Saturday, March 8, 2008

ARFORGEN - not the dumbest idea, but close

ARFORGEN, the Army’s force generation model, isn’t the dumbest thing ever to come out of the Pentagon; it is one of the most unrealistic ever devised. ARFORGEN adopts the failed strategy of a training cycle in which skills of an already trained unit repeat on a cycle from individual skills to collective skills in ascending order of organization. The training cycle approach has the capability of dumbing down a sterling combat experienced Army to one incapable of effective collective action focused on eye wash and administrivia in about five years as was done by the Army to itself after WW2 and after Korea. This approach was wisely abandoned after Vietnam.

Unique amongst training cycle approaches, ARFORGEN is predicated on fixing the personnel turmoil continuum by fixing it in place in year one of three for the Regulars, and year one of five in the Reserve Components (RC). This assumes that no one gets promoted within the cycle, no one goes off to school, no one is transferred to another unit, no one is rotated out of key positions for career advancement purposes, and everyone reenlists. If such stasis is not achieved, the concept of a multi-year training cycle never gets skill competence at any and all levels.

Reserve units with a longer five year cycle face the likelihood that the company commander changes due to command tour limitations at least twice, and at least once for Regular units. To the normal turmoil found in all components must be added the turmoil of the Citizen Soldier’s civilian job, or lack of it. ARFORGEN assumes that all civilian careers can be synchronized with the needs of the service. No one gets a new job out of town, no one’s spouse gets transferred likewise, no one graduates from college who doesn’t get a job in the same town and that all career requirements are met with the current assignment.

At the bottom four grade level, enlisted folks cease to be bottom four grades in the five year cycle and a large number in the three year cycle. The bottom four grades are also the least stable in both components, with a high turnover rate in the Reserve Components due to job changes, and loss of interest and commitment.

The dumbest idea I personally am aware of actually didn’t come out of the Pentagon but out of FORSCOM for training Reserve MI units. It was a cycle of seven years in which companies were built from the bottom up, leaving out the company commander until a following year. Even the idiots at the 90th ARCOM, then in San Antonio were smart enough to arouse the two star level and scratch it. This idea was called the “living TO&E”. It died.

The Living TO&E was, however, based on a Pentagon idea that intelligence skills were “perishable” alone amongst skills, attitudes, and knowledge than in any other field of endeavor including flying and brain surgery. This was welcomed by the MI community as it garnered additional funds for training and allowed the MI units to opt out of many of the nonsensical “mandatory training requirements” invented by strap hangers at higher level to serve as the basis for their OER and end of tour chest lettuce.

The core discipline of intelligence, the intelligence cycle is known in academic circles as “critical thinking”. The best proof that critical thinking is perishable is widespread as demonstrated in the current election cycle, and in the very idea that critical thinking is perishable is self proving. That it is unique amongst skill sets in a fine example of academic arrogance so prevalent on the Viet Cong base campuses. While such nonsense is appealing for the internal PSYOP, it isn’t verified by scientific evidence, be such science be intelligent design or evolutionary.

What is most distressing is the support for the ARFORGEN fantasy is that well trained and experienced officers to accept it at face value. Unlike the enlisted evaluation system in which the rating system of superiors has minor impact, that of the officers is more dependent on pleasing one’s superiors (rating and reviewing officer) than is found in civilian life and with near permanent effect. The net result of such requisite sycophancy is analogous to that described in the “Emperor’s New Clothes” by Hans Christian Andersen. But with a potential impact far more serious than a naked emperor prancing about in the streets.

1 comment:

Vincent said...

You, sir, are very ill informed and very wrong in your assessment and understanding of Army Force Generation.