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Archive for the ‘Adaptability’ Category

AOL Defense
December 27, 2011

Wake Up: America Can’t Afford Its Military

By Doug Macgregor

Through the last year the defense industries and their supporters in Congress worked overtime to ensure the federal government kept the armed forces in a perpetual procurement cycle. Inside the Pentagon, the generals and admirals who lead the defense bureaucracies worked to minimize procurement costs. This was not altruistic behavior. It’s the only way to protect the armed forces’ outdated force structures from more debilitating cuts; cuts that threaten the single service way of warfare along with the bloated overhead of flag officer headquarters.

Meanwhile, public pronouncements from the office of the Secretary of Defense on cost savings initiatives or about imminent strategic disaster if defense spending is reduced fell flat. In fact, everything in 2011 related to defense, from the controversial F-35 program to the multi-billion dollar contracting fiascos in Iraq and Afghanistan, looked like window dressing designed to buy more time for an anachronistic, insolvent defense establishment.

It’s no secret what’s required in 2012 and beyond: an efficient and effective organization of military power for the optimum utilization of increasingly constrained resources. More specifically, a serious audit of the U.S. Department of Defense, along with a national reset where the roles of politicians, bureaucrats and four stars are recast as servants, not masters, of the national interest. Unfortunately, inside the Beltway where accountability is a dirty word, political and military leaders are free to conflate their personal and bureaucratic interests with the national interest.

As a result, there is still no willingness to comprehend or, at least, admit the truth: America’s current national security posture is fiscally unsustainable. Today, the United States’ national debt is so large it will swallow almost any legislation the President and Congress agree to pass. It is only a question of time before the U.S. government is compelled to make drastic cuts in federal spending.

Despite this reality, like the politicians in both parties, the four Chiefs of Service are desperate to save the military status quo from significant reductions in defense spending, a policy stance that could easily lead to a serious degradation of American military power after the 2012 election. In the midst of America’s fiscal crisis, Congress is equally inept. The best Congress could do in this legislative season to was announce its intention to add yet another four-star (this time from the National Guard) to the Joint Chiefs of Staff; an action comparable to adding a fifth wheel to a car that’s already got four flats.

Instead of adding more generals to an already top-heavy force, America’s ignominious withdrawal from Iraq should help sober up politicians of all stripes and parties. It should impart the timeless strategic lesson that the use of American military power, even against weak opponents with no navy, no army, no air force and no air defenses — can have costly, unintended strategic consequences. Today, Iran, not the United States, is the dominant power inside Iraq and Americans are beginning to understand why.

Iranian interests prevailed in Baghdad because Tehran’s agents of influence wore an indigenous face while America’s agents wore foreign uniforms and carried guns. Regardless of whatever the US decides to do, Iran will remain the dominant actor in Iraq so long as it maintains even the thinnest veil of concealment behind the façade of the Maliki government and its successors.

While these unassailable facts are ignored inside the Beltway, “Main Street” is figuring things out. According to a recent CBS poll 77 percent of the American electorate approves of President Obama’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. Two in three Americans say the Iraq war was not worth the cost, and only 15% of Americans support military intervention to stop Iran’s nuclear program.

More important, nearly one-half of American voters now think the United States can make major cuts in defense spending without placing the country in danger. They see no risk in cutting way back on what America spends to defend other countries. The old notion that the United States should maintain expensive military bases in foreign countries, just to ensure troublesome foreigners do not get “out of hand,” is rapidly losing support.

Conventional wisdom says American society’s broader consciousness is shaped by the forces of hype and publicity, and national defense is often subject to it, but the recent polling data suggest a different explanation. Americans are focused on economics, not national defense. Perhaps, the American electorate perceives the Federal Reserve is running out of ammunition to restart America’s stalled recovery?

Perhaps, Americans are concerned the collapse of the Eurozone will eventually lead to a serious financial crisis in the United States, wiping out the savings of many millions of Americans? Or, perhaps Americans are worried the sudden termination of “free services” in America’s largest cities would lead to a surge in poverty and violence, putting American society on a collision course with itself. It’s hard to tell.

What we can say is that Americans are signing up for President Eisenhower’s philosophy in the aftermath of the Korean War. He insisted the nation deserved both “solvency and security” in national defense. Like Eisenhower, Americans seem to understand the nation’s vital strategic interests are only secure when the United States’ scientific-industrial base is productive and our society prospers. Predictably, there is also a growing recognition that the million dollars a year it costs to keep one American soldier or Marine on station in Afghanistan makes no sense when, for a fraction of the cost, the U.S. Army and other federal agencies could easily protect America’s borders from the wave of criminality, terrorism and illegal immigration washing in from Mexico and Latin America.

Looking forward into 2012, American voters seem to understand what many of the men running for President do not: Given America’s fragile economic health, 2012 is no time for uninformed decisions regarding the use of force. The deficit Americans worry most about is not fiscal; it’s a national deficit of integrity and reason.

Col (ret) Douglas Macgregor, a member of AOL Defense’s Board of Contributors, is a decorated Army veteran and author of important books on military reform and strategy including, Breaking the Phalanx (Praeger, 1997), and Transformation under Fire (Praeger, 2003). He is executive vice president at Burke-Macgregor Group, LLC, in Reston, Va.

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My good friend Fred Leland has posted the AAR I did for the Baltimore Police and wrote a preface on his web page of it. It is going very well with the application of Outcomes Based Training and Education (OBTE) and Adaptive Leader’s Methodology (ALM).

http://www.lesc.net/blog/baltimore-police-sergeants-training-using-adaptive-leadership-methodology-don-vandergriffrsquos

Don

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http://fabiusmaximus.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/20167/

Dragging the U.S. Military Culture into the 21st Century

13 August 2010 tags: , , , , by don

Summary:  Our soldiers fight using 21st century weapons but ancient methods.  Under the stress of a decade-long and running long war against adaptive but poorly equipped enemies, our military slowly evolves from its WWI doctrines (massed firepower, 2GW), towards methods used by the Wehrmacht in WWII ( maneuver war, 3GW).  The origin of these doctrines lies in the century following Prussia’s defeat in the Napoleonic Wars.  Here Donald Vandergriff describes what’s happening and why it is necessary.

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It is not as if the disaster described below, in the Afghan war logs released by Wikileaks to the Guardian, the New York Times , and der Spiegle, was not foreseeable.   For example, my close friend and mentor Chuck Spinney wrote an Op-ed for Defense Week in April 2001 What Revolution in Military Affairs? , well before we began the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  I also told comrades about the disasters that would await us if we tried to occupy and convert Afghanistan into a democracy (trillions and years later, still no progress), and later when we invaded Iraq (and I describe in my 2002 book Path to Victory: America’s Army and the Revolution in Human Affairs (Presidio Press)) regarding the failure of occupations by foreign armies. I prescribe to the doctrine of 3-3-3 (described by William S. Lind in http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/parameters/Articles/1995/lind.htm .
 
And I was hardly alone or invisible.  Readers familiar with the work of reformers Colonel John Boyd, Pierre Sprey, Colonel James Burton, Colonel Mike Wylie, Colonel GI Wilson, Colonel Bob Dilger, Bill Lind and Tom Christie, among others, will know that they have been highly visible canaries in the high-tech coal mine since the late 1960s.  For those unfamiliar with their critical analyses, I refer you to  James Fallows’ National Defense (Random House 1981), and Robert Coram’s Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War (Little Brown, 2002), or The Winds of Reform, Time (7 March 1983).

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From my good friends Chuck Spinney and COL (USMC ret.) G.I. Wilson.  A bottom up solution to disaster relief, leaders on the ground making things happen without all the overhead.

Attached is an important eyewitness assessment of the current situation in Haiti. It was written by William McNulty, William McNulty is a Sgt in the Marine Corps Reserve and when he was a Cpl he already had a MA in John Hopkins…..William has no burning desire to be an officer let alone a LtCol…William likes being accountable, responsible, and getting things done without a whole of PC and fanfare. I am very blessed to know him and like most Marine enlisted I would go with William anywhere… long live the Irish !.  S/F  Col. GI Wilson USMC Ret

William is a volunteer member of Team Rubicon, a self-financed and self-deployed group of former Marines, soldiers and health care professionals currently providing emergency relief in Haiti. (see web site at http://blog.teamrubiconhaiti.org). McNulty paints a grim picture of condition in Haiti and especially, as he puts it, “… the impotence of western power to deal with disasters/emergencies;for either out of lack of compassion, political correctness, or because the institutions set up to take care of emergencies are so overburdened with layers of bureaucracy that they are ineffective.”

Haiti Reality Check

William McNulty Former Asst Team Lead Team Rubicon January 24, 2010 http://blog.teamrubiconhaiti.org/2010/01/deputy-tl-mcnulty-aar-pulls-no-punches.html

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http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/

DON VANDERGRIFF: On Adaptive Leadership Posted

15 Dec 2009 10:29 AM PST

Obviously, warfare and conflict in the 21st Century present new challenges. It’s not only hideously complex, mercurial, and lightning fast — it’s an environment where missteps or brain dead actions of an individual or small group can unwind the work of an entire Army within hours. The solution to these challenges isn’t achieved by: automating new layers of oversight/controls on individual behavior or hermetically sealing off the organization’s members from the outside world or developing ever more complex doctrines that appear to solve every contingency.

Instead, the answer is to train leaders to think adaptively.

* So, how do you accomplish this? How do you train leaders to think adaptively?

** The best answer I have found so far is found in the work of Don Vandergriff.

He’s done more deep thinking and generated more experience actually training adaptive leaders than anybody else.

Here’s some links to his work on the topic:

First, his books:

The Path to Victory America’s Army and the Revolution in Human Affairs

Raising the Bar Creating and Nurturing Adaptability to Deal with the Changing Face of War

Manning the Future Legions of the United States Finding and Developing Tomorrow’s Centurions

Here are some articles that use his adaptive leadership training methodology.

Assembly Article: No Approved Solutions for Asymmetric Warfare (Foster)

OBTE: Defining the Aim Point for Reconnaissance Leader Training

* I could go into a long explanation for why this is so, but frankly Don does a better job than I would. ** I consider adaptive thinking is a requirement for all 21st Century organizations — corporate, military, agency, NGO, or insurgent . Even further: the best organizations make adaptive thinking a requirement for ALL of its members.

Here’s his contact info for more info:

DONALD E. VANDERGRIFF (MAJOR US ARMY RETIRED)

MAVERICK LEADERSHIP LLC

CELL: 571-229-0962

EMAIL: vandergriffdonald AT usa.net

WEB: http://www.donvandergriff.com

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On War # 321: 4GW Comes to Ft. Hood

William S. Lind 10 November 2009

Last week’s shootings at Ft. Hood, in which thirteen U. S. Soldiers were killed and 30 people wounded, appear to be a classic example of Fourth Generation war.

The shooter, U. S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, was a practicing Muslim. He sometimes wore traditional Islamic dress and carried a Koran. He reportedly cried “Allahu Akbar” before he opened fire.

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