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17 July 2017


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Peter AU

Peer to peer for US would be US vs Russia or China. Current Russia is high on military defensive tech, small in numbers compared to US. Strategically equal as in MAD.
China high in numbers, some leading edge tech at the moment, but due to huge scientific base China has built, tech to shoot up in a J curve in the coming decade. With the current close alliance between Russia China, it seems unlikely there will be any form of peer to peer conventional warfare (assuming US leadership is sane).

Proxy wars - multipolar word vs the hegemon? Unless something changes, it seems the majority of proxy wars may take place in predominantly Muslim countries. From what I have read, Russia has been taking soundings in Libya and Afghanistan.. where does Iraq stand?

The first cold war was capitalist ideology vs communist ideology - but if another cold war is coming, it will be the capitalist hegemon, vs the multi polar world of sovereign states.

TTG in a previews thread you mentioned that some towns or militias in Idlib had reconciled with the Syrian government. This goes back to the second Chechen war.
Putin's Russia has the runs on the board. As far as I can see, US does not do reconciliation.

No matter how good your conventional armed forces are, if your political establishment is... what's the word for the Borgs state of mind?...

richard sale

Wonderful post. Effort well spent. Thank you.

Richard Sale


Thank you for this post. I have no real military background, so it is hard to understand much of the writing about the military--especially because of all the shortened forms of referring to things through a string of initial letters.

However, if I understand correctly, your post reinforces the gut feeling I have had recently that the special operations forces have been emphasized too much and have been given too much to try to accomplish. In my mind, special operations should always be "special" and used mostly in as much secrecy as possible.

To this absolutely weak and non athletic older white woman, I am constantly amazed at what they do, just as I am constantly thankful after watching the old documentaries of WWI and WWII for the bravery and courage and abilities of regular forces.

I sometimes think that this current obsession in film with superheroes makes the country want to rely too much on our special operations forces, expecting them actually to be superheroes with non-human capabilities.

In comparison to normal people these men and now, I assume, women do seem to have special capabilities. But I am of the mind that they need to be cherished and used sparingly and with as much back up as possible from the regular forces.

That is, I hope, what this post asserts.

And thank you for providing a blog where non-military people can find some detailed opinions different from the cookie cutter opinions spouted by the "experts"for whom the media have chosen to provide air time.


TTG, I fully agree with your assessment of the Lebanese army situation in the 80s and your considering the 8th brigade as the backbone of that army which is and has always been fighting with their bare hands and raw muscled bodies of superb young men. Today's achievements of the Lebanese army and its command structure is second to none, given the adversity they face, the lack of heavy modern weaponries, the lack of resources in a country swamped with more than three million refugees between Syrians and Pallies...., and their forward leaning security operations have been absolutely remarkable, since we all know that at least 15 percent of all young men in the camps are sympathizers of the ISIS rats, etc. and all have military trainings and arms .... and weapons are plentiful in most camps..... Hizbullah has also been at the forefront in all theaters on the eastern borders, In country and beyond... the coordination with the army was and still is fluid and functional in all areas.... , otherwise all hell would brake loose, and ongoing attempts at destabilizing the country anew are current and feared by most.



BRAVO ZULU. You nailed it.
Way too much "door kicker" worship
at all levels of the national security
community. The Stafford County Sheriff's
Office SWAT Team,for example, could carry
out 95% of the missions they perform at less cost,
with less resistance inducing provocation
to the population, and certainly without
the endless interviews books, movies, etc.

USMC 65-72
FBI 72-96



After reading this, looking into the and thinking about it (I know, I know, former enlisted men probably shouldn't do that) I have come to the conclusion that the SFAB's are roughly the equivalent of helicopter parents.

I will posit a guess that putting in a 500 man cadre with all the NCO's and concurrent nonsense (I betcha dollar to donuts that there will mosTtcertainly be an EEOer in the TO&E) will lead to a situation where the local security forces will go into combat with US leaders at every level and the locals just doing the

Nope...the old school SFG went in with 14 men and got them schooled up and sent them off to do their own thing. In the immortal words of MSG York "We are the baddest-ass schoolteachers on the planet".

This new system just reeks of supervised play dates.

Of course, this might be just the way that the Romans started bringing in the German's to the legions.

Enough of this, I have a shiny new still that needs to be taken out for a test run. First effort will be rum.

Seems to me that the is new system is a vari


re: "Of course, this might be just the way that the Romans started bringing in the German's to the legions."

Ah well, empires need troops.

And then, well, well: To the Romans the Germans were somewhat nasty neighbours. A stone away from where I live the Romans built a large city and the 'Kastell Divitia' fortress some 1800 or so years ago. In the image below, the 'Kastell Divitia' is the small square on the right side of the Rhein.


And all that said: Not only did the Romans bring Germans to the legions to recruit them since they themselves were often short of recruits.

The Germaniacs, so to speak, had their own peculiar way to get the Romans to bring their legions to the Germans, which, alas, wasn't neccessarily a nice thing to experience, for both sides in fact I believe ...

~*~ "Varus give me back my legions!"~*~



Sorry about the scramble in my last post. That wasn't at all what it looked like when I hit the post button (and no, I haven't been dipping into the proceeds from my still...it is a virgin)

Anyway....what I meant to say is that the SFAB's could well degenerate into a way to conveniently "outsource" trigger fingers and retain US control.

Jony Kanuck

Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose!

In 216 BC, Hannibal defeated a much bigger Roman army by pushing the flanking roman cavalry back with slingers. The disorganized roman cavalry was then pounced on & chased off the field by Hannibal's cavalry. With the flanks cleared Hannibal's heavy Carthaginian infantry swung 90 degrees & punched in the Roman flanks. The Romans could not retreat because of the Carthaginian & Numidian cavalry at their back. The jammed together Romans could mostly not even raise their weapons. A slaughter ensued.

In the middle ages mounted knights were king of the battlefield but even warhorses will not charge a line of spears. An enterprising commander would push crossbows up to the spears & try to decimate them or make a hole that cavalry could exploit. The Mongols rolled up european spearmen with mounted archers & then routed them with lancers.

In 1918 Ludendorf had gotten 40 divisions from the east front after the Russian collapse. Ludendorf needed a massive victory otherwise American numbers would swamp the tired German army. The Germans had perfected the use of 'Storm Troops' the year before, collapsing the Italian army at Capporeto. In early 1918, Ludendorf attacked the big salient occupied by the British
Army. A 'Hurricane' bombardment (surprise, predicted) was followed by Storm Troops who flowed through holes in British lines, avoiding strong points (left for follow on infantry) & got back into the British artilery. The British front collapsed.

Ludendorf had a whopping six armored cars & some dribs & dabs of cavalry. The bulk of German cavalry was busy holding down the Ukraine. Storm troops proved to be a 'one trick pony'. Once they had broken the British lines they could only pursue the retreating British at the same speed: Retreat never became rout. It got worse; as the Germans pursued the British they had to crawl across a broken battlefield; artilery & supplies couldn't get forward. British resistance stiffened & finally held the Germans in place. Ludendorf tried in a few more places, with the same result. Storm troops would break the line but couldn't exploit.

Lloyd-George finally released the reinforcments the British Army needed. The British also had tanks rolling off the production lines. The Brits went on the offensive; a massive artillery would be followed up by Brit & commonwealth troops mixed with tanks. The Brits had learned their lessons & Brit offensives did not try to go deep; 'Bite & Hold'. This process culminated in the battle of Amiens or 'the black day of the German army'. The Brits didn't score a huge breakthrough but large numbers of German soldiers surrendered. The German army had been in the trenches for four years & had taken huge casualties. Also, the formation of all the Storm Trooper divisions had sucked a lot of the best men out of the line divisions. The German army of 1918 was a pale reflection of the mighty German army of 1914. All the Germans could do was to retreat...

I have cherry picked examples but I can't think of many significant historical battles that were not won with combined arms.


Depends on how they're employed. A SFAB brigade will of course be broken down into smaller teams to train partner forces, maybe as few as 12 - 20 men per battalion. My fear would be the excessive force protection requirements lead to bloated advisor teams, especially in the era of green-on-blue.

Swamp Yankee

Ignatius likes to quote Clausewitz with faux-erudition in his columns (just Googled , but he seems to have missed the essential point of everything Clausewitz wrote! Much like Obama with Reinhold Niebuhr -- quoting "learnedly" and missing the entire point of the works quoted, and the way in which these works actually indict the ignorance and vanity of the speaker. The Borgistas are above all colossal frauds, intellectual and otherwise.


I fully agree, nothnig will replace combined arms maneuver forces.
Will SFAB do something near to what OMLT were doing in Afghanistan ?

The Twisted Genius


Yes, the SFAB is formalizing the concept of the ad hoc OMLT (operational mentoring and liaison team) for NATO and the American equivalent embedded training teams (ETT).

The Twisted Genius


I agree that this concept will be billed as a way to get other forces to fight our unnecessary wars for us. As you said outsourcing our wars. At the very least, all those SOBs seeing this as a cheaper way to wage our wars ought to have their mouths slapped dry.

Good luck with the rum.


Great article, TTG. Especially appreciate your homage to local fighters in paragraph eight.



This is planning to continue fighting the forever wars without conscripts. One must wonder to what purpose. If America doesn’t turn around, the Deplorables will be unfit for duty. To have a homegrown fighting force the USA needs free education, a public health system and mandatory training after high school. This is only affordable if the great game to forge a Eurasian Empire is dumped, Mexico integrated and Russia played against China. A North American Costal Defense Force needs to be established with a professional officer corps, a Two Ocean Navy, and militias with healthy young conscripts. Instead, the West is heading towards military contractors fighting for multi-national corporations (if the money keeps flowing to them). America and Europe ripped into ethnic enclaves with free trade and no jobs; a few oligarchs, their servants, armored knights with nuclear weapons and debt serfs. That is if somehow a world war with Russia is avoided.

Bill H



TTG et al

IMO the Army will find it impossible to man these SFABs with qualified people who have talent for working with native soldiers, tribal fighters, etc. we have always had a problem finding enough of the right kind of men for the Green Berets. pl

The Twisted Genius


I agree. Army is having trouble filling the first one even with the 5K bonus. I'd be surprised if they get more than one active and one in the Guard. I see mostly former SF going towards the National Guard one.

The Porkchop Express

This is really only tangentially related. But I'm curious if there's a divide within the military about the utility of using PMCs as an extension of US policies.

"The privatization of war is already underway. Denial is not a strategy to manage this growing problem."


I did this in Afghanistan as well, and despite the nice paychecks, I couldn't help but see that using contractors--including myself--was anything other than a scam and a sly way to hide the true costs of an unnecessary and, if I may say so, a comically absurd war from the public. A lot of the soldiers were resentful about most of the contractors considering the pay and the perks, and rightly so. Most of us did not have to put up with the same bullshit most of the soldiers did, maybe save the Indian cooks and assorted Afghan/Pakistani truck drivers. But could never get anything concrete out of staff officers about whether the use of contractors was a good policy in either the short or the long term.

The Twisted Genius

The Porkchop Express,

You read the situation right. Even war is moving to the gig economy. The question is not whether it's a good policy, but whether it's a necessary policy given Congressional restrictions on hiring vs funding for contracts. I think it's a lousy policy both in the military and in the IC. That the Army had to resort to contractors to man the training teams in Afghanistan supports Colonel Lang's contention that the Army will never be able to man the SFABs. And you didn't count as "boots on the ground" to the politicians or the public no matter what you wore on your feet.


Are the military contractors sucking these type of people out of uniform with offers of better pay?


TTG et al:

I think that this article offers some historical context to the current discussion.


The current SFAB structure will do much to remove the operations of military from that pesky civilian control.

The Porkchop Express

Hahaha. The wartime gig economy. I like it. Though they may as well have titled the piece, "The American East India Company". I recall that Prince has been on a quest to privatize the Pentagon to "cut costs" for some time. The Ayn Rand acolytes in government, particularly in the military, baffle me to no end. Not that I'm a fan of a massive, free spending government but collective defense is one of those classic "public goods."

And, of course, for Congress to lift restrictions on hiring and funding, that would entail opening a metaphysical can of worms that would shoot off in every direction. So I can't see that happening, like ever. Or at least not when political polarization in the US is fast approaching its apex.



Surely you don't think the WH, State Department or USAID have been exercising "civilian control" over training and equipping or anything else. To do that they would have to have taken their precious civilian asses out into the field where they might get hurt. pl

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