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19 May 2010


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The '34 five window concept reminds me of Chrysler 318 powered APCs I saw in Vietnam that were supposed to be able to do 80mph. Not sure exactly what they did at night after the roads were off limits to us.Maybe somebody else knows.

You mention Clausewicz. What about Sun Tzu in this context? I'm no expert in military theory, just curious.

Mike C

...Far from incomprehensible.


Thank you.


Concur with all that is said here would offer a couple of clarifying points:

* Stryker Brigades have 3 Maneuver Battalion plus a RSTA Battalion.

* One advantage of the BCT is in addition to the Maneuver Battalion organic to its structure are: A Fires (read artillery battalion), a MI Company, Engineer Company, Signal Company, as well as a CSS Battalion.

* In the Heavy BCT the Maneuver Battalion are in fact Combined Arms Battalions with 2 Bradley and 2 Abrams Companies.

* There are several changes being proposed for the BCTs to include the addition of more MI soldiers down to the company level.

* No one disagrees with adding a 3rd Maneuver Battalion but the current construct of 45 BCTs as being what the Army needs this will not happen; unless the Army is given an end strength increase.

The author is correct about the science of war verses the art of war. When General Starry was leading the original drafting of Air-Land Battle he placed great emphasis on the Art of War; unfortunately over time it was subsumed by the Science of War and those who believe you could measure everything by a metric, or chart.

One of the symptoms of the Science of War is the constant need for more and more information, so that the leader can make a decision. The Army is often paralyzed by analysis.

I also believe the author is on to something when he compares the ability of a US company commander and a Commonwealth Company Commander to understand that military operations are an extension of politics. I would proffer that there are several reasons for this. First, breath and depth of reading and understanding history, not just military history, but history writ large. Second, rank, Commanders from Commonwealth Countries are Majors--not Captains. They have had experience at the platoon, company, and on the staff. By in large they are more seasoned. This is not to say the US does not have good Company Commanders, they do. Third, and most importantly as the author highlighted the Army rewards tactical ability, while neglecting the operational and strategic until our officers are senior and I am afraid not comfortable with big ideas.

I too share the authors concern that the Army is falling into a COIN centric snare. The ability to wage COIN should be a means towards an end, not everything is COIN or should be waged like COIN, our forces must have the ability to transition quickly to killing the enemy.


COL Lang:

Here is an article which amplifies much of what I said in my previous comments. http://www.afji.com/2007/08/2765978/


To be fair to GEN Mcmaster, he went into Tal Afar and wiped out a third of the population to show he meant business.

If there ever was a bunker city, that was it. Roads had been blocked off or rerouted to Iraqi Police substations, and every substation was in view of another substation or OP. There were four or five FOBs in the city, and one large base (Sykes) outside of it.

Regardless, Tal Afar was certainly more under control than Mosul, even though we still had our incidents there. I imagine a lot of this was there was a lot of initiative you could take being up on the ass end of nowhere, as opposed to being near regional HQ down by Mosul.


"Restructuring the BCT" at Small Wars Journal


The Twisted Genius

Thanks, hotrod for your insights and the link to the Small Wars Journal thread. I've learned a lot this week about what's happening in the Army. Your mention of "task, conditions, standards" and the search for ever more metrics sent chills up my spine. I think that all started in the mid 70s. My Ranger class was the first to start using no/no go checklists rather than a previous reliance on Ranger Instructor narrative assessments. Everyone thought it was bogus and continued to use narrative assessments to determine who was awarded a tab at the end of my course. The soldiers manuals with the endless list of tasks, conditions and standards were ever present in the infantry. Every soldier had to carry a miniaturized version of his soldiers manual with him. Now it's all web based... Lord help us! I found an interesting thread on the danger of metrics on Slashdot this morning.

"Einstein once said, 'Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.' A New York Times article suggests that unless we know how things are counted, we don't know if it's wise to count on the numbers. The problem isn't with statistical tests themselves, but with what we do before and after we run them." Here are two links that further explains the phenomena.
The emphasis on metrics leads to people gaming the metrics to beat the system. Not only do we lose sight of the art, but we engage in bad science.



I was so far down the chain of command that I wouldn’t recognize a “Task, Condition, or Standard” if it hit me in the face. Long ago I remember plastic cards with long lists in strange English sentences that were incomprehensible and strangely hard to memorize even if forced to try. The Sergeants had a vast store of knowledge but you only told you enough to get the Task at hand done.

The Army today is being tasked with an impossible job. The last big infantry war was won by the Vietnamese against the Chinese. Tubed Artillery and Close in Air Support are disappearing because their target, entrenched infantry and mechanized tanks, are an anachronism in the 21st Century with the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Israel will use its nuclear weapons if faced with extinction. The Army can only fight in non-nuclear wars which limits them to Wars of National Liberation. These are inevitably police actions and it is natural that the Army evolves into mobile SWAT Teams with vehicles that can withstand IEDs and rockets.

In addition, occupations inevitably corrupt an Army. There is never victory. In the end, all occupying armies leave. LZ English has disappeared. The Russians no long occupy Germany; the British lost the whole world, and the Spanish the New World. Only the Army’s offspring, the “Mestizoes”, live on.

Patrick Lang


You would not say that if you had to defend an isolated post against heavy odds. pl

different clue

What kind of car was this before it became a hotrod?


A lot of interesting discussion in your post, Hotrod, much of which whizzed way over my head, and I get the feeling that much of what you wrote about is tip-of-the-iceberg stuff in terms of your insights and comments.

Would be great to see your thoughts expanded into a longer essay or monograph.

Mark Logan

What was it? 33 or 34 Ford Three Window.


But now, of course, a hot...rod....Lincoln...


For the curious this link is to a slide show that graphically portrays the modular Army that hotrod talks about: http://www.blueskybroadcast.com/Client/Army_Stratcom/docs/printable.slides.pdf

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