Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Why need Regulars when Blackwater is here, part 2

The existence of PMCs given contracts to perform difficult military missions proves simply that one doesn't need a standing military force to gain and retain the necessary skill sets to fight wars against adaptive enemies. In fact, Transformation's effort to make cookie cutter mini brigades rotating on a schedule between Fort Swampy and Hell makes the need for a force that can be stamped out of the ground essential for career stability at Fort Swampy. That was also the reason for the creation of military forces of the Dutch East India and English East India companies.

The abuses of Blackwater, Executive Solutions, and other PMCs in Iraq prove that these forces must not be under private control. The excesses of the East India Companies of the Netherlands and Great Britain forced those companies to be brought under national control for the same reasons. The bitterness of those excesses still lingers on and became the basis for more than one rebellion.

Now if someone were to think really deep, one could come up with a solution that could bring up the forces in configurations not previously envisioned AND be under control. How about creating a structure to do that? Maybe someone could call is the US Volunteers. Or maybe the Guard and Reserves.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Knives in Gun Fights Not a Good Idea

Military doctrine is like a really big playbook governing the actions of tens of thousands on the battlefield. It is most valuable in scrimmage, however, as the big game is played only a few times in a player’s lifetime. Scrimmage differs from war in that both sides in war aren’t always playing the same game or by the same rules or the same playing field. It’s important not to bring a knife to a gun fight.

Weaponology, a new termed from a new TV series on the Military Channel on cable, is what technology works regardless of doctrine, and often why a doctrine or technology worked or not. It tells why the knife didn’t work in a gun fight.

The fate of nations and victory in battle often hinges on whether doctrine used the right technology, as in taking the bigger gun to the gun fight. Since doctrine dominates in peacetime, it is difficult to give up knife fighting. The bayonet is a stubborn survival of thousands of years of pike warfare as is the trefoil on the end of a company’s guidon and remained the number one killer in soldier’s minds until they accepted that barbed wire, machine guns, shell fragments all fed by rail rendered the bayonet a weapon of last resort.

Not all Weaponology changes are that obvious. Horse cavalry retained much of it’s usefulness throughout the Russian Revolution, the Polish wars, and the Spanish Civil War. It took a generation of automobile production to get the tinker-maker synergy to produce large numbers of reliable tanks. Timing is important.

As the Weaponology development curve is dramatically faster, by WW2, the life cycle of a successful weapon became shorter. Biplanes in 1939 were supplanted by jet fighters in six years. Designing the right weapon in the absence of a real battlefield is dicey, and given the historic value of the uniformity and consistency of the military play book, the wrong guess can be fatal. Such was the case of German and Japanese ships and planes.

The Japanese had the biggest, fastest, and longest range submarines not the least of which included super-subs that carried aircraft. They were the ideal commerce raider, but used almost exclusively in conjunction with the main fleet in hopes of fighting another Tsushima as was the dominant doctrine for the Combined Fleet throughout the war despite the dramatic success of the German and American campaigns in commerce interdiction. Or of the successful actions of the Confederate Navy which forced US ship owners to reflag half the ships under the US flag to flags of convenience, something that persists today.


Because of the vastness of the Pacific, Japan built many boats of extreme range and size, many of which were capable of cruises exceeding 20,000 miles and lasting more than 100 days. In fact, Japan built what were by far the largest submarines in the world, indeed, the only submarines over 5,000 tons submerged displacement, or submarines over 400 feet in length until the advent of nuclear power. These same boats were credited with a range of 37,500 miles at 14 knots, a figure never matched by any other diesel-electric submarine. These large boats could each carry three floatplane bombers, the only submarines in history so capable. Japan built 41 submarines that could carry one or more aircraft, while the vast submarine fleets of the United States, Britain, and Germany included not one submarine so capable.

During the Second World War, there were 56 submarines larger than 3,000 tons in the entire world, and 52 of these were Japanese. Japan built 65 submarines with ranges exceeding 20,000 miles at ten knots, while the Allies had no submarine capable of this feat. By 1945, Japan had built all 39 of the world's diesel-electric submarines with more than 10,000 horsepower, and all 57 of the world's diesel-electric submarines capable of 23+ knots surface speed.

The Japanese navy also built submarines with the fastest underwater speeds of any nation's combat submarines. They employed 78 midget submarines capable of 18.5 to 19 knots submerged, and built 110 others capable of 16 knots. As the war was ending they completed four medium-sized submarines capable of 19 knots submerged. This exceeds the 17.5-knot performance of the famed German Type XXI coming into service at the same time. As early as 1938, Japan completed the experimental Submarine Number 71, capable of more than 21 knots submerged.

Japanese submarines employed the best torpedoes available during the Second World War. The Type 95 torpedo used pure oxygen to burn kerosene, instead of the compressed air and alcohol used in other nation's torpedoes. This gave them about three times the range of their Allied counterparts, and also reduced their wake, making them harder to notice and avoid. The Type 95 also had by far the largest warhead of any submarine torpedo, initially 893 pounds (405 kg), increased to 1210 pounds (550 kg) late in the war. All Japanese torpedoes made during the war used Japanese Type 97 explosive, a mixture of 60% TNT and 40%

hexanitrodiphenylamine. Most importantly, the Type 95 used a simple contact exploder, and was therefore far more reliable than its American counterpart, the Mark 14, until the latter was improved in late-1943. Japan also developed and used an electric torpedo, the Type 92. This weapon had modest performance compared to the Type 95, but emitted no exhaust and, therefore, left no wake to reveal its presence. Similar electric torpedoes were used by several nations.

Imagine if Yamamoto had loosed these tigers on the US lines of supply across the vast space of water between the West Coast and Hawaii and from Hawaii to Australia. Even worse, imagine if Doenitz had these subs to wage war in the North and South Atlantics and the Indian Ocean as well. The supply lines from the US would have been shredded. The Canal would have fallen as well as the Soviet Union leaving the Eurasian continent in Axis hands.

German Luftwaffe doctrine dismissed four engine bombers in favor of fast medium bombers which left Germany unable to effectively conduct a strategic bombing offensive. If the Battle of Britain had been fought against four engine bombers, the end would have come swift as the short range medium bombers and their escorts couldn’t carry enough tonnage to do to Britain what Britain and the US did in return.

In both cases, the wrong doctrine led our enemies down the wrong paths leading to their destruction. Both of our enemies had the technological ability to create the right weapons, but the Rear Echelon Multi-Facilitators insisted on taking knives to gun fights.

American military doctrine shares two dark sides, one that sticks in the mud, and the other that is convinced that there is no mud. Unlike sticking to obsolete doctrine, the US likes to invent the battlefield that fits the kind of warfare they want to fight. This is called capabilities based fighting now in vogue after threat based fighting has been deemed passé by the porcelain eunuchs pandering in the Pentagon.

Like the German decision to stick to medium bombers, the decision to go to four engine bombers had as much to do with budget battles with the Navy as the B-17 was sold as the anti-dote to battleships. That’s what Billy Mitchell’s demo was all about. In fact, the USAAF prevailed in sending B-17s to the Philippines instead of a squadron of cruisers as a deterrent to the Imperial Fleet. All the B-17s were destroyed on the ground. And they never did sink a battleship on the move.

As one watches the Military, History, and Science channels, one is struck by the prevalence of personality and happenstance on the development of Weaponology. Penicillin and Teflon were developed by lab accident. Dynamite was developed by Alfred Nobel in hopes that increased lethality would deter war. Likewise, a priest developed the first “bullet proof” vest which was converted to Teflon by a pizza delivery man who had survived a shootout with some thugs.

Not every thing that works in the way it was intended to. The M113 personnel carrier and the UH-1 helicopter both started out as battlefield ambulances for the US Army Medical Corps. At night in Vietnam I used to enjoy seeing a stream of fire from the sky as Spooky aka Puff the Magic Dragon, moan in the night. A thirties era passenger plan with a reborn Gatling gun.

On the spot ingenuity counts. The hedge rows of Normandy were plowed through with a device affixed to the front of a tank by a Sergeant with a welding torch and parts of Rommel’s beach obstacles.

Doctrine development must be able to adapt to concepts and developments from all directions, from command on high to grunts on the front, and wonks in industry and on campus like Barnes Wallis of Dambuster fame, and Kelly Johnson of Lockheed’s Skunk Works.

Failure of the Germans and Japanese to change their doctrine to leverage their technology in accordance to the demands of the war, cost them a serious regime change. What we do not need is doctrine developed without regard to whether knives or guns are in the hands of the bad guys, and instead focused on the illusion of a fantasy in order to feed the career needs of the fighting force. As in Transformation.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sycophancy - Key to Miltary Career Survival

Lt Col Yingling’s widely read criticism of the General Officer Corps lack of creativity and integrity has been followed by a number of other criticisms of the officer corps in general and calling for better training. Another recent article derides the concept of civilian interference with military operations insisting that although the civilians set the policy, the military should be free to carry it out the right way. Each blames something wrong that can be fixed inside the services, to wit, the Pentagon, Each is wrong.

The profit motive for entrepreneurs is profit, for investors it is the value of shares held, but for everyone else, promotion is the profit motive. And the key to promotion within an organization is fundamentally to suck up and move up. Actual effectiveness is a positive factor, but often effectiveness, productivity, efficiency, or other positive feature pose a threat to other employees, and especially those on high. This is true in the private, public, and military sectors of endeavor.

Sycophancy in the military is not only politic, it is essential for survival, given the Up or Out system of promotion based primarily on the report cards written by raters and endorsers. Part of this process is the creation of the military itself by retaining the system by which those who survived the gauntlet maintain it. Part of the process is that of the Congress which has the authority to provide “for the regulation” of the Armed Forces, specifically including the confirmation of officer selections and promotions by the Senate.

Two measures are required: 1) Congress should abolish the Up or Out system as wasteful of valuable talent and supportive of insufferable sycophancy. 2) The services should adopt the enlisted promotion evaluation system for officers, which system reduces the impact of rater and endorser to a minor fraction of the promotion point system needed for promotion.

The Up or Out system is most devastating in the second decade of service in which an officer is already no longer house broke for civilian use and has a decade of service that needs to be retained to maintain combat effectiveness. The Army has been short of Captains for decades due to the diminished chances of career survival in the second decade and the prospect of unrewarding field grade staff positions. There is nothing wrong with a long service Captain, as Captains (Navy Lt) run the units in the field.

The present Army Enlisted promotion point system has had the evaluation of the rater (Commander) at around twenty percent but has just been reduced to yes/no. The rest of the evaluation system also diminishes the impact of a review board and now stresses assignments, schooling, and awards which are a more objective criterion that the damning faint praise an aggressive officer might get.

We are in the last stages of the war in Iraq, and it is now widely accepted that the problems created by over bearing civilian authority may have fatally flawed the enterprise from the beginning. The big question on people’s lips is to question why didn’t the professionals speak out? The answer is that to do so would make it difficult for the officer’s family to pay the rent, or buy groceries.

It may take a law to accomplish both objectives. As we face a potential draw down of forces in the next administration, it would be wise to try to save the combat experience learned, even if it makes the year group distribution look a little skewed. But that’s another story.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hell Fires - Worsened by stripping Guard equipment

The National Guard’s response to the Hell Fires in California, in addition to Katrina and Rita, were adversely affected by the loss of equipment taken from the Guard (and Reserves) by the Pentagon when their troops returned from the battle fronts in the Middle East. By contrast, Regular forces returned with their equipment. This policy of stripping the Guard and Reserves of their equipment, along with BRAC, and other policies is intended to disarm the Guard and Reserves and Transform them into individual replacements for the Regular (Active) forces under the program called “Transformation”.

This policy started shortly after Desert Storm and the realization that the expertise of the Guard and Reserves was as good as those on Active service, and in many cases, far superior and at one sixth the cost of maintaining them. Additionally in the years leading up to Desert Storm, all the units and activities dealing with higher levels of command such as Corps, Field Army, and Theater were being concentrated in the Guard and Reserves and was being exercised in large multi-service and multi-component command post exercises. The corollary of this was the loss of such expertise on Active Service.

The realization that Week End Warriors could fight struck directly at the Pentagon’s groin, hence heart and mind. The Army’s response, similar to other services, was to abolish the concept of levels above brigade pending a notional force called UA(X) intended to replace both corps and division. This, of course, didn’t sit well with the Generals in command of those units, so their headquarters have been retained and earning their keep trying to make sense out of the senseless mess created by Transformation, And this all in the face of enemy fire.

These policies are in accordance with the last two Quadrennial Defense Reviews (QDR)in spite of the development of new doctrine for Counter Insurgency (FM 3-24) and Peace Operations (JO 3-07.3) which rejects the concept of Rotational warfare by requiring Unity of Command and Perseverance to achieve national objectives. The Transformational notion of warfare is to raid and run. Other forms of war require sustained and consistent effort.

The Guard’s traditional role in National Defense is as the Nation’s default military force and is the only force guaranteed to exist by the Constitution, in the Second Amendment. All other forces exist at the will of Congress, that includes the Navy and Marine Corps. The Navy is, per the Constitution, is the only force authorized to maintain ships of war in times of peace. The Defense of the Continental US can be performed entirely by the Guard and a Navy big enough to guard the approaches to our shores and our trading sea and air lines of communication.

Any else, must be justified by extant threats from abroad, and based where those threats can be most effectively dealt with. Inasmuch as Transformation dismisses “Threat Based” planning in favor of “Capabilities or Effects based” planning, we are wrapped in a fantasy that ignores contingency planning. Such forces that are being brought back from foreign stations, then are not needed, and the equipment and missions be transferred to the Guard and Reserves.

How better to guard our own borders and skies that has been the Guard and Reserves mission since the Fifties? I hold to the Pet Rock Theory of economics. Demand creates value. The manufacturing of Pet Rocks only creates value, jobs, taxes, and wealth only so long as people demand Pet Rocks. The same applies to the Bass Sax of the Fifties for the Bass Guitar of the Seventies, or Tap Dancing. Or Colorado shoreline property, or dry land in Florida, or Dutch Tulip Bulbs. About the only thing that retains it's value regardless of time, place, culture, or the economy is a good piece of ass.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Tail of Teeth

The ratio of teeth to tail in a field force from Theater down is about ten to one in accordance with the historical experience of the entire Twentieth Century. Since teeth are more sexy than tail to those with little heads, a cerebral colonic inversion occurred in the Pentagon on the realization that the expertise in Corps, Field Army and Theatre Army operations lay in the Reserve Components, most predominately in the Army Reserve.

This corollary to this is the plain fact that the ability to conduct operations at levels above division had be lost to those in the Pentagon giving rise to colonic confusion that teeth don’t need tails, at least those from the detested weekend warriors. Accordingly, the decision to eliminate the tail from the teeth by creating a force that didn’t need one, called reducing the “footprint” of tactical forces. An privatizing the tail makes it weigh less. Way less.

A new battle doctrine likewise had to be invented that didn’t require ammunition re-supply, casualty replacement, or equipment maintenance, hence the Rumsfeldian “Whack-a-Mole” Rotational Modular Stabilized Expeditionary Transformational mini-brigade force. All wars and military emergencies could, under this approach, be won in a “10-30-30” cycle: Go in Ten, Win in Thirty, and Recover in Thirty Days.

Fortunately for the US, GWOT is not a near peer war like WW1 or 2. In WW1, General Sir Douglas Haig fed the finest infantry in the world into the shell holes of Hell in Flanders followed by the cream of Britain’s youth with a determined Pig Headedness that seems to have been replicated in the Pentagon. After six years of a failed rotational, transformational, expeditionary, modular war, and in spite of the burgeoning success of the new Counter Insurgency doctrine, the Pentagon prefers to cut and run than adapt to the eclectic and effective.

Lest this be seen as another of my pipe dreams, remember when there was a thing called “combat readiness”? How the Pentagon attempted to denigrate and marginalize the Reserve Components with phony readiness standards like MOS training, equipment readiness, et al? And remember what happened before 9-11?

Desert Storm did it. The Pentagon realized that the Reserve Components could rock and roll with the best of them. This had to go. No more “major” command post exercises to be done to continue to exercise Corps and above under combat conditions was a lead indicator.

And what happened when the balloon did go up? Converting artillery and tanks units to a new breed of motorized infantry in short order gave the lie to the relation of MOS to combat readiness. All that matters, now as in all wars before, is that a soldier needs only not to be gay, and that the government owns a piece of his/her ass. And the rest of the body doesn’t have to have all the parts issued originally.

One thing the last QDR did accomplish is that the Army has been transformed from a combat ready force to a combat experienced force. It is time to bring sanity to the next QDR but note that the Pentagon is trying to eliminate the Reserve Representation on the staff that prepares the QDR. BOHICA 08?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

NY Times Article: Law Breaker in Chief (?)

Lawbreaker in Chief, the article by Jed Rubenfeld, misses one point on the authority to operate outside the provisions of a law passed by Congress, and that is that the Constitution gives the President specified powers not granted to Congress, that of Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, and the power to conduct relations with foreign nations. In fact, in those areas, the decisions of the President have the force of law.

It is the same power that a police officer or military officer has in issuing orders. A military officer who orders his unit to defend or attack a piece of ground, that order has the force of law.

The extension of Commander in Chief powers past the point in which military forces are directed on the ground, sea, or in the air, is problematic as the Constitution gives the Congress the authority to determine what kind of military the President gets to command, including the organization, staffing, training, and doctrine that the forces are developed under. Of the eighteen specified powers of the Congress in Article 1, at least seven deal with military issues.

Since the creation of the Defense Department after WW2, the Congress has ceded it’s authority to the Defense Department in what used to be routinely performed by the Congress. The failure of US military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to have a post invasion plan is due to a major shift in the regulation (doctrine) and organization of the military called “Transformation”.

“Transformation” is predicated on what is best for the retention of military personnel, and not upon actually winning. “Transformation” is more concerned with fighting a war than winning it. Winning a war is not in the best interests of the Pentagon as ending the war would end the funding. And that includes the billions of acquisition costs intended for a war that is entirely imaginary.

Congress should focus on what their authority is in the military arena instead of wandering outside their Constitutional authority such as putting time lines on the commitment of troops. The meddling in Turkish affairs just recently is a equally unconstitutional and which has, as intended, a devastating impact on the conduct of both military and diplomatic relations in the Middle East.

The division of national authority specified in our Constitution is a part of the Anglo-American political tradition with the separation of those powers going back to the English Civil Wars. There, the King wanted to wage war on French Catholics with whom the traders of London were trading with. End result, a Parliamentary Army today knows as the British Army, and the beheading of the King. The meddling of the Continental Congress in military operations reinforced the notion that Congress should stay out of the conduct of military operations.

The sticky part of the wicket is that while the Congress has the exclusive power to declare war, the conduct of military operations against a hostile foe or in the enforcement of the Presidents conduct of relations with foreign relations does not need a declaration of war to open fire. A declaration of war is a legal state, that may or may not involve military forces. Battles may be fought without a declaration of war. The only safeguard, as with the British, is the funding which cannot include a restriction of Presidential powers, lest the funds be treated as unencumbered money free to be spent as the President chooses.

The Founders clearly understood that giving the President (or King) a large standing military force would tempt the usage thereof. The British system kept the Regular British Army small with large supplements of colonial troops, such as the Indian Army from which Dr. Watson retired.

The “well regulated militia” guaranteed in the Second Amendment is the default military force for the United States. These state forces, however, are restricted from having ships of war or standing military forces in time of peace. Likewise, the “regulations” (doctrine) of the state forces is that which the Congress directs. Here also the Congress has failed by leaving these decisions to the Defense Department without adequate review, such as having hearings on the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) which should be a Congressional task.

On an ominous note, the Army and Air Forces raised during the Cold War that used to be stationed overseas are being brought back to the Continental USA so that they can sally forth in ten days, win in thirty and rebound in another thirty. Given the failure of this approach, the Pentagon forges ahead with “Transformation” with a pig-headedness not seen since Sir Douglas Haig drenched the trenches of Flanders with British blood. One wonders in Rumsfeld’s New Model Army has a Pride’s Purge in mind. One wouldn’t like to see a “Rump Congress”

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

There are more wheels than COGs

In order to sound both appropriately pompous, erudite, and authoritative on things military, it is fashionable to use the term “Center of Gravity” to define that which the power of a belligerent emanates, and “around which” the opponent operates. This concept was described in pompous, erudite, and authoritative terms in the book “On War” by Karl Clauswitz published by his wife in the 1800’s after his death. Likewise, it has become quite the fad to quote Clausewitz in the same manner a fundamentalist religionist quotes Holy Scripture be it Bible, Koran, Torah, or Karl Marx.

Unfortunately for the military professional, that which constitutes the Center of Gravity (COG) isn’t all that obvious. It could be geographic, political, social, economic, technical, and/or personal at multiple levels of interest. Clausewitz’s concept itself shifts throughout his book being quite different at the end of the book than of the beginning. As such, military writings today are filled with differing notions of what it is. Or how many there are.

In order for the concept of a COG to be useful to a combatant, it should be consistently understood by his or her forces, but if it were that obvious to one side, it would be obvious to the other(s). Hard to be deceptive under those circumstances and Sun Tzu, the next most quoted authority, would send a pupil who used COG as a term to the blackboard to write “COG’s aren’t”, ten thousand times.

The very notion that one operates “around” a COG suggests a circular voyage as in staff coordination in the Pentagon. Quite useless in practice and the French would be aghast as it not only doesn’t work in practice (forgivable), it doesn’t even work in theory.

The notion that COGs exist in the RW (Real World) has lead to more tragedy than triumph. Clausewitz was fashionable during and before WW1 which induced combatants of both sides to attack each others strong points as at Verdun while the collapse of the Triple Entente came from inside and their rear as hunger, chaos, and Communism carried by troops from the Eastern Front defeated the Will of the People.

The Japanese perceived the COG as the US battle fleet, the defeat of which would bring the US to a negotiating table. That didn’t work out that way. Likewise, Osama Bin Ladin chose the World Trade Center (WTC) as the Center of Gravity of the Great Satan. Both events were somewhat counter-productive.

If one had the Sword of Damocles suspended by a single horse hair above one’s head, the Clausewitzean would deal with the sword, while students of B H Liddell Hart would step out of the way and cut the thread. Like Yin and Yang, and in Aikido, one uses the weakness against the strength.

COGs are too elusive a concept to be useful for field commanders to guide their actions which, instead should be based on proven concepts of military decision making taking into account the Factors of METT (Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops Available), plus Time and Technology available. At the risk of my own pomposity, let me suggest METT-T2.
Likewise the analysis of capabilities, limitations, weaknesses and strengths should take into account that some factors are timeless, some a transitory, and some are illusionary. The closest of factors to consistency is the human will, and geography which we called COCOA in the Pentomic Era. Cover and Concealment, Observation, Critical Terrain, Obstacles, and Avenues of Approach, all of which are used to be able to dominate or deny movement over five kinds of terrain: hills, holes, valleys, ridges, and passes by movement over the high ground, low ground, cross corridors, ridge running or through the pass.

Clausewitz posited that the Will to Resist is a function of the ability to resist, which in Napoleonic times seemed reasonable. But given the stubborn resistance of U-Boot crews, Viet Cong troops, and the Jihadi, it’s just as likely that the reverse is true. The ability to resist is a function of the will to resist, a sort of Triumph of the Will, so to speak.

Gordon S Fowkes

COIN, a threat to Transformation

The Counter-Insurgency doctrine manhandled into position by the Combined Arms Center under the tutelage of LTG Petraeus and published as FM3-24 represents a clear and present danger to Transformation of the military from one capable to fighting anyone anywhere, for any reason into one focused on a notional figmentary enemy and terrain created to foster predictable career development patterns and to justify the spending of tens of billions in weapons and equipment solely needed for the notional battlefield.

The principle threat to the SuperGrade-Industrial Complex, formerly known as the Military-Industrial Complex until rotational assignment rotas ensured that the impact of the military assigned to be Pentagon is controllable by superior GS15 plus Supergrades which has effectively reduced the military in the Pentagon to Hand Puppets. Likewise, any political appointee can, like in other governments, can be danced around until they quit for frustration or get set up.

The proof that such a pageant exists is that the military assigned to the Pentagon normally serves for three years, not long enough to find out who does what, who produces and go obfuscate, and my the second year figures out what needs to be done and before the third implementing rule is finished, so is the policy which the next Colonel who comes in will get an MSM for reversing it.

Likewise it is impossible for any unstable force of milicrats to sustain a policy of anykind for more than three years and most of the policies associated under the lable :”Transformation” are remarkable in consistency over multiple administrations, something a rotational military/appointed civil service could sustain.

While there were serious conflict in the Pentagon over the conduct of the war between the role specified in FM3-24 calling for a multi-disciplined multi-level effort to mix economic, political, health, governance, and judicious use of massive firepower, has been sabotaged by the Surge, a rotational concept beloved by rotational career centric policies of Transformation.

Surges are temporary which sabotages the long pull approach of COIN operations. By associating Petraes name with the Pentagon Surge Policy dooms his effectives which the surge recedes..

Likewise is the Pentagon;s insistence that the Army is over-extended, a condition created by the Pentagon by not pushing for Full Presidential Mobilization which would have kept the Guard and Reserve units on active duty until the emergency was over..

Why need Regulars when Blackwater is here?

Blackwater proves that we don’t need a large standing military to raise highly technical and specialized military forces in time of need from the general population. Their excesses prove that this shouldn’t be done by the private sector. Likewise, the logistical and service support needed for an eclectic military force provided by such firms and Halliburton proves the same point.

South Africa has made it illegal for South Africans to join private military companies in the aftermath of objections to Executive Solutions, featured in “Blood Diamond” were objected to by the rest of the African states. Executive Solutions proved that a highly trained force was more than cost effective, replacing ineffective UN and African peacekeeping force in Sierra Leone. Since reconciliation, large numbers of highly trained and combat experienced South Africans have been seeking employment in the guns for hire sector.

Historically privatized military forces on sea were either pirates or privateers, the latter being pirates with a government license. Privateers were banned by the Declaration of Paris in 1856 signed by all the major European powers, but which the US did not for lack of greater protection for what was left of US shipping after the devastations by the Confederate Navy. Half the US merchant marine reflagged itself to prevent capture by the Alabama and Shenandoah.

Field and siege artillery were private sector until the French in the late 17th Century made it a part of the regular military establishment. It seemed that the private artillery companies had a penchant for leaving the battlefield to preserve their capital investments against capture or destruction.

Logistics in the US Army used “sutlers”, private PX’s, up until after the Spanish American War. They tended to be gougers of troopers paychecks. While there are many private sector logistics operations that have provided the services that Army Reserve and Guard logistics units were tasked to perform, there has been widespread corruption and incompetence that has proved counter-productive in the war on terror. The building built by private contractors for the Iraqi Police Academy leaks shit from the light sockets. Shoddy construction and abandoned projects throughout Iraq leave a bad taste in the mouths of the people whose hearts and minds we bleed for.

The motives for the unprecedented use of the private sector on the battlefield stems two mutually reinforcing sources: Neo-Con religious fervor towards privatization and job security for the Regular Army. The latter fear that People From Outside the Box will threaten the job security and promotion opportunity and flowpoint if the Guard and Reserve forces trained for over a quarter of a century to provide combat service support and service support at levels from battalion to Theater Army would interfere the availability of command and field staff positions to budding field grades.

Few outside the military know that the structure of units above division (corps, field army, and theater army) were well trained and ready to go to support any kind of military operation. Fortunately for the US, the private sector has drawn from the experience and training of the Guard and Reserve in this capacity to provide the services needed. That is in addition to the ranks of the retired, and from those on active service who wish to double or triple their paycheck in the private sector.

There is a move in global politics and within the Bolshevik Left in the US to exploit the trigger happy reputation of Blackwater to emasculate GWOT. Rather than revert to the tried and true,however, the threat of Guard and Reserve parity with the Regular Army is enough for the Pentagon to now speak of withdrawing from Iraq to be able to be ready to fight an imaginary war instead of winning he real one in front of them.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dysfunctional DoD

The Pentagon’s counter attack on COIN is well underway together with a full fledged assault on the Guard and Reserves. Both actions are “Rice Bowl” issues as both COIN doctrine and the clear proof that Guard and Reserve forces are full fledged combat forces and having the extra flexibility of adaptation to the chaos and confusion of war.

The Pentagon’s PSYOP plan for preparing the political battlefield includes the subtle placement of “articles” in the professional journals and in the press extolling the virtues of Transformation and undermining the credibility of those they oppose. The Navy’s termination of the Navy’s TAR program was preceded by articles denouncing the TAR. The attempt to strip the Air Guard of fighter aircraft was (and still is) preceded by claiming that Guard and Reserve pilots needed consolidated training away from home station, and it was cheaper. The Army’s combat service support structure has been largely replaced with civilian contractors who use Guard. Reserve, and Retiree personnel at multiples of their original military salaries, but do not compete with Regulars for promotion and command assignments.

From NGAUS come the alerts of further actions to emasculate the Guard and Reserves:

The Issue: Reserve Forces Policy Board (RFPB)Immediate/Urgent Action Required: Contact your members of Congress and urge them to oppose changes to the current structure of the Reserve Forces Policy Board (RFPB) until hearings and debate in Congress can properly evaluate the way ahead.

The Reserve Forces Policy Board (RFPB) has served as the vital linkage between the senior leadership of the Reserve Components with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Congress of the United States.The current structure, when permitted to function within the DoD, as provided by previous legislative guidance of the Congress, permits face-to-face consideration and debate by senior Reserve Component officers and the civilian leadership of the Department of Defense, with appropriate reporting to the Congress.Current proposals to reduce or eliminate these Reserve Component leaders are counter-productive (Sec. 1623 in the Senate version; Sec. 531 in the House version). When permitted to work within its charter, the RFPB has stood the test of time and has provided a critical path on Reserve issues to our nation’s leaders

The Issue: Mixed Status ForcesImmediate/Urgent Action Required: Contact your members of Congress and urge them to reject Section 1621(b) contained in the House version of the FY2008 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The National Guard Association of the United States joins with the National Governor’s Association, the Department of Defense and the President in opposing Section 1621(b) of the House version of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, “Command and Control of Mixed Status Forces in Certain Missions.”This language directs the Secretary of Defense to establish procedures allowing U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) to exercise command of National Guard forces which are not federalized but are under State control performing “full-time National Guard duty” in Title 32 status. The language refers to “mixed status forces” which are defined as National Guard units in Title 32 status which are training or operating alongside active duty units.A law purporting to allow state-controlled National Guard forces to be placed under the command of federal military officers would be in conflict with 32 USC 115, unless such law requires consent of the governor. There is no mention of governor’s consent in Sec. 1621(b)

The key issue that we have to decide is to accept or reject the idea that all military wisdom and competence extend as a natural extension of a Regular commission, and that those who are not Regular are inherently inferior, save as temporary labor, seasonal workers, or cannon fodder.

Additionally we should question to continued utility of a career obsessed structure whose concern for military glory aka career management outstrips their concern with defending the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The advance PR about the likelihood of COIN operations as a passing fad is based on the Pentagon’s assessment that the War in front of us interferes with the Pentagon’s imaginary war needed billions in fancy hardware. They would rather lose the War on Terror than face the reality that the current Defense Department is terminally dysfunctional in fighting real wars.

It is time to restore the ability of the nation to build a war winning military capability in the manner we did prior to the creation of the Defense Department. This Defense department has no concept of defense nor of war, and should be renamed the Military Department.

Gordon S Fowkes
Lt Col, US Army (Ret)

Turkey Turkey

The passage of the Congressional resolution condemning Turkey for the genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire over eighty years ago may well rank as one of the most unique victories of psychological operations by a nation’s legislature against it executive and its armed forces engaged in combat. With a “non-binding” resolution expressing an opinion in areas for which the Congress has no authority, the Pelosi “progressive” Democrats may have severed an important Line of Communication (LOC) to troops engaged in combat against a hostile foe. In ordinary military terms this is a move that would have taken at least a full corps of ground forces together with air power to match to accomplish the same thing.

This propaganda coup clearly aligns the Progressive Democrats with Al Qaeda, and the other factions of extremist Islamic terrorism presently waging war with the United States, and against all other nations who chose not to join a radical fundamentalist global Caliphate. Aide and comfort, anyone?

Given the simple fact that the philosophic position of the Progressive Democrat is presented as extreme liberalism which that of the Terrorist is extreme conservatism makes this alliance of opposites somewhat like the autocratic French King’s support of the American Revolution, a move which was decidedly regicidal in the end.

It might be said that President Bush’s intrusion into Congressional affairs triggered an equivalent response by the Congress, by the latter’s intrusion into matters concerning the direction of troops in combat and the direction of foreign policy which are reserved exclusively to the President under the Constitution. As such we are facing a serious Constitutional crisis which, if not nipped in the bud, may boil over into a civil war as it did in Great Britain in the English Civil Wars back in the mid 1600’s. Parliament against King.

Who are the Progressive Democrats, those who have allied themselves with the enemies of civilization, Western and otherwise? Aren’t they the same who claim they ended the War in Vietnam by pulling out US troops, leaving the Vietnamese to fight on alone for two more years? Aren’t they the ones that condone the Killing Fields of Cambodia? Aren’t they the ones who back Hugo Chavez in his near perfect emulation of a Soviet style takeover, the last of which occurred in South Vietnam?

Who are these Progressive Democrats who champion the suppression of expression and religion through the substitution of whim and caprice for admissible evidence under the Common Law? They and their over-Conservative counter-parts should pause and think of the ramifications of deviation from the Constitution and the Common Law if the tools of repression they devise gets into their opponents hands. Imagine using Guantanamo to house Christian Conservatives for preaching the overthrow of the US to establish a Kingdom of God on earth? Or for practicing ritual cannibalism in the Holy Eucharist?

It is time for Liberal Democrats to let the Progessives sink back into the sewers from which they came.