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[infowar.de] HASC Operation Iraqi Freedom: Outside Perspectives Hearing
Noch ein US Congress Hearing, diesmal zusammengefasst von Wanja von
-------- Original Message --------
Betreff: [INFOCON] HASC Operation Iraqi Freedom: Outside Perspectives
Datum: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 17:09:27 +0100
Von: "Wanja Eric Naef [IWS]" <w -
- iwar -
Rückantwort: w -
- iwar -
An: infocon -!
- iwar -
[It is one of the best hearings of the HASC ever, epecially as it
confirmed many things I have been saying for a long time. Most important
point: perfect situational awareness is not enough, cultural awareness
is needed too! WEN]
Scales: ... The American military should not forget that its worst
defeat resulted largely from a military and civilian leadership that
prized technology over the lessons of the past. ...
Krepinevich: ...Genuine transformation of militaries transcends merely
becoming more effective in the existing warfare regime; rather, it
entails progress toward competing effectively in an emerging warfare
regime that promises to be quite different from previous experience. Yet
the remarkable US-led coalition campaign in the Second Gulf War was
essentially waged against an Iraqi force whose composition would have
been familiar to the German Army that introduced blitzkrieg to the world
more than sixty years ago. Indeed, the Iraqi military might not have
been a match for the Wehrmacht circa 1940, let alone the American
military of 2003. ...
Biddle: ... Much of the answer, however, lies in the interaction between
our strengths and their particular weaknesses. That is, we argue that
skilled use of modern Coalition technology interacted synergistically
with Iraqi errors to produce unprecedented lethality and a radically
one-sided military confrontation. ...
HASC Operation Iraqi Freedom: Outside Perspectives Hearing
Opening Statement of Chairman Hunter
Major General Robert Scales, USA (ret.), Former Commandant, U.S. Army
Dr. Andrew Krepinevich, Executive Director, Center for Strategic and
Dr. Stephen D. Biddle, Associate Research Professor of National Security
Studies, U.S. Army War College
Major General Robert Scales, USA (ret.), Former Commandant, U.S. Army
[I have studied the October 93 Ops in Somalia for quite a bit and it is
amazing to see that even though the US had 'military superiority', the
Somali managed to have information superiority and thereby forced the US
out of Somalia. WEN]
... Watching the retreat from Mogadishu in 1994, Saddam had learned that
the American center of gravity was dead soldiers. ...
[Krepinevich stressed in the Q&A that the US should have more diverse
ISR capabilities such as longe-range & stealthy ISR platforms
(especially for non benign environments). WEN]
... Technology is useful in unconventional warfare. But machines alone
will never be decisive. This new phase is a struggle for the allegiance
of the Iraqi people, who must choose between two conflicting sides: one
represented by the promise of freedom and democracy imposed by an
occupying infidel, the other represented by a return to the tyranny and
terror of the old regime imposed by fellow Iraqis and Muslims. The tools
most useful in this new war are low-tech and manpower-intensive. Instead
of JSTARS, JDAMS, ATACMS, and Global Hawk, the American command will
employ night raids, ambushes, roving patrols mounted and dismounted, as
well as reconstruction, civic action, and medical contact teams. The
enemy will be located not by satellites and UAVs but by patient
intelligence work, back alley payoffs, collected information from
captured documents, and threats of one-way vacations to Cuba. ...
... U.S. forces in Iraq brought twenty-first-century technology to the
battlefield and achieved ?information dominance,? but they never escaped
the dangerous reality that their enemies were trying to kill them. To
quote Clausewitz again: ?In the dreadful presence of suffering and
danger, emotion can easily overwhelm intellectual conviction, and in
this psychological fog it is ? hard to form clear and complete
insights?It is the exceptional man [or woman] who keeps his powers of
quick decision intact? under the conditions of combat. ...
[Information smog. See Dan Kuehl Interview:
... In Iraq, those in command (including civilian leaders) had to make
decisions of life and death under split-second pressure and an
unprecedented barrage of information that was often ambiguous,
uncertain, or contradictory. Added to this information overload were
unremitting demands from Washington for answers to simple, difficult,
and inappropriate questions. ...
... Today?s commanders possess surveillance advantages never dreamed of
in past times, and more often than not they see their forces and those
of the enemy with extraordinary clarity. But in an information-rich
environment, what one needs to know is often buried in a blanket of
white noise, and individuals at every level reach limits in what they
can absorb and pass along. ...
[Scales mentioned that the US needs to know more than just the enemy's
military capabilities, it also needs to know the enemy's intent &
culture. Just to illustrate this I use a classic Sun Tzu quote: And, If
you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a
hundred battles. If you know yourself but not your enemy, for every
victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the
enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. In the Q&A the
importance of HUMINT was mentioned and discussed. For more see Experts
Urge Restructuring of US Intelligence Agencies:
... Crucial to the success of combat is an understanding of one?s
potential opponent as he is, rather than as Americans would like him to
be. This is intelligence in the largest sense. ...
... Buried in an avalanche of information, commanders still confront the
problem of trying to understand the enemy?s intention and his will to
fight. It is well to talk about destroying the enemy?s combat power by
50 percent in order to precipitate his collapse, but those with
experience in Vietnam know that in some cases attrition of 90 percent
was not sufficient to stop a unit from fighting as a cohesive, effective
force. Iraqi regular units in the north at nearly full strength fought
not at all while some fedeyeen fought until their strength was nearly
zero. At the level of command and control, where political as well as
strategic decisions occur, good intelligence gathered by thinking human
beings can make the difference in victory or defeat. ...
[Good Intel analysis capabilities are needed WEN]
... Raw information is not intelligence. The problem over the past
sixty-five years has not been a lack of data. Rather, the problem has
been erroneous interpretation of that data. Since World War II,
intelligence organizations, both civilian and military, have proved to
be all too willing to interpret information in light of preconceived
political prejudices or expectations. ...
The Changing Military Environment
... The inability to perform adequately as a joint force in Grenada
sparked major reforms in the American military that are still
reverberating through the force structure. The Iraq War underlines how
much progress has occurred, despite the continued existence of
interservice rivalries. In recent years, combined arms have expanded
from integration of ground forces?infantry, armor, artillery?to the
incorporation of direct and indirect air power. Beginning in Afghanistan
and even more so in Iraq, close air support with precision weapons has
brought a new lethality to combined arms. ...
... The end of the Cold War simplified the roles and functions of all
the services, and the experience in Iraq suggests that the respective
roles of the ground forces are beginning to converge. Neither the air
force nor the navy confront an enemy with technologically sophisticated
forces at sea or in the air. Consequently, the function of those
services is now mostly to project and deliver ground forces to a
particular theater and then support those forces with precision killing
power. As the army has succeeded to some degree in shedding its Cold War
impedimenta to become more strategically transportable and expeditionary
(a traditional role for the marine corps), the marines have begun to
employ larger, heavier formations capable of taking on enemy armor. This
is not to say that the two services possess similar missions and
cultures, but the convergence suggests that they need to work more
closely in the future. ...
In the Iraq War, army and marine units set up ad hoc formations on the
basis of the tactical context and the demands of combat. Their success
suggests that such an approach (in many ways similar to the German
Kampfgruppe of World War II) needs to be regularized in training and
procedures. Light infantry, mechanized infantry, armor, and artillery
should all train more regularly together in tactical scenarios that test
the adaptability and flexibility of commanders as well as troops. Here
the marines have a considerable advantage, because the organization of
MEUs is such that combined arms must work at the lowest levels of
What died on the battlefields of Iraq was the vision held by many of a
homogenized army?one in which units would largely resemble one another.
Instead, the army of the future will require a large kit bag of
capabilities that it can deploy and fit together, sometimes in the
middle of battle, to meet the many exigencies of this new era in
warfare. For example, in the open battlefield, lighter forces equipped
with new information systems proved highly effective at engaging and
destroying the Iraqis. But speed and information superiority became less
decisive when combat occurred at closer range, as in the complex urban
terrain of Basra and Baghdad. There, older weapons systems such as the
Abrams and Bradley, with their advantages in protection, mass, and
explosive power, proved to be of considerable utility. This traditional
machine-age equipment is likely to remain a part of ground forces in the
Drawing on the experiences of Afghanistan, the Coalition made
extraordinarily effective use of special operations forces. Here the
contrast could not be more different from the use of special forces in
the Gulf War. Moreover, the combination of special forces with
conventional forces proved devastating. In the south, special forces
were able to grab the oil wells before the Iraqis could blow up more
than a few, while the arrival of conventional forces ensured that
regular Iraqi units could not regain control of the area. In the western
deserts, SOF isolated Iraq from Syria and Jordan and closed down the
possibility that Saddam could fire Scuds at Israel. And finally in
northern Iraq, fewer than a conventional brigade?s worth of soldiers
under a colonel?s command succeeded in building a surrogate army that
defeated three Iraqi corps and secured Kirkuk and Mosul. All of these
experiences reinforce the lessons of Afghanistan: special operations
forces will play an increasingly important role in the projection of
American military power against the nation?s enemies, while the
operations of those forces will be ever more closely integrated with
those of conventional forces.
Also, the unconventional warfare phase of the campaign highlights the
truism that regular army and marine infantry units are increasingly
finding themselves in close combat situations that resemble those of
their special operations colleagues. Regular infantry units have much to
learn from them and should begin soon to adopt many of their techniques
for selection, training and leader development.
... In war, speed kills, especially if military forces move fast enough
to disturb the enemy?s ability to make decisions. Franks and his
planners maintained the speed of movement by making the tip of the spear
as supple, mobile, and flexible as possible. He had clearly learned the
lesson of the Gulf War that a fundamental law of Newtonian physics
applies also to military maneuver: one can achieve overwhelming force by
substituting velocity for mass. In this campaign, Coalition ground
forces moved with such swiftness that virtually every decision the Iraqi
high command made was already overtaken by events. ...
[In the Q&A Scales said that the US military should 'move intelligence
down' as one of the best Intel can be gained from the the eyes of the
soldiers on the frontline. WEN]
... Coalition forces would never have been able to achieve the tempo of
their operations without the confidence drawn from a deep understanding
of Iraqi military forces. Particularly important was knowledge gained
from having watched the Iraqis operate in the period between the two
Gulf wars. Once operations began, commanders and decision makers in the
field were able to take advantage of surveillance technologies that
allowed them to adapt and modify their plans and movements in accordance
with the developing situation, while at the same time denying the enemy
any sense of what was happening.
Yet the campaign also reinforced the lessons learned repeatedly and
consistently in previous wars: no matter how sophisticated the technical
means of information-gathering, a real picture does not begin to emerge
until there are human eyes on the target. Counting vehicles from the air
does not tell a commander what the enemy intends to do with them. Time
and again, army and marine scouts and special forces? reconnaissance
units were able to spot, track, and anticipate Iraqi movements and to
turn raw intelligence into what soldiers call ?ground truth??a real
picture of what was occurring on the battlefield. ...
... The conflict in Iraq was the third in which U.S. forces leveraged
their overwhelming superiority in precision killing power. As in
Afghanistan, this campaign highlighted the extent to which precision
capabilities had improved over the course of the last decade. Likewise,
advances in the ability (and willingness) of the air force to connect
with ground forces and concentrate its precision killing power on Iraqi
army targets had a dramatic impact on the ability of Coalition ground
forces to close with and destroy the enemy.
However, the campaign served to elicit the same cautions that had
occurred in Kosovo and Afghanistan: precision of weapons alone is not
enough to ensure precision of effects against the enemy. Precision
killing comes only with the ability to locate the target with precision,
to hit the right target and avoid accidentally striking friendly troops.
And the speed of the targeting process must be fast enough to strike
before the enemy moves. The fedayeen surprise also provides the caution
that as the American weapons become more precise, the enemy finds ways
to become harder to hit and kill. Putting together information about
where the enemy is and discovering what the really important targets are
still represent daunting challenges in a complex, ambiguous environment.
And assessing with precision the damage caused by precision weapons
remains an intractable and almost insoluble problem for both air and
ground forces. ...
The war plan developed by Centcom adopted the principle of simultaneity
first practiced so successfully during the invasion of Panama. In both
cases, the secret to winning quickly was to strike the enemy across the
entire extent of his territory in many dimensions?air, land, and sea?in
the shortest period of time. The object of simultaneity was as much
psychological as physical. The pattern of assaults against the Iraqis
aimed at paralyzing a command structure that moved at a glacial pace in
the best of times, given Saddam?s penchant for total control. Coalition
air and ground forces may not have achieved real simultaneity in every
instance, but the evidence is clear that the Iraqi high command
perceived that from the beginning they were under attack everywhere.
The battle for Iraq has again reinforced the observation that the modern
battlefield continues to empty and to expand. Future enemies will
seek?as did the Iraqis, albeit ineffectively?to disperse, dig in, and go
to ground to avoid the impact of American precision weapons. At the same
time, American forces will disperse over greater distances as the
battlefield becomes more opaque and as the range of weapons increases.
But as we have seen in this campaign, an empty battlefield is a lonely
place where a soldier?s instinct is to take counsel of his fears.
Soldiers and their leaders must be superbly trained and psychologically
prepared for such frightening circumstances.
This war, like all those fought by the United States since the end of
the Cold War, demonstrated dramatically the truism that competent
militaries are those capable of adapting rapidly to the unexpected.
Great military organizations fight the enemy, not the plan. Speed of
decision making and the ability to move within the enemy?s decision
cycle ultimately help determine who will win or lose. Quick thinking
allows commanders to make up for deficiencies in planning and to react
to the unexpected. What was particularly impressive in this conflict was
the ability of soldiers and marines to cobble together ad hoc units to
meet unforeseen circumstances and for even the smallest units to be
creative tactically and to act against the enemy without seeking
permission. Equally impressive was the ability of ground units to change
behavior as the character of the war changed from open mechanized
warfare to stability operations centered in towns and cities. Only
soldiers who are well trained and used to dealing with uncertainty and
change could have adapted to such radically different circumstances so
quickly and effectively.
The Iraqi campaign reinforced the lessons of Afghanistan and other
campaigns that quality trumps quantity on most modern battlefields. From
the Civil War through Vietnam, the American military relied primarily on
mass and industrial might to smother its enemies in men and materiel.
Since then, largely influenced by an all-volunteer military, the
services have increasingly relied on smaller, higher quality
aggregations of men armed with sophisticated weapons. Limited wars
fought for limited strategic ends in this new American age of warfare
have forced commanders to win with fewer casualties. The emphasis on
precision firepower and sophisticated weapons has resulted in fewer
soldiers having to be placed in harm?s way to achieve intended results.
But smaller numbers on the battlefield place a premium on leadership.
Small-unit leaders now have to assume responsibilities that were once
the purview of officers of higher grade and maturity. Close combat
soldiers and marines will invariably find themselves involved in
fast-paced operations that demand rapid decision making in circumstances
where the wrong decision might well result in an incident with global
media exposure and international repercussions. The requirements for
initiative and leadership have now moved down to the lowest levels of
command, which has enormous implications for how junior officers and
NCOs are recruited, trained, and selected for command.
Training, Leadership, and Education
... In March and April of 2003, both Coalition and Iraqi forces lived in
an environment where fear, ambiguity, uncertainty, danger, and chance
inhibited their ability to fight. Yet such factors had a much greater
impact on the Iraqis. The essential difference lay in the willingness of
the Coalition?s men and women to train long and hard in preparing for
Good human material turns into outstanding marines, soldiers, and airmen
only through realistic, tough training. Much of the exceptional
performance of ground forces in Iraq resulted from three decades of
experiences at training centers in California, Germany, Nevada, and
Louisiana. But training is expensive. It uses up considerable resources.
It places enormous strain on officers and NCOs as well as the individual
soldier and his family. Scientists can predict with some precision how
technological improvements in weaponry will pay off on the battlefield.
The payback for training cannot be predicted; it can be accurately
measured only in combat. In both Gulf wars, the Iraqis possessed modern
weapons. They simply did not know how to employ them. Technology will do
little for the badly trained. In the end, technology is a tool. Training
allows the soldier to use this tool effectively.
The American military should not forget that its worst defeat resulted
largely from a military and civilian leadership that prized technology
over the lessons of the past. ...
The Changing Political Environment
... The United States? record of nation building has not been a high
point of military or civilian competence over the past forty years. ...
... The current U.S. administration and its military advisers could have
been better prepared to handle the intractable problems raised by
victory. To a great extent, that failure reflected a reluctance to
involve America?s military in nation building and peacekeeping.
Insistence on this point closely mirrored the inclination of some in the
military services to believe that they should avoid the messy business
that lies beyond clear-cut, decisive military operations. ...
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