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Thread: Sir Carl Quote of the Week

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    I think Franks has 3 mitigating circumstances

    1-If I am not mistaken, he wanted the 1st Cav Division either as part of the initial invasion or as an immediate follow on unit but this was quashed by Rumsfeld. The division might have been able to play a crucial role in stabilizing the country.

    2-Likewise Franks had little control of the de-Baathification that turned the flower of Iraq's manhood into a mass of unemployed, humiliated but military trained tribesmen.

    3- The civilian leadership did not sell the war, or what victory would look like and how it would be achieved. "Lets get em boys," is not effective planning on the civilians part. Bush and his team didn't understand this and neither did Congress.

    Finally because we did not go in there and impose a vision of the future, we left the future up to chance. Again this is a civilian blunder not Franks. We never should have gone in half cocked. I don't think anyone can really express the why(goal) of the war and this means the how is never going to be imbalance.
    1. Rumsfeld left the decision to Franks to offload inbound units after the swift ground war, and Franks made the choice to offload. Now, Rumsfeld did push it, but he didn't make the decision in the end.

    2. Franks was retired on active duty when the de-Baathification decision was made. Because of this, he wasn't in tune with the information about what de-Baathification meant in terms of consequences.

    3. The geographical combatant command is responsible for the war plan, which includes how the military endstate achieves the national endstate. The war plan which existed when Franks took command had a robust post war stabilization component which would allow for post-war governance. Franks didn't even know much about this and then allowed it to be neutered with a myopic focus on the march to Baghdad. This is the job of the military professional to ask these questions and plan for, even if the civilian chain of command doesn't. If they make a decision to override this, then that's the deal, but you don't abrogate your responsibilities.

    Bottomline, Franks should have never been a combatant commander. He rode on the success of tactical commands and networking to the top and was exposed. Cobra II and Fiasco clearly argue this and then when you contrast Franks to Petraeus, you'll find a world of difference in terms of standing up with a voice to be heard.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver
    expecting Frank or any general to point this out to the civilian leadership is probably folly. Generals and admirals in our system look at how to do something, not if it should be done.
    This is absolutely the responsibility of the 3-/4-star flag officer. They are the ones that are matching ends, ways, and means, and have to be able to recommend how to bring this into balance to reduce risk. They don't get to make the decision, but they have to be conversant in how to do this.
    Last edited by Shek; 22 Dec 10, at 13:04.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    This part of the quote bugs me as it is written as a maxim when in truth it is advice. If can was traded for should it would read better. Also the reverse holds as well. Goals should never be considered without reference to means History is full of examples where the means and the goal or vice verse have become divorced.
    Z,
    Can you provide examples of where the means were considered in isolation from their goal - what is the success rate? What was the reason for this success? To me, it seems that if this were done, then the success would be accidental because the war was simply being fought for war's sake.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    shek,
    in your view, does flawed strategic planning necessarily lead to flawed operational planning?
    Yes. However, this doesn't mean that you won't see strategic success - it just makes it less likely.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Shek Reply

    "More on the role of the services. They have to have situational awareness of every single war plan because they have to be able to know if they can source them or if not, which ones will not be sourced and what risk that poses."

    I understand. That's what guys like you broadly get paid to do.

    "Thus, the service chiefs need to be read in to the combatant commanders' war plans because they are part and parcel of the force packaging that sources the plans."

    No doubt. However, their functions remain separate from the combatant commander's lines-of-authority and, to that end, the responsibility of the service chiefs to advise Congress therefore carefully straddled and muted.

    "Shinseki was in a position to provide military advice to the Congressional Committee. However, because Congress provides a oversight functionality,"

    What you're saying is he was there because Congress had the authority to request his presence.

    "...he waited until he was asked a specific question, and even then, he was deferential to the combatant commander (Franks) and left the answer in vaguer terms."

    I'll have to read or see if video's available of the testimony to gain full context. In any case, Shinseki had a personal obligation as a trained professional soldier exceeding all others to provide his considered view. He may have been somewhat torn between the chain-of-command and his own personal perspective. I don't know except that I'd likely have given my best answers before Congress as well.

    I'm re-reading my early thoughts-

    "War in general, and the commander in any specific instance, is entitled to require that the trend and designs of policy shall not be inconsistent with these means."

    Therein lies the rub. Entitlement suggests the senior commander responsible for the training and deployment of forces suitable to supporting the political goals will have input WRT aligning "means" to "ends". If the decision to deploy forces is deemed inadequate to the overarching political objective, the senior force commander should unequivocably object. At that point the force commander becomes personally vulnerable to the whims of his political masters whom may seek, perhaps, a more compliant military perspective.

    I sense that I'm on the right track although the above, in retrospect, is less well-written than I'd now like. The mission statement remains paramount in offering guidance to both force generation and operational design.

    Shinseki was largely responsible for the former. Franks the latter. Either had responsibility to voice objection if they couldn't reconcile ways and means to ends. Whether Franks and Shinseki possessed a shared view of the mission is one question. It seems that mission guidance would largely drive operational planning and, in turn, force generation to support such.

    If not, who was out-of-step with OSD and the POTUS? Iraqi state transformation remains an implied (if not explicit) task of the overarching mission. That entails a significant Phase IV responsibility. You might recall this article and discussion from STRATEGYPAGE days-

    OIF Phase IV: A Planner's Reply To Brig. Aylwin-Foster-Military Review March-April 2006

    Quite a lil' Pandora's box you've set loose...
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Thanks.

    Vague, muted, and deferential to other prerogatives would seem to characterize this clip.

    Hard to believe that such a sh!tstorm ensued from such.
    Last edited by S2; 22 Dec 10, at 14:07.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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    Quote Originally Posted by S-2 View Post
    Thanks.
    I think you'll see that Shinseki plays this very well. Defers on specifics to CENTCOM, provides an order of magnitude response that provides Congress with the ammo that they could have used to go back to the executive to question if they had desired.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Watched it. Comments above.

    Got my head spinning back to formalized civil-military relationships and also EBO vs. SOD based strategy.

    Then there's the inputs from personalities and their attendant issues. Got me thinking a bit about FDR and G.C. Marshall. Both were brilliant if imperfect men. Neither was always correct. Both were comfortable exerting their authority yet both often did so very subtly. I can't recall why Cohen left them out of his analysis but they'd been an interesting addition to his overall work.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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    A slight detour to look at a great case study on matching means to ends.

    http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/sta...an-1941-a.html
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    Z,
    Can you provide examples of where the means were considered in isolation from their goal - what is the success rate? What was the reason for this success? To me, it seems that if this were done, then the success would be accidental because the war was simply being fought for war's sake.
    First, I don't disagree that any success is accidental when the means of war are divorced from the goals of war.

    I'll give you a war, a campaign and a battle as examples, all ended up as defeats. Good information on how to use the means to achieve the goals existed but it was ignored.

    Vietnam- The goal of the war was to secure South Vietnam from communist aggression without sparking a wider war with China. This in turn was to prevent the fall of other Asian states. The means (conventional combat power) were not up to the job. The military commanders on scene (McCain/Westmoreland) never keyed in on the need for land and political reform which were the primary basis of the VC's appeal. Because the US never provided the level of security needed to isolate the population from the VC physically, the lack of reform meant we never isolated the population ideologically either. The US kept seeking a military victory in place of the political and we lost as a result.

    Nor can it be argued that we did not have the information. SF operations in the highlands that made use of long standing racial tensions created very trustworthy and militarily capable allies. Although race would not have been the emulsifier in the lowlands, land and political reform could have been. IIRC the Brits fresh from victory in Malaysia even suggested this. Instead we remained focused on the politics of Siagon and the the quest for the decisive battle.

    Operation Barbarossa- The German's repeatedly lost sight of the goal (collapse the USSR) and ended up focused on a series of battles that looked good on paper where the could apply combat power and make Hitler feel good. Ultimately the encirclement battles doomed the whole invasion. The Germans compounded this with nasty racial policies that isolated them from the population and secured the population for Stalin. This would come back to haunt them during Bagration.


    The Somme- Although apologists for Haig like to claim this battle was the death of the German army, it was a blunder and a defeat. First there were three competing goals- Rawlingson's bite and hold and Haig's breakthrough. Plus the French wanted the attack to go in early to take pressure off Verdun.The composite goal of the three was an unworkable Frankenstein. To achieve those goals, the means were completely lacking. First you had a commanders with no faith in the troops. They assumed that the level of professionalism shown by "The Old Contemptibles" took years of training to achieve. Thus they didn't even try. The men were to be used in almost close order drill in a series of wave attacks with the idea beign to get enough men across that the bayonet could be used in a classic test of will. The other part of the failed training was in the skill of the artillerymen. The field gunners who had to set the fusing for the shrapnel rounds to be fired from the light guns the Brits had lacked the match skills for the missions.

    Yet contrary information existed that should have confounded this view. The French part of the operation that attacked along the seam of the two Armies went over the top and used loose order, speed and terrain to flow across the country side and quickly seize the days objectives

    The second failure of means was in artillery. People have long heard that the battle fired 1 million shells in 5-6 days. This is misleading. The British had the lowest concentration of heavy guns of the 3 big combatants. Half that of the French and Germans, even with borrowed French guns and hastily converted Royal Navy weapons. This meant the ability to get deep into the German bunkers was missing. The artillery the British did have in abundance was the 18 pounder OQF MkI/II. These light guns were to use shrapnel rounds to cut the wire. Two major problems emerged here, first up to 1/3 of them were duds. The ground of the Somme still leaks up unexploded shells in abundance. Secondly to cut wire with shrapnel shells fired from light guns you need to get the fusing absolutely right. If the shell explodes to soon, the small bursting charge means the shrapnel has lost its energy. To late and the shell buries itself in the ground.

    The end result of these failures was The Somme. There are accounts of some Germans who stopped firing, unable to continue the slaughter. The Haig then changed the goals and continued the attacks day after day, week after week. He did not need to change the goals, and the means did not meet up even then. His final justification for continuing the battle was to take pressure off the French. But the time the Somme opened the French had already blunted the Germans and were going over to the attack so there was no pressure.

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    Z,

    I think we're on the same sheet of music - CvC uses "can never" because the person looking to be successful in war needs to weigh means against ends, and so in that sense it's the same use as "should," I believe. Your examples above provide evidence that divorcing the two can provide a fatal flaw to your efforts. However, since you brought up the point, I must be missing the distinction . . .
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Quote Originally Posted by S-2 View Post
    Then there's the inputs from personalities and their attendant issues. Got me thinking a bit about FDR and G.C. Marshall. Both were brilliant if imperfect men. Neither was always correct. Both were comfortable exerting their authority yet both often did so very subtly. I can't recall why Cohen left them out of his analysis but they'd been an interesting addition to his overall work.
    Steve,

    I think Professor Cohen sees Churchill as the higher statesman, although that's not because FDR wasn't good - he just wasn't as exceptional as Churchill (or at least the primary source material wasn't there since FDR didn't last to write memoirs like Churchill did). However, in class, he was a fan of FDR and cited Operation Torch as an example - FDR understood that the American public wouldn't stand and wait for a punch up the middle of Europe in 1943 (nor would his reelection bid) like the US military argued for. He recommended a book either by or about Hopkins - I'll have to see if I can find that class notebook or if I already wish listed it on Amazon.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    However, since you brought up the point, I must be missing the distinction
    CvC's writings are limited unless tweaked to reflect the fact of the the modern state.

    The quote reads like a maxim or advice to future commanders. Thats why I would prefer the should over can. That way it reads as a warning instead of as a fact. I like CvC, but his scope is sometimes limited becuase of the age he lived in. Although George Washington and Czar Alexander had already rung the first tollings of the bell singaling the death of the decisive battle, that age was not yet dead. CvC was very much one who saw war as a series of moves that would end with a deciusive clash of arms.

    In the context of the times CvC lived in- can might fit since winning the decisive battle and thus the politcal victory were seen as one and the same. Europe minus France, Russia and England was a series of small powers and none of them but England had the industrial might of a modern state. Yet as we skip forward in time and the emergance of large nation states with resources to match means the single battle war is no longer the norm.

    WWI was the first large scale European failure of the decusvie battle. The combination of resolute Belgains and Von Moltke's decsion to weaken the right hook to send unneeded troops to Prussia ensured this. Once the the decusive battle was no longer possible the full weight of the modern state came into thier full being. Yet the mindset to seek and win the decsive battle is still here. From Haig or Neville in WWI, Hitler's quest for encirclement battles, Westmoreland's never ending efforts to win set piece battles vs the VC or Franks focus on Baghdad.

    This is why I think your a bit rough on Franks. I don't think it is the combatant commanding generals job to plan the war environment. I think that abdicates the responsability of the general staff (for the US the joint chiefs) and the political leadership to the much more limited capabilties of a person who has more pressing operational and tactical concerns. Strategic direction (goals) and strategic allotments (means) needs to be top down not middle up.

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    Shek Reply

    "I think Professor Cohen sees Churchill as the higher statesman, although that's not because FDR wasn't good - he just wasn't as exceptional as Churchill (or at least the primary source material wasn't there since FDR didn't last to write memoirs like Churchill did)."

    I wonder. You offer a couple of alternatives. Having a written legacy would have been valuable. I know we'll be missing Holbrooke's. He's small potatoes relative to FDR or Churchill and we certainly miss FDR's views from retirement. As to your former point, statemanship spans a wide spectrum. In wartime and in peace, FDR displayed a remarkable ability to draw forth exceptional talents from an unusually broad cross-section of America.

    I don't know if Churchill possessed that same level of people-skills at a personal level. A great orator, for example, but maybe not always as able to draw valuable folks into his circle of influence when it might have been helpful.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    This is why I think your a bit rough on Franks. I don't think it is the combatant commanding generals job to plan the war environment. I think that abdicates the responsability of the general staff (for the US the joint chiefs) and the political leadership to the much more limited capabilties of a person who has more pressing operational and tactical concerns. Strategic direction (goals) and strategic allotments (means) needs to be top down not middle up.
    Z,

    The US has no general staff. The combatant commander is responsible for theater strategy and the development of contingency plans. While a whole of government approach is required, the reality is that the NSC is too busy to do this and the Geographical Combatant Commanders (GCC) are the 800 lb bulls in the room, as they have all the toys and a better link to the President than all but those ambassadors who are the personal friends of the president. A GCC should not be down whatsoever in the tactical realm - that is the purview of division level, corps max. For day to day operations, your JFACC, JFLCC, and JFMCC commanders will be the ones knee deep in operational considerations. Franks job was to work the strategy, and he failed in his diplomacy efforts ("Fvck the Turks!" in earshot of a reporter certainly didn't help win the hearts and minds of the Turkish parliament, did it?). That's not to take away the blame from Bush 43 and the failings of the NSC and OSD, but Franks still has a piece of it.

    Franks deserves the scorn that he gets. He failed at his job.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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