Monday, September 15, 2014

Lt. Gen H.R. McMaster, USA Lays Down a Marker

I am sure everyone on the front porch is familiar with McMaster, so there is no need to review the source.

Before I put out the pull quotes to encourage you to read it all, you need to fully ponder where this was published:

What does that mean? Everything and nothing perhaps, but one thing it tells you is that McMaster is not being ignored. The Army wants you to read what he has to say.

I have my theories about what McMaster is doing here - I'll let you figure it out for your own. 
Americans and their leaders all too often wear rose-tinted glasses when it comes to assessing future warfare,
Too often, people think battles can be won through engineering and technological advances: cyber, advanced weapons systems, robotics and so on, ...
The truth is that while overmatch is important, people win wars,
Another myth about future conflicts, he said, is that America can choose whether or not to "RSVP." The U.S. can simply "opt out by saying 'thanks for your kind invitation, but we cannot attend your war.'"

The opt-out was used before Pearl Harbor, as well as before 9/11. "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you," McMaster said, citing Leon Trotsky.
As a side note - I have always loved that Trotsky quote. It should be carved in to every politician's office wall.
A final myth is that the U.S. can just advise and assist other armies and let them do the fighting. The problem with that myth, he said, is the other army might have a different agenda that's incongruent with U.S. interests. Besides that, the other military and government might be corrupt and not inspire loyalty from its people and soldiers. Furthermore, the military capabilities may be lacking.

All of these myths are attractive, but they are no substitute for boots on the ground, ...
The cynic might say he is just trying to justify protecting the Army in budgetary battles - but that is insulting to McMaster and small minded. His comments are firmly rooted in the historical record. There is something more substantial going on with his comments - and the below is as subtle as McMaster's dome.
The "zero dark-thirty" myth is another, he said. This idea uses systems theory to explain warfare as a series of linked nodes. The idea is to selectively take out nodes that are critical to the enemy's network.

In systems theory, the U.S. would simply conduct air strikes or a special operations raid of limited duration to disrupt the network, he said. The systems theory goes back to the Spanish-American War in 1898, when sea power was supposed to win the war, but it took boots on the ground, he said.

In 1940, there was an article in "Look" magazine touting the role of long-range bombers like the B-29s, which could win World War II, should America get into the fight, he said. Same thing happened in the early years of Vietnam, but the North couldn't be bombed into submission.
While the air, space, maritime and cyber domains are important, warfare is essentially a "contest of wills," ...
Hat tip SWJ.

No comments: