Guest Post: Why the United States cannot put Boots on the Ground to Fight ISIS
[Mark Safranski / “zen“]
Today, I’m pleased to offer a guest post by LtCol. Bob Weimann, USMC (ret.) . Weimann is the former Commanding Officer, Kilo Co., 3/1 and Weapons Company 3/1. He also served as a Marine Security Force Company commanding officer, an infantry battalion Operations Officer and the Executive Officer of 1/6 during Desert Storm. A frequent presenter at the Boyd & Beyond Conferences, Bob is on the Board of Directors of UAP (United American Patriots) and a contributing editor to www.defendourmarines.com . UAP is a non-profit charity that aids military service members to help defray expenses for an adequate and fair legal defense. See What UAP Believes here: http://www.unitedpatriots.org/ .
Why the United States Cannot Put Boots on the Ground to Fight ISIS
By Bob Weimann
The expression “boots on the ground” has an extended military-jargon history…The term is used to convey the belief that military success can only be achieved through the direct physical presence of troops in a conflict area … The term is particularly applied currently (2010) to counter-insurgency operations.
The expression “boots on the ground” basically means we need to send in ground troops, grunts, warriors, dog-faces, jarheads, combatants…those shifty eyed fowl mouth two fisted go for broke Soldiers and Marines that close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver in order to kill the enemy. These are the folks that must place the front site of their rifle on an enemy and pull the trigger. These are warriors brave enough to step through the doorway of an enemy occupied house, detect and disarmed an IED, engage a treacherous enemy that does not take prisoners and an enemy that does not hesitate to torturer and murder innocents. Our warriors are the sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers, neighbors, and acquaintances from every community, town, city and state across this country and one of the greatest representative cross sections of patriotic American citizens in existence.
Our warriors are a different generation but they possess the same spirt America’s warriors have establish and exhibited since the Revolutionary War. For over 240 years these folks have never let us down and have volunteer for the nasty, dirty, immoral, brutalizing effects of combat. You can say we lost in Viet Nam, Somali, Iraq and Afghanistan but the scary truth is we lost those wars strategically after we won them tactically. The unfortunate reality is that the strategic always trumps the tactical. Tactical is all about the troops; strategy is all about the generals.
The other scary fact is that since 2003, we have seen an unprecedented number of courts martial that the media labels “war crimes” … more “war crime” legal cases since 2003 than in all the battle history of all the United States war’s combined. How can this be possible when we have fielded to today’s battles the best trained, best equipped, smartest warriors in this country’s history?
The issue is not the troops, the issue here is the senior military leadership, the general officers that have forgotten they are warriors and exhibit the traits and leadership characteristics of politicians. Today’s general officers understand careerism but do not understand the Laws of War that should be their stock and trade. They hid behind lawyers and Rule of Law equivocations that cannot co-exist on a battlefield.
For this reason, we cannot put combat boots on the ground because the troops are being used as political cannon fodder. Over and over again we see American combatants thrown under the bus for the sake of justifying a policy objective of executing a bad military strategy. Names like Lt Ilario Pantano, Sgt Larry Hutchins, SSgt Frank Wuterich, Sgt Michael Williams, Sgt Jose Nazario, 1Sgt John Hatley, Sgt Derrick Miller, Capt Roger Hill, Lt Michael Behenna, Major Fred Galvin, Major Matt Goldsteyn, PFC Corey Clayett, GySgt Timothy Hogan, SPC Franklin Dunn, SSgt Osee Fagan, SPC Michael Wagnon, and Lt Clint Lorance are the more notable cases. You can be certain that the list will continue to grow not only with the recent Afghanistan Kunduz Hospital Airstrike but also any combat actions against the terrorist in Iraq and Syria.
Military campaigns are always based on a “kill or capture” strategy, however, our leadership does not believe in a kill strategy nor do they believe in a capture strategy. Our military leadership believes that our Soldiers and Marines are in combat to die for the “greater good”. Instead of capture, we have a “catch and release” program that continually frees known enemy combatants and terrorist to again kill, not only our service members, but also civilians. “Catch and release” is nothing more than a treachery award program for the enemy. Our generals believe that our combatants have no right to self-defense on the battlefield. The idea that our warriors are there to make the enemy die for their cause is a lost priority in our general officer’s politically correct minds.
We cannot put boots on the ground because our generals do not trust our Soldiers and Marines to show the initiative necessary for successful combat operations. The generals have forgotten how to fight and win. They have forgotten how to support our warriors by setting the correct strategic policies to allow them to fight. We no longer have combat commanders. The Washington DC political cronies continue to dedicate failed policies that undermine and kill our warriors in order to acquire political curry and favoritism.
War is not a moral exercise. There is no morality that can justify the slaughter of war. War is the ultimate competition that is won by killing the bad guys and bringing our warriors home alive. Collateral damage is an unescapable reality. Yes, collateral damage considerations are important but collateral damage must be weighed against military necessity. The Laws of War principle of military necessity allows for a rigorous war; a rigorous war is a short war; and a short war minimizes civilian casualties. Mixed into military necessity is the idea that field commanders have a responsibility to bring home alive as many of our warriors as possible. Sending them to Leavenworth is not part of the “bringing them home” equation.
June 19th, 2016 at 6:24 am
It’s hard to figure out what this guy is saying, except he apparently thinks that he is very much in the right and that others are to blame.
With all due respects, that also is the general viewpoint of most two-year-olds on things.
June 19th, 2016 at 12:42 pm
“we lost those wars strategically after we won them tactically”
“Winning a war” is a strategic concept, a military may win a series of tactical engagements but lose strategically, that is in terms of achieving the political purpose, in other words tactical success is a means toward the strategic goal, but does not guarantee its attainment . Nothing new here, basic strategic theory . . .
Beyond all the “warrior” talk, the assumption seems to be that if we kill enough of those resisting our political purpose, which is not defined, they will give up and allow us to go home victorious . . .
June 20th, 2016 at 3:02 am
Having seen Bob’s hour-long talk on recent military case law, shifting ROE, the role of UCMJ and LOAC, his primary issue is unworkable and ambiguous ROE being used in vindictive or arbitrary prosecutions of soldiers and marines, sometimes for political points and sometimes for other reasons. More or less he has loss trust in the chain of command to deploy troops effectively in combat or treat them fairly in the military justice system if a mission goes awry.
Admittedly, that’s a more technical talk on military case law and this is a short op-ed, but that’s where he is coming from primarily.
June 20th, 2016 at 5:32 pm
Couple comments…Yes! I am acting like a two year old…and yes, there is nothing new in the article. I would also add there has been “nothing new” for the last fifteen years in our strategy…and the 15 year frustration feeds the two-year-old in me (I have quite a collection of rattles and pacifiers BTW). Boyd tells us that we must be constantly adapting…and the adaption process is to pull things apart…look at all the parts…keep what is working and throw out what isn’t working…and then, put it all back together (adaptation= snowmobile; no adaptation = frustration).
The political throwing of Soldiers and Marines under the bus using the Manual for Court Martial is a symptom of bad strategy. Please remember, we have more of these “war crime” cases from Iraq and Afghanistan then all the “war crimes” cases in all of US wars combined and that begs the question; why? Understanding that “war crime” is a media label and not a UCMJ nor a MCM label, you have to ask, has our enemy actually folded their “adversary back inside himself”. Haditha, for instance, resulted in one conviction of a Sgt for dereliction of duty, yet it took out a battalion CO, two company commanders, a platoon leader, an intelligence (HETT) Lt, and an entire squad of Marines and was in the headlines for over six years. Undermining trust attacks the essential element of leadership and therefore also undermines battlefield initiative.
“kill enough” are your words; my words are a rigorous war”. In our concerns to minimize collateral damage we have, in fact reduced the number of civilian causalities, however, civilian causalities, due to enemy activity, have gone up almost every year in Afghanistan (15 years). When talking about counter insurgency we use to hear the word “harry”, as in, “forced to move along by harassing”. The American counter insurgency effort in the Philippines basically started in Dec 1899. We “harried”, relentlessly, Emilio Aquinaldo and his followers until April 1901 when he swore allegiance to the US (16 months).
June 21st, 2016 at 5:19 pm
That is how we subdued some of the Apaches too, just chased them until they got tired of running. Of course when we did that the Mexicans let us. We can’t do that in Afghanistan because our allies the Pak Army/ISI won’t let us.
Which leads to a question. It seems to me that there is an implicit contract between the men and the high officers, you will go and possibly die upon my order and in return I will do everything in my power to allow you to do the mission and keep you as safe as I can. Any general who accepts the top job in Afghanistan knows that he can do nothing about the Pak Army/ISI’s support of Taliban & Co. Therefore he knows that he cannot do everything that needs to be done to further the mission and protect his men. It seems to me that by accepting the top job in Afghanistan said top general knows that he won’t be able to keep up his side of that implicit bargain with his men. He is in effect lying to the men. So I don’t understand how anybody can accept top command in Afghanistan and still be an honorable person. I am not talking about company commanders or such, I mean the very top guy who if he said no I can’t do that, that refusal might have some effect. But there seems to be no reluctance to take that job, at least from a civilian’s point of view.
Mr. Weimann, what is your opinion?
June 22nd, 2016 at 3:46 pm
Hi Carl, You are correct on that “implicit contract” thingy. What I was taught as a young Lt was: “take care of your Marines and they will take care of you”…that seems to be lost forever. Everyone recognizes that general officers must play in politics but the implicit contract was they keep the troops out of the politics. To answer your question …it is a combination of issues …probably careerism is a big issue…gets back to the politics…generals would rather follow bad politics and bad strategy rather than stand up to the political leadership. The “war crime” cases I spoke of always seem to be turned over to the Service Chiefs where they immediately go political. On the positive side, the recent Kunduz Hospital bombing was handled by the Combat Commander CENTCOM…a lot of careers ruined and blame placed on the low levels but (so far) no one seems bound for Leavenworth…the bad news is that seems to be the exception. http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarines/Weimann/SinsOfGenerals_Strategic_Legalism.htm
June 23rd, 2016 at 11:39 pm
“Military campaigns are always based on a “kill or capture” strategy, however, our leadership does not believe in a kill strategy nor do they believe in a capture strategy.”
But isn’t a “kill or capture” strategy problematic considering when our soldiers and marines go into battle it is a slaughter? I mean, sad as it is, any general in our military who never lost any men in a campaign would probably be relieved of command for not trying hard enough.
So it seems to me that “capture” means the same as “kill”, and it comes down to kill and capture. Which might mean, as bizarre as it sounds, that we are, at the start of these non-equal state battles, limiting the amount of the enemy we kill right down to the point where we have to turn some back into the slaughter, before the enemy is able to negotiate what they see as an advantage for them.
In other words, two armies can’t negotiate peace unless both have some type of an advantage, and when we put boots on the ground, the enemy has no advantage, if our objective is peace instead of occupation and submission.
Which kinda means, all our wars (not between near-powers) are political instead of military, which might be what the author of this article means.The boots we put on the ground are there to fight political battles, and in political battles no one is supposed to die.
June 24th, 2016 at 4:51 pm
Larry, you are right I should have said all military strategy is “kill and capture”…my mistake. I also agree that all war is political, however, at the tactical level wars are about killing. Under the Laws of War two opposed enemy combatants can, not only kill each other on sight, but also have a duty to kill each other and that duty exists until one of them is dead or puts their hands in the air, weapons free. Read Michael Walzer’s “Just and Unjust War” naked soldier chapter.
Disagree with “two armies can’t negotiate peace unless both have some type of an advantage” if an opponent has an advantage why should he negotiate? … if I am losing and there is little hope of winning, ya, I will negotiate. As an example, President Nixon needed to get North Vietnam back to the negotiation table to end the Viet Nam war. He unleased the US B-52 fleet in a bombing campaign against the North Vietnam. What brought the North Vietnam to back to the table was not the bombing but the fact they ran out of surface to air missiles. They had lost the effective means (advantage) to defend against the bombing.
“limiting the amount of the enemy we kill right down to the point where we have to turn some back into the slaughter”. This old Marine does not understand this statement…as we release known bad guys, we are actually turning them lose to continue the slaughter of civilians. Look at the causality statistics (both Iraq and Afghanistan) civilian deaths due to friendly fire are down but civilian deaths due to enemy activity are way up…and the year to year trend is upward …significantly!
June 25th, 2016 at 4:00 am
“if an opponent has an advantage why should he negotiate?”
Because, otherwise, he is being slaughtered in actual combat? I was suggesting he was.
I mean we started out in Vietnam at about 12 to 1 confirmed kill ratio, and I don’t think it got any better for them. I am not sure what the ratio was in the Afghanistan or Iraq war, but it must have been very lopsided in our favor. So in a slaughter, why didn’t the Afghans and Iraqis negotiate?
I don’t think negotiation in the face of a slaughter was in their interest, because they were: first fighting a civil war, and second they had a better way of fighting than taking on the US military head on, while the US was willing to spend an unlimited amount of resources. The US can’t or, conservatively, we don’t want to spend any more resources in our 15-year war.
“This old Marine does not understand this statement…as we release known bad guys, we are actually turning them lose to continue the slaughter of civilians.”
So you know Boyd?
June 26th, 2016 at 1:18 pm
I don’t think negotiation in the face of a slaughter was in their interest, because they were: first fighting a civil war, and second they had a better way of fighting than taking on the US military head on, while the US was willing to spend an unlimited amount of resources. The US can’t or, conservatively, we don’t want to spend any more resources in our 15-year war.
So you know Boyd?
Yes…I was introduced to Boyd as a student at Amphibious Warfare School when he came to Quantico and delivered his brief: “Patterns of Conflict”. The next day after the brief I ask to join the first AWS Maneuver Warfare Seminar lead by Bill Lind. I have been a dedicated Boydian since.
June 27th, 2016 at 5:27 pm
“The next day after the brief I ask to join the first AWS Maneuver Warfare Seminar lead by Bill Lind. I have been a dedicated Boydian since.”
That one,two punch must have been quite a boost and set your career in motion. I’ve read Bill Lind on-line, and listen carefully to what he has to say. I think he was the first one to warn that Israel had fallen into a trap in their last conflict with Lebanon. I think things would have been worst for Israel if the Arabs hadn’t sprung it too soon.
June 27th, 2016 at 6:04 pm
I look at Boyd’s OODA loop as the process used to distribute energy (power). In Boyd’s other process PISRR (Penetrate, Isolate, Subvert, Re orient, Re harmonize or however you were introduced to the acronym) Isolate means to kill and it means to capture, but that is not all it means.
In the context of energy, isolation means to create a potential (Potential Energy). So by turning them loose and sending them back to slaughter civilians is, in my way of thinking, isolating them in intentional or unintentional ways.
I think subversion comes in the wake of the destruction or construction of the potential created through isolation. In the context of a distribution of energy, I think of a PISRR movement as an implosion. It is not too hard to think of the Middle East as an implosion.
June 28th, 2016 at 1:09 am
Just some thoughts or at least my opinion:
I look at Boyd’s OODA loop as the process used to distribute energy (power)”.
Distributing energy or power is a good way to look at the OODA loop, operate inside of your adversary’s OODA loop and you gain energy while they lose or waste energy. Do not look at the OODA loop in a singular solitary manner. Everyone is continually executing OODA loops, strategic ones and tactical ones and the only constant is time. Whether fighting or negotiating OODA loops are in competition the faster one gain power and the slower ones lose or waste power.
“Isolate means to kill and it means to capture, but that is not all it means.”
Correct. At the tactical level that can be said but Boyd’s Discourse is much more robust. At the Strategic level… “Penetrate adversary’s moral-mental-physical being to dissolve his moral fiber, disorient his mental images, disrupt his operations, and overload his system—as well as subvert, shatter, seize, or otherwise subdue those moral-mental-physical bastions, connections, or activities that he depends upon—in order to destroy internal harmony, produce paralysis, and collapse adversary’s will to resist.” (Slide 133). Remember Boyd’s patterns of conflict was born out on a study on insurgency/counter insurgency.
Boyd also gives a metric to measure if our Boydian heads are working. Whatever works for us must also work against your adversary. Whatever you do it should decrease your friction and increase your opponents. When you look at the Boyd briefs you can see where he states the Chi/Cheng; he flips the coin to show the push pull. Now two things are working to accelerate your success … you gain power as your adversary loses or waste power until their implosion…?
June 29th, 2016 at 1:53 am
“I look at Boyd’s OODA loop as the process used to distribute energy (power)”.
Distributing energy or power is a good way to look at the OODA loop, operate inside of your adversary’s OODA loop and you gain energy while they lose or waste energy.”
But gaining and losing energy is really only a direction and not necessarily a strategy.
So, most of the time, to gain energy over your opponent is a winning strategy, but not all the time. Sometimes falling out of the sky is a direction towards a position your opponent can’t or is unwilling to go and can be a winning strategy for those who follow.
So, as you say, whatever works for us must also work against your adversary (opponent).
Vectors are important.
June 29th, 2016 at 2:05 pm
“But gaining and losing energy is really only a direction and not necessarily a strategy.”
Agree. Gaining and losing energy is not a strategy; I would call it a method (?) for a strategy. Classic Maoist insurgency strategy: If the enemy retreats, attack; if the enemy attacks, retreat. The assumption here is that you gain energy based on your enemy’s actions of attacking or retreating. The key is how it affects your adversary. In the 2003 Iraq invasion, IstMARDIV (General Mattis), executed a deception plan to tie up and or draw out Iraq army units in defensive positions south and east of Bagdad. The deception plan didn’t work, those units never moved because they were actually there to control the Shi’i population. Mattis make a bad assumption about his enemy.
I once heard a “Maneuverist” (/Boydian) ask the question: is the Afghanistan or Taliban tribal chieftain’s OODA loop too slow to be effected by smaller quicker US OODA loops? The Afghanistan tribal leaders have been fighting invaders since Alexander the Great … great question…not sure what the answer is there…but I am guessing that the strategy of “when in drought, sit it out” seems to be working for our enemy in Afghanistan.
“Victors are important.”
Agree, provided you are using the mathematics definition (I think that is the definition that Boyd would use) ; a quantity (such as velocity) that has size and directions.
June 29th, 2016 at 4:01 pm
Oops “Vectors” vs Victors
June 30th, 2016 at 8:24 pm
John Robb says that Brexit is a Black Swan. The original Black Swan was quite an event, but there was little in the way of magnitude of event. Which, in the context that events/magnitude of events represents,as the exponent in the power-law of the distribution of energy, structure, the first Black Swan had little structure.
But Brexit had, as it turns out, a lot of magnitude in its event, by whatever units you choose to express it in. So either structure isn’t important, perhaps color (wave structure) is, or maybe brexit wasn’t a Black Swan. I mean, to take a line from one of the Matrices, “what has a beginning has an end.” So leaving the EU was more of a possibility than a Black Swan showing up in the southern hemisphere, because no one saw the beginnings of a swan that was black, and those who saw it was under a very low potential.
The reason I bring this up is that Isolation is the building of a potential (potential energy), while an Orientation is the releasing of the potential (kinetic energy) in Decisions.
A Black Swan is neither.
So, basically, those not believing in Brexit were very stupid (because Britain entering the EU was an event)–those who did believe in Brexit were ignorant (because Britain leaving the EU had no magnitude in their lives) in thinking that it could happen.
Strategically, the ignorant won over the stupid. Black Swan?
I think we can debate that, depending on if Robb is either stupid or ignorant, because we tend to orient ourselves in such a way that to give us an advantage within either orientation. 🙂
July 1st, 2016 at 4:52 pm
As much as I am enjoying these conversations I gotta ask…I hope you are not trying to draw me into a fighting debate with Robb??? He is a smart guy and can probably “box my ears” is a debate.
As a retired military guy, financial politics is definitely outside my orientation sphere or it is a very, very small piece of it. I will attempt to apply my Boydian mind (built as a kinda home garage self help project) to the question.
I agree the Black Swan is neither (I or O). But I would take a different track in my thinking and ask; is “breixt” a Black Swan (an unforeseeable event) or a failure to adapt? Boyd knew that closed systems fail (or a isolated system?), hence the need to adapt…I think, Boyd envisioned a building process that should be constantly pulling things apart and grabbing what works and throwing the non-working stuff away. Next question; are we witnessing a system failing or a system adapting? If you move your focus up a notch…and lets call the next higher notch the “financial will being of Europe” (again I am a neophyte here), are we seeing brexit fail or Europe adapt while playing on a changing strategic “tapestry”?
Politicians are constantly trying to move the needle between values and opinions. Here in the US the pressure is to move the needle between liberty and equality, and/or, individuality and democracy (Huntington). Whatever “snowmobile” they build or whatever way they move the needle, the essential Boydian value to adaptively build or operate, is trust. If trust does not exist or fails, that particular system will also fail. When I witness a senior officer panel discuss and question the Boyd Theory years ago (it was call a theory back in those days)…the slide they seem to have the most trouble with was the “Arrows Slide” (Slide 80 – Impression of the Blitzkrieg Penetration). The question they asked was; how do you control all those arrows? Their answer was John Boyd had just gone wild with arrows. In Boyd’s later presentations he would just come out and state the obvious…you control all those arrows with trust. I do not think that “Strategically, the ignorant won over the stupid”…but I do think brexit affair is based on distrust.
July 3rd, 2016 at 4:36 pm
“I hope you are not trying to draw me into a fighting debate with Robb??? He is a smart guy and can probably “box my ears” is a debate.”
Well…, I guess I am. Robb is a smart guy, no doubt, but I think you probably have more experience. So in the first 40 seconds I think the debate would be at least even.
“I do not think that “Strategically, the ignorant won over the stupid”…but I do think brexit affair is based on distrust.”
That is a good point. After distrust, the hinges do seem to come off of most systems. As for ignorance and stupidity functioning inside an OODA loop, I am thinking that education can help with ignorance, but can’t help stupid. By help I mean a feed moving either forward or backward that re sets the distribution according to reality.
In that context, education resets the ignorant, but it takes persuasion to reset the stupid, and persuasion is a tactic. To introduce education or exclude education from a population could be considered a strategy, and to teach a tactic, but the difference between ignorance and stupidity that I am interested in is that education itself is personal and requires trust, while persuasion takes two inside one OODA loop and really counts on distrust as a tactic that starts with Observation. So, with all this talk about how computers are going to take over the world, how are computers going to know if they are being stupid when they are no longer ignorant? I mean, will a non-ignorant computer be persuaded to put boots on the ground, as a preemptive strike, as BushII? And who is going to persuade it, and who will not? Will it take a persuaded voter?
July 5th, 2016 at 5:44 pm
“…I am thinking that education can help with ignorance, but can’t help stupid.
Is stupid the right word? Is “wrong” a better word? And do we learn from our “stupid” mistakes? The wrong or the stupid in Boyd’s teaching is the failure to adapt, or a failure to change. To learn from your mistakes is education…to deny mistakes is stupid. Boyd would sometimes talk about his thoughts on “doctrine” vs “dogma” (it is on one of his Youtube files when he was speaking at an air college (?). According to Boyd, doctrine is a teaching believed to be true; it is education. Dogma is a belief, an opinion, or something that is accepted without question. The Laws of War are doctrine…and from that doctrine we establish ROEs… dogma (or opinion) is what sends Soldiers and Marines to Leavenworth for 15 – 20 years, despite the fact, they followed their orders, and ROEs. Doctrine says the commander decides military necessity…dogma says to ignore Soldier’s and Marine’s self-defense … and Court Martial them for the sake of strategic legalism.
“By help I mean a feed moving either forward or backward that re sets the distribution according to reality.”
Agree…I think? but define “re-sets distribution”?
“…education itself is personal and requires trust,”…Agree…”while persuasion takes two inside one OODA loop and really counts on distrust as a tactic that starts with Observation.”
One OODA loop or two persons attempting to change orientation in two OODA loops?
“So, with all this talk about how computers are going to take over the world, how are computers going to know if they are being stupid when they are no longer ignorant? I mean, will a non-ignorant computer be persuaded to put boots on the ground, as a preemptive strike, as BushII? And who is going to persuade it, and who will not? Will it take a persuaded voter?”
Hmmm…are computer’s the issue or are people?…thinking about Google’s recent revelation that their search engine is weighting searches in favor of their preferred candidate. Someone did some analysis and then publicly asked the questions…as in WTF, over.
July 5th, 2016 at 9:00 pm
“One OODA loop or two persons attempting to change orientation in two OODA loops?”
Good point. I think both positions are doable, but it probably takes persuasion instead of education for two persons to occupy the same time and space inside one OODA loop. It has to do with Observation. Much of what we are observing is ourselves and not the object of our attention. So after knowing yourself and knowing your enemy, one has to persuade your enemy you are both observing the same thing, and then the loops are able to harmonize or re harmonize into one, or, in other words, one is able to enter the other’s loop. I just don’t think any amount of education can make that happen, mainly because of the betrayal thing. In the US political contest going on, Trump is persuading his followers, he is not educating them about anything, and it seems to be working, so far.
With two loops and two orientations battling it out for a position of advantage education works, because an advantage is observable as energy. Of course after the two structures, expressed as the exponent in the power-law in the distribution of energy, bump up together, one may need to persuade the other that their events and magnitude of those events (fast transits?) will win, at least structurally.
I mean an incumbent force usually wins over a insurgent force because the magnitude of events for the incumbent force is so final, as to destroy all structure. My thought is that the insurgent force can really only win culturally and through the position they take, or at least observed to take, inside that culture, but betrayals (Google’s recent revelation?) can all undo that.
July 7th, 2016 at 2:44 pm
“I think both positions are doable, but it probably takes persuasion instead of education for two persons to occupy the same time and space inside one OODA loop. It has to do with Observation. Much of what we are observing is ourselves and not the object of our attention.”
Agree with your thinking on education…I am still wrestling with “persuade”. In my military mind (and I say military mind because us military guys have a tendency not to look past our own noses) everyone has an OODA loop…private to general…one of the first problems we worked at Command and Staff when the “new” Warfighting Doctrine was published…how do you line up or control all them arrows and not restrain the individual initiative for all those others OODA loops. At this point, in my Boyd mind, I would say how do you “nest” all those OODA loops, or get them pointed in the right direction, to achieve, for example, one strategic OODA loop. We knew the Germans (WWII) used the “focus of main effort” and “mission orders” but we also learned there was something else we needed…and that was “commander’s intent”. Commander intent was three or four lines before the mission statement in an operations order and it basically describe where the CO wanted to be at the end of the mission. So when you say “persuade” (in relation to two competing OODA loops…or “for two persons to occupy the same time and space inside one OODA loop”) are you merging OODA loops or are you nesting under one intent?
July 8th, 2016 at 4:06 am
“So when you say “persuade” (in relation to two competing OODA loops…or “for two persons to occupy the same time and space inside one OODA loop”) are you merging OODA loops or are you nesting under one intent?”
I think OODA loops are just too complex to merge successfully and too complicated structurally for more than one to a nest in any one loop at any point in time. But I have long wondered how you guys of military minds made it work, and intent, in the way you describe it, gives me a clue how two objects could be persuaded to occupy the same time and space inside one OODA loop, at least I think I am beginning to understand.
In the context of physics, all we are really able to observe is energy, which is force at a distance. Orientation (in the context of an OODA loop) begins in a workspace, which is moving a weight a distance. So all those arrows represent distance and intent gives a vector for force. In order for two people to occupy the same OODA loop they first need to see the same thing (the arrows) and work in the same space (area of conflict?). So it is more of a matter of positioning, where both are in the same position to receive the same feedback and feedforward, and therefore are in the same loop.
A person positions him/herself by the decisions one makes. While the commander and those at the tip of the spear can’t make the same decision, the intent is to do so. Positioning comes between Decision and Action, and probably where fuzzy logic comes into the loop.
As for controlling all those arrows, I don’t think you can. Control is really all up to self control and all the leader can really do is command (with intent).
But then all those guys at the tip of the arrows, as well as those who command them, have to understand the environments they work in very well. Howard Bloom, in his book Global Brain page 9, says, “Neural networks and immune systems are particularly good examples [of complex adaptive systems]. Both apply an algorithm–working rule—best expressed by Jesus of Nazareth:”to he who hath it shall be given; from he who hath not even what he hath shall be taken away.”” So those at the tip of the arrows don’t want to get too far away from the commander’s intent, and end up with not.
July 8th, 2016 at 5:37 pm
More on “nesting” … nesting is my word…Boyd, I think, would call it “Harmonizing”. Control is a senior military officer word…something they want, and want, and want, and will go to tremendous counterproductive lengths to achieve. I think the systemic processing of service members into Leavenworth has much to do with control. I switched to the word nesting because, for the military mind, harmonize brings to much baggage or maybe it’s too musical?…not sure. On the military side you want everyone working to a harmonized intent and then using their own initiative (Orientation) to solve their own problem or take advantage of sudden and fleeting opportunities. You are correct, you can’t control all them there arrows. Everyone’s orientation is different and they will never line up without sever brain washing. How the local problem is solved is up to the individual …there is all kinds of ways to peel a grape…and leaving it up to the individual creates a number of different images…the more the better, because then the enemy is trying to figure out why they are different…it tends to bog down his orientation. In addition, by harmonizing all those OODA loops, you get a synergy…a geometric growth in power…and that is the sweet spot you are trying to achieve.
“and end up with not” True!…but the problem is then how to you ensure you don’t end up with the “not”? Recommend you read Fred Leland and Don Vandergriff’s book, “The Adaptive Leadership Handbook”. The book was written for police. For me the interesting part is that the police law enforcement system is basically a very distrustful system. I always had issues understanding how Boydian principles could be implemented within a police department because Boyd has to be based on trust. Police have a tremendous amount of supervision, both personal and procedural…seems to me to be a Gordian knot…but Fred and Don seem to have unraveled it.
July 9th, 2016 at 7:00 pm
Nesting is a good word. The way you used it I thought of it as building a little home inside something for more than one object to live in. Structurally I see nesting as putting something in layers, where as harmonizing I see as non destructive waves. Well non destructive in the context to each other.
Which I guess layers are segments with boundaries and waves are areas with length and amplitude creating multi particles with volume.I guess it is harder to trust someone who wants to throw volumes of particles at you than someone who wants to build nests.
On the other hand, Tesla found a way to “nest” waves by putting them into phases and putting Edison out of the electrical distributing business. So maybe you are on to something when you use the word nesting.
I did read Fred’s and Don’s book (at least as much as Amazon.com let me read)and agree with your assesment. When I think of all the money that depends on the system remaining as it is and despite the attacks on our police force, I have a hard time seeing things change anytime soon. I think what Fred is suggesting will take generations, and things will look ugly up until that time.
The old saying is that you want your soldiers to follow orders and your police to make decision. I don’t know how accurate that saying is, but it seems to me to be totally backwards in today’s environment observed. I think you are right, it is that trust thing.
As an example, McCrystal wasn’t kicked out of Afghanistan (oh yeah, I forgot he bad-mouthed the POTUS) because his strategy wouldn’t work, he came under attack because the soldiers under him didn’t trust him and the political climate anymore.
Maybe that is why we can’t put boots on the ground anymore.
July 11th, 2016 at 3:59 pm
“Maybe that is why we can’t put boots on the ground anymore.”
And there you have it…“Consequently, trust is an essential trait among leaders – trust by seniors in the abilities of their subordinates and by juniors in the competence and support of their seniors. Trust must be earned, and actions which undermine trust must meet with strict censure. Trust is a product of confidence and familiarity. Confidence among comrades results from demonstrated professional skill. Familiarity results from shared experience and a common professional philosophy.” FMFM-1 Warfighting, 6 March 1989, USMC, p.45.
and Strategic Legalism undermines trust… http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurMarines/Weimann/SinsOfGenerals_Strategic_Legalism.htm
BTW I think we set a record on zenpundit for the number of comments for a posting…lol
July 12th, 2016 at 7:39 am
“BTW I think we set a record on zenpundit for the number of comments for a posting…lol”
And I want to thank you. But if the military isn’t the oldest profession, then it must be the second oldest, and Strategic Legalism, if I understand it correctly, must be older than both. It was probably created around the time man decided to pick up a club and use it on someone. So I don’t believe, because (and if) it’s been around for such a long time, that Strategic Legalism is really a reason, in itself, why we can’t put boots on the ground.
To me, Strategic Legalism is, like betrayal, a reality check. I have a feeling the real reason we can’t put boots on the ground anymore has more to do with the familiarity issue, than for something as easily to observe as Strategic Legalism.
I mean the Peter Principle is real, so there goes the competence issue, and as for support, as long as those fighting have the resources they need to carry out their work (and I think everyone knows it’s never enough) then that is about as much support anyone working can expect, at least I think that is true in the civilian sector.
I am just saying that the military may need to look at and understand what shared experience and common professional philosophy the FMFM-1 is talking about. After all, philosophy, for one, is covered by 3 domains, physics, logic and ethics.
Physics gives you your structure; logic gives you your culture; and ethics gives you the forces to deal with, among other things, those actions, which undermines trust, with strict censure.Ethics is like the high ground. It is the place everyone says they want to be, few ever reach it, and nobody moves towards it until the ocean rises.
July 12th, 2016 at 5:14 pm
You are right, Strategic Legalism, is not the reason we can’t put boots on the ground (but there is a number of young men in Leavenworth that might disagree, i.e. Lt Lorance and others)…it is a symptom of bad strategy and bad leadership. In my opinion, it is a demonstration of ignorance and a little attention getting education from a fat old Marine who fights windmills from Raleigh, might help…maybe…probably not… ;).
“After all, philosophy, for one, is covered by 3 domains, physics, logic and ethics.
Physics gives you your structure; logic gives you your culture; and ethics gives you the forces to deal with, among other things, those actions, which undermines trust, with strict censure. Ethics is like the high ground.”
And now you are thinking like a Boydian… http://www.dnipogo.org/boyd/strategic_game.pdf . (and this is where Boyd becomes much more robust than the OODA Loop) Slide #12 – Disciplines or Activities to be examined…Mathematical Logic, Physics, Thermodynamics, Biology, Psychology, Anthropology, Conflict…matches up a bit with philosophy and its three domains. Boyd then moves on to Slide 33 “The strategic game is one of interaction and isolation… A game in which we must be able to diminish adversary’s ability to communicate or interact with his environment while sustaining or improving ours.”
July 14th, 2016 at 8:49 pm
“Boyd then moves on to Slide 33 “The strategic game is one of interaction and isolation… A game in which we must be able to diminish adversary’s ability to communicate or interact with his environment while sustaining or improving ours.””
Before Charles cuts off comments to this post, let’s talk strategy then. Strategically and (hopefully) thinking like a Boydian, my guess is that the US can’t put boots on the ground to fight ISIS because ISIS is fighting a civil war first and an insurgency second.
I mean there might be a position for boots on the ground to fight an insurgency, because we, as a Christian (if we can actually say that we still are) nation, can put together a force that is mostly Christian, and, as such, that force can be inside in the same loop as the Muslim ISIS.
But in a civil war between different factions inside the same orientation, there is no position of advantage, that I can see, for the boots of a Western Christian force working inside a muslim Islamic orientation.
Unless those boots want to occupy and work inside the environment ISIS is working in now (I don’t think many Americans would. The environment inside the area ISIS occupies is hot and without water not under the control of the few inside said area) there is no position for them.
Just saying, unless the Americans filling the boots want to control the resources (become the few) of the area, they should stay out of the area of interaction and isolation.