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We Were Caught Unprepared: The 2006 Hezbollah-israeli War

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  • bigross86
    replied
    Thankx. I've got plenty homework and studying so I don't quite know when I'll get around to it, but I plan on reading it at some point.

    As long as we're on the topic, I remember a while back the Colonel posted something about Deep Battle and Lebanon 2006. Does anybody know of any links I could use?

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  • S2
    replied
    bigross86 Reply

    "Before I start reading articles, would you mind explaining what EBO and SOD actually are?"

    Better to let the articles tell you. I'd pick up Shek's discussion on the POWERPOINT thread at the underlined point and then add "WE WERE CAUGHT UNPREPARED" and the added Biddle/Friedman contribution. Then see if you can make sense of it.

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  • bigross86
    replied
    Before I start reading articles, would you mind explaining what EBO and SOD actually are? I'm interested in hearing what people have to say about Lebanon 2006 (having been there) and would like to compare it to my own outlook on the war.

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  • S2
    replied
    EBO/SOD and Hezbollah-Israel

    Shek has got be digging a bit on some processes and conceptual frameworks for strategic planning that are new to me-particularly Systemic Operational Design as opposed to Effects-Based Operations. EBO was a new concept that was evolving as I left the military in 1992. Generally geared toward synchonization of assets to generate a synergistic effect that reached beyond the first order.

    Two studies have emerged about Israel/POG that somewhat illustrate the EBO/SOD dilemma. One was the article attached to the thread title. It seems to be gaining notoriety through time. The other is Avi Kober's, "The Israeli Defense Force in the Second Lebanon War," Journal of Strategic Studies. vol 31 No.1 3-40 (February 2008)

    I'm having some difficulty finding it. Don't know why. EDIT: Now I know why-it's not free. Still, there's an interesting study that's spun off that document-

    The 2006 Lebanon Campaign and the Future of Warfare: Implications for Army and Defense Policy-Dr. Stephen Biddle and Jeffrey Friedman

    I'll include it here for now. It's certainly applicable. I sense, however, that there'll be a thread sometime in the future discussing EBO/SOD in its full and unvarnished range of possibilities. Until then...
    Last edited by S2; 01 May 10,, 09:04.

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  • S2
    replied
    Shek Reply-Institutionalizing COIN

    "Unfortunately, it wasn't institutionalized in the force"

    Maybe there's a better chance now based upon key personalities.

    Institutionalizing COIN: Some Gates Thoughts

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  • Shek
    replied
    I stand corrected on the Army not developing COIN doctrine post-Vietnam. Unfortunately, it wasn't institutionalized in the force :(

    Small Wars Council - View Single Post - Revising FM 3-24: What needs to change?

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  • S2
    replied
    Astralis Reply

    Maybe. Army and marines fight wars. Navy and Air Force talk about them.

    It's our fight and there are areas where they can help but Gates is speaking to practical reality. I appreciate that there's always a reason to complain about budgets but smart Army and Marine officers hopefully realize that the nature of these and most foreseeable wars dictate an expanded skill-set and a lot of work.

    The Army and Marines had better become comfortable with selling the message internally and to potential recruits. We're not about career enhancement and we promise you the opportunity to fight dirty, nasty, very personal wars far from home with little recognizable to your eye.

    Enjoy.

    Leave a comment:


  • astralis
    replied
    S-2,

    army and marines can't be too happy about that. navy and AF get to deter the big boys with their sexy new toys, army and marines get to deal with insurgencies.

    Leave a comment:


  • S2
    replied
    Next War-itis

    From Robert Gates a couple of days ago-

    Sec'y Gates on Nextwaritis

    His comments speak a bit to summarizing the world now vs. 1971. He speaks to assessing risks appropriately and institutionalizing much of what we're learning now.

    Global deterrance will be the purview of our U.S.A.F. and Navy. Army and marines will assume many of the classic S.F. roles in an increasingly assymetric environment.

    Leave a comment:


  • S2
    replied
    Oh, btw, I've been a poor steward of my thread. Helluva fun discussion about the 'Nam but anybody interested in discussing the upcoming summer war along the northern border should feel free to chime in.:))

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  • S2
    replied
    Equilibrium Reply

    "I have long held the impression that the US Army experience in Vietnam was never exclusively a counter-insurgency campaign."

    It's more than an impression. It's a fact that from November 1965, U.S. ground forces engaged large units (regiments of in-country NVA divisions) of the NVA on a fairly routine basis.

    "Gen. Westmoreland, I believe was more correct in his strategy than wrong. His concept did eventually prove correct, he pressured the NVA forces buttressing the insurgency to retreat into their sanctuary areas and, with the VC itself incapable of directly challenging US/ ARVN forces and the Saigon government, forced Hanoi to gamble with the Tet Offensive which destroyed the VC."

    I'm no expert but this will likely cause you problems at WAB. I'd agree that, from 1965 onward, Hanoi imposed upon our government the requirement to conduct conventional combat w/ their forces and to do so as far from the population and rice-growing centers as possible. Too, there was a very real threat of the NVA being capable of physically cutting the nation in two from the central highlands to the coast.

    Many won't dispute those salient threats but might argue successfully that Westmoreland's flaw lay in not shaping the protected areas to best advantage while, perhaps, possible to do so. It may have been an upstream fight even were we aware of TTPs that would work on a hamlet/village/town basis (micro-strategies suited to local needs using PRT-equivalent of the day such as the successful Marine CAP program along the coastal belt). Many of the impediments lay in the relationship between the SVN gov't and army and the U.S. gov't/military.

    It would seem that our goals were largely aligned, if not similar. What's clear is our collective failure to achieve either. SVN is no more and we left in disgrace. At some level, larger, macro solutions designed to transform the SVN mandarin-despotic corrupt culture into a more unifying appeal to the populace were necessary. Not only didn't we do that (both the SVN gov't and MAC-V) but exacerbated many antagonizing issues and behavior needlessly.

    Westmoreland, I suspect, applied his vision of war-fighting. By itself, it was generally fine. I'd argue that it was the NVA, not us, that introduced forces in-country first and necessitated our engagements along the highland borders and northward. But the WAR was much larger than these battles. It would be won or lost in the minds of the SVN people and not on some hill along the Laotian or Cambodian border.

    Westmoreland, more than not having an answer, would likely be accused of consciously avoiding the discussion altogether.

    I know this- The U.S. Army of 1965 was outstanding. That said and recognizing we were already well late to the game, it would have been a remarkable transformation of our forces to reach the perspectives which we see so well in hindsight. We'd be discussing a period of 1965-1967/68 to effect a societal transformation willing to en masse devote and defend the SVN gov't.

    Our inability to find the right levers to legitimize the gov't in the eyes of it's people probably lost the war for us and, again, we were already well behind the eight-ball in 1965.

    If so, the question of SVN might more properly lie in the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. What could they have done to pre-empt or mitigate the insurgency prior to LBJ introducing large combat elements in 1965?
    Last edited by S2; 14 May 08,, 03:33.

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  • Equilibrium
    replied
    Gentlemen, Colonel, Captain, et al.

    Very interesting thread.

    I have studied extensively the effort by TRADOC and men such as Gen. Huba Wass de Czege, to create new doctrine and a branch level training and education system to fulfill it. However, I have long held the impression that the US Army experience in Vietnam was never exclusively a counter-insurgency campaign.

    Gen. Westmoreland, I believe was more correct in his strategy than wrong. His concept did eventually prove correct, he pressured the NVA forces buttressing the insurgency to retreat into their sanctuary areas and, with the VC itself incapable of directly challenging US/ ARVN forces and the Saigon government, forced Hanoi to gamble with the Tet Offensive which destroyed the VC.

    Gen. Abrams reoriented US forces to defend population areas at a time when growing US domestic opinion was turning against the war. Hanoi began using the NVA to replace the VC- using conventional armies to replace insurgents. But the conventional US/ ARVN v. NVA battles that followed led to the mauling of NVA forces in Cambodia, a degradation of NVA forces in Laos in 1971 and the destruction of the NVA armies in 1972.

    The Vietnam experience was unique as opposed to the current controversy today as a foreign supported insurgency was supported at various levels of intensity and eventually replaced by conventional military forces.

    I think the '73 war provided the US Army with a reminder that technology had surpassed the original post-WWII European conventional strategy, but since such strategy was based on US forces being a speed bump for an eventual nuclear exchange, it allowed US forces to recognize the possibility of conventional technology to redress the imbalance of firepower and numbers.

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  • S2
    replied
    Shek Reply

    "It never formally undertook an effort that was specifically budgeted at institutionalizing the COIN experience from Vietnam down to our young officers and N.C.O.s."

    Said that in the initial part of my reply to you. That's definitive.

    You said-

    "...the Army should have invested some minimal resources to put pen to paper about COIN in Vietnam."

    I replied w/ some links that indicated somebody in the army was, on occasion, sorta doing that. I didn't know that you were necessarily seeking original product. Still, they weren't offered as indications of a true inculcation of the COIN experience specific to Vietnam.

    "Despite your continued insistance that I am calling for equal weighting of COIN post-Vietnam, this strawman does not fly, as I've never asked or called for this."

    Shek, sorry for the hyperbole attached to-

    "...If you wish COIN to share equal billing in that period, it wasn't going to happen..."

    Clearly it doesn't accurately reflect your views. I'm not sure that mine are being accurately absorbed either.

    I guess that I've only a vague feel for what your expectations might have been between 1974 and 1991 or 2001.

    "...institutionalization of COIN, with a distilled operationalized product (i.e., updated doctrine, training recommendations/POIs that adhered to the developing training management system being developed around the same time)..."

    That would be thoroughly institutionalizing the experience, to be sure. If the above reflects your expectations prior to 1991, then I don't think it was likely. I don't believe that it was willful nor doctrinal escapism. You indicate that men like DePuy and Emerson had their priorities correct. I think any thorough review of that general period in our army's history would indicate a massive and unprecedented undertaking.

    Clearly, I feel exactly the same as you about the institutional failure to prepare our forces as well as they might otherwise since 1991. I've made that plain enough.

    "There is no COIN mandated training within TRADOC, so if (when?) is no longer the flavor of the day, we'll be ready to repeat the 1970s and sentence my kids' generation to the same fate of having to pay the price in blood to relearn lessons already learned by their fathers and mothers."

    Again, I disagree. You'll be repeating the 90s if you fail to alter the prevailing condition. My generation of officers need to accept the blame for failing to prepare you adequately, not DePuy's/Emerson's. Those guys saw the next threat clearly. Perhaps it was easy. Still, they came, saw, and conquered. My generation did not see the next threat so preciently and we failed to prepare YOU for the relevant conflict paradigm.

    The next iteration is on you.

    If we see the past from a slightly different historical perspective, I think it's fair to say that's not the case about the future.

    I'm also going to say this, and it's new- at no time in the past ANYWHERE would you see COIN operations that would serve as complete models for our experiences now in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'd submit that the level of sophistication of our operations now- both in breadth and depth- far exceeds past experience and actual pre-conceived expectations of those few "experts" that may have existed prior. That's my guess. Integration with host nations, allied partners, NGOs, civil departments of governance are all newly-exercised skills.

    I'm also going to suggest that if force transformation doesn't follow doctrine in an ordered process and, instead, works in fits and starts as is only practical in an imperfect world, then so too may be the case w/ formally integrating COIN as an institutionalized aspect of American war-fighting doctrine and training. I don't know but our institutional experience seems to reflect that to some degree.

    Anyway, my thoughts on the matter.

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  • Shek
    replied
    Despite your continued insistance that I am calling for equal weighting of COIN post-Vietnam, this strawman does not fly, as I've never asked or called for this.

    I'd love to find publically the numbers of COIN-specific jobs in the Army currently, but based on the Afghan COIN Academy being led by a CPT and the Iraq COIN Academy doing low throughput, I suspect that we probably have only several dozen to upwards of 100-200. This low number, despite having 1/3 of our military on foreign soil waging COIN operations indicates that the burden on a 800K active duty Army not actively engaged in COIN would be even less, both in absolute and relative terms. We'd also need some budget dust to sprinkle a few officers through grad school for the proper background to institutionalize some of the Vietnam COIN lessons, but as I said, this is budget dust.

    As for the links, thanks - guess I didn't need to shell out $30 for a print copy of Trinquier. However, I'd point out that of the four links:

    1 is written by a French Officer
    1 is written by a North Vietnamese Officer
    2 are written about peacekeeping, not COIN operations

    Rather than being examples of institutionalization of COIN, with a distilled operationalized product (i.e., updated doctrine, training recommendations/POIs that adhered to the developing training management system being developed around the same time), these links represent a purely historical and not a critical scrutiny of American COIN.

    Even at a few dozen to a few hundred pax, the current "institutionalization" of COIN may be fleeting. The Afghanistan/Iraq COIN Academies will die once those conflicts are finished. There is no COIN mandated training within TRADOC, so if (when?) is no longer the flavor of the day, we'll be ready to repeat the 1970s and sentence my kids' generation to the same fate of having to pay the price in blood to relearn lessons already learned by their fathers and mothers.

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  • S2
    replied
    Shek Reply

    "The US Army didn't institutionalize the COIN experience from Vietnam."

    No. It never formally undertook an effort that was specifically budgeted at institutionalizing the COIN experience from Vietnam down to our young officers and N.C.O.s. What we did, in the aftermath of Vietnam, was get busy rebuilding our army from the ground up- both equipment and men- to counter the severe conventional disparity in central Europe which threatened to de-stabilize our deterrance strategy against a global super-power.

    Nonetheless, we embarked on a series of innovations that integrated many of the lessons of light infantry tactics and field-craft from Vietnam which were utterly necessary and missing from our training base as we ramped up and deployed tens of thousands of largely half-trained riflemen into a completely unforgiving environment. In general, we integrated damn near every applicable SOLDIER SKILL that we found valid and timeless to create a better soldier.

    I think that the creation of our light infantry divisions and formally activating and revitalizing our ranger regiment might serve as some example that not all small-unit lessons from Vietnam were lost to the institutional memory.

    As such, we walked as we couldn't run. If COIN is Ph.D. level warfare practiced at it's most sophisticated level, in 1975 we were barely out of kindergarten and there were more fundamental, broadly useful lessons that required imparting on our war-fighting culture to meet our immediate concern.

    "The institution flat out rejected COIN, and my generation of officers had to learn the hard way, despite the fact that the US Army has done small wars more than it has done big wars."

    A whole generation of officers and N.C.O.s prepared for a war which they never fought and, instead, fought a war for which they'd never prepared. My generation did not. We were immaculately prepared to fight a war against the Soviet Union and win-or so we believed. I believe that our training and doctrine were appropriate for the time.

    If you wish COIN to share equal billing in that period, it wasn't going to happen and I say so without apology. If you wish it "institutionalized", then I agree that we could have tacked a half-day seminar at the end of IOBC. Ah, that would be patronizing a required skill and treating it as a "lesser-included". No emphasis in IOBC and half the class is asleep.

    You entered West Point in 1992. Following Desert Storm in 1991, I think it fair that threats might have changed sufficiently that you shouldn't have had to suffer so by the time that you attended IOBC in 1996. I also see that as a grievous failing coming from your commanders back then. Your commanders were from my generation of officers and had no practical exposure to speak of w/ COIN and GSFG across the IGB for the greater part of their careers.

    I'd suggest, further, that from 1991 my clique of officers may have suffered a burden of arrogance stemming from our conventional dominance. I accept total blame on the part of my generation of officers for recklessly pointing the way to a brave new world that in no way reflected ground-truths.:))

    "I believe we are in agreement here, with the difference in our lines of thoughts being whether the Army should have invested some minimal resources to put pen to paper about COIN in Vietnam."

    A French View of Counter-Insurgency- Trinquier CSI Collected Works Unknown Date

    U.S. Intervention In The Dominican Republic- Yates CSI 1988

    Vietnam: History of the Bulwark B2 Theatre- Vol V: Concluding the 30 Year War- Tra CSI 1983

    "Not War But Like War": The American Intervention in Lebanon- Spillar CSI 1981

    No. They did to a great degree, I believe. What they didn't do was create a Dept. of COIN. Your ideas go far deeper than a few studies.

    You really want to get wild? I'll make a case that it should exist as a cabinet-level department. That'll assure complete institutionalization.

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