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Subject: Is our military is being ill served by some of it leadership?
444933522    8/26/2002 9:58:50 AM
Is it possible that our military is being ill served by some of it leadership? I just got through reading an article in the Air Force Times (August 26, 2002 edition, page 30, by “Times” writer Sean D. Naylor) titled “WAR-GAME RESULTS WERE RIGGED, OPPOSING FORCE COMMANDER SAYS”. Evidently, the OPFOR commander (a contractor for TRW), retired US Marine Corps lieutenant general Paul Van Ripper, got so fed up with HOW the Millennium Challenge 02 (MC02), a $250 million dollar war-game (spent over the last two years to prep the three week exercise) which ended 15 August, 2002, was “ordered” to be played, he quit as the OPFOR commander half-way through the exercise. Army general William “Buck” Kernan, head of the Joint Forces Command (the sponsoring, organizing, and directing command) said “MC02”, with over 13,500 participants conducting the war-game from 17 simulation sites as well as nine live force location, was nothing less than “the key to military transformation”. According to this Air Force Times article, General Kernan said the central scenario was to have the Blue Force (the good guys, i.e.: the US forces) fight a “committed and unrestrained opposing force (the bad guys, OPFOR or Red Force)”. He said, “This is free play, the OPFOR has the opportunity to win here.” Again, according to this article, the former OPFOR commander, Van Riper, told an interviewer from the Air Force Times, “Not so. Instead of a free-play, two-sided game as the Joint Forces commander advertised it was going to be, it simply became a scripted exercise. They had a predetermined end, and they scripted the exercise to that end.” According the article, Van Riper (a 1997 three star retiree and former head of the USMC Marine Corps Combat Development Command) “is a frequent player in military war-games.” He is regarded as a specialist in OPFOR. The article states, “He said the constraints placed on the opposing force in Millennium Challenge were the most restrictive he has ever experienced in an ostensibly free-play experiment.” Evidently, Van Riper quit when he ordered one of his senior subordinate OPFOR commanders (a retired US Army colonel and Joint Task Force (JTF) civilian employee) to direct the forces under the subordinate’s command to conduct certain actions, only to have MC02’s exercise director (the subordinate’s immediate supervisor in the JTF), an Air Force brigadier general, countermand Van Riper’s orders.
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tk73    RE:Is our military is being ill served by some of it leadership?    8/26/2002 5:47:14 PM
thanks for the story It seems like the status quo for today's US military. The time has come for a major round of firings(and/or disciplining) of the top leadership. Unfortunately Bush doesn't seem to be the type of guy who can do that. (CIA director Tenet should have been fired after 9-11) Here's a link to more of the same.... click the "NTC Sham test" link
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Scorpene    RE:Is our military is being ill served by some of it leadership?    12/13/2003 9:11:43 PM
From my own experience, including some time spent with a US Army formation that some consider "elite", I can say that when I was in, about 15 years ago, rigged wargames and ARTEPS were the norm rather than the exception. I remember one MOUTEX I was involved in where a general was watching, and the thing was virtual choreography. In the year that I spent with this bunch, we never once did an exercise with an aggressive and intelligent OPFOR that allowed for maximum exercise flexibility. It was mainly walk from here to there, and hope your CO doesn't get you lost. I soured heavily on the whole thing quickly. I should say that it appears our ground forces have aqquitted themselves well in the past years, note that this time was before the Gulf War; and all of the standard complaints that troops make about leaders, and leaders about troops, were in vogue: "Training's too soft, the troops aren't trying... Boy, when I was a private...", and the troops thought these dinosaurs couldn't lead anyone to the corner to get the newspapers, much less into combat. It has been said that the US Army is the hardest army to fight against, because we never do as we plan and wind up improvising, hence; it is hard for an opponent to reckon how to fend us off. And, our individualistic culture leads to a lot of good improvisers in the field, which perhaps overcomes some of the training weak spots. One of the most refreshing things about this story is that the officers were willing to stand up, walk out, and call the powers that be on the fakery. That, I feel, would not have happened in any of the situations I experienced. And this has to be a good sign for the Army's leadership.
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Heorot    RE:Is our military is being ill served by some of it leadership?    12/14/2003 2:21:30 PM
Yeah, but the point is that the ones that walked out weren't serving officers. They were ex-military civilians with nothing to lose. The time to cheer is when serving officers raise their heads above the parapet instead of going along with farces like this.
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