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The US Army Embraces “Crowdsourcing”

At SWJ Blog.

The Army wants your comments on its new Capstone Concept

by Robert Haddick
Brigadier General H.R. McMaster has sent to Small Wars Journal the latest draft of Army Capstone Concept version 2.7. McMaster leads a team at TRADOC that is charged with revising the Capstone Concept, which provides fundamental guidance to the Army’s doctrine and training efforts.

By December, McMaster and his team will complete their work on the Capstone Concept. Between now and then, he wants to hear from you. So please open this file, read it, and provide your comments, either here or at the Capstone Concept comment thread at Small Wars Council. McMaster and his team will read these comments and use them to improve this important document.

(You will note that the Capstone Concept draft we received is marked “For Official Use Only.” I assure you that we received this document openly from the Army and for the purposes explained above. McMaster and his colleagues at TRADOC want Small Wars Journal‘s readers to help them improve the Capstone Concept.)

Ok. Mil/intel/strategy/national security/COIN bloggers. We’ve been blogging on the “future of warfare” for five or six or more years. Some of us have also written books and journal articles, spoken at conferences and done op-eds. Along the way, there has been periodic lamentation (i.e. whining) that the powers that be don’t “get it” and no one pays attention anyway. Well HR McMaster is asking for  input on shaping official military policy. A “put up or shut up” moment for the bloggers.

I’m in! Who else is joining the party?

11 Responses to “The US Army Embraces “Crowdsourcing””

  1. A.E. Says:

    I have some responses to this that I’ll put up later, maybe on RTJ.

  2. Lexington Green Says:

    I will print it and look at it.  If I have any ideas, I will send them in. 

  3. Michael L Church Church Says:

    I do have some ideas on how the Army could change the way it currently does planning for wars. First off, drop the fact that all wars in the future are going to be insurgencies. Second off, start planning on a new generation of vehicles that are much more survivable than todays current death traps like the stryker and mrap. I will explain both why below. Wars are going to be fought pretty much as they have been fought in the last while…a mixture of high intensity battles with tanks, apcs, artillery and air bombardment.  Then they will probably degrade down to stalemate insurgencies like we are currently seeing in Afghanistan and Iraq.  We need a mixture of forces both light and heavy to deal with the threats. And, as of now, we are not equipped for either. We are investing too much money into sensors, and technology that are too net centric dependent for our military’s own good.  Technology like sensors can be fooled, and their power for transmission either jammed or the sensor destroyed.  We are being too dependent on lighter, more agile vehicles when we should be concentrating on more protection and transportability.  I mean the stryker and mrap s do the job now, but what happens when the unit equipped with these vehicles go up against a force that is dug in and equipped with heavy anti tank weapons, or a heavy mechanized force equipped with tanks and AFVs? The Army needs to focus on 4 key areas to succeed….airlift assets, force protection and power projection, and lastly manpower.  The Army needs to focus on obtaining more attack helicopters for ground support due to the lack of CAS assets in theater. While on the same thought, the Army needs to continue to purchase more transport helicopters, and start training more pilots to fly them.  On the strategic side we need more big transports like C17s to move equipment into a war zone. The Army needs to focus on troop protection more when it orders vehicles. A great example is why a stryker is venerable to current RPG rounds, and KE rounds from big gunned tanks, as well as road side booby traps and such.  I will add more later… 

  4. Papa Ray Says:

    I’m no combat expert, but I did participate in the little war in S. Vietnam. But I do talk to and have email correspondence with many other Vets that have been in that war and most of the wars since.

    The things that are discussed that keep coming back are better individual weapons, better field equipment, better boots, clothing, personal armor.

    Everybody wants those weapons from Starship trooper.

    And better transport. I notice even now in Afghanistan the shortage of helicopters and maintenance support for same.  I’ve heard that the need for a lighter, smaller but more powerful mortar and round is still wanted.

    The returning vets still think the night vision equipment could use much improvement as well as better com. gear. The need for more and better small observation airframes is something that everyone I’ve talked to said would be great. Most think that the ones that they did have were good but they never had enough of them.

     Also mentioned was the A-10, which every grunt thinks is the best thing since a warm bed and cold beer.  I hear we have a large amount of them out in some desert, that could be upgraded at a lower cost than building millions on fast attack airframes that can’t stay and play very long and have trouble operating in some conditions.

    I’m sure that you guys and gals that make this stuff more than just  a past time will come up with some good stuff. Just be aware that if it doesn’t help the grunts it should be implemented after the things that do directly benefit them is accomplished.

    Papa Ray
    Central Texas

  5. zen Says:

    Hi Papa Ray and Church2
    Much thanks – I will flag your comments for attention to Dave at SWJ.

  6. YT Says:

    Zen: I’m no aficionado on military affairs, but do the grunts in Iraq & Afghanistan KNOW what they’re there for? Most of everyone’s concerned ’bout weaponry, tactics & such but no one’s talked ’bout esprit de corps & misson statement. Just a humble opinion from yours truly.

  7. Naysayer Says:

    If folks have already expressed through books, articles, and blogs their thoughts about future warfare, why solicit those thoughts here? Turning that thought around, if the Army’s senior leadership ignored previous recommendations and insights, why should they accept any presented here?

  8. Larry Dunbar Says:

    "If folks have already expressed through books, articles, and blogs their thoughts about future warfare, why solicit those thoughts here? "


    Then to, if you are talking strategy and not just tactics, how, from our prospective as a citizen of the USA, would you analyze the situation, when the military has, perhaps, shown its mastering of 4GW? In other words, the image has been so subverted from the view of the common US citizen that it is not until now, as the military begins to run out of resources, in a time of need  is there any attempt at letting the citizen back in. How do you tell the last guy hunkered-down in some outpost that his isolation from the citizens of the USA is what has enabled him to fight in some shit-hole for so long?-*_ Cynically speaking, we could say that the US military learned a lot from the Vietnam War. The first thing could have been ways of sustaining a slog of a war over time. Some of the rules could be: let the US public see only half the forces involved in the fighting, by the use of mercenaries; reduce civilian ownership of those forces, by going all voluntary and private; embed all media into the fog of war; require no sacrifices for the US public; and keep all losses, use of resources and sacrifices confined to future generations and the people actually fighting the war.

  9. zen Says:

    Hi Naysayer,
    Good question. Maybe the difference between the frame of mind that rejects advice and the one that solicits it?
    No guarantees. McMaster asked for comments, what he does with them is up to him, and the Army.

  10. Crew Dog Says:

    We have CH-47s to deliver people and light wheeled vehicles to difficult terrain, but those vehicles don’t bring much to the party. A tracked, CH-47-mobile light APC could bring cannon and mortars to the fight, protect the crew from small arms and RPG fire, and carry supplies/weapons over terrain where wheeled vehicles have difficulty.

  11. zen Says:

    Hi Crew Dog,
    That was interesting. We could use more practical suggestions around here sometimes and you got me thinking…..
    What is the heaviest kind of fire a light APC can take vs. what engagements would they have to avoid?  i.e. what would insurgents have to carry with them to be a reliable threat to the APC ? I’m asking because I’m trying to figure out what systemic costs we’d be imposing on the Taliban by doing what you propose across the board.

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