Remember the law of intended consequences.
War is the most extreme condition, the most unpredictable of all forms of human endeavors and wars rarely turn out as envisioned by the ones who start them. People think they can control war but war ends up controlling them. War is an emotional experience. The story of the human race is war. War is chaos and has been around longer than people. Raiding is pre-dated by primates. It is an ancient behavior. The study of war is a philosophical pursuit; to reach a level of self understanding and enlightenment. War is more art than science. Samurais were taught sword fighting as well as calligraphy and flower arrangements. I enjoy studying military history because there are formulas for success. The rules of war are simple but rarely followed. Success in war requires leadership, deception, innovation, raw courage or good fortune. The object of studying war is not to get the future exactly right, but to avoid getting exactly wrong. My true opinion: all war is a defeat for mankind. Peace is always temporary; vulnerable to the follies of man. In the 20st century war increased in scope and cost: combined arms warfare (tanks, artillery, infantry), thermonuclear weapons, machine guns, airplanes. These inventions made war very deadly. There were few benefits and a high cost. Global free trade is what will ensure world peace. Restrictions in unilateral trade cause conflict. Mankind must eliminate war. I have seen war. I was a US Army combat veteran by the age of twenty-two. War is organized violence. Warfare evolves from generation to generation through geopolitical and socioeconomic forces. New technology favors a new generation of war. War has evolved 90% in the last century. The maxim holds true in war: only amateur’s worry about strategy; professionals worry about logistics.
In good news though death from war is markedly down and there are less nukes now than there were during the Cold War. Even war has laws: Geneva Conventions of 1864, 1906, 1924, 1929, 1949 protect injured, sick, property, non-combatants and civilians. Hague convention (based on the Lieber Code)-respect for human life, punishment of war crimes. Geneva Protocols bans all chemical and biological weapons.
- 1st gen warfare-peaked with massive armies in offensive operations (Napoleon nation state army).
- 2nd gen warfare-defensive over offensive; beginning of modern warfare (advent of trucks, tanks, artillery, airplanes, chemical weapons in World War 1).
- 3rd gen warfare-mechanized combat arms operations at the small unit level-maneuver warfare (the invasion of Poland in 1939).
- 4th gen warfare-War of ideas. Attempts to directly change the minds of enemy policy maker through terrorism, insurgency and guerilla warfare. (Vietnam War, 9/11, Iraq War (OIF)). Stealth, precision and information.
The military planning process: define a problem, develop a solution, identify a sequence of steps to a solution and calculate the logistical requirements. The strategy of war applies to business and other classical pursuits. Battle is nothing more than solving a problem. You are battling for market share, for a job, to buy a house. Everyday you will face battles. You must see far and wide. Its not the physical reality that matters so much as your mental state. Without battle there is no victory. There is no predetermined set off rules. Strategy is a plan of action along with the application of resources to attain a goal. Good strategy is not afraid to acknowledge a problem. Learn to manage risk properly. Careful planning followed by rapid execution. The mastery of strategy is a never ending lifelong pursuit of perfection. The word strategy derives from “strategos,” which means general. The three levels of planning: The strategic level is the plan (define your goals and allocation of resources), tactical level is the methodology (techniques and procedures) and the operational level develops the campaign (tie a series of victories together to achieve the goal). Strategy wins wars, tactics and operations win battles. The battle is won by the general that adapts faster. Adaptability is the law that governs survival and friction is the element that governs uncertainty. These elements exists in the commercial world. All plans fall apart after first contact with the enemy. Your enemy is your competition. Adaption and reinvention are necessary checkpoints for most individuals and organizations. Change is the rule; not the exception. The greatest battles you fight will be against yourself. A crisis can be an appropriate catalyst for change. Improvise, Adapt, Overcome!
Strategists and major tenets I find useful: Sun Tzu-all warfare is based on deception, win without bloodshed, know your enemy. Carl von Clausewitz-war is a political act, must include the trinity (military, government, people), element of friction, the military spirit. Baron de Jomini-moral superiority, destruction of enemy forces. Miyamoto Musashi-learn to foresee problems, clarity, know the true path, no ego. Other rules I find useful: Thomas Jefferson 10 rules for life, Rogers Ranger Rules of Ranging.
Napoleon – la grande armee. Alexander the Great – conquered half the world long before he was 40. Both wanted to take over the world however Napoleon abandoned his army and Alexanders’ army refused to go any further.
George Washington-put nation first, defeated an empire. Washington succeeded in his goals, won independence for his country with little resources then declined to be named king.
The power of teams: establish positive group norms with more creative solutions. Encourage openness and flexibility. Individual short comings are balanced in teams. Common people to obtain uncommon results. Teams are a strength multiplier. Start fast and never stop. The TEAM: Disciplined fire and maneuver supported by well aimed rifle fire. Lay down a base of fire and then leapfrog. Fire without forward movement is a waste; movement without fire is suicide. Attack, command, control and logistics. None of us are smarter than all of us. Never underestimate the power of combinations such as hunter killer teams (HKT), close-air-support (CAS) and special forces (SF). Missiles are cheap while soldiers are expensive. You always listen to the guy on the ground. An army is a conscience willed organism with a collective genius not cattle to be herded across the battlefield.
Counterinsurgency (Coin) is graduate level warfare. It takes an average of 9-12 years to defeat any insurgency and it’s the average soldiers job to win the support of the population.