Neptunus Lex has a great link today to a story covering the work of pararescue crews in Afghanistan – take the time to read it and perhaps just reflect for a moment on the work that these people do…That Others May Live is their motto…one really does wonder what greater protection a Red Cross offers over a minigun when operating against an adversary that has made it crystal-clear that it does not and will not respect those laws and rules by which most of the rest of the planet lives…the journalist author has a Facebook page that I think will be worth following while he is in-theatre.
Also on Lex is an item entitled Overload on the growing mass of video data from UAV operations, currently at about 23 YEARS worth of continuous viewing and growing by the minute – the follow-on discussion on how to deal with this from an analysis point of view is worth thinking about. I, for one, am not a proponent of the belief that all analysis must be done by trained analysts especially those in a centralised reachback system because a. it takes too long and b. they are too removed from the situation on the ground. I once heard an experienced and well-thought-of operator get lambasted by the intel weenies at a conference when he said that all he wanted was to be able to review past and current imagery of a route himself before he conducted a patrol. Apparently HE didn’t understand what it was all about and why all imagery analysis had to be undertaken by specialists before the product got to him (in a few days).
Try him or just shoot him?
On Coming Anarchy, discussion rages over the fate of the Undie Bomber. Should he be treated by a criminal and tried according to due process, or simply squeezed dry of any information he may or may not have and discarded? From a domestic point of view, is there any difference between a criminal and a terrorist? The Brits would say no, and I guess that we would as well based on our experience with French terrorists in the mid-80s – eight years after 911, the US still doesn’t seem able to make up its mind.
Still working on some comment re the Mackay/Tatham paper – my problem is not the paper per se but that I keep getting more and more information support the shift of emphasis from kinetics to Influence. I am able to say that I don’t think that Gian Gentile has ‘got it’ in his rebuttal to Behavioural Conflict – From General to Strategic Corporal: Complexity, Adaptation and Influence when he says “War is about killing and destruction, it is not armed social science“. In fact, reading his comments yet again, I wonder if COL Gentile actually read the UK paper any further than the cover page? Perhaps it is fitting that he is currently teaching history at West Point because he seems somewhat stuck in the past, maybe has a nice little (sandbagged) cottage near the Fulda Gap, and appears blissfully unaware that the world has moved on from the kinetics of the Cold War – perhaps he lives in a far happy place than that which the rest of us are stuck with. The world we are in now requires decision-making and other responsibilities to be devolved far lower down the hierarchical food chain than every before in a further evolution of the strategic corporal and conversely an exponential increase in the level of detailed awareness at the other end of the chain, in the development of tactical general. The US Army’s own future capstone document (note to self – this still links to the draft – must chase down later to release version) identifies this as the key enabler for developing and maintaining credible and relevant land capabilities out to 2028.
To implement this fundamental shift, US TRADOC released the new version of FM 7-15 Army Universal Task List. It did so because there was a clearly identified need for change: not so much change in what armies do but a change in the emphasis of what they do. This change was reinforced in the new FM 7-0 Training for Full Spectrum Operations and the updating of the Soldier Manuals of Common Tasks (levels 1-5). I understand that the new version of FM 7-1 Battle Focussed Training is due out soon as well to further reinforce this doctrine.