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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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mike_golf    RE:Is Dod future war plans based on fantasy?   1/20/2004 4:19:57 PM
I guess you won't accept the evidence of my eyes (I was in the 24th ID during Desert Storm). I fought against Iraqi armor units that had 70% of their strength available when we made contact with them and had 0% available when we finished? Or the Iraqi tank battalion commander quoted as saying that after 45 days of air war he had 32 of his 38 tanks operational and after 45 minutes in combat with an American unit he had 0 tanks operational? Or my telling you that the after action reports by American tank units indicated that the bomb damage assessment by the flyboys was wildly overstated, as is the norm throughout the history of airpower?
 
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Heorot    RE:Is Dod future war plans based on fantasy?   1/21/2004 7:52:28 AM
Mike, you are probably right. But I saw a report from a reporter embedded with an armoured unit as they were approaching the Baghdad defences. There were row after row of Iraqi tanks behind defensive sand banks. Some had been knocked out by the air force but the rest were unmarked but abandoned. That unit had a policy of destroying the abandoned tanks with gunfire to prevent the enemy reoccupying them. If that was the general policy, then that explains why most were destroyed by tanks.
 
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mike_golf    RE:Is Dod future war plans based on fantasy?   1/21/2004 10:51:22 AM
Oh, sorry, I'm talking about Gulf War I, not II. I have no evidence one way or the other about this time around. I can tell you that the air war did not degrade Iraqi strength by the 40 to 50 percent that the airforce said it would. We engaged both regular army and republican guard units that were at 70 and 80 percent strength and when were done with them if they had 10 percent strength left they were lucky. And this wasn't units that abandoned their tanks. The only case even close to that was a Republican Guard Brigade trying to get their tanks out on trucks. When they didn't stop we shot the tanks off the back of the trucks. But over the 100 hours of the ground war, plus the Battle of the Rumayla Oil Fields the day after the cease fire we were in combat with an enemy that was trying to fight, just not very successfully. I will say that, just like the air force, kill statistics by tank crew were wildly inflated. The difference is, we were right there on the ground and could to a damage assessment based on reality, not on what the tank crews reported.
 
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   RE:Is Dod future war plans based on fantasy?   1/22/2004 3:42:27 AM
I was refering to the first Gulf War as well, and I MAY need to recant (awwww). Ive done some extensive googleing in my quest for more information, and the figure I've seen tossed around by EVERYONE is 40% of Iraqs armor being hit from the air. Of the remaining 60%, it may be reasonable to assume the M1 was the principle killer (as opposed to infantry, Apaches, MLRS, and artillery)..
 
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mike_golf    RE:Is Dod future war plans based on fantasy?   1/22/2004 1:35:24 PM
"I was refering to the first Gulf War as well, and I MAY need to recant (awwww)." Okay, thanks for that. I know there is political rivalry between branches of the US Military (I was in the Army for 20 years and there was rivalry between the different combat arms for pete's sake). But the ground units that fought in GW1 did damage assessments based on boots on the ground looking at a T72 and saying .... geez, look at the big ass hole that Maverick missile made or wow, that long rod penetrator makes an even bigger hole on its way out, doesn't it? So, the Army's ability to do damage assessments and after action reviews was a lot better than the Air Force's was as they were boogying away from their area of engagement at 400 knots. Air strike BDA is ALWAYS overstated, ALWAYS. In every single war fought with air power it has consistently been shown that the air units over estimate their BDA, often by as much as 1000%. I believe that in GW1, based on my own damage assessments as a Master Gunner, the flyboys over estimated by about a factor of 75%, which is a testament to the effort level they put into restraining the pilot's claims. However, for all our wonderful talk about how air and PGM's is going to dominate the battlefield of the future and the tank and infantry forces are all done, we have yet to prove that such a thing will work in reality. When I'm told that the Iraqi Republican Guard is degraded by 40% and should be ready and willing to surrender and then my battalion runs slam into a brigade of the Hammurabi Division that is only degraded about 20% and full of piss and vinegar and we end up in a 3 hour gun battle that sees my tanks taking hits from T-72's I lose my confidence in this wonderful Tofflerian/Rumsfeld view of the future battlefield. What man can devise, man can counter. It's as simple as that. Every new "future weapon" has been countered, often by very old fashioned ideas. And PGM won't be any different. Get a grip, to win wars takes well trained soldiers on the ground eyeball to eyeball with the bad guys. Toffler's ideas are an expensive way to lose a war to another front line state. Thank goodness I won't have to try and put them into practice.
 
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mike_golf    RE:4rth gen war is already here !!!   2/8/2004 9:45:45 PM
NOob, what you are talking about is nothing new, nor is it a "Revolution in Military Affairs". The first recorded instance of attempted bio warfare was by the Macedonians. I don't recall which city Alexander was besieging, but he catapulted the bodies of plague victims into the city to attempt to start a black plague epidemic in the city. Assassination and terror was commonly practiced by states throughout history. The American colonies fought the British using guerrilla and terror tactics in the 1770's. Terrorism, low intensity conflict, guerrilla warfare, and unconventional warfare is nothing new. And what people are calling 4th generation warfare is just these things by another name. People need to get over it and realize that. LIC will be used when it works to achieve the military goals at hand and conventional warfare when that is what is needed.
 
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Ehran    RE:4rth gen war is already here !!!   2/28/2004 6:28:07 PM
don't even need a new bug Noob. pneumonic plague works just fine if you want to go that route plus its a fairly simple thing to crush in your own populace if you are thoughtful enough to stockpile enough antibiotics ahead of time.
 
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