AnimeSuki Forums

Register Forum Rules FAQ Members List Social Groups Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   AnimeSuki Forum > Anime Discussion > Older Series > Nanoha

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 2007-09-25, 11:02   Link #201
panzerfan
Name means little...
*Graphic Designer
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: A town that has been showered by snow...
Age: 28
Whatever it is, TSAB has just lost the very tip of its hierarchy in one swoop and quite possibly there is no replacement for any one of the heads... it being an inefficient policing organization knee-deep in internal affairs (just look at YnS scenario) do not help.

There won't be an answer to the question of TSAB making a recovery I think for some time. None of the brains thought of true successors to their positions and Regius consolidated powers upon himself, also with no regard to grooming heir. Lindy's faction, with the three admirals as their silent backers, might rise to prominence, given that they got all the glory from the Cradle fiasco now that their detractors have been silenced forever thanks to Scaglietti's clean-up work.

It remains to be seen if the three admirals will step up to the vacuum or they would leave the Saint Church + Halloun to assume position of power.


Going back to military... it will take nothing short of a total reorganization for TSAB to bare any resemblance to an actual model military. A personality such as Regius would've been great for that, but his aims were too shallow. I have seen no Heinz Guderian, no Zhuge Liang and no Bismarck in this series to far for that to happen... or for that matter, not even a tactician such as Rommel. Maybe the closest in a thinking field officer is Major Nakajima. I wouldn't expect it to be discussed et al, although this certainly makes for good material for people writing fanfics.
__________________

It would be enough for the depressing things in life to only exist in reality.
It is because that I think the birth of a story... is from people dreaming of a happy ending. ~Misaka Shiori


panzerfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-09-25, 11:26   Link #202
Jimmy C
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
I'm somewhat disappointed that, even up to the last episode, we never found out widespread is the knowledge that the TSAB High Council are 3 brains in jars.
The Brains never thought of heirs because they felt like they would be around forver. Oh sure, they knew intellectually they wouldn't last much longer, but they still thought of themselves as indespensible to the TSAB, irreplaceable. Regius never needed to think about a successor, the High Council would choose one. Or would have, if they hadn't been assassinated before him.
The three admirals won't be stepping forward. They've retired from that position decades ago. They can advise, but someone new will have to lead Ground Forces.
In the end, the fallout from the Scaglietti case is... surprisingly limited. The High Council is dead, but the TSAB may have a chance to forge its own path now. GF lost its CinC, some highly-regarded experimental weapons, but the rest of its command structure and forces appear to be mostly intact. Main Office and the Dimensional Fleet are completely intact.
Jimmy C is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-09-25, 12:19   Link #203
panzerfan
Name means little...
*Graphic Designer
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: A town that has been showered by snow...
Age: 28
The main branch's political games of course is beyond the scope of this season, which is a shame. (wonder if the attention will be on the fleets in the next Nanoha...)
__________________

It would be enough for the depressing things in life to only exist in reality.
It is because that I think the birth of a story... is from people dreaming of a happy ending. ~Misaka Shiori


panzerfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-09-25, 13:12   Link #204
aldw
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
If one were to compare the effectiveness of TSAB with other equivalents like the Galaxy Police/Galaxy Army of Tenchi Muyo, how would they stand up?
aldw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-09-25, 13:13   Link #205
Jimmy C
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Speaking of political games, notice how Main Branch and the High Council don't seem to be eye-to-eye? The HC was supporting the Combat Cyborg program but Main Branch banned the technology. Sometimes, I get the feeling that the HC were a last minute addition to the StrikerS setting. Not properly integrated as the other elements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by panzerfan
wonder if the attention will be on the fleets in the next Nanoha...
Probably not. That would require a fleet vs fleet situation, something that Nanoha and co are not qualified to deal with. Fleet vs supership has already been done, courtesy of the Cradle.
Jimmy C is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-09-25, 14:21   Link #206
panzerfan
Name means little...
*Graphic Designer
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: A town that has been showered by snow...
Age: 28
I do not mean it in that sense. I mean to look at the personals within the fleet instead of the ground HQ.

As for animes, examples where military organization and politics are discussed in length, such as Legend of Galactic Heroes and Zipang do exist, but comparing those wouldn't be fair to Nanoha series. I can expect no more from the series than what we might see in say, Gundam merchandise.
__________________

It would be enough for the depressing things in life to only exist in reality.
It is because that I think the birth of a story... is from people dreaming of a happy ending. ~Misaka Shiori


panzerfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-09-25, 21:41   Link #207
arkhangelsk
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy C View Post
Speaking of political games, notice how Main Branch and the High Council don't seem to be eye-to-eye? The HC was supporting the Combat Cyborg program but Main Branch banned the technology. Sometimes, I get the feeling that the HC were a last minute addition to the StrikerS setting. Not properly integrated as the other elements.
Personally, I saw the so called High Council as a shadow government or even just a shadow advisory team. Not many except the top even knows about them. Nobody gets to know that they are but mere brains in a jar. They advise and can quietly mobilize some assets but have little real authority.

Which is why I think that the TSAB won't really be badly affected. They just lost a meddling advisory team that never shows up in person. The HQ is intact, the Navy is intact, the GF just has to have the next senior officer replace Regius and rebuild the building.

And of course, since they weren't badly affected, it'd be the same old TSAB. Same old flaws. For the next time...

Quote:
Probably not. That would require a fleet vs fleet situation, something that Nanoha and co are not qualified to deal with. Fleet vs supership has already been done, courtesy of the Cradle.
What happened can hardly be called "done". That was a scuttling.
arkhangelsk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-09-28, 22:30   Link #208
Mirificus
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: May 2007
In light of the the talk of TSAB culture and its future, I thought that this article about the US Army I came across recently brings up some interesting issues, of which quite a few should seem familiar. While hardly a direct mirror of the TSAB, the article shows some of the cultural problems that a real military is currently facing.
Quote:
August 26, 2007, New York Times
Challenging the Generals
By FRED KAPLAN

On Aug. 1, Gen. Richard Cody, the United States Army’s vice chief of staff, flew to the sprawling base at Fort Knox, Ky., to talk with the officers enrolled in the Captains Career Course. These are the Army’s elite junior officers. Of the 127 captains taking the five-week course, 119 had served one or two tours of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, mainly as lieutenants. Nearly all would soon be going back as company commanders. A captain named Matt Wignall, who recently spent 16 months in Iraq with a Stryker brigade combat team, asked Cody, the Army’s second-highest-ranking general, what he thought of a recent article by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling titled “A Failure in Generalship.” The article, a scathing indictment that circulated far and wide, including in Iraq, accused the Army’s generals of lacking “professional character,” “creative intelligence” and “moral courage.”

Yingling’s article — published in the May issue of Armed Forces Journal — noted that a key role of generals is to advise policy makers and the public on the means necessary to win wars. “If the general remains silent while the statesman commits a nation to war with insufficient means,” he wrote, “he shares culpability for the results.” Today’s generals “failed to envision the conditions of future combat and prepare their forces accordingly,” and they failed to advise policy makers on how much force would be necessary to win and stabilize Iraq. These failures, he insisted, stemmed not just from the civilian leaders but also from a military culture that “does little to reward creativity and moral courage.” He concluded, “As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”

General Cody looked around the auditorium, packed with men and women in uniform — most of them in their mid-20s, three decades his junior but far more war-hardened than he or his peers were at the same age — and turned Captain Wignall’s question around. “You all have just come from combat, you’re young captains,” he said, addressing the entire room. “What’s your opinion of the general officers corps?”

Over the next 90 minutes, five captains stood up, recited their names and their units and raised several of Yingling’s criticisms. One asked why the top generals failed to give political leaders full and frank advice on how many troops would be needed in Iraq. One asked whether any generals “should be held accountable” for the war’s failures. One asked if the Army should change the way it selected generals. Another said that general officers were so far removed from the fighting, they wound up “sheltered from the truth” and “don’t know what’s going on.”

Challenges like this are rare in the military, which depends on obedience and hierarchy. Yet the scene at Fort Knox reflected a brewing conflict between the Army’s junior and senior officer corps — lieutenants and captains on one hand, generals on the other, with majors and colonels (“field-grade officers”) straddling the divide and sometimes taking sides. The cause of this tension is the war in Iraq, but the consequences are broader. They revolve around the obligations of an officer, the nature of future warfare and the future of the Army itself. And these tensions are rising at a time when the war has stretched the Army’s resources to the limit, when junior officers are quitting at alarming rates and when political leaders are divided or uncertain about America’s — and its military’s — role in the world.

Colonel Yingling’s article gave these tensions voice; it spelled out the issues and the stakes; and it located their roots in the Army’s own institutional culture, specifically in the growing disconnect between this culture — which is embodied by the generals — and the complex realities that junior officers, those fighting the war, are confronting daily on the ground. The article was all the more potent because it was written by an active-duty officer still on the rise. It was a career risk, just as, on a smaller scale, standing up and asking the Army vice chief of staff about the article was a risk.

In response to the captains’ questions, General Cody acknowledged, as senior officers often do now, that the Iraq war was “mismanaged” in its first phases. The original plan, he said, did not anticipate the disbanding of the Iraqi Army, the disruption of oil production or the rise of an insurgency. Still, he rejected the broader critique. “I think we’ve got great general officers that are meeting tough demands,” he insisted. He railed instead at politicians for cutting back the military in the 1990s. “Those are the people who ought to be held accountable,” he said.

Before and just after America’s entry into World War II, Gen. George Marshall, the Army’s chief of staff, purged 31 of his 42 division and corps commanders, all of them generals, and 162 colonels on the grounds that they were unsuited for battle. Over the course of the war, he rid the Army of 500 colonels. He reached deep into the lower ranks to find talented men to replace them. For example, Gen. James Gavin, the highly decorated commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, was a mere major in December 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Today, President Bush maintains that the nation is in a war against terrorism — what Pentagon officials call “the long war” — in which civilization itself is at stake. Yet six years into this war, the armed forces — not just the Army, but also the Air Force, Navy and Marines — have changed almost nothing about the way their promotional systems and their entire bureaucracies operate.

On the lower end of the scale, things have changed — but for the worse. West Point cadets are obligated to stay in the Army for five years after graduating. In a typical year, about a quarter to a third of them decide not to sign on for another term. In 2003, when the class of 1998 faced that decision, only 18 percent quit the force: memories of 9/11 were still vivid; the war in Afghanistan seemed a success; and war in Iraq was under way. Duty called, and it seemed a good time to be an Army officer. But last year, when the 905 officers from the class of 2001 had to make their choice to stay or leave, 44 percent quit the Army. It was the service’s highest loss rate in three decades.

Col. Don Snider, a longtime professor at West Point, sees a “trust gap” between junior and senior officers. There has always been a gap, to some degree. What’s different now is that many of the juniors have more combat experience than the seniors. They have come to trust their own instincts more than they trust orders. They look at the hand they’ve been dealt by their superiors’ decisions, and they feel let down.

The gap is widening further, Snider told me, because of this war’s operating tempo, the “unrelenting pace” at which soldiers are rotated into Iraq for longer tours — and a greater number of tours — than they signed up for. Many soldiers, even those who support the war, are wearying of the endless cycle. The cycle is a result of two decisions. The first occurred at the start of the war, when the senior officers assented to the decision by Donald Rumsfeld, then the secretary of defense, to send in far fewer troops than they had recommended. The second took place two years later, well into the insurgency phase of the war, when top officers declared they didn’t need more troops, though most of them knew that in fact they did. “Many junior officers,” Snider said, “see this op tempo as stemming from the failure of senior officers to speak out.”

Paul Yingling did not set out to cause a stir. He grew up in a working-class part of Pittsburgh. His father owned a bar; no one in his family went to college. He joined the Army in 1984 at age 17, because he was a troubled kid — poor grades and too much drinking and brawling — who wanted to turn his life around, and he did. He went to Duquesne University, a small Catholic school, on an R.O.T.C. scholarship; went on active duty; rose through the ranks; and, by the time of the 1991 Persian Gulf war, was a lieutenant commanding an artillery battery, directing cannon fire against Saddam Hussein’s army.

“When I was in the gulf war, I remember thinking, This is easier than it was at training exercises,” he told me earlier this month. He was sent to Bosnia in December 1995 as part of the first peacekeeping operation after the signing of the Dayton accords, which ended the war in Bosnia. “This was nothing like training,” he recalled. Like most of his fellow soldiers, he was trained almost entirely for conventional combat operations: straightforward clashes, brigades against brigades. (Even now, about 70 percent of the training at the Captains Career Course is for conventional warfare.) In Bosnia, there was no clear enemy, no front line and no set definition of victory. “I kept wondering why things weren’t as well rehearsed as they’d been in the gulf war,” he said.

Upon returning, he spent the next six years pondering that question. He studied international relations at the University of Chicago’s graduate school and wrote a master’s thesis about the circumstances under which outside powers can successfully intervene in civil wars. (One conclusion: There aren’t many.) He then taught at West Point, where he also read deeply in Western political theory. Yingling was deployed to Iraq in July 2003 as an executive officer collecting loose munitions and training Iraq’s civil-defense corps. “The corps deserted or joined the insurgency on first contact,” he recalled. “It was a disaster.”

In the late fall of 2003, his first tour of duty over, Yingling was sent to Fort Sill, Okla., the Army’s main base for artillery soldiers, and wrote long memos to the local generals, suggesting new approaches to the war in Iraq. One suggestion was that since artillery rockets were then playing little role, artillery soldiers should become more skilled in training Iraqi soldiers; that, he thought, would be vital to Iraq’s future stability. No one responded to his memos, he says. He volunteered for another tour of combat and became deputy commander of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment, which was fighting jihadist insurgents in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar.

The commander of the third regiment, Col. H. R. McMaster, was a historian as well as a decorated soldier. He figured that Iraq could not build its own institutions, political or military, until its people felt safe. So he devised his own plan, in which he and his troops cleared the town of insurgents — and at the same time formed alliances and built trust with local sheiks and tribal leaders. The campaign worked for a while, but only because McMaster flooded the city with soldiers — about 1,000 of them per square kilometer. Earlier, as Yingling drove around to other towns and villages, he saw that most Iraqis were submitting to whatever gang or militia offered them protection, because United States and coalition forces weren’t anywhere around. And that was because the coalition had entered the war without enough troops. Yingling was seeing the consequences of this decision up close in the terrible insecurity of most Iraqis’ lives.

In February 2006, Yingling returned to Fort Sill. That April, six retired Army and Marine generals publicly criticized Rumsfeld, who was still the secretary of defense, for sending too few troops to Iraq. Many junior and field-grade officers reacted with puzzlement or disgust. Their common question: Where were these generals when they still wore the uniform? Why didn’t they speak up when their words might have counted? One general who had spoken up, Eric Shinseki, then the Army chief of staff, was publicly upbraided and ostracized by Rumsfeld; other active-duty generals got the message and stayed mum.

That December, Yingling attended a Purple Heart ceremony for soldiers wounded in Iraq. “I was watching these soldiers wheeling into this room, or in some cases having to be wheeled in by their wives or mothers,” he recalled. “And I said to myself: ‘These soldiers were doing their jobs. The senior officers were not doing theirs. We’re not giving our soldiers the tools and training to succeed.’ I had to go public.”

Soon after Yingling’s article appeared, Maj. Gen. Jeff Hammond, commander of the Fourth Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Tex., reportedly called a meeting of the roughly 200 captains on his base, all of whom had served in Iraq, for the purpose of putting this brazen lieutenant colonel in his place. According to The Wall Street Journal, he told his captains that Army generals are “dedicated, selfless servants.” Yingling had no business judging generals because he has “never worn the shoes of a general.” By implication, Hammond was warning his captains that they had no business judging generals, either. Yingling was stationed at Fort Hood at the time, preparing to take command of an artillery battalion. From the steps of his building, he could see the steps of General Hammond’s building. He said he sent the general a copy of his article before publication as a courtesy, and he never heard back; nor was he notified of the general’s meeting with his captains.

The “trust gap” between junior and senior officers is hardly universal. Many junior officers at Fort Knox and elsewhere have no complaints about the generals — or regard the matter as way above their pay grade. As Capt. Ryan Kranc, who has served two tours in Iraq, one as a commander, explained to me, “I’m more interested in whether my guys can secure a convoy.” He dismissed complaints about troop shortages. “When you’re in a system, you’re never going to get everything you ask for,” he said, “but I still have to accomplish a mission. That’s my job. If they give me a toothpick, dental floss and a good hunting knife, I will accomplish the mission.”

An hour after General Cody’s talk at Fort Knox, several captains met to discuss the issue over beers. Capt. Garrett Cathcart, who has served in Iraq as a platoon leader, said: “The culture of the Army is to accomplish the mission, no matter what. That’s a good thing.” Matt Wignall, who was the first captain to ask General Cody about the Yingling article, agreed that a mission-oriented culture was “a good thing, but it can be dangerous.” He added: “It is so rare to hear someone in the Army say, ‘No, I can’t do that.’ But sometimes it takes courage to say, ‘I don’t have the capability.’ ” Before the Iraq war, when Rumsfeld overrode the initial plans of the senior officers, “somebody should have put his foot down,” Wignall said.

Lt. Col. Allen Gill, who just retired as director of the R.O.T.C. program at Georgetown University, has heard versions of this discussion among his cadets for years. He raises a different concern about the Army’s “can do” culture. “You’re not brought up in the Army to tell people how you can’t get things done, and that’s fine, that’s necessary,” he said. “But when you get promoted to a higher level of strategic leadership, you have to have a different outlook. You’re supposed to make clear, cold calculations of risk — of the probabilities of victory and defeat.”

The problem, he said, is that it’s hard for officers — hard for people in any profession — to switch their basic approach to life so abruptly. As Yingling put it in his article, “It is unreasonable to expect that an officer who spends 25 years conforming to institutional expectations will emerge as an innovator in his late 40s.”

Yingling’s commander at Tal Afar, H. R. McMaster, documented a similar crisis in the case of the Vietnam War. Twenty years after the war, McMaster wrote a doctoral dissertation that he turned into a book called “Dereliction of Duty.” It concluded that the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the 1960s betrayed their professional obligations by failing to provide unvarnished military advice to President Lyndon B. Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara as they plunged into the Southeast Asian quagmire. When McMaster’s book was published in 1997, Gen. Hugh Shelton, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs, ordered all commanders to read it — and to express disagreements to their superiors, even at personal risk. Since then, “Dereliction of Duty” has been recommended reading for Army officers.

Yet before the start of the Iraq war and during the early stages of the fighting, the Joint Chiefs once again fell silent. Justin Rosenbaum, the captain at Fort Knox who asked General Cody whether any generals would be held accountable for the failures in Iraq, said he was disturbed by this parallel between the two wars. “We’ve read the McMaster book,” he said. “It’s startling that we’re repeating the same mistakes.”

McMaster’s own fate has reinforced these apprehensions. President Bush has singled out McMaster’s campaign at Tal Afar as a model of successful strategy. Gen. David Petraeus, now commander of United States forces in Iraq, frequently consults with McMaster in planning his broader counterinsurgency campaign. Yet the Army’s promotion board — the panel of generals that selects which few dozen colonels advance to the rank of brigadier general — has passed over McMaster two years in a row.

McMaster’s nonpromotion has not been widely reported, yet every officer I spoke with knew about it and had pondered its implications. One colonel, who asked not to be identified because he didn’t want to risk his own ambitions, said: “Everyone studies the brigadier-general promotion list like tarot cards — who makes it, who doesn’t. It communicates what qualities are valued and not valued.” A retired Army two-star general, who requested anonymity because he didn’t want to anger his friends on the promotion boards, agreed. “When you turn down a guy like McMaster,” he told me, “that sends a potent message to everybody down the chain. I don’t know, maybe there were good reasons not to promote him. But the message everybody gets is: ‘We’re not interested in rewarding people like him. We’re not interested in rewarding agents of change.’ ”


Members of the board, he said, want to promote officers whose careers look like their own. Today’s generals rose through the officer corps of the peacetime Army. Many of them fought in the last years of Vietnam, and some fought in the gulf war. But to the extent they have combat experience, it has been mainly tactical, not strategic. They know how to secure an objective on a battlefield, how to coordinate firepower and maneuver. But they don’t necessarily know how to deal with an enemy that’s flexible, with a scenario that has not been rehearsed.

“Those rewarded are the can-do, go-to people,” the retired two-star general told me. “Their skill is making the trains run on time. So why are we surprised that, when the enemy becomes adaptive, we get caught off guard? If you raise a group of plumbers, you shouldn’t be upset if they can’t do theoretical physics.”

There are, of course, exceptions, most notably General Petraeus. He wrote an article for a recent issue of The American Interest, a Washington-based public-policy journal, urging officers to attend civilian graduate schools and get out of their “intellectual comfort zones” — useful for dealing with today’s adaptive enemies.

Yet many Army officers I spoke with say Petraeus’s view is rare among senior officers. Two colonels told me that when they were captains, their commanders strongly discouraged them from attending not just graduate school but even the Army’s Command and General Staff College, warning that it would be a diversion from their career paths. “I got the impression that I’d be better off counting bedsheets in the Baghdad Embassy than studying at Harvard,” one colonel said.

Harvard’s merits aside, some junior officers agree that the promotion system discourages breadth. Capt. Kip Kowalski, an infantry officer in the Captains Career Course at Fort Knox, is a proud soldier in the can-do tradition. He is impatient with critiques of superiors; he prefers to stay focused on his job. “But I am worried,” he said, “that generals these days are forced to be narrow.” Kowalski would like to spend a few years in a different branch of the Army — say, as a foreign area officer — and then come back to combat operations. He says he thinks the switch would broaden his skills, give him new perspectives and make him a better officer. But the rules don’t allow switching back and forth among specialties. “I have to decide right now whether I want to do ops or something else,” he said. “If I go F. A. O., I can never come back.”

In October 2006, seven months before his essay on the failure of generalship appeared, Yingling and Lt. Col. John Nagl, another innovative officer, wrote an article for Armed Forces Journal called “New Rules for New Enemies,” in which they wrote: “The best way to change the organizational culture of the Army is to change the pathways for professional advancement within the officer corps. The Army will become more adaptive only when being adaptive offers the surest path to promotion.”

In late June, Yingling took command of an artillery battalion. This means he will most likely be promoted to full colonel. This assignment, however, was in the works nearly a year ago, long before he wrote his critique of the generals. His move and probable promotion say nothing about whether he’ll be promoted further — or whether, as some of his admirers fear, his career will now grind to a halt.

Nagl — the author of an acclaimed book about counterinsurgency (“Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife”), a former operations officer in Iraq and the subject of a New York Times Magazine article a few years ago — has since taken command of a unit at Fort Riley, Kan., that trains United States soldiers to be advisers to Iraqi security forces. Pentagon officials have said that these advisers are crucial to America’s future military policy. Yet Nagl has written that soldiers have been posted to this unit “on an ad hoc basis” and that few of the officers selected to train them have ever been advisers themselves.

Lt. Col. Isaiah Wilson, a professor at West Point and former planning officer in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division, said the fate of Nagl’s unit — the degree to which it attracted capable, ambitious soldiers — depended on the answer to one question: “Will serving as an adviser be seen as equal to serving as a combat officer in the eyes of the promotion boards? The jury is still out.”

“Guys like Yingling, Nagl and McMaster are the canaries in the coal mine of Army reform,” the retired two-star general I spoke with told me. “Will they get promoted to general? If they do, that’s a sign that real change is happening. If they don’t, that’s a sign that the traditional culture still rules.”

Failure sometimes compels an institution to change its ways. The last time the Army undertook an overhaul was in the wake of the Vietnam War. At the center of those reforms was an officer named Huba Wass de Czege. Wass de Czege (pronounced VOSH de tsay-guh) graduated from West Point and served two tours of duty in Vietnam, the second as a company commander in the Central Highlands. He devised innovative tactics, leading four-man teams — at the time they were considered unconventionally small — on ambush raids at night. His immediate superiors weren’t keen on his approach or attitude, despite his successes. But after the war ended and a few creative officers took over key posts, they recruited Wass de Czege to join them.

In 1982, he was ordered to rewrite the Army’s field manual on combat operations. At his own initiative, he read the classics of military strategy — Clausewitz’s “On War,” Sun Tzu’s “Art of War,” B. H. Liddell Hart’s “Strategy” — none of which had been on his reading list at West Point. And he incorporated many of their lessons along with his own experiences from Vietnam. Where the old edition assumed static clashes of firepower and attrition, Wass de Czege’s revision emphasized speed, maneuver and taking the offensive. He was asked to create a one-year graduate program for the most promising young officers. Called the School of Advanced Military Studies, or SAMS, it brought strategic thinking back into the Army — at least for a while.

Now a retired one-star general, though an active Army consultant, Wass de Czege has publicly praised Yingling’s article. (Yingling was a graduate of SAMS in 2002, well after its founder moved on.) In an essay for the July issue of Army magazine, Wass de Czege wrote that today’s junior officers “feel they have much relevant experience [that] those senior to them lack,” yet the senior officers “have not listened to them.” These junior officers, he added, remind him of his own generation of captains, who held the same view during and just after Vietnam.

“The crux of the problem in our Army,” Wass de Czege wrote, “is that officers are not systematically taught how to cope with unstructured problems.” Counterinsurgency wars, like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, are all about unstructured problems. The junior and field-grade officers, who command at the battalion level and below, deal with unstructured problems — adapting to the insurgents’ ever-changing tactics — as a matter of course. Many generals don’t, and never had to, deal with such problems, either in war or in their training drills. Many of them may not fully recognize just how distinct and difficult these problems are.

Speaking by phone from his home outside Fort Leavenworth, Wass de Czege emphasized that he was impressed with most of today’s senior officers. Compared with those of his time, they are more capable, open and intelligent (most officers today, junior and senior, have college degrees, for instance). “You’re not seeing any of the gross incompetence that was common in my day,” he said. He added, however, that today’s generals are still too slow to change. “The Army tends to be consensus-driven at the top,” he said. “There’s a good side to that. We’re steady as a rock. You call us to arms, we’ll be there. But when you roll a lot of changes at us, it takes awhile. The young guys have to drive us to it.”

The day after his talk at Fort Knox, General Cody, back at his office in the Pentagon, reiterated his “faith in the leadership of the general officers.” Asked about complaints that junior officers are forced to follow narrow paths to promotion, he said, “We’re trying to do just the opposite.” In the works are new incentives to retain officers, including not just higher bonuses but free graduate school and the right to choose which branch of the Army to serve in. “I don’t want everybody to think there’s one road map to colonel or general,” he said. He denied that promotion boards picked candidates in their own image. This year, he said, he was on the board that picked new brigadier generals, and one of them, Jeffrey Buchanan, had never commanded a combat brigade; his last assignment was training Iraqi security forces. One colonel, interviewed later, said: “That’s a good sign. They’ve never picked anybody like that before. But that’s just one out of 38 brigadier generals they picked. It’s still very much the exception.”

There is a specter haunting the debate over Yingling’s article — the specter of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. During World War II, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower threatened to resign if the civilian commanders didn’t order air support for the invasion of Normandy. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill acceded. But during the Korean War, MacArthur — at the time, perhaps the most popular public figure in America — demanded that President Truman let him attack China. Truman fired him. History has redeemed both presidents’ decisions. But in terms of the issues that Yingling, McMaster and others have raised, was there really a distinction? Weren’t both generals speaking what they regarded as “truth to power”?

The very discussion of these issues discomforts many senior officers because they take very seriously the principle of civilian control. They believe it is not their place to challenge the president or his duly appointed secretary of defense, certainly not in public, especially not in wartime. The ethical codes are ambiguous on how firmly an officer can press an argument without crossing the line. So, many generals prefer to keep a substantial distance from that line — to keep the prospect of a constitutional crisis from even remotely arising.

On a blog Yingling maintains at the Web site of Small Wars Journal, an independent journal of military theory, he has acknowledged these dilemmas, but he hasn’t disentangled them. For example, if generals do speak up, and the president ignores their advice, what should they do then — salute and follow orders, resign en masse or criticize the president publicly? At this level of discussion, the junior and midlevel officers feel uncomfortable, too.

Yingling’s concern is more narrowly professional, but it should matter greatly to future policy makers who want to consult their military advisers. The challenge is how to ensure that generals possess the experience and analytical prowess to formulate sound military advice and the “moral courage,” as Yingling put it, to take responsibility for that advice and for its resulting successes or failures. The worry is that too few generals today possess either set of qualities — and that the promotional system impedes the rise of officers who do.

As today’s captains and majors come up through the ranks, the culture may change. One question is how long that will take. Another question is whether the most innovative of those junior officers will still be in the Army by the time the top brass decides reform is necessary. As Colonel Wilson, the West Point instructor, put it, “When that moment comes, will there be enough of the right folks in the right slots to make the necessary changes happen?”

Fred Kaplan is the national security columnist for Slate and author of the forthcoming book “Daydream Believers: How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power.”
__________________

Last edited by Mirificus; 2007-09-28 at 22:43.
Mirificus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-09-29, 18:25   Link #209
Mirificus
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: May 2007
Here are some comments about the article by some officers who are currently serving or were serving recently:
Quote:
ALTHOUGH: I just saw a lecture by Peter Barnett of the "Pentagon's New Map". He did bring up a good case that Clinton essentially refused to be a commander in chief after the fiasco with Don't Ask/Don't Tell and let the generals run rampant with creating their own doctrines. So the 90's were essentially wasted with the JCS coming up with their "future of warfare" which oh by the way looked a lot like the Gulf War, and vehemently fought any attempt to bring COIN into the limelight, even though the bulk of operations that Clinton wanted/executed were essentially more up that alley. Had Clinton stuck to his guns and lead as the CINC, he probably would have forced the Pentagon to come up with a far more competent military capable of executing unconventional operations. Instead he was content to just get some token humanitarian missions but essentially let DoD run itself and ignore where Clinton thought warfare was trending to.

- seriously, not many generals have been fired. Rumsfeld when he took office axed quite a few generals in order to get his transformation objectives pushed through, but apparently only axed one guy (Shinseki) in order to pull OIF off. Maybe I'm off base here, but it looks like Rumsfeld had to engage in a lot more institutional fighting changing funding priorities and weapons development than he did in pushing his war strategy through the Joint Chiefs and CENTCOM

- the "can do" culture. Really is tough to decide where to draw the line. There was this one case where a two man element was used to guard an important bridge. This force was insufficient to do the job, as was later proven when they got ambushed and kidnapped. The platoon leader and company commander were both relieved and blamed for the incident. But how much of this was their fault, and how much of it was them trying to do the best they could with limited resources? The alternative would have been for them to say "nope, I can't do this mission", which might have also gotten them relieved.

Tough call at the junior officer level, and I'm sure it gets much harder as you go higher up the chain. It is very difficult to envision a senior military commander telling the President that the US military is not capable of doing a mission. It immediately begs the question as to what the hundreds of billions a year are being spent on and the competency of the military leadership. So I can see how this combined with a can-do attitude would make a military leader hesitant to tell the President flat out that something was impossible.

- news to me that COL McMaster was passed over for promotion twice. Not really sure what the norm is for how many looks it takes to get from O-6 to O-7, but when the President is hailing you as a military genius and someone to be emulated it is rather surprising when you don't get to pin on a stars.
Quote:
Quote:
McMaster's isn't nearly as good of a commander as he's made out to be. He was in command of the 3rd ACR which is probably the deadliest brigade sized element in the US Army, so I would expect it to perform well. From what I understand he takes a lot of credit for the work of others and blows his successes out of proportion. He know's how to play politics and work the media better than most however. I've never personally served under him but this is coming from soldiers who've served with him.
- Combat power hasn't translated to success in Iraq for the most part, so the fact that 3rd ACR has a lot of it isn't terribly relevant.

- Self-promotion and political faggotry is a fact of life if you want to achieve high rank. No shit his troops do all the work, that's why they're troops and not colonels. The problem is that there are lots of self-promoting twats wearing silver eagles, but not a lot of self-promoting twats who have actuallly achieved results in Iraq. He did.

- He's gotten results when almost everyone else has been a fuck-up. And ultimately results are all that should matter when deciding who to promote.
Quote:
I think a big part of that is that unprecedented numbers of officers are quitting as soon as possible, and to make up for it the Army is inflating the number of captains by promoting them sooner (from 4 years to 36 months) and being even less selective about it. And when I made captain in 1999 it was pretty fucking easy already. If you assume that the percentage of officers leaving because they aren't suited to Army life in general is fairly static, that leaves a large increase in losses coming from people who liked the idea of service but thought that the Army had become too fucking shitty to put up with anymore.

The most glaring indicator of this is West Point officer retention. As a group, they're predisposed to making the Army a career, and their retention rates are collapsing. Even if you think West Pointers tend to be faggots, consider the underlying issue: would-be careerists are looking at the Army and saying "this is too fucked up" and abandoning their lifelong ambition and becoming civilians.
I was pretty surprised to learn that Col. McMaster was passed over for promotion twice. He did a great job of handling the 2nd ACR in Desert Storm and then the 3rd ACR at Tal Afir. Unlike Baghdad, which recently had its attacks per month drop from 1200 to 970, Tal Afir pretty much became livable while the 3rd ACR was there under McMaster.

Now, back to the TSAB. With its command climate, it is a wonder that the TSAB officer corps hasn't lost its confidence in the GF command and that it isn't having problems with officer retention. The way the TSAB promotes its officers and then consistently places officers in positions that are well outside of their training and experience could be somewhat indicative. Its inability to recognize talent can't be helping matters.

It doesn't seem like this point was dealt with adequately earlier in the thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tk3997 View Post
True, but they have the standard sci-fi ďabsurdly effective, always on, instantaneous communicationsĒ I mean shit they even have Telepathy! This reduces the complexity quite a bit and makes managing the independent groups much easier. Further the force is tiny to begin this isnít like trying to wrangle three armored divisions in a multi-prong encirclement or something, itís managing a team smaller then most rifle squads. In fact considering it like three highly dispersed but still very much interconnected fireteams is probably a fairly close analogy.
Telepathy is hardly panacea. While it speeds up communication and should speed up decision cycles, it can't simply replace control aspect of staffwork without overburdening the commander. The presence of a higher commander on the scene can easily inhibit initiative of the lower level units who should have directed operations. There is really no sense in having a commander take on and be overwhelmed by details of work that could be done equally well by subordinates while neglecting their own duties in turn.

Coordinating three armored divisions is more complex but the corps commander will be supported by a correspondingly large corps HQ staff and each of those divisions have their own commanders, divisional staffs and support units. The span of control for the corps commander in question is three basic maneuver units.

In both cases, the commander needs to rely on their subordinate officers to make the detailed decisions in execution of their intentions. In the end, normal the overall span of control shouldn't be all that different, two to three basic maneuver units. The aerial mages complicate matters but there is really no excuse for the almost complete lack of cooperation and coordination between RF6's subunits.
__________________
Mirificus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-09-30, 16:47   Link #210
Mirificus
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: May 2007
This is the original Armed Forces journal article that was referenced. Replace America with "TSAB" and Vietnam and Iraq with "Book of Darkness" and "Midchilda" for context and you will have the failings of TSAB writ large:

Quote:
A failure in generalship
By Lt. Col. Paul Yingling
"You officers amuse yourselves with God knows what buffooneries and never dream in the least of serious service. This is a source of stupidity which would become most dangerous in case of a serious conflict."
- Frederick the Great


For the second time in a generation, the United States faces the prospect of defeat at the hands of an insurgency. In April 1975, the U.S. fled the Republic of Vietnam, abandoning our allies to their fate at the hands of North Vietnamese communists. In 2007, Iraq's grave and deteriorating condition offers diminishing hope for an American victory and portends risk of an even wider and more destructive regional war.

These debacles are not attributable to individual failures, but rather to a crisis in an entire institution: America's general officer corps. America's generals have failed to prepare our armed forces for war and advise civilian authorities on the application of force to achieve the aims of policy. The argument that follows consists of three elements. First, generals have a responsibility to society to provide policymakers with a correct estimate of strategic probabilities. Second, America's generals in Vietnam and Iraq failed to perform this responsibility. Third, remedying the crisis in American generalship requires the intervention of Congress.

The Responsibilities of Generalship

Armies do not fight wars; nations fight wars. War is not a military activity conducted by soldiers, but rather a social activity that involves entire nations. Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz noted that passion, probability and policy each play their role in war. Any understanding of war that ignores one of these elements is fundamentally flawed.

The passion of the people is necessary to endure the sacrifices inherent in war. Regardless of the system of government, the people supply the blood and treasure required to prosecute war. The statesman must stir these passions to a level commensurate with the popular sacrifices required. When the ends of policy are small, the statesman can prosecute a conflict without asking the public for great sacrifice. Global conflicts such as World War II require the full mobilization of entire societies to provide the men and materiel necessary for the successful prosecution of war. The greatest error the statesman can make is to commit his nation to a great conflict without mobilizing popular passions to a level commensurate with the stakes of the conflict.

Popular passions are necessary for the successful prosecution of war, but cannot be sufficient. To prevail, generals must provide policymakers and the public with a correct estimation of strategic probabilities. The general is responsible for estimating the likelihood of success in applying force to achieve the aims of policy. The general describes both the means necessary for the successful prosecution of war and the ways in which the nation will employ those means. If the policymaker desires ends for which the means he provides are insufficient, the general is responsible for advising the statesman of this incongruence. The statesman must then scale back the ends of policy or mobilize popular passions to provide greater means. If the general remains silent while the statesman commits a nation to war with insufficient means, he shares culpability for the results.

However much it is influenced by passion and probability, war is ultimately an instrument of policy and its conduct is the responsibility of policymakers. War is a social activity undertaken on behalf of the nation; Augustine counsels us that the only purpose of war is to achieve a better peace. The choice of making war to achieve a better peace is inherently a value judgment in which the statesman must decide those interests and beliefs worth killing and dying for. The military man is no better qualified than the common citizen to make such judgments. He must therefore confine his input to his area of expertise — the estimation of strategic probabilities.

The correct estimation of strategic possibilities can be further subdivided into the preparation for war and the conduct of war. Preparation for war consists in the raising, arming, equipping and training of forces. The conduct of war consists of both planning for the use of those forces and directing those forces in operations.

To prepare forces for war, the general must visualize the conditions of future combat. To raise military forces properly, the general must visualize the quality and quantity of forces needed in the next war. To arm and equip military forces properly, the general must visualize the materiel requirements of future engagements. To train military forces properly, the general must visualize the human demands on future battlefields, and replicate those conditions in peacetime exercises. Of course, not even the most skilled general can visualize precisely how future wars will be fought. According to British military historian and soldier Sir Michael Howard, "In structuring and preparing an army for war, you can be clear that you will not get it precisely right, but the important thing is not to be too far wrong, so that you can put it right quickly."

The most tragic error a general can make is to assume without much reflection that wars of the future will look much like wars of the past. Following World War I, French generals committed this error, assuming that the next war would involve static battles dominated by firepower and fixed fortifications. Throughout the interwar years, French generals raised, equipped, armed and trained the French military to fight the last war. In stark contrast, German generals spent the interwar years attempting to break the stalemate created by firepower and fortifications. They developed a new form of war — the blitzkrieg — that integrated mobility, firepower and decentralized tactics. The German Army did not get this new form of warfare precisely right. After the 1939 conquest of Poland, the German Army undertook a critical self-examination of its operations. However, German generals did not get it too far wrong either, and in less than a year had adapted their tactics for the invasion of France.

After visualizing the conditions of future combat, the general is responsible for explaining to civilian policymakers the demands of future combat and the risks entailed in failing to meet those demands. Civilian policymakers have neither the expertise nor the inclination to think deeply about strategic probabilities in the distant future. Policymakers, especially elected representatives, face powerful incentives to focus on near-term challenges that are of immediate concern to the public. Generating military capability is the labor of decades. If the general waits until the public and its elected representatives are immediately concerned with national security threats before finding his voice, he has waited too long. The general who speaks too loudly of preparing for war while the nation is at peace places at risk his position and status. However, the general who speaks too softly places at risk the security of his country.

Failing to visualize future battlefields represents a lapse in professional competence, but seeing those fields clearly and saying nothing is an even more serious lapse in professional character. Moral courage is often inversely proportional to popularity and this observation in nowhere more true than in the profession of arms. The history of military innovation is littered with the truncated careers of reformers who saw gathering threats clearly and advocated change boldly. A military professional must possess both the physical courage to face the hazards of battle and the moral courage to withstand the barbs of public scorn. On and off the battlefield, courage is the first characteristic of generalship.

Failures of Generalship in Vietnam

America's defeat in Vietnam is the most egregious failure in the history of American arms. America's general officer corps refused to prepare the Army to fight unconventional wars, despite ample indications that such preparations were in order. Having failed to prepare for such wars, America's generals sent our forces into battle without a coherent plan for victory. Unprepared for war and lacking a coherent strategy, America lost the war and the lives of more than 58,000 service members.

Following World War II, there were ample indicators that America's enemies would turn to insurgency to negate our advantages in firepower and mobility. The French experiences in Indochina and Algeria offered object lessons to Western armies facing unconventional foes. These lessons were not lost on the more astute members of America's political class. In 1961, President Kennedy warned of "another type of war, new in its intensity, ancient in its origin — war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins, war by ambush instead of by combat, by infiltration instead of aggression, seeking victory by evading and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him." In response to these threats, Kennedy undertook a comprehensive program to prepare America's armed forces for counterinsurgency.

Despite the experience of their allies and the urging of their president, America's generals failed to prepare their forces for counterinsurgency. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Decker assured his young president, "Any good soldier can handle guerrillas." Despite Kennedy's guidance to the contrary, the Army viewed the conflict in Vietnam in conventional terms. As late as 1964, Gen. Earle Wheeler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated flatly that "the essence of the problem in Vietnam is military." While the Army made minor organizational adjustments at the urging of the president, the generals clung to what Andrew Krepinevich has called "the Army concept," a vision of warfare focused on the destruction of the enemy's forces.

Having failed to visualize accurately the conditions of combat in Vietnam, America's generals prosecuted the war in conventional terms. The U.S. military embarked on a graduated attrition strategy intended to compel North Vietnam to accept a negotiated peace. The U.S. undertook modest efforts at innovation in Vietnam. Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS), spearheaded by the State Department's "Blowtorch" Bob Kromer, was a serious effort to address the political and economic causes of the insurgency. The Marine Corps' Combined Action Program (CAP) was an innovative approach to population security. However, these efforts are best described as too little, too late. Innovations such as CORDS and CAP never received the resources necessary to make a large-scale difference. The U.S. military grudgingly accepted these innovations late in the war, after the American public's commitment to the conflict began to wane.

America's generals not only failed to develop a strategy for victory in Vietnam, but also remained largely silent while the strategy developed by civilian politicians led to defeat. As H.R. McMaster noted in "Dereliction of Duty," the Joint Chiefs of Staff were divided by service parochialism and failed to develop a unified and coherent recommendation to the president for prosecuting the war to a successful conclusion. Army Chief of Staff Harold K. Johnson estimated in 1965 that victory would require as many as 700,000 troops for up to five years. Commandant of the Marine Corps Wallace Greene made a similar estimate on troop levels. As President Johnson incrementally escalated the war, neither man made his views known to the president or Congress. President Johnson made a concerted effort to conceal the costs and consequences of Vietnam from the public, but such duplicity required the passive consent of America's generals.

Having participated in the deception of the American people during the war, the Army chose after the war to deceive itself. In "Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife," John Nagl argued that instead of learning from defeat, the Army after Vietnam focused its energies on the kind of wars it knew how to win — high-technology conventional wars. An essential contribution to this strategy of denial was the publication of "On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War," by Col. Harry Summers. Summers, a faculty member of the U.S. Army War College, argued that the Army had erred by not focusing enough on conventional warfare in Vietnam, a lesson the Army was happy to hear. Despite having been recently defeated by an insurgency, the Army slashed training and resources devoted to counterinsurgency.

By the early 1990s, the Army's focus on conventional war-fighting appeared to have been vindicated. During the 1980s, the U.S. military benefited from the largest peacetime military buildup in the nation's history. High-technology equipment dramatically increased the mobility and lethality of our ground forces. The Army's National Training Center honed the Army's conventional war-fighting skills to a razor's edge. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 signaled the demise of the Soviet Union and the futility of direct confrontation with the U.S. Despite the fact the U.S. supported insurgencies in Afghanistan, Nicaragua and Angola to hasten the Soviet Union's demise, the U.S. military gave little thought to counterinsurgency throughout the 1990s. America's generals assumed without much reflection that the wars of the future would look much like the wars of the past — state-on-state conflicts against conventional forces. America's swift defeat of the Iraqi Army, the world's fourth-largest, in 1991 seemed to confirm the wisdom of the U.S. military's post-Vietnam reforms. But the military learned the wrong lessons from Operation Desert Storm. It continued to prepare for the last war, while its future enemies prepared for a new kind of war.

Failures of Generalship in Iraq

America's generals have repeated the mistakes of Vietnam in Iraq. First, throughout the 1990s our generals failed to envision the conditions of future combat and prepare their forces accordingly. Second, America's generals failed to estimate correctly both the means and the ways necessary to achieve the aims of policy prior to beginning the war in Iraq. Finally, America's generals did not provide Congress and the public with an accurate assessment of the conflict in Iraq.

Despite paying lip service to "transformation" throughout the 1990s, America's armed forces failed to change in significant ways after the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. In "The Sling and the Stone," T.X. Hammes argues that the Defense Department's transformation strategy focuses almost exclusively on high-technology conventional wars. The doctrine, organizations, equipment and training of the U.S. military confirm this observation. The armed forces fought the global war on terrorism for the first five years with a counterinsurgency doctrine last revised in the Reagan administration. Despite engaging in numerous stability operations throughout the 1990s, the armed forces did little to bolster their capabilities for civic reconstruction and security force development. Procurement priorities during the 1990s followed the Cold War model, with significant funding devoted to new fighter aircraft and artillery systems. The most commonly used tactical scenarios in both schools and training centers replicated high-intensity interstate conflict. At the dawn of the 21st century, the U.S. is fighting brutal, adaptive insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, while our armed forces have spent the preceding decade having done little to prepare for such conflicts.

Having spent a decade preparing to fight the wrong war, America's generals then miscalculated both the means and ways necessary to succeed in Iraq. The most fundamental military miscalculation in Iraq has been the failure to commit sufficient forces to provide security to Iraq's population. U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) estimated in its 1998 war plan that 380,000 troops would be necessary for an invasion of Iraq. Using operations in Bosnia and Kosovo as a model for predicting troop requirements, one Army study estimated a need for 470,000 troops. Alone among America's generals, Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki publicly stated that "several hundred thousand soldiers" would be necessary to stabilize post-Saddam Iraq. Prior to the war, President Bush promised to give field commanders everything necessary for victory. Privately, many senior general officers both active and retired expressed serious misgivings about the insufficiency of forces for Iraq. These leaders would later express their concerns in tell-all books such as "Fiasco" and "Cobra II." However, when the U.S. went to war in Iraq with less than half the strength required to win, these leaders did not make their objections public.

Given the lack of troop strength, not even the most brilliant general could have devised the ways necessary to stabilize post-Saddam Iraq. However, inept planning for postwar Iraq took the crisis caused by a lack of troops and quickly transformed it into a debacle. In 1997, the U.S. Central Command exercise "Desert Crossing" demonstrated that many postwar stabilization tasks would fall to the military. The other branches of the U.S. government lacked sufficient capability to do such work on the scale required in Iraq. Despite these results, CENTCOM accepted the assumption that the State Department would administer postwar Iraq. The military never explained to the president the magnitude of the challenges inherent in stabilizing postwar Iraq.

After failing to visualize the conditions of combat in Iraq, America's generals failed to adapt to the demands of counterinsurgency. Counterinsurgency theory prescribes providing continuous security to the population. However, for most of the war American forces in Iraq have been concentrated on large forward-operating bases, isolated from the Iraqi people and focused on capturing or killing insurgents. Counterinsurgency theory requires strengthening the capability of host-nation institutions to provide security and other essential services to the population. America's generals treated efforts to create transition teams to develop local security forces and provincial reconstruction teams to improve essential services as afterthoughts, never providing the quantity or quality of personnel necessary for success.

After going into Iraq with too few troops and no coherent plan for postwar stabilization, America's general officer corps did not accurately portray the intensity of the insurgency to the American public. The Iraq Study Group concluded that "there is significant underreporting of the violence in Iraq." The ISG noted that "on one day in July 2006 there were 93 attacks or significant acts of violence reported. Yet a careful review of the reports for that single day brought to light 1,100 acts of violence. Good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepancy with policy goals." Population security is the most important measure of effectiveness in counterinsurgency. For more than three years, America's generals continued to insist that the U.S. was making progress in Iraq. However, for Iraqi civilians, each year from 2003 onward was more deadly than the one preceding it. For reasons that are not yet clear, America's general officer corps underestimated the strength of the enemy, overestimated the capabilities of Iraq's government and security forces and failed to provide Congress with an accurate assessment of security conditions in Iraq. Moreover, America's generals have not explained clearly the larger strategic risks of committing so large a portion of the nation's deployable land power to a single theater of operations.

The intellectual and moral failures common to America's general officer corps in Vietnam and Iraq constitute a crisis in American generalship. Any explanation that fixes culpability on individuals is insufficient. No one leader, civilian or military, caused failure in Vietnam or Iraq. Different military and civilian leaders in the two conflicts produced similar results. In both conflicts, the general officer corps designed to advise policymakers, prepare forces and conduct operations failed to perform its intended functions. To understand how the U.S. could face defeat at the hands of a weaker insurgent enemy for the second time in a generation, we must look at the structural influences that produce our general officer corps.

The Generals We Need

The most insightful examination of failed generalship comes from J.F.C. Fuller's "Generalship: Its Diseases and Their Cure." Fuller was a British major general who saw action in the first attempts at armored warfare in World War I. He found three common characteristics in great generals — courage, creative intelligence and physical fitness.

The need for intelligent, creative and courageous general officers is self-evident. An understanding of the larger aspects of war is essential to great generalship. However, a survey of Army three- and four-star generals shows that only 25 percent hold advanced degrees from civilian institutions in the social sciences or humanities. Counterinsurgency theory holds that proficiency in foreign languages is essential to success, yet only one in four of the Army's senior generals speaks another language. While the physical courage of America's generals is not in doubt, there is less certainty regarding their moral courage. In almost surreal language, professional military men blame their recent lack of candor on the intimidating management style of their civilian masters. Now that the public is immediately concerned with the crisis in Iraq, some of our generals are finding their voices. They may have waited too long.

Neither the executive branch nor the services themselves are likely to remedy the shortcomings in America's general officer corps. Indeed, the tendency of the executive branch to seek out mild-mannered team players to serve as senior generals is part of the problem. The services themselves are equally to blame. The system that produces our generals does little to reward creativity and moral courage. Officers rise to flag rank by following remarkably similar career patterns. Senior generals, both active and retired, are the most important figures in determining an officer's potential for flag rank. The views of subordinates and peers play no role in an officer's advancement; to move up he must only please his superiors. In a system in which senior officers select for promotion those like themselves, there are powerful incentives for conformity. It is unreasonable to expect that an officer who spends 25 years conforming to institutional expectations will emerge as an innovator in his late forties.

If America desires creative intelligence and moral courage in its general officer corps, it must create a system that rewards these qualities. Congress can create such incentives by exercising its proper oversight function in three areas. First, Congress must change the system for selecting general officers. Second, oversight committees must apply increased scrutiny over generating the necessary means and pursuing appropriate ways for applying America's military power. Third, the Senate must hold accountable through its confirmation powers those officers who fail to achieve the aims of policy at an acceptable cost in blood and treasure.

To improve the creative intelligence of our generals, Congress must change the officer promotion system in ways that reward adaptation and intellectual achievement. Congress should require the armed services to implement 360-degree evaluations for field-grade and flag officers. Junior officers and noncommissioned officers are often the first to adapt because they bear the brunt of failed tactics most directly. They are also less wed to organizational norms and less influenced by organizational taboos. Junior leaders have valuable insights regarding the effectiveness of their leaders, but the current promotion system excludes these judgments. Incorporating subordinate and peer reviews into promotion decisions for senior leaders would produce officers more willing to adapt to changing circumstances, and less likely to conform to outmoded practices.

Congress should also modify the officer promotion system in ways that reward intellectual achievement. The Senate should examine the education and professional writing of nominees for three- and four-star billets as part of the confirmation process. The Senate would never confirm to the Supreme Court a nominee who had neither been to law school nor written legal opinions. However, it routinely confirms four-star generals who possess neither graduate education in the social sciences or humanities nor the capability to speak a foreign language. Senior general officers must have a vision of what future conflicts will look like and what capabilities the U.S. requires to prevail in those conflicts. They must possess the capability to understand and interact with foreign cultures. A solid record of intellectual achievement and fluency in foreign languages are effective indicators of an officer's potential for senior leadership.

To reward moral courage in our general officers, Congress must ask hard questions about the means and ways for war as part of its oversight responsibility. Some of the answers will be shocking, which is perhaps why Congress has not asked and the generals have not told. Congress must ask for a candid assessment of the money and manpower required over the next generation to prevail in the Long War. The money required to prevail may place fiscal constraints on popular domestic priorities. The quantity and quality of manpower required may call into question the viability of the all-volunteer military. Congress must re-examine the allocation of existing resources, and demand that procurement priorities reflect the most likely threats we will face. Congress must be equally rigorous in ensuring that the ways of war contribute to conflict termination consistent with the aims of national policy. If our operations produce more enemies than they defeat, no amount of force is sufficient to prevail. Current oversight efforts have proved inadequate, allowing the executive branch, the services and lobbyists to present information that is sometimes incomplete, inaccurate or self-serving. Exercising adequate oversight will require members of Congress to develop the expertise necessary to ask the right questions and display the courage to follow the truth wherever it leads them.

Finally, Congress must enhance accountability by exercising its little-used authority to confirm the retired rank of general officers. By law, Congress must confirm an officer who retires at three- or four-star rank. In the past this requirement has been pro forma in all but a few cases. A general who presides over a massive human rights scandal or a substantial deterioration in security ought to be retired at a lower rank than one who serves with distinction. A general who fails to provide Congress with an accurate and candid assessment of strategic probabilities ought to suffer the same penalty. As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war. By exercising its powers to confirm the retired ranks of general officers, Congress can restore accountability among senior military leaders.

Mortal Danger

This article began with Frederick the Great's admonition to his officers to focus their energies on the larger aspects of war. The Prussian monarch's innovations had made his army the terror of Europe, but he knew that his adversaries were learning and adapting. Frederick feared that his generals would master his system of war without thinking deeply about the ever-changing nature of war, and in doing so would place Prussia's security at risk. These fears would prove prophetic. At the Battle of Valmy in 1792, Frederick's successors were checked by France's ragtag citizen army. In the fourteen years that followed, Prussia's generals assumed without much reflection that the wars of the future would look much like those of the past. In 1806, the Prussian Army marched lockstep into defeat and disaster at the hands of Napoleon at Jena. Frederick's prophecy had come to pass; Prussia became a French vassal.

Iraq is America's Valmy. America's generals have been checked by a form of war that they did not prepare for and do not understand. They spent the years following the 1991 Gulf War mastering a system of war without thinking deeply about the ever changing nature of war. They marched into Iraq having assumed without much reflection that the wars of the future would look much like the wars of the past. Those few who saw clearly our vulnerability to insurgent tactics said and did little to prepare for these dangers. As at Valmy, this one debacle, however humiliating, will not in itself signal national disaster. The hour is late, but not too late to prepare for the challenges of the Long War. We still have time to select as our generals those who possess the intelligence to visualize future conflicts and the moral courage to advise civilian policymakers on the preparations needed for our security. The power and the responsibility to identify such generals lie with the U.S. Congress. If Congress does not act, our Jena awaits us.
__________________
Mirificus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-09-30, 23:03   Link #211
Mirificus
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: May 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by BBM View Post
Now the main question is: How would the TSAB recover from this? But taking into account the in-universe factors such as culture.
The fundamental problem is that there really isn't anything for that TSAB thinks it needs to recover from.

If it really wanted to learn from what happened with Jail and the Cradle, it really should take RF6 and other officers that were involved directly and having them examine the broad and specific questions that experiences raised. Each topic would need to be answered as thoroughly and objectively as possible.
Quote:
"It is absolutely necessary to put the experience of the war in a broad light and collect this experience while the impressions won on the battlefield are still fresh and a major proportion of the experienced officers are still in leading positions."
...
a). What new situations arose in the war that had not been considered before the war?
b). How effective were our pre-war views in dealing with the above situations?
c). What new guidelines have been developed from the use of new weaponry in the war?
d). Which new problems put forward by the war have not yet found a solution
There are dozens upon dozens of issues that could and should be studied. Broad and narrow topics at the tactical, operational and strategic levels like "organization and equipment of the squad," "battalion command and control," signal intelligence gathering," "aerial mage tactics and techniques," "officer training," "small unit tactics," "air assault" and "Role of the Ground Force" all need to be addressed.

Their reports would have to rest on solid, realistic assessments of what actually occurred, not on what generals officers might have believed to have happened or would like to have happened. Moreover, the recommendations of these reports would need to be tested and adopted.

In the wake of the First World War, the German army made in-depth studies of no less than eighty-six issues that the war raised and assigned its best officers to conduct them, with the majority of those officers having had first-hand experience with the tactical and doctrinal developments of 1917 and 1918. The resulting doctrine wasn't perfect by any means (it neglected artillery development and strategy) but it was fundamentally sound and formed the basis for all German doctrinal development and its successes through the Second World War.

Of course, the German army had lost and its traditional leadership discredited which let the new CGS bring in the entirety of the German General Staff and place that organization and its officers in all of the major command and staff positions.

I can't see any way for the TSAB to "recover" without completely new leadership, headed by a talented military-administrative genius (by Earth, not TSAB standards) with both a sound vision for the TSAB and authority over doctrine and training. To have any credibility, they would probably also need to be a mage and they would also need to have or develop like-minded officers as a staff. Even then, it would take years, maybe decades," to reverse the damage from all of the TSAB's "training."

Indeed, as long as the TSAB believes that there is nothing to be learned, nothing will be learned or changed.
__________________
Mirificus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-10-01, 02:00   Link #212
Avatar_notADV
Once and Current Subber
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Let's not sell the TSAB totally short here.

Keep in mind that they've pushed through a complete tactical and technological overhaul within the last ten years (and ten years of peacetime, at that.) In A's, the whole cartridge system was a historical curiosity used in a practically-mythological past; by Strikers everyone has a cartridge-fired device, to the point where they issue 'em to rookies. That represents a significant upgrade in firepower, especially for mages who aren't necessarily super-strong to begin with; you can compensate by expending more ammo, as it were.

But they've obviously not mastered the transition. Why not? Could just be tactics out of the old manual, where you can't go hog-wild on the magical gunplay without completely exhausting your unit, especially if you have a lot of conservative leadership types (and face it, that's what Genya is, no?) Could also be that there's a shortage of the ammunition in the first place - Nanoha may fire 'em as if they were free, but we have no idea how universally well-supplied those ground units are. And again, we don't know how seriously TSAB ground takes its job... think the difference between US Army training in the '30s and in 1942.

So what's the lesson that the TSAB ground forces could learn from this? Well, first off, the front-line units are not useful when deployed against small teams of elite forces - they're just handled too unskillfully to work that way. Their past history suggests that deploying a number of smaller teams as fast reaction units will be effective; Nanoha showed, not just that you can kick ass if you toss three S-rank mages in a squad, but that you can get results even from normal-power-level mages if you work their ass off in training. What man has done, man can aspire to...

If the TSAB pulls their head out of their ass (and having a significant chunk of your leadership eliminated can be conducive to that), they'll be forming a lot of Riot Force 6s. A couple of veteran aces, a few promising rookies, a punishing training regimen, and you have a fast reaction force you can count on to hold the line while the big formations form up. Special forces, basically?

Then again, maybe they'll just make a ton of combat cyborgs. Jail, for all his goofiness, has shown that you can develop working combat cyborgs without being hideously inhumane to them - or at least not so inhumane that it effects their loyalty. We don't actually know that relics were used in the production of the Numbers, do we? If not, then you can make a whole bunch of cyborgs if you want to. And if Subaru and Ginga turned out basically okay, well, then they're not all monsters... and if you're going to be an organization that sends little girls out to fight your wars anyway, you might as well be one that sends out SUPER little girls to do it. ;p

Hayate's in a good position now, though. Commanding a successful action with inadequate forces will do that for you, and she was already ahead of the curve in rank and power, with her own "young Turks" to do the dirty work of training and occasionally boot a head or two. Sure, she isn't Rommel reborn, but take our own military history - very few American generals have been fantastic geniuses, and most of the winners got to be that way because they learned and demonstrated how to properly deploy superior forces to achieve victory.
__________________
Latest project: Kannagi
Avatar_notADV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-10-01, 04:26   Link #213
arkhangelsk
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avatar_notADV View Post
Let's not sell the TSAB totally short here.

Keep in mind that they've pushed through a complete tactical and technological overhaul within the last ten years (and ten years of peacetime, at that.) In A's, the whole cartridge system was a historical curiosity used in a practically-mythological past; by Strikers everyone has a cartridge-fired device, to the point where they issue 'em to rookies.
I actually strongly disagree with that proposition. Granted, it wasn't the most common thing in the world ten years ago. But the cartridge system was only so uh, unknown to Midchildra that Bardiche and Raging Heart instantly named the cartridge system by standardized designation. It was a standardized part, which was instantaneously delivered and installed.

Then Teana and Subaru managed to have cartridge systems in homebuilts.

Ten years later, they are issued to rookies ... in some very select units. Even the regular neo-Belka spears issued as standard armament to neo-Belkan users don't seem to have it. The technology never seemed to be that uncommon, almost available to the asking, only their deployment in TSAB units is lacking.

Quote:
But they've obviously not mastered the transition. Why not? Could just be tactics out of the old manual, where you can't go hog-wild on the magical gunplay without completely exhausting your unit, especially if you have a lot of conservative leadership types (and face it, that's what Genya is, no?) Could also be that there's a shortage of the ammunition in the first place - Nanoha may fire 'em as if they were free, but we have no idea how universally well-supplied those ground units are. And again, we don't know how seriously TSAB ground takes its job... think the difference between US Army training in the '30s and in 1942.
Considering that the GF seemed to be losing dozens of their own guys (and dozens of civvies too, just in case they don't care about their own butts) on a demi-regular basis (based on Ep24), one would think there is at least some pressure for improvement...

Quote:
So what's the lesson that the TSAB ground forces could learn from this? Well, first off, the front-line units are not useful when deployed against small teams of elite forces - they're just handled too unskillfully to work that way. Their past history suggests that deploying a number of smaller teams as fast reaction units will be effective; Nanoha showed, not just that you can kick ass if you toss three S-rank mages in a squad, but that you can get results even from normal-power-level mages if you work their ass off in training. What man has done, man can aspire to...
This is not actually true. They are normal-powered mages, but they had sharply protruding specialties.

They'd also be even more effective had they imposed a harsher psychomoral conditioning training regime - don't just hold sandbags. Make the Midchildran types shoot human holograms instead of energy balls. Have the Belkan types stab same human holograms. And have those holograms emulate bleeding. Along with appropriate lectures that should toughen them up nicely in short order, without leading to a bunch of accidental massacres by overexcited troops.

Quote:
Then again, maybe they'll just make a ton of combat cyborgs. Jail, for all his goofiness, has shown that you can develop working combat cyborgs without being hideously inhumane to them - or at least not so inhumane that it effects their loyalty. We don't actually know that relics were used in the production of the Numbers, do we? If not, then you can make a whole bunch of cyborgs if you want to. And if Subaru and Ginga turned out basically okay, well, then they're not all monsters... and if you're going to be an organization that sends little girls out to fight your wars anyway, you might as well be one that sends out SUPER little girls to do it. ;p
Definitely. Regius and the 3 brains really had the right idea all along. Unfortunately, due to TSAB "ethics", this will not be pursued.

Quote:
Hayate's in a good position now, though. Commanding a successful action with inadequate forces will do that for you, and she was already ahead of the curve in rank and power, with her own "young Turks" to do the dirty work of training and occasionally boot a head or two. Sure, she isn't Rommel reborn, but take our own military history - very few American generals have been fantastic geniuses, and most of the winners got to be that way because they learned and demonstrated how to properly deploy superior forces to achieve victory.
True, bureaucratically the TSAB views it as a success.
arkhangelsk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-10-01, 09:01   Link #214
Jimmy C
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by arkhangelsk
Definitely. Regius and the 3 brains really had the right idea all along. Unfortunately, due to TSAB "ethics", this will not be pursued.
Unless the TSAB decides to become a dictatorial regime in its pursuit of peace and security throughout ordered space, it has no way of using Scaglietti's method of creating Combat Cyborgs to any degree of effectiveness.
Consider what is known of Scaglietti's technique. It requires an unborn fetus to be adjusted to optimise compatibility with the artificial combat systems. That means the future of the unborn child is decided even before birth!
Let's say the TSAB decides to start a Combat Cyborg program, how is it going to get the bodies needed?

Alternative A: Natural births
Method A1: Ask parents to "volunteer" their unborn children. Somehow, I don't see enough parents willing to do so, even with a massive propaganda campaign.
Method A2: Make the adjustments mandatory for all pregnancies. Like I said, dictatorial reigme. Also, what are you going to do with unadjusted births? After they're born, it's too late to make the adjustments.
And that's just half the problem. After they're born and grow up, do the children get to decide if they want to be Combat Cyborgs or not?
If the answer is "yes", we might end up short on recruits again.
If the answer is "no", we're back to dictatorial reigme again.

Alternative B: Artificially created people, ala Project-F.
While there are no "parental concerns" to deal with, there's still the question of do the children get to decide if they want to continue in the program? More importantly, are you willing to give them a proper life (ie, a life without war) to let them make an informed decision in this regard?
For "yes" and "no" to both questions, the situation is the same as with natural births.
Another problem. Even if you take away their choice, condition them to fight and die for you, the results may not be satisfactory. Such soldiers often have less initiative than voluntary troops. Also, you'll always be afraid of revolt. What happens when the very tool you use to keep danger at bay becomes a danger instead?

Therefore, my conclusion is that the effort to build up a Combat Cyborg force will be more trouble than it's worth, unless the TSAB adopts a callous disregard for the very lives that it's supposed to protect. Since the people in the Main Brach apparently do care about the people they protect, they wisely canned this technology.
Jimmy C is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-10-01, 09:18   Link #215
arkhangelsk
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirificus View Post
I can't see any way for the TSAB to "recover" without completely new leadership, headed by a talented military-administrative genius (by Earth, not TSAB standards) with both a sound vision for the TSAB and authority over doctrine and training. To have any credibility, they would probably also need to be a mage and they would also need to have or develop like-minded officers as a staff. Even then, it would take years, maybe decades," to reverse the damage from all of the TSAB's "training."

Indeed, as long as the TSAB believes that there is nothing to be learned, nothing will be learned or changed.
How are they gonna "develop like-minded officers", when they don't have the right "first-mover" developers. Even if they decide they are gonna change, it is questionable whether they have, at present anyone (never mind whether said person has the various types of prestige to get everyone to listen) with the talents and knowledge to develop a General Staff that would be worth a darn.

Chief of General Staff "We need to review our COMSEC procedures so we don't keep getting bushwhacked by people with SIGINT capabilities."
General Staff collective: "What's COMSEC?"
Chief of General Staff resigns in disgust.

At this point, the only two paths I can see for real reforms (I'm actually assuming they are interested) in TSAB are:
1) Invasion or occupation by enemy power, who might just reform the TSAB as a puppet army. Unfortunately, no such enemy powers are in sight. Besides, they would probably just disband the whole institution and start over.
2) Acquire required talent from what may be the last reserve of them in Known Spacetime - the Terrans in the 97th Unadministered World. Bribe retired generals. Smuggle officers into various Terran military academies and Higher Schools. At this point, you don't have to be picky. Even the Military Academy of Zambia would probably be helpful. Of course, post-graduation and a short duration of service, smuggle them back to study the TSAB and institute reforms.
arkhangelsk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-10-01, 09:44   Link #216
selkirk
***y translator
*Scanlator
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by arkhangelsk View Post
I actually strongly disagree with that proposition. Granted, it wasn't the most common thing in the world ten years ago. But the cartridge system was only so uh, unknown to Midchildra that Bardiche and Raging Heart instantly named the cartridge system by standardized designation. It was a standardized part, which was instantaneously delivered and installed.

Then Teana and Subaru managed to have cartridge systems in homebuilts.

Ten years later, they are issued to rookies ... in some very select units. Even the regular neo-Belka spears issued as standard armament to neo-Belkan users don't seem to have it. The technology never seemed to be that uncommon, almost available to the asking, only their deployment in TSAB units is lacking.
It's just one part of a line, but according to the A's DVD1 booklet, the Belkan Cartridge System is "currently, almost never used." (Belka Style Cartridge System article)
"現在はほとんど使われていない。"
As for how the devices and Amy could find the number designation, I'll bet at the very least Midchilda has something equivalent to the internet, and barring that, they're practically right next door to the Infinite Library.

Of course, there's still the matter of Revolver Knuckle, which was in use when Subaru was still young. I don't recall if there was a cartridge system installed in it in the flashbacks, but I doubt Subaru had the resources to customize it with such an advanced loading mechanism, compared to Tiana's custom cartridge system.
__________________
selkirk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-10-01, 09:49   Link #217
Nightengale
~Night of Gales~
*Author
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by selkirk View Post
It's just one part of a line, but according to the A's DVD1 booklet, the Belkan Cartridge System is "currently, almost never used." (Belka Style Cartridge System article)
"現在はほとんど使われていない。"
As for how the devices and Amy could find the number designation, I'll bet at the very least Midchilda has something equivalent to the internet, and barring that, they're practically right next door to the Infinite Library.

Of course, there's still the matter of Revolver Knuckle, which was in use when Subaru was still young. I don't recall if there was a cartridge system installed in it in the flashbacks, but I doubt Subaru had the resources to customize it with such an advanced loading mechanism, compared to Tiana's custom cartridge system.
You know, one would think that the SAINT CHURCH (( 300 years old and standing )) would have practitioners using Belka-ish style and cartridges. I highly doubt their Knights only came about 10 years ago, and that Zest was only a Knight for 2 years. At least, 11 years ago, it can be assumed that Quint's knuckles have that system, and there already exist 2 users of Ancient 10 years ago, Acous and Carim.

Feels like retcon to me.
__________________
Night~and~Gale: ~ The Final Mythology of the Man who Defied Destiny.

The sleeping lion shall awaken beyond the depths of time, crossing ten billion lights, come to Terra.
Nightengale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-10-01, 09:58   Link #218
Anh_Minh
I disagree with you all.
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
1% of the TSAB using it is "almost never", but would be enough for... quite a few people to use them. Acous, Schach, and so on...
Anh_Minh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-10-01, 10:23   Link #219
arkhangelsk
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy C View Post
Unless the TSAB decides to become a dictatorial regime in its pursuit of peace and security throughout ordered space, it has no way of using Scaglietti's method of creating Combat Cyborgs to any degree of effectiveness.
First, compare whatever ethical problems this system has to the ethics of the current system. The current system, because of the inadequate numbers of good mages, involves the hiring of mostly wimpy volunteers (I mean this both magically and psychologically), who when faced with a truly serious situation will probably fail to protect either themselves (cannon-fodder) or the civilians they are meant to protect, thus letting both die in droves. When they fail and extreme measures like Arcenciel are used in desperate attempts to stop the disaster, millions die. Somehow, this hardly seems ethical.

The TSAB is currently like a military with only three (arguably two) choices. Light infantry (and they don't even have RPGs, just pistols), a pitifully small "tank corps" and then it is a small number of nukes. This leads to many unnecessary casualties. By increasing the "tank corps", casualties will be reduced.

Quote:
Consider what is known of Scaglietti's technique. It requires an unborn fetus to be adjusted to optimise compatibility with the artificial combat systems. That means the future of the unborn child is decided even before birth!
It just means the option is added. It has the potential to, but does not necessarily "decide" their life, any more than the implants ultimately decided Subaru and Ginga's lives. Subaru just gained a new option, which ultimately she put to good use in Ep26.

Quote:
Let's say the TSAB decides to start a Combat Cyborg program, how is it going to get the bodies needed?

Alternative A: Natural births
Method A1: Ask parents to "volunteer" their unborn children. Somehow, I don't see enough parents willing to do so, even with a massive propaganda campaign.
Why not? Assuming that the Doc's program is by now highly reliable (eliminating the "Unreliability" argument that is IMO often confused with "Ethics"), the only real objection is traditionalist argument. Quite frankly, if I'm the average Midchildran with a magical talent that would max out ~A, I'd be pissed if I heard that my parents were offered a chance to grant me ~AA-S Inherent Skill capability and refused on "ethical grounds".

Quote:
Method A2: Make the adjustments mandatory for all pregnancies. Like I said, dictatorial reigme. Also, what are you going to do with unadjusted births? After they're born, it's too late to make the adjustments.
The unadjusted births are simply going to be in transition. We had magicless people on Midchildra and they aren't dead yet. Same thing here. At least they'd be the last generation.

Many things are being increasingly mandated for the public good. Not so long ago, education wasn't mandatory. Now it is. Most of us consider this a good thing. It does not necessarily mean a "dictatorial regime" in the conventional, perjorative sense.

In fact, from the public good angle, the whole Inherent Skills program provides a great equalizer to partially roll over the last great inequality in Midchildran society - that is, the gulf between elite mages, normal mages, and normals.

Presently, elite mages get all kinds of advantages. For example, they are given officers' treatment at ridiculously young ages. I suspect they get similar privileges in all walks of Midchildran society. It is difficult to believe that such preferential treatment causes absolutely no resentment among the more mundane population.

The unfairness aside, it isn't even particularly good for the professions. The growth cycle for a Midchildran seems broadly comparable to human. Even though good mages seem to be on the bright side, there are still various parts of cognition that are not well-developed in children compared to adults, not to mention the sheer lack of maturity and experience. It is probably one of the reasons why TSAB officer training sucks - it is dragged back to allow 10-year olds who hadn't even learned magic at a proper school to pass.

Further, talented mages become so disproportionately important that even basic discipline might break down in appeasement efforts. Many have pointed out the difficulties in keeping a tight rein (a rein of correct strength) on talents like Nanoha and Fate, saying that they might be kicked out in a Terran military but will get their own way thanks to the fact the TSAB cannot afford to piss them off. In other words, talented mages are a law unto themselves. How this is "ethical" or good for Midchildran society is difficult to describe.

Surely, something that will roll over this gap and reduce the inequality will be good. The Inherent Skills program is just the thing.

Quote:
And that's just half the problem. After they're born and grow up, do the children get to decide if they want to be Combat Cyborgs or not?
If the answer is "yes", we might end up short on recruits again.
If the answer is "no", we're back to dictatorial reigme again.
Why does yes = "end up short on recruits". There seems to be no shortage of recruits. There is a shortage of talented recruits. In fact, recruitment might rise when people realize maybe it isn't such a death trip to be a TSAB recruit once you have greater Inherent Skill capability.

Quote:
Another problem. Even if you take away their choice, condition them to fight and die for you, the results may not be satisfactory. Such soldiers often have less initiative than voluntary troops. Also, you'll always be afraid of revolt. What happens when the very tool you use to keep danger at bay becomes a danger instead?
A proper indoctrination program, as well as the very natural human tendency to obey authority (Milgram), does much to reduce this risk (and of course, there's Ginga / Lutecia style brainwashing if you are unethical and need an emergency backup).

It is true that conscript troops tend to be somewhat less motivated than voluntary ones. However, we are talking a massive difference in combat power. Otto, Wendi, Deed and Novu are effectively newbie conscripts with no great morale (see how fast they sold out Scarlietti in Ep26 and decide to "turn for good") - they even use drilled maneuvers!

Are you really going to tell me that the TSAB Main Defense Line will take them just because the TSAB Main Line is made of "well motivated voluntary troops with initiative" versus the "conscript line running on battle drills"?

And if you use Ep16 as any indication, even the guards chosen to secure GF HQ don't have great morale in the face of adversity. Ep23 shows that regular troops are capable of shooting and little else (those jerking idiots in the sky are purely laughable) - they are so comprehensively trained.... Surely, a good indoctrination and training program will, even with conscripts, provide a much more motivated and capable force.

Even conscript troops can be reasonably motivated if the war is going well - the trouble is when they start losing or face clearly overwhelming odds. By increasing their capability, the percentage of times when the war goes well for them increases.
arkhangelsk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2007-10-01, 11:52   Link #220
BBM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avatar_notADV View Post
Let's not sell the TSAB totally short here.
Keep in mind that they've pushed through a complete tactical and technological overhaul within the last ten years (and ten years of peacetime, at that.) In A's, the whole cartridge system was a historical curiosity used in a practically-mythological past; by Strikers everyone has a cartridge-fired device, to the point where they issue 'em to rookies.
Those rookies were custom from the get go.

It seems to me that after A's, that the pioneers (and other unique people) in the TSAB tried out the cartridge system and passed those habits on to their family.

As for where they got the systems for A's, they might have been taken from the 'museum'.

Quote:
Then again, maybe they'll just make a ton of combat cyborgs. Jail, for all his goofiness, has shown that you can develop working combat cyborgs without being hideously inhumane to them - or at least not so inhumane that it effects their loyalty. We don't actually know that relics were used in the production of the Numbers, do we? If not, then you can make a whole bunch of cyborgs if you want to. And if Subaru and Ginga turned out basically okay, well, then they're not all monsters... and if you're going to be an organization that sends little girls out to fight your wars anyway, you might as well be one that sends out SUPER little girls to do it. ;p
It would be a political minefield.
I rate their chances of instituting a breeding program higher then the combat cyborg option.
BBM is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 21:26.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
We use Silk.