Friday, September 29, 2017

This is why the US military is failing in Puerto Rico...

Minor rant warning.

Want to know why the US military is failing so badly in Puerto Rico?  It's because they're following concepts that are performing badly when put to the test.  What do I mean?  Check out the following.


The DoD is real big into partnerships.  They constantly talk about teaming with host nation this, or civilian partner that.  It's thinking that's built for failure.  Why?  Because what happens when the civilian partner is part of the disaster?  What happens if they're weak?  What happens if they're corrupt? What happens IF IT'S ALL THREE!  We've seen it too many times before. Katrina?  Weak state and city govt.  Haiti? Weak national and local govt. Puerto Rico? Weak state and city govt.

If the person you're teaming with is a weak horse then you have to shoulder the burden to get stuff done.  This same thinking applies to our efforts in the realm of warfare.  There is no such thing as "training and enabling".  You either do the work or you don't.  The idea of burden sharing sounds good but someone has to take charge and move out.  The DoD is trying to team with people that are incapable of bearing their side of the load both in a HA/DR and in combat.  Time to put "partnerships" in a box.

Small Unit Infatuation.

What is another source of the problems in Puerto Rico?  The USMC and in general the entire military is infatuated with small units. They seek to do the most with the least.  Sounds good from a business perspective but when you're dealing with over 3 million people and the infrastructure they live with then you can't go small. The NorthCom Commander sent in too small a force to deal with too big a problem.  All the things that were supposedly going to make that small force have a multiplier effect failed.  Air centric operations just didn't move enough gear fast enough. When they finally realized that they were behind the eight ball it was too late.

Leadership confusion.

The DoD has developed an environment where Mid Grade Officers and Enlisted can't call bullshit bullshit.  I'm sitting in my chair and can see the idiocy. I'm not unique nor am I special. Others can see it too.  This critique should be coming from inside the Pentagon.  Some Colonel in NorthCom should be able to tell the stars that this shit ain't working and that we need to turn up gas.

It isn't happening because somewhere along the way the culture has been broken.


They've assigned a 3 star to head down to Puerto Rico to become incident commander.  I'm not impressed.  If the guy they appointed was a hell raiser then we'd be seeing major units moving right now.  We don't.  That tells me that we not only have a concept, leadership and culture problem, but we also lack real problem solvers in the right positions.

If I was in charge for a minute I would be calling Dunford and tell him that I need 1000 troops from all 4 services on planes heading out now.  I'd be getting as many SeaBees and Army Combat Engineers as they have available (probably clear out the school houses too) and send them down.

I'll tell the Commerce Sec that I needed a couple of logging companies on contract and that we will send their equipment to Puerto Rico to clear roads.

And I'd do all that with every reporter that has a camera and/or microphone within earshot.

Patrols would be sent out to check on civilians and setup forward operating bases so that supplies can be ferried in by helicopter.  Each patrol would have 3 or 4 Corpsmen with them to provide medical aid to those in need.  Temporary shelters would also be delivered to those FOBs along with plenty of bug juice and generators.


This can be done easily.  Bend ears, throw away the rule book and just make it happen.  When its all over give Congress the bill and let the auditors sort it out but we're on the cusp of a humanitarian disaster, a media black eye and a terrible day for the US military unless they get their shit straight.

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