23 January 2009

Army Lt. Col. Takes on the Brass Culture

Army Generals Might Have Antiquated Thinking

All the smart military/foreign policy bloggers (like sometimes angry commenter Jason who knows a lot of shit and you should peruse) are reading Tom Ricks' blog, so I figure I could pretend I know things and link to Ricks once in awhile. Anyhoo, he has a pretty good quote from Lt. Col. Yingling [USARMY] who talks about why the Army Generals permanently hanging out at the Pentagon are fucking up. From Best Defense:
The institutional military operates under a different incentive system. Those responsible for acquisition operate under powerful incentives to procure expensive, high-tech weapons, even if those weapons are not the ones combat forces need. Those responsible for organizational design operate under powerful incentives to defend existing force structure from claims by other branches and services, even if the existing force structure does not meet the needs of combatant commanders. Finally and most importantly, military officers operate under powerful incentives to conform to senior officers' views, even if those views are out of touch with battlefield realities. Unlike combat forces, the institutional military operates under an incentive system that rewards conformity and discourages adaptation. It's simply not reasonable to expect that large groups of people operating over long periods to behave in ways contradictory to the incentives under which they operate.
This might be a REMF vs. Grunt thing, but the acquisition process for the military has certainly been getting a lot of bad press lately. Particularly that they totally dragged ass on fielding MRAPs (an excellent counter-IED vehicle in Iraq), while the Future Combat Systems has cost $200B taxpayer dollars and soldier's have not donned the Mega-Man uniforms as of yet. Based on current trends, it's hard to believe that the Navy was able to field strategic submarines in 5 short years during the Cold War from Lockheed Martin, which were nukes capable of turning Russia into a glass parking lot. I'm not one to go around using buzzwords like the "military-industrial complex", but...

5 comments:

Mike said...

Forget boomers in five years during the Cold War, how about the Virginia class attack subs now? About the only procurement program DOD wide that hasn't been a complete cluster fuck.

LT Nixon said...

I was reading on the USNI blog that the only decent Naval acquisition in the last 8 years was the SSGN conversion program. I know a lot of people involved with that, and if it's the gold standard, we should be in a taxpayer revolt.

Elizabeth said...

Hey! Guess who put an abrupt end to the ass dragging on getting the MRAPs into Iraq? Y'all get three guesses and the first two don't count.

subrookie said...

I liked Eagle Speaks comment today, "Sea lines of communication require naval forces to secure, defend and deny. Will a 300 ship U.S. Navy do the job?"

I don't think I knew that we only had 300 naval ships until he said that. I don't think 300 ships are enough. What about you?

J. said...

Thanks for highlighting Yingling's article, there are so many good posts on FP magazine, I didn't notice that one. Excellent stuff. We need more "truth to power" and all that jazz.