DIRECTION AND DECEIT - AN ARMY IN TROUBLE: Advanced Warfighting Experiment & READINESS--A Report December 1997 and JCROP REPORT, 2002

"The more mechanical become the weapons with which we fight, the less mechanical must be the spirit which controls them".

--General JFC Fuller, Generalship: its Diseases and their Cure

[Source: the following IMPORTANT reports were produced by sources who wish to remain anonymous]


Is JCROP really an attainable goal, ever?

The U.S. way of war is increasingly characterized as leveraging our asymmetric advantage in information superiority to attack with precision, often from a distance. Policymakers and military theorists have long talked of the U.S. potential for dominant battlespace knowledge (DBK) - essentially knowing everything of military significance within a theater, perhaps a 200km by 200 km box, based on the capability of our sensor grid, information processing technology, and superior intelligence analysis. Central to DBK is achieving a Joint Common Relevant Operational Picture (JCROP), implying that everyone across the joint force can access a single, accepted, operational picture of the battlespace, that incorporates all the information available to the joint sensor grid, in real time. Ideally, such a capability would ensure that what is on your screen and what is in the battlespace is the same - a goal that is much easier said than done.


Great progress has been made in the technological sophistication of our sensors and the ability to process and display the stream of data from those sensors. We have also improved the interoperability of those sensors and the information from them, with an increasingly broad array of intelligence processing and analysis systems, and command and control systems. That is the good news. The less-than-good-news is that with the proliferation of strategic, operational, and tactical sensors across our joint military force and other government agencies, we have literally dozens of sensors looking at the same battlespace, at approximately the same time. And they all see it a little differently! Consequently, a fighter pilot or tanker looking at their platform's digitized display may see a dozen entities or "blips" on the far side of a hill. The first problem is figuring out whether those entities or good guys, bad guys, or neither - that is a difficult enough problem in itself. The more troublesome issue is knowing whether those blips actually represent 12 different entities over the hill, or 12 sensors looking at the same entity a little differently, or the more likely outcome of somewhere inbetween.


The United States either has, or will soon possess the air, land and naval platforms and munitions to hit any location, virtually anytime, anywhere on this planet. But that is not relevant! The issue is ensuring a viable target is at that location when the munitions explode. In light of enemy C3D2 and the proliferation of active decoys and countermeasures its highly likely the enemy will give us the targets we want to see to waste away our expensive ordnance on nothing or civilians to turn world public opinion against us, which is likely the critical win/lose center-of-gravity in 4th Generation Warfare (4GW). Platforms and ordnance are only a subset of the operational end-to-end architecture associated with long range precision strike they must be backed by other forms of military force like ground control and maneuver or else we present an easy asymmetry for the enemy to exploit. In short, until we demonstrate in a joint venue the technical capability to fuse information from the strategic, operational, and tactical sensors of all services and agencies, and automatically recognize targets, verify they are targets (not decoys) with reliable air/ground HUMINT and THEN dynamically plan missions, we will never realize the potential of long range precision strike against an actual enemy to enable decisive dominant MANEUVER that encircles, isolates, and collapses enemy forces, controls the lands that people live on and changes governments. The idea that firepower, even precise firepower will win wars without us taking any risks with men on the ground doing maneuver is a false goal and waster of national resources. When this approach inevitably fails, men's lives are wasted as maneuver is done underfunded but in dire emergency. Rather, we will continue to kid ourselves about the effectiveness of the current "fixed aimpoint approach" to warfare. Furthermore, we will sustain the current approach of all services/agencies wanting to rely on their own budgeted electronic sensors -- case in point: the U.S. Army's interim RSTA squadron.


In its simplest form, U.S. sensors obtain "blue force" and "other" information. Getting the blue part should be relatively straightforward. The challenge is that the processes underlying our JCROP must differentiate the "other" category into enemy, noncombatant, decoy, and "friend without functioning identification systems;" and do so in real time. Such a capability requires instantaneous fusion of information from multiple sensors to include the best input, mankind in the air and on the ground actively investigating if targets are real and not decoys, across multiple spectrums -- a task for which we still must develop the required suite of stable mathematical algorithms and as diverse platforms as possible to cover as many enemy countermeasures as possible.


Our Army is in serious trouble. The Division Advanced Warfighter Experiment (AWE) is heading in a direction that is dangerously close to institutionalizing a fundamentally flawed doctrine. This is hidden behind a very well crafted, highly persuasive PR campaign that masks many of the problems, and in some cases, outright deceives. But of more immediate concern, the Army of today is in a serious state of unpreparedness, is untrained, and would be in danger of getting routed if we were to engage in combat against capable, motivated opponent.

The following report consists of three parts:

I. Flaws of the AWE

II. Evidence of an Army Unprepared for Combat

III. Ramifications for the Present and Future

I. Flaws of the AWE

The Advanced Warfighter Experiment is an experiment in name only. An experiment is conducted in order to test a hypothesis, then seeks to make modifications to the design based on what worked and what didn't, and then makes decisions about where to go. That is not what the AWE is doing.

The U.S. Army has made a number of important decisions about the future of AWE before completing critical portions of the test. Months before the Fort Hood AWE exercise in November 1997, they had already established a robust time line depicting the rate and composition of future modernization packages for the division, and even when the corps would be digitized. Too many key decisions have been made even before some of the most important elements of the experiment had been conducted.

Here are some of the specific problems I've identified:

1. Complicated Infrastructure. The infrastructure necessary for enabling the division's command posts with Global Command & Controls Systems is predicated on extensive use of fiber optic cable - which takes a lot of time to instal and is easily damaged/destroyed. I was told by a two and four star general, that because fiber optic cable is becoming so common, we could just use existing civilian systems.

That reminded me that just three months ago I discussed this issue with a commo expert in Korea. The U.S. Army Master Sergeant told me how easily and quickly it would be for the enemy to destroy the whole system, rendering all the C2 and intel systems useless. Civilian fiber optic systems are not designed to survive wartime sabotage!

More importantly, the bandwidth does not yet exist to send all of this digital traffic via radio. Also, jamming/countermeasures are very easy. The OPFOR Information Warfare (IW) unit could have shut the AWE down during their March 97 rotation. However, they were not permitted to jam during the entire exercise!

2. Communications. NTDR (Near Term Digital Radio) and other radio systems have same line of sight limitations as the radios we've used for the last 25 years. The various platforms do have fatter data pipes, but there are too many problems getting the signal to cover the length and breadth of the 150km the division is supposed to be able to cover. In answer to my question about how they would solve this problem, General Harzog said they would use retrans stations on both mounted and airborne platforms.

2nd ACR used that method during Persian Gulf War while making administrative moves. However, if the objective is to build a modern, hi-tech Army, we shouldn't build a complicated data transfer system that relies on the tenuous ability of retrans to communicate. Every time a retrans station is lost during battle - or even to accident - complete sections of the battle force could lose the graphics, battle updates, and friendly and enemy picture.

If we train our Soldiers to rely on this system, they will be paralyzed when it goes down. We're training them to believe everything they see on the screen, and it's working. Several of the Soldiers I talked to told me in passionate terms they believe that what's on that screen is true because, "its been proven that what we see on the screen turns out to be what's really on the ground." Proven? Where? On the sim-center screen? At NTC in March?

And even when commanders have the information, they believe that they have to wait for all the information so they can make a perfect decision. The result is inaction and ceding initiative to the enemy. This happened in AWE's rotation at the NTC last March. [French methodical battle and zero-defects risk-averse mentality!]

3. Intelligence and Suite of Sensors. I Talked to the G2 section about the suite of sensors that work together to put the enemy data on the screen. The old computer adage that, "garbage in, garbage out," rings frighteningly true here. The "true" enemy picture depicted on the screen is only as good as an analyst can detect. It would be arrogant and foolish of us not to expect the enemy to be capable of figuring a way to deceive the sensors. Additionally, the JSTARS aircraft will not always be able to fly. Other devices will not always be able to verify the identity of the MTI's discovered by the JSTARS.

An action taken by the decidedly low-tech Iraqi's during the war serves as a warning: Major Muhammad, the surviving commander of the Iraqi 12th Armored Battalion, Tawakalna Division (whom we captured after the Battle of 73 Easting) told me that when the B-52's began to bomb them, they would do simple things like throw diesel on dead tanks and light them, fooling the air force into thinking they had killed more tanks. Consequently, the G2 was reporting the Tawakalna at 40% strength 24 hours before our attack, but revised it to 70% only hours before contact - after we were able to get helo scout eyes-on-target. There are many other, more sophisticated ways to deceive our systems. {editor, DIA calls these "C3D2", Camouflage, Cover, Concealment, Deception and Deceit, the latter the U.S. Army's leaders should know a lot about]

The bottom line is, if our Soldiers and leaders are trained to believe that the screen is ground truth, we are setting ourselves up for disaster. Additionally, if we rely on what the screen tells us before we'll fight [and not have HUMINT]- and then it goes down during battle - our leaders will be frozen into inaction. Anytime I brought that issue up during my stay at the AWE, I always got some wave-of-the-hand dismissal saying that the BDE TOC had a single "old fashion" paper map on the wall using stickies. "If the screen goes down, we simply go to the back up and continue on with the fight." The truth is that in all probability, they'd be frozen into inaction for a critical period of time. Plus, there was only one map for the entire BDE TOC!

Even if information on enemy strength and disposition is accurate, what about the human/qualitative elements of combat? We will still have to fight for knowledge about the enemy that will permit commanders to avoid strength and attack vulnerability.

4. Counter-technology Warfare. Officials in Fort Hood told me they had an aggressive force of folks trying to break into the system and cause it problems. Of course, the computer hackers are directed by TRADOC and despite what I was told, they are most certainly not given free reign on

how they try to attack the system. Battle update briefers reported 100% success in defending the systems. I wonder how much success they'd have if some of the civilians at Microsoft decided to get after it and try to deceive/block the system.

We need an independent effort on this.

5. Easy Does it. Philosophically, the AWE is positioning for slow, methodical warfare. When the BDE TOC takes 15 hours to set up and become operational, something is wrong. They showed me a couple of prototypes of a new C2 armored vehicle that would be very, very effective if fielded, but right now it's only a prototype and no firm decision has been made to use it.

Speed of action is not important to them because this is all a big targeting, sensor-to-shooter exercise. Movement is equated with risk. This is essentially the French Doctrine of "methodical battle" in the late 1930's. See Robert Doughty's book, "The Breaking Point", chapter 1 (which I have if you care to read it). One of the key military lessons learned from World War I was that the philosophy of dominant firepower over maneuver was a bankrupt concept. The Germans proved the success of a doctrine that emphasized dominant maneuver over - but including - firepower. See incredibly swift theater victories over Poland in 1939, France in 1940, Yugoslavia in 1941.

6. Joint. I asked why we aren't doing more joint fighting/training. I was basically told by both General Harzog and General Boyd that we aren't doing joint because the other services don't want to play. "We'd be happy to be more joint, and if they want to, they know where to find me," -

General Harzog. Doesn't exactly sound like someone who wants to maximize integration efforts using the best capabilities of the joint community.

7. Operational Focus. Their operational focus was exclusively on attrition, not on gaining a temporal or positional advantage over the enemy. According to the OPORD, their intent was to destroy the combined-arms army, and then seize crossing points on the Rhine river. The focus of their effort was entirely on gaining info dominance, as though the side that knows the most wins. Knowing info is great, but decisive maneuver and winning the fight are the only things that matter. Firepower alone will not win wars. See World War I as providing years of gruesome evidence.

Also, if one engages in attrition warfare - pitting one's own strength against the enemy's strength, higher casualties will result. Take 2nd Alamein as an example. Compare that fight with Rommel's approach at Gazala Line in 1942, or Patton's rescue of Bastogne in December 1944, or von Manstein's counter-attack against the Russian Army in February 1943. Our current military leadership sees all of the risks associated with maneuver but are blind to the possibilities.

8. Testing Venue. I'm concerned that all the tests are only done in the desert where C2 and commo are the easiest. Why not at CMTC in Europe as well? A number of times I asked about communications capabilities if the battle actually took place in European terrain instead of the open desert. The only answer I got was no answer, "Well, we are just focused on the concepts, and the actual location doesn't matter." Not true. They are making huge decisions on specific communications platforms based on this experiment.

However, this experiment doesn't take into account the commo difficulties inherent in the very terrain where the computer test is taking place - Europe. If we don't even know whether these systems will work in Europe or Korea or some equally difficult place to communicate, how can we build our whole future force structure on the premise that it will? If we are unable to communicate effectively, all these great hi-tech gadgets will be worthless.

9. World Class OPFOR?

They brag extensively about their "world class" OPFOR and how they are free to think and act, and that they want to win, etc... But when I talked to men running the Fort Hood portion of the OPFOR, they told me they were operating under incredible constraints. Also, the entire simulation is not credible. For example:

First of all, the system they are using (Corps Battle Simulation - "CBS") was never intended to be used as an indicator of the effectiveness of weapon systems or how communications systems would operate. It was only designed to give a basic force-on-force simulation to facilitate the training of a Corps staff. It does not accurately predict the results of engagements between opposing forces. It is a cause of concern, therefore, when the results of the CBS battle is taken as a proving agent for the AWE (See attachment #XX for a sample of institutionalized thinking on this issue).

The scenario driving this experiment depicted the 4th ID initially performing a covering force mission across a frontage of 250km. Then they defended a sector 150km in width when the Corps was fully deployed. While in this defense, 4th ID absorbed a combined arms army of three divisions and held, but at the end of the battle division strength was between 50-55%. They then immediately endure a second attack, this time by a tank army - again they repelled the attackers without allowing a penetration anywhere in sector.

In the 48-72 hours following the successful defense, they received replacements and were bolstered to 90% strength. They then launched a complicated attack to destroy the remnants of both the combined-arms army and the tank army. To even suggest that any division could sustain 50% casualties and then receive replacements that had never trained with the division and expect them to conduct a successful attack is absolute fiction.

What they represent here is sheer Hollywood fantasy. Unless the enemy was worse than Saddam Hussein's troops, those things would never happen. But what concerns me, is they are clearly trying to give the impression that their success in the simulation battle proves they can reduce combat power and still get the job done. (See attachment #XX as an example of how our leaders actually believe that what the computer is showing is a true reflection of the combat power potential of the new division)

In an even more disturbing example that the Army community as a whole is beginning to believe that the AWE has "proven" itself successful, the 15 DEC 97 issue of "Army Times" newspaper ran the headline on its front cover, "On Track: Future force proves itself more lethal." The cover story inside quoted TRADOC (Training and Doctrine Command) commander General William Harzog as saying, "Look at the results of this exercise. This one division ... in simulation killed six divisions - two combined arms armies - in the first four days (with) considerably less losses than current divisions do." It is absurd to consider a CBS battle proving anything tactically.

10. Loss of Power. One of the biggest reasons provided as to how the digital division was able to defend a 150km frontage against two attacks consisting of six divisions, and the then able to launch their own counterattack, was because the experiment has proven the increased killing power of the division. Consequently, they don't need all those tanks, brads and howitzers. In order to reduce the size of the division from it's current level of 18,000, they have cut one maneuver company per battalion - reducing the killing power of the division by a full 25% - resulting in 58 fewer tanks, 58 fewer Bradley's, 18 fewer howitzers, and 400 fewer infantrymen.

So they reduce the combat power of the division by 25%, and then expand the territory they are supposed to cover by three times what a heavy division of today covers? Information dominance is not a killing element - it is an enabler only. If we get rid of the killing systems and increase the coverage required, we will be less, not more, capable.

General Boyd and General Harzog told me the reason we're dropping a maneuver company is because "evidence" shows that with this new organization, we don't need as much combat power to get the same job done. Additionally, they said that part of the purpose of reducing the combat power is to make the army able to deploy faster*, and it would be easier to deploy if there were fewer tanks, brads, and tubes. Of course if you had fewer HQ elements, you could afford to take more fighting (killing) systems. * (There is an effective solution to this problem. See end of report for details)

11. Vulnerability of Servers. As with a standard office system, this computer data system is controlled by a few server computers. If the server crashes, or if it's destroyed, everyone is on their own and common data communication is severely slowed and degraded. This becomes a problem if we doctrinally teach this as the way to fight. If our Soldiers and leaders become fixated on the presumption that this stuff will be there, and all data is true, then when - I say 'when', not 'if' - the systems go down in combat, leaders will be paralyzed into inaction for a critical period of time before they can begin to think of other courses of action.

Think of your own experiences in office environments: when the main server goes down, all lateral communications stops. The same thing will happen in war, but the stakes are obviously higher.

In the "olden days" when we used maps, acetate, and stickies, we knew when we put the enemy force icons on the map that it was a representation of the best analysis we could come up with, but we knew it was only a best guess and not ground truth. This new intel system is being touted as showing enemy ground truth. It does not.

But the Soldiers think it does. Consequently, when these Soldiers go into combat and they look at the screen depicting the enemy, they will believe that what the screen shows is the truth. But that screen only shows what some person tells it to show. A vignette during the Battle of 73 Easting offers a perfect example of the dangers we would face if our Soldiers are allowed to believe that everything they see on the screen is true.

Just before dusk on 23 February 1991, 2nd ACR was leading the VII Corps into the right flank of the Republican Guard. 2nd Squadron was placed on the Regiment's left flank, with 3d Squadron in the middle and 1st Squadron on the right. 2nd Squadron was in a box formation with Ghost and Eagle Troop in front, Fox and Hawk trailing behind. When contact with the enemy came, there was a lot of confusion. Because of the sand storm, the helo scout screen was unable to fly. Consequently, we were unaware of exactly location of the enemy.

Eagle had first contact when they stumbled into the teeth of a dug-in armored company and fought a fierce, but short engagement (lasting only 23 minutes). On Eagle's left flank was Ghost Troop. Their two scout platoon leaders were a little confused when they finally made contact. They reported an enemy brigade was attacking - all told, over 100 tanks. This was reported up the chain to Regimental HQ who took a wait-and-see posture. The light of the next day revealed that there were less than a company of tanks and BMP's - not a brigade.

Apparently, when individual scouts and scout platoon leaders reported seeing a certain number of tanks, the command post added the sum total and reported higher. It turned out that they were all reporting the same 14 tanks - eight or nine times.

If this situation happens in the future using this new high-tech concept when the Soldiers are trained to believe that the enemy picture on their screens is true, disaster is possible. In the 73 Easting scenario, if the commander believed his screen, he would have been likely to maneuver the remainder of his Regiment against a non-existent threat, potentially exposing a flank to a real enemy threat. Conversely, if the opposite happened and the scouts reported 14 tanks instead of the 100 that were there, the commander would look at his screen and feel good about things, looking in other sectors.

If we know the enemy picture is only an approximation, we are sensitive to ensuring everything gets confirmed by eyes on target in the close fight. If we believe everything we see on the screen is true, we will not verify, but will act. Right now, I can tell you that based on all that I have read, seen, heard, and touched, the Soldiers in the 4ID believe that what they see on the screen is true.

JFC Fuller warns us in his brilliant book, Generalship: its Diseases and their Cure that commanders must morally influence battles by their on-scene presence not sit far away in the rear in a CP:

"In his first battle at Belmont, a small affair, Grant as a strategist or tactician was nonexistent; still he is the general, the true leader, for he is the last man to leave the field, risking his life to see that none of his men have been left behind. At Fort Donelson, he was not on the battlefield when his army was attacked, and upon returning to it, he found it half-routed; how did he act? General Lewis Wallace, one of his subordinate commanders and the author of that stirring romance, Ben Hur, says:

'In every great man's career there is a crisis exactly similar to that which now overtook General Grant, and it cannot be better described than as a crucial test of his nature. A mediocre person would have accepted the news as an argument for persistence in his resolution to enter upon a siege. Had General Grant done so, it is very probable his history would have been then and there concluded. His admirers and detractors are alike invited to study him at this precise juncture. It cannot be doubted that he saw with painful distinctness the effect of the disaster to his right wing. His face flushed slightly. With a sudden grip he crushed the papers in his hand. But in an instant these signs of disappointment or hesitation--as the reader pleases--cleared away. In his ordinary quiet voice be said addressing himself to both officers (McClernand and Lewis Wallace), "Gentlemen, the position on the right must be retaken"...'[Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, vol.i, p. 422 (1884-88)].

What did he then do? Did he sit down and write an operation order? No! He galloped down the line shouting to his men: 'Fill your cartridge boxes quick, and get into line; the enemy is trying to escape, and he must not be permitted to do so, ...' 'This', as be says himself, 'acted like a charm. The men only wanted someone to give them a command.'1 It was his presence and selfcontrol which established order. The presence of the general-in-chief, in the face of danger, at once creates confidence, for his personality is fused into the impersonal crowd, and the higher his self-control the higher does this confidence grow, it magnetizes his men and morally re-unifies them. No operation order could have accomplished this, and without this change in moral feeling, which the personality of the general-in-chief could alone effect, no operation order would have been of much use. [Personal Memoirs, Ulysses S. Grant, vol. i, pp. 307-308 (1885)]

At the opening of the battle of Shiloh, Grant was faced by a similar though still more desperate situation, and one more difficult for him personally, for having injured his leg a day or two before he hobbled off the boat at Pittsburgh, landing on crutches. Met by 5,000 panic-stricken stragglers and every possible rumour of disaster, what does he do? He mounts his horse and gallops towards the battle front, and is here, there and everywhere. His personality at once seizes upon his men and morally shakes them out of chaos into order. Once again the general-in-chief wins the battle with that supreme weapon - the personal factor.

It is always the same with this great man, or any other great Soldier. At the opening of the Wilderness Campaign, as usual, his headquarters were pitched close to the battle front. During the fighting on May 6th, 1864, the Federal line was driven back and a panic resuited, in which an excited officer rushed up to where Grant was Sitting and shouted; 'General, wouldn't it be prudent to move headquarters to the other side of the Germanna road?' To which came the answer: 'It strikes me it would be better to order up some artillery and defend the present location.' [Campaigning with Grant, General Horace Porter, p. 59 (1897)]

With Grant, there was no turning away from danger, he always faced it. On another occasion, when Fort Harrison was captured, on September 29th, as usual Grant was well forward and came under heavy fire, one shell bursting immediately over him as he was writing a dispatch. 'The handwriting of the dispatch when finished', writes one of his staff officers, 'did not bear the slightest evidence of the uncomfortable circumstances under which it was indited.'1 On yet another occasion when supervising an attack, he dismounted and sat down on a fallen tree to write a message. 'While thus engaged a shell exploded directly in front of him. He looked up from his paper an instant, and then, without the slightest change of countenance, went on writing the message. Some of the Fifth Wisconsin wounded were being carried past him at the time, and Major E. R. Jones of that regiment says ... that one of his men made the remark: "Ulysses don't scare worth a d--n."'2 It is such generals who can lead men, who can win victories and not merely machine them out."

When I talked to the analysts that actually do the inputs for the enemy picture, they told me all about the "suite of sensors" that are designed to give a true picture of the battlefield. However, even they admit that there are several limitations to how accurate their picture can be. Right now I'm not even taking into consideration the enemy's ability to deceive our sensors through manual and technological means, just our limitations in getting the right picture on the screen. Despite what's being professed in the PR campaign, the "suite of sensors" are really not much more advanced than what we had in Desert Storm.

If we teach Soldiers and leaders that these capabilities are only an approximation, but only what is likely to be true, then I think it could be of great value. The problem is it's being portrayed to both the public and the Soldiers that it's a true picture of the enemy. This is a dangerous thing to do.

Part I Conclusion:

There are three fundamental problems with the AWE. 1) we are basing the future of our Army on technology that has not proven itself capable in a combat environment, and on a doctrine that has proven to be a failure numerous times in modern history; 2) we are prepared to reduce the killing systems in the division by 25% and increasing threefold the territory they are responsible to cover - without any hard evidence to suggest we are able to do this; and 3) we are deceiving our Soldiers and ourselves that the equipment we are providing them with is a panacea and that the images they see represent ground truth.

We are laying the foundation for a defeat that will be larger in scope and consequence than the defeat suffered by the French in 1940.

II. Evidence of an Army Unprepared for Combat

If our Army of today were called to fight in the Persian Gulf War II, or a Korean War II, they would be woefully unprepared and likely to be on par with performances suffered by the first ground units that fought in North Africa at the Battle of Kasserine Pass in 1942, and the U.S. forces that got shellacked for the first couple of months in Korea in 1950. In both cases, American military units arrived with a lot of bravado and cockiness about how they would clean up. In both cases they got cleaned up.

This is what U.S. veterans, as well as German veterans reported that most, not all, U.S. units did throughout the war, from "Kommando" by James Lucas Quote is from Rudolf Witzig of Eban Emael fame, ParaEngineer Battalion.

Time is first week of May 1943, Tunisia

"American infantry were not skillful or aggressive, but relied upon artillery to blast a path through our positions. After each barrage they would come forward again, moving nonchalantly, confident that our resistance had been totally destroyed. It was easy to pin them down and then to drive them back, but we left avenues of escape. With our reduced numbers we could not have spared men to act as escorts even if we had taken them prisoner. So we let the Amis escape. Nor were their tank units very determined. The crews seemed to think that their role was to act as locally employed, short-range SP guns. If one of our two-man close-combat teams knocked out one or two of a whole wave of U.S. tanks, this was sufficient to destroy the cohesion of the attack and to cause the American tank men to behave in a panic-stricken manner. They would mill around firing indiscriminately at anything. If we only had with us at the end the men who landed with us in November, we could have smashed them completely"

Strength of unit April 43 was 2 officers 4 NCOs and 27 men

In May of 1990, Eagle Troop and 2/2 ACR went through a rotation at the European version of NTC, the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC). During this rotation, the squadron was faced with a mission that had little chance of success, but when it came time to fight, they won big. Three months later Saddam attacked Kuwait. Six months after that, 2/2 ACR fought

in the Battle of 73 Easting and achieved battlefield success that almost exactly matched their CMTC performance. If performance at the training center is indeed an indicator of performance in combat, we are in serious trouble.

Following is one specific example of a unit's performance at the NTC. However, it is representative of most of the units that go through. One of America's premier fighting forces is the 101st Air Assault Division. It gets priority for training dollars, and is kept at a higher level of readiness than any other unit with the exception of the 82nd Airborne Division. In November of 1997, the 101st Air Assault Division sent their aviation brigade and two ground task forces to the NTC. Their performance was abysmal.

Here are a few "highlights" from the rotation:

*The attack helicopters from the 101st were sent in to destroy an OPFOR battalion. 101st artillery fired the SEAD (suppression of enemy air defenses) mission using MLRS, and then attacked using the helo's. Result: SEAD missed badly; all attack helo's shot down; OPFOR casualties - 0. Reaction: NTC personnel said the conditions were not "fair." Ordered OPFOR to come out of hiding positions with tanks, BMP's, and AAA assets. All 101st units had MILES re-keyed and ordered to re-attack. Result: SEAD missed badly again; all attack helo's destroyed; OPFOR casualties - 0. Reaction: NTC officials said it's still not "fair." Ordered OPFOR into the open, but this time stripped all AAA assets, ordered 101st to third attack. Result: SEAD missed completely - again; six attack helo's destroyed by tank and BMP main-gun fire; OPFOR casualties - four tanks, two BMP's.

*BDE ordered to conduct defense; given 48 hours. After 48 hrs they said they were not ready, requested and received an additional 24 hrs. 24 hrs later they said they still were not ready to defend. Result: mission canceled.

*101st ground forces ordered to attack. OPFOR only given one battalion to defend three passes. OPFOR CDR decided to defend only one pass with a prepared defense, used only handful of forces in hasty/harassing position in other two passes. Action: 101st ignores the two lightly defended passes and expends all energy attacking the prepared defenses. Result: complete destruction of 101st units.

*OPFOR, using 1950's technology, jams 101st ground units at will. Reason for success? 101st is equipped with highly effective, hard to jam SINCGARS frequency-hopping radios. However, for unknown reasons, did not use frequency-hopping capabilities, and did choose to operate in single channel mode, unsecured. Result: in addition to jamming, OPFOR also made extensive use of deception on radio. In one case, using the call sign of the force commander, ordered a whole unit to stop its movement and wait for new orders. While they waited in the open desert, OPFOR artillery unleashed on them.

These are example of just one rotation of what's supposed to be our best trained unit. There are other units that fare worse!

It is also important to remember that the OPFOR is equipped with 1950's technology. They have no sophisticated electronic equipment, but they routinely jam and deceive our high-tech commo equipment; they have no thermal imaging devices for tanks and BMP's, they have no stabilization control for weapon platforms; etc... Their best advantage is that they know the terrain like the back of their hand...and their leaders lead from the front.......

That one advantage doesn't explain why the U.S. Forces' SEAD fires routinely miss by several kilometers; why they attack prepared positions when others are open; why they operate command nets using SINCGARS radios on single channel and in the red; why some units average over 30 minutes from call-for-fire to rounds on the ground; the list goes on and on.

But what may be even worse is that officials at the NTC are lying to the units coming through and making them think they did better than they did. For example, during the aforementioned debacle when the NTC officials stripped the OPFOR of it's AAA assets, they lied to the 101st officers about it during the AAR. When the BDE S3 wanted to know why their instruments did not detect any radar painting by OPFOR AAA assets in the third attack as they did during the first two attacks, NTC officials told the OPFOR AAA commander to tell the 101st unit that his SEAD fires destroyed all OPFOR AAA assets.

Instead of trying to train the units better so they will perform better, the result has been that the NTC has consistently reduced the standards so units will have a better chance of doing well. The reason? Because positive reinforcement is better than negative reinforcement.

NTC Conclusion: The units that are going through the National Training Center are poorly trained and are not ready for combat. They are suffering repeated losses at the hands of the OPFOR using 1950's technology. NTC officials are making the conditions easier for units that come there to train because they cannot meet the standard. The NTC officials are also lying to units at AARs, telling them they are doing better than they really are. The result is that the American Army is fooling itself into thinking it has a ready and trained force that will win decisively in combat the next time we are called. Unless the enemy is worse than Saddam Hussein's Iraq of 1991 - we will not.

III. Ramifications for the Present and Future

If something is not done in the present, the standards to which all U.S. Army units are held will continue to be lowered. In direct correlation to that lowering of standards, comes the deterioration of our combat capability. If we were to be required to face combat today against a reputable foe, we would likely suffer battlefield defeat and suffer unnecessary casualties.

History shows time and again that tough, realistic training reduces casualties. If we are not called on to fight in the near future and nothing is done to check this degraded capability, the potential consequences will be even greater. Concurrently, if we move to this new division concept that institutionalizes over-reliance on technology, preaches as ground truth the computer screen, emphasizes firepower at the expense of dominant maneuver, and reduces physical combat power in the division by 25% while expanding the overhead, we will be setting the conditions for a defeat.

Additionally, if the situation in Iraq were to deteriorate into a situation where we had to send in ground forces again, there would not be sufficient forces available to execute that mission and provide an adequate defense capability to the rest of our global responsibilities. Just to give you an idea, here is a list of the forces we would have available in the event we had about the shortage of forces available to conduct another desert war:

Prior to combat in Iraq in 1990, VII Corps had 22 U.S. tank battalions and three armored cavalry squadrons. In the total force today there are 29 tank battalions and three Cav squadrons. Of the 29, two are in Korea, four are in Germany tied down with Bosnia. Some are at the NTC. Do the arithmetic. Then throw in the training readiness. For a Corps HQ there is only one choice - III Corps. Sobering thoughts. With a smaller force it is more important than ever that they stay trained to the highest standards. That is why the OPFOR at the NTC must never lower the standards bar but make the units reach for it and know what combat readiness really is.

Using the above numbers, another danger looms large if we had to fight a second desert war. If we had virtually our entire heavy force committed to Iraq, we would have almost nothing left with which to defend against an attack by North Korea. Although many think it unlikely they would attack, North Korea would certainly never have a better chance. We would also not have sufficient air power to fight in both theaters simultaneously, would not have the strategic lift necessary to get forces in theater, and our intel collection assets would be taxed beyond capacity.

I know this may sound like an over-exaggeration of the truth, but I believe the stakes here are unbelievable. We cannot afford to make a mistake of this magnitude. The things I've reported here are true and verifiable. There are many things about the Division XXI process that are good and should be explored. However, there are many significant shortcomings that could dramatically overcome all it's good points.


In order to fix the problem with the poor state of training of today's Army, we need first to expose the truth, return the training center standards to what they should be, and then hold the army to the high standards we have come to expect and demand. This will take time, but it can be done.

In regards to the AWE, there is a fix. "Breaking the Phalanx", written by Douglas A. Macgregor has a blueprint that is revolutionary in its principals, and corrects for virtually all the major problems I've identified with the current AWE. He has provided me with a clear, concise, briefing on the concept (which I could provide) and I have a copy of the book if you'd like to read it.

Lastly, we need a lasting cultural change in our Army to unselfish, non-egotistical values. Rank means leading from the front and influencing battles not staying in the rear with a computer screen in a road-bound, rubber-tired armored car. Computer screens can be put inside a rucksack or a tracked armored vehicle so a combat leader like a Gavin or a Rommel can be at the critical place in the battle to decide its outcome. Its all about HOW we apply information technology.

JFC Fuller reached this conclusion years ago:

"What repercussions will mechanization have upon generalship? First, the comparative smallness and case of movement of armoured forces will provide the average general with a far better balanced weapon than the unarmoured horde. Secondly, as armour will cut out the bullet, the danger of a country running dry of generals, if they act as generals should, will be vastly reduced. Thirdly, and this is the most important point of all, as mechanized warfare will approximate in many ways to warfare at sea, a general who does not man a tank and control his tanks from a tank, will be about as much use to his army as an admiral who, refusing to board his flagship, prefers to row about In a dinghy."

Fuller's description of General Robert E. Lee also brings this point home:

"When, on May 12th, 1864, Grant's troops broke through the apex of the Confederate works at Spottsylvania and the position became critical, what did Lee do? He again rode forward. Of this incident General Gordon writes:

'Lee looked a very god of war. Calmly and grandly, he rode to a point near the center of my line and turned his horse's head to the front, evidently resolved to lead in person the desperate charge, and drive Hancock back or perish in the effort. I knew what he meant.... I resolved to arrest him in his effort, and thus save to the Confederacy the life of its great leader. I was at the center of that line when General Lee rode to it. With uncovered head, be turned his face towards Hancock's advancing column. Instantly I spurred my horse across old Traveller's (Lee's favourite charger) front, and grasping his bridle in my hand, I checked him. Then, in a voice which I hoped might reach the ears of my men and command their attention, I called out, "General Lee, you shall not lead my men in a charge. No man can do that, sir. Another is here for that purpose. These men behind you are Georgians, Virginians, and Carolinians. They have never failed you on any fleld. They will not fail you here. Will you, boys?" The response came like a mighty anthem that must have stirred his emotions as no other music could have done. ... "No, no; we'll not fail him"... I shouted to General Lee, "You must go to the rear." The echo, General Lee to the rear." "General Lee to the rear!" rolled back with tremendous emphasis from the throats of my men.'[Reminiscences of the Civil War,General John B. Gordon, p. 279 (1904)]

When in the World War [I] did the men in the battle front order one of our generals back, let alone the general-in-chief? Never! No general-in-chief was to be found there, sometimes, perhaps, a brigadier, but as far as I have been able to ascertain, with the solitary exception of Major-General Elles, never a corps or a divisional commander. Why? This is my next problem; these men were not cowards, far from it, for many were potentially as gallant and courageous as Grant or Lee, as Lord Raglan or Sir Colin Campbell. No, it was not cowardice, it was the amazing unconscious change which rose out of the Franco-Prussian War, and which in a few years obliterated true generalship, dehumanizing and despiritualizing the general, until he was turned into an office Soldier, a telephone operator, a dug-out dweller, a mechanical presser of buttons which would detonate battles, as if armies were well tamped explosives or intricate soul-less machines."

What Fuller wrote about then with electronic communications is taking place today with the computer, a tendancy to forgewt about the leader's responsibility to LEAD in person, on the scene to influence battles because wars are fought and won by men operation machines not vice-a-versa.