Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Why do I feel like we're the Redcoats and they're the Colonials?

OK, this is a big excerpt, but I thought it was worth reprinting here (courtesy and copyright of Aviation Week & Space Technology March 22, 2004, Vol. 160, No. 12 p. 23):

UNPREDICTABLE. Most U.S. soldiers and commanders are not prepared to fight modern insurgent groups, according to recent analyses by military academics. "The visualization of authority [and insurgent organizations] by military professionals is a hierarchical pyramid," said a former professor at the U.S. Naval Academy [me: BEAT ARMY]. "When they have to go after a system that operates like [a swarm of] lightning bugs, it's hard for them to grasp the model." Analysts also note the rise of special operations phases of the Iraq conflict. The autonomy of special forces has historically been resented by regulars whose careers can be ruined by a single mistake. Such risk-averse groups may not be innovative and adaptive enough to destroy organizations like al Qaeda, whose adherents operate autonomously--well trained, technologically astute and indoctrinated with religious zeal. Cells or individuals are given a general mission and then released with very few links to a central organization. Each builds a local organization to fit the situation, reacts to changing circumstances, uses available weapons and attacks targets of opportunity. Such tactics are hard to profile and predict. The model is being compared, within academic circles, to that of Jesuits, who are picked for intelligence, rigorously trained and then sent out to operate with little central direction.

Food for thought.


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