13 August 2008

Stuck on dinosaur

ILE maybe stuck in the old. When we first started ILE we discussed the next kind of war and the potential for a new revolution in military affairs. We discussed counter terrorism and the COIN fight. But when it comes to exercises we are fighting a conventional HIC war. We are fighting an armored horde that uses conventional soviet tactics. Really what changes has ILE made? When we leave ILE commanders will expect us to be masters of our craft and yet we are still fighting HIC warfare. We are working outside of our career field. Regardless of our chosen professions in the Army, our time at ILE should be focused more on mastery of our individual skills, rather than some broad brush stroke. Lets be honest, most of us will be returning to the fight. A fight which is not going away by Dec 12th (our graduation). ILE needs an overhaul. It needs to admit reality, and prepare young field grade officers for the fight they will be in. Regardless of the level we go to, most of us will be in a fight. There is to much still being executed here under the pretext of "that's how we've always done it."


Anonymous said...

Your comment is interesting.
What kinds of changes would you recommend to your instructors?
I went to a COIN workshop yesterday and learned a little about processes the U.S. Army has used in the Philippines. That's about the extent of what I know (not much) about modern warfare. Are workshops enough, or are you saying ILEs need training exercises?

Moose Farmer said...

I am saying we have to look at the new kind of war that the United States is facing and train the majors to be able to support that. But we can not lose focus on the HIC fight. Yet to date in ILE we have done staff planning for a HIC fight. Planning Phase 4 Stability operations does not qualify as planning for the new kind of war. The true hang up of ILE is the idea that we have to give everyone a taste of every career field in order for us to have a healthy respect for what our brothers and sisters in arms do. BS, we are field grade officers, either we get it by now or we never will. What ILE needs to focus on is take us from the journeyman level (captains) to the masters level of our craft within our chosen career field. Again these are probably two different issues but they culminate with these HIC fights planned by an adhoc staff made up of a hodge podge of career fields. Let the maneuver guys plan maneuver, let the protection people plan protection, etc. The classes we received on counter insurgency were just that, classes. I don't think they really advanced anyones knowledge of what part they, as professional military officers, in their career field, play in counter insurgency. Further I think the idea of jamming 10 years of learning into a 10 month course is silly. Your ILE could be based on your next assignment (yes then we'd have to know before we got here). Or those going to joint or levels above divison could go to extra or do a TDY as they get assigned to those positions. I will probably spend the next 3 years on Battalion and Brigade staff, if I get a joint assignent after that or any other level above reality send my to Leavenworth TDY as I head to my next duty station to get that education.

Tate Robinson said...

ILE is not designed to prepare the students exclusively for their next assignment. Its purpose is to give the field grade officer a broad understanding of history, leadership, and national strategic thought to improve the officer's overall professional knowledge.

There are specific training sites for providing the training someone might need prior to going to a specific assignment. I understand the desire to get every possible edge in preparing for the next assignment, especially since the next assignment for many officers in ILE will be back in harm's way.

However, ILE is education, not training. Training imparts skills for a specific job. Education imparts ways of thinking which can then be used in many different situations.

As a military, we may or may not be involved in fighting in a COIN environment ten years from now. We will be involved in providing for national defense and the knowledge we have gained in ILE we stand us in good stead.

LCDR Tate Robinson, student, Command and General Staff College, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.