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An Unknown Future and a Doubtful Present: Writing the Victory Plan of 1941 — a review-lite and a few questions

[by J. Scott Shipman]

An Unknown Future and a Doubtful Present: Writing the Victory Plan of 1941, by Charles E. Kirkpatrick

Mr. Kirkpatrick’s little book provides an excellent primer to the formulation of the United States’ WWII strategy and a refreshing insight into the education of an master strategist, the focus of this post. At 138 pages (plus bibliography/index), Kirkpatrick provides an overview of the enormous contribution of Major Albert C. Wedemeyer, then attached to the War Plans Division, the Army chief of staff’s strategic planners. In the spring of 1941, General George C. Marshall wanted a “more clear-cut strategic estimate of our situation”. Wedemeyer placed his work in the context of four questions:

1. What is the national objective of the United States?
2. What military strategy will be devised to accommodate the national objective?
3. What military forces must be raised in order to execute that military strategy?
4. How will those forces be constituted, equipped, and trained?

Wedemeyer understood that number 4 was not possible without a clear understanding of 1 through 3. Number 1 did not exist (probably still does not), so Wedemeyer made his best guess. Wedemeyer placed his task in context and produced a plan in the prescribed 90 days (!).

No Ordinary Major

Wedemeyer was no ordinary major. He was a voracious reader and student of history; familiar with Clauzewitz, von der Glotz, Fuller and Sun Tzu. He was fortunate to have a mentor (who happened also to become his father-in-law), MG Stanley Embick. Embick encouraged Wedemeyer to “organize discussion groups of officers during the years on Corregidor. Professional reading served as the context for such social gatherings of Wedemeyer’s peers intelligent and articulate men who met periodically to discuss current events, the books they had been reading, and professional interests.”

Wedemeyer was an honor graduate of the Command and General Staff College, and his performance earned him the opportunity to attended the Kriegsakademie, the German staff college. However, coupled with impressive academic preparations, Kirkpatrick writes that Wedemeyer’s curiosity exposed him to a “kaleidoscope” of ideas and methods. Kirkpatrick summed-up Wedemeyer: “Competence as a planner thus emerged as much from conscientious professional study as from formal military education…” Going on to say:

In common with many of his peers, much of Wedemeyer’s professional and intellectual education was less the product of military schooling than of personal initiative and experience in the interwar Army.

Wedemeyer’s intellectual development was purposeful and paid off. In Wedemeyer’s deep study of his profession he used the prescribed paths, but also explored on his own. How common is that today? What is the real intellectual foundation supporting our professional warriors? Is it the minimum one will glean from the service schools, or we encouraging our people to go a step further.  In an earlier post I wondered aloud, and echoed a remark posed by Jon Sumida with respect to Alfred Thayer Mahan:

“It remains to be seen whether readers exist with the mind and will to accept his guidance on what necessarily is an arduous intellectual and moral voyage into the realm of war and politics.” (emphasis added)

Against this backdrop, Tom Ricks in an interview at the Washington Post said:

The U.S. Army is a great institution. The rebuilding of the U.S. Army after the Vietnam War was an epic struggle and was enormously successful. Today we have great frontline soldiers. They are well equipped, they are well trained and they are in cohesive units.

The problem is at the very top. This magnificent rebuilding of the U.S. military after Vietnam really did recreate the force, but they kept the old head. The one thing they didn’t really change after Vietnam was how they shaped their generals. What we got was a generation of officers who thought tactically and not strategically. It’s the difference between being trained and being educated. You train people for known attacks. You educate people for the unknown, the complex, the ambiguous, the difficult situation. (emphasis added)

No intention of singling out the Army, I would cast the net of this question to include the other services, and ask whether we have Major Wedemeyer Majors/Lieutenant Commanders in the pipeline. If we do, are we nurturing and encouraging them? How many of our professional warriors study independently, and like Wedemeyer host/encourage frequent independent fellowship/discussions around books and ideas independent of the academy? As I mentioned in an earlier post, there is no app for intellectual development. We should at least expose our officers to the Wedemeyer method, if you will, and go deeper than service schools, blogs, and the constant chatter in our information laden world. Colleagues gathering to discuss and debate; educating and enlightening each other.

On strategy, Kirkpatrick quotes Wedemeyer:

…strategy, properly conceived, thus seemed to me to require transcendence of the narrowly military perspectives that the term traditionally implied. Strategy required systematic consideration and use of all the so-called instruments of policy–political, economic, psychological, et cetera, as well as military–in pursuing national objectives. Indeed, the nonmilitary factors deserved unequivocal priority over the military, the latter to be employed only as a last resort.

Wedemeyer’s net was wide and comprehensive and worthy of emulation. While his accomplishment(s) are impressive, so was his preparation.

Wedemeyer went on to a successful Army career, retiring as a 4-star. In 1985, he was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Reagan. (See the New York Times obituary.)

This is an important and accessible introduction to the nuts-and-bolts of strategic planning and has my strongest recommendation.

A free electronic copy can be found here (pdf).

32 Responses to “An Unknown Future and a Doubtful Present: Writing the Victory Plan of 1941 — a review-lite and a few questions”

  1. carl Says:

    You bring up a good point with this statement “How many of our professional warriors study independently, and like Wedemeyer host/encourage frequent independent fellowship/discussions around books and ideas independent of the academy?”
    I don’t know but the problem may be a quotidian one.  There may be many many who want to have discussion groups like Wedemeyer had, I’d bet on it, but how many have the time?  This was addressed in an article I read decades ago in I think Military Review.  The article stated that between the wars, Army officers had a lot more free time to do things like that.  IIRC, it said in those days they worked a lot fewer hours compared to the sked the officers of the time the article was written worked.  From what my civilian self has read, 50 page power point presentations, diversity training, reflective belt training,  etc etc take up most if not all the work day not devoted to actual fighting training.  It is hard to wander away from the academy if you don’t have the time.

  2. Lexington Green Says:

    Think about George Marshall in China, traveling around on horseback.  No cell phone, no email.  The man could actually think.  Or Eisenhower meeting with Fox Connor to talk about the books Connor had him read. Telephone calls were not even common.  The military might do well to have two days once a quarter of silent retreats, only emergency communication permitted, with literally no unnecessary conversation, for groups of officers and non-coms, with some assigned reading and some self-selected on the same theme, then an open discussion after dinner. It would cost virtually nothing and would be an intellectual and mental oasis, and some good ideas might come out of it.  Religious silent retreats which last a couple of days and are truly life-restoring. This would probably be useful as well.

  3. J. Scott Shipman Says:

    Hi Carl,
    Time. I hear this a lot. As Lex points out, while we’re all busy, “silent retreats” are a treat. My wife and I strive for silent Sundays (we fail from time to time). On Sundays we avoid our computers and smart phones, etc.
    While the challenge exists, to be sure, one motivation for this post was to point out there is another way. A way that is more studied, quiet, and reflective. If our people in arms don’t make the time to study their calling deeply, we’re in deep kimchi.
    I’m attempting to bootstrap a quarterly event in our home to discuss John Boyd’s work—six hours on a Saturday and the first event is full. Two or three active duty officers, one reserve, and a passel of civilians with interest. Maybe this will get the ball rolling in our little corner of the world. 

  4. Ski Says:

    We are out there but there are not a lot of us. There are woefully few in the Active Army, even less in the Reserves and Guard.
    There are so many factors on why this is – a doctoral thesis should be written – and how it must change.
    One must be careful to view the American WWII success as the gauge to the current woes as well. Every time is unique, every situation is unique. 
    The culture is the biggest problem, followed by the personnel system, followed by the really strange cults of personalities that have taken root in the military over the last 20 years. I’d also add that the Army has a very bad trait of using its own narrative, its own history and its own mythos as guiding lights without consideration for any other narrative, history or mythos. A perfect example is FM 3-24, a cherry picked document that relied heavily on the American experience, and ignored hundreds of other insurgency/counterinsurgency wars.
    We’ve become so corporate, so stilted, so conformist…everything must fit inside the tightly coupled personnel scheme of the 20 year career. Ricks only has half the story – the leadership might not be good but the underlying reasons why this had happened hasn’t really been addressed well. Don Vandergriff’s books are probably the closest descriptors of why it’s happened…

    Time management is also atrocious. Forget about the mandatory training. That’s an annoyance. The worst experience of my life was spending a year as a Corps Planner in Afghanistan working 18-20 hour days…in the middle of an insurgency…the OODA loops are so much slower than maneuver warfare, yet the appearance of business = relevance and good.

  5. carl Says:

    Mr. Shipman:  I understand your point that soldiers should study their profession deeply, but it is easier (for the average squadron pilot) if they are given some time.  From what I read, there is a organizational tendency to fill up the time with tasks, work expanding to fill the time available.  From what I remember of the article I spoke of, the officers in those days basically had most every afternoon to do things because the SGTs handled most things.  Most officers probably played golf but those inclined simply had more time to study without making heroic efforts to do so.  And I would imagine the lack of a need for heroic effort may have got some good, but not driven minds, to start reading, get interested and go from there.
    I am a civilian and all I know is what I read, but an example of work to no purpose is what I read some Pentagon tours are.  They show up real early, go home real late, produce stacks of power point slides in support of killer briefings but get nothing actually useful done.  In the airplane business you are exposed to sitting around waiting to go a lot and i know how mentally fatiguing that (believe it or not boys and girls, waiting and waiting for the flight to go wears you out) can be.  So I can imagine how a guy doing frantic busywork 5-6 days a week 12 hours a day can be to drained to do much of anything but rest during his free time.
    It is a hard thing to fix and i don’t know how to fix it.  Maybe given our current culture it can’t be.

  6. carl Says:

    Ski:  Your comments prompted two questions.  Could you describe more fully on the weird cults of personality that have developed.  That is something civilians don’t see like me or know about.
    And since I haven’t read it, does FM 3-24 make much reference to the Philippine Insurrection of over 100 years ago?
    You are right to point to the pernicious effects of the personnel system.  From the viewpoint of an external observer, it seems fighting wars is secondary to serving the needs of that system.  I’ll have to check out Vandergriff’s books.

  7. J. Scott Shipman Says:

    Hi Ski,
    Glad you’re out there, and I understand your remarks w/respect to culture. The military heaps work on itself because the system is totally risk averse. While I’m not an Army expert, your remarks ring true—especially in view of Gen Petraeus’ mess of late.
    I don’t know about the Army, but the Navy extolls the MBA and business (or at least they did at one point in the not-to-distant past) like process and programs that work for business, but have little or no applicability in military service. Some the “disruptive thinkers,” so-called, have rallied folks to more “business thinking,” when what we need are more officers, and interested NCO’s who are versed in the history of warfare—both non-fiction and literature.
    Every officer should read Peter Drucker’s The Effective Executive for no other reason than the chapter on time management. We have to get past the “appearance of business” and focus more on efficacy and true utility—young officer’s listen up—the old guys won’t do this, but keep this notion in your hip pocket and act on it now.
    Hi Carl, Pentagon tours are legendary. I’ve a young friend, an LCDR who just entered the Puzzle Palace, and I hope he can keep his wits about him. And, I’ll agree with you on your culture point—the guy who brought us to the dance, can’t take us home. The current culture is corrupt and flawed to the core. Too much inbreeding between the uniformed services, civil service, and contractor community—thus, little or no change.
    Culture (which I’m addressing in my soon-to-be finished book) changes are absolutely necessary, but we don’t have to wait. Whether it is book clubs that meet periodically, or colleagues who have a long lunch—we must establish a germ of folks within in our military who think–who care more about the next war than mandatory training or those stupid reflective belts everyone rightfully complain about. The “nannie” embraced by the military culturally won’t do much good if we’re being out-thought on the battlefield, or on the high seas.
    Wedemeyer’s was but one method, but we must do more, and it must be deeper than the average blog post (including this one—I’m describing a symptom of a much larger intellectual deficit. Think about it: we have Army War College, Naval War College, Command and General Staff College (USA and USMC), Naval Post Graduate School, and others—and what are we getting in return? John Boyd said, “People, ideas, hardware—in that order.” We can and must do better to cultivate those first two—-fellowship and common purpose are a good start.). 

  8. zen Says:

    Great post Scott!
    ” No intention of singling out the Army, I would cast the net of this question to include the other services, and ask whether we have Major Wedemeyer Majors/Lieutenant Commanders in the pipeline. “
    I met a few at Carlisle last year . Unfortunately whether they were going to retire immediately, stay in grade or make the coveted star was a complete crapshoot. A handful including my liason literally left straight from graduation to command brigades in Afghanistan (he ended up in the district next to Zabul where Pete was the adviser) others to specific DoD jobs. Many of them had already had three, four or five deployments, had an edge of PTSD and badly needed that year just to reconnect with family and young children who barely knew their fathers. Some were leaving the service or had just left to go to three letter agencies. It was not a very rational system for maximizing the use of talent

  9. Ski Says:

    The cults of personality form over time. It’s when a specific officer starts to build a following with junior officers, warrants, NCOs and junior enlisted. They start to look for assignments in the same unit as the leader. There will be a few that are dragged along as courtiers through the system as the leader’s career continues to progress. In the meantime, there will be a certain mythos built up along the way, and this manifests itself in very strange manners. The strangest manner I’ve seen is the leader will dole out autographed pictures of himself…and the courtiers will publicly display those pictures in their office or cube. Horrendous stuff. 
    There is some reference – not much – to the Philippine Insurrection. Most of the TTP’s used during that conflict would not be able to survive the media or legal scrutiny of the 21st Century.
    West Point was founded on engineering. Up until the last decade, cadets had to either major or minor in engineering…because the historical legacy of West Point had not evolved over time. It was one of the only sources of producing engineers in the 18th Century. On  top of that, the Army had favored officers with hard science degrees since the post-WWII era. ROTC scholarships and Regular Army commissions gave extra weight to individuals who had degrees or areas of study within hard sciences.
    A friend of mine and I were in the Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies a couple of years ago. He was and is a stud – BS in microbiology from UPENN, three combat deployments to Iraq, three peacekeeping deployments to Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo. As we were walking to grab lunch after class one day, he turned to me and said “I hate your guts. You studied history and political science both in undergrad and in graduate school, you are so far ahead of me and most of the class…” He was only sort of kidding…
    The culture of the MBA still is strong in the Army. God knows why, they can’t manage money, acquisition programs or the budget very well. 
    You mention the military professional education schools as well. I can tell you that CGSC was a complete and utter waste of time for me…except for the two month elective period where you could take up to eight electives, and they had a very broad class list. It was very interesting to see how many people signed up for the “Battalion XO” and the “Battalion S3” courses (I did not take these courses) and how few signed up for “Why We Fight” which was a sociological examination of the root causes of violence (I took this course). The predominate feeling at CGSC was that it was a break from the deployment process…people who skated were allowed to skate…SAMS was a much more challenging and interesting course, but it was also filled with officers who self selected themselves and were able to pass the entrance exams and the interviews.
    You didn’t meet emerging Wedemeyers when you were at Carlisle. You met Colonels who were either getting a shot at a star or who were going to retire in a few years. The place to look for the Wedemeyers is at Leavenworth, either at CGSC or SAMS.

  10. J. Scott Shipman Says:

    Hi Ski,
    As mentioned in the earlier ZP post mentioned above, the US Naval Institute is scrambling to be “relevant.” This from the organization that has been, to some degree, a place to nurture new leaders and there thoughts.
    Your remarks concerning the CGSC track with what I’ve heard from others. My father-in-law attended in the 70’s, I believe, and found the curricula valuable—he did an independent study thing where he listened to the unedited tapes of AARs from Vietnam (he had three combat tours as a fixed wing/chopper pilot) and was amazed when listening to said tapes how much the Army ignored their own lessons-learned.
    The USNA is an engineering school, too. The Navy’s Post Grad school gets high marks for their programs, but all of the programs could use more rigor. “Skating” should not be allowed—-but when one considers the phenomena, “skating” makes the life of the student and the faculty easier—a path of least resistance. 
    One solution is offered in Charles Hill’s Grand Strategies, where he outlines the benefits of exposing policy makers to the classics early in their career. The subtitle of this book is “Literature, Statecraft, and World Order” and the connections he makes between the events of history and the literature, or stories of the ages concerned, are remarkable and informative. Perhaps we’re losing the intellectual rigor prior to the academy? In public schools (at least in our experience), history has been dumbed-down and folded to match whatever politically correct position happens to be in vogue—-and sadly, white men of European ancestry haven’t been in vogue for some time; though in them there is much to learn, too.
    My response last night was something of a stream of consciousness in response to the excellent comments from you and Carl, but I’m warming to the notion of ‘book club,” social events that center around a book, event, or concept. The “disruptive thinkers,” so-called, are attempting this in the local DC area, but so far there isn’t much depth or rigor—-that said, they’re just getting started. Whatever the solution(s) (and I’m sure there are more than one), we need to take more seriously the lack of depth in history, economics, and policy—but most of all how these can positively contribute to our ability to think and fight strategically.
    Mark, Many thanks for the kind words!

  11. Marshall Says:

    My sense is that many of us live, work, and fraternize in a culture of crisis. Everything is urgent. One response is to just shut off the moment we get some downtime. TV, drinking, schlock fiction, immersion in pop culture, video games, blog reading are some of the ways I’ve coped. I grew out of those as timewasters as I realized that I no longer had time to shut off if I wanted to do something.
    But I still live in a culture of crisis. Almost everybody around me “has no time”. It doesn’t really matter what is being proposed, the sense of urgency kills all ambition toward progress. Defending myself and my space form this is a daily challenge – and some days I lose.
    I’m visiting family this week on a long-scheduled “vacation” that has been interrupted by my office several times already, but always with the promise, “just this thing, Marshall, we don’t want to take you away from your family”. And these are the people I choose as my allies!
    The culture of crisis doesn’t believe in people’s choices. It says that time will only be wasted, so we have to keep our people busy. After all, see how they spend their “free” time? Dissolute wastrels the lot of them. And then the culture of crisis tells us that we need to recharge by shutting off our minds. You need to vege out, man, you’re stressed; turn on the TV and have a beer, mate. Or else fire up your e-mail and write six more. And, hey, sorry about your insomnia, but it lets you get a jump on the day, amirite?
    Of course some people would “waste” a free afternoon/day. But I doubt they would for long. Boredom can be a powerful motivator and if peers and colleagues are so stimulated by their free time that they return to work with energy and joy, then people might start looking harder at how they spend their time.
    Scott, that you’ve started a small enclave is fantastic. Can the rest of us follow your example? Can we sustain it? Finding the right people is the key, but that is easier than ever. Building an incentive to think, to listen, to challenge, so that we would rather do that than any of the other million options on offer – that’s worth fighting for.
    An Uncertain Future is now on my iPad, ready for my next free time . . .

  12. J. Scott Shipman Says:

    Hi Marshall,
    Many thanks for the kind words! I hadn’t thought about our culture through the lens of “crisis,” but what you say rings true. More often than not, everything is ASAP and time for reflection is limited-to-nonexistent. Lex’s recommendation of something like a “religious retreat,” in relative silence rings true. The little group for December will have only a handful of active military, but depending on how this goes, I may push to move in the direction of once a month or every six weeks.
    BTW, the first chapter of the book provides the background on Wedemeyer’s intellectual foundation and is inspiring. 

  13. Ski Says:

    I’m in the DC area. Would love to assist with the book club. I’ll send you a Facebook invite, you will know who I am very easily.
    One of the first books we read at SAMS was the Kirkpatrick book on Wedemeyer…one of my classmates had the temerity to state that any one of us could have done what he did…I just laughed and shook my head in disbelief.

  14. J. Scott Shipman Says:

    Hi Ski,
    Many thanks!
    The 15 Dec event won’t be a book club per se, but rather a group of Boyd guys bringing their own ideas. Let me know if you’re interested. It will be tight, but this is a great group of folks. 

  15. carl Says:

    Ski:  The cult of personality you describe goes beyond weird and into creepy.  It reminds me a little of two things.  The first is something I read in James Webb’s A Sense of Honor about how some first year midshipman went to a Naval Academy boxing competition to root for a particular upperclassman.  It was weird to me because it seemed more like some serfs showing up to root for their lord at a joust.  The second thing it reminds me of a little is how Roman soldiers used to be loyal to their commanders rather than the state. 
    Did you read Jorg Muth’s Command Culture?  It is about how the American Army intentionally modeled itself on the German Army in the late 19th and early 20th century.  It got the superficial stuff right but missed the essence.  I thought it very good and it had a lot to say about West Point and the whole military education system.
    It is too bad FM 3-24 didn’t pay more attention to the Philippine Insurrection.  A lot of the important things were got right in that conflict, things beyond TTPs.  Some of the things got right were commanders and units stayed on the scene a lot longer than now, the shadow government was discerned, its importance recognized and effective steps taken against it pretty quick, units broke up into little groups posted all over very early, American officered constabulary and military units were created, they were flexible enough to give Pershing a big command when only a captain, all sorts of things.  Maybe I overstate what can be learned from that because it is so interesting in an of itself but we got right a very difficult task in just a few years.

  16. J. Scott Shipman Says:

    Hi Carl,
    Is there a book on the Philippine Insurrection you could recommend? I’m at no loss for books, but your remarks echoed something I read not-too-long ago.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers and contributors!

  17. larrydunbar Says:

    “It is too bad FM 3-24 didn’t pay more attention to the Philippine Insurrection. ”

    Didn’t pay more attention? Modern warfare is based on the Philippine Insurrection. The Field Manual was an addendum. 

  18. carl Says:

    I guess Brian Linn’s books are very highly reputed.  I read The U.S. Army and Counterinsurgency in the Philippine War, 1899-1902 and thought it was great.  Two books about the pacification of Moroland I really enjoyed were Moroland: The History of Uncle Sam and the Moros, 1899-1920 and The Moro War: How America Battled a Muslim Insurgency in the Philippine Jungle, 1902-1913 by James Arnold.
    Mr. Arnold’s book Jungle of Snakes had a good section on the Philippines in it as did Mark Moyer’s A Question of Command.  One book that was a hell of an adventure was Bullets and Bolos: Fifteen Years in the Philippine Islands by John R. White.  He was an officer in the Philippine Constabulary including down in the Moro Islands.  Some of the things he said about working with people seem to have a lot of application today.
    Those are about all I’ve read.  I’m no scholar.  They were all good but if you are looking for a book for a group discussion I guess the Linn book I mentioned would be best.

  19. carl Says:

    LarryDunbar:  I never read FM 3-24.  I tried but couldn’t do it.  Ski said there wasn’t much in there about it so I’ll go by what he said.  It doesn’t matter much though, the subject is worth a lot of study in my opinion.

  20. J. Scott Shipman Says:

    Hi Carl,
    Many thanks! I’ll add these titles to my list—actually, I may have to block off a month next year to read nothing else.
    Hi Larry,
    Many thanks for your input, as I didn’t know that, but then again, there is much I don’t know.
    Happy Thanksgiving! 

  21. L. C. Rees Says:

    The world view encouraged inside many American businesses today is eating American free enterprise from inside. Whom the gods would destroy, they first give an MBA and a spreadsheet.

  22. J. Scott Shipman Says:

    Hi L.C.,
    Sadly, I concur with your remark—it is bad enough for business, but our military sees more value in an MBA than history. The spreadsheet won’t do much good on the field of battle.

    I’m reading Colin Gray’s excellent National Security Dilemmas, and he is at the point where he is defending the study of history as the only method of reasonably predicting the future.
    BTW, Gray’s book, with a copy of Clausewitz close by is extraordinarily good. 

  23. zen Says:

    “On this episode of the History Channel “In Search of the Lost Spreadsheet of Alexander the Great”…..”

  24. larrydunbar Says:

    “Many thanks for your input, as I didn’t know that, but then again, there is much I don’t know.”

    The reason you don’t know much is that knowledge is Destructive instead of Constructive. You have apparently Destructed yourself back to the point that you know nothing :).

    That is why I rely on historians. Of course to me “historian” is code for military personnel. 

    I can’t remember when or who it was, but sometime at the start of the Iraqi War, a Philippine insurgency flared up and BushII was quick to kill it. That was at a time when most of the stuff coming out of the WH was about what the color code for the day was, so I took notice. 

    One historian wrote that if we were to lose the Philippines our whole war strategy would fall apart. Later a Native American author talking at Berkeley happen to mention that the first Iraqi counsel, set up by the US in Iraq, was patterned after the counsel set up to handle the OODA loop of the Native American.  

    I also read that when Rice, as head of the NSA, learned how the counsel was structured she blew-up and dismissed everyone, and started over.

    You see, the counsel was set-up to handle enemies of the State, not friends. She didn’t want to destroy the Iraqi society, she wanted to bring a different structure to hold the society together. The counsel was structure as those on the Left, instead of like those on the Right.

    Rice wanted a normal force of the Right to create friction between competing forces, instead of letting them pound their heads together, which is basically the way of the Left.

    As I have said in one of my postings, the forces inside the structure of the Left are aligned perpendicular, with each force taking the country one way or another until it reaches a place that neither wants to go. When that happens war ends.

    Unfortunately, Rice forgot to tell our military, because the military pretty much fought and signed treaties as if the Iraqi were our enemies as interpreted by the FM mentioned.

    These competing structures, of the Left (FM) and Right (military), prolonged the fight (Destruction), instead of bringing a quick peace (Construction), because the Way (Ends, Ways, Means) of building both structures are different and competing.

  25. larrydunbar Says:

    And the Way of course is how knowledge is handle by D/C structure inside the loop, and more specifically the novel idea.

    the novel idea  is destroyed within the gap between the D/C structured as the Right, while evolution is allowed to happen when the D/C is structured as the Left, because there is no gap, between the D&C, except between “waves”, or in other words, the OODA loops.

    Two society of “friends” are form after a civil war (Left structured), while one country under God, indivisible is created after a war between enemies that is structured as the Right. 

    Basically you can tell which war is in progress, as I wrote a hundred years ago on TDAXP, because with Modern Warfare, death squads show up, and Iraq was full of death squads.  

    So, exactly how did that war end? 

  26. J. Scott Shipman Says:

    Hi Larry,
    Many thanks for the comments. I’m not sure I understand what you’re attempting to convey, but as I said previously, there is much that I don’t know. :)) 

  27. larrydunbar Says:

    “I’m not sure I understand what you’re attempting to convey” 

    You have seen a schematic of what the OODA loop looks like, how do you think it is structured, and what does the culture look like that has built the structure? As Critt has shown in his tweeter feed, the OODA loop can be thought of life itself. All life that I know of, has structure and lives inside some type of culture.

  28. J. Scott Shipman Says:

    Hi Larry,
    While OODA can be thought of in such terms (and I’ve seen Critt’s ideas, and there is much to admire), “life itself” is a bit too far for me. Critt will be an event next month and I’ll get to speak with him in person and discuss. 
    No dispute with your closing sentence.

  29. larrydunbar Says:

    ““life itself” is a bit too far for me.”

    As you are a person who is structured as the Right with a strong normal force (God) that, as Harold Bloom says about a similar idea in “Global Brain”, enforces conformity, but whose culture generates diversity as a Liberal, I would be interested to watch how you handle a novel idea. 

    Oh, I guess I have 🙂 

  30. Ski Says:

    Carl – sorry it took so long to get back with you. I’ve read Muth’s book and have had a number of e-mail conversations with him as well. It’s an excellent read to say the least.
    Linn is the best author on the Philippine Insurrection…but it has to be read as a unique campaign like any other…there are bits and pieces that are valuable and could be copied but there are approaches that simply wouldn’t work in Iraq or Afghanistan.

  31. Lynn Wheeler Says:

    slightly OODA; loc4933-38

    To exploit fleeting opportunities in battle, then, the commander had not only to think, decide, and act quickly, but he had also to be able to manipulate his task forces quickly.

    … snip …

    the kindle version has lots of problems, the quality of OCR is quite poor in places … and for some reason periodically a PDF page … apparently as image, is intermixed with the kindle’ized text.
    straight PDF

    above periodically mentions importance of emerging air power … however tactical close air support was significantly different from strategic bombing.

    America’s Defense Meltdown
    Loc 3214-17:

    Half of America’s total World War II budget went to U.S. air power and, of that half, 65 percent went to multi-engine bombers. A major study to quantify the effectiveness of this huge investment was initiated in October 1944 at the direction of President Roosevelt.

    … snip … loc3255-56:

    In conclusion, the RAF and U.S. Army Air Force bomber commands fared rather poorly in their strategic bombardment campaigns. Eight of nine of the strategic bombardment campaigns were failures, contributing little to Allied victory.

    … snip …

  32. J.ScottShipman Says:

    Hi Lynn,
    Many thanks for the update. I did link to the free Army copy at the end of the post, but thanks for the heads up on the kindle version…I’ve still not adopted e-books.
    I’ve read parts of Wheeler’s books; more often than not it makes me angry with the current way DoD does business, when we know we could do better—for much less money.
    In light of the aerial bombardment study, I find the pure air advocates of today interesting at best. J.C. Wylie said of war:
    The ultimate determinant in war is the man on the scene with a gun. (page 72) 

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