UPDATED 22 September 2011


Canadian LAV-III 8x8 armored car the U.S. Army wants to buy so it can run over mines like the BTR depicted here

The Army Leadership Cult = blind obedience lemming like behavior or how a senior leadership cult led to a flawed light armored vehicle selection process.

By a Concerned U.S. Army Officer

General George S. Patton Jr. once said:

"No one is thinking if everyone is thinking alike. In too many organizations, toadyism is buried like a cancer. It must be removed with the sharpest bayonet available. All sorts of suggestions, ideas, concepts, and opinions must be allowed to promote an environment of learning and imagination. A fault of many potentially fine commanders is a lack of the ability to admit that other people have good ideas. If younger Soldiers are not allowed to use and cultivate their imaginations and their abilities for abstract thought, where will we get the next generations of qualified, motivated, and confident commanders? Commanders who never ask for an opinion, never listen to suggestions, and think they have the only correct idea find that their Soldiers will stop communicating altogether. They'll begin to sit on their asses and wait for orders before doing anything. No matter how high in the ranks a man goes, he can't know everything. We can always learn from each other. Juniors must learn not only to be allowed to use their imaginations, but they must be encouraged to do so.

Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men. I cannot count the times I've seen men who should know better than to keep quiet when unjust decisions are being made, decisions that literally affect the lives of tens of thousands of Soldiers. These decisions are made, not on the basis of sound military policy, but purely to further the political and personal ambition of officers in high command. Cowardice on the battlefield is disgusting enough. Cowardice in the military planning room is repugnant. It ultimately means the unnecessary death, mutilation, and disfigurement of Soldiers for the sake of the commanders. It takes courage to stand up for what is believed to be right and just. Most men seem to lack such courage. Sycophancy for the sake of career is just as deadly as incompetence."

Americans must grow up

Immoral Corporations do not provide Socialism; Land of the Free & Brave vs. Dullard Victim Clubs

Most Americans today want to sleep-walk through life as dullard-victims of a socialist corporation providing cradle-to-the-grave food, water, shelter, entertainment through discretionary buying power in return for their temporary conscious-less slavery each day. We the sheeple. "Freedom" to them is buying power to consume according to their whim and taste. This is the consequence of the industrial age social fabric of building millions of widgets after we harnessed the raw power of the earth and made pools of money replacing the family farm that at least had some morality and personal loyalty to each other that was discredited by slavery and brought on the Civil War. Lacking sophistication to understand life's complexities, American sheeple do not understand that immoral corporations feed to their lowest common denominator (LCD) base instincts to racketeer from them indefinitely. Without consciences, corporations have no morality or financial interest in taking care of their employees beyond keeping them functional to feed their executive's and stockholder's greed. Americans don't get it, that if they stay in a sleep walk state they will be enslaved as surely as Pinocchio found out at the land of wayward boys.

The American sheeple's dream of corporations providing mild socialism is now even at an end.

Corporations today are selling out American employees left and right turning their jobs over to overseas companies with slave labor in order to squeeze more money out of business for themselves--certainly social benefits for American employees is a dead issue since they don't even want to pay us for our work! The fabric of American society is rotting away and its high time we wake up and assert ourselves before its too late and create a new Greatest Common Denominator (GCD) social fabric that is based on CONSCIENCE and valuing people; family-run factories and businesses that are self-sufficient and provide their own socialism for the majority of life's needs excepting organized professional endeavors like medicine, military, police, fire, water, sewage etc. that should be provided by the government.

One place where GCD conscience-driven behavior is urgently needed is in our military which is failing to defend us from an on-going influx of illegal immigrants and saboteurs at our borders and is incapable of stabilizing a friendly nation-state in Iraq/Afghanistan so they do not become breeding grounds for sub-national conflict terrorist groups to attack our homeland. The U.S. Army, Navy and marine corps are CORPORATIONS composed of sheeple who are dullard-victims in various activity clubs. The USAF might be a final refuge where conscience can exist because the overall intellect of the sheeple there are higher but its fading fast into lemming groupthink demanded of all. Again, tied into the American sleepwalker fascist idea is this lie that in war having people not think or have consciences gets their behaviors to mass for greater effects when the truth is that it becomes a mobocracy without anyone smart at the helm and they all go over the cliff together in smug victimhood. West Point professor and retired U.S. Army Colonel Don Snider is right--the U.S. military is not a profession right now and its actually an immoral, incompetent (it has no map of military understanding) corporation of insiders demanding loyalty to whatever the boss-dictator over you demands.

U.S. Military is a Bureaucracy of Lemmings--not a Profession


Alert, deep-thinking people of conscience do not rise to the top of such organizations, the best we can hope for is a dullard with a conscience that isn't challenged much thanks to the heavy blinders being on. Milgen's studies show that 65% of Americans will murder another human being without any justification if a "mommy/daddy" authority figure tells them to do it. Recent studies show these folk get a brain hormone kick when they reject facts and embrace lies that subsidize their prejudices. The other 35% who think and have consciences are not fractionally represented in the all volunteer force (AVF) which is a victim farce that attracts and keeps only from the 65% sleepwalking sheeple to do corporate bidding. The AVF was created by the Nazi POTUS Nixon in order to do corporate war profiteering wars like Vietnam and not hear a peep out of the victims because "they signed up for this" as former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said.

The Bad News: the Stryker Truck Madness


The decision by the Army leadership to use the LAV-III as its platform of choice for the new Interim Brigade Combat Teams - IBCTs - says much about the culture of Army leadership, and little of it is positive. This is especially true in light of the recent Army Times newspaper piece, which noted that the LAV-III, lauded as the best IBCT candidate by Army management, actually violates or pushes the envelope of acceptability in each of the three best-known requirements for the vehicle. According to the report, certain variants of the LAV are too tall, while all types are too wide and the system weight requires a waiver for it to be transported by the C-130 cargo aircraft in some cases. In each of three important criteria, -height, weight, and width - the LAV-III either clearly fails to meet the requirement or requires waivers to meet the Air Force transport standards.

None of the revelations in the Army Times piece should be news to anyone in the defense industry. An IBCT study published last year in National Guard Review actually screened out the LAV series vehicles due to their excess height. Furthermore, even if the LAV had passed the height-screening test, it would have lost in the relative value arena, where its weight made it less attractive than other, lighter vehicles. Ironically, what the Army Times report didn't mention was that the LAV-III's tracked competitors, in addition to weighing thousands of pounds less, offered far superior protection as compared to the LAV-III's anemic 14mm of armor. Finally, common sense suggested that a tracked vehicle like United Defense's M113 Gavin would be at least competitive in most other evaluated areas and superior in many to the LAV.

So how did we arrive at the point where the Army chose the wrong platform?

Surely the fault cannot lie with the Chief of Staff, who initially indicated a preference for a wheeled platform, but later testified before Congress that he was "open" to a tracked system. The rational observer, accepting the Chief's statement at face value, could conclude that the choice for the LAV over the M113 was made without command influence and based on reasonably objective criteria.

Unfortunately, neither of these statements is strictly true, though there was almost certainly no illegal action taken and no official command influence exerted.


The short answer is that the Army has elevated its leadership to almost "god-like" status, and the decisions made by the organization have come to reflect this strange, almost obsessive fascination with those who are referred to as "the stars."

Generals in today's Army are in many ways an aristocracy of sorts, with many of the trappings one would normally associate with royalty. Their every whim is assiduously attended to. They live and travel in style, waited upon by a personal staff that grows as the General achieves higher and higher rank. The most senior of these officials routinely grant themselves privileges, such as the use of government vehicles, aircraft, chauffeurs and pilots, for transportation to and from their offices that would result in the conviction and imprisonment of more junior personnel.

Most importantly, however, the junior officers who attend to The Stars specialize in divining what is known throughout the military as the "Commander's Intent" and bringing that intent to reality. An aside often told in the Army illustrates the point. In it, a General arriving at his new command notes that he prefers the rocks on post be painted white, in the best Army tradition. The following day, the General is pleased to note that virtually every rock on post is painted a dazzling, glossy shade of white. The general never ordered that this be done, mind you; his staff simply accepted the General's off-hand comment as gospel and took action.

In the case of the IBCT platform decision, the Commander's intent was well known. His later protestations aside, General Shinseki had early on made it known that he preferred a wheeled APC for the IBCTs. That was all that the rest of the organization needed to hear. The result, predictably, were tests that showed the LAV-III was every bit as good as its tracked competitors, despite all evidence to the contrary. To those within the organization, the issue was never in doubt - the Commander's intent was clear.

The sad point here is that an organization, which fails to support its leadership with objective, sometimes unpleasant, analysis and support will ultimately fail. In this case, the unwillingness of those supporting The Stars to seriously debate the merits of the IBCT platform will materially affect the ability of the nation to meet emerging 21st century threats in the most effective way possible. Worst of all, the cult of leadership that pervades the Army today virtually guarantees that such missteps will prove the norm, not the exception, in the future.


OFFICIAL U.S. ARMY DOCUMENT: Army General Officers don't need any stinkin' analysis!


EXCERPT from Chapter 5 "Army Force Development", page 39: this captures how the Army generates "requirements":

"The new joint and Army concept development processes have changed to become top-down driven."

Basically, you will see an opportunity for a general officer to insert his vision (a "good idea") and how the rest of the Army is then obligated to make it happen...reality and facts be damned...

"How the Army Runs" an "untitled paper" from TRADOC circa 2005 (see above) institutionalizes no analysis programs, shows a preference for top-down general officer (GO) wish lists without factual examination; the process should not allow one individual to decide issues based on their prejudices on things like derogatory labeling like "cold war" or the urge to make some radical change to make a name for himself when what we already have might be best ie; M113 Gavin light tracks; Planet Earth and the laws of physics don't care about how many times the earth has revolved around the sun something has existed, this is something stupid avant garde' humans do that has no bearing at all on what a thing is capable of doing.

GOs should focus on the concepts required and let the true facts drive what specific equipment is used (Stryker trucks cause we want to be seen in wheels), otherwise he states his equipment demand sans analysis and those underneath scramble to give him what he wants by dishonestly cherry picking some minor silver lining while ignoring the cloud of failings, distorting data or outright lying.

Who will save the U.S. Army From Itself?

Pentomic Army Again?

Detailed Examination: www.reocities.com/pentomicarmyagain

GAO/IDA Report on Army Modularity Plan's "mini-brigades"



Congressional Budget Office Report on better Army Modularity Options


Congressional Research Service Modular Brigade Report


The Lies of Blind Obedience

The Incompetence of Blind Obedience

The current assholes ruining America's military into a bureaucracy use the excuse that ALL subordinate to them in rank must obey their every whim and immoral/incompetent BS because in combat with someone shooting at you there's no time to THINK, "you must react". Next, they take this .0001 % event and then use it 99.999999% of the time to lord it over everyone with FIDO (Fuck It, Drive On) blind obedience to all manner of their BS and the result is no GIDO (Get It, Drive On) preparation before the war so we have a WINNING HAND, a WINNING SET OF PARAMETERS--because this is not allowed.

Let's look at this .0001% lemming robotic crap. Most experts on human behavior agree that in a life or death situation full of fear, human beings either fight and get angry or flee (flight). Now if you keep everyone in a dumb shit state of ignorance this is going to MAGNIFY their fears because they have no SOLUTIONS to the problem in their minds. We TALK a good game about "Knowledge is power" then don't do it by keeping everyone-in-the-dark. A good example of this is U.S. Army Airborne school where the fucktards there refuse to show students videos how the parachute works to empower them to perform better through knowledge and overcome fear. Combat is another situation where by creating 19th century dumbshits we actually make it MORE LIKELY FOR THEM TO FLEE because we don't empower them before hand with real options and weaponry. And this is exactly what these people do when we have them drive into land mines in wheeled trucks--they hit the gas pedal and flee; fucking over their buddies caught in the blast effects who are left behind.

This lie that in danger you don't think--is a pile of convenient horseshit fed to us by fucktard bureaucrats who want to control everyone in a dictatorship in peacetime. It doesn't work in war it just gets a mob headed in one direction that can be right or it can be wrong; who knows because who do we know is THINKING?

Take this personal real life example.

My friend a senior NCO who graduated from college with me (an officer and former NCO) were in his SUV headed down the highway when we encountered a grandma and two grandchildren whose car was on fire. I ordered my pal to stop. He sat there. I ordered him to give me his fire extinguisher that he at least thought ahead to have in the SUV. I ascertained by observation that the car, a red Z24--had its rear wheels rub the well area causing a fire to spread to the rear fuel cap area where gasoline fumes were feeding it and it was in danger of exploding at any second. I knew by THINKING that I would need to spray directing into the fuel cap area to stop the fire by stopping it at its source (fire triad etc.).

I squeezed the fire extinguisher and nothing happened. As a typical military lemming, my senior NCO friend lacked understanding and vigor about life to know fire extinguishers have to be tested annually and recharged. No GIDO here means = no FIDO options in time of crisis. So I flagged down a truck driver on the highway, got a working extinguisher, went back to the Z24 gas cap filler area and smothered the fire and even had enough extinguisher left to put out the grass fire that had started around the car. All long before the fire department arrived.

Now look what happened here. The guy who was taught not to think--ran away from the problem and froze and did nothing. The guy who THINKS was not paralyzed with fear---he was absorbed in PROBLEM-SOLVING actions and a little bit angry. He got the job done.

So let's recap.

1. The blind obedience bureaucrat fucktards say that freedom (thinking) society (America) cannot be defended by thinking---it must be defended by a blind-obedience, military dictatorship (fascism) BUREAUCRACY (them). Sounds like a racket, looks like a racket, it is a "protection" racket.

2. That one cannot think when confronted with danger one must REACT with what's available to him in FIDO, do-or-die robotics upon receipt of orders from higher officials.

3. Then who then is THINKING? If everyone is in this log-jam of fear in robotics mode, who is assessing the situation and weighing alternatives and quickly determining the best course of action?

Why no one!!!

Its not macho to do this.

Its clear that the above are a pile of 19th century lies and dangerous methodologies that are getting American servicemen killed TODAY that have no place on the non-linear battlefield (NLB) where THINKING and adaptation are required BEFOREHAND and DURING and AFTER combat. In short, we need a PROFESSIONAL, THINKING military not the blind-obedience, retarded bureaucratic one we are saddled with now.

The Lie of OODA Loop is Semi-Blind Obedience

One of the FIDO mantras the weak egos like to pontificate about is deceased USAF Colonel John Boyd's "OODA Loop" which is based on his flying F-86 Sabre jets with bubble canopies that could see (observe) and maneuver (orient) into attack position (decide, act) faster than the pilots in narrow canopy MIG-15s during the Korean war. Fucktards like today's Bad Boydians and USMC ad hocsters love Boyd and take him out of context because they are lazy egomaniacs who want an easy solution that requires no hard work preparation or costs by them beforehand but maximizes their chest-beating macho superiority complexes that they out-FIDOed the situation with their large penises and big biceps.

Where do you get your F-86?

The problem is its all a pile of crap. If you don't first GET YOUR F-86 you ain't going to be out-OODA-pooping anyone, if you are in a straight-wing "F-80" you are going to get your ass shot-down. While Boyd's OODA loop has THINKING during the FIDO reaction drill in the OOD part, the weak egotists will pontificate on how tough they think they are to do the A action part, ignoring that you wouldn't even be in the ball game if someone more mature and thinking had before hand supplied the weaponry and logistics to get you there with a weak or strong hand. That means German scientists in WW2 came up with swept-wing fighters to delay the approach of speed of sound compression and then their engineering drawings and themselves were kidnapped by us and the Russians to work in their labs to create the F-86 and the MIG-15. If these men were thinking like FIDO fucktards there'd have never been any F-86s for them to fly and get a 10-to-1 kill ratio over the MIG-15 pilots.


Therefore, OODA loop is flawed thinking to base any organization on, there has to be A nticipation of the threat and problems, A nalysis of the options available to overcome the anticipated problems and P reparation--actually getting off your ass and earning the winning hand/parameters by GIDO work. This is also what Boyd himself did when he designed the F-15 and F-16 to have bubble canopies and high-energy maneuverability he didn't sit on his ass and pontificate about having FIDO pilot studs who do OODA loop better. If you are in a fucked situation its possible that NO AMOUNT OF FIDO or medal of honor self-sacrifice will save the situation, you are simply fucked. This is something the current fucktards ruining our military don't get or want to get.

Immorality by Blind Obedience

In a corporate military bureaucracy there can be no moral compass. The following article on the secret U.S. massacre underway in African by its newest egocommand is troubling and demands congressional action to stop.

March 7, 2008

Crushing the Ants

Admiral Fallon and His Empire


There has been quite a buzz in "progressive" circles over the new Esquire article about Admiral William Fallon, head of U.S. Central Command, the military satrapy that covers the entire "arc of crisis" at the heart of the "War on Terror," from east Africa, across the Middle East, and on to the borders of China. Much has been made of Fallon's alleged apostasy from the Bush regime's bellicosity toward Tehran; indeed, the article paints Fallon as the sole bulwark against an American attack on Iran - and hints ominously that the good admiral may be forced out by George W. Bush this summer, clearing the way for one last murderous hurrah by the lame duck president. The general reaction to the article seems to be: God preserve this honorable man, and keep him as our shield and defender against the wicked tyrant.

But this is most curious. For behind the melodramatic framing and gushing hero-worship of the article - written by Thomas Barnett (of whom more later) - we find nothing but a few mild disagreements between Fallon and the White House over certain questions of tactics, timing and presentation in regard to American domination of a vast range of nations and peoples.

Fallon himself has long denied the hearsay evidence that he had declared, upon taking over Central Command, that a war on Iran "isn't going to happen on my watch." And in fact, the article itself depicts Fallon's true attitude toward the idea of an attack on Iran right up front, in his own words. After noting Fallon's concerns about focusing too much on Iran to the exclusion of the other "pots boiling over" in the region, Barnett presses the point and asks: And if it comes to war? Fallon replies with stark, brutal clarity:

"'Get serious,' the admiral says. 'These guys are ants. When the time comes, you crush them.'"

The article makes clear that Fallon's main concerns about a war with Iran are, as noted, about tactics and timing: Sure, when the time comes - no shuffling on that point - we'll crush these subhumans like the insects they are; but we've already got a lot on our plate at the moment, so why not hold off as long as we can? After all, Fallon is conducting two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as overseeing an on-going "regime change" operation in Somalia, where the United States has been aiding Ethiopian invaders with bombing raids, death squads, renditions and missile strikes against Somali civilians - such as the one this week that killed three women and three children.

The most remarkable fact about the Esquire article is not its laughable portrayal of the man in charge of mass slaughter and military aggression across a broad swathe of the globe as a shining knight holding back the dogs of war. Nor is it the delusion on the part of Barnett --- and much of the commentariat as well - that Bush would ever appoint some kind of secret peacenik as the main commander of his "Terror War". (Although it could well be that Fallon will be fired in the end for not groveling obsequiously enough to the Leader, in the required Petraeus-Franks manner. Or indeed, that he might even resign rather than commit what he sees as the tactical error of crushing the Iranian ants at this particular time. But so what? If he quits, someone else who would be happy to do the stomping will be appointed in his place. If Bush decides to attack Iran, then Iran will be attacked. There is no one standing in the way. It's as simple as that.)

No, what is most noteworthy about the article is that Barnett has given us, unwittingly, one of the clearest pictures yet of the true nature of the American system today. And that system is openly, unequivocally and unapologetically imperial, in every sense of the word, and in every sinew of its structure. For what is Fallon's actual position? We see him commanding vast armies, both his own and those of local proxies, waging battles to bend nations, regions and peoples to the will of a superpower. We see him meeting with the heads of client kingdoms in his purview, in Cairo, Kabul, Baghdad, Dushanbe: advising, cajoling, demanding, threatening, wading deeply into the internal affairs of the dominated lands, seeking to determine their politics, their economic development, their military structure and foreign policies.

For example, Barnett tells us that Fallon was locked away with Pervez Musharaff for hours the day before the Pakistani dictator imposed emergency rule last year. Barnett, hilariously, swallows Fallon's line that Washington didn't greenlight Musharaff's crackdown: "Did I tell him this is not a recommended course of action? Of course." Yes, Admiral, whatever you say. But did you tell him there would be any adverse consequences whatsoever from Washington: any cut-off or even diminution of military and economic aid, for example? Of course not. (For a glimpse of hero-worship, here's how Barnett sets the scene: "As the admiral recounts the exchange, his voice is flat, his gaze steady. His calculus on this subject is far more complex than anyone else's." A calculus more complex than anyone else's in the whole wide world! And certainly more complex than any analysis those ants in Pakistan could come up with themselves.) To his credit, Fallon then goes on to give the true picture: Washington supported the crackdown because Pakistan is "an immature democracy" that needs a savvy strongman - and American loyalist - at the helm. As for the idea that Benazir Bhutto - then still alive - could play a role in stabilizing the country: "Fallon is pessimistic. He slowly shakes his head. 'Better forget that.'" A few weeks later, Bhutto was "out of the picture." [EDITOR: assassinated]

What we are seeing, quite simply, is an imperial proconsul in action. There is no difference whatsoever between Fallon's role and that of the proconsuls sent out by the Roman emperors to deal with the wars and tribes and client kingdoms of the empire's far-flung provinces. There too, the emperor could not simply snap his fingers and bend every event to his will; there had to be some cajoling, compromise, occasional setbacks. But behind everything lurked the threat of Roman military power and the promise of ruin and death if Rome's interests were not accommodated in the end. It is the same with America's pro-consuls today.

Nowhere in the article - nor anywhere else in the well-wadded bastions of the "bipartisan foreign policy community" (and amongst its fawning scribes) - will you find even the slightest inkling of a doubt that America should be comporting itself as an imperial power in this way. It is simply a given that an American military commander - with or without a calm, steely gaze and complex calculus - should be hashing out emergency decrees with Central Asian dictators, launching missile strikes on African villages, driving hell-for-leather in bristling convoys down the streets of occupied cities, stationing warships off the coast of Lebanon and Iran... and continually throwing massive amounts of American blood and treasure into a never-ending campaign to "crush the ants" that swarm so inconveniently around the imperial boot heels. For the elite - and, sadly, for the majority of other Americans as well - this is simply the natural order of the world. Not only are these imperial assumptions unquestioned; they are unconscious, as if it were literally inconceivable that the nation's affairs could be ordered in any other way.

We should be grateful to Barnett. Not even the most scathing dissident could have produced a more damning indictment of America's imperial system than this fawning - indeed groveling - piece of hagiography.

This is not the first time that Barnett's true-believer cluelessness has produced genuine revelations. Last year, in a similarly gung-ho, brass-awed piece on Washington's latest imperial satrapy, the Africa Command, Barnett revealed that the Bush Administration was using an American death squad in Somalia to "clean up" areas after a bombing or missile strike. As I wrote in June 2007:

The Esquire piece, by Thomas Barnett, is a mostly glowing portrait of the Africa Command, which, we are told, is designed to wed military, diplomatic, and development prowess in a seamless package, a whole new way of projecting American power: "pre-emptive nation-building instead of pre-emptive regime change," or as Barnett describes it at another point, "Iraq done right." Although Barnett's glib, jargony, insider piece -- told entirely from the point of view of U.S. military officials -- does contain bits of critical analysis, it is in no way an expose. The new details he presents on the post-invasion slaughter are thus even more chilling, as they are offered simply as an acceptable, ordinary aspect of this laudable new enterprise.

Barnett reveals that the gunship attacks on refugees were just the first part of the secret U.S. mission that was "Africa Command's" debut on the imperial stage. Soon after the attacks, "Task Force 88, a very secret American special-operations unit," was helicoptered into the strike area. As Barnett puts it: "The 88's job was simple: Kill anyone still alive and leave no unidentified bodies behind."

Some 70,000 people fled their homes in the first wave of the Ethiopian invasion. (More than 400,000 fled the brutal consolidation of the invasion in Mogadishu last spring.) Tens of thousands of these initial refugees headed toward the Kenyan border, where the American gunships struck. When the secret operation was leaked, Bush Administration officials said that American planes were trying to hit three alleged al Qaeda operatives who had allegedly been given sanctuary by the Islamic Councils government decapitated by the Ethiopians. But Barnett's insiders told him that the actual plan was to wipe out thousands of "foreign fighters" whom Pentagon officials believed had joined the Islamic Courts forces. "Honestly, nobody had any idea just how many there really were," Barnett was told. "But we wanted to get them all."

Thus the Kenyan border area -- where tens of thousands of civilians were fleeing -- was meant to be "a killing zone," Barnett writes:

America's first AC-130 gunship went wheels-up on January 7 from that secret Ethiopian airstrip. After each strike, anybody left alive was to be wiped out by successive waves of Ethiopian commandos and Task Force 88, operating out of Manda Bay. The plan was to rinse and repeat 'until no more bad guys', as one officer put it.

At this point, Barnett -- or his sources -- turn coy. We know there were multiple gunship strikes; and from Barnett's account, we know that the "88s" did go in at least once after the initial gunship attack to "kill anyone still alive and leave no unidentified bodies behind." But Barnett's story seems to suggest that once active American participation in the war was leaked, the "killing zone" was abandoned at some point. So there is no way of knowing at this point how many survivors of the American attacks were then killed by the "very special secret special-operations unit," or how many "rinse-and-repeat" cycles the "88s" were able to carry out in what Barnett called "a good plan."

Nor do we know just who the "88s" killed. As noted, the vast majority of refugees were civilians, just as the majority of the victims killed by the American gunship raids were civilians. Did the "88s" move in on the nomadic tribesmen decimated by the air attack and "kill everyone still alive"? Or did they restrict themselves to killing any non-Somalis they found among the refugees?

Chris Floyd is an American journalist and frequent contributor to CounterPunch. He is the author of the book Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium.

No, ladies and gentlemen.

The truth is that the BEST WAY TO DEFEND FREEDOM IS WITH FREEDOM. Thinking. Not blind obedience fascist dictatorship in a military bureaucracy. Thinking BEFORE, DURING and AFTER combat and dangerous situations. Professionals who THINK and act with GIDO create EXCELLENT militaries that adapt and prevail and are MORAL in all that they say and do; that's what America needs or you can kiss us all goodbye because we ain't gonna survive into the 22nd century if we continue as we are.

Failed Light Infantry Narcissists Trying to Ruin the U.S. Army

Fred is a great person, but Fred does not really understand the on-going conflict inside the Pentagon between those in the Petraeus Sub-National Conflict (SNC) obsessed light infantry narcissist faction who are promoting the COIN myth, insisting that COIN in Muslim countries is the only enduring mission of the U.S. armed forces, and most of the remaining senior officers in all the services who privately think Iraq and Afghanistan are disasters we don't want to repeat. They think the world will be quite different with potentially far more dangerous nation-state war (NSW) adversaries. The recent failure of SNC light infantry against the combined-arms Russian tank army in Georgia should be a warning to us all not to ignore NSWs. What happened last year in Iraq was simply an $$$ cash-engineered breakthrough for Neocon cronyism lead by the Neocon, light infantry gunslinger general, Petraeus. That's about it.

Fred also misses the point that there is no objective standard by which officers are evaluated and selected for promotion to flag rank or any rank for that matter. It is just cronyism. Every promotion board is a hit or miss proposition producing some genuinely competent flag officers and many, many more who are not. That's the problem with the way the U.S. armed forces advances officers to flag rank. It's just cronyism.

As for the numbers of GO execs, military assistants and aides, most of the officers selected by Petraeus including H.R. McMaster had already punched their four-star tickets. In McMaster's case, he has worked for Abizaid while Abizaid was the CENTCOM CDR as Abizaid's Staff Group Director. Without four-star friends and approval, no one is promoted to flag rank in the U.S. military. Period.

We have no systematic way to identify, select, cultivate and advance talent on the German or Soviet models. Those systems were not perfect, but they were better than nothing and nothing is what we have.

Our flag ranks are filled with mediocrities. While it is useful to have GOs with experience of personally leading soldiers in direct fire combat - something Petraeus, McCrystal and many of the other GOS really don't have - valor as a captain or lieutenant colonel or major has nothing to do with the brains, breadth, maturity, intellect or character to perform effectively as a general officer. The British and French generals at the outset of WW I and WW II all had lots of experience suppressing rebellions by non-European opponents in the colonies. The German generals had almost none. But the performance of the Germans far outstripped their British and French opponents thanks to the culture and system that produced them. In most cases, for reasons of personality and intelligence, it is doubtful the German generals - Guderian, Hausser, Bock - or many of the Russian generals of WW II - Rokossowsky, Zhukov, or Timoshenko - would have ever made it to colonel in the U.S. armed forces, let alone general. Almost none were in the U.S. parlance "Good ole boys." A reading of Max Hasting's Armageddon illuminates these points very well. But they were all vastly superior to anyone we or the British produced.

The performance of the Army's senior leadership as outlined by Andrew Bacevich provides lots of evidence for the absence of this kind of quality in the senior ranks.

The predisposition among the civilians with no understanding of how the U.S. military really works is to ignore this problem or, to do as Fred has and fundamentally miss the really critical point.

We risk in the future what the French experienced between 1850 and 1870. They celebrated the "great victories" the French generals won over Arabs, Berbers and Mexicans until these same generals confronted the Prussians in 1870. After years of weak incompetent adversaries, the French Generals like Marshal Bazaine turned out to be totally ineffective with the result that the French nation was severely defeated. As long as we continue to pick weak enemies with no effective armies, no air forces, no navies, no air defenses and no scientific-industrial capacity to really wage war, I suspect no one in the U.S. government will pay much attention. Most politicians could care less. It's always easier to wait for the real disaster to occur before taking action of any kind.

We should keep these points in mind as journalists like Fred cultivate the generals currently on hand with misleading stories like this one.

EXTERNALLY having the light narcissists take-over will bring us to ruin. Readers must understand what is at stake here is systemic to mankind not CHRONOLOGICAL as in what we do often today is now the only way wars are fought. However, we must also condemn the INTERNAL non-sense that drives this light faction; which they are using this chance to crony coup their light trucktards into power at the expense of the heavy "mech pussies" they hate.

If we are to put in place your officer selection based on EXCELLENCE; then that excellence has to be defined as a combined-arms, use-all-tools excellence that is good at BOTH NSWs and SNCs or else the lightitis folks will simply make their SNC-only BS the "excellence" to look for.

By Fred Kaplan
Aug. 4, 2008

Last November, when Gen. David Petraeus was named to chair the promotion board that picks the Army's new one-star generals, the move was seen as, potentially, the first rumble of a seismic shift in the core of the military establishment.

The selections were announced in July, and they have more than fulfilled the promise. They mark the beginnings, perhaps, of the cultural change that many Army reformers have been awaiting for years.

Promotion systems, in any large organization, are designed to perpetuate the dominant culture. The officers in charge tend to promote underlings whose styles and career paths resemble their own. Most of today's Army generals rose through the ranks during the Cold War as armor, infantry, or artillery officers who were trained to fight large-scale, head-to-head battles against enemies of comparable strength-for instance, the Soviet army as its tanks plowed across the East-West German border.

The problem, as many junior officers have been writing over the last few years, is that this sort of training has little relevance for the wars of today and, likely, tomorrow-the "asymmetric wars" and counterinsurgency campaigns that the U.S. military has actually been fighting for the last 20 years in Bosnia, Panama, Haiti, and Somalia, as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2006 and again in 2007, the Army's promotion board passed over Col. H.R. McMaster, widely regarded as one of the most creative strategists of this "new" (though actually quite ancient) style of warfare. In Iraq, he was commander of the unit that brought order to Tal Afar, using the classic counterinsurgency methods-"clear, hold, and build"-that Petraeus later adopted as policy. When I was reporting a story last summer about growing tensions between the Army's junior and senior officer corps, more than a dozen lieutenants and captains complained bitterly (with no prompting from me) about McMaster's rejection, seeing it as a sign that the top brass had no interest in rewarding excellent performance. The more creative captains took it as a cue to contemplate leaving the Army.

This was why many Army officers were excited when Petraeus was appointed to chair this year's promotion board. Rarely, if ever, had a combat commander been called back from an ongoing war to assume that role. It almost certainly meant that McMaster would get his due. (Some referred to the panel as "the McMaster promotion board.")

McMaster did get his star-but so did many others of his ilk. That's what makes this list an eyebrow-raiser. Among the 40 newly named one-star generals are Sean MacFarland, commander of the unit that brought order to Ramadi; Steve Townsend, who cleared and held Baqubah; Michael Garrett, who commanded the infantry brigade that helped turn around the "Triangle of Death" south of Baghdad; Stephen Fogarty, the intelligence officer in Afghanistan; Colleen McGuire, an officer in the military police (a branch of the service that almost never makes generals). At least eight special-operations officers are on the list (though not all of them are identified as such), as well as the unit commanders of various "light" forces-in Stryker light-armor brigades or the 10th Mountain Division-that have tended to be ignored by the Army's "heavy"-leaning armor and artillery chiefs.

Almost all these new generals have had multiple tours of duty leading soldiers in battle. In other words, they have a depth of knowledge about asymmetric warfare that the generals at the start of the Iraq war did not. And many of them were promoted straight from their combat commands. That is, they didn't have to scurry through the usual bureaucratic maze.

For instance, just last year , nine of the 38 new one-stars had been executive officers to a commanding general-and, in most cases, not a combat commander-at the time they were promoted. This year, only four of the 40 were serving in that role, and all of them under commanders who had something to do with combat.

How this change happened is another intriguing tale. Usually, the promotion board consists of the upper echelon of the Army's bureaucracy-the vice chief of staff or one of his deputies and the generals in charge of various commands. In 2007, the promotion board included only one general who reported in from Iraq .

This year, Petraeus wasn't the only unusual general on the board. Another panelist was Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Defense Secretary Robert Gates' senior military assistant, who was also a corps commander in Iraq and the author of several articles in military journals calling for an overhaul of the Army's personnel policies. Others included Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, who, like Petraeus, was called back from Iraq to serve on the board; Maj. Gen. John Mulholland, commander of special operations for U.S. Central Command (which covers Iraq and Afghanistan); and Lt. Gen. Ann Dunwoody, commander of Materiel Command and a former parachutist in the 82nd Airborne Division, who, as the Army's top-ranking female officer, is well disposed to the idea of opening doors.

Any officer looking at the names on this panel-and the ones I've listed aren't the only ones-would very clearly get the message: The Cold War is over, and so, finally, is the Cold War Army.

In October 2007, a month before Petraeus was appointed to chair the promotion board, Secretary Gates gave a speech to the Association of the United States Army-usually a forum for back-patting boilerplate, but Gates sounded the trumpet for what many in the audience must have heard as revolution. Speaking of the officers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, "who have been tested in battle like none other in decades" and "have seen the complex, grueling face of war in the 21st century up close," Gates said:

These men and women need to be retained, and the best and brightest advanced to the point that they can use their experience to shape the institution to which they have given so much. And this may mean reexamining assignments and promotion policies that in many cases are unchanged since the Cold War.

That change seems to be starting now.

Fred Kaplan is Slate's "War Stories" columnist and the author of Daydream Believers: How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power . He can be reached at war_stories@hotmail.com

The Good News: We Can Change for the Better

Sheeple can be changed and progress from their Stage II blind obedience in Peck's stages of human development IF challenged by virtuous activities and values. The U.S. military should reject individual narcissism by name which is the bait the military corporation uses to deceive people into becoming their eager and smug victims for corporate wars.



Next, we should have mandatory national service and get those 35% adult thinkers with conscience into the military for 2 years after high school and then on/off as reservists until 54 like the Israelis do to keep careerist snobs from taking over the place as they have done now. Next, those who get promoted should be chosen by the evaluations of their SUBORDINATES and how they together as a TEAM perform not as it is now by how they kiss the ass of their corporate boss-dictator above him.


This is like an employee-owned company does, and the Army should be owned and operated by the people of the United States of America not a club of narcissist ego victims eager to self and peer validate in botched wars requiring them to showboat how heroic thou art. Those in the military can stay in as long as they want on active duty without any pressure to get promoted as long as they don't misbehave and their subordinates/peers together with them are successful. Those that get promoted will go to college and become officers--there will be no two classes--one of enlistedmen blue-collar dumbasses who STFU and suffer dirty chores and a white collar officer class that has ideas but are never confronted with harsh realities and made to modify them so they become real.


There will be no old fart 1st sergeants, sergeant major assholes who are non-tactical obsessing about hair cuts and other narcissistic vanity BS. There will be no garrison "From Here to Eternity" BS; every day Soldiers report for duty in COMBAT GEAR and do COMBAT war practice from the very same ISO shipping container BATTLEBOXes they will deploy with to actual operational areas at a moment's notice.




EVERY Soldier will be taught to THINK and use his conscience to fully utilize his creativity for morally sound endeavors. He will be taught what WAR is and its various forms.


He will be taught what high explosives can do on the non-linear battlefield and how to overcome them with GIDO preparational means and Field eXpedient tricks not FIDO lemming victim-hood.



In summary, the U.S. military will be a place to GROW UP and become an adult brought into at least Peck's Phase III of Rationality NOT to perpetuate a fawning, lemming extended Phase II adolescence in a military fascist socialism and after the service I'm-better-than-you victim club with secret decoder ring.

How Will Corporation Controlled Congress Reform the U.S. Military?

Congress both Congressmen and Senators are dependant upon corporation money to mass-media bamboozle the voters to get into and stay in office. They also have to go along with the patriotic correctness AmeroFascism of the American sheeple who worship and drool over Soldiers to bandage over their guilt at not being involved in the common defense and/or lingering guilt from the past spitting on Vietnam veterans.

The corporations and elite secret societies knew the above when they perverted our Constitution in 1913 with the 17th Amendment that cut-off the Senate from daily scrutiny at state and local citizenry levels floating them out to Washington D.C. central power for 6 years at a time to do their bidding. This is why the 17th Amendment is the thing that will save or lose our country. If the 17th Amendment is not revoked and power returned to WE THE PEOPLE, the nation will be destroyed by the corporations as we become sheeple and then just sheep then lamb dung by military attack, social collapse and/or ecological destruction of the entire earth. The power elites would certainly love to see about 6 BILLION of us to vanish so they can live high-on-the-hog with less hassle.

E-mail received:

Its funny that while the Russian Army moves away from its wheeled vehicles (the BTR series), learning lessons from the brutal combat in Chechnya, the U.S. Army is moving towards them.

Below is a picture of the MT-LB6MB, a dedicated APC variant of the MT-LB, acknowledged as the Soviet/Russian equivalent of the M113 APC, which your site gives well deserved praise to.

The MT-LB is usually referred to as a tracked multipurpose armored vehicle and has probably been used for more roles than any other vehicle in the Russian army inventory, including artillery prime mover, command vehicle, armored ambulance, transporter-erector-launcher for ATGMs and SAMs, armored recovery vehicle, combat engineer vehicle, repair vehicle, chemical/ radiological reconnaissance vehicle and battlefield surveillance radar platform. It has also been used as a self-propelled mortar (mountng the 82mm Vasilyek automatic mortar) and as a purely ad hoc air defense and fire support vehicle with the ZU-23 AA gun. Last, but not least, it has been used as an APC, and can carry 11 men. In Chechnya Russian BTR-80 equipped Motorized Rifle units have often exchanged their BTRs for MT-LBs and the recently the Russian Army has been so impressed with the performance of the MT-LB that the construction of a dedicated APC variant with improved armament and armor has gone ahead. Its impressive performance obviously comes (like the M113) from its excellent cross-country performance (due to its very low ground pressure, lower than the ground pressure of the M113 even) robustness, ease of maintenance etc.

Like the M113, the MT-LB is an 'old' vehicle, being introduced in the late 1960's I believe. In 1995 however the vehicle was modernized with a new engine and improved steering by Muromsk Diesel Locomotive Works. The vehicles (approximately 5000 in the CIS total) were stripped down then overhauled and at the same time the steering system was replaced by a new hydrodynamic steering mechanism, which improved the ride of the vehicle and also made it easier to handle.

I could not find a larger picture of the MT-LB6MB, I apologize, but this vehicle has had the single PKT 7.62x54R machine gun removed and replaced with a drop-in turret called the Modular Weapon Station, which is mounted on the roof near the rear of the vehicle. This turret was first seen on the new BTR-80A and is equipped with the 2A42 30mm autocannon first seen on the BMP-2, a PKTM coaxial machine gun, and six 81mm smoke grenade launchers. The turret also has a much improved day sight.

The MT-LB6MB has a 290hp engine (more powerful than the engine on the M113A3 even). Like the M113, in its original form the MT-LB weighs a little over 11 mt. The addition of the MWS and the strengthening of the armor probably has increases the weight of the MT-LB6MB by an extra mt or so (the BTR-80A weighs 14.6 tons compared to the 13.6 tons of the original BTR-80).

Russian infantry preferred to ride in a tracked MT-LB with a 7.62mm machine gun rather than a wheeled, supposedly better protected BTR-80 APC with a 14.5mm heavy machine gun. While the BTR-80 choked on the debris strewn streets of Grozny and rocky roads up in the mountains the tracked MT-LB didn't break a sweat. Now that the same superb tracked APC has been equipped with the firepower of an infantry fighting vehicle and has had its armor improved, its ridiculous that the US Army is ignoring their own excellent M113A3 and instead going for the wheeled LAV-III deathtrap option.

While I was writing this email I thought I'd tell you about the latest Russian BMD development. The BMD-3M has been identified. The main difference between the BMD-3 and BMD-3M is that it is fitted with a new turret based on the BMP-3 design. The Russian airborne now has not only the 30mm autocannon at their disposal but the 100mm main gun of the BMP-3 for direct fire, shock action. I have also attached a picture.



PS There is also an MT-LB6MA version with the same features of the 6MB except instead of the MWS there is a BTR-80 style turret with the 14.5mm heavy machine gun, coaxial PKT machine gun, etc.

A veteran officer writes:

"Reminds me of the 'Compass' incident that took place at Fort Hood back in the mid-80s. An off-hand comment by the post commander (a 3-star) about leaders needing to know at all times 'which way they're going' and 'what their objectives are' was construed by the staffers to mean that every leader (squad leader to brigade commander) must have a compass with them at all times. This was immediately followed by a frenzy of hi-priority requisitions for thousands of wrist compasses for the leaders to wear. What the general meant was that each leader should know what the objective of their training was; what skills or information needed to be passed on to Soldiers to accomplish the objective. The point the general was trying to make was totally missed by his minions and resulted in the spending of thousands of dollars for cheap wrist compasses for the leaders; I still have mine."

OUR RESPONSE: IRONIC. The compass that is most important is a MORAL COMPASS. You have none if you are so cowardly that you cannot speak the truth for the good of the service, America, her Army and the men. Funny how U.S. Army Armor branch worships Patton yet when a LAV-III and FCS road-bound rubber-tired death car is proposed by higher ranking officers, these same fans of Patton shrink from their responsibility as men, Soldiers and human beings to vigorously oppose such non-sense. Don't praise Patton and other heroes (Gavin, Ridgway, Lee, Moore) if you are not trying to live up to their example.

An Army Colonel writes:

"After reading all the reactions and comments involved with the processes you are fighting I see one thing that really needs addressing.

All of the current ARMY leadership fancies that they are masters of tactical and strategic decision making. They have reached their positions by being careful to maneuver politically and have as few bad decisions as possible on their record at promotion and command selection time. They have carefully selected workers whom they can trust to support them in their endeavors, and they usually have a mentor about two slots above them pulling for their success.

All of the nug-work, and I mean all of it.... that which you all are beating yourselves up for time and again, even at the Army Staff level, is done by 05/06 'worker bees' who have the current doctrine sort of in their grasp. Having worked at a four star command for six years, I know whereof I speak.

Workerbees (WBs) put together COAs based on input they glean from their experiences, Army Manuals, contemporary testing, contacts in the field, CALL, CARL, anyplace they can find the info. Then they compare what they have discovered with the "Command Guidance" they have received, and co-check their 67-9-1 (OER Support form) for "significant performance objectives" given them by their rater (who got them from the senior rater).

WBs put together presentations recommending COAs based on these goals and their guidance. Their boss, because he is MR/MS WIZZARD, knowing all, sensing all, telling all, will chose the COA that most closely supports his/her guidance, not necessarily the most clearly suited plan for success. If this sounds s little cynical, it is actually a lot cynical based on experience and observation at the EOR (echelons above reality) level of operation.

SO, where am I going with this?

You guys are all doing what you are supposed to be doing. If you were in an operational cell group, cranking out all the information which was going to be used to build a brand new TOE for a deploying Air-Mech-Strike force, you would still have to sell it one-point-at-a-time to many decision makers whose feet are firmly anchored in their professional career goals. Some of them may have career goals which include improving the U.S. fighting systems for the combat commander on the ground, but not all do. (read "Once an Eagle")

Don't get so sold on what you are building that you cannot take a step backward occasionally to look at what may or may not be practical to accomplish. I would be happy just to get the M113A3 v LAV-III test accomplished, but even that has so many political repercussions that it will still be being fought when I breath my last.

Our best hope now is to pray that both Abrams and Shinseki get ousted and people with no "67-9-1" goals of making the Stryker "happen" comes in in their places.

Don't take it out on the true believers. I think we are all in this because we believe in better ways to fight and win with fewer losses of life. The trooper has only us to trust. I made that my goal: to save my boys' lives. I'll certainly fight for that."

USMC Whining About Their Own Corruption in 1989: NONE of the Reforms Called for Implemented


A Loss of Leadership

Author Major John F. Stastny, USMC

Csc 1989

Subject area - leadership

Executive Summary
Title: a loss of leadership

Thesis. Traditional marine corps leadership is being threatened. Some marine corps policies and practices are detrimental to good Leadership.

Issue. The historic marine leader is a heroic figure of unquestioned loyalty and bravery - loyalty to his troops and bravery, not only on the battlefield but also, in battle for his troops and corps over matters of principle. Through the years, a mutant-like officer has evolved, nurtured by the hierarchal system. Today, those who look out only for number one seem to be rewarded with promotions. The era of the yes-man has arrived. However, It is not too late to change this sad state of affairs. The current commandant has new initiatives underway to try and regain the spirit of brotherhood we seem to have lost along the way. However, this is not enough. There is much more that needs to Be done.

Conclusion. We need to identify those policies and practices that are detrimental to good leadership and correct them. It is important to understand the reasons behind the commandant's current unifying efforts and take them a step further. We need to be leaders of men, not architects of our own career. The Norwegian system of officer promotion and retention is a good model on which to base needed changes within the marine corps.

A Loss of Leadership

Thesis statement. Some marine corps policies and practices are detrimental to good leadership.

I. A review of traditional leadership

a. Actor John Wayne's marine portrayal a good example

b. Troops take number one priority

c. Careerism unimportant

II. Traditional leadership being threatened

a. Fixation with youth

1. Promotes inexperienced officer corps

2. Continual maximum influx of young candidates

3. Not up to job demands

b. Throat cutting promotion practices

1. Up-or-out policy

2. Forces out highly experienced leaders

c. Rewards for apple polishers

1. Quicker promotions

2. Reverse motivation for others

d. Unfair fitness reporting

1. System itself unequal to task

2. Opportunity exists for abuse of power

III. Current practices creating new breed of leader

a. "yes-men" abound

b. Risk takers punished/non-action rewarded

c. Low profile leader succeeds

IV. Commandant's new initiatives

a. Introduction of "warrior" mentality

b. We are a brotherhood

c. Back to basics

d. Curbs on careerism

V. What we in the corps can do

a. Support commandant's efforts

b. Be fair and just leaders

c. Attempt to change policies

1. Slow the influx of new officer candidates

2. Retain experienced leaders

3. Stop the up-or-out policy

4. Unionize the military

5. Adopt some aspects of norwegian system

a. Retain officers who want to stay

b. Recruit only the number of officers needed

c. Unionize

A Loss of Leadership

Traditional marine corps leadership is being threatened. Some marine corps policies and practices are detrimental to good leadership. In order to be able to reverse this self-destructive trend, it must be recognized as a problem and understood.

The history of marine corps leaders is the stuff of which heroes are made. [EDITOR: that's why you had to refer to a Hollywood movie you were just overflowing with real-life marine good leadership examples. NOT.] John Wayne still typifies the rugged yet compassionate marine officer, albeit on the movie screen, who is willing to give all for his troops and to hell with careerism and the big brass. At that time, John Wayne's movies still mirrored the fine qualities of actual marine officers. The Wayne movies are still here, unchanged by time. We can still see them on the late movie, a monument to the glorious past. Unfortunately, through the years, real marine officers have changed. Today we see a younger, less experienced officer corps, thrust into billets requiring not only the same extraordinary leadership of the past, but much more technical expertise as well. They are falling short of the requirements, almost to the point of dereliction. Is this the dereliction of the new, young officers brought into the corps? Not at all. It is through the policies and decisions of our senior leadership which have caused this sad situation.

Instead of retaining its trained, experienced officers, the marine corps forces these well qualified people out at the height of their productive years. It works this way. If an officer is passed over twice for promotion, then he is forced to get out.

If he has twenty or more years invested, he is forced to retire.[1] In the case of the retiree, the marine corps has effectively created an added expense for the department of defense by having to pay retirement pay and no longer receiving a return in the form of productive work. Everyone seems to be complaining about such a large manpower expense in the form of retirement pay, yet we continue to do the things that will prolong the situation. Under a fairly recent military-wide manpower policy act known as dopma, senior captains and majors can be forced out without retirement, [2] even if they are close to retirement but have been passed over twice for promotion. They face an uncertain job market as a re- Ward for choosing the marine corps as a career. At a non-competitive age, these exmilitary people must compete with new, young college graduates for a dwindling number of good jobs. Every officer beyond the grade of second lieutenant soon learns this fact of marine corps life which is not explained by the officer selection officer. It affects their performance. Many good people see the future as it really will be and get out before they waste too many years treading water. These are officers who could have made valuable contributions during a long marine corps career. Others believe they will be the ones who will make it.

A few do, many don't. Why not? Are these people losers? Has their fifteen to twenty years of loyal service been labeled as not worthy? The reason most people don't make it is the marine corps' fixation on youth. They continue to influx an overabundance of young officer candidates each year, much as an airline company that purposely overbooks its flights to be certain as to maximum seat usage. There is a better alternative for the marine corps.

The promotion process itself is another questionable practice which affects not only an officer's willingness to remain in the service, but also how he perceives those over him and his willingness to serve them. How many times have we seen the promotion list and asked incredulously how this or that screwup ever got promoted? Without prejudice, i can relate from personal experience the story of a particular marine officer known to all of his peers as a mediocre air defense officer. However, he was a superb apple polisher. He made a point to attend all the cocktail parties and would hover around anyone he felt was important, particularly the current wing commander and his wife. He eagerly fetched drinks and hors d'ourves. An unlit cigarette was not safe In his presence. He spent more time on the tennis court and golf course than at his squadron. He was considered to be a joke.

Yet he was given a battalion to command as a major and promoted easily to lieutenant colonel on his first look. I'm convinced this type of story can be repeated throughout the marine corps.

Can you picture john wayne or real-life marine chesty puller acting this way for the sake of advancement? It is my observation that, generally speaking, it is just this type of fawning Individual who is getting ahead in today's modern marine corps.

The motivation of others who observe this is certainly affected.

After seeing this type of behavior being rewarded, others who could not act that way on a bet become confused and feel betrayed by the corps. This is not the marine corps they thought they joined. The hierarchic structure of the marine corps is a perfect breeding ground for fawning, scraping self-servers. The atmosphere must closely resemble that of the courts of the kings in times past. Even without qualifications or experience, the one who captured the ear of the king, or in our case the general, weilded great power and would be assured success. Those unwilling to join the mad race for the favor of the "king" continue to work diligently to the best of their ability in the hope that common sense might still have a chance and reward them for their service.

The fitness reporting system is another practice that is hurtIng the marine corps instead of helping it as was originally intended. Obviously, the general's favorites will be given very favorable fitness reports by their immediate supervisors. No one wants a call from the general's office questioning their evaluating ability. That could very well affect one's own career.

Aside from the shoe-in, non-wavemakers will generally be rewarded by a good fitness report. Again, the reason is that no commanding officer wants to be brought to the skyline by one of his out-spoken officers, even if he has something worthy to say. Therefore, that is what the marine corps gets, officers who watch out for themselves instead of the corps or their troops. The cover up mentality begins to emerge early in a career. If something goes wrong, the first thing you do is distance yourself as far as possible from the problem instead of trying to find the reason for the problem and fix it. You tend to gravitate away from an officer who has erred. If an officer has been passed over for promotion, he is treated as if he has a disease. So, in today's marine corps, we have bred a low profile officer who goes along with the program, even if he disagrees, thereby becoming a yes man. If one should feel a pang of courage and stand up for what one believes in, then he is subject to that degrading phrase, "read my lips". The reason for this fear is that one man is given complete control over another's career by being the writer of his fitness report. And everything hinges on that all important document. It drives promotions, selection for desireable duty, and augmentation and schools. At times it is even comical to see a grown man or woman discard a week's worth of work as insignificant simply because someone above didn't immediately like it. The fitness report system does not generally recognize the best officers, but rather the yes men, those best at covering up, and those who have mastered the art of non-action. This is not the image touted in the recruiting commercials.

Although the marine corps professes to despise careerism, it is the officer with all the right check marks in all the right blocks who will make it to promotion. Again, you must get the right checks without being identified with a failure or problem of any kind. Buck passing then becomes essential for a full career. For a great number of officers, careerism has become more important than the troops they lead. It is not unusual for an officer to use a rifle range quota needed by one of his troops simply to get the rifle score block checked in his own record. I've seen it happen. I have seen officers refuse to give up their seats on a liberty truck to enlisted troops. I am concerned for the lack of consideration that seems to be emerging in the young officer corps for the troops. The marine corps takes care of its own used to be a true statement. Many times it still is. Howver, I am concerned about the trend.

The recent tragedy at the marine corps air ground combat center in Twentynine Palms, California is an example of much of what i have been saying. [3] A young marine lance corporal was posted as a road guard to assist in the night troop movements during a combined arms exercise in the desert. He was never picked up the next morning, was not even missed for two days, and subsequently died from heat stroke. The immediate reaction seemed to be officers and non-commissioned officers trying to distance themselves from the situation. Next came the buck passing. No one attempted to investigate the reasons why this could happen in order to correct it. Not until the commandant of the marine corps became involved and specifically ordered what was to be done, was a thorough investigation accomplished. Through a lack of concern for the individual troops, a young man died needlessly.

There are still marine officers of moral courage and personal conviction. These two qualities are so important in a leader who wants to not only get the job done, but to get it done with the troops in mind. It is very refreshing to run across this type of officer. One such officer has begun a crusade to change the debilitating trend the marine corps has suffered toward a loss of leadership. Fortunately, he is in the perfect position to accomplish his task. He is the current commandant of the marine corps. He is trying to instill what he calls the warrior mentality into the marine corps. A sort of one-for-all and all-for-one concept. He repeatedly has said we are a brotherhood. He is trying to convince all marines that no matter what their rank, they are all basic riflemen. By accepting this concept, careerism would fade and a genuine concern for one's fellow marines would reemerge. However, the fact that he even sees the need to conduct this crusade is the most serious indicator that a major leadership problem exists. He is certainly on the right track. But a lot more could be done through policy changes to improve our leadership. It is within our grasp to help make a historical contribution affecting the future of the marine corps. We can't let this opportunity pass by. [EDITOR: YOU DID, maybe you should have thought deeperabout the NARCISSISM that runs rampant in the USMC?]

Most makers of history have found themselves in the right place at the right time and were willing to take a chance. The marine corps is ripe right now for historical changes if we, its current leadership, are willing to risk taking the chance. What the marine corps needs is not something new, just something it lost. That is why i thoroughly believe the commandant is definitely moving in the right direction with his current back to basics initiatives. He is not prescribing new medication nor untried principles. He wants us to return to the good old days when leadership meant something more than getting reports in on time and brotherhood included all marines, not just a select few.

I see nothing wrong with this approach. In the final analysis, we are all basic riflemen and must understand this in order to properly lead this band of brothers. Those who cannot grasp this elementary concept, smother themselves and everyone else with rules and regulations. They are convinced of their superb leadership qualities by religiously adhering to every rule and fanatically enforcing these rules on those within their influence. His brother in crime is the technocrat officer who immerses himself in his work. From early in the morning to well after dusk, this dedicated officer feels he is superior because he puts in so much time ensuring his reports to his seniors are completed on time and in the correct format. Nothing is left unchecked, even if he must micromanage his people well into the night.

The commandant's program needs our support even after he leaves office. The needed changes will not take place quickly. We must stop worrying about ourselves and furthering our own careers. We must start making decisions with our troops and the marine corps in mind. But as i previously mentioned, the marine corps needs to undergo additional changes not addressed by the commandant. In order to reinfuse our officers with esprit de corps and a willingness to think of the corps instead of themselves, we must begin reversing the trends that have taken years to evolve. The self-defeating promotion practices and unfair fitness reporting system touched on earlier are two prime areas requiring serious overhaul.

To reward competent officers instead of bowing sycophants, I propose a rating system and officer retention program like that of the norwegian military.4 in norway, the army inducts only the number of new officers it needs, not an overabundance as we do in the marine corps. This required number is determined fairly easily by noting how many will retire or simply get out. In Norway, they do not use the up-or-out policy of the marine corps. If an officer likes his work and wishes to remain in the army, he may do so even if he does not get promoted to the next rank. This system ensures a depth of expertise rarely achieved in the marine corps. It is true that it is possible to have a fifty year old captain in the army, but he will certainly know his job. If a man can do his job well, then his age should not matter. We in the marine corps, on the other hand, tend to promote our officers to their level of incompetence and then force them out when we feel they don't perform properly. This is the Peter Principle: "in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his Level of incompetence". [5] this makes sense. If a person is com- petent as a captain, excluding for now the apple polishers who will get promoted anyway, and contributes to the positive achievement of his unit or service, he will be promoted up the ladder.

This could very well remove him from his level of competence and place him at his level of incompetence. "for every job that exists there is someone, somewhere, who cannot do it".[6] given enough time and enough promotions, he will arrive eventually at that job and there he will remain until two pass overs and a boot. As numbers of individuals arrive at their levels of incompetence, deadwood accumulates, inefficiency grows, quality deteriorates and mediocity triumphs. This sounds like a perfect description of our military system.

The norwegians have a system where promotions are driven by the job. September of each year, a list of available jobs for the next year is sent to officers. They then may choose jobs for which they wish to compete and prioritize them if there is more than one. This announcement also contains the various job requirements to include rank, experience, schools, etc. If a major is chosen to fill a lieutenant colonel's billet, he is promoted. Of course there are certain minimum time in grade requirements that must also be considered. This simple system identifies those who wish to be the movers and shakers as well as those who are satisfied where they are. The selection process is done by a board of nine or ten officers, representing a cross section of the levels of the military command structure. For example, a representative from the army headquarters is included as are members from schools and field commands. Also included on the board are three representatives from the military union. They are non-voting members and are there only to ensure fairness to all competitors. If it appears as if favoritism is being shown, the union members have the authority to order a reevaluation of the situation. Therefore, with this system, it is possible for an officer to make the military his career without necessarily having to continually be promoted. Fitness reports are a factor considered by this norwegian board, but it is one of many factors.

For us in the marine corps, the fitness report is the only factor. In Norway, if an officer feels comfortable at his present rank and likes his work, he need not fear being forced out of his chosen career. There are, of course, movement requirements and other factors involved which influence assignments, but these are monitored by the union to ensure fairness to all. Virtually all officers in Norway, including generals and admirals belong to the union. Our system ensures nothing for anyone unless you choose to sell your self-respect. By doing so, we simply perpetuate the environment which encourages all those things we don't want in the military.

The most important aspects of the Norwegian system are that they retain quality officers without an up-or-out policy and that they recruit only that number of new lieutenants needed to fill predicted vacancies. They do not overfill the lower officer ranks as we do, causing us to force out many well-qualified officers who desire a military career.

Unionization is another factor which has improved the Norwegian military in all respects. Of course, the union has no say about tactical matters. An individual could not petition the union if he chooses not to charge an enemy machinegun nest. The union is there primarily to ensure fairness to all military members on points of principle affecting a wide range of people rather than Individual complaints. Military pay and benefits are two of the most important areas watched over by the union. Here in the United States military, unionization has always been a dirty word.

However, i can certainly see positive results if we were to Unionize. Much of the apple polishing I have referred to would be rendered useless by a union which ensured fairness in job assignments and promotions based on merit. This one benefit in itself would snowball into the kinds of changes the commandant is trying to make. If anyone needs a champion to ensure proper pay, it is the American military who is paid well below his civilian counterpart.

I have outlined the steps necessary to reverse our current destructive trend in the marine corps causing our loss of leadership. We, the leadership of the marine corps, have become too Impressed with our own importance. It is time we became impressed with the importance of the people we lead. We can achieve this goal, but we must act unselfishly and quickly.


1. promotion manual, united states marine corps, volume i, Officer promotion, p1400.31.

2. Defense Officer Personnel Management Act, public law 96-513, 12 December 1980.

3. Rother, Jason, Lance Corporal, investigation into the Death of

4. Tangen, Todd, Lieutenant Colonel (selectee), Royal Norwegian army. Personal interview covering officer promotion And retention. Quantico, Virginia, 9 March 1989.

5. Peter, Lawrence J., The Peter Prescription. New York: William Morrow & Company, Inc., 1972.

6. ibid.


The Commanders' Handbook. United States Department of Defense, 1986.

Defense Officer Personnel Management Act, public law 96-513, 12 December 1980.

Interoperability in the Northern Europeon Command of NATO. United States Department of Defense, 1987.

Military leadership. United States Department of Defense, 1983.

Peter, Lawrence J. The Peter Prescription. New York: William Morrow & Company, Inc., 1972.

Promotion manual, united states marine corps, volume i, officer promotion, p1400.31.

Rother, jason, lance corporal, investigation into the death of,

Tangen, odd, lieutenant colonel (selectee), royal norwegian army. Personal interview covering officer promotion and retention. Quantico, Virginia, 9 march 1989.



1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne)

E-mail: itsg@hotmail.com

Former marine Amtracker Mark Ash writes:

"This is something I've been thinking of lately, how to change, revamp the promotion system.

First and foremost I want to say that Time In Grade should old matter for eligibility, nothing else. And Time in Service should only matter for Pay purposes (pay going up every 2 years Time in Service). And to keep the Admin factor down I would only promote E-1 thru E-4 quarterly, E-5 and above semi-annually. The number of E-5s and above needed would be being billet-driven. (All "garrison-only" functions would be removed from Combat and deployable Support units, no more "barracks NCO", no more unit IT managers, Co/Bn/Bde would have "Admin Reps" capable of doing their MOS from the field while most Admin functions being done by non-deploying "Base Admin", same for Supply and others).

One of the more radical ideas is for promotion to E-3, have E-3s vote via secret ballot on who gets promoted from E-2.

Question, what to select promotion on? What will the "qualifiers" be and how do we attempt some sort of quantification (though no promotion system directly on "score" as marine E-4/5s are). The number promoted each promotion period would be determined by the number of billets that would need filling during the next six months. PFT and Rifle range scores will by available, overall unit performance (how to qualify/quantify that though?) should be in there as well. How to quantify Leadership and practical MOS know-how/work ethnic though?

While I haven't came up with the "qualifiers" for promotion to E-5 and above one thing I have thought of, Transfer should be a condition for at least some of the promotions each period. The reason being not all units will have individuals of the same qualification. As such some units will produce more promotions. Likewise I have no problem with people "homesteading" on any particular base. If you do so you'd run the risk of being passed over if all the billets in you're rank/MOS are filled at your Duty Station, but that should in no way, shape or form be detrimental to your chances of getting promoted next time, nor impact your ability to reenlist. (Every promotional period would start out the same, everyone eligible would be in the same pool of candidates).

Promotion to SPC would be base on Work Ethic and MOS knowledge/competence. I also think there should be a "senior" SPC (SP5?) in the E-5 pay grade to be picked from the top most SPC.

Promotion to Corporal (Army) would be trickier. "Leadership" would need mixing in there somewhere.

I envision an Army/MC where E-1 thru E-4 would make up about 50-55% of the force (E-1 thru E-3 only make up about 30% of today's Corps). (And anyone could make it to retirement, provided they don't get kicked out for "failure to adapt," which would generally acting childishly, inability to be on time, failure to meet/maintain minimum standards, though a lot of the "petty" regs would curbed, UCMJ would be overhauled and disciplinary measures would be made to fit the new reality, not tired Draft Era practices made to keep the unwilling in line).

(Example of promotion process)

Semi-annual promotions would be held on 1Oct and 1Apr. For those transferring, transfers would be during the Christmas/New Year's Leave Block (~15Dec to 5Jan) and for the Ind. Day Leave Block (~1Jul to 10 Jul) respectively. Selection would start on the first day of the new period would need to be completed 60 days prior to 1Oct/1Apr respectively. Those selected would consist of the Top 50% (Cat1), who's promotion is guaranteed, Bottom 50% (Cat2) who's might be conditional and a group of alternates (CatA) (though the percentage in each Category might need some work). All would be contacted and give the same choices, stay where you are (and risk being passed over this time around) or pick a primary/secondary option where to PCS to. The number of positions relevant to the individual at each duty station would also be made available to help in a decision. None would be told which category they are in.

Promotions and placements would be determined as such...

-Cat1s would be placed in their Primary option.

-Cat1s would be placed in their Secondary option.

-Cat2s would get their Primary option

-Cat1s that picked the No PCS-option would then be granted promotion in place. -Cat2s would get there secondary option.

-Cat2s would be promoted in place only if slots were available. If none are the remain Cat2 would be passed over.

-All remaining slots would be filled with CatAs if they match their Primary, Secondary or No-PCS options.

This would all need to be done before the Promotion List would be issued 30 days prior to 1Oct/1Apr. After that all duty stations with a projected excess number of personnel in particular Rank/MOS would be canvassed for those willing to transfer where needed, who are eligible for transfer (starting the day after the Promotion list is posted). All willing transferees would need their requests in by 1Oct/1Apr.

(Note: When PCSing would wouldn't be going to a particular unit. You would just report to Base Personnel, where you would get your options. If you wish transfer from unit to unit on that base it would be determined by openings in each unit on base for your rank/billet/MOS, posted monthly by Base Personnel and on your eligibility for such a transfer. As you would be dealing strait with Base Personnel you wouldn't need to play the "Mother-May-I" with your command. And yes, there would be confidential waiting lists. Only those allowed to transfer to an Over-seas duty station are those who have spent time at a CONUS duty station)."

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