Sunday, January 21, 2018

Ops Tempo & crazy exercises are breaking the force...listen to a midlevel careerist talk about the issue!

We've been talking on these pages for quite awhile about the crazy ops tempo and the exercises that make absolutely no sense.

Much to my surprise and amazement that shout to the rooftops is finally being taken up by others.

Still, the issue needs to be highlighted and efforts done to rectify the situation.  What better way to do that than to listen to a midlevel careerist that's in the middle of the fight.  No names but drink in the words.  Remember, his comments are about endless exercises and the crazy op tempo that results from it.
I've come to the same conclusion. All of these bilateral and joint exercises....if there is more than one component playing, it's practically guaranteed to be a PACOM-directed event. I'm pretty sure a 4-star sitting in Hawaii has no clue what impact back-to-back training exercises are having on the force.

We've got aircraft going down regularly in Okinawa, Navy ships that can't sail without hitting something......and nobody has come along to tell the COCOM "hey dial that shit back and reset your force, or I'm gonna crush your nuts".

The system is teetering at the brink of fracture and WE AREN'T EVEN FIGHTING A PEER COMPETITOR. We're just training, with a sprinkling of deterrence and COIN. If something serious goes down we are gonna pay for it in blood for at least the first few days/weeks/maybe months......and that just seems inexcusable for a $600B+ budget and more institutional warfighting experience than any other military on the planet.
If that isn't damning enough he later made this comment on the same thread...
 Yup. It's the mid-career experienced professionals who have to juggle relationships and families and shit that are getting worn out. To plug the experience shortfalls, we waste huge amounts of money on DoD civilians and contractors. Their expertise is needed partially because the Active-Duty folks are just plain tired.

If you want people do "Marine stuff"(PT, rifle range, field exercises), that's fine. If you want people to do "staff/bureaucracy stuff"(proficiency training, Operational Planning Teams, and various institutional process improvements and sustainment), that's fine. But if you want people to do BOTH, at a high tempo, especially when the staffwork/bureaucracy is massively inefficient and time-wasting.....expect people to call it quits.

When we do the same exercises every year and, YEAR AFTER YEAR, they are disorganized shit-shows that provide very little actual warfighting skills improvement to the *US* force (maybe our coalition partners learn a little something), people get disillusioned and frustrated. People work overtime and then the Staff NCOs and Officers get hammered because not enough of their personnel completed Tobacco Cessation on MarineNet. Or PT scores fall. Who has the energy to be a PT god when repeatedly burnt out from late nights prepping equipment for training deployments, or building Powerpoint slides for a brief when the same slides were probably built 3 years ago but lost?

Etc, etc....
Someone might come along and say "Hey let's doing something useful and relevant, maybe a snap readiness drill simulating a Chinese TBM attack."

"There's no space for that on the TEEP." Maybe we'd have space if we didn't do so many BS bilateral exercises practicing shit that won't matter in a real fight.

"There's no money for that." Maybe we'd have money if we weren't putting contractors up in 5-star hotels repeatedly for planning conferences.

Anyways, I kinda went off on a rant there but I'm sitting in a hotel in a foreign country experiencing this stuff first-hand right now. -_-
So what is the answer?  I've recommended establishing a desk in the SecDef's office to approve all requests for units from the Combatant Commanders. That system which was originally designed to make our forces more responsive to threats around the world has instead become a self licking ice cream cone that plays with units and personnel like they were play things instead of the essential elements of national security that they are.

Add the Combatant Commander desire to be relevant and therefore demonstrate that by demanding units, mixed with the false idea of partnership exercises increasing combat capability with our allies and you have the mess we're faced with.

People are voting with their feet.

You want to make US forces more capable?

Stop driving them into the ground with useless exercises and deployments.  Make the training relevant.  Finally (I'll use the wing as an example...God knows I've pounded on them enough) adjust criteria for promotion.  If these guys are turning wrenches for 14 hours a day, six days a week then how are they gonna be PT studs, experts with their rifle and have 1st class swim quals?

Long story short?  Save the force by putting Combatant Commanders back in their cages. 

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