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View Diary: Hollow Army: Recruitment follies (96 comments)

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  •  First Part of Solution: Planning (none)

    I hear what you're saying. There are many of us who have ideas but because of our positions as active-duty officers we're prevented from speaking out. For example, an op-ed piece I wrote after returning from Baghdad was not cleared by my service.  So those of us with education and experience are left silent. But let me offer something here in a semi-anonymous way...

    What needs to happen in Iraq is operational planning. This may surprise you, but there is no plan for training Iraqi security forces. None. I was in the plans section (ironically enough) of that command, and was told time and again that a plan wasn't necessary. So, we're winging it. Our higher headquarters, which oversaw all military ops, had a vaguely worded plan, but it was not being translated into action by subordinate commands.

    Having a plan doesn't guarantee success; after all, situations change. The planning process is what's important. This is where you clearly identify your end state, figure out where you stand now, identify and challenge key assumptions, explore paths toward your goal and identify metrics to measure progress.  Yes, the situation will change, and your plan must adapt accordingly, but at least you have a basis from which to start rather than making it up every time something unexpected happens.

    This hasn't happened much in Iraq and that makes it hard to make decisions. As a result, time makes decisions for us; if an option would take 3 weeks to implement, for instance, but we've frittered away our time and only 2 weeks are available, then it's not an option anymore.

    The problem with doing this is political, because it forces us to ask tough questions that may have answers we don't like. So career-minded people don't like to ask 'em. But we have to, if we're to start moving toward success.

    Sorry for the excessively long post, I just get a bit passionate about this because I hate feeling like I wasted a period of my life over there.

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