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IPFS News Link • Ukraine

What The U.S. Will Learn, And Not Learn, From Its War In Ukraine

• Moon of Alabama

The quarterly magazine Parameters by the U.S. Army War College published an interesting paper about U.S. war capabilities:

A Call to Action: Lessons from Ukraine for the Future Force

Its abstract says:

Fifty years ago, the US Army faced a strategic inflection point after a failed counterinsurgency effort in Vietnam. In response to lessons learned from the Yom Kippur War, the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command was created to reorient thinking and doctrine around the conventional Soviet threat. Today's Army must embrace the Russo-Ukrainian conflict as an opportunity to reorient the force into one as forward-thinking and formidable as the Army that won Operation Desert Storm.

This article suggests changes the Army should make to enable success in multidomain large-scale combat operations at today's strategic inflection point.

It is normal for a military to analyze ongoing or just finished wars and to draw conclusions from them. Such efforts should then lead to changes in the military structure or its procedures.

The above effort though is unlikely to lead to the changes the authors want to see.

The authors correctly point out that command and control of troops via radio is problematic when the enemy has the means to detect all radio traffic:

The Russia-Ukraine War makes it clear that the electromagnetic signature emitted from the command posts of the past 20 years cannot survive against the pace and precision of an adversary who possesses sensor-based technologies, electronic warfare, and unmanned aerial systems or has access to satellite imagery; this includes nearly every state or nonstate actor the United States might find itself fighting in the near future.

The solution lies the extensive use of Mission Command (in the original German: Auftragstaktik) which allows subordinate leaders to do their own planning and operation within the given context:

When Milley served as Chief of Staff of the Army, he explained mission command through a concept of "disciplined disobedience" in which subordinates are empowered to accomplish a mission to achieve the commander's intended purpose—even if they must disobey a specific order or task to do so. Without perfect communication, a subordinate officer or soldier must be trusted to make the right judgment call during battle, unencumbered by the need to seek approval for small adjustments.