide a focus for training for the Mission Essential Task List and Skill sets required for military operations.

Likewise in warfare, capabilities and courses of action open for operations is determined by the personnel and logistics available, the former by the imbalance of casualties and replacements, the latter by the provision of gas, ammo, food, and repair parts which require a huge transportation network to move them forward.

In peacetime, personnel turbulence is minimal and little ammo or gas in consumed in garrison operations which is most of the time. Likewise, there is little demand for intelligence in peacetime because the enemy is created for the task, and is provided by known adversaries. Training exercises are rarely fought long enough to exhaust gas, ammo, repair parts, food or replacements to give enough work for the logistics and personnel staff to effectively train on.

The absence of meaningful changes in intelligence, personnel, and logistics in peacetime training gives the operations officer the effective control of unit operations. Operations officer slots, therefore, are real career enhancers. The rest of the staff and the troops they represent are consider “tail” vs the more macho “teeth” of the Six and Three. Thus QDR 2006 “shift in emphasis” in black/white dichotomous terminology includes:

“From threat-based planning – to capabilities-based planning” regardless of who or where the threat may be. Thus Enemy and Terrain are purged from METT-T as a basis for planning. The threat that the S2/G2 might pose to the primacy of the S3/G3 is diminished.

“From an emphasis on (hardware) – to focus on … actionable intelligence” which transfers the blame for a failure to act on enemy information to the intelligence officer who is now has to decide what, if any action, is applicable to the intelligence available … as in the flight numbers and dates of the 9-11 bombers was an intelligence failure.

From reactive response to proactive preventative action, and from “crisis response –to shaping the future, which is capabilities based and not on weather, enemy or terrain … such as the intelligence created to provide precision targets on non existent weapons of mass destruction.

The shift in logistics is from “stove pipes” to “matrix”, from “tail” to “teeth” and “from broad-based industrial mobilization- to targeted commercial solutions” which means privatizing, civilianizing, and outsourcing logistics, particularly in no competition bidding to friends of Dick.

The QDR also enshrines a conflict within the operations community, between operations and planning. Planners are usually a separate organization seated outside the inner circle who plan ahead based on assumptions of mission, enemy, terrain, troops available, time and technology and put their recommendations in OPLANS which can be activated by changing paragraph one (enemy situation) on information from intelligence. This requires those in the inner circle to be bound by the dictates of outsiders (plans, intel, personnel, logistics) and is a threat to the purity and essence of warrior-dom. The QDR continues:

“From predetermined force packages – to tailored, flexible forces”, and from “one size fits all deterrence – to tailored deterrence” which don’t have to deconflict – to integrated, interdependent forces. Deconfliction means task organization to meet METT-TT, and integrated independent forces means one size fits nothing Modular Rotational Expeditionary Brigades based in the States to react quicker to Baghdad than from Germany or Japan.

If Bush, Gates and Petraeus have their way, the Modular Brigades would have to be Civil Affairs, Intelligence, Psychological Operations and Civil Engineering brigades. Since these skills are found primarily in the Guard and Reserves, The need for a larger standing army is placed in jeopardy.

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