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Egypt's army chief studied at War College in Carlisle
cumberlink.com ^ | July 08, 2013 | SALENA ZITO

Posted on 07/08/2013 11:41:36 AM PDT by Tailgunner Joe

CARLISLE — With unrest in Egypt, U.S. military officials looking for insight might test the ties they formed with the Egyptian defense minister, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, when he was a student at the Army War College.

“In this little historical Pennsylvania town, the most important school in the world operates under the radar,” said retired Col. Stephen Gerras, a professor of behavioral science at the Carlisle Barracks.

Al-Sisi was Gerras’ student. In 2006, he watched the Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks, 21-10, in the Super Bowl in Gerras’ home. Gerras remembers him as a warm man, quiet and devout.

“My mother was at our little party, too, and al-Sisi took her around my home and explained to her the meaning behind the Turkish artifacts that my wife and I had picked up when we lived in Turkey,” he said. “At the time he was here, he was only a one-star general. We never dreamed at the time he would go on to lead the Egyptian army.”

Political unrest and a troubled economy marked the first year in office for Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, until a military coup ousted him on Wednesday. Al-Sisi, who deployed troops to cities when clashes broke out between supporters and opponents of the government, said the chief justice of the constitutional court replaced Morsi, the first elected president.

Recruiting al-Sisi and military leaders from other U.S. allies to build professional and personal relationships at the Army War College is an investment in the future, said Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, commandant at the college. Its international fellows program began in the 1970s.

“It is so critical to know that the voice on the other end of the line is someone you trust because you have spent a year together studying, talking about everything from Thucydides (a Greek historian and Athenian general) to ethics to favorite sports teams,” said Cucolo. Social events help their families to form bonds.

That can pay off when a crisis erupts in a country.

“You now have a friend, or at the very least a colleague, you can call to receive situational updates outside of known information from the media,” Cucolo said. “They also have the ability to call you for advice and guidance.”

Cultivating leaders

Situated about 120 miles from Washington, off the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the Army War College is considered the country’s top military training program.

Armed guards at the entrance gate show visitors this is not a typical campus, though its mature hemlock and oak trees and 19th-century buildings give the feel of Ivy League grounds. A fly-fishing stream, LeTort Spring Run, a tributary of scenic Conodoguinet Creek, runs through the property.

The average student comes with 22 years of experience, which these days includes Operations Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom. A board of military officials in Washington invites candidates to attend.

Despite its name, the college welcomes more than Army students for its yearlong course. The class of 2013, graduated on June 8, included 225 Army, 15 Navy, 32 Air Force, 17 Marine Corps and one Coast Guard officer; 24 civilian intelligence officers from agencies such as the CIA and the National Security Agency; and 71 international officers.

Classes begin on Aug. 1 to teach military men and women leadership skills, the theory of war and strategy, national security policy, campaigning and regional security. Elective subjects include cyber strategy, the industrial base, stewardship, board security and exploring the legitimacy of and alternatives to targeted killing.

Many attendees come with battlefield experience that involves making black-and-white decisions.

“Our intent is take these soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and intelligence officers to go from tactical-level operations and decision-makers to direct leadership roles,” said Bill Waddell, director of the command and control group and the

cyberspace operations. “They have gotten promoted for being decisive and getting things done. Now they come here, and they have to get ready for roles where some of them will be general officers, admirals or on the staff of a senior leader.”

That means learning to think like those leaders and giving them a broader perspective, he said. At that level, there is no black-and-white; issues become complex.

“That officer who was being rewarded for being decisive and making things happen right finds decisiveness can be somewhat dangerous in the leadership environment,” Gerras said.

Thinking strategically

This is a college where professors do not lecture. Though military strategy is the mission, attendees swap their military regalia for shirts and ties.

They begin most days by discussing reading material from the prior day — typically topics such as the civil war in Syria, anti-government riots in Turkey and Egypt’s turmoil.

They are taught to think their way through problems, Waddell said, and to consider the perspectives of other stakeholders.

Government agencies and foreign countries “all have different cultures, and they don’t appreciate a military officer saying, ‘Do it because I said so,’ ” he said. “That just doesn’t work in this world.”

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden, a four-star Air Force general, was one of four keynote speakers this summer at the college’s National Security Seminar on the implications of social, political and economic problems.

“The transition from tactical thinking to strategic thinking is not as easy as it sounds,” Hayden said.

He likes the international fellows program for its ability to introduce participants to American society.

“These people are living in Carlisle; they bump into normal Americans every day,” he said. “If they have children, they attend school here. They shop and dine here. You don’t get much more ‘Main Street America’ than the Cumberland Valley in Pennsylvania.”

Steeped in history

The land that houses the Carlisle Barracks has been some sort of military facility since the founding of the country.

Dubbed Fort Washingtonburg to honor a young George Washington, a post built here in the 1750s protected settlers during the French and Indian War.

During the Revolutionary War, captured Hessians from the Battle of Trenton became prisoners here. The guardhouse they built still stands.

And it was here that President Washington gathered his troops with Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton to put down the Whiskey Rebellion, marking the only time a sitting president has led a battle.

The property served as an armory and recruiting station and, in 1838, became the Army calvary training center. Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart swept into town and burned the barracks on July 1, 1863, at the start of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Carlisle Indian Industrial School was established on the grounds in 1879. During its 39-year existence, coach Glenn “Pop” Warner fostered distinguished athletic teams. His star athlete, football and track idol Jim Thorpe, is memorialized throughout the campus, including the gym where he honed his skills.

The Army War College was founded by President Theodore Roosevelt’s War Department secretary, Elihu Root, in 1901 in Washington. It moved to Carlisle in 1951.

Root wanted to school elite military leaders not to promote war, but to preserve peace through intelligent preparation to repel aggression.

Looking forward

The mission for Army War College faculty members won’t change as the U.S. military makes one of its largest transitions in decades after 12 years of war.

Cucolo, who commanded the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq, said America’s battle-hardened military is tactically effective.

“For the future, I would offer, though, that our concentration on fighting over the last 12 years has caused us to atrophy in our abilities to apply the strategic art,” he said.

Though the military has effective strategists, he said, “we just believe they are too few, and I’m not sure people understand just how hard this sort of activity is and the education and skills required to do it.”

“It is said that at the strategic level, there are rarely any good options or course of action — only the best of nothing but bad options.”

Since 9/11, military leaders have been asked what element of surprise keeps them up at night.

“We just don’t predict very well,” Gerras said about enemy unknowns that nag at him. He worries, too, about diminished resources for the Armed Forces. “Because we don’t predict this stuff very well, are we going to have the resilience and agility and the resources to respond to what might happen?”

The steep drawdown of resources that inevitably follows the end of a conflict worries Waddell, too.

“If the budget cuts are catastrophic,” he said, “we just need to know we have some flexibility and agility with our forces.”


TOPICS: US: Pennsylvania; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: abdelfattahalsisi; alsisi; carlislewarcollege; egypt; egyptcoup; pennsylvania; sisi; waronterror

1 posted on 07/08/2013 11:41:36 AM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Something most of us don't know.

I wonder how many future heads of state attended our Service Academies? (Anastasio Somoza was one.)
2 posted on 07/08/2013 11:51:41 AM PDT by kenavi (Debunk THIS!)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

It’s kind of amusing that that the Department of War was renamed the Department of Defense, but the Army War College’s name remains unapologetically un-PC.


3 posted on 07/08/2013 11:53:45 AM PDT by Zhang Fei (Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always.)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

The major challenge at the War College was figuring out how to cram your family and all your stuff into the storage lockers that passed for quarters.


4 posted on 07/08/2013 11:56:19 AM PDT by centurion316
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Elihu Root was J P Morgan’s lawyer.

Globalism’s training school.


5 posted on 07/08/2013 11:57:15 AM PDT by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves)
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To: PieterCasparzen
Globalism’s training school.

Not exactly.

6 posted on 07/08/2013 12:03:38 PM PDT by centurion316
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To: Tailgunner Joe
They left stuff like this out.
In an interview with US news site The Daily Beast, Robert Springborg, an Egyptian military expert at the US Naval Postgraduate School, described Sisi as the Brotherhood’s point-man for months before he was named defense minister last year. “He was their go-to guy,” said Springborg. “They trusted him and they were aware of his political leanings, which were Islamist. Does that mean he was a Brotherhood loyalist? I doubt it. But he had his connections, and he was clearly the Brotherhood’s No. 1 choice.”

A graduate of the Egyptian military academy, Sisi studied for a year at the US Army War College in Pennsylvania, where one of his advisors described the future Egyptian army chief as warm, introverted and “clearly very devout”.

In an interview with the Daily Star, Steve Gerras, a retired US colonel who was Sisi's professor in 2006, noted that, “For many Americans at the time, Islam didn’t have a great reputation. For him [Sisi], it was important that we knew about the good things in his religion.”

For his part, Springborg noted that Sisi’s academic papers at the US Army War College were almost like Islamist tracts.

7 posted on 07/08/2013 12:35:44 PM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: Zhang Fei

“Dr Strangelove”...

President Merkin Muffley: “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/11/qgentlemen-you-cant-fight-in-here-this-is-the-war-roomq-dr-strangelove


8 posted on 07/08/2013 1:22:03 PM PDT by carriage_hill (Guns kill people, pencils misspell words, cars drive drunk & spoons make you fat.)
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To: Tailgunner Joe
“It is so critical to know that the voice on the other end of the line is someone you trust because you have spent a year together studying, talking about everything from Thucydides (a Greek historian and Athenian general) to ethics to favorite sports teams,” said Cucolo. Social events help their families to form bonds.

That can pay off when a crisis erupts in a country.

You now have a friend, or at the very least a colleague, you can call to receive situational updates outside of known information from the media,” Cucolo said. “They also have the ability to call you for advice and guidance.”

Are these people actually so stupid to really believe that? It's called taqiyya, morons. Ever notice how your 'friends' turn around and shoot you point blank in the face in Afghanistan? ITI's (Ivory Tower Idiots).

9 posted on 07/08/2013 1:29:55 PM PDT by Moltke ("I am Dr. Sonderborg," he said, "and I don't want any nonsense.")
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Here is the odd thing about el-Sisi. From thr NYT about a year ago:

“For his new defense minister, Mr. Morsi chose the head of military intelligence, Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, who was seen as close to Field Marshal Tantawi.”

This was supposed to be a power consolidation by Morsi. It didn’t work out too well for him.


10 posted on 07/08/2013 1:33:51 PM PDT by InterceptPoint (If I had a tag line this is where you would find it)
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To: centurion316; PieterCasparzen
Elihu Root wasn't exactly J.P. Morgan's lawyer, either.

But why let the facts spoil a good conspiracy theory?

11 posted on 07/08/2013 1:49:37 PM PDT by wideawake
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To: Zhang Fei
It’s kind of amusing that that the Department of War was renamed the Department of Defense, but the Army War College’s name remains unapologetically un-PC.

Too bad it doesn't apply to their curriculum.

War College PC Run Amok

That was reported pre-Obama. Think it's any better now?

12 posted on 07/08/2013 2:14:09 PM PDT by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks Tailgunner Joe.
Al-Sisi was Gerras' student. In 2006, he watched the Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks, 21-10, in the Super Bowl in Gerras' home. Gerras remembers him as a warm man, quiet and devout. "My mother was at our little party, too, and al-Sisi took her around my home and explained to her the meaning behind the Turkish artifacts that my wife and I had picked up when we lived in Turkey... At the time he was here, he was only a one-star general. We never dreamed at the time he would go on to lead the Egyptian army."

13 posted on 07/08/2013 5:00:47 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (McCain or Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: wideawake

Elihu Root was a Wall Street lawyer; his bio is quite easy to find. Anyone reading this who is interested enough will simply look it up and find out the truth. Root also worked for Carnegie on his foundations, was the first Chairman of CFR. Etc. He had no military background prior to serving as Secretary of War.

He was appointed Secretary of War by William McKinley, who actually had military experience during the Civil War and was also a lawyer. I would think that he sharpened up the War Department’s finances, which would be a good thing, of course; then again, the War Department’s top financial and procurement positions would be the place to appoint such folks. The set up of the War College should absolutely have entirely excluded Wall Street executives, which have zero to do with military strategy. Since Wall Street folks were positioned throughout the Executive Branch, they were the ones who lead in many key positions before, during and after WWI. Little things, like the peace negotions, etc.

McKinley’s key political backer was Mark Hanna, who just happened to go to high school with Rockefeller, Sr. There would certainly be no difficulty for Wall Street to privately communicate with the McKinley administration, which is the same as every other administration since. All conspiracies aside, it’s just the way things work.


14 posted on 07/08/2013 7:11:09 PM PDT by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves)
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