The 'Long War"




 
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February 4th, 2006  
Italian Guy
 
 

Topic: The 'Long War"


Ability to Wage 'Long War' Is Key To Pentagon Plan

Conventional Tactics De-Emphasized


By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 4, 2006

The Pentagon, readying for what it calls a "long war," yesterday laid out a new 20-year defense strategy that envisions U.S. troops deployed, often clandestinely, in dozens of countries at once to fight terrorism and other nontraditional threats.
Major initiatives include a 15 percent boost in the number of elite U.S. troops known as Special Operations Forces, a near-doubling of the capacity of unmanned aerial drones to gather intelligence, a $1.5 billion investment to counter a biological attack, and the creation of special teams to find, track and defuse nuclear bombs and other catastrophic weapons.
The Pentagon, readying for what it calls a "long war,"laid out a new 20-year defense strategy that envisions U.S. troops deployed, often clandestinely, in dozens of countries at once to fight terrorism and other nontraditional threats.'.

China is singled out as having "the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States," and the strategy in response calls for accelerating the fielding of a new Air Force long-range strike force, as well as for building undersea warfare capabilities.
The latest top-level reassessment of strategy, or Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), is the first to fully take stock of the starkly expanded missions of the U.S. military -- both in fighting wars abroad and defending the homeland -- since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The review, the third since Congress required the exercise in the 1990s, has been widely anticipated because Donald H. Rumsfeld is the first defense secretary to conduct one with the benefit of four years' experience in office. Rumsfeld issued the previous QDR in a hastily redrafted form days after the 2001 strikes.
The new strategy, summarized in a 92-page report, is a road map for allocating defense resources. It draws heavily on the lessons learned by the U.S. military since 2001 in Iraq, Afghanistan and counterterrorism operations. The strategy significantly refines the formula -- known as the "force planning construct" -- for the types of major contingencies the U.S. military must be ready to handle.
Under the 2001 review, the Pentagon planned to be able to "swiftly defeat" two adversaries in overlapping military campaigns, with the option of overthrowing a hostile government in one. In the new strategy, one of those two campaigns can be a large-scale, prolonged "irregular" conflict, such as the counterinsurgency in Iraq.
In the 2001 strategy, the U.S. military was to be capable of conducting operations in four regions abroad -- Europe, the Middle East, the "Asian littoral" and Northeast Asia. But the new plan states that the past four years demonstrated the need for U.S. forces to "operate around the globe, and not only in and from the four regions."
Yet, although the Pentagon's future course is ambitious in directing that U.S. forces become more versatile, agile and capable of tackling a far wider range of missions, it calls for no net increases in troop levels and seeks no dramatic cuts or additions to currently planned weapons systems.
For example, the active-duty Army will revert by 2011 to its pre-2001 manpower of 482,400, with the additional Army Special Operations Forces incorporated in that number, defense officials said. The Air Force will reduce its strength by about 40,000 personnel.
Moreover, the review's key assumptions betray what Pentagon leaders acknowledge is a certain humility regarding the Defense Department's uncertainty about what the world will look like over the next five, 10 or 20 years, as well as its realization that the U.S. military cannot attain victory alone.
"U.S. forces in all probability will be engaged somewhere in the world in the next decade where they're not currently engaged. But I can tell you with no resolution at all where that might be, when that might be or how that might be," Ryan Henry, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, said at a Pentagon news briefing unveiling the QDR.
"Things get very fuzzy past the five-year point," Henry said of the review in a talk last month.
At the same time, Henry stressed yesterday, "we cannot win this long war by ourselves."
When a major crisis, such as a terrorist strike or outbreak of hostilities, occurs -- requiring a "surge" in forces -- the U.S. military will plan for "somewhat higher level of contributions from international allies and partners, as well as other Federal agencies," the review concludes.
The new strategy marks a clear shift away from the Pentagon's long-standing emphasis on conventional wars of tanks, fighter jets and destroyers against nation-states. Instead, it concentrates on four new goals: defeating terrorist networks; countering nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; dissuading major powers such as China, India and Russia from becoming adversaries; and creating a more robust homeland defense.
Central to the first two goals is a substantial 15 percent increase in U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF), now with 52,000 personnel, including secret Delta Force operatives skilled in counterterrorism.
The review calls for a one-third increase in Army Special Forces battalions, whose troops are trained in languages and to work with indigenous fighters; an increase in Navy SEAL teams; and the creation of a new SOF squadron of unmanned aerial vehicles to "locate and target enemy capabilities" in countries where access is difficult.
In addition, civil affairs and psychological operations units will gain 3,500 personnel, a 33 percent increase, while the Marine Corps will establish a 2,600-strong Special Operations force for training foreign militaries, conducting reconnaissance and carrying out strikes.
"SOF will increase their capacity to perform more demanding and specialized tasks, especially long-duration, indirect and clandestine operations in politically sensitive environments and denied areas," the report says. By 2007, SOF will have newly modified Navy submarines, each armed with 150 Tomahawk missiles, for reaching "denied areas" and striking individuals or other targets.
"SOF will have the capacity to operate in dozens of countries simultaneously" and will deploy for longer periods to build relationships with "foreign military and security forces," it says.
To conduct strikes against terrorists and other enemies -- work typically assigned to Delta Force members and SEAL teams -- these forces will gain "an expanded organic ability to locate, tag and track dangerous individuals and other high-value targets globally," the report says.
The growth will also allow for the creation of small teams of operatives assigned to "detect, locate, and render safe" nuclear, chemical and biological weapons -- as well as to prevent their transfer from states such as North Korea to terrorist groups.
To strengthen homeland defense, the report calls for improving communications and command systems so that military efforts can be better coordinated with state and local governments.

Source.
February 6th, 2006  
PJ24
 
 
Quote:
Central to the first two goals is a substantial 15 percent increase in U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF), now with 52,000 personnel, including secret Delta Force operatives skilled in counterterrorism.
A pipe dream, dead before it even hit the paper.

In that one brain fart they completely blew away every single one of the Special Operations Forces truths.
  • Humans are more important than hardware.
  • Quality is better than quantity.
  • Special Operations Forces cannot be mass produced.
  • Competent Special Operations Forces cannot be created after emergencies occur.
I hope those guys in the five sided puzzle palace wake up soon.



February 7th, 2006  
Marinerhodes
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PJ24
A pipe dream, dead before it even hit the paper.

In that one brain fart they completely blew away every single one of the Special Operations Forces truths.
  • Humans are more important than hardware.
  • Quality is better than quantity.
  • Special Operations Forces cannot be mass produced.
  • Competent Special Operations Forces cannot be created after emergencies occur.
I hope those guys in the five sided puzzle palace wake up soon.



  • Humans ARE more important than hardware. That is why they plan on increasing the size of the force rather than rely on the "bigger better" idea, they aren't focusing on large scale operational capability.
Quote:
The new strategy marks a clear shift away from the Pentagon's long-standing emphasis on conventional wars of tanks, fighter jets and destroyers against nation-states. Instead, it concentrates on four new goals: defeating terrorist networks; countering nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; dissuading major powers such as China, India and Russia from becoming adversaries; and creating a more robust homeland defense.
  • Quality is better than quantity to be sure. There are many more applicants to the SF than are accepted. Look at the number of those that are accepted that complete the training. I do not know the numbers but I would think that not a high percentage successfully complete the training. Now, increase the number of accepted applicants and you will have, probably, the same percentage of failure vs success but a higher quantity of completions. This means a higher number of trained SOF without lowering current training standards. (Not sure if that all made sense. I hope it did)
  • They are not talking of mass producing anything. They are simply stating that they are increasing the number of SOF.
  • They are not creating SOF. They are merely increasing the size of the SOF already in existence to prepare for the future possibilities.
Give it the benefit of the doubt and look at all the possible outcomes and probable reasons.
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February 8th, 2006  
PJ24
 
 
I didn't make these truths up, they are tenets everyone in SOF lives by. They have been formed from very hard lessons learned, and everything in the QDR contradicts them.

Special Operations has been the tip of the spear in the current Global War on Terror. Tossing out the old "well, we'll just increase the numbers!" won't solve the problems and shortages we currently have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marinerhodes
Humans ARE more important than hardware. That is why they plan on increasing the size of the force rather than rely on the "bigger better" idea, they aren't focusing on large scale operational capability.
Increasing the size is relying on the "bigger/better" idea. SOF is small for a reason. Instead of trying to fluff the numbers, it would be better to look at what we currently have and fixing the problems there that are tying our hands. Toss more bodies into the ranks won't solve our problems.

The increase in budget will help tremendously for both training and equiptment (a lot of SOF helos are about to fall over dead), but won't settle all of the issues and problems. Most could be solved at the political level, and others at the command and staff levels.

Quote:
Quality is better than quantity to be sure. There are many more applicants to the SF than are accepted. Look at the number of those that are accepted that complete the training. I do not know the numbers but I would think that not a high percentage successfully complete the training. Now, increase the number of accepted applicants and you will have, probably, the same percentage of failure vs success but a higher quantity of completions. This means a higher number of trained SOF without lowering current training standards. (Not sure if that all made sense. I hope it did)
I don't think you understand how it works, or what this QDR is implying. As things are right now, anyone with a good enough ASVAB score and some physical stamina can enlist into an Special Operations contract from every branch of service. The Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy all offer these types of contracts. Currently, in a contract you can get a guarantee to attend the indoc of:
  • Army Rangers
  • Army Special Forces
  • Air Force Pararescue
  • Air Force Combat Controller
  • USMC Recon
  • Navy SEAL
It's already easier than ever to get your foot into the door. The DoD gives you the promise of letting you at least try out.

How are we supposed to increase the number of interested applicants now? Well, we can't, because we've already got it set up for just about anyone to try. So now we have to look at dropping standards so less are filtered out so early.

A few SOF courses have already changed their way of doing business to allow anyone with even the hope of passing to attend in the hopes of getting more guys onto active duty teams. I won't state the courses here, but if you work with SOF, you'll know. It's all the buzz and has been for some time.

Quote:
They are not talking of mass producing anything. They are simply stating that they are increasing the number of SOF.
Here again, they are talking about mass producing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Article
The review calls for a one-third increase in Army Special Forces battalions, whose troops are trained in languages and to work with indigenous fighters; an increase in Navy SEAL teams; and the creation of a new SOF squadron of unmanned aerial vehicles to "locate and target enemy capabilities" in countries where access is difficult.


That's 5 new battalions in Army Special Forces alone, over 6,000 SF qualified guys, plus support. They can't keep the bns they do have filled. Sure, the 18X program is helping (they've gone from producing 500 SF soldiers a year to 750 SF soldiers a year), but not enough. So how are they going to get the men to fill those Bns? By cutting corners. Which means dropping standards. This takes us back to quality over quantity. The focus here is quantity.

The USMC is about to lose some of their best operators from Force Recon to go to MARSOC, how are those numbers going to get replaced? The Corps just activated a Recon contract to get more guys into indoc, and that will help with the numbers but it will take years to rebuild FR up to the level it is today.

The Navy and the Air Force will be in the same boat as everyone else if "numbers" become the bottom line rather than "standards."

On average it takes about 2 - 2.5 years to get an SOF candidate operational, this is service wide.

There is simply no way to get more guys through the pipelines than we already have without lowering standards. Or forcing the old timers to spend another 10 years on the line. And, good luck with that one!

Quote:
They are not creating SOF. They are merely increasing the size of the SOF already in existence to prepare for the future possibilities.
What they are attempting to do is create a quick fix solution to a problem that has been developing for years. Yes, SOF is firmly established, but they are attempting to create a 15% increase in a short amount of time in response to the Global War on Terror. If you recall, a lot of SOF units took hits during the Clinton admin, the numbers were thinned then and now they want to bolster them because of the war. It's still a no-no.

Quote:
Give it the benefit of the doubt and look at all the possible outcomes and probable reasons.
I always give the benefit of the doubt, but this isn't the first time such ideas have been tried, and they always fail. Currently, I see standards slowly dropping in certain circles to get more guys in the field. This makes SOF less effective.

I would love to see more guys in SOF, especially my careerfield, it means less deployments and less TDYs for me (Yay!) but not at the expense of standards (Boo!).

If a numbers increase is what they want, give SOF 20 or 30 years, a huge budget and free reign on recruiting. It'll get done, and done right, but it won't happen over night, nor should it. Oh, and make the politicians stay out of it other than to sign the checks.

If they wouldn't have blasted all of the SOF truths out of the water in one short paragraph, I think more people in SOF would be receptive. As it is, many are left scratching their heads and wondering what they're smoking in the puzzle palace on this one.

February 9th, 2006  
Marinerhodes
 
 
You make alot of good points. I still stand by what I said. I doubt they will lower the standards further just to have a higher graduation rate. Like you stated, they are handing out more opportunities to get your foot in the door. This is not to say they are passing every man that comes thru.

One of the reasons they are wanting to increase the size of the force is to compensate for future actions that will require more SOC (Special Operations Capable) units than we currently have.

Sure the SF took a hit during the Clinton Administration. But America and Congress was all kinds of happy about it then because it decreased the defense budget. Now they say "oops".

As for MARSOC: The units affected are not just SOC and Grunt units. It is also all the support units. The USMC is slowly but surely turning most of the supply and support side over to civilians. This will free up more and more Marines and elnistment slots to pursue a career on the "fighting" side of the Corps.

All in all I guess we will just have to wait and see how it all works out.
February 9th, 2006  
PJ24
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marinerhodes
You make alot of good points. I still stand by what I said. I doubt they will lower the standards further just to have a higher graduation rate. Like you stated, they are handing out more opportunities to get your foot in the door. This is not to say they are passing every man that comes thru.
Well, some corners are already being cut to get more bodies through. I won't discuss those pipelines on an open forum out of respect, though.. This is because some have taken a focus the past few years of trying to push the numbers through. At this point, it is nothing that can't be filtered out later in the pipeline or at the unit level. But if the big push starts to focus on (as it has been the past few years) the numbers and not the quality of the few getting through, we're in for some hurtin'. I'd rather have 3 top notch guys that 20 "good enough" guys.


We're going to need a lot longer than five years to add 13K operators into SOF without dropping standards, remember that on average it takes 2+ years to get a guy through his respective pipeline.

As long as those in the five sided building realize this, and do not do what they did years ago, I think it will be fine.

Also, don't get me wrong, we do need to increase the numbers. My careerfield has been short since Jesus was doing perfect PLFs. Our OPTEMPO is a killer, it would be nice to have a little more time to recover between deployments. The same goes for other guys. But there is no reason why we can't set a realistic timeline.
February 11th, 2006  
Marinerhodes
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PJ24
. My careerfield has been short since Jesus was doing perfect PLFs. .

February 11th, 2006  
bulldogg
 
 
They did it back in 1991 when they realised they were short of medics for the gulf war according to the numbers of casualties the number crunchers thought we would take. They shortened the 91A course from twelve weeks to just 8 weeks in order to churn out more bullet sponges. It never changes.
February 11th, 2006  
warhappy100
 
 
PJ24 I don't think the folks at 5 sides puzzle palace listen to anyone
but to what Cheney and Rummie want.
February 12th, 2006  
zander_0633
 
 
I think you can include Bush as well!