Monday, July 11, 2016


Fake Officers & FUBAR in the Pentagon

 There is a malignant growth in the Pentagon of several generations and many administrations that has effectively neutralized the combat power of at least the Army.  And weakened the links between it and the other services, to the point that after its most successful land operation in its history, failed to defeat a fractious but rabid irregular foe, and failed to stand up effective governance in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Something it had done successfully in Japan and Germany.  And the entire misadventure has been managed by fake officers not confirmed by the Senate as Officers of the United States.

The Transformed by the Fake
(The President) shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The fact that these fake officers have not been confirmed by the Senate breaks the Constitutional limits and controls over the military, judiciary, and executive personnel in critical positions considered expressions of the sovereignty of these United States.  All such “Officers of the United States” include ambassadors, consuls, cabinet members, federal judges, and all military officers down to Butter Bar.  As such, each Officers’ word is law, enforceable in court as such. 

Survival Imperatives Differ - Officers vs Civil Servants

The survival imperatives of Civil Servants vs military officers differ dramatically between the Job Description vs the Efficiency Report (OER) on file.  The Personnel File, once called the 201 File, contains the list of assignments and schools together with associated OER.  One slip, and late in one’s career it can end under the Up or Out policy.   This hits usually in the Second Decade of service with odds as low as fifty percent for survival, depending upon the current SWAG.  Been there, done that. 
The Officer’s career assignments are determined on a competitive and centrally controlled process.  The end result is the selection of officers in senior grades, usually O-6 (Colonel and Navy Captain) who has the expected preparation and performance.

The Civil Service Job Description and table of organization gives authority and territory upon which continued employment is grounded. This is dependent upon connections, favors, and a strangle hold over processes.  The assignments of Civil Servants are principally under the control of the Servant, with the selection and promotion process subject to compromise and manufacture. It is rigged, and with few external set of standards applied to selections for promotion or assignment.  Been there, done that.  

This lack of objective standards of performance or experience, taken collectively and protectively, mandates that military expertise by the military becomes a clear and present danger to civil service survival.  Complementing this banality is that the officers caught up in Civil Service traps must play the part of a puppet on a string.  This is how we lost the Middle East. 

The current flap over ISIS, and of the diminished capacity of Iraq and Afghanistan to dealing with irregular and peer enemy forces, despite over fifteen years of US military effort and trillions of dollars, were preventable had the effort been fought by Officers of the United States, without the fatal influence of Fake Officers of the SES and their crony contractors.

The post mortems posted about the prewar estimates and post war operations has been laid at the door of cultural arrogance and incompetence at the level where the difference between Shia and Sunni was dismissed, in favor of a turnkey Kansas under the baleful gaze of Neo-Conservatives.  The blame has been shifted in-house to denounce stability (nation building) as a righteous military mission.

The problem with that assessment is that it ignores that the US Army had trained for decades in Rear Area Combat Operations (RACO), Civil Affairs and Military Government, and Psychological Operations all of which I had extensive exposure to during that training effort which filled the time between Vietnam and 9-11.   Likewise, the capacity to operate at Field Army level with multiple corps and divisions was destroyed. 

In order for an officer to get his or her Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) prior to 9-11 approved in CA and PSYOPS, one had to submit a PSYOP or Civil Affairs Estimate of the Situation that necessarily covered such niceties as Shia and Sunni.  Or Pashtunwali.  Where did these estimates go?
Draft of What Was Known in CA and PSYOP

Why were the capacities to fix and administer devastated and/or conquered territories for which preparations long precede D-day, H-Hour deleted?  Instead of Civil Affairs brigades and PSYOP groups prepping the battlefield, only a handful of Army Reserve Officers were given a back seat at the briefing. 


Rumsfeld has long left the Pentagon, but the programs that he advanced had been long in the plotting, going back to, at least, Desert Storm.  It occurred to a number of my fellow veterans that the “Regular Army” was at fault proceeding with policies that guaranteed their promotions in a competitive fashion, over the necessities of actually winning in war.  Military officers’ tenure in the Pentagon, however, rarely exceed four years, and usually run three.  It is not possible for a decades long military doctrine run from inside the Pentagon be done with the connivance of commissioned officers of the United States.  They then are the hand puppets of those permanent employees (Civil Service) welded to their desks.

The glue that held Field Army and Corps operations together was the force structure in the US Army Reserve, and to a large extent the Army National Guard with counterparts in the Air Force and other services.  The glue came about due to the unglamorous role that glue, as in logistics and service support did not facilitate competitive promotions in the Active Components.  The result was the massive transfer of unglamorous activities (service support and combat service support) to the Reserve Components. 

Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait brought a sudden and traumatic shock to the Pentagon that the US Army, nor other services, could go to war without the Reserve Components. 


Once Baghdad had been secured, however, the glue was dissolved as was the corps along with the core of logistics, combat service support, which was banished from the Army dictionary as defunct and obsolete.  Since then, large scale maneuvers became problematic at best with maneuver replaced by rotation under ARFORGEN (Army Force Generation) designed to provide equitable opportunity to participate in combat for promotion and career development purposes. 

Likewise, while all units in the Armed Forces had been aligned to war time plans, the new “transformation” mandate under Rumsfeld, replaced any coherent defense strategy with blizzards of “snowflakes” from his imperial orifice.   Rumsfeld had taken the measure to transfer senior military officers to the field where they could be more useful, and replaced them with senior civil servants aka Senior Executive Service aka SES.  Then abolished the field commands these military officers might have been assigned to.  

Under Transformation, the Corps was abolished and along with it the well-oiled close air support system was broken from the days when a request for an airstrike was monitored by the Air Force and silence was approval.  Too many Medals for Valor including the Medal of Honor have been awarded due to a failure of approval of immediate airstrikes due to the abolition of the Corps.

Such was the case of the “transformation” process that proceeded to create a collection of “units of action” (instead of companies, battalions, regiments and brigades) that would be perfectly suited for future combat, the shape of which was to be determined by magic crystal ball.  Said crystal ball being ensconced in the Office of Net Assessments, which was designed to destroy the Services’ pet projects.  And “verified” by war gaming but not validated by the Schools or the Field.

Any policy that has a life of over three years is not likely from a military staff in the Pentagon. In previous years, the Army was divided into “branches” (Armor, Artillery, Military Intelligence, etc) which branches governed doctrine and training and was active in procurement.  Branches have been abolished, and the dominance of doctrine and equipment has been sucked up into the Pentagon, and away from the Service Schools that melded field experience with national requirements.  The operative model for Transformation was to turn the Army into modular units like ships in the Navy. 
Rummy was Navy. 

The Senior Executive Service (SES) which operates as if it were consisting of Generals and Colonels, are not “officers of the United States”, and their directives should not be considered “orders” in the military sense as they do not convey the sovereignty of these United States.  The oath of enlistment or office for service members requires obedience to the “officers” appointed over them, which Civil Servants are not.

While a purge of those fake officers is not practical, the severance of the malignancy from the chain of command is easily obtained by the Senate saying that it will not consider any efficiency of fitness report by other than an Officer of the United States” in the process of confirming the promotions of military officers.  This will instantly produce a REMF stampede from the Pentagon of officers seeking real units to serve in.  These can be readily funded by the shredding of the payrolls of the SES. 

If need be, those whose services are essential can be presented to the Senate for approval and concurrence.  In that manner, the Senate regains control over a Pentagon run wild. In addition, lateral entry of personnel and units as has been the wartime custom since before George Washington, can be set up.  


And, finally, the Army needs a General Staff Corps trained to run things from the top, to provide the linkage between brass and field.  After WW 1, the concept of a General Staff was denounced as too Germanic.

In addition, and foremost, the present efforts of the Army to reconstitute itself must be supported in defiance of those whose payroll depends upon its demise. Corps and divisions are being reassembled along with the necessary combat service support (logistics).  

Gordon S Fowkes, LTC USA RET, KCTJ

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