20 November 2006

More requests

Taking his points in order:

1) I agree. The two examples mentioned strike close to home. We had some lasers which were wonderful--innocent Iraqis got the hell out of Dodge when we pointed them at them. It was an excellent Non-Lethal Warning Shot (as it was termed) and probably saved many Iraqi lives. But since they aren't eyesafe, we now use flares and such for the same purpose. Because shooting a star cluster at someone is so much safer. . .

As for the point re: IED disposal, any jackass can clear an IED if they have the right tools. A remote means of delivering an explosive charge, or a Buffalo which can tear up the IED and render it safe is a perfectly good way to do business. However, the EOD guys (overtasked, frequently taking 4 or more hours to show up) can tear it apart while preserving its evidentiary value.

Who cares about evidentiary value? It isn't enough to mean anything. Better would be a modified MARCbot (cheapo robot which is good enough for the task. We have some, but rarely use them) which would send back pictures to a thumb drive plugged into the controller (that is the main mod that is needed-there's no way to save the video and bring it back for analysis). You roll up, shoot a little bit of video to establish what kind of bomb it is, and then roll up with a C-4 charge hanging on the robot arm and a 5 minute time fuze. Robot drops the charge, rolls back, story over, and the convoy is on the road again. But we aren't permitted to do this.

We, as Engineers, have permitted EOD to take the lead in what should be a core Engineer mission, the protection of mobility corridors. We should be fighting this fight with an Engineer mindset of clearing an obstacle and assuring mobility for the maneuver forces and CSS convoys. Instead, we are finding them, and then sitting on them like damn local beat cops waiting for the bomb squad. In the United States, in peacetime, when EOD is providing support to Law Enforcement, this is fine. This is not the brightest thing to do in combat, especially because it creates operational patterns which can be exploited by agressive insurgents.

2) Ummm. . . we do need to maintain core proficiency in fighting High Intensity Conflicts. We aren't fighting any this year, or next year. But we may have to some time in the future. They are trying to adapt the training to fighting in Iraq, but essentially peacetime safety restrictions heavily limit the realism of the training. Further, since the ARTEP-style objective evaluation is maintained, we are still training to checklists of standards which are still in the format of "perform step 1 as described, perform step 2, perform step 3". It's much better than what I had the first deployment. It still isn't good.

3) No comment, it sounds right but is above my paygrade so I can't go into much further.

4) Above my paygrade to discuss in detail, but it seems to me from the end user level, the Cold War style compartmentalization of intelligence has become an end unto itself.

5) Yes, I agree totally. Further discussion this point tends into TTP discussions which would violate OPSEC.

6) Yes, this one is a basic common-sense measure which would be well served by the military Chain of Command supporting bloggers to speak to the American people. As for communicating with the Iraqi people, I'm not involved in that enough to speak to it usefully.


Anonymous Karl Gallagher said...

Thanks for your take on it. #3 is what I have the most insight on. Unfortunately a real fix requires Congress putting a higher priority on mission success than bringing pork back to the voters.

I did see a nice suggestion on Instapundit. Embed all the Agency for International Development folks needed to sign off on disbursements with a battalion. They'd probably streamline their process real fast.

12:49 AM  

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