Monday, September 1, 2008

Full Spectrum Readiness

The reemergence of armored warfare in Georgia is a gentle reminder that the Battle of the Fulda Gap has been on a lunch break. In spite our success in armored warfare in the invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon has been breaking up this winning team in readiness for a type of warfare extant only in fantasy (future war-itis) and unrelated to the counter insurgency war at hand. Now that the full attention of the requirements for counterinsurgency and stability operations are being realized, the invasion of Georgia pr
esents an interesting dilemma.

The task organization at tactical levels for counter insurgency and armored warfare are very different. Counter insurgency requires distributed and eclectic tasking of hard and soft power over a wide area, while armored warfare calls for concentration of fast moving firepower in avenues of approach. One calls for constancy of indirect effort over time in a large area, while the other calls for moving across the ground rapidly against an enemy force directly.

Historically, forces trained for one paradigm do poorly in the other. British and French troops seasoned by war against Arabs in the Middle East before both World Wars, were under-gunned for peer to peer warfare. Full Spectrum warfare requires that troops must retain the ability to switch from one end of the spectrum to the other in short order.

Full Spectrum Readiness depends on the establishment and maintenance of the linkages between units, subordinate, superior, supporting, lateral, and just in their area peculiar to the specific mission. Linkages are the nervous system, both the somatic and autonomic nervous systems of a military body. Linkages between people in a team, known as teamwork, operate as the nervous system of the team. In football training, this is done in football scrimmage. And no coach would dare delaying scrimmage to the week before the season opens.

The urge for team management to micromanage the team is bane of many a coach. Since the military only faces game time only in wars or other live fire deployments, it is easy to fake readiness by a focus on the paint on the helmets.

Military scrimmage consists of a team of teams

• The coaches train as a team of coaches, working in context of the rest of the school and it’s supporters (and detractors).
• Troop training is NCO business
• Unit training is the commander’s business.
• All train for a big change of mission,
• Scrimmage proceeds from the simple to the complex as individual and collective skills improve.

The first law of warfare is Murphy’s, and that the battle deemed least likely is the most probable. While “plug and play” is an important contingency, as a default it risks Murphy’s Revenge as every rotation is a new pick up team. Rotating large units to and from the battle area also doubled the time for the learning curve to adjust to a new form of warfare than previous wars.

Contingency focused operational training increases operational efficiency and effectiveness, and the readiness to adapt to changing circumstance and task organization/

METT-TC = Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops available, Time and Civilian considerations.


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