Friday, September 25, 2015

Our armed forces are legacies of the Second World War with a departmental scheme designed in 1947 to obstruct the emergence of a national unified military command structure. This dysfunctional, service-centric arrangement is reinforced by a congress without the understanding or the interest to extract real capability from an overly expensive military establishment. A strong Chief Executive with an interest in return on investment (ROI) and an understanding of product innovation could cut the Gordian Knot in short order, but I don’t see one on the horizon.  

For the moment, we have an enormous Marine Corps determined to replace the US Army and a shrinking US Army determined to become a second Marine Corps! Carl Forsling did a fine job of characterizing the problem in his recent article:
“The Army Vision, more than the other services’ planning documents, suffers from a problem the U.S. military has faced many times before. The services are in competition with each other for slices of a pie in a zero sum game. What the services choose to focus on competing individually is much different than would they would each be assigned were the choice made by someone trying to actually optimize the nation’s defense portfolio.  Is 450,000 the proper size for the Army and 182,000 the proper size for the Marine Corps? I don’t know, and I suspect we really never will, because the capabilities of our armed forces, as determined in an environment of internecine competition, are driving the nation’s defense strategy, vice the other way around. The Army Vision is just the newest example of this problem. While duplication of effort was tolerable when the Defense Department was flush with money, in an era of cutbacks, the Defense Department will find itself foundering budget-wise, and possibly in combat as well.”

No one cares to raise tough questions about the strategic utility of large airborne or amphibious forces. No one wants to deal with the multiple air forces inside the US military. In my new book, I address the issue in the conclusions after demonstrating that every major scientific-industrial power discovered during the 20th Century the necessity for a national military “High Command” and supporting GS system.  I hope we don’t have to experience decisive defeat to learn this “lesson,” but it seems we may. 

Thanks to the 1947 National Security Act, the senior leaders of the armed services possess the authority and the funding to determine what they will buy and how they will fight with minimal interference from the president or Congress. The Goldwater-Nichols Act created unified commands on the strategic level, but left the money and, ultimately, the power entirely in the hands of the service chiefs.[i]
The missing link is the national machinery—an American military high command—to direct the strategic preparation and conduct of military operations, to allocate strategic resources, and define strategic military needs. Similar proposals for a unified American military high command and staff organization were presented on 25 February 1943 by officers in the War Department. According to the study’s authors, the recommendations “were based on the acknowledgment that all of our U.S. war experiences to date (from Pearl Harbor to the present date) point to the necessity for unity of command on all levels.”[ii]

The machinery that answers this requirement is a national defense staff with a defense chief. Together with his staff, the Chief of Defense would answer directly to the secretary of defense and the president for the day-to-day administration of the armed forces, as well as for the warfighting readiness and development of the capabilities residing in all of the services. The Chief of Defense would exercise operational control over the armed services and issue directives on behalf of the commander-in-chief, the president, for the strategic planning and development of the armed forces.  The Chief’s directives would have the effect of binding law. 

 EXCERPT from the Concluding Chapter: Margin of Victory: 5 Battles that changed the Face of Modern War, (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, March 2016).

Friday, September 18, 2015

U.S. Army Crosses Danube in Hungary in Show of Force

The best we can offer is a small unit of armored trucks. The truck mounted infantry are cooperating with Hungarian forces to combat “Hybrid Warfare.” Right.
“Forty-one armored Stryker vehicles and 500 soldiers from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, known as the Dragoons, began crossing the Danube River on a Hungarian pontoon bridge Thursday morning in Gyor, Hungary. Over 96 hours, the regiment’s reconnaissance squadron has been making a very public road march through Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.”
All warfare is Hybrid in character.  There is no such thing as a pure form of warfare. The notion that US and allied forces should focus on the “Low-Intensity” end of warfare ignores the Russian capacity to rapidly escalate. American military capabilities should be based on sober threat analyses, not illusions. The Stryker Parade won’t fool anyone in Moscow.
The Russians don’t do many things well, but the Russians have been subverting, destabilizing, invading and conquering their neighbors since Peter the Great. The idea that we are seeing something new in the form of “little green men” is a measure of how little Americans know about Russia. Soviet military planners incorporated the use of fifth column forces into their theater level operational planning during the Cold War as they did during WW II. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Town Hall, America: State of Affairs on Iran Nuclear Deal

After a day of rallies and protests on Capitol Hill, legislators are getting ready to vote on whether or not they agree with the proposed Iran nuclear agreement.

Late Wednesday, House Republican leaders stalled talks after claiming the White House had not disclosed side agreements that were made on the impending deal.

According to legislation passed earlier this year, leaders on the hill have little more than a week do approve or disapprove it.

In a town hall debate, a group of panelists discussed the Iran nuclear deal, and the impact the decision will have with Sinclair Broadcast Group's Senior Political Reporter Scott Thuman.

During the discussion, heated at times, the group of current and former legislators along with a retired army colonel and political activist went back and forth over the pros and cons of the deal.

"We aren't going to get a perfect deal," asserted former Democratic Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia."There is no better alternative."

"We are going to have to give something, to get something that matters."

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Tex.) said his experience as a CIA operative for nearly a decade leads him to believe the Iranian government is trying to build a nuclear weapon.

"This is far from a perfect deal. I think it could be better," he said, noting trust issues with the Iranians as a factor in his decision.

"We can't trust the Iranians that they are going to follow suit with this deal."

Retired Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor disagreed, stating the deal, "allows us to move away from a path of confrontation," adding "at this stage of the game, we walk - we lose it."

Clifford May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said he believes a deal will give Iran a shot at bolstering their power in the Middle East. "We do not have the kind of verification or inspection we are supposed to have," he said, also asserting the dangers of lifting sanctions and providing Iran access to billions in funds.

Moran said he sees no other option, believing that the U.S. could face backlash should lawmakers vote against the deal, "I don't see any alternative to this deal that 95% of the other world powers have agreed to. The U.S. loses credibility in terms of its world leadership."

Rep. Hurd though, stated it would be hard to believe that European leadership would not reconsider their position should Congress go against the deal, "If the Europeans decide to choose Iran over the United Sates - how bad have our relationships gotten if our partners side with Iran over us?"

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Army Reserve Senior Leader’s Conference

USAR Commander’s Conference from 14-16 Sep in Alexandria, VA.  

For more info: