This problem is not a new one. GH, I agree with your comment that there haven't been many wars since the Cold War, it's just that strategic inertia on the "view" of the forces on hand and their employment that tend to carry on. "The Army in Vietnam" by Krepinivich used to be required War College reading. His basic premise was we took a central European, armor heavy mentality to the jungles of Vietnam. He did a fine job of explaining it. So, what's old is new again. From my own Navy Surface experience, I know the last great sea battle was held Oct 25th, 1944. While I served from 76-96, "we," the guys with black shoes, still were sort of spoiling to fight the great Mahanian sea battle, or at least be there to do a modern day Trafalger. The reality was, the submariners, and the brown shoes were going to be the lead in the fight, and we surface guys would have something to do, but in actuality, it may have been more to mop up, or rescue the CV sailors who took the brunt of the AS-4/5/6s and SSN-3/12/19s from the Soviet Naval Air Forces (SNAF) and surface and sub units. I'd also observe from my reading of military affairs, there most likely some Navy Officers who still think surface ships are "where it's at" for the next big shoot 'em up and I'm the dinosaur who had the "blue water Navy" attitude... Col Harry Summers wrote "On Strategy: A Critcal Analysis of the Vietnam War" to frame the conflict under the priciples of Clausewitz. His second book in the "series," was "On Strategy: The Gulf War". In this work, he described how the middle grade and junior officers, who had slogged thru the rice paddies, used that experience to redistribute the fighting force of the Army (in particular) between the active duty, USAR and NG units, so as to invlove the entire nation. Two names came up in his writing: Powell and Schwartzkopf as some of those who worked for this. It's that "will of the people" concept from Clausewitz they so masterfully engaged. All these books are worth the read, if anyone is interested in seeing how the old seems to become the new, over and over, or you could even say it the other way around. Col Summers shows there will be a lag in coming to grips with the real warfighting for the GWoT, and I believe shows how the agents of change are the very men and women who are wearing "railroad tracks" and gold oak leaves at this very moment at some FOB or FSB. ROCs and POEs and all sorts of requirements will have to be redone, and it will take some of the pointy end of the spear guys getting assigned to the 5 sided funny farm and then having what it takes to step up and begin presenting their ideas, otherwise, we're sort of screwed. We will need the more senior officers and civil servants in high places to listen attentively and take on board those ideas whose time has come and the re-direct the procurement and training "machinery" to be aimed to support that. That's a lot of the inertia to overcome, not the people's mindset, but the logistics train to produce the right weaponry and support equipment to make it happen. Contractors, particularly ones who used to be flag/general ranks, out there will be stumping to keep building what was "normal" to them, and major industry player are using these people to keep the $$$ flowing based on the "status quo." Solid leadership will save the day, when everyone gets the op order and rogers up for the plan....Lately, current events sure have made me get off the dime and write what I think about....it's exciting and...motivating...
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Col. Hunt and Us Stuck in the Fulda Gap
This post on Mudville Gazette about the current discussion between the left and the right (and those who thing neither side has it right yet) regarding the present military force structure and strategy. In an interview with a Fox Military Analyst, Col Hunt (retired Army), I found on Ankle Biting Pundits, there is some discussion saying the officers at the top are still "fighting the last war." That stirred up my rememberances of this issue from the 1987-88 time frame, right after I had recently participated in the strike on Libya in Spring 86, then headed to Naval War College, where the entire cirriculm was having to be retorqued, for we had just fired the first salvos of the GWoT, when we sent the Air Force and Navy fighter bombers over a soverign nation offensively. We still hadn't shed some of the Vietnam war fighting, as the books I have linked to point out. I did a lot of reading in those days, some directed, some on my own, and here's some of what I came away with as a result: