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To: Criminal Number 18F


6 posted on 10/06/2006 11:05:45 PM PDT by razorback-bert (I met Bill Clinton once but he didnít really talk ó he was hitting on my wife)
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To: razorback-bert

Thanks RB

Now, as to some of the opinions being expressed:

1. General Keane is not a bad guy (better than his predecessor Shinseki, although that's not saying much) but bear in mind that he was promoted in the Clinton Administration and denied the promotion he expected by Bush and more particularly Rumsfeld. His love for the current Administration does not extend far.

2. Counterinsurgency doctrine is not new; only the manual is new. As it says in the Old Testament, there is nothing new under the sun, and I believe Plato or someone was on record with the same sentiment at about the same time. The military worked off of several different manuals and books, including some excellent work done by Marines in the early 20th Century.

3. This does not mean that the Army will no longer be able to fight against mechanized armies. Duh! It's just a book about how the military responds to one particular system of challenges, in the full spectrum of warfare. Trust me, the capability to cut through a big tank army and seize a hostile capital still exists and isn't going anywhere.

The point of the Army's transformation is this: to replace large and disparate units with smaller, more easily transported, and more interchangeable units. Rather than a few divisions, each of which had its own weapons fit and manning (and often with different systems from one battalion to the next), the Army will have at its disposal a greater number of smaller brigades, organized and equipped for more rapid transportation worldwide. These brigades can be task-organized into divisional or corps units as needed, or can operate independently if required (the brigades and battalions in the old divisional structure could not operate independently without getting combat support and combat service support "slices" from the division or corps or higher echelons).

One thing this does if free up the brainpower and time of staff officers who were often bedeviled by the complex challenges of establishing those "slices" on the fly.

But transformation, while it makes its mark on everything the military does, is not the same as counterinsurgency doctrine.

Transformation is like this: taking away the humongous circular saw that was the only tool in your woodshop, and giving you a bench of portable tools, that let you saw and do a lot more besides. The counterinsurgency manual is an instruction book for some of the cool possibilities of using that tool room.

4. End strength of the services is a totally diffferent issue. Especially during the Clinton administration, Congress and the President took one heck of a pound of flesh as the "peace dividend," and spent it on themselves and their pet projects. Army end strength (total Army) dropped by 500,000. The Navy went from almost 600 ships to under 200. The USAF took a similar cut in combat air units. The only service not decimated by the cuts was the politically well-connected Marines, who still took some hits.

You'll never get that end strength back. Right now most of the military budget is earmarked by Congress, and the vast majority is in personnel entitlements, which means it's untouchable by leaders or planners (for the Army, that figure is 81% of the budget).

The current Chief of Staff (a far more able man that his predecessors) wanted to remove clerks from idle personnel functions, but he found that much of the personnel churn there was a result of Congressional mandates; he isn't allowed to outsource such functions as finance (the army is 1000 times less efficient at processing payroll than the average large business). About 50,000 current soldiers are personnel clerks -- as expensive as a combat soldier, but much less useful. You can't just reassign them, though: most of them don't have the mental or physical ability to serve in infantry, for instance.

Bottom line: you'd never know it from reading the New York Times, which considers the military a perplexing and vaguely foreign institution, the guys running this thing actually know what they're doing.


Criminal Number 18F

16 posted on 10/07/2006 3:47:11 PM PDT by Criminal Number 18F (Build more lampposts... we've got plenty of traitors.)
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