Skip to comments.Lessons for an Army During War
Posted on 11/14/2012 1:30:50 PM PST by Ooh-Ah
Once again, the U.S. Army is trying to learn lessons from the last war and apply them to future situations. Recent exercises at Fort Polk, La., emphasized short deployments with limited objectives: defend a consulate (!), secure the flow of energy resources and similar situations. "My premise is that the world is going to get more complex, it's going to get more difficult," Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters. "We're going to need leaders who can be very adaptive."
The United States has had adaptive leaders since the Christmas rout of the Hessians at Trenton, but the real lessons of the past 11 years are not about the troops.
The United States has ceased to use military force as an instrument with which to enforce its will. The military has become an element of American diplomacy designed to change minds or behavior, and the door is always open, including to the Taliban and the Muslim Brotherhood. The civilian population the sea in which non-conventional armies swim, to paraphrase Mao is the object of intense and expensive American courtship.
Adversaries of the U.S. and the West are not defined by time or territory, though they have more of both than we do. They do not see defeat in either as definitive. Al-Qaida knows the game intimately. It rises, declines, moves and morphs, leaving the U.S. and its allies to play a sort of "whack-a-mole" game across other people's countries and lives.
Contrary to President Barack Obama's assertion, al-Qaida is not "vanquished" and "the tide of war" is not receding. Plans should account for the continuance of the war in the absence of U.S. forces and with only the remote possibility of a U.S. return.
The essential corollaries for the troops and the commanders, therefore, have more to do with American behavior, less with tanks, drones and planes. Consider these guidelines:
"The war" is far from over, but for the foreseeable future, the military will be asked to protect the United States, its allies and its interests with declining troop strength and enormous budget cuts (whether $92 billion a year for 10 years under sequestration, or "only" $40 billion a year for 10 years in previously established "voluntary" cuts).
It behooves the military's leadership to ensure that it fights with the lessons of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and the drone wars firmly in hand.
Shoshana Bryen, senior director of The Jewish Policy Center. She was previously senior director for Security Policy at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and author of JINSA Reports.
It’s no wonder we don’t win wars anymore.
“There is one tactical principle that is never subject to change - That is to take the forces available and inflict the maximum amount of death and destruction upon the enemy in the shortest period of time.”
Needless to say, George wouldn't make it to LtCol in today's military establishment!
The Army doesn’t want leaders who are adaptive. They want leaders who obey.
The real question is, “ Where is a Patton when we need him?”
We continue to fight symptoms, rather than be honest about and eliminate cause.
Learning lessons is a bad thing?
We’re STILL studying Vietnam and ODS.
Although I DO agree at the third paragraph. We’re not using our military to fight “wars” anymore. No matter how much we study, we continue to make that mistake.