Friday, June 25, 2010

Full Time Amateurs vs Part Time Professionals

I believe there is a saying that amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals talk about logistics. The Army's decisions on force balance between components prior to Transformation put all the logistics in the Army Reserve with some rear area assets such as MP brigades in the Guard. If one accepts that, we had full time amateurs, and part time professionals.

I worked as the Intelligence Officer of a Combat Service Support Exercise Group of the 75th MAC (now 75th Division) which gave command post exercises to Corps support logistic units prior to Transformation. We gave exercises to such units as Petroleum Groups, Ammunition Groups, Support Commands, Area Support Commands, and Rear Area Operations Centers. We became the Army's expertise on logistics and rear area operations.

We wrote a manual to fill in the gap of doctrine on the subject of rear area operations, which manual was later published by CAC including the misspellings.

During the three years I was in the unit, I went on over fifty exercises (leave Friday afternoon, set up Friday night, start the war on Saturday morning, end on Sunday at noon, and fly home).

AS it was, the Materials Management Center (MMC) would determine who needed what supplies then the Movement Control Center (MCC) set up the convoys, and notified the MP's and the RAOC who was going where and when. In addition, the Engineers in the rear area, were largely responsible for maintenance of the lines of communication.

The RAOC (mostly National Guard) plugged into the Corps command network to assess the enemy threats in the area and recommend or actually control assets needed to preclude, prevent or protect the corps logistic structure.

The number and scope of major exercises I am personally familiar with included a Theatre medical exercise, a Theater MP exercise, several Coscom exercises, and a whole number of RAOC exercises, I wrote and managed the bad guy scenarios.

In the short time we had to test the decision making skills of the exercised command, it was necessary to either increase the demand for supplies, or cut the amount available. I used Soviet style airborne operations in blocking positions west of the Rhine to provide the work load necessary for staff coordination. I later found out from the Consul General of Germany in Houston that the drop zones I selected were the same the Soviets had selected but that my estimate of two divisions was low, as the Soviets intended to use ten airborne divisions to cross the Rhine.

What I read about the fact that convoys were sent willy nilly into Indian country fits with other sources which leave me aghast at the really stupid things done by Transformation. The damage is permanent, with a civilian control structure being crafted by the Pentagon including contractors and Civil Servants in the place of what we had trained to do since the end of WW 2.

Given a few years of no war, or low war, the necessary expertise to launch major operations will wither and die, along with God knows how many grunts.

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