Category Archives: army

President Barack Ortega?

bho

Seems Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his Sandinistas are moving to quash term limits for the office of President.  He is already ruling by decree, with little restraint from any other branch of government.  Funny, how a corrupt and politicized judiciary, disdain for the legislative branch, and ignoring the Constitution can lead to a Marxist dictatorship.  Such an outcome occurs when a President rules instead of governing, a de facto state media is comprised of boot-licking toadies, and senior military commanders are yes-men fellow-travelers whose loyalty is to the dictator rather than the country or Constitution.  It is also where political opposition is treated as a national enemy, and dissenting voices are kowtowed by the use of government force, or the threat of force, to suppress them.

The constitution article in question prohibits consecutive presidential terms but in 2010 the supreme court overturned the ban, a ruling the electoral commission said was final. The ruling allowed Ortega to run for president for a second straight term in 2011.

Gabriel Alvarez, a constitutional law expert, said the proposal would only formalise the supreme court’s decision, which Ortega’s opponents contend was illegal and made by a heavily politicised judiciary.

How long before Barack Obama thinks this is a neat idea and begins selling it to the voting public?   Here’s betting he will sell it as an “American tradition”.  Not mentioning, of course, that it is a tradition of Latin America.  Vaminos, muchachos.   We have wealth redistribution, expropriation from the Bourgeoisie, and Land Reform to inflict.

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DoD Training Manual: “White Privilege” and “Assume racism is everywhere, everyday”

bp

Once again, the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) is spouting the hackneyed and bigoted drivel of racist and grievance politics, with full endorsement of the Defense Department.   Todd Starnes has the story.

“Assume racism is everywhere, everyday,” read a statement in a section titled, ‘How to be a strong ‘white ally.'”

“One of the privileges of being white is not having to see or deal with racism all the time,” the manual states. “We have to learn to see the effect that racism has.”

And it is not just bigoted drivel, but the language of Bolshevik class warfare so common in the Obama Administration:

On page 181 of the manual, the military points out that status and wealth are typically passed from generation to generation and “represent classic examples of the unearned advantages of social privilege.”

“…the unfair economic advantages and disadvantages created long ago by institutions for whites, males, Christians, etc. still affect socioeconomic privilege today,” the manual states.

DEOMI states that “full access to the resources of the club still escape the vision of equitable distribution.”

Oh, and if you’re white, you’re a racist.  Don’t bother denying it.

The military also implies that white Americans may be in denial about racism.

In a section titled, “Rationalizations for Retaining Privilege and Avoiding Responsibilities,” the military lays out excuses white people use.

“Today some white people may use the tactic of denial when they say, ‘It’s a level playing field; this is a land of equal opportunity,’” the manual reads. “Some white people may be counterattacking today by saying political correctness rules the universities or they want special status.”

DEOMI points out that if “white people are unable to maintain that the atrocities are all in the past, they may switch to tactics to make a current situation seem isolated.”

The military concludes the section by urging students to “understand and learn from the history of whiteness and racism” and “support the leadership of people of color.”

As for Congressman Allan West, a black man who served in the US Army as a Lieutenant Colonel in Iraq?  Not a fan.

West said he is very concerned about the training guide.

“When the president talked about fundamentally transforming the United States of America, I believe he also had a dedicated agenda of going after the United States military,” he said. “The priorities of this administration are totally whacked.”

I fear Congressman West is entirely correct.  So do many others.  And that Obama is weeding out those in senior ranks who disagree with his socialist-communist secular progressive agenda, using trumped-up charges and reasons, and replacing them with supplicant political lap dogs and ideological fellow travelers.   The relief of General Carter Ham and RADM Gaouette certainly fit that description.  Perhaps the tales of negligence and misconduct on the part of senior Officers tasked with security of our strategic deterrence (nuclear) forces point to the same reasons.  How convenient for Obama, since he desires unilateral American nuclear disarmament.  After all, this Administration and the President himself have few qualms about fabricating stories, obfuscating truth, and when necessary, lying outright.

Another senior retired general told TheBlaze on the condition of anonymity, because he still provide services to the government and fears possible retribution, that “they’re using the opportunity of the shrinkage of the military to get rid of people that don’t agree with them or do not toe the party line. Remember, as (former White House chief of staff) Rahm Emanuel said, never waste a crisis.”

For this despicable Reverend Jeremiah Wright-style excrement being forced upon US service members, Chuck Hagel and Marty Dempsey are responsible.  Gents, you own it.  You allowed it to happen, if not encouraged it.  Neither of you are fit to be followed in any fashion.  You should both resign forthwith, and would do so if you hadn’t already sold your honor.
The DEOMI student guide goes on to state:
If one group is privileged over others on the basis of something like race or religion, this institutionalizes discrimination and bigotry.
That would certainly explain how Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Kathleen Sibelius, and Jeh Johnson got where they are.   And why such divisive Saul Alinsky-style 60s radical propaganda makes its way into the US Government.

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The Devolution of Strategic Thought

Eisenhower

Lazarus over at Information Dissemination has an absolutely superb piece about it.   His assertion is that what passes for strategic thought is almost entirely about budgets and technology.  Essentially, that the SCMR and QDR have been driving strategic considerations, rather than the other way around.

The Cold War strategy of containment was created when propeller-driven aircraft were the sole delivery source for atomic weapons. It achieved final success in an age of thermonuclear weapons delivered by multiple means. What similar strategies have been conceived by the McNamara-inspired, budget and technology -driven national security process? The disastrous Vietnam conflict and its mania for budget and analysis-driven warfare does not inspire confidence in the current system to create something as long-lasting and viable as Containment….

This ingrained institutional focus on money and technology at the expense of the geography, logistics, history, and cultural studies that have informed past successful strategies leaves the U.S. ill-prepared to confront the challenges of a new and potentially violent period of history.

Indeed, I would assert that the defense structure proposed by then-Secretary of Defense Cheney and CJCS Colin Powell at the end of the Cold War (1991) was the last serious attempt to include the above elements and considerations into a strategic view (and a military) that had the capabilities to meet America’s strategic needs in the post-Cold War world.   The work figured carefully the requirements for simultaneously waging two Major Regional Conflicts (MRCs) of a full-spectrum nature, and calculated the force and logistics requirements for shaping, fighting, and supplying those two MRCs simultaneously.  (For those who ask how such calculations should be made, I suggest reading that document front to back. )  The 1992 proposed force structure represented massive cuts in the Cold War military structure, upwards of 25% in both budget and size.

The ink was hardly dry on that strategy document when Clinton SecDef Lester Aspin undid the entire effort with his “Bottom-up Review”.    On the recommendations of that “review”, the respective services’ structure and budgets were slashed to levels far below what was considered the minimum for maintaining the capabilities and capacity across the spectrum required in the “uni-polar” 1990s and 2000s.   Nowhere in Aspin’s document was the careful calculus, based on empirical and historical data.  Instead, it contained assertions of dubious legitimacy, and considerable, if unidentified, risk.  (Considerably smaller estimates for what fighting an MRC entailed, and an assertion that fighting two simultaneously was no longer a requirement, to wit the new “fight one, hold one” concept, whatever that might mean.)  The hollowing of the force eviscerated not only existing capability, but severely reduced R&D and production of replacement systems and equipment, and bottomed training and maintenance budgets.  The “savings”, of course, was known as the Peace Dividend, which was almost entirely spent on social programs and other Clinton Administration priorities.   As a result, the “Army we have” that went into Iraq in 2003 was the Army (and other services) created by a budget and technology-driven process with non-strategic political overtones.   Contemporary conversations about Defense force structure and spending echo the disastrous Aspin tenure as SecDef.

I was a Senior Mentor (for China) at the Fletcher School of Diplomacy SIMULEX exercise this weekend, where the subject of “grand strategy” was central to the respective country teams playing in the event.  This precise discussion (how a strategy drives military development) was had on a number of occasions.  It took a while, but students began to understand and embrace the “long view” of decades and centuries inherent in Chinese strategic thinking, rather than the 4-year QDR/election cycle immediacy of what passes for American strategy efforts.

Go read the whole thing.  Lazarus is also spot-on in his discussions of Goldwater-Nichols accelerating the very conditions it was enacted to prevent.

BTW:  Here are some previous thoughts of mine on the subject:

http://blog.usni.org/2011/07/14/goldwater-nichols-at-25-success-or-failure

http://blog.usni.org/2010/01/07/the-war-against-muslim-extremism-time-for-a-new-nsc-68

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Our Host Has a Birthday!

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Happy Birthday XBrad!   Lookin’ spry!  As I mentioned last year, it is a cool birthday, for sure, as it is the anniversary of:

  • Agincourt, 1415
  • Balaclava,  (Charge of the Light Brigade) 1854
  • Mine Creek, 1864
  • Russian Revolution, 1917
  • El Alamein, 1942
  • Santa Cruz (beginning) 1942
  • Samar/Leyte Gulf 1944
  • Grenada, 1983

Fitting for an auld warrior who chases young people off the lawn with his cane.

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Errata Sheet for SecArmy Guidance on Extremist Organizations

As most of us who’ve served in the military know, official documents, policy statements, training and technical manuals will often contain mistakes, errors, and omissions.  It is natural enough, as nobody is perfect, and review of every last thing produced is impossible.  In those instances where such mistakes, errors, and omissions are found, an errata sheet is issued, either with distribution of the original document or during the next quarterly update.

Here is the errata sheet for Army Secretary McHugh’s memorandum of 18 October.

McHugh Errata

There, Secretary McHugh, fixed it for ya.  Since you apparently couldn’t bring yourself to type or speak the words you should have.   You would boil in oil any Company or Platoon Commander who had made such public statements offensive to women, Islam, gays, minorities, or any other protected victim group du jour, and I suspect you wouldn’t have waited several weeks to say something on the matter.  No, in such an instance, I believe you would have been tripping over yourself to apologize on behalf of the Army, in front of a microphone, and would have initiated any number of new “training initiatives” that political pressure dictated.

A memorandum?  Extremely weak soup, Secretary McHugh.  Why don’t you stand in front of a microphone and apologize to those of Christian faith?  And then to the groups your training identified as “extremist”?  With a reassurance to your soldiers that their rights of free expression to donate to and affiliate with those organizations will be fiercely protected in keeping with the Constitution you and your Officers were sworn to support and defend?

And if you can’t manage that, why don’t you find the door, and put yourself on the other side of it?  And take Dempsey with you.

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6 October 1973, The Beginning of the Yom Kippur War

super shermans

Tomorrow is the Fortieth Anniversary of the beginning of the “Fourth Arab-Israeli War”, known for its auspicious holiday beginning as the Yom Kippur War, or Ramadan War.

sadat

In the weeks leading up to the war, Egypt’s President Sadat had made overtures of warmer relations with the United States, to include the expulsion of nearly 22,000 Soviet “advisors”.  In addition, Egyptian military commanders carefully hid preparations for the offensive from Israeli observation.   Israel had made a planning assumption that any future conflict with Egypt would give the IDF 24-48 hours of warning, time to mobilize reserves and reposition forces for effective defense and counterattack.   As it happened, Israel would get fewer than 12 hours’ warning, and this through espionage/diplomatic channels, in the early morning hours of 6 October 1973.

badr

The Egyptian forces began to move against the east bank of the Suez canal at 1400 on the same day.  Breaching the sand wall with fire hoses, the lead elements of the Egyptian forces established bridgeheads within a few hours.  This was Operation Badr, which would last for the first five days of the war.   Operation Badr is worth reading about in detail, as the use of integrated fire support and anti-mechanized capabilities by the Egyptian Army nearly spelled disaster for Israel.

Yom-Kippur-war-Egyptian-artillery-conduct-a-barrage-during-the-Yom-Kippur-War-wiki-commons.jpg

Initially, the Bar Lev line, the western Israeli defenses of the Suez Canal, was lightly held by fewer than a thousand IDF soldiers and a handful of tanks, supported by a few 105mm, 155mm, and 175mm artillery batteries, and two forward airfields.   The opening preparation fires, a combination of direct fire, massed 152 and 130mm artillery, and ground attack fixed-wing air support, was brilliantly executed.  The Israeli airfields were put out of action, and the artillery batteries neutralized.  In addition, several air search and ground radars were destroyed, blinding the IDF to the movements of Egyptian ground and air units.  The Egyptians had also studied their foe, and had rightly guessed that the IDF would react with powerful air interdiction and armored counterattacks.

f4SA-6

In the preceding years, Egypt had invested heavily in air defense and anti-armor capabilities for the Army, increasing its air defense forces fourfold since 1967.  Now, that investment would pay massive dividends.  With a brilliantly-executed combined arms strike that had neutralized Israeli artillery and air defense systems, the Egyptian Second and Third Armies were able to move the SA-2, SA-3, and SA-6 missile systems forward to establish a layered air defense system over their forward ground units.  It was this integrated air defense which took a frightful toll of the Israeli Air Force, especially in the beginning days of the war.

IDF tank

On the ground, Egyptian tank killer teams roamed about setting ambushes for Israeli armor, employing AT-3 Sagger man-portable antitank missiles, where those teams destroyed more than 300 Israeli tanks and armored vehicles.   The IAF strikes and IDF armored counterattacks, staples of Israeli doctrine to defeat their Egyptian enemies, could only be executed at considerable risk and with expectations of heavy losses.

By 10 October, with losses far higher than their opponents, Israel was forced entirely to the defensive in the Sinai.  In the Golan Heights, a strike on 7 October by three Syrian armored brigades, supported by an Iraqi brigade, required a diversion of forces to counter the new threat.   In the Golan, Israeli fortunes were better.  Despite being badly outnumbered by the Syrian forces, and the bravery and skill exhibited by the Syrians, Israeli armored and mechanized units held, and in the Valley of Tears, all but destroyed Syrian offensive capability.   A great little book was written about the Golan fighting by the Commander of the 77th Battalion of the 7th Armored Brigade,  LtCol Avigdor Kahalani.   The Heights of Courage should be a read for all company and field grade officers.

A cease-fire was brokered on October 25th, 1973.  In the end, Israeli forces pushed the Egyptians back across most of the Sinai, and inflicted heavy losses.  But the IDF was only able to do so because of a massive influx of US aid, including mothballed F-4 Phantom fighters from Davis-Monthan  AFB, M-48 and M-60 tanks, and great quantities of munitions and logistical support.

Israel lost almost 3,000 killed and 11,000 wounded and captured in the 19 days of the Yom Kippur War.  The IDF had been ill-prepared for the Egyptian attack, both in its dispositions and its warfighting doctrine.  Since 1967, Israel had invested disproportionately in its vaunted Air Force and elite armored units, and had neglected infantry and artillery capabilities.   Israel had also committed the grave mistake of leaving planning assumptions about enemy capabilities and intent unquestioned, a mistake they would never make again.

The aftermath of the Yom Kippur War has been profound.  Egypt, once Israel’s most grave threat, reached a peace treaty in 1978, with Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin signing the Camp David Accords.  Egypt, with a brief pause for a Muslim Brotherhood-led government, has remained on relatively good terms with Israel, and has (with a current brief pause AFTER the overthrow of the MB by the Egyptian Army) maintained a close relationship with the United States.    Operation Badr, significantly, represented the first Arab victory over Israeli forces on any scale since Israel’s founding in 1948.  It represents also the birth of the modern Egyptian Army, which remains a capable and well-equipped force, especially in comparison to its Middle Eastern neighbors.

golda

Just six years removed from the swift and devastating victories of the 1967 Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War was a profound shock to Israel.   Nobody will ever know for sure how close Israel came to being destroyed, or whether Golda Meir would have been willing to use the nuclear weapons in her possession to prevent that destruction.   We never had to find out, thankfully.   But it all began in earnest forty years ago tomorrow.

Update-XBradTC: URR writes: Israel had also committed the grave mistake of leaving planning assumptions about enemy capabilities and intent unquestioned, a mistake they would never make again.  

I’d argue that is incorrect. Israel badly misunderstood Hezbollah’s capabilities and tactics in the 2006 war. Israel’s incursion into Lebanon was not nearly as successful as hoped, and casualties were far higher than anticipated. The Israeli Army had planned and equipped and trained for a war of maneuver against an armored force, and found itself in an urban fight against a dug in irregular force in urban areas.

As a historical matter, the Yom Kippur War had enormous impact on US Army doctrine. I highly recommend to my readers King of the Killing Zone, the story of the development of the M1 Abrams tank, which also has an outstanding thumbnail sketch of the development of the Army’s AirLand Battle Doctrine. Our Army intensely studied the 1973 war, sifting for lessons learned on how to fight against a larger enemy, especially when strategically surprised. One of the real surprises the operational analysis of this and several other wars was that the smaller army in a war more often than not wins. The question became, “Why?” The answer was agility. Far more than the mere physical agility, the ability to move forces, smaller forces often have the mental agility to operate faster. AirLand Battle doctrine’s focus on operational agility predated, and foreshadowed, Boyd’s OODA Loop theory.

Update Update-URR:

I almost included a blurb about the 2006 Lebanon incursion.   Hezbollah tactics may have surprised the senior Israeli leadership, but did not surprise ground commanders.  I had the privilege of an extended conversation with Israeli BG Shimon Neveh, whose study of the 2006 fighting is absolutely superb.  His take was one that should ring familiar.  This from an interview with Matt Matthews:

Now, the other idea was to really assault by about 90 company-sized columns from all directions. Some elements airborne, some coming from the sea and others infiltrating almost without armor. The idea was to move in small teams and identify, feed the intelligence
circles, exploit our advantage in the air in remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), fixed-wing and helicopters. When we introduced this idea, after certain experiments in CENTCOM in 2003, I remember it was a special meeting of the General Staff, presided by Chief Ya’alon, and I didn’t say much then because the whole idea to develop was presented by the Northern Command (NORTHCOM) commander at that time, Beni Ganz, who was against it then – and of course he was against it now. So when Gal Hirsch tells him to mobilize, let’s review the plans and see what our options are because we’ve been running out of time, he totally brushed this aside. “Halutz, we don’t need that. It’s a waste of time.”

BG Neveh believed strongly that the IDF operational commanders knew what awaited them, and the reasons for the “asymmetry” were political rather than doctrinal.  Including, as he told me with no little disdain, the idea of using military force to prompt a political decision rather than for the destruction of the enemy.

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North Vietnam Hero of Dien Bien Phu, Vo Nyugen Giap, Dead at 102

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BBC has the news.

They called him “Red Napoleon”, and for all his brutality and callous wasteage of the lives of his forces, he was a man of considerable military genius.   He had never been formally trained in tactics, strategy, or the operational arts.  Yet, his accomplishments on the battlefield and his unmistakeable savvy in exploiting enemy weakness make him one of the great military leaders of the post-World War II 20th Century. 

He once said that the NVA and Viet Cong were never strong enough to push half a million US troops out of Vietnam.  So his objective was to break American will.  His victories, not coincidentally, remain textbook lessons for insurgents and revolutionaries the world over.  

Interestingly, it was Giap who strongly encouraged warmer relations with the United States in the mid-1990s, as the threat of a burgeoning China began to grow. 

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