Archive Logo.jpg

May 04, 2005

Some thoughts on things militant...

...not from me, but from other people. Some critical observations on the current state of affairs in the Army, and especially in the Transformation arena.

First up, Illusion of Change by Colonel(r) Douglas MacGregor (of Breaking the Phalanx fame), from his recent testimony before Congress. Colonel MacGregor's point is diluted a touch because he's selling his own product - but as I said, the internal debate rages, and COL. MacGregor's viewpoint has many champions inside, too.

I don't wholly buy all of MacGregor's points - but what he says rings true in the main through the work I've been doing. I'll also tell you there is a lot more dissent and discussion inside the Army on the issues of Transformation than you see out in public. But since a lot of it hinges on operational experience, OPSEC keeps it in-house. Let's just say that the experiments and analysis, layered in with operational experience is keeping Transformation a moving train... which is a Good Thing, though the senior guys find themselves compelled to act sometimes as if that's not the case. More on *that* in a later post.

Next up, another retired Colonel, Bob Killebrew, offers some thoughts on Warfighting - pay attention to the picture captions. They tell a story in themselves. A little taste:

Of course the Iraqi insurgency is different, just as all wars are different from their predecessors. Despite the mountains of paper expended in recent decades on theories about asymmetric enemies, the Department of Defense and the Armed Forces by and large saw only the war they wanted to fight in Iraq, and did not anticipate that the enemy might not cooperate. A DoD committed to transforming the armed services orchestrated a conventional attack into Baghdad and other Iraqi cities that, however brilliantly executed, in retrospect looks like a strategy out of the 19th century-seize the enemy's capitol and the nation falls into one's hands like a ripe fruit. As we know, the present insurgency took root in the instability that followed the conventional campaign, threatening not only the rebuilding of Iraq but the success of the U.S.-led war itself. There is reason to believe that part of the insurgency was either preplanned or improvised by the previous government as their conventional forces were defeated, but confirmation awaits historical inquiry. At present, hard fighting by troops on the ground, the success of the Iraqi elections and the accelerating organization of Iraqi security forces have swung the tide. While the eventual outcome of the war is still not assured, strategic momentum in the theater seems to be shifting back toward the accomplishment of U.S. war aims. What lessons can we draw thus far from the Army's counterinsurgency experience in Operation Iraqi Freedom? Five candidates appear below.

Now, go back, click the link, and read.

I'm reading Andrew Bacevich's new book, "The New American Militarism" which has been raising such a storm in some circles. As usual, I find that many of the initial reviews seem based more on the blurbs and advertising vice a read of the book. I'll have some thoughts on that this week maybe, after I've had a chance to read and digest. Of course, that's why I'm never going to make it in the pundit business - sometimes I just won't jump on the wagon when the topic is hot!