Manual Lost In the Army: Misadventures Of A Peacetime Soldier

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How does an SF commando outwit a terrorist who is on a death mission? In a way, both are ready to sacrifice their lives. But the difference is we are not here to die, we will take away his life if need be. The real difference is in the intent with which a terrorist and a commando pulls the trigger.

An SF commando is a soldier's soldier. The best any leadership can have on a mission to protect his countrymen. While a terrorist is drugged to insanity—physically by narcotics and mentally by eccentric beliefs—a special forces commando is on a high that comes from taking immense pride in his profession.

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What does an SF commando do during peace time? There is no peace time for such units. They are constantly at war with the enemies of the state, covertly or overtly.

Other than doing special operations, they participate in tri-services exercises. They take part in joint training with foreign armies. They undergo professional courses to maintain their professional competence. They constantly prepare for rescue operations involving hostages, or other emergency situations.

Postwar Period: End of the OSS and Return to the Park Service

Do special forces have their own intelligence and communication networks, or are you dependent on the Army and intelligence agencies? Assets like satellite-based communication and human intelligence are made available to the special forces on a need basis. Intelligence is the most critical part of any successful operation. But work has to go on even with limited intelligence.

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Our capability to operate deep and for longer duration gives us the edge and increases our chances of success when intelligence is hard to come by. Between capturing the enemy and killing him, what choice does a commando make? We are not war junkies or mercenaries. But, we are fully aware of the fact that this peace would have to be earned….

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A captured enemy soldier is a source of information on enemy tactics, morale and routine, which is critical in planning and furthering our missions. Why do you think violence is necessary for peace? Who wants to be violent?

Postwar Period: End of the OSS and Return to the Park Service (U.S. National Park Service)

M ilitary journals, the popular press, and glossy copy from the Department of the Army tell us that high-tech is in. Photos of soldiers with one each of everything from RadioShack draping their bodies confirm it: scientism, voiced in New Age incantations--like "total information dominance"--is the right stuff of future wars.

High-tech solutions, promising bloodless victories in war, are attractive in the homeland of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Alva Edison, and Bill Gates. Americans willingly spend dollars to spare lives. But if antiseptic victory via missiles entering doors and windows without knocking seems too good to be true, it probably is. Exaggerated claims for high-tech tend to characterize war as gallery games played by warm, dry, and well-fed geeks.

Icons, feeling neither fear nor discomfort, zap other icons, or are themselves gezapped. Reality becomes blips on screens accompanied by audio dissonance, obscuring a brutal fact: decisive combat sooner or later pits our tough kids against their tough kids in one of the world's back alleys, where the weather is always bad, communications always break down, and the action always occurs at the junction of four map sheets.

Bad decisions can put our warriors in the wrong place, and poor leadership can squander elite formations. Victory in war requires more than gadgets. And it is seldom bloodless.

10 Crazy Military Trainings Soldiers Will Have To Do

That is our subject. Field Manual , Operations , says what leadership does: it provides purpose, direction, and motivation in combat. And it is important. Combat power comes from the courage and competence of soldiers, training, equipment, doctrine, "and above all, the quality of their leadership.

The former reflects the organizational concern of high command, the latter the eyeball-to-eyeball relationship in which leaders share with their soldiers the hazards and hardships of combat. Definitions, axioms, pet theories, and checklists abound, but leadership, like sex, is a doing thing. The US Army War College's Study On Military Professionalism addressed the difference between saying and doing, finding a command climate "in which there is disharmony between traditional, accepted ideals summarized as Duty, Honor, Country and the prevailing institutional pressures.

A scenario that was repeatedly described in seminar sessions and narrative responses [to questionnaires] includes an ambitious, transitory commander. The damning study rocked Army leadership, not least because respondents were front-runners in the grab for the brass ring, not embittered losers. They were faculty and students at the War College, students at the Command and General Staff College, and others deeply knowledgeable of the officer corps.

The Army published the findings and briefed them to US Army audiences around the world. The rot revealed in the study antedated our war in Vietnam. Scientific management and graduate study for officers were in vogue. In the s, the outward signs of form over substance are field grade officers grinding out slick PowerPoint briefing charts a task once performed by junior enlisted soldiers or the people in "graphics". This show-and-tell is accompanied by a highly centralized system which, in unholy alliance with the selling of high-tech in the glib language of advertising, tends to reward brisk performance of narrowly prescribed tasks.

The cost is initiative, the sine qua non of military leadership from squad to field army. We should not await the shock of violent combat to reveal our defects. It is time to restudy the Army's command climate, a subject of inquiry more pertinent to the health and effectiveness of the Army than fixation on the latest gadget or viewgraph.

Until we have conducted, digested, and acted upon such a restudy, imaginative and historical literature remains the laboratory of military leadership. What makes literature more useful to leaders than lists and axioms is context. Leadership functions or fails in the real world, a world best replicated in fiction, memoirs, biographies, and histories in which leaders play the cards they are dealt.

Immersion in this literature is second only to actual combat leadership experience in shaping leaders. The setting is the British public school, that peculiar institution which shaped the youths who later manned the ramparts in every corner of the empire as Her Majesty's professional officers and civil servants.

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The public school produced Wellington's officers, by his own testimony, and the youngsters who led British troops over the top through more than four years of trench warfare in World War I, if they survived. Among the latter were poets and writers of prose still in print, men like Sigfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, and Wilfred Owen, who created the picture in our heads that is the Western Front of World War I.

The subculture of the public school instilled in most of the boys a permanent value system of noblesse oblige in addition to producing some world-class spies and scoundrels; see George MacDonald Fraser's "Flashman" novels for a laugh a minute. Somehow the schoolmasters see James Hilton's Goodbye, Mr. Chips , and weep with Mr. Chips as the names of the old boys killed are read out at Chapel, 23 on a single Sunday after the Somme , tradition, social pecking order, games, and a liberal arts curriculum transformed filthy little beasts into patriots unable to let their side down.

Privileged treatment in a rigid class system produced its share of self-centered fops, but in extremis the public school boy distinguished himself by caring for his soldiers and dying well. A wounded and decorated "old boy," just two or three years out of school and known to most of the boys still in school, returns from India and addresses the school community. The reader witnesses the transformation of street urchin to aspiring winner of the Victoria Cross. Readers soak up the ambiance of the public school, enhancing their appreciation of how Britain cultivated apprentice leaders who would maintain a great empire for a long time.

Soldiers, like much of humankind, dream of advancement, as suggested in the sardonic toast of young officers stagnating in grade: "Here's to a bloody war and a pestilential season. Kipling's Army for a penetrating look into that army and chuckle on every page. Few of us are sufficiently introspective to ask if we are up to the demands of high command. Being "up to it" is one of several important issues raised by Correlli Barnett in The Swordbearers: Supreme Command in the First World War , an absolute gold mine for the student of leadership at the top.

Moltke, Chief of the General Staff and de facto Commander-in-Chief of the Field Army of the German Empire for nine years, said of himself in , when he knew he was the likely successor to Count Schlieffen:. I lack the power of rapid decision. I am too reflective, too scrupulous, and, if you like, too conscientious for such a post. I lack the capacity for risking all on a single throw, that capacity which made the greatness of such born commanders as Napoleon, or our own Frederick II, or my uncle.

He was right. Though the bold German offensive conducted in designed by Moltke to knock the French out of the war before the Russian offensive in the east became decisive--was nothing if not a single throw of the dice, Moltke was still correct in his self-assessment. Barnett describes Moltke during the critical phase of the battle as "visibly prostrate with worry, with his almost hallucinatory awareness of all the moral and general issues at stake.