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04 September 2012

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r whitman

Before you decide on a military you need a foreign policy with some coherence,logic, self interest and predictability. You cannot design a military for the current "ad hoc" reactions to foreign events that we practice now.

seydlitz89

Col. Lang-

Very much agree as to "generations of warfare". When Lind and others starting talking about "4th Generation politics" I knew that they had totally lost the plot.

Sir, would you agree that a lot of the confusion began around 1992 with the "Defense Planning Guidance" of that year when we seemingly switched from a threat-based analysis to a capabilities-based one in defense planning? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

turcopolier

seydlitz89

I don't know about the DPG thing. Lind was able to sell his snake oil because so many among the senior officer group in the Army and USMC were almost completely ignorant of history generally and military history in particular. This was partly because of the ahistorical nature of modern American society snd specifically because of the discounting of any sort of intellectual knowledge related to history in the processes of promotion and schooling in PME. What little there was could only be described as trivial. Actually, having such knowledge was a disadvantage because it was thought to be indicative of the lack of a "practical" mind. Having been through the system all the way to the war college in residence, I can attest to this. In the aftermath of 9/11 military leaders were unequipped to understand and combat phenomena that had not been pre-digested and outlined in manuals and doctrine. The concept of a "levee en masse" against us in Iraq was long simply beyond the ability of the system to comprehend. At first, this insurgency was treated as a problem in rear area security. That idea failed. Then it was said to be "combat in urban areas" (whatever the buzz word for that was then). This was believed because the civilian population was involved and since the services had erased the memory of COIN from their doctrine after VN, the GOs and colonels had no other way to think about a civilian population as a fighting force. I know that seems funny after ten years but at the time the mental paralysis was remarkable, The "hangers on" were particularly pathetic about this. I remember a retired BG snarling at me down at "Jiffy Com" when I suggested in 2004 that the population of Iraq itself was the battlefield. "No! No! It is a matter of technology in cities. No!" And then there was former USMC captain Bing West who bristled at me on the Newshour in 2003 when I contradicted his assertion that the resistance was all in the cities. IMO Lind cleverly saw that he could be a big winner in the contract consulting game at Quantico by telling the GOs that they had not been so ignorant as to not grasp the possibility of insurgent resistance. No! Warfare had evolved! It had changed! This was something altogether new, something never seen before in human history! Therefore the GOs could not be blamed for not foreseeing it. This worked marvelously until people began to point out that guerrilla warfare has been endemic through all of history. In other words, IMO, this was a "shell game." pl

Babak Makkinejad

"She wore a yello ribbon" is where the character played by John Wayne describes Geronimo as the finest guerrilla fighter in the world.

Lind actually knows history.

Norbert Salamon

an interesting analysis of USA war machinery etc:

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.ca/2012/08/the-monkeywrench-wars.html

enjoy

seydlitz89

Thank you sir for your response. A lot to ponder . . .

turcopolier

seydlits89

"A poor thing but mine own" PL

turcopolier

Babak

Not exactly. In "Fort Apache," Captain Kirby York (Wayne) says that Cochise is the finest guerrilla fighter in the world. "Good luck, B Troop!" pl

turcopolier

Babak

Yes, Lind knows history. That's what makes his BS so dishonest. pl

Fred

Geronimo lost; hopefully Lind got that part of the history right.

Fred

I liked page two of the WP article quoting former SecDef Gates "Do we really need 11 [aircraft] carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?” Gates asked a Navy audience in 2010." Even better are his comments on the primary mission of the USMC. Why do we have two armies?

Andy

Defense "strategy" seems to get more and more aspirational every year. This time around, the "strategic pivot" to Asia was not matched by changes in the defense budget. I guess Congress didn't get the memo?

And when I hear that the force is going to be "small and more agile" I know how that story ends. "Agility" will be achieved by even greater reliance on the reserve forces. The days of a "strategic reserve" have been gone for a log time now, but it seems to me the reserve component will be even more burdened as the pentagon downsizes the active force while maintaining commitments. This promise of "agility" is a bunch of hooey in my opinion.

And then there is procurement. The Pentagon, with few exceptions, can't procure its way out of a paper bag. How is the force going to achieve "agility" when it takes decades to field new equipment which then costs several times what was originally promised?

In my opinion, the SECDEF needs to clean house before he can worry about a pivot to Asia or any other "strategy."

Babak Makkinejad

I stand correctd.

Thanks.

YT

Prof. Makkinejad,

Sir, I've actually enjoyed his "On War" archives which he kicked-start since '03, just prior to the invasion of Iraq.

http://dnipogo.org/

It's only having wiki'd a couple of minutes ago that I realize he's returned to writing columns again.

I enjoy his use of historical allusions: particularly his chatting with the 2nd. Kaiser named Wilhelm, who seems to favor conversation with Lind on occasion annual from Providence, thru some el[d]ri[t]ch means I can't recall....

YT

RE: "BS so dishonest"

Col. sir,

You're saying he's [exactly] the likes of Liddell Hart or Antoine-Henri Jomini?

Bill H

"The military is going to be smaller, but it is going to be more agile, more flexible and more deployable so that it moves fast and stays on the cutting edge of technology."

Didn't we hear much the same thing, almost word for word, from Donald Rumsfeld?

turcopolier

YT

No. IMO he's just dishonest. pl

turcopolier

Bill H

Yes, but the model will probably be different. pl

YT

Je vois....Monsignore.

Babak Makkinejad

I am not a Professor.

I do recall Lind's commentaries and they were stimulating.

turcopolier

Babak

Stimulating? Yes. True? Often not. pl

elkern

"Cutting edge of Technology" - see the link provided by Norbert Salamon (above), in which the ArchDruid reminds us of Arthur C. Clarke's great short story, "Superiority", in which a Space Admiral in the distant future explains how his side lost the War: by betting everything on succesively more complex - and expensive - technology.

Bill H

Oh, well that's a relief to know.

YT

Apologies, sir.

I will take note henceforth.

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