UPDATED 12 September 2009

Victory: who wants to MANEUVER to get it?

"What matters in war is victory, not prolonged operations, however brilliantly executed"

--Sun Tzu, The Art of War

In the last three conflicts before the current Iraq/Afghanistan occupation debacles; Desert Storm (1991), Kosovo (1999), and Afghanistan (2001-2), America has not decisively maneuvered with ground forces to encircle and destroy enemies who have lived to fight another day choosing instead to over-depend on digital firepower munitions directed through what some term as a new "Surveillance Strike Complex" (SSC). However, in the last three conflicts, at best weak or more often--no ground force maneuver---is employed in conjunction with SSC firepower to turn the enemy out or to encircle him to destroy his will and his ability to fight in the present and the future. In fact world-wide awareness of the U.S. SSC strategem has resulted in our enemies employing Camouflage, Concealment, Cover, Deception and Deceit measures (C3D2) to completely evade our firepower according to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). In fact, in some cases, the Afghanistan warlords have duped the U.S. into killing their rivals. With not enough men on the ground to determine what the ground TRUTH of the situation is, its easy to be fooled and expend ordnance on the wrong things. John Paul Vann warned us in the Vietnam War not to bomb villages in order to "save" them, but our unwillingness to use maneuver and try to bomb from a distance has only gotten worse since his day.

The inevitable conclusion is that without decisive MANEUVER, the U.S. cannot locate, destroy and eliminate sub-national terrorists groups that threaten her very existence with possible nuclear, biological or chemical attacks, nor defend her allies and areas of vital national interest from a skilled nation-state aggressor armed with our own digital firepower technology to create a SSC to use against us. Over-relying on aircraft bombing and ignoring ground maneuver has in the past been nearly fatal to our allies. The Egyptians surprised the Israelis with the world's first SSC when they crossed the Suez Canal in a surprise maneuver attack in 1973 under the cover of an air defense missile system that denied the Israeli Air force the ability to bomb them, with anti-tank hunter/killer teams on the ground to stop the Israeli Armor Corps. Fortunately, the Egyptians stopped giving the IDF Generals like Ariel Sharon the time to reorganize themselves into a combined-arms force with MANEUVER elements that could strip away the Egyptian anti-aircraft and anti-armor missiles, eventually crossing the Suez Canal themselves, encircling and cutting off the Egyptian Army for a decisive victory that saved the nation of Israel. 29 years later, President Ariel Sharon would again save Israel from homicide bombers by MANEUVERING light and heavy tracked armored fighting vehicle forces into Palestinian territories to root out terrorists before they could strike again.

But it will be too late after a nuclear, biological or chemical weapons attack for America to reorganize her military to create a Surveillance-Strike MANEUVER capability (SSMC) like the IDF did when backed-against-a-wall.

The American socio-political forces that converge together to enact the dangerous formula of firepower-only that yields less than victory and puts America's survival at risk are the following:

1. U.S. generals that want expensive weapons ("favorites" or "cash cows") so they can have bigger budgets and more power. Since 1947 two of these services--the Air Force and the Navy have by battlefield function been set at odds with the other two services--the Army and the marines---the AF/Navy by focusing on their platforms which to play a starring role can at best deliver bombs and missiles---want firepower to ascend in importance and have deliberately underdone their transport responsibilities to deliver Army/marines because the latter's maneuver success would diminishes their budgetary stature for firepower platforms that may bring their own service the glory. Now, even the Army/Mc have opted for the easy out of letting the AF/Navy bombard hoping then their services will be lessened or not needed.

2. Civilian politicians and their wonkish appointees (increasingly without any military experience) who want zero casualties so they can be re-elected who thus do not want large ground forces to do maneuver because in the past, U.S. military incompetence at maneuver using blind-obedience culture amateurs in non-robust forces resulted in at times heavy casualties (they forgot about Honduras, Panama, Grenada, Haiti where America's most elite ground maneuver units won without heavy air firepower bombardment and casualties were light).

Anti-war liberal politicians are eager to spend billions on barracks and troop welfare programs...especially if the bases are in their home district/state but refuse to solve warfighting problems like not having enough airlift or having light tanks to win combats so the men will be alive to be able to use the new barracks. This subtle anti-military undercurrent is best expressed in the quote below:

"We should not unilaterally assume the function of policing the world. If it is easy for us to go anywhere and do anything, we will always be going somewhere and doing something."

Senator Richard B. Russell (D-Ga.)
Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee (1967)

3. Technoarrogant civilian military dilettantes without any practical military experience (due to a national abandonment of military service throughout the populace) advocating that we can fight wars without maneuver. Chief among these are discredited sociologists Alvin and Heidi Toffler whose book "War and anti-War" is the "bible" of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) crowd.

4. Defense contractors who want continued and bigger profits by offering expensive, automated firepower means that give all 3 parties above what they want: low-risk quasi "warfare" (really posturing).

5. A corporate funded press that wants to stay in the information loop and not "rock the boat" or have its reporters lose their comfortable middle-class lifestyle

6. The personal computer has made it easy for the parties above to "spin" and "power point" lies and deceits into a smooth, professional looking presentation to make defeat look like victory, the current fad to sugar coat business-as-usual is called "transformation"

7. With the advent of the All Volunteer Force (AVF), most Americans have no military input nor afterwards the personal experience to judge whether our military is on the right course or not. An in-bred, divorced-from-its-citizenry, stupid blind-obedience U.S. military culture; if tasked to do ground maneuver would engender heavy casualties by "yes-man" toadyism, methodical battle, unimaginative force structure, weak or non-existent tactics, techniques and procedures and physically non-robust, adaptive forces. Compare the ugly, egotistical existentialism of the U.S. military with the can-do, humble and moral Israeli Defense Force ethos and how it draws on the full power of its citizens to be egoless and pull together to make an effective military.

All 7 of these factors merge into the fatally flawed "bombard & occupy" strategem employing America's costly surveillance-strike complex called by some a a quasi "transformation" that offers up precision firepower as the panacea to meet all U.S. national security needs, even though truthful analysis reveals that its at best a 50% solution that never takes care of the other half, even over time. The desire to "send a bullet and not a man" is not new to America, its a natural outgrowth of a professionally amateur U.S. military which began in the 1940s with a vast industrial capacity to produce ordnance to send firepower to attempt what only maneuver and ground control can do. Today, in the 2000s, the same technoarrogance of a non-military society has simply "morphed" itself into a vast information and computerization capacity; an ability to direct ordnance more precisely so we use less of it since its more expensive, with a capacity to deceive ourselves about its effects with "spin". Because the U.S. military is run by amateurs, it increasingly sees less of the need for militarily sound maneuver and cannot self-reform and adapt to get it which takes candor, truth-telling and risk-taking in peacetime to find a way to do ground maneuver without heavy casualties. Thus, by default national decision makers opt for air/sea bombardment and hope the firepower "snake oil" salesmen are able to deliver. If they do not deliver, we can "spin" away their failures and keep trying until the bombardment "works". That dangerous enemies like Red China are waiting and preparing to challenge and defeat the U.S. with a new war system or formula as soon as they are ready does not bode well for the survival of the United States.

Why America doesn't want to do MANEUVER?

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

-- John Stewart Mills

As a nation governed by a representative republic, America is not nationalistic and eager for conquest through war to express herself on the world stage. America is divergent through millions of individual civilian occupations to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" as Thomas Jefferson once declared as a virtue. But this indulgence has meant that war---is a despised and discredited human endeavor in the U.S., such that when external aggressors threaten America she is unready. Truly cowards do America's thinking and fools fight her battles. When forced to fight and achieve victory, which takes ground maneuver, America has learned the hard way and casualties have been heavy---WWI; 200,000 dead, WWII, 350,000 dead, Korea 55,000 dead, Vietnam, 58,000 dead. America not wanting to change culturally from her liberal notions of human goodness has sought to foist off responsibility for her protection to a small elite of "lifers" and to avoid ground war whenever possible via labor and blood-saving machines. America's military elite have not reformed our military to a true culture of excellence that becomes skilled at war so maneuver can be employed, and from the outside anti-military liberals have sought to undermine military excellence through social engineering and warped budget priorities.

Dave Grossman's studies On Killing, have concluded that in the face of danger, human beings have only 4 basic choices;

a. Fight
b. Flee
c. Surrender
d. Posture

Of all the choices, the last one; posturing or PRETENDING to fight is the most dangerous. It has been over the years the core America military strategem to avoid casualties. America does not want to fight wars to victory, she wants to live to experience that next beer party and the posturing ploy brings our men back alive and the media pundits can "spin" the saber-rattling into a quasi-"victory" of sorts. Some pinprick air strikes and some aircraft flying around, perhaps a "base" is set up somewhere with some token U.S. troops and the enemy is shown "not to mess with the U.S." and we all go home happy and alive. This works as long as the enemy doesn't call our "bluff". In 1983 the enemy drove a truck bomb into a marine barracks killing 241+. In 2001, the enemy flew fuel-laden airliners into the World Trade Center towers, collapsing them, and destroyed a wing of the Pentagon, killing 3,000. As time goes on, the price for U.S. military failures to defend America have risen, and its not too outrageous to anticipate that the next failure will be nuclear, chemical or biological with the dead running into the MILLIONS as an American city is wiped out. Perhaps then, the American people will realize that in the world we live in, the military is a necessary evil, to participate directly and study war and to understand and get good at it instead of bribing some power-hungry, egotistical "lifers" to do all our dirty work for us who instead build empires and goof off with their own make-believe war styles. That cultural paradigm shift has NOT taken place in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. 3,000 dead is nothing compared to the 50,000 dead that die each year in car accidents. America has not been hurt bad enough to pay attention and realize its basic core assumptions about life are wrong and need to be changed. We are operating business-as-usual with an added emphasis on countering terrorism.

Future tragedies are imminent

The "snake oil" transformation salesman are so filled with their own technohubris they are thinking that precision weaponry can replace massed nuclear firepower as a deterrent to those with similar weapons. They think precision guidance can shoot down the enemy's missiles as well as wipe out their ground combat divisions----such that they advocate the unilateral disarmament of over 50% of America's nuclear arsenal.

Why the snake oil transformation firepower people are fundamentally wrong

"How far are you willing to go?"

--Sean Connery's oscar-winning performance in The Untouchables

The key mistake current "transformation" thinking is philosophical---the bombard & occupy advocates think that man is on a treadmill of progress and that whatever is "new" replaces whatever worked in the past, not because it can't work today, but because ITS "OLD" AND THUS, WE DON'T LIKE IT. In this case, mental means through computers replaces tried-and-true PHYSICAL means. At the center of this is a personal egotism that thinks its "new" ideas are so much better than its predecessors and their methods actually used in real warfare, that we can discard them. If we can mentally direct some firepower ordnance to a desired spot on earth, why do we need men on the ground? Clearly these folks do not understand that war is not just about blowing things up---human war is about CONTROL----whose will dominates. To win wars, men on the ground are not just another way to get line-of-sight to deliver ordnance firepower---men on the ground are a form of force distinctly different than firepower, its called MANEUVER. If you do not control the ground through maneuver, the enemy will use our unwillingness to employ ground maneuver--boots on the ground---a weakness---to not only avoid our firepower but to launch devastating attacks like the 9/11 suicide airliners diving into populated buildings full of civilians. The 9/11 attackers infiltrated into American society because we are unwilling to close our own borders and deny this ground to potential enemies--which takes ground maneuver to effect. Its America's unwillingness to MANEUVER---to physically be present on the ground that has created open borders, lack of HUMINT spies to infiltrate and destroy terrorist cells from within, and in the U.S. military to have robust, air-deliverable forces that can project anywhere in 3 dimensions and smash enemies throughought the depth of the battlefield--and not get hurt while doing it. In the street vernacular we have become "pussies".

No maneuver from the Sea

"No one is thinking if everyone is thinking alike. In too many organizations, toadyism is buried like a cancer. It must be removed with the sharpest bayonet available. All sorts of suggestions, ideas, concepts, and opinions must be allowed to promote an environment of learning and imagination. A fault of many potentially fine commanders is a lack of the ability to admit that other people have good ideas. If younger Soldiers are not allowed to use and cultivate their imaginations and their abilities for abstract thought, where will we get the next generations of qualified, motivated, and confident commanders? Commanders who never ask for an opinion, never listen to suggestions, and think they have the only correct idea find that their Soldiers will stop communicating altogether. They'll begin to sit on their asses and wait for orders before doing anything. No matter how high in the ranks a man goes, he can't know everything. We can always learn from each other. Juniors must learn not only to be allowed to use their imaginations, but they must be encouraged to do so.

Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men. I cannot count the times I've seen men who should know better than to keep quiet when unjust decisions are being made, decisions that literally affect the lives of tens of thousands of Soldiers. These decisions are made, not on the basis of sound military policy, but purely to further the political and personal ambition of officers in high command. Cowardice on the battlefield is disgusting enough. Cowardice in the military planning room is repugnant. It ultimately means the unnecessary death, mutilation, and disfigurement of Soldiers for the sake of the commanders. It takes courage to stand up for what is believed to be right and just. Most men seem to lack such courage. Sycophancy for the sake of career is just as deadly as incompetence."

--General George S. Patton Jr.

Carlton Meyer has brilliantly described why current Navy/Mc doctrine is not real maneuver but a form of maneuver avoidance caving in to American cowardice to not physically fight and stay at a safe distance off-shore, over-the-horizon (OTH). What he assumes in his writings as he calls for changes to get "boots on the ground" is that the Navy/Mc want to do maneuver. The objective observer must conclude that they do not. The Navy is not the only guilty party in America's avoidance of maneuver warfighting. The Mc has had chances to "ante up" and surrender 4,000 man-slots to keep the two heavily armored Iowa Class battleships operating so we have effective area fire support to facilitate amphibious landings that can operate close to shore in the face of enemy anti-ship missile fires and sea mines. But the Mc has decided keeping "8th and I" silent drill teams and recruit training depots to give America's kids a feel-good rite-of-passage to deceive them into thinking they are warriors when it takes a LIFETIME of humble study to be a real warrior---are more important than having effective forces for maneuver in real war.

When the LST-class ships were retired they were sold off and replaced by a smaller number of new LSD-41 ships--re: the Congressional anti-military undercurrent. Ever wonder why we never seem to have enough "amphibious lift" to move more than 3 battalions at any one time?

This is no accident.

The Navy has no glory to gain by delivering marine MANEUVER forces to a fight to possibly win it. However, there is perhaps some glory and a CNN video clip if it can bombard the enemy with its surface ships using long-range cruise missiles. Its no accident that there is "never enough amphibious lift".

Examine what the Mc loads onto its ships---hundreds of soft-skin, unarmored trucks, some LAV thin-skinned armored cars---a light infantry force that walks---in a tiny battalion size able to at the most seize a forward base. Certainly not a force that can maneuver in the face of enemy fires and encircle it to destroy it. In fact, the tiny MEU cannot force-an-entry if the enemy lays seamines since the Navy is not interested in that aspect of warfare, during the Gulf War 18,000 marines were blocked by 1,000 "low-tech" Iraqi seamines. The MEU cannot "force" an entry, it can only land where its invited or unopposed. Thus, the Taliban/Al Queda were already gone when the southern air base in Afghanistan was occupied by marines and turned into "Camp Rhino"---another case of token saber-rattling via seizure of a forward base not operational maneuver. What Mc generals want is to come ashore---hopefully first for bragging rights---then leave the dirty work of defeating the enemy to the Army. They want to do amphibious BASE SEIZURE not amphibious warfare. If taking that base by amphibious assault requires costly "cash cows" like V-22s and AAAVs, so much the better. After all time/distance/logistical energy is expended keeping Navy ships safe OTH with expensive cash-cow platforms, the Mc will have a built-in excuse not to go far inland and get its fingers dirty via warfighting or long peacekeeping occupations. Their supply lines will be 50 miles away OTH from the get-go. However, they can claim some glory with media "spin", and then be back on ship eating ice cream in a few days, because they are "assault troops", ie; its not their job, man. "Mission complete" is doing just their narrow niche not doing everything it takes to put america's enemies out of action for good. "How far are you willing to go?"...to get VICTORY?

Maneuver from the air?--maybe

"...the nations that control the air will control the peace"

--General James M. Gavin, Airborne Warfare, 1947

The U.S. Army has a fantastic 82nd Airborne Division that can in a matter of hours be anywhere in the world, ready-to-fight if it gets more than its mandated Strategic Brigade Airdrop allotment of aircraft from the USAF. But its own Army headquarters refuses to supply it with widely available M113A3-type air-droppable, light tracked armored fighting vehicles (AFVs) out of sheer internecine jealousy (Armor officers generally hate the Airborne). However, a similar game is played by the Air Force in regards to getting these Army maneuver forces to the fight---as C-141B Starlifters are retired they are replaced by a lesser number of albeit more payload capable, but in the aggregate, lesser C-17s. Cargo converted 4-engine, 124 ton payload 747 airliners sitting in the desert unused could be pre-loaded with U.S. Army M113A3 Gavin armored personnel carriers, M8 AGS light tanks and M973A2 armored SUSV recon vehicles and their transport helicopters to solve the airlift "shortage" once and for all in one year's time. They have extra underfloor cargo space to hold massive in-flight refueling probes to also act as tankers for other AF planes. USAF C-130s could shuttle in the Army's light AFVs for the forced-entry 3D maneuver force from the Intermediate Staging Bases (ISBs) where the cargo 747s landed. But that would mean real warfighting maneuver and the Army possibly getting the glory as it did in Grenada, Panama, Haiti--so the AF selects a weak twin-engine 767 airliner to be its next cargo/tankers--to primarily refuel in mid-air its fighter-bombers to get them to the fight to drop precision ordnance! There is no sense of urgency in the USAF to get ground maneuver forces to a fight to win it. If there was, the AF would "grab the bull by the horns", solve the lack-of-airlift problem with large numbers of used cargo/tanker 747s, but they also want "brand-new" or not at all.

The Army's current leaders deep down inside have bought off into the Tofflerian bombardment lie and do not want to practice the decisive maneuver they preach in manuals like FM 3-0 Operations that encircles and collapses enemies---they have chosen the road-bound 20-24 ton LAV-III/IAV rubber-tired armored car with a computer screen to beg for precision fires from someone else---rather than do ground maneuver because its wheeled with high ground pressures and cannot travel cross-country freely. They chose the new, expensive LAV-III/IAV rather than upgrading some of their perfectly good M113A3s which are more capable of MANEUVER as armored vehicles---and transforming the Army overnight into 3D maneuver capabilities. Instead the Army wants to spend a lot of money and only change a small part of itself. Again, there is no sense of urgency to reform for maneuver combat. The LAV-III/IAV itself, is too heavy to fly by C-130 and is so dimensionally bloated that it can only fly two-at-a-time in a C-17--the same number of 33-ton M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles that can be delivered a planeload at a time--so the Army's current leaders are in no hurry to get to a fight.

When Army Rangers parachute dropped to raid the southern Afghanistan airfield, they did not land with M113A3 light tracked AFVs to hold the position even though these vehicles were sorely needed in their last major combat in Somalia "Blackhawk Down!". Had they learned from Somalia, the 75th Ranger Regiment would have requested some war-stock M113A3s and 9 years later been ready to hold the southern Afghanistan air base for follow-on forces to airland or airdrop. But that's not the Ranger's "mission", they are "raiding" forces--even though AFVs are needed by good raiding forces; not having AFVs insures a built-in excuse not to hang around if the situation gets dangerous. In other words, Ranger ego is anti-armored vehicle unless it can be done in a sexier way than the lesser beings of the Army's "mech" community.

In fact, an Army M113A3-based unit is ready at Ramstein AFB in Germany to fly into Afghanistan by C-130s to reinforce the Army 101st Airborne Air Assault Soldiers that are now there as of this writing (May 2002) but the Army's Chief leader, General Eric Shinseki rejected this sensible, life-protecting measure because positive publicity for the M113A3--which the Army already owns 17,000 of---would show the world and the American Congress that his purchase of expensive, vulnerable LAV-III/IAV armored cars (his favorite "cash cow") is not needed and not wise. So the "Screaming Eagles" are in Afghanistan---where the rogue Taliban enemies have T-55 medium tanks---without any tracked armored vehicles--another "Blackhawk Down!" or more precisely a Lang Vei in the making.

If the Army had held the airfield in Southern Afghanistan while the Taliban/Al Queda were still fighting in Kandahar, it would "turn them out", ie; force them out of their positions to be hit by our air strikes or meet our Army Soldiers in ground combat---MANEUVER. This is not the "favorites" U.S generals want to play---they want to do politically low-risk bombard-then-occupy---so we waited until the enemy had fled before placing any long-term troops there. And now the enemy is regrouping not only in Afghanistan to threaten the interim government there, but to strike at the heart of America again through asymmetric terrorism.

The First Fix

"A house divided against itself shall not stand"

--Abraham Lincoln quoting The Bible

The National Defense Act (NDA) of 1947 creating the separate services at odds with each other have ruined the warfighting vigor of the U.S. military by putting firepower in competition with ground maneuver instead of working in cooperation.

The NDA of 1947 needs to be abolished and replaced.

The marine corps should merge back fully into the Navy so its generals can have a chance to take the "helm" of that service and insure it has an amphibious maneuver emphasis as a natural part of Naval combat or it should merge into the U.S. Army to create a seamless Airborne/Amphibious warfighting capability. Maybe a marine colonel will have no ego loss commanding a mine sweeper that enables his marines to land?

The U.S. Air Force's transport (C-5A/B, C-141B, C-17, C-130) and Close Air Support (A-10) aircraft should become part of the U.S. Army--a rebirth of the Army Air Force (AAF)---since it is the Army that will hold the ground bases to which these aircraft operate on, and its the Army that needs airlift to get to the fight to win it by maneuver. We must not put the cart before the horse. The Air Forces that take air supremacy and does tactical interdiction and strategic bombing have safe bases in CONUS and when they don't they will operate from bases that first must be taken by Army Airborne forced-entry. The forces that hold the ground should control the airlift that gets and sustains them there.

When both the Army and marines--the maneuver forces of America---have control over the means to get them to the fight---then they will then have the synergistic power to mastermind an optimal force structure mix to achieve decisive strategic, operational and tactical maneuver to decisively defeat Americas enemies not just blast them from the air and hope for a miracle. We will suddenly get enough "air and sealift" because we will not be divided in our warfighting purposes by bureaucracy. They will know intimately the air/sea craft they have available and can then better configure the maximum forces possible to achieve decisive maneuver and not get hurt.

The Second Fix

All U.S. Generals that prescribe to the firepower bombard & occupy world view should be forced to retire and replaced by younger, more vigorous officers who understand the art of war from a classical understanding of Sun Tzu, Liddell-Hart etc. (not New Age technofluff) and want decisive maneuver by leading from personal example. Before and after the failure at Pearl Harbor, hundreds of officers were replaced by the mastermind, General George Marshall to get America ready for a war of national survival. No such quickening has taken place in the U.S. military as the same leaders with the same ideas are in place enacting their same pre-9/11 attack agendas.

"Cleaning the slate" is just a one-time temporary fix to meet the current and future threat; a total reform of the U.S. military to create a force of thinking professionals is necessary for the survival of the nation.

The Third Fix

"The society that separates it scholars from its Soldiers will have cowards doing its thinking and fools doing its fighting"

--William Francis Butler

The American public must reconnect itself to the study of military affairs to man her military and fill the congress with wise leaders who will lead us in the right course. Every citizen of the U.S. must do 2 years of national service (Police, Hospital, Conservation, Military, Civil Defense) with an option to do military service to create a reservoir of direct-experience military knowledge in the population. Afterwards, reserve duty until the age of 54 should be mandatory. We must get Citizen-Soldiers with common sense and lacking careerist ambitions studying war and injecting common sense into military plans, purchases and training.

All officers must serve first as enlisted followers before becoming leaders. Being a warrior is stressed as a lifetime of HUMBLE study not "shake and bake" rites of passage at a boot camp followed by trash talk emanating from lemmings too low-skilled to risk with live ammunition in their weapon to defend themselves from terrorist attack much less take the fight to the enemy through maneuver.

We should study the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and see how many tactics and innovations came about because their leaders listened to the grunt and took the actual warfighter's opinion into account. Look at the IDF's code of ethics and retirement age and the reasoning behind it---everybody works and everybody fights just like the ideal of Heinlein's Starship Troopers.

This means no more rank-hath-its-priveliges bullshit.

The higher in rank you go, the MORE responsibility you have to share the burdens and risks of your men to lead them by power of your on-scene personal example, not miles away safe in a computer CP.

British General JFC Fuller in his book available here online: Generalship: its Diseases and their Cure describes this in great detail;


His main thesis:

"The more mechanical become the weapons with which we fight, the less mechanical must be the spirit which controls them".

Yet in the U.S. military we have consistantly sought to dehumanize our men into robots by S&M basic trainings and rites-of-passage games since the dawn of the 20th century. That this piss-poor military culture has resulted in battlefield defeats and thousands of casualties hasn't dawned on our military and civil leaders that its a recipe for the exctinction of our nation when we face a foe without time and resources to get our act together after initial losses.

The Fourth Fix

1. America needs an Army Strategic ground Maneuver Force (ASMF) with a Surveillance-Strike Maneuver Capability (SSMC) and a CAVALRY BRANCH to protect its people, its equipment and insure it stays a vibrant war form for the present and future

a. Threats are global and asymmetric and employ C3D2; maneuver needed to flush them out; small unit SOF teams are inadequate quantitatively to the task

b. USAF air strike and small-unit directed PGM firepower "Surveillance-Strike Complex" cannot win wars, America needs a MANEUVER force to overcome enemy SSCs; a SSMC force

c. America's survival hangs in the balance since its now widely known what her weaknesses are (except in the Pentagon) and a nuclear, biological or chemical attack could kill millions of Americans

2. Army and marine culture have been perpetual failures since Van Steuben

a. America's military does not have a well-conceived culture of thinking excellence

b. Failure in numerous battles (Lebanon, Beirut, Koh Tang island, TF Hawk, Kosovo, Somalia, USS Cole, 9/11 CONUS attacks)

c. Failure at CMCs: JRTC, NTC, MCGACC 29 Palms: innovation not welcome

d. Future failures planned: "trance-formation" BS that insists on inferior rubber tired wheeled armored cars to do B&O warfare rather than superior light tracks in existing top-down, stay-in-your-lane bureaucratic systems

e. NO CAVALRY BRANCH TO INSURE THIS STYLE OF MOBILE GENERAL PURPOSE WARFARE IS DONE WELL AND EQUIPPED (why we are in mess we are in today; being too light or too heavy)

American defeats in Iraq, Kosovo, and now Afghanistan where American Generals have refused to employ decisive ground maneuver to destroy enemies evading our stand-off firepower have began a debate about the validity of american military thinking and the culture that creates it. Clearly, American military leaders do not have an understanding of everything at a glance (coup d-oeil) and reports indicate most lose touch with physical reality beyond the rank of Major and become politicized from then on. While many have offered different organizational schemes (Vandegriff, Macgregor, Grange, Jarnot, Lind etc.) to try to create military excellence, even these daring reformers have shied away from attacking the basic ideas by name that create out-of-touch American military leaders who for example think a 19-24 ton LAV-III armored car made into an "IAV" with computers, applique' armor and a remote weapon station weighing 20-24 tons is somehow going to be 16 tons to fly by USAF C-130 aircraft.

In America, the basic problem is that as officers increase in rank they feel like they are "above" knowing the dirty details of a dirty business called war, and whatever they may have known as a young Captain or Lieutenant is soon forgotten as they first become "yes-men" staff officers sugar-coating reality themselves, and then later getting fed by it themselves in later ranks. This basic lie that knowing the details and specifics of your profession is somehow "underclass" comes from ancient Roman mythology where the worker of the metal forge, Vulcan is a dirty, lame being who though he makes useful things for the world to use, he is an outcast from the "gods" who are aloof and not concerned with the details and getting the job done. This attitude is later passed onto the Roman Catholic church and then the French military, where aristocracy, avante garde' and obedience to social class results in methodical firepower battle to not get their fingers dirty as leading-by-example maneuver would entail, the result being the WWI bloodshed and failure. Sadly, America learned her modern military methods and outlook from the French when they came over in 1917.

In contrast, Nordic people---tinkerers, innovators, Germans, Swedes value in their cultures, craftsmanship, innovation; to them the details are not "dirty". For decades, military reformers have wailed asking why the Germans were so skilled militarily in two world wars. The answer is cultural, the Germans embrace details, they embrace being personally involved, getting physically dirty and finding a way to excellence, and they can take the truth unvarnished. They earn the respect of their men by being humbler and harder working and are not afraid of being seen as human like them. Those that report the truth in order to get a better result through trial and error are not accused of being "disloyal" and leaving their social class ("stay in your lane"). Their observations are factored in and used to bring about true excellence that no one can deny.


Clearly, its high time the U.S. Army as an institution publicly reject morally bankrupt values that make knowing the details "dirty".

Jesus was a carpenter.

Think about it. When God himself took human form, 2002+/- years go, how did he spend his time? Was he aloof and condescending? Was he out of touch with basic people-level details? We all know he was remarkably in touch with reality, and at the same time he articulated a "transformation" vision that has lasted for over 2,000+ years and will extend into infinity. His example proves good leaders CAN know the small details and simultaneously use this grasp of everything at once (coup de oeil) to further a big vision that is actually realistic and do-able. One of the keys is you have to be humble. You can't be humble when you act like an aristocrat and don't get personally involved with the men. You can't achieve the genius of an excellent bottom-to-top organizational vision if you cannot see the truth without sugar-coating at every level.


So if the U.S. Army were to amend its leadership and cultural values, its still left with the fact that its people enter the Army with the cultural values of "details-are-dirty" snobs learned from civilian life where managers leave the shop room floor and reside in air-conditioned offices as rewards for hard work. They join the Army with the expectation that their reward is that as they increase in rank, they will be asked to do less and get paid more. We must change paradigm...that the reward of rank is greater work and only slightly greater pay with a greater expectation to lead-by-example to be the best. To be a thinker-doer, not an aristocrat. The U.S. military needs a moral, humble and innovative code of honor/ethics just like the IDF has, for ALL its Soldiers not just service academy cadets.

Proposal for morally sound U.S. Army Ethos:

U.S. Army Code of Honor

Next, as soon as possible, the young Army officer must have a thorough arts and sciences "reality check" of the state of the current modern battlefield, so he will have a technical foundation to understand war so he is not deceived and taken in by snake oil salesmen like the Tofflers and other avante garde' phony war theorists telling the out-of-touch what they want to hear not the way the world actually is.

STEP #3: Warfighting Reality Laboratory

I propose that all officers after making the rank of 1LT go to a 6-month "Warfighting Reality Laboratory". WRL would be a school where officers go out on weapons ranges and fire ALL U.S. weapons to learn their real effects on different targets and vehicles. They will go to plants where weapons are made. They will blow things up. They will shoot into buildings. They will drive tracked and wheeled vehicles and see which ones can do what. Recovery vehicles will be there to pull them out. They will look out at their other students with sensors and learn their limits and how to defeat them. They will call in arty, mortars and airstrikes on positions they have created, fortified and camouflaged occupied by test dummies, then they will see if this "precision firepower" the avante garde boast about is any good or not. They will load ships and airplanes. They will refuel and arm men and vehicles. They will be forced to think about the details of war to include professional military education and to write papers about how they will overcome on the modern battlefield. Experiments will be conducted. They will create their own equipment and come up with plans to solve simulated real world military problems and act them out on force-on-force exercises. They will watch real war films and videos and look at them from a technotactical perspective. They will then go on realistic missions with realistic combat loads against real OPFOR with live, non-lethal ammunition. JRTC will be a "cake-walk" compared to the graduation field exercise for WRL. Some of the students may die during the WRL. Honor graduates go on exchange duty with a foreign army to see how modern wars are currently being fought.

They are no going to just read anything in a manual and take it at face value, they will find out, physically. They will develop their OWN independent understanding of the modern battlefield. They will become like the Nordic Warriors and the Lord Jesus Christ---hands-on leaders with a grasp of everything who are involved in the art and science of warfare excellence.

There will be no barracks-game harassment, no sports PT, no BS, just combat experimentation and training. If you pass, you continue on to lead U.S. Army Soldiers as an officer. If you don't you go home to watch it on CNN and hope that those who pass get it right.

3. Current WWII draftee culture cannot be reformed with existing leaders

a. Power-hungry, existentialist, non-tactical Courtney Massengalesque (CM) assholes gravitate to AVF military service, once in charge set out to destroy any and all who are creative---saga of the INTJ proven in human group dynamics

b. CM careerist assholes created from rank of major onward

c. No mechanism to get rid of the assholes short of "smoking gun" of a Pearl Harbor-esque nuclear crater with the direct "fingerprints" of the military leadership on it, war is now so subtle and American populace so ignorant of military affairs, they cannot see military culpability for things like the 9/11 attacks

d. CM Assholes gullible and in favor to "snake oil" like Tofflerian bombard & occupy that fits into their private agendas of power and control

e. "Information age" means CM assholes can spin failures into victories and excuses to deceive Congress and America

4. America should start completely over with a new Army Strategic Maneuver Force (ASMF) under a Cavalry Branch by special act of Congress

a. Assemble best military minds regardless of rank, service status with unlimited resources, select "can-do" mastermind to orchestrate it all--suggest recalling to active duty, retired officers who have a vision of future MANEUVER warfare that will prevail in 4th Generation Warfare. This is not without precedent---in 1960, President John F. Kennedy recalled retired General Maxwell Taylor back to duty to become his Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when he realized that he had the needed vision (wrote the book, "Summons of the Trumpet" calling for better educated officers) to lead the U.S. military into the next decade. Also suggest as his deputies the many military reformers out there fighting hard at great personal cost to change our military for the better.

b. Create with the Army as lead service, the best full-spectrum large Brigade-sized CAVALRY force humanly possible

c. Ability to draw volunteers from all of the services

d. Reports directly to President Bush, chairman JCS as a separate entity

e. No career track, this-is-it, combat excellence is the only thing

f. ASMF tested vigorously at NTC, JRTC, MCAGCC against best alternative Brigade-sized units, BEST UNIT WINS

g. ASMF perfected and becomes model brigade-sized unit SSMC force with its own egalitarian, non-asshole traditions of excellence for the rest of the Army and Mc to emulate


If America does not radically reform and fix her military; a national disaster of such proportions will take place at the hands of asymmetric enemies that will end of United States as a world superpower and maybe her existence. The time has come to invest in our own national survival and develop for the first time a professional, thinking military culture with physically superior (not just mentally-aided) weaponry that can employ decisive maneuver (not just expensive firepower) to really destroy threats and insure national security by controlling ground.


Inside The Pentagon
April 18, 2002
Pg. 1

Reformers Unimpressed By Rumsfeld Plan To Overhaul Military Brass

Advocates of reform in the armed services say Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's anticipated overhaul of the senior military leadership falls far short of the mark, if the Bush administration's objective is significant change.

As The Washington Post reported April 11, Rumsfeld intends to use the turnover in top command slots over the next year or so to put in place a new generation of nonconformist officers. The idea is that this new breed will embrace military "transformation," which the defense secretary and his deputies view as necessary for handling future threats, including an elusive network of terrorists that threaten U.S. interests around the globe.

Many reformers in and outside the military agree that transformation of the military from its Cold War foundations to a more agile and lethal fighting force for the future will require bold new choices in uniformed leadership.

"That's the only way that transformation is going to happen," said one senior retired officer.

But many of these same officials are panning the specifics of Rumsfeld's plan, charging the defense secretary is being overly timid.

In what the Post termed Rumsfeld's "most significant move," Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Jones will be tapped to become supreme allied commander in Europe, the top NATO military post. Although the newspaper incorrectly reported Jones would be the first U.S. military commander in Europe who was born there -- Jones was actually born in Kansas City, MO, and was preceded in the post by Warsaw-born Army Gen. John Shalikashvili -- observers agree the commandant's childhood years in Paris, fluency in French and well-honed political skills will serve him well.

But many differed with the view that Jones would usher in a new era of military innovation in the European post, citing a dearth of fresh initiatives he has brought his service as commandant. And several military officers and observers noted Jones is often cited as a consummate Washington insider, hardly the definition of a nonconformist.

"Marines are always a cut different from the other services," one Pentagon official observed. "Jones was the only one who was from the same herd, cut from the same cookie cutter" as brass in the other services.

"He's better connected than Colin Powell was [as Joint Chiefs chairman] with everybody but the president," said one retired Army officer who shares Rumsfeld's interest in reform. "He'll be a great SACEUR, but not because of any changes he'll make," said this source, using the Pentagon acronym for the NATO post.

One active-duty officer agreed the Jones pick is not particularly significant for any "expeditionary" changes he may bring to the job, in which the Marine will likely have less power -- measured in control over funds and impact on the future -- than he does as a service chief.

Several sources also noted Jones has not trimmed his headquarters staffs, a goal Rumsfeld has sought across the Defense Department. "If anything, the ratio of headquarters staff to trigger-pullers went up, under Jones," said an industry consultant.

The more notable aspect of Jones' selection, one Joint Staff officer said, may well be the message it sends the Army, which stood to land the European slot next.

"This is a big signal to the Army that its military leadership is talentless," said this source.

The retired Army officer echoed this observation. "There's not a lot of talent hanging around," this source said. "The only thing unusual [about the leadership picks] is that they [leaked] them all at once."

Rumsfeld "doesn't want to piecemeal the attack," said another source interviewed late last month. "He wants a nuclear strike."

Another name leaked last week was the choice of Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Keane to replace his boss, Gen. Eric Shinseki, as service chief. Some reformers give Keane high marks for his interest in accelerating genuine innovation in the Army, which many observers agree is the service that requires the most change to adapt to future warfighting needs.

But several noted Rumsfeld does not appear interested in replacing Shinseki with Keane for another 14 months. "It's rather unfair to everybody," said one officer interviewed this week. Rumsfeld and his deputies have reportedly concluded that Shinseki has stood in the way of every major reform the civilian leaders want to introduce into the Army. But Rumsfeld may be afraid to fire Shinseki, given the Army chief's ties to some key lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Yet, many view the leaked decision as unnecessarily stringing along both Shinseki and Keane, allowing neither to make his own mark as Army chief for the next year.

Given the cuts Rumsfeld is expected to impose in coming days on the Army's Crusader self-propelled howitzer and Comanche helicopter programs, it is possible the defense secretary is hoping to force Shinseki's resignation. The Army chief has reportedly threatened to quit in defense of his highest priority programs, and these changes may precipitate such a move.

Still, sources were not uniformly confident of Keane's potential to spur reform, even when he finally assumes the top Army position.

Keane may make useful changes, but sources agreed he is probably not capable of clearing the Army leadership of dead wood, as did Gen. George Marshall in his first year as Army chief of staff. Marshall -- promoted to full general when he was a one-star -- retired 55 generals and 445 full colonels between June 1939 and June 1940.

"It takes tremendous courage to be unpopular," said the Joint Staff officer. Others noted that no service chief wants to be remembered as the one who gave away the farm in the interest of "transformation."

A third anticipated military leadership change has U.S. Space Command chief Gen. Ed Eberhart, an Air Force officer, taking charge of U.S. Northern Command, the new military organization dedicated to homeland security (Inside the Pentagon, Jan. 17, p1; and April 11, p1).

Many say Eberhart is a natural choice for the new command, given his experience as head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which will become a key asset for NORTHCOM. But Eberhart has never been known as an out-of-the-box innovator -- in the manner of his new service chief, Gen. John Jumper, for example.

In fact, some observers say Rumsfeld's definition of a nonconformist military leader may well be an officer who simply will not stand in the way of changes the defense secretary and his civilian deputies seek to introduce into the armed forces. In this view, military reformers with their own innovative ideas need not apply. "If they want a nonconformist, they're getting rid of the biggest one: [Adm. Dennis] Blair," said one Pentagon official, referring to the U.S. Pacific Command chief. Blair is to be replaced by the Navy's Pacific Fleet commander, Adm. Thomas Fargo.

"Do you know what the problem is with Blair?" the official continued. "He's a nonconformist."

Conservatives have criticized Blair as having too close ties to the previous Democratic administration, a charge his advocates strongly deny.

There has also been talk of an interest on the part of Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in selecting a number of one- or two-star general or flag officers for promotion two rungs up the ranks, particularly with an eye toward hastening a new generation of Army leaders.

"They certainly thought about doing more bold steps" of that sort, said one senior Pentagon civilian interviewed this week.

But it could not be confirmed that the current slate of decisions on command slots actually includes any such moves. Officials said Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz are apparently concerned about alienating senior officers who are passed over, or angering the influential retired four-star community.

One retired Army officer said it would be difficult to find independent thinkers even among the younger generals. "When you're in uniform, you are so entrenched in duty, honor, country and the rest that you can't see what needs to be done," this source said. "You're too close to the fire."

Rumsfeld and his civilian staff may be sufficiently removed from the "fire" to identify problems and propose solutions, but may still stop short of taking the bolder moves they have reportedly contemplated.

After getting a false start at making major changes in last year's Quadrennial Defense Review, Rumsfeld ultimately let the services off the hook on big program cancellations. "This is like the second offensive," said one military officer. "The first offensive failed. Now we're all waiting to see how this one turns out."

The officer added: "What is unclear is whether they are flirting with change, or serious about change."

-- Elaine M. Grossman