G2 Gems

      Most Americans only know what multi-national corporations allow on television or in major newspapers and magazines.  We often encounter interesting military information ignored by the corporate "mainstream" press.  We post it here to stimulate thought and discussion.

July 2007 - Free Trade Insanity

     The 11-06-2006 Aviation Week has a short article on page 16 entitled: "No Help Here."  It states that as part of the Bush administration's free trade philosophy, NASA's publicly funded research and development will be made "available on an all-come basis."  Advanced technology will no longer be shared with American satellite, aerospace, and space systems companies first to avoid accusations that the U.S. government is subsidizing them.

April 2007 - F-22 Too Sensitive

As F-22 fighters finally deploy for operational service, the USAF has decided not to send them to Iraq.  Some thought the F-22's highly acclaimed electronic surveillance features would prove valuable to support ground troops. General Ronald Keys thinks these systems may be "overwhelmed by the density of U.S. and allied emitters to be useful in the electronically polluted environment of Baghdad."  (Aviation Week 1-29-07) Generals like to pretend that future wars will be fought over desolate deserts like their aircraft test ranges.  In fact, most action will occur in urban areas "polluted" with electronic emitters.

February 2007 - New Iraq Strategy

October 2006 - Letter from a Marine in Al Anbar

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

All: I haven
't written very much from Iraq .  There 's really not much to write about.  More exactly, there's not much I can write about because practically everything I do, read or hear is classified military information or is depressing to the point that I 'd rather just forget about it, never mind write about it.  The gaps in between all of that are filled with the pure tedium of daily life in an armed camp.  So it's a bit of a struggle to think of anything to put into a letter that is worth reading.  Worse, this place just consumes you.  I work 18-20-hour days, every day.  The quest to draw a clear picture of what the insurgents are up to never ends.  Problems and frictions crop up faster than solutions.  Every challenge demands a response.  It's like this every day.  Before I know it, I can 't see straight, because it 's 0400 and I have been at work for twenty hours straight, somehow missing dinner again in the process.  And once again I haven 't written to anyone.  It starts all over again four hours later. It is not really like Ground Hog Day, it's more like a level from Dante's Inferno.

Rather than attempting to sum up the last seven months, I figured I 'd just hit the record setting highlights of 2006 in Iraq .  These are among the events and experiences I'll remember best.  

Worst Case of Deja Vu - I thought I was familiar with the feeling of deja vu until I arrived back here in Fallujah in February.  The moment I stepped off of the helicopter, just as dawn broke, and saw the camp just as I had left it ten months before - that was deja vu.  Kind of unnerving.  It was as if I had never left.  Same work area, same busted desk, same chair, same computer, same room, same creaky rack, same . . . everything.  Same everything for the next year.  It was like entering a parallel universe.  Home wasn't 10,000 miles away, it was a different lifetime.

Most Surreal Moment - Watching Marines arrive at my detention facility and unload a truck load of flex-cuffed midgets, 26 to be exact.  I had put the word out earlier in the day to the Marines in Fallujah that we were looking for Bad Guy X, who was described as a midget.  Little did I know that Fallujah was home to a small community of midgets, who banded together for support since they were considered as social outcasts.  The Marines were anxious to get back to the midget colony to bring in the rest of the midget suspects, but I called off the search, figuring Bad Guy X was long gone on his short legs after seeing his companions rounded up by the giant infidels.  

Most Profound Man in
Iraq - an unidentified farmer in a fairly remote area who, after being asked by Reconnaissance Marines (searching for Syrians) if he had seen any foreign fighters in the area replied "Yes, you."  

Worst City in
al-Anbar Province - Ramadi, hands down.  The provincial capital of 400,000 people. Killed over 1,000 insurgents in there since we arrived in February.  Every day is a nasty gun battle.  They blast us with giant bombs in the road, snipers, mortars and small arms.  We blast them with tanks, attack helicopters, artillery, our snipers (much better than theirs), and every weapon that an infantryman can carry.  Every day.  Incredibly, I rarely see Ramadi in the news.  We have as many attacks out here in the west as Baghdad .  Yet, Baghdad has 7 million people, we have just 1.2 million.  Per capita, al-Anbar province is the most violent place in Iraq by several orders of magnitude.  I suppose it was no accident that the Marines were assigned this area in 2003.

Bravest Guy in
al-Anbar Province - Any Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EOD Tech).  How 'd you like a job that required you to defuse bombs in a hole in the middle of the road that very likely are booby-trapped or connected by wire to a bad guy who is just waiting for you to get close to the bomb before he clicks the detonator?  Every day.  Sanitation workers in New York City get paid more than these guys.  Talk about courage and commitment.

Second Bravest Guy in al-Anbar Province - It
is a 20,000 way tie among all the Marines and Soldiers who venture out on the highways and through the towns of al-Anbar every day, not knowing if it will be their last - and for a couple of them, it will be.

Best Piece of
U.S. Gear - new, bullet-proof flak jackets.  O.K., they weigh 40 lbs and aren 't exactly comfortable in 120 degree heat, but they've saved countless lives out here.

Best Piece of Bad Guy Gear - Armor Piercing ammunition that goes right through the new flak jackets and the Marines inside them.  

Worst E-Mail Message -
"The Walking Blood Bank is Activated.  We need blood type A+ stat."  I always head down to the surgical unit as soon as I get these messages, but I never give blood - there's always about 80 Marines in line, night or day.

Biggest Surprise - Iraqi Police.  All local guys.  I never figured that we
' d get a police force established in the cities in al-Anbar.  I estimated that insurgents would kill the first few, scaring off the rest.  Well, insurgents did kill the first few, but the cops kept on coming.  The insurgents continue to target the police, killing them in their homes and on the streets, but the cops won ' t give up.  Absolutely incredible tenacity.  The insurgents know that the police are far better at finding them than we are. - and they are finding them.  Now, if we could just get them out of the habit of beating prisoners to a pulp . . .

Greatest Vindication - Stocking up on outrageous quantities of Diet Coke from the chow hall in spite of the derision from my men on such hoarding, then having a 122mm rocket blast apart the giant shipping container that held all of the soda for the chow hall.  Yep, you can
' t buy experience.  

Biggest Mystery - How some people can gain weight out here.  I
'm down to 165 lbs.  Who has time to eat?

Second Biggest Mystery - if there
's no atheists in foxholes, then why aren't there more people at Mass every Sunday?  

Favorite Iraqi TV Show - Oprah.  I have no idea.  They all have satellite TV.

Coolest Insurgent Act - Stealing almost $7 million from the main bank in Ramadi in broad daylight, then, upon exiting, waving to the Marines in the combat outpost right next to the bank, who had no clue of what was going on.  The Marines waved back.  Too cool.  

Most Memorable Scene - In the middle of the night, on a dusty airfield, watching the better part of a battalion of Marines packed up and ready to go home after six months in al-Anbar, the relief etched in their young faces even in the moonlight. Then watching these same Marines exchange glances with a similar number of grunts loaded down with gear file past - their replacements.  Nothing was said. Nothing needed to be said.  

Highest Unit Re-enlistment Rate - Any outfit that has been in Iraq recently.  All the danger, all the hardship, all the time away from home, all the horror, all the frustrations with the fight here - all are outweighed by the desire for young men to be part of a 'Band of Brothers' who will die for one another.  They found what they were looking for when they enlisted out of high school.  Man for man, they now have more combat experience than any Marines in the history of our Corps.  

Most Surprising Thing I Don
't Miss - Beer.  Perhaps being half-stunned by lack of sleep makes up for it.  

Worst Smell - Porta-johns in 120 degree heat - and that
's 120 degrees outside of the porta-john.

Highest Temperature - I don
't know exactly, but it was in the porta-johns.  Needed to re-hydrate after each trip to the loo.

Biggest Hassle - High-ranking visitors.  More disruptive to work than a rocket attack.  VIPs demand briefs and
"battlefield " tours (we take them to quiet sections of Fallujah, which is plenty scary for them).  Our briefs and commentary seem to have no affect on their preconceived notions of what ' s going on in Iraq . Their trips allow them to say that they've been to Fallujah, which gives them an unfortunate degree of credibility in perpetuating their fantasies about the insurgency here.  

Biggest Outrage - Practically anything said by talking heads on TV about the war in Iraq , not that I get to watch much TV.  Their thoughts are consistently both grossly simplistic and politically slanted.  Biggest offender - Bill O
'Reilly - what a buffoon.

Best Intel Work - Finding Jill Carroll
's kidnappers - all of them.  I was mighty proud of my guys that day.  I figured we 'd all get the Christian Science Monitor for free after this, but none have showed up yet.  Talk about ingratitude.

Saddest Moment - Having the battalion commander from 1st Battalion, 1st Marines hand me the dog tags of one of my Marines who had just been killed while on a mission with his unit. Hit by a 60mm mortar.  Cpl Bachar was a great Marine.  I felt crushed for a long time afterward.  His picture now hangs at the entrance to the Intelligence Section.  We
'll carry it home with us when we leave in February.  

Biggest Ass-Chewing - 10 July immediately following a visit by the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Zobai.  The Deputy Prime Minister brought along an American security contractor (read mercenary), who told my Commanding General that he was there to act as a mediator between us and the Bad Guys.  I immediately told him what I thought of him and his asinine ideas in terms that made clear my disgust and which, unfortunately, are unrepeatable here.  I thought my boss was going to have a heart attack.  Fortunately, the translator couldn
't figure out the best Arabic words to convey my meaning for the Deputy Prime Minister.  Later, the boss had no difficulty in conveying his meaning to me in English regarding my Irish temper, even though he agreed with me. At least the guy from the State Department thought it was hilarious.  We never saw the mercenary again.

Best Chuck Norris Moment - 13 May.  Bad Guys arrived at the government center in the small town of Kubaysah to kidnap the town mayor, since they have a problem with any form of government that does not include regular beheadings and women wearing burqahs.  There were seven of them.  As they brought the mayor out to put him in a pick-up truck to take him off to be beheaded (on video, as usual), one of the bad Guys put down his machinegun so that he could tie the mayor
' s hands.  The mayor took the opportunity to pick up the machinegun and drill five of the Bad Guys. The other two ran away.  One of the dead Bad Guys was on our top twenty wanted list.  Like they say, you can't fight City Hall.

Worst Sound - That crack-boom off in the distance that means an IED or mine just went off. You just wonder who got it, hoping that it was a near miss rather than a direct hit.  Hear it every day.

Second Worst Sound - Our artillery firing without warning.  The howitzers are pretty close to where I work.  Believe me, outgoing sounds a lot like incoming when our guns are firing right over our heads.  They
'd about knock the fillings out of your teeth.

Only Thing Better in
Iraq Than in the U.S. - Sunsets.  Spectacular.  It is from all the dust in the air.  

Proudest Moment - It
is a tie every day, watching my Marines produce phenomenal intelligence products that go pretty far in teasing apart Bad Guy operations in al-Anbar.  Every night Marines and Soldiers are kicking in doors and grabbing Bad Guys based on intelligence developed by my guys.  We rarely lose a Marine during these raids, they are so well-informed of the objective.  A bunch of kid's right out of high school shouldn ' t be able to work so well, but they do.

Happiest Moment - Well, it wasn
't in Iraq . There are no truly happy moments here.  It was back in California when I was able to hold my family again while home on leave during July.  

Most Common Thought - Home.  Always thinking of home, of Kathleen and the kids.  Wondering how everyone else is getting along.  Regretting that I don
't write more.  Yep, always thinking of home.  

I hope you all are doing well.  If you want to do something for me, kiss a cop, flush a toilet, and drink a beer.  I'
ll try to write again before too long - I promise.

Semper Fi,

Name withheld

September 2006 - Mantrap

July 2006 - Failsafe UAV Fails

     Defense contractors are exploiting the need for greater homeland security to sell ultra-expensive UAV's to the US Border Patrol, which bought its first $40 million Predator B UAV last year that the US Army has used for a couple of years.  Some Congressmen expressed worry about costs and safety, but were told the Predator was safer than a manned aircraft.  The Border Patrol's Predator B went into service on 9-29-05 and crashed for unknown reasons after just six months in service.  As the 5-01-06 issue of Aviation Week noted: "The Predator crashed during an operational mission after a series of redundant, fail-safe systems failed."  New lightweight business jets made by Cessna cost $2.5 million each.  Such aircraft could provide far better reconnaissance than these golden UAVs, and wouldn't crash nearly as much.

June 2006 - Churchill Hated Iraq

     "I hate Iraq. I wish we had never gone to the place," said Winston Churchill in 1926 when, as Chancellor, he was asked to sink yet more millions into Britain's "Mesopotamian entanglement". 

May 2006 - The Censored Media

     Many reporters have mentioned off-the-record that President Bush often shoots the finger at people when he gets angry.  One would think that an aggressive "left-wing" press would report this and publish pictures.  However, the editors of major American media work for billionaires who are right-wing and hire editors and reporters to sell the idea that there is a difference between Republicans and Democrats.  They support whoever is in office if he supports them. 

      This means ignoring embarrassing personal episodes.  Presidents sometimes refuse to play along, like Bill Clinton's push for national health care.  As a result, he was impeached for telling a lie about a blow job.  President Bush plays along so he can lie about WMDs to start a bloody war, openly violate laws by torturing prisoners, ignore laws requiring a warrant to spy on Americans, and not worry about impeachment.

March 2006 - JSF ready for production prior to testing

     This GAO report provides an example of how corrupt the US military's procurement process has become.  It notes that the US Air Force wants to begin production of the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter after only 3% of testing has been completed.

Joint Strike Fighter:  DOD Plans to Enter Production before Testing Demonstrates Acceptable Performance.  GAO-06-356, March 15.  http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-06-356
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d06356high.pdf

February 2006 - On the Politics of Fear

Chuck Spinney always signs off with these timely quotes:
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." - H.L. Mencken
"Naturally, the common people don't want war...but, after all it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country." - Herman Goering at Nuremberg trial in 1946
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

January 2006 - MLRS in Iraq Counterinsurgency Operation

January 12, 2006 Soldiers from Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Fires Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, fire a Multiple Launch Rocket System rocket at an enemy target from Forward Operating Base Q-West, Iraq. Photo by Staff Sgt. James H. Christopher III.  

     This is a great example of how not to fight insurgents.  The MLRS is designed to hit huge targets  the size of a football field.  This is not something to be used to fight a dozen insurgents.  This weapons system should not even be in Iraq.  Perhaps they are just wasting money for fun, instead of wasting lives.

January 2006 - Pentagonese

From: Paul Van Riper (Ed: former three-star head of Marine Corps Education)
Sent: Sunday, December 11, 2005 11:07 PM
(Ed: three active-duty four-star generals)
Subject: Concerns


For the past three years, I have watched with misgiving as the new Joint Capability Integration and Development System evolved into its current form.  Unfortunately, I believe my apprehension has proved valid for today JCIDS evidences all the signs of an overly bureaucratic and procedurally focused process.  Moreover, in the last two years that process has led to the creation of an excess of concepts most of which in my view are devoid of meaningful content.  My greatest concern is that as these concepts migrate into the curricula of professional military schools they will undermine a coherent body of doctrine creating confusion within the officer corps.  In fact, I have begun to see signs of just that!

In the following paragraphs I outline evidence to support my fears that:

*        The Joint Staff has created a flawed force development process

*        This process has produced too many concepts and most lack substance

*        The seeming inability to express ideas clearly, loose use of words, and ill-considered invention of other terms have damaged the military lexicon to the point that it interferes with effective professional military discourse

*        The result will soon prove harmful to professional military education

These are not merely esoteric concerns of secondary importance.  Ideas move institutions, for good or ill, and I firmly believe that the result of leaving these concerns unaddressed will be a military that is significantly less able to meet its future requirements.

Recognizing your all too-busy schedules, I apologize for the length of this e-mail at the outset.  I have attempted several times to shorten it; however, in each instance deleting material seemed to lessen the impact of the account.  Thus, my hope is that the importance of the issues will encourage you to read and consider the entire e-mail.  

First, I would like to share my thoughts on the current force development process. 

Admiral Stansfield Turner, and Generals Donn Starry and Al Gray, worked diligently in the 1970s and 1980s to reintroduce the historically sound theories upon which their followers created new approaches to strategic thinking and operational art.  Their efforts also led to the creation of the related air-land battle and maneuver warfare service doctrines, which demonstrated their value in Operation Desert Storm.  In the 1990s, the joint community incorporated the essence of these ideas into a solid and relatively complete body of joint doctrine that has repeatedly proved itself.  I fear that we are drifting away from these now time-tested concepts without offering worthy replacements.  I am further troubled that if we weaken the intellectual content of the concepts upon which we base joint and service doctrine we will materially weaken professional military education.

Admiral Turner and Generals Starry and Gray focused on specific problems.  This is not surprising for a truly useful military operating concept only results when there is a need to solve a significant problem or through recognition that an opportunity exists to perform some military function better or in a new way.  Professor Williamson Murray notes in Military Innovation in the Interwar Period that between the two world wars:

A number of factors contributed to successful innovation.  The one that occurred in virtually every case was the presence of specific military problems the solution of which offered significant advantages to furthering the achievement of national strategy. [Italics added.]

For this reason alone, recent claims of a revolution in military affairs or a military transformation ring hollow since there is little to suggest these movements were undertaken to solve clearly identified military problems.  Merely to be transformational does not qualify as a specific military problem.  Mostly, the names of the movements now serve as a mantra for those advocating advanced technologies.

The operating concept for air-land battle, as expressed in the 1982 and 1986 editions of Field Manual 100-5, Operations, fundamentally changed the way the U.S. Army approached war.  Similarly, maneuver warfare, first explained in detail in a 1989 edition of Fleet Marine Force Field Manual 1, Warfighting, fundamentally changed the way the U.S. Marine Corps approached war.  The unique thing about these documents is that no staffs produced them; rather they were the products of a few authors supervised by senior leaders championing the projects. 

In the case of FM 100-5, it was then Lieutenant Colonels Don Holder ( TX Aggie), Huba Wass de Czege, and Rick Sinnreich working with General Starry.  In the case of FMFM 1, it was then Captain John Schmitt working with General Gray.  After each service promulgated a manual describing its operating concept, no one perceived a need to produce a vast hierarchy of supporting concepts offering increasing specificity.  One document drove changes in doctrine, organization, material, and training and education throughout each service.  Senior leaders expected combat developers, informed by their understanding of war, to exercise considerable judgment in their duties.  They could not anticipate additional and more detailed concepts to justify directly their every programmatic decision.

In contrast, today, we see the creation of an overabundance of joint concepts a Capstone Concept for Joint Operations, four operating concepts, eight functional concepts, and nine integrating concepts with more reportedly under development.  Further, some plans I have seen call for the revision of these documents on a regular two-year cycle.  Upon approval, the Joint Staff then employs these concepts to conduct capabilities-based assessments, another seemingly overly complex methodology.  In an effort to remain consistent with the joint approach the services are beginning to create similarly overpopulated families of concepts and complex developmental processes. 

 Rather than a method to drive change, the joint concepts seem to serve more as a means to slow innovation.  Services, agencies, and even individuals claim they need ever-increasing detail before they can proceed with force development.  I can imagine what sort of reaction subordinates might have gotten from General Starry or General Gray if they had demurred from taking action because of a supposed lack of detail in FM 100-5 or FMFM 1.  After an appropriate butt chewing and a short reminder of what mission-type orders meant, the generals would have sent the offenders away with orders to move out swiftly or pack up their gear and leave.  Nowadays the more likely outcome is the development of another layer of concepts in an ever-expanding hierarchy.  We have already seen the creation of joint enabling constructs, a fifth level of concepts created to fit below integrating concepts in the hierarchy because developers deemed the integrating concepts not sufficient for the capabilities-based assessment.

In summary, neither uniform nor civilian leaders can simply mandate the development of worthwhile concepts.  For every concept, there must be a problem in search of a solution or a previously solved problem for which someone envisions a better solution.  Though force development is inherently a complex undertaking, making the process too complex causes commanders and staffs to focus inward on that process rather than on the problem they are trying to solve.  When they do the process becomes dysfunctional.

Let me turn now to what I perceive to be a lack of intellectual content in emerging joint concepts.

Assigning our best thinkers to infuse content into vacuous slogans such as information superiority and dominant maneuver, is fruitless and wastes valuable resources.  Even worse, such efforts are potentially dangerous when they produce an empty concept that is imposed upon our operating forces.  I believe there is considerable evidence that the latter is happening. 

Several cases come to mind, none more egregious than the idea of effects-based operations.  This concept has its roots in efforts undertaken by Colonel John Warden (USAF) and then Lieutenant Colonel Dave Deptula (USAF) during the planning for Operation Desert Shield.  These two officers wanted to move beyond the practice of building air-tasking orders based on the work of targeting experts employing joint munitions effectiveness manuals, since this practice focuses on the efficient servicing of single targets.  Accordingly, Warden and Deptula did not allow their Checkmate staff to concentrate on individual targets.  Rather, they required the staff to build ATOs that took into account the larger effects or results they wanted to achieve.

This required the staff to identify a target-set and then to select an element within that set to be attacked in order to accomplish a specific effect or outcome.  To illustrate, rather than planning to strike each launcher in a ground-to-air missile site the staff would target the radar unit, thus offering a more efficient way to eliminate the sites capability. Warden and Deptula later expanded this technique to target systems, for example, taking out a few key transformers rather than destroying an entire plant to shut down an electrical power grid.  This targeting methodology is eminently sensible and proved its worth during Operation Desert Storm. [i][i]

Unfortunately, Colonel Deptula argued after Desert Storm that this effects-based approach offered a new way to plan for and conduct all military operations.  He did not seem to recognize that mission-type orders with their tasks and associated intents accomplish the same goal, but in a far less restrictive way.  More important, neither he nor Colonel Warden showed that they had any understanding of the differences between structurally complex systems such as integrated air defense systems and power grids and interactively complex systems such as economic and leadership systems.  Operational planners can understand the first using the reductionism of systems analysis.  They can only understand the second type of system holistically.  Tools for one type of system are inappropriate for the other. [ii][ii]

The concept of effects-based operations formally entered the joint community's thinking when a former JWAC commander put forward a refined version as an operating concept.  This occurred in 2000 during a congressionally mandated experiment sponsored by the Joint Forces Command, known as the Rapid Decisive Operations Analytical War Game. 

The effects-based operations concept, despite its title, is at most a concept for planning not an operating concept.  Operating concepts by definition center on how joint forces bring combat power to bear, normally through maneuver and fire, not how they plan.  However, even as a planning concept its utility is limited since it does not deal effectively with the interactively complex systems that make up most of the systems that military forces must deal with.

Many of the ongoing endeavors to train joint headquarters on effects-based operations concentrate on defining the word effects. [iii][iii]  Since 2002, I have seen upwards of a hundred e-mails and papers that staffs have written in an attempt to define effects.  The usefulness of these endeavors is suspect as the following transcript of a recent Joint Forces Command training session illustrates.

 Student: "What is an objective?"
            Instructor:  "A goal that is clearly defined and achievable."
Student:  "What is an effect?"
Instructor:  "A change in behavior or capability after an element of DIME is applied against the adversary."
Student:  "Is this a good objective? [Pointing to a statement written on butcher block]"
            Instructor:  "No.  That is really an effect."
Student:  "Okay...so what about this?  Is this a well written effect?"
            Instructor:  "Sort of.  How are you going to measure that?"
Student:  "How would you measure my effect that was previously an objective?"
            Instructor:  "Well, sometimes objectives can also be effects."

Student:  Next, I point out . . . [the center of gravity] analysis methodology as being useful and similar to the Effect-Node-Action-Resource link in EBO.

Instructor:  "Well, yeah...but we really don't use that stuff.  Clausewitz is just too ethereal."

Joint Forces Command instructors and others have displayed this sort of convoluted logic as well as disdain for the classical theorists during their nearly five years of trying to teach effects-based operations.  It reminds me of a Mobius Strip approach to thinking!  One officer who has worked with the development of effects-based operations from its outset recently noted that it had taken him fours years to earn a degree in electrical engineering, yet in the same amount of time he has not mastered effects-based operations.

 If there is an advantage to effects-based operations as an approach to operational art, it must be explainable in simple English.  Moreover, if the joint community desires to introduce this term into the existing planning lexicon its proponents should be able to explain how it improves upon current terms, especially mission with its inherent task and purpose or intent.  They have not!  Incredibly, some officers in the joint community are advocating for an entirely new definition of mission that would include effects.  Attached as an annex is a discussion of today's planning terms to illustrate not only their heritage, but also their great power. 

To correct the shortcomings outlined above will require several steps.  First, senior joint and service leaders must clearly identify the most significant problems or opportunities not more than one or two of each presently confronting joint forces.  I would offer two problems for consideration, insurgency and operational design and planning.  In the case of the latter, the good news is that both the Army and Marine Corps are evaluating systemic operational design as a potentially more powerful approach. 

Second, with close involvement of these leaders, staffs need to assist in developing a clear understanding of each identified problem or opportunity.  That is, what are its boundaries, its character and form, and most importantly its logic. 

Third, senior leaders through discourse with other experienced and professionally schooled officers must seek to find a counter-logic that will enable them to solve the problem or take advantage of the opportunity.  Such a counter-logic constitutes the essence of a concept as it describes in some detail how to attack or solve the identified problem.  Failure to discover and portray a counter-logic is the most serious deficiency in current methods of concept development.  Thus, many contemporary concepts are merely descriptive and filled with jargon. 

Concurrent with step three, leaders must select a few authors of known talent and immerse them in the process to ensure they are conversant with the best thinking, thereby helping them to explain the concept in clear and concise language, language free of slogans and jargon.  This, I believe, was one of the secrets of General Starrys and General Grays successes when they set out to solve the post-Vietnam operational problems they chose a few very talented writers who possessed a special ability to grasp and then write clearly about complex ideas.

Since retiring eight years ago I have spent considerable time teaching and mentoring field grade officers.  Without a doubt, they are the most motivated and intellectually curious officers the American military has ever produced.  Recently, however, I have found they lack a firm grasp of many proven doctrinal concepts and their speech and writing is filled increasingly with an unintelligible effects-speak.  A flawed force development process is producing a plethora of concepts that, from my observations, make it difficult to focus current force development efforts.  In addition, it is eroding what until recently was a clear and concise professional lexicon.

Very respectfully,
Paul (Rip) Van Riper

[i][i] There remains some dispute as to whether this idea originated with the two officers mentioned or came from earlier work at the Naval Warfare Analysis Department, later the Naval Warfare Analysis Center, a predecessor organization to the Joint Warfare Analysis Center.  In any case, the JWAC perfected this systems methodology during and after the first Gulf War.

 [ii][ii] Systems can be complex based on the numbers of elements they have: the greater the number of elements, the greater the complexity.  This is structural complexity.  Systems can also be complex in the ways that their elements interact:  the greater the degrees of freedom of each element, the greater the complexity.  This is interactive complexity.  Of the two, the latter can generate greater levels of complexity by orders of magnitude.  Systems that are both structurally and interactively complex, not surprisingly, exhibit the most complex behavior of all. 

 A system can be structurally complex and interactively simple.  That is, it can consist of many parts but exhibit relatively simple behavior because those parts interact in limited ways.  Such systems tend to exhibit orderly, mechanistic and predictable behavior.  Automobiles, like many modern machines, are perfect examples.  They consist of a huge number of parts, but those parts interact only in a designed process.  As long as the parts function as designed, the automobile performs in a consistent way.  Take action on one part of the automobile or interrupt one sub-process, and the results are generally predictable. 

By comparison, a system can be structurally simple and yet exhibit highly complex behavior because its elements interact freely in interconnected and unconstrained ways.  Such systems are highly sensitive to initial conditions and ongoing inputs; immeasurably small influences can generate disproportionately major effects.  As a result, these systems tend to exhibit a qualitatively different type of complexity, a disorderly, organic complexity that may exhibit broadly identifiable patterns and boundary conditions but remains steadfastly unpredictable and uncontrollable in its details.  Within interactively complex systems it is usually extremely difficult, if not impossible, to isolate individual cases and their effects, since the parts are all connected in a complex web.  Reductive analysis will not work with such systems:  the very act of decomposing the system changes the dynamics of the system.  It is no longer the same system.  Most social systems, such as economies, governments, diplomacy, culture, and war, exhibit rich interactive complexity.

[This description is taken from a paper I co-authored for the Defense Adaptive Red Team (DART), an OSD sponsored project of Hicks & Associates Center for Adaptive Strategies & Threats.]

[iii][iii] The word effect has as many as eight different meanings.  A recent book on the most misunderstood words in the English language prominently lists effects.  Choosing an inherently imprecise term seems particularly unwise for a profession that requires precision and clarity in language to avoid misunderstandings, which might lead to confusion in battles and operations.

November 2005 - Rolling a Battleship

     I saw an interesting story on the sinking of the massive Japanese battleship the Yamato in 1945.  It had hundreds of watertight compartments so it was thought nearly impossible to sink.  Therefore, the American aircraft used a strategy of only firing torpedoes at her from one side.  The ship did not sink from eight torpedo hits, but it filled with so much water on one side that it rolled over.

September 2005 - Tillman Opposed Iraq War

Max Blumenthal of the Huffington Post reported on Sept. 26th:

Of all the symbols the right used to cultivate domestic support for the Bush administration's military escapades in Iraq and Afghanistan, that of Pat Tillman was one its most effective. If your memory is fuzzy, Tillman was a handsome, muscle-bound NFL star who passed up a multi-million dollar contract to become an Army Ranger battling Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The official Army account of Tillman's death held that he was killed while charging up a rocky incline in pursuit of a band of Qaeda fighters. When word of Tillman's killing hit stateside, the conservative propaganda factory sought to make him theirs. Ann Coulter described Tillman as “an American original -- virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be.” (Can we have that in the original German, bitte?) Though the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan were growing increasingly catastrophic, Tillman's reinvigorated public support for the administration's mission, at least momentarily.

Now, almost a year and a half later, the right's version of Tillman's killing has been shattered. The San Francisco Chronicle got its hands on 2000 pages of testimony on Tillman's death and interviewed his family and soldiers who served with him. The Chronicle's report not only strengthens the evidence that the Pentagon deliberately covered up Tillman's death from friendly-fire to better exploit him as a PR tool, it reveals that:

--Tillman joined the Army specifically to fight Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, but was sent to participate in the invasion of Iraq against his wishes. He called the invasion, "so fucking illegal."

--He was an avid reader and fan of Noam Chomsky. Tillman was scheduled to meet Chomsky upon his return from Afghanistan.

--Tillman was an independent-minded, outspoken Bush critic who planned to vote for John Kerry.

August 2005 - JSTARS in Iraq

     One reason US occupation costs are so high in Iraq is the USAF likes to fly hundreds of sorties a day to help out with every squad-size raid.  They even have huge E-8 JSTARS flying around just for communications relay.  However, JSTARS expensive radar designed to track tanks has some value.  After some suicide bombings, they have replayed radar recordings and found the general location from where the car bomb originated.

June 2005 - Army UAV madness

     The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle racket is sapping the US military of funds.  For example, the USAF wants to buy 144 more Predator UAVs at a cost of $40 million each, about the same cost of a new F-16E which is ten times more capable for all missions.  Over one-third of these golden UAVs have crashed since they were first procured a decade ago.  Now the US Army plans to buy 12 newer versions called Warriors for one billion dollars, that's $83 million dollars each. (see Aviation Week 5-16-05)  That same issue has an article on the newest lightweight business jets.  Cessna is selling them for $2.5 million each.  Such aircraft could provide far better reconnaissance than these golden UAVs, and wouldn't crash nearly as much.

April 2005 - Marines Complain About Defending the USA

Border crossings hinder training at Ariz. bases

Illegal immigrants found on test range

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- Marines preparing for combat in Iraq or Afghanistan have lost significant amounts of training time because undocumented immigrants from Mexico have constantly wandered onto a bombing test range in Arizona, according to the commander of this base along the border.

Virtually every Marine squadron headed to Iraq or Afghanistan receives combat training at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, which for nearly 40 miles touches the US-Mexico border in the southwestern corner of Arizona. The Border Patrol's focus in recent years on tightening the border in the eastern part of the state, where volunteer citizens this month have established their own observation posts, has pushed more undocumented immigrants westward.

Since July 2004, the training range has been shut down more than 500 times because of immigrants spotted on the range, causing a loss of more than 1,100 training hours, said Colonel James J. Cooney, the base's commanding officer.

''That's equivalent to almost 46 days of training. We're getting overrun here," he said in an interview. (Ed: The whole nation is getting overrun because officers like you like to play imperial ruler on the other side of the globe rather than defending your own nation.)  ''Any moment we take away from a Marine's experience base could cost him his life in combat."

Cooney said Marines intercepted more than 1,500 undocumented immigrants on the training range last year and, in the first three months of this year, more than 1,100. Base personnel detain the immigrants and call in Border Patrol agents to pick them up.

''I have to use Marines that aren't trained in that to do that, which puts me at a liability," said Cooney, a Boston College graduate. (Not trained?  What training is required to grab some illegals and hold them for the Border Patrol?  Liability?  You mean that you worry defending the nation by intercepting invaders may cause an incident and damage your career.)  ''It's completely counterproductive to our whole training operation."  

Another big concern, he said, is the potential danger to undocumented immigrants: ''We just don't want them to come here, because we're firing lasers, we're shooting machine guns, we're shooting 209-millimeter cannons, and we're dropping practice bombs, and we don't want to hurt anyone."  (Unless they are Iraqis fighting a foreign invader.  Illegals sneaking across the border should provide the perfect training opportunity for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a virtual OPFOR.  A 209-millimeter cannon?) 

Last summer a Marine pilot dropped a practice bomb on a target and seconds later, a few feet away, a small group of illegal immigrants scrambled from underneath a bush and ran down the range. The near miss was caught on a training tape that Cooney has reviewed.

So far the Marines said there have been no deaths of immigrants in the training exercises.

''My overall concern is that we'd have an unfortunate incident out there where we'd inadvertently harm an illegal entrant that we did not spot or see, and that in turn would cause a moratorium on training until we sorted out what exactly happened," said Cooney.  (Good, then your Marines can defend the nation at the border instead.  Killing a few invaders may also cause a moratorium on illegal crossings.)

Two other bases in Arizona, one the Army's and another the Air Force's, have experienced similar problems.

At the Army Yuma Proving Ground, near the Marine Corps Air Station but about 30 miles north of the border, an increasing number of undocumented immigrants have invaded military space and disrupted training.

''The smugglers just drive them up the highway and dump them off, and these illegal immigrants stumble right onto our testing range," said Chuck Wullenjohn, spokesman for the Army base.

As one of the largest military installations in the Western world, the Army Yuma Proving Ground is constantly conducting tests (sometimes is more accurate, Yuma PG is little used.) for ground forces on artillery and ammunition, including tank rounds, mines, mortars, and helicopter guns.

''Having anyone on this range that doesn't belong here is extremely dangerous," said Wullenjohn. ''The illegal immigrant issue is becoming a bigger problem all the time."

The Air Force said it has had to interrupt exercises with F-16 pilots after undocumented immigrants were spotted on a bombing range east of Gila Bend, north of the border.

''In 2004 we suspended range operations 55 times for a net loss of 122 hours," said Jim Uken, director of the 56th Fighter Wing range management office.

There is some concern that, besides wandering immigrants, foreign terrorists could cross the Mexican border and infiltrate the Arizona bases to conduct intelligence gathering or commit acts of sabotage.

''The potential exists, and that is a key reason we are vigilant about securing our training ranges," Cooney said.  (What about securing OUR nation?  Aren't you much more likely to intercept a terrorist intending to harm Americans at our border rather than chasing Iraqis resisting American occupation?)

Robert C. Bonner, the commissioner of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, said last week when he was visiting Arizona that more than half the undocumented immigrants entering the United States come through the state.

He promised that federal help is on the way. (Aren't US Marines federal helpers?  We have only 10,000 Border Patrol agents yet 175,000 active-duty marines, and 520,000 soldiers.  More Americans have been killed by illegal aliens over the years than by terrorists.)

March 2005 - Soldiers Die Hauling Water

     The 12-20-04 edition of "Aviation Week" has a story about how the USAF plans to dedicate more C-130s to move cargo into Iraq to reduce the number of vulnerable Army ground convoys.  This will replace 1600 truck loads of Army cargo a day.  They will focus on the most dangerous routes, which will require air drops and landing on highways.  Air Force Generals were surprised to learn that 30% of daily Army cargo was bottled water.  They immediately ordered USAF water purification units deployed to Iraq to support the Army.

     This represents staggering incompetence by US Army Generals.  The Army had planned to operate in dry environments for decades, and developed advanced mobile water purification units in the 1980s, called ROWPUs.   Generals can say they have trouble with parts or manpower, but they've been there two years now.  What about private contractors?  What about forming new units with new ROWPUs?  What about asking for help from the Air Force or Navy?  Meanwhile, a hundred or so soldiers have died hauling bottled water, and dozens of trucks lost as well as millions of gallons of fuel burned.

February 2005 - The Pentagon Before WW II

      Americans are taught that the USA was caught "unprepared" by the "surprise" Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.  Students of history know this is all BS.  For example, the Pacific Fleet was not based at Pearl Harbor, but San Diego.  Roosevelt ordered it deployed to Hawaii for "training" and kept it there as bait for over a year, prompting the Fleet commander to resign in protest.  I came across another tidbit, in the history of the Pentagon.  Many people know the Pentagon opened during World War II to run the huge US military.  However, the prime contract awarded on 11 August 1941, four months before America was "thrust" into World War II.

January 2005 - CIA Critic Dead

This is from Mike Levin, a retired 25-year veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration.  I confirmed that he wrote it via direct e-mail.

Gary Webb the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist whose article and book entitled "The Dark Alliance" detailed the connections between CIA protection of cocaine traffickers and the influx of crack cocaine into Los Angeles's black community, was found dead with what the authorities say is a "self-inflicted bullet to the head."   The Los Angeles Times, typical of how media treated Gary, even in death, sought to continue the myth that he and his story had been discredited, when in fact the opposite is true.

Gary and I met when we were both interviewed on a Montel Williams show.  Since that time he did four one-hour interview shows on the Expert Witness Show, along with ex DEA agents and other journalists, that, in my opinion, helped prove his book and article, while the rest of mainstream media was destroying his credibility, his career, and now his life.  Some of these shows include clips of CIA testimony before congress, admitting, in essence, to Gary's fundamental charges.

If any producer wishes, I will be happy to make these hours available (from my web site, or directly from me if you prefer)  for you to cut sound clips, or to use in any way you wish.  Also, for your use {in any way you deem appropriate]  or information is the below article, written and published in July, 1998.



Michael Levine

     Gary Webb, just in case you've already forgotten him, was the journalist who, in a well researched, understated article entitled "The Dark Alliance,"  linked the CIA supported Contras to cocaine and weapons being sold to a California street gang and  ended up literally being hounded out of journalism by every mainstream news peddling organization in the Yellow Pages.  Even his own employer The San Jose Mercury piled on for the kill.
     And guess what?  The CIA finally admitted, yesterday, in the New York Times no less,  that they, in fact,  did "work with" the Nicaraguan Contras while they had information that they were involved in cocaine trafficking to the United States. An action known to us court qualified experts and federal agents as Conspiracy to Import and Distribute Cocaine—a federal felony  punishable by up to life in prison. 
     To illustrate how us regular walking around, non CIA types are treated when we violate this law, while I was serving as a DEA supervisor in New York City,  I put two New York City police officers in a federal prison for Conspiracy to distribute Cocaine when they looked the other way at their friend's drug dealing.  We could not prove they earned a nickel nor that they helped their friend in any way, they merely did not do their duty by reporting him.  They were sentenced to 10 and 12 years respectively, and one of them, I was recently told, had committed suicide.
     I have spent three decades as a court qualified expert and federal agent and am not aware of any class of American Citizen having special permission to violate the law that we have been taxed over $1 trillion in the past two decades to enforce; the law that every politician, bureaucrat and media pundit keeps telling us protects us against the most serious danger to American security in our history.    
     The interesting thing to me, about the Webb article is that the CIA is provably  (and now admittedly) responsible for much larger scale drug trafficking than Webb alleged or even imagined in his report. 
     In fact, according to a confidential DEA report entitled "Operation Hun, a Chronology" that I used as part of the proof to back up the undercover experiences  detailed in my book The Big White Lie, (optioned for a movie by Robert Greenwald Productions)  the CIA was actively blocking DEA from indicting many members of the ruling government of Bolivia, from,  1980-83—during a time period that these same people were responsible for producing more than 90 percent of the cocaine consumed in the United States.  As CIA Inspector General Hitz himself stated before congress, it was during this time period that Nicaraguan Contra supporters were buying large amounts of cocaine from these same CIA protected Bolivians.
     Do you think Congress wants to see this proof?
     The gang that can't spy straight, as they are known to my listeners and about whom President Lyndon Johnson once said, "When Rich folks don't trust their sons with the family money they send them on down to the CIA," certainly did a lot more damage to this nation than, for example, computer company owner Will Foster who was sentenced to 93 years in prison for possession of 70 marijuana plants for medicinal use.
     Of course, true to their shifty, sleazy form, while admitting that they did aid and abet Contra drug trafficking, they are now refusing to release their own final investigative report which details the damning proof.  The same report that CIA Inspector General Fredrick Hitz, during February, 1998,  had promised congress and the American people was forthcoming "shortly", because,  as CIA Director George Tenet now claims, CIA does not have enough money in its budget to properly classify it.
     You believe that then I know an old guy with a beard named Fidel,  wandering the streets of South Miami with an Island about 90 miles off the coast for sale.  He says the money is for his retirement.
     How, you ask, do they get away with it?
     Well for one thing,  mainstream media, the so-called Fourth Estate, does all it can to help. 
     During the Iran-contra hearings, when Senators Kerry and D'amato were making pronouncements before the Senate indicating that the CIA was involved with drug trafficking, Katherine Graham the owner of The Washington Post addressed a class of CIA recruits at CIA's Langley headquarters in November, 1988,  by saying:     
     "There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't.  I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets, and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.."
     Apparently CIA protection of drug trafficking was among those secrets
     Thus,  it should have been no surprise to those CIA agent recruits when Washington Post reporter and drug expert Michael Itsikoff wrote that there was "no credible evidence" linking the CIA supported contras to cocaine trafficking at the same time very credible evidence was being heard by Senator Kerry's committee indicating that the Contras may have been the top purveyors of drugs to Americans in our history.
     Neither should it have been a surprise to anyone who heard her statement when mainstream media refused to print the news that Oliver North, US Ambassador to Costa Rica, Lewis Tambs and various top level CIA officers were banned from ever entering Costa Rica by Nobel Prize winning President Oscar Arias, for drug running.
  The drugs, by the way, all going to us.
     Nor should it have been a surprise when Gary Webb was destroyed by mainstream media, for doing nothing more or less than telling the truth as he found it. 
     And now, while CIA admits their felonies to the press but refuses to release the proof,  and, Janet Reno, the head of the Obstruction of Justice Department has done the unprecedented by classifying her own department's investigation into CIA drug trafficking, the partnership for a Drug Free America is spending $2 billion of our tax money on already-proven-fruitless anti-drug ads. 
     And where do you think the money goes?
     Answer:  to every major media corporation on the big board.
     Gary Webb, my friend, you are owed a
huge apology.  But I doubt that you'll get it.  Not in this lifetime.

Read Year 2004 G2 Gems