Gates gave a speech last Wed. I liked what he said. I did not like him when he came in to town. He sounded like a paper pusher and a feather merchant-brought in to do the make-no-waves dance. His Talk is different now. The Corps and the Army are going to get bigger and get more money. Repairs all around and new geegaws. Unlike my goddam war, the war that was promptly forgotten, Gates commits to not going "fugetabouit" like everyone did after Saigon fell. He says there is no one in hell today that can go toe to toe with America and win but the S.O.B.'s with the IED's can still give us pause. No matter. We must go on. The Marine Corps must get bigger and the U.S. Army too and men of quality, not bags of mostly shit, must be recruited. Make medicine to fight the conventional wars and not forget about Abu the IED maker. What could be better? For my money he could have said he is not going to suck up to the magic bullet merchants. The bastards that even Eisenhower saw through in his "the military industrial complex" idea of men who bear no loyalty to anyone but their own profit line.
He could have said we are going to invest heavily in men not machines. In Men of courage who can blend into the indigenous population gather intell and savvy other languages. He could have said: To fight the wars of the future we are going to need the academics, the Peace Corps, the State Dept., the Health Dept., the city councils, the lawyers but these men are civilians and worse academics antithetical to the warrior ethos who respond to the Word. No, these guys have to pull their thumbs out their tuckas and have committees and endless discussions on the proper manner the thumb should be pulled out...so until that time the Marine Corps and the Army shall be tasked with doing their jobs. Looking beyond the current, two by four wars, former commanders issue calls for ball busting changes to the way we train and fight. Nothing better. Here are just two recent ideas.
Learning From Our Modern Wars: The Imperatives of Preparing for a Dangerous Future by Lieutenant General Peter W. Chiarelli, U.S. Army, with Major Stephen M. Smith, U.S. Army.
Gates plans to add the ordeal of change spice to the Turmoil Soup the Marine Corps and the Army are now in. So get over it. Above all, all lifers and officers still stuck in concrete and/or unwilling or unable to comprede the new war should be encouraged to retire immediately forthwith if not sooner. So much the better. Nothing pisses me off more than whiners whose first idea starts with ----thats not going to work because...blah blah. That is all.
I am prepared to support plans to speed up that process as long as we can do it without sacrificing quality;
· With strong bipartisan support in the Congress, tens of billions of dollars have been allocated to reconstitute damaged and destroyed equipment; and
· New programs and resources are coming on line to make the Army’s covenant with families a reality.
’s ground forces have borne the brunt of underfunding in the past and the bulk of the costs – both human and material – of the wars of the present. By one count, investment in Army equipment and other essentials was underfunded by more than $50 billion before we invaded America . By another estimate, the Army’s share of total defense investments between 1990 and 2005 was about 15 percent. So resources are needed not only to recoup from the losses of war, but to make up for the shortfalls of the past and to invest in the capabilities of the future. Iraq
How those resources are used, and where those investments are made today will shape the Army for decades to come. We do not get the dollars or the opportunity to reset very often. So it’s vital we get it right.
This will call on accountable and visionary leadership across the service and up and down the chain of command.
One of the Army’s concerns you’ve heard about at this conference is getting back to training for “high intensity” situations – a capability vitally important to deter aggression and shape the behavior of other nations.
It strikes me that one of the principal challenges the Army faces is to regain its traditional edge at fighting conventional wars while retaining what it has learned – and relearned – about unconventional wars – the ones most likely to be fought in the years ahead.
One of my favorite sayings is that “experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.”
In the years following the Vietnam War, the Army relegated unconventional war to the margins of training, doctrine, and budget priorities. Consider that in 1985 the core curriculum for the Army’s 10-month Command and
assigned 30 hours – about four days – for what was is now called low intensity conflict. This was about the same as what the Air Force was teaching at its staff college at the time. General Staff College
This approach may have seemed validated by ultimate victory in the Cold War and the triumph of Desert Storm. But it left the service unprepared to deal with the operations that followed:
Somalia, Haiti, the Balkans, and more recently Afghanistanand – the consequences and costs of which we are still struggling with today. Iraq
The work that has been done to adapt since has been impressive – if not nearly miraculous. Just one example is the transformation of places like the
National Training Center, where, as one officer put it, the Army has “cut out a piece of Iraqand dropped it into Southern California,” replete with a dozen villages and hundreds of Arab Americans employed as role players. The publication of the counterinsurgency manual is another milestone, and is being validated by the progress we’ve seen in over the past few months. This work and these lessons in irregular warfare need to be retained and institutionalized, and should not be allowed to wither on the bureaucratic vine. Iraq
Put simply, our enemies and potential adversaries – including nation states – have gone to school on us. They saw what
’s technology and firepower did to Saddam’s army in 1991 and again in 2003, and they’ve seen what IEDs are doing to the American military today. It is hard to conceive of any country challenging the America directly on the ground – at least for some years to come. United States
Indeed, history shows us that smaller, irregular forces – insurgents, guerrillas, terrorists – have for centuries found ways to harass and frustrate larger, regular armies and sow chaos. As one officer recently told the Washington Post, “the toys and trappings have changed,” but the fundamentals have not.
We can expect that asymmetric warfare will remain the mainstay of the contemporary battlefield for some time. These conflicts will be fundamentally political in nature, and require the application of all elements of national power. Success will be less a matter of imposing one’s will and more a function of shaping behavior – of friends, adversaries, and most importantly, the people in between.
One of the challenges facing the Army will be how to incorporate the latest in technology without losing sight of the human and cultural dimensions of the irregular battlefield. For example, we have spent billions on tools and tactics to protect against IEDs. Yet, even now, the best way to defeat these weapons – indeed the only way to defeat them over the long run – is to get tips from locals about the networks and the emplacements or, even better, to convince and empower the Iraqis to prevent the terrorists from emplacing them in the first place.
In addition, arguably the most important military component in the War on Terror is not the fighting we do ourselves, but how well we enable and empower our partners to defend and govern their own countries. The standing up and mentoring of indigenous armies and police – once the
– is now a key mission for the military as a whole. How the Army should be organized and prepared for this advisory role remains an open question, and will require innovative and forward thinking. provinceof Special Forces
The same is true for mastering foreign language – a particular interest of mine – and building expertise in foreign areas. And until our government decides to plus up our civilian agencies like the Agency for International Development, Army soldiers can expect to be tasked with reviving public services, rebuilding infrastructure, and promoting good governance. All these so-called “nontraditional” capabilities have moved into the mainstream of military thinking, planning, and strategy – where they must stay.