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Subject: Is Dod future war plans based on fantasy?
factchecker    5/26/2003 9:47:01 AM
Tofflerian "RMA" Firepower versus Heinlein/Fehrenbachian/Van Crevaldian "4GW" Maneuver: which is right for 21st century combat? 05/26/2003 To understand the direction the U.S. Army is headed in, you need to read two books, Robert Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" and Alvin and Heidi Toffler's "War and Anti-War". If this doesn't alarm you, that reading sound wisdom like Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" is not required to understand the current U.S. Army's technotactical course charted, it should alarm you. To understand the true 21st century conflict arena, you must read Martin Van Crevald's "The Transformation of War". Since you may not have read the above books, I will summarize. Aside for the neo-fascist bitterness of Heinlein wanting a society where only military veterans can vote and hold elected office, Starship Troopers written in 1959 (!) is about Super-Infantry dropped from space like Paratroopers in capsules, that have power suits enabling situational awareness (SA) through shared communications and increased firepower and mobility by armor and a "jump" capability to fly short distances for 3D positional maneuver advantage. The force structure is all teeth, no tail "everybody fights, everybody works" egalitareanism where subordinates are powered down with the ability to take the initiative. This action and sense of shared adventure is what attracts our best young men to join the U.S. Army, and is why Starship Troopers has been one of the most, if not THE most beloved book at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where idealism is still a virtue. The Army is well underway towards a primitive "Starship Trooper" with its digitized 21st Century Land Warrior program for the dismounted Soldiers of our Army. Another book with the same emphasis on ground MANEUVER is T.R. Fehrenbach's "This Kind of War" which bitterly recounts how the air strike firepower mentality failed in the mud and mountains of Korea in 1950-53. Reading this in conjunction with Van Crevald's Transformation of War, you soon realize man is in the 4th Generation of War (4GW) where the battle is over the MIND and loyalty of the people themselves. Whereas 1st generation warfare was hand-to-hand implements, the 2d machines as in firearms, the 3rd maneuver to collapse enemy organizational structures, the 4th generation strategem seeks the dominant will. In 4GW, ALL previous manifestations of war are still in play as possible courses of action. In contrast, Alvin and Heidi Toffler's War and Anti-War (WAAW) is a very popular book with senior U.S. military leaders who ride around in staff cars a lot surrounded by yes-men staffs and spend little unscripted time with the troops. WAAW offers us an illusion of painless war because we are in an alleged enlightened "third wave" of civilization where computers (mentalism) replaces the physical (2d Wave) as "industrial age" and passe'. Even though we still live in a world that has to grow food to eat (1st wave) and live in physical bodies requiring the physical resources of our earth (2nd wave), the Tofflers offer us a hubristically labeled "Revolution in Military Affairs" (RMA) feast full of expensive stand-off firepower munitions that ironically were condemned as unsound, unworkable tactics and strategy in Starship Troopers even as far back as 1959! The recent ground MANEUVER victory in Iraq has not fazed the Tofflerians, they simply ignore by convenient "spin" the 99.9% reality and say that we need to spend more money on expensive guided munitions, launched from sexy, expensive aircraft, soon unmanned ones; all designs of civilian DoD technowonks who never served a day in a uniform. See the DoD news story below. Never mind that it was several divisions worth of Army and marine troops marching on Baghdad with some flying in from the north that compelled the Iraqi regime to collapse---the Tofflerians don't want any money going to these big units, they want ALL DoD monies poured into their gold-plated munitions which they can create so they can act as quasi-generals. The Toffler's "snake oil" is just what risk-averse politicians, wannabe civilian technowonks and power-hungry generals would want: a force that doesn't employ large terrain-controlling maneuver which requires trusting lots of young men on the scene making decisions, but a top-down bombardment of the enemy using digital mental means fired from small groups of sexy but expendible special forces teams or small units some in emasculated VEHICLES like the fragile rubber-tired Lav3stryker armored car and the proposed Future Combat System (FCS) for the mounted Soldiers of our Army to get into the mouse-clicking firepower act. Whereas Heinlein's Starship Troopers have stand-off firepower means on their power suits (but no ground vehicles to more efficiently do this--a flaw in the book) they never assume that these things replace physical ground maneuver which the "Mobile Infantry" does to ro
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Shaka of Carthage    RE:Is Dod future war plans based on fantasy?   5/27/2003 2:21:23 PM
Some good stuff... but I need some time to absorb it before I can respond. Of course, I do have a few comments. I'm not clear where the current "Jedi Knights" fall. Which group do they belong to? I don't consider myself a neo-fascist. But after having been on the receiving end of the misuse and especially watching our current leadership (military and civilian) pig out on the pork beyond anyones wildest fanatasies, there is alot to be said for the concept of earning your "citizenship". There is alot of truth to that old saying about only being able to appreciate what you earn, not what you are given. As far as voting and holding office, that should be only for combat veterans... so what does that make me? Yea, a fantasy dreamer. Being a veteran isn't good enough, just look at the stuff some of our current day Generals/Admirals have pulled. Until later.
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American Kafir    RE:Is Dod future war plans based on fantasy?   6/16/2003 7:25:18 AM
Keep in mind that Heinlein's Earth in "Starship Troopers" was facing a hostile alien race that displayed no sentience or remorse (forget the lame movie, read the book) for the destruction they were causing to the human race. It's hard to be politically correct and seek a diplomatic solution with giant alien bugs hellbent on killing all of humanity, and perhaps it is in that sense that political authority was entrusted only to those who had seen combat in a world in which mankind's presence in the universe was directly threatened, because they alone had intimate knowledge of what was at stake. So in that respect, Heinlein's Earth is a bit more desperate than ours and the people are much more inclined to entrust the military to "keep the war away from Earth." (unless, in the "Us vs.Them" nationalistic tradition, Islamic terrorists are the mindless murderous insects to our defenders of humanity role) I'm wondering if the armor suits used by the Mobile Infantry in the book were not an adaptation for clearing out Bug infestations (urban combat inside an ant farm?) rather than standard kit for the military.
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WinsettZ    RE:Is Dod future war plans based on fantasy?   7/8/2003 8:35:33 AM
They used the Mobile Suits against the skinnies in the prologue, did they not? So it must be a standard issue...not just the bugs.
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McDeath    *shrug*   8/25/2003 8:19:51 PM
You might be right but a couple points that I just want to interject. 1. Powered exoskeletons are here already. a couple Japanese companies are fielding powered exoskeletons for the disabled and nursing staff. Japanese nurses, being rather on the small side, have a real difficulty in moving patients around. These things are here and they work. They're currently under additional development to reduce their weight and make them more comfortable. But they work in essentially the same way as described in Starship Troopers in that they require the user to simply walk around normally. 2. The future of Army infantry is to give them an armored powered exoskeleton that can support them in an NBC environment and that'll also have a chameleon surface with IR signature dampening. I.e. they'll be stronger, faster, armored and nearly invisible. I'm still kinda amused by a story recounted by the producer for Predator. They previewed the film for a US Army general who jumped up in the middle of the movie shouting "I gotta have me one of those!". LOL. Just think. Twenty five years of research and development of new technology was jump-started by a sci-fi novel and a movie. Reality doesn't get much stranger than this. 3. Automated drone attack aircraft seem to be very efficient. I can easily see a situation where every manned fighter is accompanied by 2 unmanned drone fighters. Without having a human aboard they can be much smaller, lighter and far more maneuverable. Instead of being limited to 9 G's they could be built to withstand as many G's as their materials and structure allows. I'm certain that if the USAF and USN can build them they'll absolutely rule the skies. I can't imagine a human fighter pilot being able to keep up with a fighter 1/2 half the size of a regular fighter and capable of hitting 20 G's in a scissor or turning battle. 4. Long range standoff weaponry is vulnerable to countermeasures. Especially the GPS guided stuff. I'm sure that there will be the normal back and forth that goes on where there is a weapon system and a countermeasure developed to defeat it. In the end though it'll still take troops in the field so I'm certain that the US military will continue to recognize it. I'm reminded of the failures of the Balkan Air Campaign where the USAF fighter bombers were fooled into attack dummy tanks made out of plywood and that had a smoke pot inside them (for the IR signature). *shrug* what a strange world. ed
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tomanbeg    RE:Is Dod future war plans based on fantasy?   9/26/2003 9:17:18 PM
IMO the best book along those lines is called "Armor" by ( IIRC) Sheckley. And Clark wrote a classic about a hi tech army that was beaten by a low thech army because the hi tech stuff didn't work. None of the phrophets of the 30's were able to forsee the Cold war, so I find it very doubtful that the Phrophets of today are foreseeing the next war. And you can forget all that dreck about 4GW and RMA. They are just Madison Avenue terms designed to extract a few more bucks from the taxpayers pockets. War has always been about will. Weapons, tactics, strategies are just tools use to affect the enemies will. Of course the ulitmate tool for that is a nuclear weapon. Nothing effects an opponents will more then killing him. And rumor has it that the long term effects are just as good as the short term ones. I assure you Custer will never again burn any Indian villeges. T.
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Sherwood    American Kafir   1/13/2004 12:53:27 PM
I'm going to nitpick here. I read the book about 20 times when I was younger I only stopped reading it when I started to mouth the words before I reached them. The MI apes were there to provide a measured response to the enemy as opposed to all out destruction. That was one of the political points to the book. Humanity did have a diplomatic avenue to the bugs, via the Skinnies. One of Heinleins points was that a military needs to respond at any level from the softest possible to the hardest. He used the phrase "you don't use an axe to spank a baby". Are you mixing them up with the Boogers from Ender's Game where there was no contact until it was too late. The suits were standard issue. During the training parts of the book there was a lot of comparison between the suited MIs and unsuited human soldiers. Although there was no mention of who these people were. On a subversive note. Maybe if we replaced all of todays political leaders with battlefield survivors (e.g. combat infantry vets, unlucky civilians, field hospital medical staff) we'd have a generation of peace.
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Nanheyangrouchuan    RE:American Kafir   1/18/2004 2:11:02 AM
Yeah, but all we get for leaders now are corporate crooks and draft dodgers (regardless of political affiliation). The weakness inherent in making the US army a click and point killing machine is that at some time those soldiers are going to be out of their suits and have blood on their hands. Soldiers since the stone age learned how to deal and kept moving, but yuppies turned grunts may be shocked into disfunction when they have to get out to change batteries and step into intestines. As for the civilians, the next world war will affect the US population directly so telling everyone we can kill from a distance and be safe enough to go to TGIF for after work tails at the height of war is the most dangerous lie.
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   RE:Is Dod future war plans based on fantasy?   1/20/2004 1:33:44 AM
The Art of War remains required reading at West Point Academy. Its principle doctrines (know your enemies capabilities, know your own capabilities, take the high ground, and choose your battles) remain tantamount to modern military doctrine. These expensive UAVs and billion dollar planes are intended to do just that: provide the intel, pick the battleground, and hold the highEST ground. Remember, during the Gulf War, a vast majority of Iraqs tanks were destroyed not by M1s, but by F16s.
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mike_golf    RE:Is Dod future war plans based on fantasy?   1/20/2004 11:15:19 AM
"Remember, during the Gulf War, a vast majority of Iraqs tanks were destroyed not by M1s, but by F16s" That's absolutely untrue. A multitude of evidence after the war shows that most Iraqi units were only degraded about 25% by the air war. Every single Iraqi armor unit that came into contact with American ground forces was degraded 100% at the conclusion of the contact. The majority of the Iraqi tanks were killed by M1's, Apaches and artillery.
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   RE:Is Dod future war plans based on fantasy?   1/20/2004 3:57:04 PM
Your wrong, but I cant find anything via google to prove it to you (yet).
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