Managing War

I am an antiwar person and I have studied conflicts, management and resolution….my hatred for war came from my 2 and half years in Vietnam in the late 60s early 70s…..

I look at the institution of war….and yes it is an institution especially now when we are fighting the same war for 18 years……

War is controlled (managed) by several ways……a quick look at the parts of the management……

Military commanders and their staffs rely on a variety of conceptual models to assist in their planning for and conduct of operations. Civilian defence thinkers and academics also employ the same tools to help illustrate their ideas. Among the those used are the Phases of Operations and the Spectrum of Conflict. While there is no standard design for each, they do have a certain style. In the U.S. system, the phases of battle model generally begins at Phase 0, which represents the period of shaping for the coming campaign, and ends at Phase 5, which covers enabling civil authority. Visual depictions of the Spectrum of Conflict usually place non-warfighting operations on one side and progress through increasing graduations of levels of violence and risk to the other side, culminating with nuclear war. Between these two extremes, war can be divided into a multitude of categories.

 
The problem is that our generals in their education at the War College are taught Clausewitz, the Master of War……this is a Prussian from the 19th century…and war has moved well,beyond the days of cavalry charges and massive troop encounters….
 
A couple of things of Clausewitz……
 
Clausewitz book, On War, is the bible of warfare instruction…..we need to stop teaching his theories and start thinking in 21st century tactics…..
 

I am not insisting that Clausewitz does not provide valuable lessons. But by focusing on Clausewitz we miss important discussion that should be brought to military education. This leads me to the purpose of this article, for which I have two primary goals. First, to point out specific things which Clausewitz got wrong and reasons why we should stop teaching On War. Think of it like moving from a devotional reading of The Bible to a historical critical examination of it. Second, to identify what we should start teaching more of in all military education.

Let’s first look at what Clausewitz got wrong.

https://taskandpurpose.com/just-say-no-to-clausewitz

What got me to thinking about this was so,ething I read in The American Conservative……

The most curious thing about our four defeats in Fourth Generation War—Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan—is the utter silence in the American officer corps. Defeat in Vietnam bred a generation of military reformers, men such as Col. John Boyd USAF, Col. Mike Wyly USMC, and Col. Huba Wass de Czege USA, each of whom led a major effort to reorient his service. Today, the landscape is barren. Not a military voice is heard calling for thoughtful, substantive change. Just more money, please.

Such a moral and intellectual collapse of the officer corps is one of the worst disasters that can afflict a military because it means it cannot adapt to new realities. It is on its way to history’s wastebasket. The situation brings to mind an anecdote an Air Force friend, now a military historian, liked to tell some years ago. Every military, he said, occasionally craps in its own mess kit. The Prussians did it in 1806, after which they designed and put into service a much improved new model messkit, through the Scharnhorst military reforms. The French did it in 1870, after which they took down from the shelf an old-model messkit—the mass, draft army of the First Republic—and put it back in service. The Japanese did it in 1945, after which they threw their mess kit away, swearing they would never eat again. And we did it in Korea, in Vietnam, and now in four new wars. So far, we’ve had the only military that’s just kept on eating.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/an-officer-corps-that-cant-score/

All in all the US is working on outdated instruction….the education of our military people is as bad as the education of our citizens.

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5 thoughts on “Managing War

  1. Yes, we are still fighting wars influenced by rules and tactics developed in the Napoleonic era. But despite every technological advance, it does always seem to come down to those proverbial ‘boots on the ground’.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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