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Published Airpower Journal - Winter 1998
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INTO THE STORM: MORE BALANCE,
Will Rogers once offered the opinion that its not what you dont know that gets you in troubleits what you do know that aint so. I believe the Airpower Journal should publish documents that provide more balance and less bias and stick more closely to relevant facts. In doing so, you will provide your readers with a better grasp of how the United States prosecutes joint and combined operations now and in the future. While I applaud a healthy pride in ones own service, the incontrovertible truth is that no single service can win a modern war alone.
Maj J. P. Hunerwadel (Into the Storm: A Review Essay, Summer 1998) does not demonstrate a clear and thorough understanding of the operational art. Further, he doesnt know very well the biographies of Gen Fred Franks Jr. or Gen H. Norman Schwarzkopf. General Frankss preDesert Storm command and staff duties were not insignificant. At the senior level, he previously commanded the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Germany, served as the assistant commandant of the Army Command and General Staff College, as commanding general of the 1st Armored Division, and then as commanding general of VII Corps in Europe. General Franks had joint duty experience; he was the director, Operational Plans and Interoperability Directorate, J-7, Joint Chiefs of Staff, prior to his assignment as commanding general of the 1st Armored Division.
Likewise, General Schwarzkopfs developmental assignments were significant and clearly not lightweight. Among General Schwarzkopfs senior assignments were assistant division commander, 8th Infantry Division (Mechanized) in Europe; commanding general, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Georgia; commanding general, I Corps, Fort Lewis, Washington; and he was the Armys deputy chief of staff for operations. Those positions are clearly among the most significant developmental jobs for the Armys senior uniformed leaders. General Schwarzkopf had also been the deputy commander in chief during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada in 1983, a joint combat operation.
General Frankss VII Corps attack may not have always been as swift as General Schwarzkopf and others would have hoped. There were several considerations Major Hunerwadel didnt mention: Much of the ground attack occurred during periods of limited visibility, during rain, and through terrain filled with numerous Iraqi army units. In an effort to swiftly gain depth into the enemy territory, combat elements of VII Corps bypassed many Iraqi units. These bypassed units constituted a very real threat to the corpss rear area. This left a situation of very long and very vulnerable lines of communications behind VII Corpss leading divisions and its armored cavalry regiment. To enable the continuity of combat operations, it is vital for any commander to synchronize his combat forces and support them logistically before closing with the enemy. In the case of VII Corps, its five divisions were quite literally closing with Saddam Husseins remaining center of gravity. That center of gravity was the Republican Guard divisions.
While VII Corps didnt achieve every initial objective during the ground war, it wasnt all the fault of either General Franks or VII Corps. Political decisions ended the war early before VII Corps was able to fully dispatch the Republican Guard divisions within their zone. However, when one looks objectively at the numbers of Iraqi combat vehicles which VII Corps units destroyed, you will find significant achievement. What did VII Corps destroy during 89 hours of combat operations? VII Corps destroyed most of 11 divisions (including two Republican Guard Forces Command divisions); 1,350 tanks; 1,224 personnel carriers; 285 pieces of artillery; 105 air defense artillery weapons; and 1,229 trucks. That is not the production of an incompetent general.
General Franks was not too cautious. Major Hunerwadel mistakes synchronization with overcaution and timidity. General Franks had, long before Operation Desert Storm, proven his mettle and personal valor. Dont mistake force protection and synchronization with overcaution. An army must be able to fight tomorrow. No commander may ignore real threats in his rear area or to his lines of communications and expect to continually conduct cohesive operations. If you lose your combat service support to bypassed but still combat-effective enemy forces, you will lose your combat forces next.
The very fact of the matter was VII Corps, under the able command of General Franks, proved with numbers of destroyed Iraqi combat equipment alone the capabilities of a most effective armored corps. I dont wish to take anything away from XVIII Airborne Corps, the US Marine Corps, or any other ground component units fighting in Desert Storm. However, different ground maneuver units were fighting in quite different threat environments in their initial movements to contact. Commanding a mobile corps in combat isnt an easy task, especially when fighting against an enemys main effort and when that main effort is essentially the enemys very center of gravity.
Was the generalship during Desert Storm perfect? No, but it was executed at least as well as in any recent war within this century, and probably far better than most throughout history. Major Hunerwadel may better spend his time reading a wider array of texts on Desert Storm and other military operations throughout history before criticizing the achievements of others. I would encourage him to begin with Richard M. Swains Lucky War: Third Army in Desert Storm (Fort Leavenworth, Kans.: US Army Command and General Staff College Press, 1994). Lucky War is an excellent and very detailed account of Third Armys role in Desert Storm. During Desert Storm, another echelon of command existed between General Schwarzkopf and General Franks Third Army. Major Hunerwadel fails to make any mention of its commander, organization, or role.
One final word on comparing Desert Storm and General Frankss performance with those of the Battle of Antietam fought 17 September 1862. Antietam was the bloodiest single day of combat for the armed forces of the United States; there were over 25,000 casualties on that battlefield. During Desert Storm there were 613 US casualties. Unlike Antietam, the tactical results on the battlefields and in the skies above during Desert Storm were decisive. Strategically, the results may not have been quite as decisive as wed hoped, but such results come to light with time.
Gen Colin Powell had 13 rules he followed. I believe they will serve others well when perhaps criticizing others. In particular, rules 1, 2, 10, and 12 are helpful.
1. It aint as bad as you think; it will look better in the morning.
2. Get mad, then get over it.
10. Remain calm. Be kind.
12. Dont take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
Desert Storm clearly illustrated that joint and combined arms operations provide the greatest likelihood of success in modern combat. Regardless of what particular service pundits might tell you, the ticket to future combat success is in joint operations. Our combatant commanders must make maximum use of the strengths of each component service. They know this, and they believe it. Joint operations may direct focused weapons effects against the enemy to exact the greatest level of destruction at the lowest cost to US and allied soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and their equipment. What each component service does is to bring its best doctrine, equipment, leaders, and warriors to the joint and combined fight. Then, in response to the combatant commanders plan, they contribute in concert to defeat the enemy swiftly and with the least loss of life and equipment. No longer may one armed service, nor in many cases, may one nation win its wars alone.
Col Neal H. Bralley, USA
THE AIRPOWER TRINITY
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to Mr. Joseph Forbess letter in the Fall 1998 issue concerning my article In Search of High Ground: The Airpower Trinity and the Decisive Potential of Airpower (Spring 1998) and my use of the Clausewitzian concept of the Trinity of War. Mr. Forbes makes some excellent points about Clausewitz; in fact, there are (and have been) numerous interpretations of this great masterClausewitz has even moved into the information age with his own chat room!
The way I see it, one of the beauties of Clausewitzand the key reason his theories have endured over the centuriesis that his theories are open to a wide range of interpretations. By focusing only on a narrow point in Clausewitzs writing, Mr. Forbes appears to have missed the whole point of my articlemy attempt to develop a new theory, the Airpower Trinity. My use of Clausewitzs Trinity was not intended to be simply a mindless rehash of Clausewitzian theory, but rather a concept to build upon, a launching point for the new Airpower Trinity. I would rather focus on the issues raised by the innovative part of the article rather than quibble over the interpretations of the words of Clausewitz.
But, even using Clausewitzs own words, Ill bet he would support my launching point. I believe that he implored warriors of the future to use his theories to educate the mind and be creative. He continuously challenged commanders to use his theories as a starting point and not mark the narrow path on which the sole solution is supposed to lie by planting a hedge of principles on either side. Continuing in book 8, chapter one, he states:
When all is said and done, it really is the commanders coup doeil, his ability to see things simply, to identify the whole business of war completely with himself, that is the essence of good generalship. Only if the mind works in this comprehensive fashion can it achieve the freedom it needs to dominate events and not be dominated by them. . . . Theory should cast a steady light on all phenomena so that we can more easily recognize and eliminate the weeds that spring from ignorance; it should show how one thing is related to another, and keep the important and the unimportant separate.
That is precisely what I intended to do with my Airpower Journal articleto depict the relationship among theory, technology, and practice. I do not claim a perfect understanding of all these variables. Therefore, they should be debated, not just Clausewitzs words. What I do know, having led combat missions in the F-15, is that we must sort out the weeds that spring from ignorance before the next fight. In order for us to employ airpower to its maximum potential again in the future, we must understand the relationships in the Airpower Trinity.
Although I indicated in the article that airpower cannot provide the sole means to all ends and that joint forces must work together to meet the intended political objectives, many people have asked if I think airpower can replace the need for boots on the ground to hold terrain. Certainly, thats a complex question and at this time in the evolution of airpower, I would have to say not entirely, if holding terrain is the only political objective. But I will assert that the current operations in Southwest Asia, Operation Southern Watch and Northern Watch, might be a seminal moment in which airpower alone is occupying ground. Its worth a debate.
Col D. K. Edmonds, USAF
THEATER WARFARE, MOVEMENT, AND AIRPOWER
I enjoyed the article by Lt Col Price T. Bingham, USAF, Retired, on the impact that JSTARS can have on theater warfare (Theater Warfare, Movement, and Airpower, Summer 1998). I think he may have underestimated the value of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in performing the same role. He assumes that there will be no jamming effects on the moving target indicator (MTI) radar. The effectiveness of jamming can be significantly reduced by flying closer to the target area. Terrain masking is also reduced as you fly closer or higher. JSTARS is not currently designed to fly in such a high-threat area or at higher altitudes. Another issue is the high maintenance costs associated with flying such an old platform.
If one could put the encrypted, highly jam-resistant surveillance control data link on a UAV, it could serve as a method to relay the picture to the ground. This assumes that enough bandwidth exists on such a link. UAVs can fly higher and in harms way, but they currently suffer from many other growing pains, most of which will soon be ironed out. The biggest problem is most likely the high power as well as weight requirements for a radar-based sensor system.
Maj Al Glodowski, USAF
HOW WE OPERATIONALIZED QUALITY
I recently attended Squadron Officer School at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, where my randomly assembled 13-captain flight competed against 53 other flights over seven weeks and finished on top, winning the Chief of Staff Award as best flight at SOS. Observers told us we did not have the best athletes, the smartest academicians, or the best problem solvers in the school. Yet we became the most effective and unified team, breaking the school record for field campaign points in volleyball and flickerball, finishing among the top five in academics, and reaching logic utopia in problem-solving exercises. At one point we even shaved our heads together to celebrate. What caused such inspiration, led to mission success, and made us different than other flights? In my opinion, it boils down to three words: We operationalized quality.
Common vision. During our first week, when we really didnt know each other, we used quality management techniques to reach consensus on our group purpose. We assigned task owners to each key mission area, and made them accountable to lead. Each task owner was asked to define excellence, propose tasks, and create a performance mea-sure. Our strategic plan had detailed methods and measures (unlike other flights with vague goals), and everybody committed to doing the tasks required to meet common goals. Our mission was team excellence through maximum individual performance, and our vision was top five in the school. At the end, we had reached eight of nine goals and finished number one.
Positive leadership. Our flight was full of energetic leaders who never spoke a negative word. Even when people made mistakes, like when our flight scored a zero on a team leadership problem, everybody looked to improve themselves rather than each other. We took turns leading, and everybody supported each task owner. Social facilitation (positive peer pressure) inspired everyone to dig deep and work harder than they ever had. We didnt do it for the school or for ourselves. We did it for each other.
Listening and consensus. The members of our flight listened to each other. We learned that all of us possessed more knowledge together than any one of us individually. Some of the best ideas came from people youd least expect. Whenever possible, we tried to agree on methods and reason out our differences patiently. We never left somebody behind in disagreement, we were never slowed by the bid for power stage, and we had no divisive cliques. Most other flights couldnt say that.
Statistical process control. In addition to key success measures, we employed analysis measures at deeper levels. Statistics prompted coaching and methodology changes almost dailyespecially in field campaigns. Pareto charts revealed areas needing the most improvement, and root causes of errors were eliminated through improved process design and rehearsal. The results? We broke the school record for campaign points and dedicated a bottle of wine to any future flight that can surpass us. It may be there a long time.
In sum, we were different than other flights in four ways: vision, leadership, agreement, and control. We fulfilled our mission, met our goals, and achieved our vision, while many other flightsmost with better talentdid not. Operationalizing quality requires shared purpose, specific planning, motivational leadership, inclusive teamwork, and analysis-based improvements. So if anyone can learn some leadership lessons by observing our flight, let this be among them: Quality may require extra effort, but it isnt measured by paperwork; its measured by mission success.
Capt Gordon J. Klingenschmitt
ON MISTAKES IN TEACHING ETHICS
It is a mistake for ethics teachers (or any teacher for that matter) to play fast and loose with definitions. In Mistakes in Teaching Ethics (Summer 1998), Dr. James H. Toner never delineates between ethics and morals (or even between ethics and law). An essay addressing the teaching of professional ethics ought to make clear whether personally acceptable behavior (morality) and professionally acceptable behavior (ethics) overlap and support or diverge and conflict. All this would have been further enhanced by discussing how to teach this against the backdrop of socially acceptable behavior (law). Dr. Toner muddied the already-murky water by stating a fundamental truth without expanding on what he meant: Human beings generally know right from wrong [moral or legal?], honor from shame [professional ethics or personal or religious morality?], virtue from vice [moral? spiritual/religious?] (emphasis in original). The incomplete treatment of definitions needlessly perpetuates debate because people will end up simply arguing over disparate points (i.e., not singing off the same sheet of music) rather than debating the most effective way ahead in mutually agreed terms. I do agree with Dr. Toner that people who are motivated should be allowed to teach, just as those who are trained to do so; one volunteer is worth 10 conscripts. However, if our ethics teachers arent clear and comprehensive on the issues, then they do not aid the present need for a vector toward improved professional attitudes and behavior.
I am all for the Core Values movementunderstanding also that those officers its meant to empower can trivialize it (gimmick is as gimmick does). The Core Values program has brought the organizational-quality movement into the personal realm. Quality had become a neutered concept in the process improvement arenaa place where people outwardly had the signs of being quality oriented but inwardly were still full of unethical bones. However, Core Values still needs much work; hearts as well as minds continue to need this kind of improvement.
A good place to start is with a consensus toward definitions. Instead of heaving around terms whose definitions are more often assumed than elaboratedsuch as morality, character (and its development), ethics, belief, and so forthlets see some clarity on the academic front. Then we can sort things out professionally (and personally) and get back to the main business of being a profession of arms. If it turns out that even these definitions are inchoate, then so be it: lets admit that right away and at least lay down a base upon which to build. Lets stop cutting academic bait and start fishing.
Maj Derek Reinhard, USAF
RAF High Wycombe, England
IN DEFENSE OF TEACHING ETHICS
What an encouraging tonic to read Dr. James H. Toners fine defense of ethics education (Mistakes in Teaching Ethics, Summer 1998). Having recently completed Air Command and Staff College, I am particularly struck by the contrast between the muddled thinking that passed for ethical reasoning in that program and the clear, concise, and ringing defense of ethical standards found in Dr. Toners short piece. He is to be applauded for his courage in standing up to the fallacious (as he calls them) nostrums of the day that confuse any debate on ethical standards and for leading us back toward our common humanity instead of down the path to a nihilistic tribalism.
No finer modern foundation for a solid understanding of human ethics can be found than in our own Declaration of Independence. When it speaks of our common human equality and those unalienable rights with which we as humans are justly endowed, its argument undermines volumes of multi-cultural tribalist dogma. When that document goes on to speak of governments instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, it points us in the direction of a uniquely human virtue, the capacity for rational deliberation over the means by which we shall secure the ends of safety and happiness through self-government. It is this human virtue, our specific excellence, as it were, that provides such a strong foundation for what Dr. Toner refers to as our innate ability to determine, and know, the difference between right and wrong.
Were we, as Dr. Toner recommends, to try to enhance the ethical education of our people by teaching them sound ethical principles from which they can begin to reason thoughtfully about the ethical implications of any given course of action, we would not only provide an individual benefit of great worth to them, but we would also work to discourage and prevent the excesses one tends to find demonstrated by ethically rootless or confused individuals and organizations. Such an ethical education strengthens the individual as soldier, but also, and more importantly I would argue, strengthens the individual as citizen, thereby improving the organization in at least two ways. The role of citizen in a free republic is an especially important one, requiring continual pursuit of the characteristics necessary to individual as well as collective self-government in order to ensure the longevity and security of the republic. As Dr. Toner points out, it is difficult to see how ethical training in catchy slogans can begin to encourage the development of the virtues necessary to either good soldiering or good citizenship in a free republic.
How, then, does military ethics fit into the scheme, for the taking of life, as Dr. Toner again points out, quite apparently violates the mandates of the human ethics I describe. I would here agree with Dr. Toner that there are higher ends, the pursuit of which may justify military actions without getting bogged down in debates over the supposed ethics of a Nazi Germany or a Pol Pot. We must recall that military virtue, aiming at courage and honor more than wisdom and justice, is not the highest human virtue which one might pursue. But in an age of confusion over ethical standards, a vibrant and reasonable military ethic points inexorably in the direction of the higher human virtue. Many critics, and even some friends, of the military have in recent years decried the apparent gulf between popular societal ethical standards and military ethical standards. Thomas E. Ricks, who has written eloquently and affectionately of the power and efficacy of Marine Corps training, is perhaps the most popularly recognized of these voices following the publication of his book. I would, however, disagree with Mr. Ricks and his colleagues in this argument. While I would not propose to elevate military ethics to the highest plane, I would encourage all of us to look at the successes of military ethics taught well as an example of how we may begin to recover a more sensible and reasonable approach to fostering the human virtues not only in our soldiers, but in our citizens as well.
Just as we do not want all of our citizens to mirror the military ethic, we just as surely do not want all of our soldiers to mirror all of the current lax popular standards. What is needed instead is to begin to address and understand how the two may be joined in an effort to restore the virtues and ethical standards necessary to the preservation of free government as well as to the pursuit of happiness. Dr. Toner provides us an excellent start from which we may begin to address these issues and deliberate on the means necessary to achieve the goals of free government.
Maj Lance Robinson, USAF
MORE THAT UNITES THAN DIVIDES
My sincere thanks to Airpower Journal and to Lt Col William T. Eliason, USAF, for taking the trouble to review my book, Breaking the Phalanx: A New Design for Landpower in the 21st Century, in the Summer 1998 issue. I appreciated the excellent review and wanted to add a few comments that may be of interest to your readers.
Far too little attention is directed to the importance of the joint command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) structures that I propose for incorporation into the Armys ground forces. These are the critical links that must exist to integrate air and ground forces within a joint framework. It is increasingly clear that the direction of the current revolution in military affairs (RMA) points to the creation of a system of systems that literally encircles the earth and has global reach. For ground forces to integrate seamlessly into the global strike capabilities this system will make possible, joint C4I structures must exist at every level to exploit this global strike capabilitys potential and to guarantee the safety of deployed ground forces.
In this connection, it is important to keep in mind that ground maneuver forces can compel enemy ground forces to mass. This is achieved through the types of offensive and defensive tactics and operations I describe in my work. In doing so, ground forces can create the concentrations of enemy that become lucrative targets for American airpower. This is an underlying theme that explains both the capacity of the phalanx forces ability to operate in a dispersed configuration, as well as to maneuver to avoid rather than directly confront enemy ground forces. This recognition also shapes Army ground force modernization. And finally, to correct any misperception of my views on the criticality of airpower to all military operations, I wish to quote two short passages from Breaking the Phalanx:
American Airpower is the nations most responsive and flexible military capability. When the Air Force has access to usable bases, land-based fighters can quickly deploy from the United States and assemble a large amount of firepower. A fighter squadron that makes its morning sortie against a close air support target can fly an afternoon sortie against strategic targets hundreds of miles inside the enemys territory. (Page 199)
And, in connection with the F-22, please note the following:
Hedging against future threats requires the United States to maintain selected, critical elements of combat power. In reduced numbers, the F-22 may qualify in this category if the USAF is to maintain its current edge into the first part of the next century. . . . In the meantime, scarce capital can be directed toward the development of the Joint Strike Fighter. (Page 203)
Again, I appreciate Airpower Journals professional interest in the US Army and Breaking the Phalanx. In the final analysis, there is much more that unites us than divides us as any airman who reads my work will soon discover.
Col Douglas A. Macgregor, USA
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
MYTHS OF THE GULF WAR REVISITED
I challenge a number of points made by Dr. Grant Hammond in his article (Myths of the Gulf War: Some Lessons Not to Learn, Fall 1998). Although he identifies several incorrect lessons learned, he runs the risk of creating new myths that are much more damaging than the ones he attempts to dispel. Dr. Hammond asserts that the following are myths. I disagree.
It Was a War. Unquestionably. Ask an Iraqi who was blasted by B-52s or buried alive by plough-equipped tanks if he thought it was a war. Ask the pilots who were shot down and tortured if they thought it was a war. The author draws the wrong conclusion here for two reasons. The first is his statement that the Iraqi military did not fight. In reality, the Iraqis fired millions of rounds from antiaircraft artillery, attempted to fly defensive counterair sorties for several days, managed to down a few fighters with their radar and infrared surface-to-air missiles, launched an offensive attack on Khafji, and counterattacked the marines invading Kuwait. The difference between the Gulf War and other twentieth-century wars is that the Iraqi military was so overwhelmingly outclassed by superior US doctrine, equipment, and training that most of the suffering was confined to the Iraqi side.
The authors second error is that he incorrectly defines classic war in the twentieth century as a World War IIstyle conflict waged to unconditional surrender and occupation. World War II was the exception, not the norm. Most wars this century (Spanish-American, World War I, Korean, Russo-Polish, Russo-Japanese, Six-Day, Yom Kippur, and Indo-Pakistani) resembled Operation Desert Storm much more than they did World War II. They all ended without occupying the enemys homeland, democratizing its political system, administering its country, or investing in its infrastructure.
However, Dr. Hammonds point that the American people may harbor unrealistic expectations for future wars is quite correct. Only Hollywood could have written a script for a more one-sided victory in which so few good guys were killed in the defeat of a powerful foe. But that doesnt mean it wasnt a war. In fact, Desert Storm is exactly what Americans should expect from their militarynot another drawn-out meat grinder.
Its Over. Certainly. The authors primary rationale for declaring that it isnt over is the fact that we still have a large number of forces in the area. Yet, he says earlier that Desert Storm shouldnt even be considered a war because we didnt leave tens of thousands of troops in-theater as we did in World War II. Does this mean that World War II isnt over either?
We Won. Absolutely. Saddam Hussein entered the war with the objective of seizing Kuwait and its oil reserves. He may even have had designs on the rest of the peninsula as well. He left that war without either and with his air force castrated and his army surrendering in droves. The coalition, on the other hand, won a stunning victory. We liberated Kuwait and restored it to its prewar independence. We dictated the cease-fire agreement to the Iraqi generals, which they signed because they knew they were beaten. Iraq lost its gamble to take over Kuwait, and we won in our drive to liberate it.
The author makes four references in this section to the fact that we did not demand unconditional surrender or the removal of Saddam, neither of which was our objective. Although Clausewitz didnt say it best, I think he said it first in On War: Now, the first, the grandest, and most decisive act of judgement which the Statesman and General exercises is rightly to understand in this respect the War in which he engages, not to take it for something, or to wish to make of it something, which by the nature of its relations it is impossible for it to be.
The objective of the war was to liberate Kuwaitnot to occupy Iraq. Unfortunately, Dr. Hammond is not alone in this misconception. It seems that even former president George Bush has succumbed to this most common of errors in his recent memoirs. In reality, he set the correct objectives for the war and achieved them. He won.
The fact that we didnt play it the way Americans expect is both irrelevant and incorrect. In point of fact, the war did start the same way as World War II. A powerful country invaded and conquered a weaker neighbor. We then took advantage of an opportunity to build up our forces during a lull akin to the phoney war on the western front of Europe. In the end, the Iraqis were begging for a cease-fire, which the Russians were trying to broker. We agreed to a cease-fire when we had achieved our primary objective of liberating Kuwait. This kind of quick, decisive victory is exactly what Americans expect.
We Accomplished Our Objectives. The author states that we did not accomplish political objective number three, protection of Saudi Arabia and other states in the Gulf from Iraq. However, eight years have passed, and Saudi Arabia has not been overrun. We may not have protected it permanently, but it is safe for nowat least from Iraq. We may have to keep forces in the region for a time, but that is probably in our interest anyway. On the other hand, accomplishing objective four, protection of American citizens abroad, would have required occupying not only Iraq but also Iran, Syria, Libya, and several other terrorist sponsors. If Dr. Hammond is recommending such a crusade, I know many air warriors who would support him. However, I dont think the rest of our coalition partners would agree to it.
As regards the military objectives, we achieved them all to the degree necessary to achieve our strategic objectives. This is, after all, their only purpose. I must assume that the commander chose those operational objectives because he believed that they would best contribute to achieving his assigned strategic objectives. However, as Clausewitz also said, objectives need not remain constant throughout a conflict. Indeed, they should change as the situation changes.
We clearly achieved military objective number one, attack Iraqi political/military leadership and command and control. The objective says nothing about eliminating it completely. In fact, we reduced it to such a degree that it was no longer capable of coordinating effective execution of its plans. Indeed, Gen Norman Schwarzkopf and Gen Colin Powell have been criticized for not realizing and taking advantage of the degree of degradation displayed at the battle of Khafji.
The coalition did achieve some success with military objective four, destroy chemical, biological, and nuclear capability, although it was clearly incomplete. The follow-up United Nations inspection teams have destroyed some additional materials and are interfering with the development of others.
Finally, the coalition did fail to achieve military objective five, destroy the Republican Guard forces. However, this objective was merely a means to an end. Early on, the US Army established the Republican Guard as the critical center of gravity in Iraq, rightly assuming that if the Republican Guard were defeated, then the rest would fall as well. If the coalition army had confined its attack to Kuwait and the forces there, the Republican Guard could have launched a counterattack and instigated a drawn-out war of attrition. In the end, however, the Guard ran away instead and removed itself from the fight. As desirable as its destruction would have been, it was not worth continuing the war since we had already achieved our objective of liberating Kuwait.
We Can Do It Again If Necessary. A qualified yes. We have fewer forces, but we also have fewer threats to maintain reserves against. If Iraq were to try to absorb Kuwait again, the result would be quite similar. Although the US military is much smaller, it is also much better. When the coalition launched Desert Storm, the best available air-to-air missile was the AIM-7. F-16s went into battle with only AIM-9s and guns. The Air Force had enough LANTIRN targeting pods to equip only the F-15Es, and B-1s had no conventional capability at all.
Now, every fighter carries AIM-120s; every capable jet carries a targeting pod; every bomber can deliver conventional ordnance; and we have B-2s to add to the capability of the F-117. The Army must certainly have made improvements as well. In that same time, Iraq has been able to do nothing more than buy black-market parts for equipment that was obsolete eight years ago, when it lost the last war. If Saddam tries it again, hell be crushed againand he knows it. Why else would he tolerate the no-fly zones?
US Military Might and Prestige Are Restored. This is at least true from our own perspective. It is certainly higher than if we had relied on sanctions instead of force to kick Saddam out. The lesson to other countries is clear. If they directly threaten vital US interests, they will be met with overwhelming force. However, this kind of influence has natural limits. We shouldnt expect it to force other countries to resolve their internal civil wars.
I agree with the remainder of Dr. Hammonds conclusions. Technology (precision-guided munitions) did not win the war. Highly trained and well-led personnel employing superior equipment won the war through the joint execution of a sound combined-arms operational doctrine. As regards who paid for the war, my gut feeling has always been that the United States bore the brunt of the expenses, whether monetary or material. It is nice to see the data in writing. Also, the Gulf War does not represent an unblemished record of success. The author brings up some very important deficiencies, which we must correct. However, to extrapolate these errors into suggesting that we lost the war is absurd. Finally, I heartily agree that this is not the first time that the promise of airpower has been fulfilled. Perhaps this latest display was visible enough to convince people outside the Air Force as well.
Maj Gary Middlebrooks, USAF
Langley AFB, Virginia
DR. HAMMOND REPLIES
My thanks to Major Middlebrooks for putting so much time and effort into a response to my article. I believe he unwittingly reinforces the points I tried to make in the article.
Major Middlebrooks maintains that the Gulf War was a war, the Iraqis did fight, they lost, and it is over. And so history will record it. He points out that millions of rounds of antiaircraft artillery were fired by the Iraqis and that they launched an offensive attack on Khafji. True enough. But unlike our past experience, we decided when to pull the trigger. We didnt have to fight our way into the theater. What fighting the Iraqis did was largely defensive and desultory. The Battle of Khafji was a confused affair of roughly 36 hours duration. Most of the Iraqi air force fled rather than fight. My point was that it didnt square with the American perception of war. Most of the examples he cites are non-American. I said that we either stayed or left after the conflict. This is the first time in which we redeploy every time Saddam seeks to jerk our chain in a never-ending, high-cost, low-result conflict that iseight years after the invasion of Kuwaitnot over.
Like many people in the military, Major Middlebrooks equates military victory in battle with political victory in war. They are not the same. The rationale is not, as Major Middlebrooks maintains, that forces still remain in-theater. The argument is that one goes to war to establish a better peace. The most important point in Clausewitz, to which Major Middlebrooks refers me, is this: War is the continuation of politics with the ad-mixture of other means. It is to accomplish a political purpose. Saddam is still in possession of weapons of mass destruction, still has a strong Republican Guard, still claims Kuwait as the 19th province of Iraq, and is still a threat to his neighbors. Although we may feel good about the demonstration of our military prowess, what long-term political outcome have we accomplished?
Major Middlebrooks maintains that Desert Storm is exactly what Americans should expect from their militarynot another drawn-out meat grinder. I hope not. The whole point of the article was that the Gulf War establishes a false and perhaps never-to-be-emulated standard for military success. There is no denying that we can fight and win a conventional war now or in the near future. But having seen the Gulf War, what adversary in his right mind would seek to take on US armed forces head-to-head? Our adversaries of the future will do so asymmetrically. Our Gulf War prowess may be less and less relevant.
More pointedly, Major Middlebrooks maintains that we won, we accomplished our objectives, and we can do it again if necessary. Although Iraq lost its gamble to swallow Kuwait and we did liberate it, war is not just about territory. Increasingly it is about effectsnot lines on the earths surface. Saddam did not lose politically, although he was defeated militarily. He took on the US-led coalition, survived, and is a hero in most of the Islamic and Arab world. We did not win politically, although we defeated the Iraqi military. There is no better state of peace, sanctions continue, and no significant rearrange- ment of the balance of power emerged in the region. In war, the adversary must decide when he is defeated. Saddam never didwe just stopped. Major Middlebrooks can quarrel with the view of his former commander in chief if he wishes. I did not put the words in President Bushs mouth. His memoirs, as well as my article, bemoan the way the war ended.
As to objectives, we didnt accomplish what we set out to do. It was not through resistance by Saddam but by poor decision making on our part. We did not accomplish half of our objectivespolitical and military. General Schwarzkopfs main military objective was to destroy the Republican Guard. That was more than an instrumental goal to defeat Iraq. It is Saddams source of power internally. After we failed to get rid of him, we urged the Kurds and Marsh Arabs to do our bidding for us with immense loss of life and suffering as a consequence. Saddam became even more powerful in Iraq than before, as he used helicopters to move troops and put down revolts that followed the war because we didnt prohibit it.
I am sorry, but we cant do it again if necessary. That judgment is more about political circumstances than military forces, but that does not make it less crucial. Our former allies are less likely to support us politically or financially or to help with basing, overflight rights, or permission to launch offensive operations from their territory. We lack a number of bases we used for an air bridge to the theater; VII Corps is no longer in Europe; and we would most likely have to fight our way into the theater. Saddam doesnt tolerate no-fly zoneshe loves them! He gets political capital out of the presence of American planes, complains about sovereignty to the United Nations, and violates them at will, knowing that our restrictive rules of engagement wont allow us to make them true no-fly zones. Meanwhile, the US Air Force is killing itself putting hours on engines and airframes, degrading fighter-pilot combat skills, deploying squadrons endlessly to the sandbox, and jerking personnel and their families around needlessly for no real political advantage.
Lastly, Major Middlebrooks states that I have suggested we lost the war and that that is absurd. (His judgment, not mine.) I said it wasnt really a war. I said we didnt win. I didnt say we lost. I did strongly imply that no better state of peace exists. Since that is the major reason to go to war, I think there is legitimate debate about the real nature of our triumph without victory. Winning and losing are not the only outcomes possible. Saddam did not lose, and we did not win. The war just stopped. More importantly, the whole purpose of the article was to point out the dangers of what we might call the other Gulf War Syndrome. This is the notion that we were so good in the Gulf War that we are virtually invulnerable. We are not. To even hint that we are sows the seeds of our own destruction. The fact that we might think that our military might and prestige are restored is part of the problemnot part of the solution. What matters is what other people think.
Major Middlebrooks is to be commended for taking issue with these points and engaging in the debate. But it is precisely the attitude his rebuttal represents that may be the greatest danger to the United States in the future. But this exchange will be, I hope, part of a larger, continuing conversation for us all.
Dr. Grant T. Hammond
Maxwell AFB, Alabama
The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.
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