Monday, February 26, 2007

Semper F(orever)i

So I had a conversation, awhile back, with this Marine.

You know, something is not a good idea, unless someone one out there is trying to kill it. The Marines go through ups and downs, over their entire history. Sometimes they can do no wrong, other times folks are trying to kill off the branch.

He made the argument you always hear from Marines: vertical envelopment from the sea, expeditionary, America's rapid response force, yadda yadda yadda. Which is not to say I disagree, it's just not the argument I'd make about keeping the Marines around. My reasons are always more prosaic.

The Marines are the other county heard from.

The Marines don't get alot of sweet lucre. In fact, they're starved, relative to other branches, of sweet cash. The Marines have to improvise. And innovate.

They're always coming up with great ideas, like the MAGTAF, and best of all, they're easy to steal from (hello...ACUs?).

The Army is like Grant, grabbing the enemy by the waistcoat, reaching around the neck and andaconding the enemy. The Marines are Lee.

America needs both.

So I was in jail yesterday. Petty larceny, or something. I don't know. Didn't pay attention when the cops maced me and dragged me out of the house.

Had other things on my mind.

I had to do some more reading on the Effects Based Approach.

Say you're one of those War Lords, and you've been assigned to take out some bad guys. You sit back on the crushed skulls of your enemies, and ruminate a bit. Then you issue your Commander's Intent. This tells your murderous horde what it is you want them to do. Then you issue the Mission. The troglodytes then understand that you, Og, want them to "seize,hold,deny" something or other. Finally, after much back and forth, your staff comes up with the Concept of the Operation. This is the blueprint to success, with phase lines, and such things. So with Intent, Mission and Concept of the Operation, you have the Why, the When and the How.

Intent: Win

Mission: Seize key terrain No Later Than this Date Time Group.

Concept of the Operation: Depart your horde of death dealers at this time. Move along Axis Gimli, kill all Orcs vicinity Saruman. Blocks Suaron's reinforcement vicinity the Black Gate. On Oder, be prepared to storm Mount Doom.

Now this is great for a linear, force on force battle. When you're going up against a like force, that can be destroyed or compelled to surrender. The good old days.

The Effects Based Approach inverts this. Done well. I hope.

Instead of investing so much time in a specific (tactical) Concept of the Operation, Effects spends it's money on Intent.

Intent: Win. Deny enemy freedom of movement. Destroy enemy concentration. Stabilize civil society. Etc.

Mission: Seize key terrain No Later Than this Date Time Group.

Concept of the Operation:


Information Offensive


Embedded Tactical Trainers




Medical Assistance



Instead of Intent being mere parsley for the Kinetics, the Kinetics adopt a more supporting role towards the Intent.

This makes sense. Intent is the reason you went to war in the first place. On a complex, shifting battlefield, an over reliance on Kinetics can queer the whole Intent. Not to, in anyway, downplay the importance of Kinetics, but add to the Combatant Commanders toolkit.

Least that's the way I see the Effects Based Approach. Well, me and the Crazy Eddies. They've been following the effects based approach for years.

But that's another post.

Got to get back to my cell.

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