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23 November 2012


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Alba Etie

Col Lang
How do we move the national conversation forward regarding shedding the private sector contractors in our Armed Services ? Should we frame it as cost savings ? Many of our Congressional Members are bought off by these large contractors? This is the very Military Industrial Complex that Gen Esienhower warned against . I believe this should be a conversation in the broader context of fiscal restraint and the national debt . And this must IMO begin with addressing all the money that is awash in our electoral system . Election reform is the key driver to solving many of our national problems. This is why many of us in Central Texas were so thrilled when Sen McCain was running for Presidential nomination for the GOP in 2000. Twelve years later McCain Feingold is dead -and thanks to the Citizen's United ruling we are awash in the bribe money from the Plutocrats . And yes even though BHO won out against the Monied Minions - down ballot we still have the bribery corroding our Comity .
And some day perhaps we might even have an accounting of all the stolen tax dollars that went missing in Irak .



I agree with all of that. Jack Jacobs, the MOH holder who appears on MSNBC thinks that we need about 30% of the "flags" (generals) that we have now. I think his number is a good one. Most generals assume that they are entitled to vast staffs and a completely executive role. They gum up the works and are usually afflicted with SJ personalities devoid of imagination. pl


I am glad to hear that those with extensive experience are giving this some thought and I hope they will be able to influence the process. Where I live, NASA is going through a similar process; a necessary process given all the dead branches the organization had grown over the years.

I also think there need to be some thoughts about what Army officers are trained to do. If a four star and an intelligence officer are unable to have an affair without being found out, it does not speak well about what they are supposed to learn.

Reducing the ranks of flag officers may be the most effective way to get the Army to where they will need to be.


"This we'll defend." But, in Iraq and Afghanistan, neocons wanted the Army's moto to be: "This we will impose."


Alba, you wrote: "And some day perhaps we might even have an accounting of all the stolen tax dollars that went missing in Irak."

I'd bet a good steak dinner and bottle of very good wine, that if we are ever to get an "accounting", it will be done by an outside accounting firm, who will make a great deal of money on the contrack..and give us little back.


Can half of the flag officers and you go a long way to canning half the defense contracting that's not necessary. I certainly agree with the mess hall comment.

Babak Makkinejad


Can someone please explain to me why uniformity of uniforms and soldiers' kist matter?

During the War Between States there were a diversity of uniforms and kits on both sides.

And I think that the Confederate battle flag was also changed at least twice.

And in World War II - did not Montgomery chanage his head-gear often?

Bill H

Perhaps pertinent to the topic and perhaps not, and maybe out of line coming from a former submarine sailor. If so I apoligize in advance, for I mean no offense.

I am a big fan of the Army ditching the green and returning to the Dress Blue uniform. I admire and respect the tradition behind that uniform, and it looks awesome to boot. The pity is that it is not seen more often. I see soldiers (and sailors and Marines) around town constantly in fatigues, or battledress if that id the proper term, and I can't say I like it. I can't help but think it bespeaks a certain degree of disrespect for the service they represent.

In my day, ancient history admittedly, no uniform other than Class A was ever worn off base by any service.


Is this a trap? Esprit de corps and to condition the mind to follow orders and act as one.

Alternatively, the differences between the services encourages competition and excellence.



Uniformity of dress builds unit cohesion. Discipline is reflected in things like bathing regularly, shaving in combat, regulation haircuts, etc. Such habits of obedience breed behavioral obedience in all things. In the CW/WBS US Army and in other 19th Century armies, unifomity in dress was sometimes created at the regimental level in zouave units, Berdan's US Sharpshooters, etc.
That had the same effect. I would not mind seeing more of that now. It is a good idea to allow regimental variations for SF, Rangers, ets. In addition, soldiers who must blend into the covilian populations should be allowed to dress appropriately for that task, beards, long hair, native dress, etc. pl



We are talking about affairs within the Army. What the other services do is their business. pl



The mess hall thing is a perfect example of what had been maximum effectiveness in unit morale (company level messes)sacrificed to industrial nonsense about efficiency. pl


Bill H

IMO the change to the blue uniform for every day as opposed to dress wear was a good thing, but I think the present version could be toned down a bit. IMO there is too much gold braid on the uniform for every day wear. I would also like to see more use of branch and arm color braid on the blue uniform; yellow for cavalry and armor, light blue for infantry, red for artillery, etc. This would be most striking on enlisted uniforms. Rank chevrons, the stripes on the legs, etc. This was the ancient and traditional practice. pl


"For more than a decade I've seen Army enlisted personnel and officers wearing every combination of uniform imaginable in the Military District of Washington. It bothered me. At times, it embarrassed me."

A fine post, TTG. Can you give some examples of combinations? I've never seen anything like that in VA or OH.

In the coming AirSea Battle pivot, how serious will be the down-sizing of Army and Marine units? I'm thinking it will not be too terribly bad, as Obama seems to work pragmatically.


Yes, sir.

William R. Cumming

The biggest problem facing the US Army is transitioning from petroluem based warfare in the last century and first decade of this one to non-petroleum based warfare the rest of this century!

The Twisted Genius

DH, I've seen every variation of camouflage field uniform, sleeves up, sleeves down with several boot styles ranging from black to tan to brown. Granted the field uniform has evolved rapidly and they are expensive. Why field uniforms are needed while working in an office environment in front of a computer is beyond me. On the same day I've seen class B uniforms with long sleeve shirt and tie and short sleeves. I've seen the black pullover "commando" sweater and the cardigan "Mr. Rogers" sweater, both with and without ties. I've seen the several versions of the camouflage Gortex jacket worn over the field uniform and class B uniform. There are an endless variety of backpacks. Every so often, I see a class A uniform. In some offices, I've seen more variation in Army uniforms than there was in civilian attire. IMHO, unless you are working on a range or in a motor pool, the standard Army uniform for MDW should be class B with the seasonal change dictated by the MDW commander.

I agree that the downsizing will probably not be too precipitous, but it will happen. Promotions will slow down drastically and the competition for those promotions will become fierce.


Babak, as a practical matter, diversity/toleration of different uniforms leads directly to servicemen making, for want of a better word, individual "fashion statements" which are very bad for discipline.

The "elegance" of the uniform is usually inversly proportional to the local danger level. Furthermore, the guys cutting the "bruta figura" annoy those who can't. Col. Lang might like to elaborate.



as walrus implies, military strength is about the strength of groups, not individuals. anything that detracts from good feeling within the group is bad by definition. however, as I said before the identity group can have different sizes. pl


"My twenty-five man rifle platoon was full of pot smokers and wise guys. They were a pain in the ass in garrison, but they were a fighting force to be proud of in the field."

Hell yes!



It's often like that. Some of the best combat soldiers have a very hard time in garrison. pl

Hank Foresman

Pat the Army would do well to listen more to the SF and the their Senior NCO than the SMA. SMA Chandler is in my humble opinion not a field soldier but a garrison soldier, which he wishes to impose on the Army. I fear there is a rift between the likes of SMA Chandler and the NCO Corps who had done so much during the last ten years.

Regarding General Officers--I concur cut their numbers. I have for many years thought the only fours stars that should be Army Specific are the Chief and Vice Chief of Staff of the Army; this should be true of all the services. Four Stars should be Joint Commanders. Unless Congress does the cutting, the services are not going to cut their GO/FO numbers, "no hog is going to slaughter itself."

Hank Foresman


hank foresman

Yes, but when you are in garrison standards of dress should be maintained. pl



I had a maternal uncle who had been a US Navy sailor and then in the tradition of his family joined the 82nd. Korea started and he asked for a transfer to the war. He was in the 7th Division and became the field first sergeant of a rifle comapany. For the uninitiated, this is a sergeant who, with the CO runs the leadership and operations issues in the field while the first sergeant and the XO run admin and logistics at the base so that all get fed, etc. He was a sergeant first class (E-7) and won the Silver Star as well as several PHs. When he returned to CONUS he was quickly busted down to private an then given a BCD. He was a great fighting soldier. I learned to hunt from him. pl


Garrison or "in the rear with the gear". I was fine when I had something to do that had meaning but, being the crazy, immature teenager that I was, the chicken shit was not my cup of tea. It wasn't that different than when I was in school, I was a hunter in a farmers world. Drove my parents, teachers and superiors in the Army nuts.

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