Conservative Liberal

FDR would have been a Republican today.

Iraq victory plan

Originally posted on http://eric-odessit.spaces.live.com/

 Thanks to Old War Dogs satellite blog, Bill’s Bites, I found these 2 proposals on how to achieve victory in Iraq.


The first one is by Major Eric England, published in the Weekly Standard:



Failure in Iraq is not an option, because it would spell disaster for U.S. national security and foreign policy credibility, not to mention military morale. Our mission in Iraq continues to move forward, and U.S. forces have successfully defeated the insurgents in several areas, yet the enemy has proven resilient and effective. Thus, we must succeed in Iraq by changing the status quo.


The plans for victory so far have fallen short. They have come, top-down, from the Pentagon or the palaces-turned-coalition headquarters in Baghdad. Now, American leaders, especially the nominee for secretary of defense, should consider a bottom-up plan to win that taps the collective grass-roots wisdom of successful battlefield innovators. In particular, there are six course corrections that can be taken almost immediately.

1. Encourage innovation by emphasizing small-scale technological solutions and rejecting peacetime bureaucracy.

…………………………………………………………………………….

Deploying unit commanders, most of whom have already served at least one tour in Iraq, must have direct input into how supplemental funds are invested in new technologies. Technology providers should conduct road shows to earn at least some funding approval and priority from ground commanders.

In Washington, there remains too much focus on massive technological efforts that cost hundreds of millions of dollars and take years to develop, test, and field. Meanwhile, low-cost programs like remote handheld cameras, biometrically-capable, Wi-Fi enabled PDAs, and tethered blimps with mounted cameras are put on the back burner. To inspect suspicious objects that could be roadside bombs, troops have resorted to spending their own money to buy remote-controlled cars with jerry-rigged mounted cameras because the thousands of remotely controlled robots in Iraq are held by specialized bomb disposal units.

…………………………………………………………………………….

2. Improve pre-deployment training realism and abandon Cold War-era checklists.

When troops were first preparing to deploy to Iraq, they followed the same checklists that had been used in the Cold War and Gulf War that focused on the conventional military’s core mission: “high-intensity conflict.” Once the invasion was successful, though, the threat facing our troops changed as the insurgency started using ambush tactics, but the training and preparation that our troops receive has not kept pace.

“Train how we fight” is a mantra in the military, and for good reason. Training intensity and realism is the number one predictor for combat success, especially when facing a thinking, adaptive enemy who observes our patterns and exploits perceived vulnerabilities.

…………………………………………………………………………….

3. Allow local commanders to buy what they need and nationalize the war effort by connecting the American public with the troops and their mission.


The troops need more support, from both the military and the American people, and the ground commanders must be empowered to lead our national effort to support them. The localized insurgency, coupled with an adaptive, resilient enemy means the troops on the ground best understand how to win. Our support should fulfill their stated needs, not what Congress, the Pentagon–or even the generals in Baghdad–think they ought to need.

We need to expand “commander discretionary funds” to give each battalion commander a large budget, on the order of $3 million, to spend as they see fit both before they deploy and while in country, with appropriate accountability. This would allow commanders to take action that will help the mission, but which bureaucratic practices currently prevent. For example, they could buy video cameras and phones to give to locals so that they can film and report insurgent activity; or hire military-aged males to clean roads and dig trenches that improve security while providing jobs to men who would otherwise be recruited as insurgents. It would also allow ground forces to reward a neighborhood chief with a few electric generators for his support of our mission, or to hand a $20 bill to a local who identifies a bomb that could have killed several soldiers.

…………………………………………………………………………….

4. Strengthen intelligence sharing between tactical and national levels, and develop a national insurgent database.

We must have better intelligence on the enemy, especially human intelligence. Our existing intelligence technologies were designed during the Cold War to spy on conventional armies that use bases, have tanks and aircraft, and communicate on identifiable radio frequencies. In Iraq, however, the enemy lives in civilian neighborhoods, drives civilian cars, uses weapons composed of readily available materials, and communicates via civilian mobile phones and the internet.

In a Cold War scenario, the U.S. intelligence community would collect intelligence about enemy activity that would subsequently filter “down” to the maneuver units. Today, however, the case is often reversed. Ground units get the first information about an enemy, often by going on a raid and learning about the individual’s ties to other insurgents. As that intelligence is sent “up,” the national organizations focus collection efforts accordingly.

There are success stories in Iraq where units have provided tactical intelligence to a national organization, then national came back with amplified intelligence that led the unit in a successful operation against more insurgents. This model can and should be applied more broadly.

…………………………………………………………………………….

5. Take the offensive by reducing predictable patterns on the ground while conducting operations that hunt, rather than chase, the enemy.

U.S. forces need to reduce the predictability of their movements. To do this, generals in Baghdad should stop requiring units to report the number of patrols conducted, and instead focus on effective offensive operations. The current emphasis on gauging unit effectiveness by the quantity of patrols conducted keeps the troops too busy to conduct quality operations that offensively hunt the enemy.

Accordingly, the generals should forbid a common practice that needlessly endangers our troops. “Presence patrols” are a legacy from Bosnia, where many of today’s lieutenant colonel battalion commanders conducted peacekeeping operations as junior officers. Presence patrols involve troops simply driving around to show a military presence that ostensibly deters one side from attacking another.

The problem is that Bosnia is not Iraq, where the enemy just wants to attack U.S. forces, so we end up needlessly giving them opportunities to do so. While some units have stopped using the phrase “presence patrol,” the emphasis on quantity of patrols still results in U.S. forces going out on the roads without a meaningful offensive purpose in mind.

…………………………………………………………………………….

6. Accept the realities of warfare in the media age by decentralizing the sharing of information with both the Iraqi and the American public.

The government and military must better communicate its message–to both Iraqis and the American public. The hurdles posed by political correctness and self-imposed bureaucratic constraints must be cleared in order to balance the insurgents’ current control of the airwaves. Their “flaming car bomb-a-day” television propaganda campaign has dominated the media debate since late 2004, negating or neutralizing any reports of positive news.

…………………………………………………………………………….

Thus, the Pentagon should abandon its reflexive instinct toward control of information that has led it to seek to ban personal cameras and blogs. Instead, a “unit blogger” approach should be applied across Iraq, with appropriate guidance and training to preserve operational security. Tactical units should each have two members who are trained in public relations and equipped with high-quality cameras and laptops with video editing software, and offered incentives and rewards for effective reporting. They should record unit activities in writing and video, and share them with the American people via sites modeled on wildly successful pro-military websites, such as Blackfive.net and MoveAmericaForward.org.

…………………………………………………………………………….

THE U.S. MUST win in Iraq. This can be achieved sooner by making these six key course corrections. The top U.S. Army general recently announced plans to have the same number of troops in Iraq until at least 2010, so there is time to change regardless of what happens in the next congress, and change is urgently needed as public figures show October was the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Iraq.


The second one is some unnamed officer’s proposal, published in Time Magazine:



1) The Jawbone: Convene a meeting with the most senior members of the U.S. and Iraqi governments to explain that the U.S. is prepared to commit greater forces and resources for a period of one year, ONLY if Iraqis commit to decisive action to quell the insurgency and the civil war (which includes immediately starting to disarm the militias). It will be made crystal clear to Baghdad that without the Iraqi commitment — which will be measured monthly to ensure adherence — U.S. forces would immediately begin their withdrawal. Gen. John Abizaid started to do just that during his meetings in Baghdad this week, speaking more directly to the Iraqi government and asking for a timeline.


2) The Strong Arm: In the short term, have the four military services, the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, prepare plans for a one-year surge in Iraq. Commit to destruction of the insurgent forces in Ramadi, Hit and the other Anbar strongholds… whatever it takes. Reinforce key cities like Baghdad and Basra. The best guess is that this will require 20,000 more U.S. troops on the ground. The U.S. military should rapidly increase the number of U.S. advisors for the Iraqi Security Forces — to some 15,000, up from about 7,000. It should also maintain the covert special operations forces to track, capture and kill high value insurgent targets.

3) The Swagger: President Bush should give a speech to the U.N. in which he calls on other nations to either support the new Iraq or stop providing support and weapons to insurgents and militias; declares that most fundamental goals in Iraq were achieved, but the hope of democracy in Iraq is in the balance and only the Iraqis can determine that outcome; reminds the U.N. that lack of support for the peaceful option — smart sanctions — was doomed to failure when they were undermined by many in the audience; implicitly threatens that if nations contribute to instability and violence in Iraq, they would be considered enemies of the U.S.; warns not to mistake U.S. withdrawal for defeat, stating that any nation that exports violence and terrorism from its borders will find an resolute foe in the U.S., and may have to suffer consequences; and asks for separate meetings with Iranian and Syrian leaders. And while making the above points forcefully, the President should also offer a significant carrot like increased diplomatic and economic contacts with countries like Syria.

4) Send In The Striped-Pants-and Money Set: In the short term, flood Iraq with seasoned U.S. diplomats in a new initiative to work with the Iraqi government and various factions to discover ways to ameliorate the dire conditions and heightened tension. The diplomats who refuse to go would be forced to leave government — three years into the war the State Department has managed to staff only 52% of its positions dealing with Iraq. Recruit and deploy economic managerial expertise from the U.S. government and private sector to find ways to employ Iraqis. In the short term, find ways to increase the availability of dependable power, clean water, fuel, etc. Give the tribal leaders cash incentives to protect Iraq’s oil facilities and pipelines or suffer the consequences.

5) The PR Op: In the short term, overwhelm Iraq with an information campaign that declares that the U.S. will establish no permanent bases in Iraq, and will be out in a year. And make clear that the issue of sustained aid to Iraq will be dependent on their willingness to reconcile differences and quell the insurgency.


There are similarities between these two plans.  One thing I disagree with in the second plan is the suggestion not to keep any bases in Iraq.  We still have our bases in Germany and Japan.  Why should Iraq be different?  In fact, in my opinion, one of the unspoken reasons to go to war in Iraq in the first place was the necessity to establish American military presence in a strategic location in the Middle East.  That became necessary after 9/11.  Now there is trouble brewing in Iran.  We absolutely need bases in Iraq in order to deal with Iran.  Perhaps, if we said that we are going to keep our presence in Iraq in order to deal with Iran, and if we would seal the Iraqi borders, we would reduce the danger out of Iran significantly.

Link to Six Steps to Victory and to One Military Officer’s Aggressive New Plan for Iraq

Advertisements

December 11, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: