Monday, July 17, 2017

Must read from Sic Semper Tyrannis. Combined Arms Forces, not Special Ops are the key to future battlefields...

via SST.
Last week, Colonel Lang referred to an article by David Ignatius “in which he [Ignatius] made reference to a RAND study in which the author tries to make the case that SOF forces (Green Berets, Rangers, Delta, SEALS, and other cats and dogs) are the key to success in warfare in the future.” I just want to elaborate on the colonel’s comments. The RAND study is written by Linda Robinson, a senior international policy analyst at RAND who, in addition to numerous articles, has written a couple of books about Special Forces and our special operations forces: “Masters of Chaos” in 2005 and “One Hundred Victories:  Special Ops and the Future of ” in 2013. I have not read either book and probably won’t. I did read her latest article which Ignatius referred to. Her article, “SOF’s Evolving Role: Warfare “By, With and Through” Local Forces”  does contribute to a misguided idea that SOF, rather than conventional forces, is the answer to future wars. I say “contributes to” because I think Robinson’s understanding of the problem and proposed solution is more nuanced than that, but she still doesn’t seem to accept the centrality of combined arms forces in future wars. This view is apparently shared by Ignatius and even General Votel at CENTCOM.

In the crudest sense, this view stems from the overblown publicity that has surrounded years of night raids by the door kickers of Delta, the SEALs and Rangers. Not only do these high speed, low drag operations sell books, but they have influenced a generation of commanders, think tankers and Pentagon bureaucrats to put their faith in SOF.
Story here. 

This is beyond wild.  First I've been beating on the drum that SOCOM seemed to be drunk on their own publicity.  Do you remember this video of McRaven telling an old skool Special Forces General to basically shut up when he told him to get his people out of the news (at the 3:16 mark)?

For better or worse both the Bush Jr and Obama admin over used SOCOM and their leadership did nothing to stop it.  Even worse were all the tell all books and movies that were made about their exploits....quiet professionals it seems was (at the time) a thing of the past

Second, I find it funny that a reporter would write such an article. This isn't Ignatius usual beat either.  He is a Washington insider so I have to wonder out loud if this story wasn't planted by either a Think Tank pushing their latest agenda or even SOCOM itself in a budget play.

Last, I'm pleased that the Army is making moves to revitalize its combined arms teams.  Everyone knows but no one is saying aloud the two things that make the raid, raid and only raids mentality dangerous.  Terrorist organizations especially in the Middle East are looking more and more like nation state armies.  As a matter of fact when ISIS started its offensive it routed the Iraqi Army and took their gear making them more than a guerilla group...they actually became a threat to their nation from the start. Which brings me to the last uncomfortable truth.  Special Operations are vulnerable to conventional forces.  It's in every manual I've ever read.    If its changed then I'd like to know the rationale but history is littered with Special Ops going up against conventional formations and getting mauled.

We've reached a point where we must protect the military from itself...or at least the Think Tanks, Reporters pushing an agenda and Leadership looking for a quick fix.

The never quit attitude and the accept any mission stance is going to get good people killed unless someone with a bit of moral courage assumes control.

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