Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Hints from Ukraine

Adversity can be a great motivator and agent of change is you have the right leaders in place to take advantage of it. Likewise, if you have an institution with an open and learning mind, you can learn a lot that was previously unseen in reality's unstressed state.

Paul Shinkman's article from last week should have you thinking if we are taking best advantage of the low-boil conflict in Eastern Ukraine by having the right people taking stock of the Ukrainian operational experience against Russia and her proxies.

It starts with a clear reminder that as the future moves forward, to rely on paper and the good will of others for your own nation's security is to invite a predator in to your home;
In the years after the collapse of the Soviet empire, the need diminished in Ukraine and elsewhere for a state-of-the-art army following Western promises it would protect these new allies in exchange for giving up their nuclear weapons, through a set of agreements known as the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances.
The most valuable part of what we are doing to help the Ukrainian military modernize, is that we are getting a few on how the Russians operate;
The pro-Russian forces, believed to be backed by Moscow directly, have perfected other 21st century warfighting techniques that make their infantry movements that much more effective. Troops here say they are harassed with "reverse text messages," prompting them to lay down their arms and quit. Their enemy has also integrated drones into its fighting formations, using them to identify targets like Danilo and his men, and firing artillery much more accurately.
...enemy targeting drones that have become ubiquitous with the fighting. In fairness, troops at the front lines and international observers say that Ukraine, too, employs drones in the war zone, despite explicit international agreements barring either side from using such technology.
The 25-year army veteran was also quick to point out how much he and his comrades were able to teach the Americans, who haven't focused on tank warfare following 15 years of counterinsurgency fights in the Middle East. Balkovnic also boasts his army is the only one that has fought the Russians on the ground in decades, and he's offered insights to his American counterparts on the kind of fighting he's experienced – namely drone and electronic warfare.

"It's a very different war than we have grown up training for," says U.S. Army 1st Lt. Edward Timmis, one of the trainers at the base in Yavoriv. "These guys have a very, very real threat with the mechanized [vehicles] and people that have a lot of men to back them up with equipment."

"We came in with an expectation of the caliber of soldier we'd be training and really with the first unit, we were blown away. They were very professional soldiers, obviously very experienced. It's been humbling teaching these guys and training them."
I hope that we are sending out very best officers and NCOs to Ukraine. No offense to the California National Guard, but we need those on the fast track in the regular army soaking in this. We also need our best USAF and USN EW types in country. I assume they are. If so, no reason for anyone to confirm it. If not, get to it.

There is a maritime security component to the conflict in the Sea of Azov off Mariupol and the Black Sea that I hope we have both green-water advisers and smart people watching and learning. 

The Russians have had a lot of opportunities to see how we operation, we sure better be taking maximum advantage of this and Syria to get our share.

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