Leadership: Generals, PC, and Strategy

English: Senior American military officials of...

English: Senior American military officials of World War II. Seated are (from left to right) Gens. , George S. Patton, , Dwight D. Eisenhower, Omar Bradley, , and ; standing are (from left to right) Gens. Ralph F. Stearley, , , , and . colon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s start with Blackfive and a critique of the Army’s leadership.

“The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.” – Sun Tzu, 6th Century B.C.

LTC Daniel L. Davis, in a piece that he authored for the Armed Forces Journal (link: subscription needed), goes after a decade long track record of wasted resources and gigantic judgement lapses and is calling for a purge like GEN Marshall did in order to win WWII. The Washington Times’ “Inside the Ring” picks up on it:

“The U.S. Army’s generals, as a group, have lost the ability to effectively function at the high level required of those upon whom we place the responsibility for safeguarding our nation,” Army Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis stated in an article published online by Armed Forces Journal.

In Col. Davis‘ view, senior leaders have produced a 20-year record of organizational, acquisitional and strategic failures.
To compound the problem, the Army is preparing to reorganize the service into smaller and less-capable forces, as threats become more unpredictable and adversaries more dangerous.

Col. Davis said the purge of generals should be similar to what occurred 70 years ago when Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall found an officer corps ill-suited for winning World War II. He forced scores of generals into retirement…”

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/aug/14/inside-the-ring-army-officer-calls-for-purge/#ixzz2c4uXZWBe


– See more at: http://www.blackfive.net/main/2013/08/armed-forces-journal-author-army-ltc-purge-the-generals.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Blackfive+%28BLACKFIVE%29#sthash.s6NQgxpv.dpuf

BLACKFIVE: Armed Forces Journal Author (Army LTC): “Purge the Generals!”.

And along the same lines but having to do with more parts

A Cheaper, Stronger Army

Recently, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel held a somber press conference at the Pentagon in which he discussed the results of the Strategic Choices Management Review he ordered several months prior. In light of shrinking budgets, he said the so-called SCMR offered two choices: bad and worse. The ‘bad’ was reduced capacity; the ‘worse,’ reduced capability. In the former the Army would fall from its 2010 high of 570,000 to as low as 380,000 and in the latter the U.S. military “could find its equipment and weapons systems…less effective against more technologically advanced adversaries.” Fortunately, even in this era of constrained budgets, these two dire options are not the only ones available: there is a way to reform and reorganize the U.S. military within the constraints of smaller budgets that not only doesn’t put national security at risk, but actually increases combat power, especially that of the army.

It seems counterintuitive to suggest that the U.S. could produce a smaller force while increasing its fighting strength. Yet for the reasons outlined in this article that is precisely what we argue. In order to facilitate the most effective and efficient Department of Defense, we contend it is beneficial to first revise the National Military Strategy. This revision will more effectively support the president’s overall National Security Strategy. Reorienting the DoD into a set of forces that are actually joint in execution will strengthen the American military and thus enhance overall national security.

In support of the president’s four strategic objectives, we recommend a complimentary four-point military strategy:

· defend the American homeland, vital national interests, and friendly nations;

· maintain open access to the global lines of communication in the domains of air, land, sea, space and cyber;

· prevent any state, or combinations of states (or nonstate actors) from dominating by force of arms the European-Asian land mass or allied nations;

· support peaceful relations between nations and foster greater understanding among international militaries.

In combination with the standing powers given the executive and legislative branches of our government in the Constitution, this strategy provides great flexibility in ensuring the defense and security of the United States. There is a notable characteristic of this strategy, however, that distinguishes it from the current version: it does not advocate using military power to compel other peoples, races or religions to conform to Western views and governing structures.

To better advance American prosperity in the future, we must jettison the flawed notion that our nation’s security interests can be achieved by carrying out lengthy military occupations of foreign lands and attempting to transform their cultures into something palatable to Western tastes.

We contend the United States should respond with emphatic, even vicious military action when conditions warrant. But for the benefit of our nation and in pursuit of a more peaceful international order, we believe it is time to rebalance the application of military force to more closely align with American values and demonstrate appropriate strategic restraint. That means having a strategy that accepts war as a last resort and not a policy option of first choice. Such a reorientation is not a retreat from world affairs, but rather a return to the values and strengths that made us a great nation.

Continue Reading A Cheaper, Stronger Army, Hat tip to A Cheaper, Stronger Army? | Notes On Liberty.

I can hear some of my readers now saying that I’ve never commanded the infantry in battle. You’re right, I haven’t but I have run jobs for the last 35 years some small and some pretty large and complex. What I’ve learned is three fold.

  1. A lot more is promised than accomplished.
  2. A lot more gets done when nobody care who gets the credit. and this

3. The Mission must be defined and paramount to everything

One thing that troubles me is that it appears the Army and Marine Corps believe they will forever be a constabulary force fighting guerrilla or counter-insurgency (whatever the catchphrase of the week is) operations. The problem is two fold.

  1. Our record fighting these sucks. i think it’s because we don’t fight to win, especially on the operational level but there may well be other reasons as well.
  2. It looks to me like a conventional heavy division can do an OK job of counter-insurgency but, if we configure for counter-insurgency, what do we do for a heavy division? I think the reason we haven’t fought a state on state war lately is because we are powerful enough to deter it. I think that’s resources well spent.

From what I see in open sources, I think Colonel Davis has a point, but there is a piece missing. General Marshal was selected by General Fox Connor, anybody seen him running around lately.

And while we’re in the neighborhood. I don’t completely agree with the author here but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think and talk about it.

Oh Help. Oh Help. Oh Help. Disordered Ramblings on Martial Prowess.

 The world´s most magnificent budget got run out of Nam …The same  highly-trained martial codpiece got run out of Lebanon with 241 Marines dead,  run out of Mogadishu by teenagers with armed pickup trucks, performed a comedy  routine trying to rescue hostages in Tehran, lost in Iraq, and works diligently  at losing in Afghanistan. Not too much bang for the buck, I´d say, or for the  doe either.

Meantime China is doing exactly the same thing to the uSSA that it did to the old USSR. — jtl, 419

By Fred Reed via Fred on Everything

As a student  of abnormal psychology, or psychology that ought to be abnormal but lamentably  is not, I´m listening to PJ O´Rourke´s Peace  Kills,  on American foreign policy. I  enjoy exploring  the isolation wards of the human asylum. It is like  visiting remote Pacific islands to see the savages gnashing their teeth and  waving the obsidian swords of dimwit ideology: O´Rourke, Rachel Madow,  Limbaugh, Michael Moore, Al and Jesse, and the garbage plains of feminism.   From  this I derive a pleasant sense of the hopelessness of man.

I think PJ  needs his head examined, as regards military policy anyway, which is pretty much  the only foreign policy we have.

If I may  digress slightly: In defense of O´Rourke I will say that he is known as an  amiable drunk, and in fact so describes himself. This is to be commended. In a  PC world, it shows independence of spirit. Further, a man who relies on  sobriety to be able to think is an intellectual weakling. The condition is overrated. Should PJ one day  lurch through the door of Tom´s Bar, I´ll buy. I do not refuse fellowship  merely because its possessor´s politics will likely lead to mass murder,  re-runs of Oprah, and local destsruction of the solar system. Tom has some  tables large enough for two to fit beneath.

Like so many  of our parlor ferocities at National Reivew (PJ is not one of these, being an actual overseas correspondent), he  believes that America is an international Charles Atlas, a motingator,  astonishous, gleaming military monster such as the world has never seen (and  didn´t ask to, but never mind). This is because he equates military expenditure  with martial capacity. He refers proudly to the size of the military budget. He doesn´t seem to realize that in matters of size an implant may be involved.

He doesn´t  understand the American military—that it is in the position of one of those  toothy late-Cretaceous humongo-lizards, Tyrano-whatsit or something, uneasily  eyeing a thin film of ice forming on the home swamp. “Something is happening,”  thinks the big fellow. “I wonder what? Will I like it? Can  dinosaurs wear sweaters?”

In the case  of Orourkasaurus oenophagus, I am taxonomically puzzled. There were two types  of dinosaur, the saurischians and the ornithiscians. It has to do with their  pelvises, which mercifully we will not contemplate in the case of PJ. (I told you this would be disordered.) He seems  to be a hybrid, perhaps due to a decline in morals in the later stages of  extinction. We see the same thing in the US. His instincts are saurian, which  is normal in foreign policy as usually practiced, but he is cerebrally  ornithiscian. So is the Pentagon, which is why this matters.

See, you  gotta understand the ice on the swamp, and what it means. When you need a  sweater, you need a sweater, and not some other thing. The Pentagon has the  wrong things. It is glorious and glitters and has many buttons and screens. It  is just the wrong military.

Keep reading at Oh Help. Oh Help. Oh Help. Disordered Ramblings on Martial Prowess..

And back to Blackfive for some more wisdom you won’t find in civilian life other than here and a few other web sites

No one cares what the hell you do in your bedroom.

More news in the Daily Outrage Department.  Evidently, in the US Air Force, you may be REQUIRED to render an opinion when your commander asks you a question regarding this issue and how you feel about it.  WARNING:  This is testable and there is a wrong answer.

“She said, ‘Sgt. Monk, I need to know if you can, as my first sergeant, if you can see discrimination if somebody says that they don’t agree with homosexual marriage,’” he said. “I refused to answer the question.”

Monk said to answer would have put him in a legal predicament.

“And as a matter of conscience I could not answer the question the way the commander wanted me to,” he said.

At that point, Monk said that perhaps it would be best if he went on leave. The commander agreed.

“I was essentially fired for not validating my commander’s position on having an opinion about homosexual marriage,” he said.

Top two reasons Deebow doesn’t care about gay marriage:  (1–That ain’t the definition of the word, but if you want to say “BLUE” means both “BLUE” and “RED” well then get down with your bad self, it won’t be me who looks like a fool, I know what the definition of marriage is, and it ain’t gonna affect the one I am in and (2–At this point, I am willing to concede the point only so the entire gay community, including the military gay community will SHHHHUUUUUTTTT  THHHEEEEE  FUUU**&*^%^%&*&%$( UUUUUUUUPPPPP ABOUT IT! […]

But those that are in their military and are investing more in their identity as “GAY” instead putting the emphasis on “FIGHTER PILOT”, “COMMANDER” or “FIRST SERGEANT” need to get out.  We can’t use you, there too much important work to be done for the country to worry about what someone might think about what you like to do with others in the dark.  The country needs you worrying about flight hours, maintaining security of nuclear weapons, dropping bombs on bad dudes and maintaining aircraft. –

– See more at: http://www.blackfive.net/main/2013/08/for-the-last-g-d-time.html#sthash.nqgQJQ0D.dpuf

Yes, Yes, at least a thousand times Yes. And it’s damned good advice for the rest of us as well. STFU

One caveat, if you know me, you know that I consider the American soldier and his small unit leaders to be the best the world has ever seen, he deserves far better leadership than we have been giving him.

Let’s start thinking and talking about these things

ps I promise we will get back to Clausewitz soon

About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

23 Responses to Leadership: Generals, PC, and Strategy

  1. How long have you been out of uniform?


    • NEO says:

      Relevance to the Story? The answer is on the site, do your own research.


      • Just curious. Don’t say if you do not want to.


        • NEO says:

          Fair enough, Never wore it, and regret it, other duties and the mid 70s were not a wonderful period to contemplate it. I really have said so on here, multiple times.


        • I’ve long been a supporter of mandatory service for a number of reasons, currently the military is becoming a caste unto itself, many current members come from military heritage, which is good and bad. We need a broader base to make foreign policy a little more stable. Additionally, the average 18 year old is mentally undeveloped, and a stint in a disciplined environment would be good to keep people out of trouble. Furthermore, American society needs more service members out in the general population (same reason as foreign policy).

          All of that being said, some people are clearly not prepared for military service, so I think some sort of mandatory service should be considered, even something like the peace corps. Many countries follow some sort of problem like this, so it is feasible.

          The question of leadership is complex and I think you do the conversation a disservice. That being said, most members I know gave a collective shrug when gay members were allowed. I knew, know, and will know in the future gay members who are, were, or will serve, both before and after DADT, and they were as good/bad/mediocre as the rest of the population. Being gay, or not, hardly mattered, and does not, now that it is allowed.

          But this is all based on my rather intimate experience with the military, which has been shown to be terribly poor. After all, when I commented on the Coptic language I was told I was completely wrong, and when I then quotes the Coptic Association of America who said the same thing, I was told they could not be trusted either, so I am usually wrong about the subjects where I have depth, experience, and education.


          All of that being said, you are certainly welcome to your opinion, service or no.


        • NEO says:

          On mandatory service, with reservations I agree with you. My reservations revolve around being an institution more concerned with maturing young people than fighting wars. I don’t know the answer.

          In truth my problem, and thrust of that article is that we shouldn’t make beliefs (either way) a reason for termination or other deleterious effects. We can and must regulate how people are treated but, there belief are not our business, obviously short of hurting the country, like Manning.

          You’ll notice that I drew few conclusions here, I know something of leadership, and have read a good deal but I haven’t the depth of, say a GEN Starry (may be the best presentation I ever attended)

          And yes, we’ve rather proved we know how to push buttons, perhaps we should get on with fixing the country now? 🙂


        • Why do you think there are no state on state wars, and what do you think a heavy division is?


        • NEO says:

          This is gonna be simplistic but here’s my basic thinking.

          I think there are no state on state war (specifically including us) because our superiority is such that they instantly turn into guerrilla campaign because no one can stand against us. That’s not universal of course, the PRC could, even as the Red Army could have (maybe still?) but not many others, and its a losing proposition for the ones that could.

          That’s a capability, that used correctly can keep us out of a lot of wars.

          For heavy division I’m referring to essentially any of our maneuver divisions, infantry, cavalry, armor, I know there are differences but in all cases the superiority is there.

          The goal of course, is not to fight. How do you structure a force to make that possible, is the question.


        • What motivations would a state have to get into a state on state conflict that is being dissuaded by military superiority?

          Current military doctrine and practice believes that light, more maneuverable forces are preferred against an asymmetric threat, not heavy. Why do you disagree?


        • NEO says:

          Two words, non-objective. Everybody can read an orbat. But there can be grudge match scenarios, mistakes, even believing one’s own propaganda. There’s a case that all of this entered into the beginning of World War I. The big one is uncertainty. In 1914, will the British fight?, In 1950, is Korea in the US defense lines? and later will the Chinese react? It’s important, I think, for great powers, especially, to be predictable, That was one of the reasons for what passed for peace in Europe after the Second World War, everybody knew what would happen if anybody lost control.

          I don’t, I find that rather obvious, not to mentioned the somewhat lighter logistic load. My point is that a heavy force is better against an asymmetric threat, than getting light forces tangled up with a heavy force. It can work out, if they have room to run, or a lot of support, Air, Arty, whatever. But it’s riskier.

          I’m not denigrating light (or spec ops) forces, I’m just not ready to concede that we shouldn’t maintain some heavier forces as well. What American forces, at least in my lifetime, have never been good at is occupation duties, we’ve just never had enough riflemen around. Would be a good place to enable indigenous troops perhaps, that’s what Machiavelli seems to indicate in The Prince. We do, I think, need to find some way to make the service far more of a fighting force, and less of a bureaucracy. There has to be a way to get the operations people in charge, instead of the bean counters. By the way, we have the same problem in the private sector and we haven’t found much of a solution either.


        • You do not seem to understand what light and heavy forces are.

          Here is JP 3-24…


          Nowhere does this call for tanks or artillery. So what purpose do you see for heavy forces?

          Also you will note that the emphasis on the need for culturally trained and regionally expert personnel.

          Secondly, what causes do you see for state on state warfare, which you seem to think is kept in check by US hegemonic dominance?


        • JessicaHof says:

          Well, what do I know – except that our joint record in Iraq and Afghanistan isn’t too hot. I’ll give it months tops before the Taliban are back once we are gone in the latter. No doubt there is some military manual which says it shouldn’t happen – but heck, that reality stuff keeps getting in the way. Still what did Salisbury know – he just ran a great Empire successfully and had never been trained at all 🙂


        • NEO says:

          Yeah, I was reading Machiavelli last night, we ended up looking a lot like Louis XII in AFPAK and worse in Iraq. Not the troops, of course, especially NCA was doing a good job of screwing it up. 🙂


        • So is applying heavy armor and artillery to an asymmetric threat experience/education/expertise or…?

          Why would you make an assumption that is 180 degrees out of phase with current or past military doctrine?

          I assumed that you simply did not know what heavy/light forces were, but if you are going to claim you do, and then completely contradict what is honestly several centuries of military theory an thought, I am somewhat at a loss. Admittedly, my education, training, and expertise may be getting in the way, but I would like the “common sense” approach that I am missing.


        • NEO says:

          Actually Joseph, all of those are getting in your way, simply because I don’t accept the paradigm. I think any variant of COIN is not appropriate American strategy, most of what I know of it came from company officers and NCOs from the A-Teams in Vietnam and some contemporary British people who fought in Malaysia.

          First thanks for the link. I’m very pleased to know that we have a plan to make a counter-insurgency last at least 20 years, and require both a top-heavy military as well as a civilian bureaucracy to support a few fighting soldiers operating under rules of engagement that guarantees that they can never win.

          I’ll say this for JP 3-24, it manages to make sure that everybody’s rice bowl is well-filled at all times, except of course for the tax-payer that pays for all this nonsense.

          You know, I’ve been hearing from company level combat arms officers, American and British, for years about how bad the ROE are, I never completely believed them, now I do.

          This is NOT a plan to win a war, this is a plan for an eternal, twilight struggle, until the American people get fed up and quit. It’s worked too.

          In case you haven’t noticed, we haven’t won a counter-insurgency since the Philippine Insurrection, and we did that the old fashioned way, with men who kept their ass in the grass and shot back straighter than the enemy. That’s how it’s done. I’ve known spec-ops people going back to the A-Teams in Vietnam, and they all say the same thing.

          The proper American doctrine for this was written 143 years ago when General Sheridan told Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, ”The people must be left nothing but their eyes to weep with after the war.” He advised that the insurgents be hanged, their villages burned and their lands laid waste until they begged for peace.”

          I know we will make a lot of martyrs in their eyes but you know the one thing all martyrs have in common? They’re dead, and no threat to the living.

          And at that it’s a kinder policy than the Islamists used to take Afghanistan away from the Scythians.

          The other point here is, why are we trying to nation-build. The role of the US armed services is, to protect America, it’s constitution, people, land, allies, and interests. Which of those is affected by how Afghanistan is governed. It’s real simple, you attack us we respond at least 50 fold. Knock down the WTC-we destroy Kabul.

          Simple, direct, understandable, effective. Cheap too, although that’s not the point. What interest is it of ours how Afghanistan is governed? None that I can see, as long as they leave us alone.

          In short it’s very simple, fight the war, or go home.

          Later today I will be publishing two articles on Camille Paglia, in the second one she talks some about foreign policy, I agree with her.



        • Well…there is a lot here.

          First you say “all of those are getting in your way” but you have no military experience, training, or education. This is not intended to be an insult, but simply a statement of fact. It would be reasonable that those who have spent their lives invested in the subject would know a little more than you do, so I am curious why you think the things you do…

          For example, you have said,

          “I’m very pleased to know that we have a plan to make a counter-insurgency last at least 20 years”

          “This is NOT a plan to win a war, this is a plan for an eternal, twilight struggle”

          The problem is, this is doctrine, not a plan.

          The planning process is completely different, and is based on doctrine, but to equate doctrine and planning is like comparing Newton’s Laws and the internal combustion engine. One is a theoretical/philosophical concept, the other is a work of engineering.

          You discuss the ROE, but there is nothing specifically described in the ROE other than to minimize casualties when possible. This is philosophical and the ROE on the ground will take this into consideration, but would not be limited by it. You do not seem to see a difference, but it is very real, and experience, education, and training would teach you the difference, as well as the difference between doctrine and planning.

          I am curious why you favor maximizing casualties. What benefit do you think this brings?

          If we bombed Kabul, how many people in Kabul were responsible for the WTC? What percentage of the population?

          Based on the above, at what point does the responsible/not responsible percentage become an issue?

          If 10% were responsible, and 90% were not responsible, would you go the same direction and destroy the city? 95%/5%? 99%/1%?

          How would you handle the international backlash, when OPEC would not sell oil to the US? When allies would walk away from the US? When China would stop buying American debt? The international economic embargoes? The political alliances against us?

          How would you handle the political ramifications?

          Secondly, what if the destruction were the result of a cyber attack? What if terrorists stopped pump flow in an operational reactor, and impeded the protection mechanisms, leaving to a massive FEF that caused widespread damage?

          The attackers may have been from Afghanistan, but were operating out of Australia, using computers in Brazil, and routed through Canada?

          Who would you bomb? What utility is your theory in combating this form of asymmetric warfare?

          I think you are attempting to engage a subject without proper appreciation for the nuances that come with experience, and thereby hampering your position.


        • Just curious if you are going to address the conceptual problems in your comment here?


        • NEO says:

          No, it’s more productive to talk to the wall.


        • I am curious, you admittedly never served, have no experience with the military, no education, no training. How is it you are qualified to explain this more so than someone who spent their life living it?

          You once called me a “pussy” but you never spent a day in uniform, but feel qualified to be condescending to those who did serve?

          Please explain?


  2. Jack Curtis says:

    Well, the military now lives with White House micromanagement on an unprecedented scale, thanks to satellites and computers. What do we need generals for?
    Easy, to blame when things don’t come out well or the Prez is golfing.

    Every war we’ve ever had after the original revolution, we’ve had to weed out the incompetent political generals and find competent fighters before success.was found. I guess that gets tricky to accomplish under our new circumstances…


    • NEO says:

      I do believe it has gotten too political for the generals to do the right thing, maybe they can when it really matters, but I suspect that if they sacrificed themselves right now, their replacements would be worse.

      We even had a few in the Revolution, and yes we’ve always had to pay that price, with the exception of WW II when Fox Connor’s choice of Marshal to groom for CoS paid off big time. Now, I hope we have the time and enough sense to change NCA, or we could be in trouble.


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